Gabby Turnbull Our Celebrated English Teacher


Que Que High School Entrance Post Independence in 1980 with the name change. Lets call it the Blues period. I remember it in the Colonial whitewash period.  Photo by Lynn May

Gabby Turnbull Our Celebrated English Teacher

Gabby Turnbull, our much loved  English teacher, was small in stature but had a ramrod straight back, said to be the result of a WWII injury that he never mentioned.  Even the boys took an interest in English Literature as he guided classes through Twelfth Night (what a struggle!) and challenged us with the Canterbury Tales and the convolutions of The Mayor of Casterbridge.  Some old boys remember him joining them for a quick smoke near the school bus. He  was editor and producer of the Que Que High School Magazine for many years.  Here is his editorial from the 1959 edition:

An Editorial from Gabby Turnbull Our Celebrated English TeacherQue Que High School Editorial 1959

Thanks to Tess (Banfield) Harris for the Magazine find and to Lynn May, 2007  for the school photo via the QQHS facebook site.


  • Tess Harris

    Reply Reply July 31, 2011

    Can anyone let us know what happened to Gabby Turnbull? How long did he carry on teaching? We presume he has now passed on? God rest his soul!

    Tess and Phil Harris

  • Lester Gilbert

    Reply Reply October 25, 2011

    I took my “O” levels at Que Que High in 1965 and 1966 as a boarder. ‘Doc’ Livingstone was headmaster, and his wife taught English in 1966, taking over from ‘Gabby’ Turnbull when he left (to retire?) who had taught me in Form 3A in 1965. This was such a change that I went from top to bottom of that class in a year. Gabby introduced me to some literature he had under lock and key, lending me the Alexandrian quartet by Laurence Durrell. I’ve pretty sure that Gabby made a positive and appreciated impression on everyone he met, I thought he was fantastic,

    Science was taught in the 4th form by ‘Chang’ Francis, Housemaster, and I remember his astonishingly beautiful daughter on her visits, all the boy boarders magically found a variety of reasons to be suddenly hanging about his driveway at her arrival and departure. Maths was taught by the very patient Mr Gardiner, who took some of us out to a rifle-range to fire a few shots using his .22.

    Head boy in ’66 was Ian Coates. My girlfriend was Barbara Bray, captain of the hockey team. She moved to Bulawayo for her ‘A’ levels, and I moved to Thornhill High in Gwelo. Our romance died due to distance (smile). I was let out for the odd weekend into the care and feeding of Ronnie and Ida Samson, who put up with my Aspergers remarkably well, introducing me to the Tepersons and the Schattils. I remember trying to discuss sex with a somewhat bemused Lynette Samson when she was on vacation from ‘varsity, and fantasising about it with the vivacious Gillian Schattil, much to her dad’s ill-concealed alarm. A pair of nasty bullies in the form of Wayne Hunter and Patrick Kirkpatrick made my life hell in the dorm, but Terry Fitt modelled a variety of ways of dealing with them. David Hatchuel was a boarder at that time, and would also look after me. I am very sorry to say I was unbearably rude to him, and he eventually gave up on me.

    • Diana

      Reply Reply October 28, 2011

      Lester, You have added another dimension to the blog with your boarding school memories and perspective, a little after I left QQHS. (How quickly things change.) Tell me more.

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