Purple flowers in front of the chapel doors

Mr John Haynes (1917-2020)

It is with great sadness that I must pass on the news that our oldest alumnus, Mr John Haynes, died in late October. He was 103 years old.

Born in Folkestone, Kent, on 21 June 1917, John Richard Haynes matriculated at what was then St Peter's Hall in October 1936 to read PPE (or ‘Modern Greats’, as it was more commonly known). He came up to Oxford from Liverpool College, then under the headmastership of Robert Howard (1887–1960), later Master of St Peter's (1945–1955). It was Robert Howard who encouraged him to apply to what was then the University's newest undergraduate permanent private hall.

At St Peter's, he was taught primarily by Claude Sutton (1898–1972), one of the three original tutors appointed by Christopher Chavasse (1884–1962). Outside of his academic pursuits, he rowed in what was known as the ‘Schools Eights’ and served as Deputy President of the JCR during the year 1939/40.

Having graduated in the summer of 1940, John Haynes signed up for non-combatant service and was eventually made Assistant Master at Christ’s Hospital Junior School in Horsham, West Sussex, an appointment that began a career dedicated to teaching.  

John remained in close contact with the college throughout his life. He was an active member of The Howard Society and regularly attended events at college, including those held in 2011 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of St Peter's becoming a full college. In May 2019, he recorded an interview for the college as part of its 90th anniversary celebrations, during which he spoke about his time at St Peter’s and his experiences as a student in inter-war Oxford. He recorded another short message, which was warmly received by all Howard Society members, for our online Howard Society reunion on 13 September 2020. 

We send condolences to his family.

The college flag will fly at half-mast.

Professor Judith Buchanan
Master, St Peter's College

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Mr John Haynes