War veteran David Austin saw his wish of a lifetime come true this week when he returned to Hampton School for the first time in 58 years.
David attended Hampton between 1943 to 1948, and fully enjoyed his time at the School being a keen athlete and a member of the RAF Cadets. On leaving Hampton, his first job was with Shell in Teddington before he moved to Canada at the age of 23, never returning to England again until this week.
David, who was also a plotter with the RAF and a veteran of the Korean War, now lives in a retirement home in Maple Ridge, near Vancouver. He always remembered his childhood fondly and his greatest wish was to show his daughter Mary Anne where he grew up and went to school. David’s wish was granted by the American charity, Wish of a Lifetime who paid for him and 48 year old Mary Anne to return to the UK this week.
The Old Hamptonian was clearly moved at returning to the School, commenting that much of the original buildings still remained, although the air-raid shelters at the front of the School were now gone. David was also thrilled to be met by fellow Old Hamptonian, Michael Savage, another alumnus of 1943.
The two gentlemen took a tour of Hampton and sat in the School’s garden reminiscing about the old days, former classmates and their favourite teachers.
David finished his trip to Hampton by enjoying lunch with some of the current pupils and staff.
He brought in a selection of photos showing the School as it looked in the forties, and of his RAF Cadet squadron. At times overwhelmed by emotion, he said his visit was a wonderful experience:
“ I have really enjoyed coming back. It means so much because it has brought back many wonderful memories. I remember the School well and in many ways it hasn’t changed – it has also been a privilege to meet up with Michael and relive old times.”