The Cobras performing at Operation Splash in 1950s

By Dave Thompson

The Cobras
Dave Thompson

‘Operation Splash’ took place in the 1950s to raise money to build a swimming pool at Barclay School. Our Group called ‘The Cobra’s’ took part in this competition.

After all the groups had played their two numbers and the judges had retired to consider their verdict we all went to the back of the hall awaiting the announcement of who had won! When the head judge came on stage we all waited with baited breath and were surprised to hear him say that the judges could not decide on who had won and that they wanted two groups to perform again. These were ‘Dick Teague and his Skiffle group’ (Cliff Richards Mob) and The Cobras, our group. He stressed that this play off was not necessarily for 1st and 2nd place. I can’t recall who went on stage first but we had only rehearsed 2 numbers to an acceptable standard so we performed our next best number. What a catastrophe, the drummer lost one of his sticks, I broke a string on my guitar and we made a right hash of the whole thing.

The results

When the results were announced I believe that the order was 1st The Sinners, 2nd The Mainliners, 3rd Dick Teague, and 4th The Cobra’s. I can’t remember who was next. We had to catch the train back to Knebworth and Dick Teague’s mob were on the same train and they were very displeased with the result and reckoned that the judges didn’t know what they were doing as they reckoned they should have come 1st.

As time went on almost every Youth Club had their own group that would play on club nights. We had a couple of years playing at weddings, dinners, pubs etc but disbanded when some of our lads wanted to try the professional route. I being an apprentice wanted to finish my time before risking a life on the road and another lad decided being in a group was not for him anymore so we all went our different ways. We had a great time while it lasted.

The people in the photo are from left to right- Dave Thompson guitar, ?- wash board, (hidden behind next guitar and leader of the group) Tony Charters, Pat Thody, guitar, John Chalkley, drums, and Rodney Charters, Tea Chest Base. I cannot recall who played the wash board on this night as our line up was for quite a time Tony and I on guitar, John drums, Rod, base and Pat wash board and Jews harp.

This page was added on 01/04/2012.

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  • It was interesting to read about the dances and bands we used to have at Geo W King’s parties etc. I was disappointed that there were no mention of a ‘Miss King’ that they had at the late 50’s where Audrey Dodge was crowned and Margaret Aylott, Mary Muir and myself were runner up. I had to present a Bouquet of large flowers to Mrs Hartford King. We all received a box of chocolates. It was a lovely evening as we dances during the whole evening which was enjoyed by everyone who attended. I still have the photo of the ‘Miss King’ and when I find it will put it on here. Does anyone else remember that evening or have the photograph of it. It possibly might have been the very first social evening they ever had I wonder. Thank you

    By Mrs Effie Lewis (05/07/2018)
  • Malcolm Waldock has added this comment:

    To my amazement Patrick Thody , who I have known & seen on a regular basis, was here yesterday and showed me the google image of this band, of which I knew nothing at all. I think it is amazing that I lived in Meadway (Knebworth) until I was 22yrs., travelled to/from Stevenage on the train as did Dave Thompson et al, yet I have no recollection of them or of Patrick being MUSICAL. I really liked being at Alleyne’s.

    By M S (16/02/2013)