Peter Ford, who died last month aged 92, will be remembered by generations of boys at the Edinburgh Academy, as an approachable and friendly figure who im-parted his love of geography with fervour. He was also a popular member of the common room for 25 years.
He could at times seem aloof. He was, in fact, a shy man, but he commanded respect and attention in the classroom. He was very involved in many of the school's musical activities and for many years was in charge of the annual play or operetta. To these he brought an immense love and knowledge of theatre and a determination to present as polished a production as possible.
One of Ford's early productions was The Mikado with the future television newsreader Gordon Honeycombe as an imposing Mikado. "Puddle" Ford, however, was always keen to encourage the less gifted (or less confident) and was particularly sympathetic to the younger boys who donned petticoats and crinolines to play the female roles.
Peter Douglas Lionel Ford was the son of the manager of a colliery in Washington, Co. Durham. He attended the Methodist school, Woodhouse Grove, near Bradford, and started work in a family business in Newcastle. He soon realised the job did not suit him and joined a prep school in Derbyshire before, in 1940, going to King's College Choir School in Cambridge as an undergraduate master. He read and taught geography and furthered his love of music especially church music by learning the organ.
After taking part 1 of his degree, Ford joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and served from 1940 on many hazardous missions. He rose to the rank of Senior Fighter Director with a principal responsibility for talking down battered aircrafts often flown by an exhausted pilot on to the rolling deck of an aircraft carrier. Ford served on numerous missions with the convoys on the treacherous Antarctic route, then in the Middle East and the Mediterranean.
In 1945, he returned to King's College to complete his degree and then trained as a teacher. In 1949, he joined the Edinburgh Academy as a geography master and remained there until he retired in 1974. He became head of the geography department and participated in many aspects of the school's activities, leading holiday parties and field study expeditions. One of his duties was to take charge of the Combined Cadet Force. As an ex-naval officer, Ford was a most exacting senior officer and the annual parade was always scrupulously organised.
Ford was a quiet and exacting man, punctilious to a fault. Everything he did was well-organised and thought through he did not tolerate sloppiness in others and certainly not in himself. He made many unsung contributions to various institutions in Edinburgh, notably at Inverleith Parish Church, where he was organist for many years. He also played for many funerals at Warriston Crematorium.