News - Beaumont Union




 As I write this, Advent is almost with us and for those in the Northern Hemisphere the evenings will draw out, the joy of Christmas and although “Great Expectations” at out time of life is a big ask,  for the New Year we can at least hope for a happy one. We have just been through that melancholic time of year. Harking back to schooldays,  we remember the autumn with the leaves on the trees  in the park turning gold before falling, the heavy dews changing to frost on Runnymede as the term progressed and the mist lying across our reach of the Thames  when viewed from The White House. November, the month of the dead starting with All Saints and All Souls and this year our Centenary commemoration of the War Memorial. It is a time I often play the 3rd movement of Mahler’s 4th symphony composed under the inspiration of "a vision of a tombstone on which was carved an image of the departed, with folded arms, in eternal sleep": a piece described of profound, meditative beauty. We are now “the few that remember the many”, not just those named on the Memorial, for there were many more that had their lives shortened after both conflicts through physical and mental trauma – often not spoken about. We now remember all departed OBs, many of them friends from our schooldays: it would have been the wish of the Fallen as they gave their lives that we could enjoy ours in relative peace. Anniversaries are important as the War Memorial Commemoration shows and if I may be permitted to end on a personal note – it is 40 years since my twin brother Richard died only a few miles from our Memorial: he fell in uniform but not in battle and  he lies in a quintessential village churchyard  in a simple soldier’s grave but written below his name “Aeterna Non Caduca”. Mahler’s 3rd movement.




                        ( Report  further  on in the REVIEW)

B U LUNCH at The Caledonian. 4th October

Despite our greatly reduced numbers since our last gathering, a highly enjoyable time was had by all greatly enhanced by Jerry Gilmore’s legacy of champagne: we drank Ayala which, as you well know is, together with Charles Heidsieck the two Houses associated with Beaumont. We also almost polished off the remaining magnums of Ch. Beaumont ( we will not see the likes of it again).

38 of us assembled under the Chairmanship of Anthony Hussey (54)

 Peter Bicknell, Peter Moss, David Liston, Peter Lavelle, Jeremy Connor, Guy Bailey, John Wolff, George Stanton, Paula Bailey, Robert Wilkinson, Paddy Doyle, Kevin Ryan, Mgr. Jim Curry,  Jeremy Attlee, Mark Addison, Michael Morris, Derek Hollamby, Ian Glennie, Nigel Courtney, Roger Darby, Peter Hughes, Oliver Hawkins, Duncan Grant, Mandy Bedford, Rupert Lescher, Bertie de Lisle, Patrick Burgess, John Flood, Edwin de Lisle, Paul Dutton, Anthony Northey, Philip Noble, Christopher McHugh, Richard Sheehan, and Tim FitzGerald-O’Connor.

In his amusing and anecdotal speech, Anthony regaled us with his days at St John’s starting in 1946 when post war food was still in the disgusting category, memories of Fr Bassett and Fr Dunphy. The hilarity of the altar staff with John Hanrahan: I was Thurifer to his Sacristan at St John’s and he was entirely (un)responsible for filling the whole of the thurible to the brim with charcoal so rather than a whiff of holy smoke we got a volcano of fumes which caused small boys in the front rows to turn green and white, and Jose Dias who was one of the two acolytes to faint just after he had rung the bell at the Consecration five times. Father Dunphy was not amused.

He moved up with much trepidation to the College. “We were treated like animals by The Rector” ( but one should remember that The Bart loved his cows). Charismatic masters such as Hugh Dinwiddy and Fr Denis Lawson who made Shakespeare riotous fun. The marvellous tale of his best chum Peter Bicknell giving him a dare to walk the length of Lower Line Gallery with a lighted cigarette: meeting Fr Corbishley who engaged him in conversation about his performance on the cricket pitch while he was slowly enveloped in smoke!   After leaving school Anthony fought two elections with John Hanrahan in West Houghton, a suburb of Wigan which had been a Labour held seat then for over 40 years. John took it very seriously but we still had a lot of fun. I had the loudspeaker car so you can imagine the effect that an RP accent had in that part of the world. I got home with every panel of the car dented! Despite my worst/best efforts John succeeded in keeping the swing to Labour and Harold Wilson down to .9%. Huge fun and many hilarious memories.

Sadly, keeping to “Bedford Time” (15 minutes max) Anthony didn’t have the opportunity  to tell us of his “time in leather” as Chairman of Connolly or his experience with classic cars and his love of Lancias.

He finished when we would have loved to have heard more: but that is the sign of a good speech.




                             Downing “a cleaner, warmer settler”

          John Flood, Robert Wilkinson (with the Ayala) Peter Bicknell

                                 and Chairman Anthony Hussey.



                                              “Past Livery Masters”

                                       Jeremy Conner (Fan makers),

                     Tim FitzGerald O’Connor (Gold & Silver Wyre Drawers.

                   ( “Jeremy could eat no fat and Tim could eat no lean……”)



    Deep In Conversation David Liston and Guy Bailey.

                                 Drowning sorrows BUGS playing Captain Nigel Courtney


                  “For my eyes only” Peter Moss with Mandy Bedford


                      Past Educators: Jeremy Attlee   &  Oliver Hawkins


            Paul Dutton, Peter Savundra and a “toasting” Anthony Northey.


                                                   1960  vintage

‘Pale, red, transparent colour, not very deep; balsamic perfumes: pillbox, gum, roasted oak; very sweet, jammy flavours, medium structured, well matured.’

         Examples: Peter Hughes, Mark Addison and Derek Hollamby.


Papal titles; Mons Jim with Patrick Burgess.       Bertie & Edwin “Deux” Lisle


                Past “Wetbobs”  Christopher McHugh and Richard Sheehan


                       Past Rover Scouts:  Michael Morris   & Ian Glennie


           Past & Present Panto: George Stanton, John Wolff and Roger Darby.

 Remember those far off days:-

“Soon we'll be out amid the cold world's strife.
Soon we'll be sliding down the razor blade of life.
But as we go our sordid sep'rate ways,
We shall ne'er forget thee, thou golden college days.
Hearts full of youth,
Hearts full of truth,
Six parts gin to one part vermouth.”

Tom Lehrer. ( who was at school at Windsor, Connecticut).

Taking the Biscuit for excuses.

Johnnie (spewer) Muir.

Thanks for the reminder, regrets for not replying, and more regrets, I'm sorry to say, for declining the BU Luncheon invitation.  From the Welsh Marches, (and however keen I might be, to reassure Stevie Crompton that his 'drops for goal' circa 1960 on the 'Lower what's it' were as 'good as it gets' .)

(Ed: Stephen Crompton declined to attend as he had a pressing Funeral engagement!)

 It's really for me a bridge too far what with the shortage of intelligence on the state of the West End  and the fact that I'm conscious, thanks to  Ran Fiennes, of being  ''aerodynamically unsound'' whether it's over Arnhem or the Caledonian 

In which case, all the best,  onwards and (oxygen permitting) upwards; and may the covid, sorry the ventilator, take the hindmost.

Ed: “The heart has its reasons but the mind makes the excuses”.


The Centenary of our War Memorial.


As many of you are aware we had hoped to have the Memorial in pristine condition prior to the day. The problem lay in the fact that the Memorial is specially listed that required De Vere Hotels with an accredited Stone company to seek permission to carry it out. Despite making their application in July Windsor Borough Council Planning Department “sat” on the case for two months before turning it down requiring further details . These included: A more detailed design and access statement.  A comprehensive method statement  as to how it will be cleaned and a Location plan at scale using their  preferred software.” This from a Council that should know the design and whereabouts of the Memorial. However, the correct procedure, form filling and timelines are of more importance to these petty-minded officials than assisting us in honouring the Dead in what is a particularly special year They announced that the case will be re-considered at the end of November! 

Despite these shenanigans  we prepared the Memorial as best we could to include Wreaths with the Beaumont silks placed on the ornate hooks either side of the Calvary (The Gilbert Scotts  had them placed there for such a purpose on special anniversaries)


   John Flood arranging the wreaths ( just as well the Council Health and Safety    executive  were not aware!)

14th November.



100 years before on the feast of St Stanislaus, Gen Sir George Macdonogh in the presence of Cardinal Bourne and over 500 guests unveiled the Memorial. Our gathering was much smaller about 70 but our thoughts and prayers no less sincere.


We were fortunate that Fr Michael Holman, the Superior of the Jesuits based at Farm Street came to celebrate Mass for us.  He is a one-time pupil of Simon Potter at Wimbledon. We were also blessed with a mild, if somewhat overcast Autumn day for our family gathering. It is sobering to think that we have arrived  in time where “The few remember The Many”.




Patrick Burgess OBE, GCStJ, DL. Laid the wreath on behalf of the Beaumont Union and Major Robert Bruce OBE read the Lessons. The Service was made particularly poignant by the laying of family wreaths by relatives of the Fallen.



These were Peter Bicknell (grandfather, Uncle, and maternal Uncles)  Edwin de lislie (2 uncles).


   John Flood ( Great Uncle).   Jeremy and Richard  Gompertz  (brother and cousin) .


                                              Gerry Ford (father)


We were grateful to Giles Delaney and the Staff and Boys of St John’s who provided the Trumpeters ( playing the Last Post for the first time), the Altar Staff and  for their Hospitality and the excellent lunch they gave us as always.

I prepared a Commemoration Booklet which sold out ( £433).  After printing expenses £250 to BU funds.  Thank you.

If anyone would like an “E–Copy”, let me know and I will send it on. Otherwise it can be found under the HISTORY section of the WEBSITE.

We would also like to thank De Vere for their help and support and their efforts to restore our Memorial.

Andrew Flood again made an excellent video of the Service  which is available on Youtube: Thank you Andrew. Click below –

BUGS v OGGS. 21 September.

Nigel Courtney writes: We were marmelised !!! 

Although our 2020 contest with Downside’s Old Gregorians became a casualty of the pandemic, six ever-ready and double-jabbed BUs ensured that the 2021 event would go ahead. However, our stalwart captain Robert was obliged to withdraw for precautionary self-isolation (which later proved to be unnecessary). It was the very first time he has missed any of our games.

This 4th duel v- the OGGS took place on Tuesday 21st September. And once again we donned our BU ties and enjoyed a pre-match lunch in a 16th century dining room that is reminiscent of Beaumont’s lower line refectory. It was a veritable feast; the drinks bill alone exceeded £220. And as usual one wondered if this really was the best way to prepare for a needle match …

In previous rounds the BUGS had won two and halved one. Now, as we made our way to the 1st tee it began to dawn on us that our opponents meant business this time. Chris Tailby and I found we were giving 25 years to a single figure handicapper who knew every blade of grass at Denham. The rest of our team also had their hands full.

Undeterred, we commenced the battle. In order to compete Chris and I had to resort to birdies and these put us 2 up with 5 holes to play. At that point our opponents confided that no visiting team in that position had ever won at Denham. And so it came to pass. Meanwhile our other two pairs found themselves equally challenged – as is reflected in the results:

Kevin McArdle (17) & Rupert Lescher (21) lost to Michael Liddell (10) & David Lumley (20) 5&4

Nigel Courtney (19) & Chris Tailby (21) lost to Simon Stephens (4) & Julius Stephens (17) 1 up

Mark Addison (17) & John Flood (31) lost to Bill Donaldson (19) & Stephen Reeve-Tucker (21) 9&8

Naturally the OGGS, as always so ably led by Michael Liddell, were as charming as ever. But this trouncing – following the drubbing by St Johns-Beamont in May – gave us pause for thought. Clearly these opponents can draw on fresh intakes – an advantage denied to the BUGS whose finite membership is approaching an average age of 80.

After consulting a representative sample of members we have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we can no longer field competitive teams to play the OGGS or StJ-B OBs. Accordingly, we have resolved that our annual meeting at Westerham will continue exclusively for BUs who wish to spend some quality time with long-time friends.

Your feedback on these matters will be most welcome. Please also let me know if you would like to attend the next Westerham event – it has been booked for Wednesday 25th May 2022 and you will all be most welcome.

Dr Nigel Courtney (’63)

BUGS Hon Sec

The “NON PC”  adds

OGs Julius Stephens is a onetime BOF and Bill Donaldson is the brother in law of Arthur Cope. (65). Apart from the play, the BUGS are going to miss the exceptional lunch  at Denham and the company of our good friends from Downside.


After two postponements Ant Stevens musical “Streetwise” was performed at The Swindon Arts Centre 27th-30th Oct. This production was in support of COMBAT STRESS, the charity which looks after veterans with PTSD and other mental problems. I went with a party of friends that included Paul and Gilly Burrough and Sarah Covernton (widow of Patrick)  also there were the Fitzgerald O’Connors and Mandy Bedford: it was a full house.

What a great evening’s entertainment we had. Talented young actors, catchy tunes in this wonderfully original show with musical numbers ranging from rock to rap, reggae to tap as well as more conventional romantic pop. 

We heard a comedy with a serious message that Ant wanted to get across to the audience. In this he certainly succeeded.



He wrote in the programme –

Some years ago, I read in the paper that when leaving the Armed Forces an alarming number of veterans fail to settle back into civilian life.  They end up living on the streets. In 2018 the estimate for ex-servicemen without a roof over their heads was 13,140. There are hundreds of different reasons why returning to normality should present such a challenge – predominant among them being PTSD and other mental health issues. In so many cases, they have difficulty landing a job and that in turn can lead to family break-up and problems with drink and drugs.

The puzzling thing to me was that they are out on the streets, homeless and seemingly hopeless, when there are so many service-related charities standing by with open arms to help them. So what is going on?

Looking for an answer to my question, I began to talk to rough sleepers at every opportunity, not just ex-military but from all walks of life. While exercising a touch of dramatic licence, the characters in my play are drawn from such conversations.  It may be something of a cliche but, having heard all their stories, I felt ‘Something ought to be done!’

So what, personally, did I do? Well, not much – that is until met Isabelle Fisher-Michalakis at a local drinks party.   I soon found out she had been a concert pianist and had won awards for her choral compositions.  I couldn’t have found a better person to put my words to music. We decided there and then, to join forces to write a new musical.  But what about?  You guessed it - the homeless.  Maybe we could somehow raise awareness of their plight.

Ant discovered his affinity for the theatre when at the age of 12 he was called upon to play lolanthe in the school  G&S production.  From there he went on to direct The Boy with a Cart by Christopher Fry at the age of 19.  Since then, he has acted in and/or directed plays and musicals on stages around the world as far apart as Germany, Hong Kong and Russia. During his army career, he was better known for writing and performing satirical, scandalous songs, poems, revues and sketches than for his military prowess. His love of wordplay is what drew him to that medium.  Streetwise is the fourth musical show for which he has written the book and lyrics.  His previous works include Powder & Paint which told the story of Helena Rubinstein.

Ed:  a CD of the show is being produced. Once released I will let you know.



I regret to inform you of the death of Timothy Richardson (brother of John, Tom and Stephen). Peter Lyon who set up a new cricket club in Costa Rica. Sir Richard Bird Bart  (53) of the Custard family. Fr Gerard J Hughes, who taught as a scholastic at Beaumont in 1962-64. He was a very good master, mainly of classics. After ordination, and for much longer, Gerry was an outstanding teacher of philosophy at Heythrop College in London and in his later years at Campion Hall in Oxford. Tony “Ferrari” Parish (57) The Baron di Toma, loyal B U supporter and BOF at his home in Italy. See OBITUARIES section.


                                               Tony Parish RIP


Ties are now available through St John’s: Mrs Zola Purdie   +44 (0)1784 432 428  or Email Headmaster's P.A. ;


Philip Stevens is proposing to lead our little “expeditionary Force” back to Verdun 5 - 10 September.


There may well be some spare places so names to me ASAP.

BOOK Reminder.

in case it has slipped your mind (again):-

                                         “CROSS Between the ANTLERS”

                        The Sporting memoire of a Chaplain in the Great War

“There is little of the War’s conduct, save for a reflection on certain individuals. The writer is Fr Francis Fleming SJ. (94) but there is scant coverage of his ministry. What we have is a story of country sport enjoyed in the most unlikely setting, behind the front line, by a man who was a poacher’s collaborator, a whipper-in to a motley pack of hounds and certainly a contented fisherman.”

These writings first appeared in the Beaumont Reviews in the early 1920s written under the pseudonym of “Khaki Palmer”.


This Book has been edited by myself, illustrated beautifully by Bertie de Lisle (as above) and brought to you by Simon Potter.

The Preface has been written by Bishop Richard Moth of Arundel & Brighton and previously of The Forces.  All proceeds are going to “Hounds for Heroes” a Charity that provides dog assistants to injured and disabled ex members of the Forces and the Emergency Services.

If you have read it, enjoyed it then please advertise it in your parishes: it all helps.

Available from Witley Press.  £12.00



                                           The MALTA Story


Looking around one of our local galleries before Lockdown started in March 2020, I saw a painting of Operation Pedestal, the vital convoy that fought its way to the relief of Malta in August 1942. Knowing that various OBs had taken part in the action, I started to put together their story. Meanwhile, in Berkshire a much more eminent writer was embarking on a  detailed history  of this extraordinary battle: Max Hastings. Having read with considerable interest his excellent book, I was pleased that both of us came to profess  a profound admiration  for the both the Merchant fleet and  for our Royal Navy that  fought in its best tradition to protect them.

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I think one can be certain that the Germans realised very early in the War that the submission of Britain through cutting off her lines of supply would take time. In 1941, with the northern shores of the Mediterranean under the control of the axis powers, they believed that a small island such as Malta would rapidly capitulate. Malta, an island smaller than the Isle of Wight, but with a superb deep-water harbour vital for the Royal Navy, was now placed about 1000 miles from any friendly territory. Yet it was essential to maintaining a British line of communication through the Mediterranean.

Malta was a strategic linchpin and, therefore, a prime target of the enemy. For the bitter years of 1940-1942, German and Italian bombers bludgeoned the island in a vain effort to pound it into submission, but the defenders—British troops and the staunch Maltese islanders— fought the longest epic defence action of the war. The tiny garrison never exceeded 25,000 fighting men, a few squadrons of Royal Air Force Spitfire and Hurricane fighters, and two flotillas of Royal Navy submarines.

Almost daily, the enemy bombers and fighters bombed and strafed Malta and its installations, while antiaircraft batteries fired back and the islanders took shelter in limestone tunnels and caves. It was a desperate time. Almost every building on the island was destroyed or damaged, and the soldiers and airmen rarely left their trenches and air raid shelters, ready at any hour for the dreaded arrival of enemy parachute and glider-borne invaders.

Malta held on defiantly as the free world watched, but the situation became increasingly critical. Failing to overwhelm its defenders, the enemy clamped a tight blockade around the Island. As resources ran low, the question of relief challenged Allied planners. In the first half of 1942, only one merchant ship in seven was able to breach the blockade. There was a slender lifeline. British minelaying submarines based in Alexandria were able to steal through with modest cargoes of medical stores, kerosene, armour-piercing shells, powdered milk, gasoline, and mailbags. But it was not enough.

Hardship and shortages beset Malta’s defenders. The civilian population was subjected to tight rationing, subsisting on only 16 ounces of food a day. Fighter planes were forbidden to taxi to and from runways in order to conserve fuel. They were towed by trucks. Anti-aircraft batteries were limited to 20 shells or four ammunition belts a day. Malta had to be kept in the war somehow. 

Through its short existence, Beaumont had a relationship with the Island in educating its sons such as the Francia, Mattei and Camilleri and with the de Traffords and Stricklands to mention a few. There was also Captain Olaf Samut MC, a prominent nationalist and founder of the Maltese Union of Fascists and editor of “Marching On”. It was probably fortunate that he died before the War.  There were also those who felt a connection to the Island through the Sovereign Military Order of Malta to which certain OBs have belonged.

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At the outbreak of war, the Deputy Governor was Sir Edward Jackson, the son of a colonial Governor Sir Henry Moore Jackson, Edward had left the School in ’04. He went up to Oxford, was then called to the Bar before following his father into the colonial service, and apart from the Great War, he had spent his time in helping to administer the Empire. He had come to Malta in 1937 from Ceylon where he had been Attorney General, initially he was the Legal Secretary to the Government before being appointed as Deputy Governor in 1940.

After the Italian declaration of war on the 10 June 1940, the first bombs fell on the Island the next day; the siege had begun. The Malta story of the next two years is one of outstanding courage by its people, the Merchant Navy that tried to supply the beleaguered Island, and of the Royal Navy and the Air Force that tried to defend her.

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                        The Malta Convoys Memorial at Tower Hill

However, the government had to decide on priorities was it convoys to Russia or Malta. If Malta fell, the Africa Korps would be re-supplied without hindrance. Suez and the oilfields of the Middle East were threatened and Tobruk had already fallen.

The importance of the country’s re-supply routes at this period had never been so vital but we lacked the naval power to offer the shipping the protection they needed. Mark Napier (24) was a career officer on the battleship HMS Royal Sovereign assigned to convoy protection. It sounded formidable but Royal Sovereign was an aged ship launched in 1915 and had not been refitted or modernised since then. When war was declared, she sailed for the North Atlantic to intercept German shipping making for their home ports.

Mark was the son of Admiral William Rawdon Napier, a man that had distinguished himself at Gallipoli and in minesweeping operations. He was another with Beaumont connections that served in Australia being appointed Chief of their Naval Staff in 1926 when his son was at Dartmouth. After two years on the Atlantic routes, Mark was posted to the destroyer HMS Griffin doing similar work in the Mediterranean. He was then torpedoed off Cyrenaica while on the Cruiser HMS Birmingham in November 1943 and she was in dock for a year under repair. Mark’s remaining war was spent on staff appointments. He would come home to marry Jean Astley then serving as an officer in the WRNS and the daughter of Lord Hastings. Her brother was later to hold government appointments under both Macmillan and Douglas-Home and was Governor of the Royal Ballet.  

One of the merchant ships that HMS Griffin had to escort was the Melbourne Star built by Cammell Laird at Birkenhead in 1936 as a passenger and refrigerated cargo ship. She was part of the Blue Star Line owned by the Vestey Family. With their butchery business, the ships were originally built for the meat trade with Argentina, but this was later expanded to carrying a number of passengers to destinations around the world. It was for this reason that they required a ship’s surgeon on their larger vessels. One such man was Denis Louis Macsherry of Canadian parentage and he and his brother Philippe had left Beaumont in 1932. Denis studied medicine and his appointment to the Blue Star Line enabled him to travel the oceans.

At the end of August 1939, the Melbourne Star with Denis amongst the ship’s company was sailing from Auckland New Zealand back to her home port of Liverpool, when with other shipping she received the message to comply with re-routing instructions that may be issued by the Admiralty and to dim navigation lights with no others to be shown at sea. On her arrival at port, the ship was armed and made ready for war.

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                                       Operation Substance: The convoy

Because of her speed, the Melbourne was allocated to the Malta convoys and in July 1941 she had her baptism of fire. With five other merchantmen, she took part in Operation Substance. With a powerful escort of the battleship Nelson, the carrier Ark Royal, the cruiser Renown, four other cruisers and six destroyers under the command of Admiral Sir James Somerville. They set sail from Gibraltar with the Captain of the Melbourne flying the pennant of the merchantmen commander. South of Sardinia, they came under sustained air attack losing one destroyer and two ships crippled including the Melbourne’s sister ship the Sydney Star but they made it to Valletta. In his report, the Admiral wrote that the success was down to the steadfast and resolute behaviour of the merchant ships during air and sea attack; it was both impressive and encouraging. This was the last convoy to get through for some time.

Tough decisions were being taken in Malta, as they were in all the combatant countries, concerning the problem of enemy nationals within your territory.  Malta’s problem was over British subjects of Italian birth and it was Edward Jackson in his appointment as the Lieutenant Governor who introduced his Emergency Powers Bill before the National Council in February 1942. Jackson wished to detain those that were a perceived security risk and ship them to an internment camp in Uganda. It brought a forthright response from Sir Ugo Mifsud, the Maltese elder statesman, twice Prime Minister and leading member of the Italian community.  Like Jackson, he was also a lawyer and although he was not at Beaumont his “in laws” were – John Lewis Francia (80) his son John Baptist (11). It was reported that although unprepared, Sir Ugo delivered a speech that remains today an inspiration to all who read it. Even a leading opponent said that we have just heard a first class dissertation on constitutional law. He accepted that this was a war situation and limitations on freedoms were necessary, but that did not include the right to extradite British citizens from British soil whatever their political views. Sir Ugo collapsed at the end of his speech and was taken back to the Villa Francia where he died five days later.

During the worst period of the war for the Allies in April; 1942, the King awarded the Island the George Cross “to bear witness to the heroism and devotion of its people”. However, in doing so, Malta was placed on a pedestal; Malta could not suffer the same fate as Singapore.

Following the announcement of the award, the Governor, General Dobbie with failing health was relieved of his command to be replaced by Lord Gort. Dobbie, a deeply religious man believed that the Island would be saved by divine intervention;  Mabel Strickland recalled that every night about seven, everyone would be summoned for prayer … Dobbie would stand … and … pray … and … ask the Almighty to bless the Convoy … but he never prayed to stop the Bombing  … that was God's will … God helps those that help themselves …

Edward Jackson felt that The Almighty needed some assistance.

In June 1942, two convoys set out, one from Gibraltar and another from Port Said including Mark Napier on HMS Griffin. Steaming in the other direction was Convoy 0642 of six merchantmen with an escort that included the cruiser HMS Liverpool. The gunnery Officer on this ship was Philip Roche (25). He had been a close contemporary at school of Mark Napier but unlike most naval OBs his father had been a colonel in the army. At the outbreak of War, he was serving on the battleship HMS Rodney and had a lucky escape when “Queen Anne’s mansions”, nicknamed for her superstructure, was hit by a 500 lbs bomb that did not explode. Philip became a veteran of the convoys both on the Atlantic and later with HMS Liverpool in the Artic, experiencing the freezing conditions as well as frequent attacks by the Luftwaffe and U-Boats. They had only just completed the largest convoy yet to Murmansk at the end of May losing seven of their thirty-five ships, when they were ordered south to the warmer climes of the Mediterranean. On the 14 June, two days out and Liverpool came under sustained attack from some 38 aircraft and was badly crippled, depriving the convoy of its close cruiser escort. The damage had been done when a torpedo hit the engine room and she was reduced to 4 knots and limited steering. She was taken in tow by HMS Antelope and headed back to port. The Italians sensing a wounded beast concentrated their attacks on Liverpool for the next couple of days but could not sink her. It was not surprising that the ship’s gunnery officer was awarded the DSC for fighting off the foe in a fraught period of battle. The rest of the convoy and their escorts took a constant battering from the Italian fleet and only two merchantmen from Gibraltar made it to Valletta.  The other convoy from Port Said had to be abandoned after losses both in “bomb alley” between Crete and North Africa and action by the powerful Italian warships. This was one of the great successes of the Italian Navy but it was short lived, as they, like Malta, were running out of fuel and would not be able to repeat their achievement as the War continued.

It was a sombre group that met with the new Governor; of the last attempted convoy of 17 ships, only one had made it and that was now on fire in the Grand Harbour. “Can we hold out, Edward?” asks Gort.

“Doubtful, we have fodder and white oil till July, virtually no coal, food – wheat and flour till the end of the month. We can cut the ration still further to 14 oz per day”. Edward’s calculations were that on the 7th September they would be forced to surrender. This was the day before the Feast of Our Lady of Victory, the most important day in the Maltese calendar, commemorating the victory and the end of one of the most brutal sieges in history by the Turks in 1565. The irony of this was not lost on those around the table.

Edward Jackson made a broadcast to the people that evening telling them of what further deprivations and sacrifices they would be asked to make. When darkness fell, groups gathered about his residence with accordions and guitars and serenaded him before returning to their tunnels and cellars and the tightening of belts. The Maltese would resist till the bitter end.


Churchill agreed to one last attempt to relieve the Island. It would be no ordinary convoy, as it had to get past aerial attack from bombers, through minefields and surface attack from a cruiser division and a flotilla of ten submarines.  Each merchantmen carried a mixed cargo of food, fuel and explosives: floating bombs.

Hastily, the British Admiralty planned a desperate attempt to beat Lord Gort’s deadline and save Malta—a large relief convoy code-named Operation Pedestal. It would be the most powerful convoy yet attempted, with a heavy fleet escort of battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers, and destroyers shepherding 13 merchant ships and a tanker. On this complex operation—the most dangerous Allied convoy yet undertaken —depended the survival of Malta and, indirectly, the fate of millions.

There would also be a dummy operation from Alexandria. The idea was to confuse waiting German and Italian naval and air units, whose commanders knew that the British would make another attempt to relieve besieged Malta. A total of five cruisers, 15 destroyers, and five merchantmen would sail as if bound for Malta, and then, on the second night out, disperse and turn back. It was hoped that this would tie down some of the enemy forces.

 It should also be remembered that this convoy was to be escorted only a couple of months after  PQ17 "one of the most melancholy naval episodes in the whole of the war”, when the Merchant vessels were abandoned to their fate by the Navy after poor intelligence. Never again; the Navy was imbued with a determination to erase this shameful episode.

Meanwhile, Air Vice Marshal Keith Park on Malta was to hold in readiness a torpedo bomber strike force in case the Italian Fleet might be tempted to leave its major base at Taranto. Park, a distinguished fighter group leader in the 1940 Battle of Britain, would keep the rest of his air strength, 130 fighters, for support of the Pedestal convoy.  Among this force was a detachment of 89 Sqn equipped with Beaufighters  with among the pilots a young Flt Lt George Coleman  (23) later to be awarded the DFC.

33 Squadron at Fuka, Egypt

                               Charles Ryley leading his men out.

In command of the principle Air Station: RAF Luqa was the recently promoted Wing Commander Charles Ryley (23), he had previously been 33 Sqn based at Fuka Egypt in 1941 and before that with 230 sqn with Sunderland Flying boats. He led his Hurricane sqn in support of the Desert Campaign before moving to Greece and now Malta. Later he would go with Park to the Far East as a Group Captain: another who was awarded a DFC for aerial combat.

Even as the Pedestal ships, including yet again Melbourne Star, were loaded and crews mustered, the enemy waited in the Mediterranean. German and Italian bombers, dive-bombers, and torpedo planes were lined up on the airfields of Sicily and Sardinia along with fighters and reconnaissance aircraft. About 70 planes were on alert as a reception committee for the British convoy. Eighteen Italian submarines and three German U-boats were on patrol off Malta and between Algiers and the Balearic Islands; German E-boats and Italian motor torpedo boats lay in wait off Cape Bon, Tunisia, where a new minefield had been sown, and three heavy and three light cruisers along with 10 destroyers were ready to intercept the Pedestal convoy south of Sicily.

Overall in command of Op Pedestal was Vice Admiral Neville Syfret with the Battle Fleet, in command of the Close Escort  (Force X) of the Merchantmen and the man who had to get them through after Syfret’s force  turned back to Gibraltar was Rear Admiral Harold Burrough the Uncle of the late Simon (54) and Paul (62). It could be said that Burrough had the short straw: the Battle fleet could not be risked through the Sicilian narrows and would have to withdraw when the merchantmen were at greatest risk from both German and Italian attack.

The convoy and the protection force set out from Scapa Flow on 2nd August: the signal received -

“As you start on this operation, the First Sea Lord is anxious that you should know how grateful the Board of Admiralty are to you for undertaking this difficult task. Malta has for some time been in great danger. It is imperative that she be kept supplied. These are her critical months, and we cannot fail her. She has stood up to the most violent attacks from the air that have ever been made. Her courage is worthy of you. We wish you God speed and good luck.”

 By the time  the convoy  was approaching Gibraltar, it was well rehearsed in every form of evasive action.

At dawn on Sunday, August 9, the convoy wheeled from the Atlantic through the Gibraltar Strait and into the warm Mediterranean. Nine destroyers hugged the convoy on either beam and up ahead, while close astern three more destroyers shepherded the carriers Illustrious and Eagle. Well ahead on the horizon steamed four cruisers with attendant destroyers, while, far out on the port beam, five cruisers and six destroyers screened the carriers Indomitable and Victorious. It was an impressive display of naval might.

During the convoy’s first day in the Mediterranean, the enemy kept out of sight. There were false alarms and brief bursts of gunfire from tense antiaircraft crews aboard the ships. The second day passed in the same way, with the gunners testing their weapons, eating hurried meals, and maintaining vigilance.

All seemed to be going according to plan until one of the aircraft carriers, HMS Eagle, known as the “Old Lady of the Med” for the number of voyages made to deliver aircraft to the theatre, was hit by four torpedoes and sank, a huge hole was blown in the port side of the gallant ship, which had dispatched 183 Spitfires to Malta during the past year. Her squadrons of fighters, ready for take off, cascaded overboard as Eagle toppled on her side. The aging flattop —launched in 1918 as a Chilean battleship and completed as a carrier in 1923—sank in eight minutes. Two hundred and sixty pilots and flight deck crewmen perished, and the rest of her 1,160-man complement was rescued by destroyers.

Amongst those saved was the Royal Marines commanding officer Captain Reggie Maskall (27) who would live to serve another day on the Artic convoys and another recipient of the DSC. When Eagle sank 25% of the air cover went with her.

Meanwhile, the British fought back desperately. Ten RAF Bristol Beaufighters  including  that of George Coleman and 16 Hurricanes raided Italian air bases in Sardinia.

Now I want to tell of the role of the Melbourne Star, as one of the fourteen vitally important ships in the hardest fought convoy of all. At the end, it was written that “The Royal Navy would give tribute to the conduct, courage and determination of the Masters, Officers and men of the Merchant Service. The steadfast manner in which these ships pressed on through all the attacks, answering every manoeuvring order like a well trained fleet was inspiring. Many were lost but the memory of their conduct will remain a lesson to all who were privileged to sail and protect them”. The Melbourne was carrying all the ingredients for creating a minor earthquake. 1350 tons of high octane, 700 tons of kerosene, 1500 tons of high explosive and several thousand tons of heavy oil.

The attacks came fast and furious:  80 torpedo bombers, more than 200 Junkers Ju-87 Stuka dive-bombers, and a covering force of 100 fighters came in from all directions. Bombs and torpedoes plastered the convoy, 

Only two days in and The scorecard was not encouraging. Eight enemy bombers, 12 torpedo bombers, and 26 Stukas had been shot down, but the convoy had lost a carrier, two destroyers, and three freighters. Six Fleet Air Arm fighters had failed to return.

The Freighters that had been selected were the largest, fastest and most modern afloat but the loss was still enormous despite unprecedented protection. When the Waimarame blew up after another dive bomber attack, the Melbourne immediately astern was showered with burning debris and flames shooting 1000 feet into the air, the heat sucked the oxygen out of the vicinity as she ploughed past the inferno and a sea of burning oil. When the damage was inspected, all the paint work on the ship’s side was burnt off and the lifeboats all destroyed. Denis had a large number of serious burn casualties to deal with: 14 died.

History relates that five ships eventually made it to port after constant aerial and naval bombardment, submarine attack and mines. The most bombed place on earth received, not just supplies but deliverance. The Melbourne was the second home, on the 14th August bringing in her valuable cargo intact.

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                                The Melbourne Star arrives in port

The officer that awaited them on their arrival was the Divisional Transport Officer - Captain Edward Price (04), the veteran on HMS Phaeton at both Jutland and of the operations against the Soviets in the Baltic in 1919. When Melbourne was inspected, they discovered a 6inch shell that had passed through the Captain’s cabin and imbedded itself in the deck but did not explode.

The all- important and badly crippled oil tanker Ohio which had been a major target throughout the operation was sandwiched between two destroyers and  was brought in a day later.

A fourth crippled merchantman, the Brisbane Star, sister ship of the Melbourne eventually reached the island. A total of 32,000 tons of food, ammunition, and other supplies was offloaded, enough to sustain the island bastion for about 10 more weeks. The material landed was not enough to release the islanders from their near-starvation rations (1,500 calories a day), but it was sufficient to keep Malta going. The Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy had saved Malta. It did not mean the end of the island’s siege, but the costly Operation Pedestal enabled strategic Malta to stay in the war. Malta’s fall would have nullified Allied plans for the invasion of North Africa in November 1942.

In the words of a submarine captain, this once magnificent anchorage of the Mediterranean Fleet beneath the battlements of the old castle of the Knights of Malta, was now a heart-breaking scrapyard of bomb-and mine-shattered hulks’. But to the crews of the three ships on that momentous evening it appeared an almost mystical haven. 

The ships were greeted by bands and ecstatic crowds, fore-most among them the Governor, Lord Gort and his deputy Sir Edward Jackson.  A local woman wrote: ‘what a glorious sight that was! The bastions around the harbour were lined with people. We waved and cheered until we could cheer no more. ’An RAF pilot was also watching: ‘As the three ships come through the harbour entrance just about maintaining steerage way, the cheering of the Maltese … slowly subsides until there is absolute silence. Some of the men mostly elderly, take off their hats and the womenfolk in their black hoods and cloaks cross themselves. At the word, a bugle sounds the “Still”, and not a soul moves.’

Through the mercy of Providence and the courage of our seafarers, Malta had been given succour in an hour of need borne by people and garrison alike with the fortitude and an  abiding faith in the justice of our cause.’  

 Max Hastings wrote: 

“The magnitude of the task with which Force X and its merchant ships were confronted might well have daunted the stoutest hearts. The display of courage, fortitude and determination in fighting a way through all the difficulties and in spite of severe losses ,reflects the greatest credit on captains, masters, officers and men and in particular on their resolute leader Rear-Admiral Burrough.’ All this was true. His leadership of Force X had been an object lesson in steadfastness under the most desperate was absolutely no fault of his that the Axis deployed formidable air and submarine forces with access to bases across the entire central Mediterranean; that British anti-submarine technology and tactics were weak; that naval carrier fighters were embarrassingly inferior to the enemy’s aircraft. Through twenty-four hours on 12/13 August 1942, his Force X faced overwhelmingly hostile odds Burrough lacked any ready means of improving its outcome”.

Burrough would end his distinguished career as a full Admiral with a GCB, KBE and a DSO.

For four days the convoy  had “battled” its way to its objective and it was appropriate that on the Feast of the Assumption the last of the merchant ships limped into the Grand Harbour. This action has gone down in history as one of the most important strategic victories of that War, but for the people of Malta, it is simply remembered as the” Santa Marija Convoy”.

Hastings continued: “The operation may be viewed almost as a last hurrah, inappropriate as that word would have seemed to those who endured it, of Royal Navy battlefleets, as for centuries the world had known such fighting units. Much that went wrong reflected the limitations of wireless links, a chronic weakness in all naval operations in the 20th century as witnessed at Jutland and even more recently in the Falklands.

 Churchill understood better than did most of his commanders that the moral issues at stake in the conduct of a war are quite as great as the material ones. No battle can be justly assessed by a mere profit-and-loss account of casualties of tanks, aircraft, ships destroyed. Perception is also critical and often decisive. The British display of will, fighting the surviving vessels of Pedestal through to Malta despite repeated onslaughts and punitive losses, gave victory to the allied cause”.

Post Pedestal

After months of repair, The Melbourne Star  sailed for home through “bomb Alley” to Suez, Capetown, Montevideo and Liverpool arriving in February 1943.

It was a quick turn- around as she sailed a month later for Sydney with a cargo of torpedoes, ammunition and high explosives. Like so many other merchantmen, once clear of the busiest area of U-boat activity she was unescorted. On the 2 April, off Bermuda in bad weather she was hit by two torpedoes almost simultaneously. They detonated the cargo and the ship blew up and sank almost immediately. There were a handful of survivors in the stern section; Denis Macsherry was not among them.

The Macsherry parents lost both their sons, as Philippe was killed in action as a Sergeant pilot with 609 Squadron. He had seen action flying spitfires in support of the BEF and the evacuation from Dunkirk followed by the Battle of Britain based at Middle Wallop; the Squadron were the first to reach one hundred aerial combat victories. A month before he was killed, they had moved to Biggin Hill in February 1941 and Philippe was shot down over the Kent coast on the 27 March; some families gave their all.

Returning to the story of wartime Malta, it wasn’t just fuel, armaments and food that were required money was needed for clothing and household goods. Right at the start of the war a relief fund was set up in America to raise money initially through the ex-patriate community. The leading light and the chairman of this organisation was the daughter of an OB - Theresa Strickland Colt.  Theresa’s grandfather was a certain Commander Walter Strickland, a younger son of the family from Sizegh Castle. After a career in the Navy he had settled in Malta having married into one of the titled families. Walter had two sons: Gerald who would become the Island’s Prime Minister and created Lord Strickland and Charles. Gerald was sent to Oscott for his education while Charles (84) went to Beaumont.  Charles’s  interest was the same as his father who had been a founder member of the Society of Archaeology, History and Natural Sciences of Malta, set up in 1865 ‘to preserve monuments and to encourage a taste for local archaeology and the natural sciences.’ His mother Donna Louisa, herself  was an avid collector of antiquities. Charles carried out excavations both on the island and in Palestine and befriended a young American Harris Holt who not only set up his own foundation in New York: The Colt Institute of Archaeology, but would also marry Theresa

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                                       Theresa Strickland with her husband

Both Charles and his wife died just after the Great War and it was Gerald who gave Theresa away in marriage after which she and Harris divided their time between excavations in The Levant and The USA. When war broke out she was in the States and she readily took on the role of Chairman of The Malta Relief Fund. She worked ceaselessly for the cause: interviews with the press and radio and the social organisation of lunches, dinners and balls with the attendance of stars of stage and screen.

For her valuable wartime services Teresa was awarded the King’s Medal for Service in the Cause of Freedom by His Majesty King George VI in July 1946. This was a fitting tribute to someone who had worked hard for a good cause, something she undoubtedly treasured. Her chairmanship had been impeccable, and her charismatic personality made her friends wherever she went.  Theresa died in 1955 and is buried in a family vault in Rome.

This has been part of the Malta story in WW2 and the not insignificant role played by OBs several of whom were decorated for their actions.

                                    Hilary Synnott

Tom Scanlon asked me to re-visit the life of Hilary Synnott (62) who if he had lived would  I’m certain would have had something to say about our policy in Afghanistan.

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From the Guardian

Not long after he retired and was looking forward to a peaceful time at home following the stress of representing Britain in one of the most troubled countries in the world, Sir Hilary Synnott, who has died aged 66 after a short illness, received a call out of the blue from the Foreign Office. "It's a bloody mess," said the official. There followed a plea to Synnott to take over the post of Coalition Provisional Authority regional commander in Basra, to be Iraq's "King of the South", as the post was widely if mockingly called. The Danish incumbent, not surprisingly, had left in a huff.

Being the true public servant he was, Synnott agreed. That was in July 2003. He described the experience in “Bad Days in Basra” : My Turbulent Time As Britain's Man in Southern Iraq (2008), a forthright account by normally such a quiet-spoken man, and later in evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry  into the circumstances surrounding the invasion of Iraq.

When Synnott got to Basra, he had no phone and no computer. The Americans helped him out, enabling Synnott to start sending what he called "Yahoograms" to the FCO in London. His predicament was not helped when some of his British colleagues boasted about their prowess in dealing with such situations.

"If you Brits think this is your feudal empire maybe you should run it," came the US response. "We could not," Synnott told Chilcot.

Bad Days in Basra is an indictment, richly deserved, of Whitehall's failures and mistakes, notably by the FCO and Department for International Development, and of what Synnott called Washington's "spectacular misjudgments" in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. "The situation in 2003 in Whitehall was that there was simply a mismatch between policy imperatives and the ability to deliver on the ground," he said.

US and UK shortcomings provoked enraged Iraqis, thereby helping to feed the insurgency. "Neither we nor the military ever managed to craft a harmonious relationship with civilian departments at home," Synnott wrote. "There was insufficient grip, leadership and knowledge of the conditions . and not enough understanding of what was needed."

The FCO was "even less engaged in post-conflict planning [than the military]. They were apparently no better aware than anyone else of the likely consequences of the removal of Saddam's control." The problem, observed Synnott, was compounded by the legacy of the relationship between Clare Short – international development secretary but vehemently opposed to Britain's participation in the conflict – and Robin Cook, the foreign secretary. "DfID's reputation with other departments, and especially the military, whose contempt was seldom disguised, was severely damaged."

Synnott made it quite clear where he believed the blame lay. "The key decision-makers, and especially Bush and Blair, must inevitably bear ultimate responsibility both for the war itself and for the failures surrounding the process by which success might be achieved." He told the Guardian at the time: "Since we had done much to weaken Iraq's infrastructure and institutions as a result of 12 years of sanctions, we should have expected the unexpected."

Such sharp comments reflected the depth of frustration and anger about Blair and Bush's adventures among the ranks of wiser men, among them the experienced diplomats and officials of whom Synnott was a prime example. The son of a distinguished naval officer, he was born in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, and educated at Beaumont college, a Jesuit public school in Windsor, before going to the naval college at Dartmouth on a scholarship. From there he went to Peterhouse, Cambridge, and then to the navy's engineering college.

After spending five years in submarines, he decided in 1973 on a career move. He joined the Diplomatic Service, and was posted to Britain's OECD delegation in Paris, and the embassy in Bonn and Amman before, at the age of 44, he was appointed head of the FCO's western European department. In 1991 he was head of the FCO's security coordination department, responsible for seeking the release of the British hostages held in Lebanon, an extremely delicate and ultimately successful task which brought him much praise, including from Lambeth Palace.” He personally went out to Damascus to collect Terry Waite and Jack Mann and bring them back to London.

For a decade, from 1993, when he was appointed deputy high commissioner in New Delhi, until 2003, when he retired from the FCO after three years as high commissioner in Islamabad, he was closely involved in south Asia. In addition to his Basra book, he wrote The Causes and Consequences of South Asia's Nuclear Tests (1999) and Transforming Pakistan: Ways Out of Instability, published in 2009 by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, where he was a senior consulting fellow. "There are now signs," he wrote, "that opinion in Pakistan  is increasingly impatient with growing instability and has begun to move towards the view that the country needs urgently to put its own house in order." But that would not happen "without external counsel, financial help, and the input of a broad range of concerned outsiders".

Synnott was knighted in 2002. He is survived by his wife, Annie, whom he married in 1973, and was predeceased by a son.

 Hilary Nicholas Hugh Synnott, diplomat, born 20 March 1945; died 8 September 2011.

Hilary was the youngest of the three Synnott brothers following Anthony (58) now a retired University  Professor in Canada, Timothy (60) who went to Hertford Oxford and followed a career in forestry. Their father was Commander Jasper Synnott DSC RN.

                                   SOLD FOR GOLD

We often hear stories of young girls and women that are trafficked or sold usually for prostitution. This story is nothing as bad as that but it is the strange tale of an Italian peasant girl Maria Pasqua, who was a child model, sold for two wash-leather bags of gold and finely married an Aylsham landowner and became the mother of 3 OBs.

                                        Maria Pasqua at the time of her marriage in 1881. Picture: SUBMITTED

                            Maria Pasqua at the time of her marriage in 1881.


Once upon a time a little Italian peasant girl, who had become an artists’ model in Paris, was sold by her father to an eccentric English-born aristocrat, for two wash-leather bags of gold so that he could buy a vineyard.

Years passed and the beautiful Italian met and married a Norfolk landowner and doctor. They raised a family near Aylsham. To her regret, she never returned to the mountains and sunshine of her native land and died in 1939, the year war broke out.

Maria was born in 1856 in Velletri, south of Rome, the fourth child of a feckless but charming father, Domenico, and his wife Carolina.

                                         Painting of Maria by Charles Jalabert, exhibited in the Paris Salon in 1863. Picture: SUBMITTED

     Painting of Maria by Charles Jalabert, exhibited in the Paris Salon in 1863.

Her good-looking parents worked as artists’ models in Rome through the winter, living in the city’s slums, but returned to the mountains for the summer.

Maria would accompany her father while he sat for artists and her own striking features inevitably caught their attention.

At the age of six, Maria and her father crossed the Alps, mostly on foot, from Rome to Paris where she became a successful model in an age which relished romantic paintings of beautiful children.

Maria was painted by many distinguished artists who exhibited at the prestigious Paris Salon. One portrait, by Hébert, was bought by Baron James de Rothschild. Another, entitled A Greek Captive, by Henriette Browne, is on display at our National Gallery.


The little girl was much feted and admired, attracting the attention of the English-born widow of a French aristocrat, Helena, Comtesse de Noailles. Helena could not buy the Hebert portrait so she went one better and bought the sitter.  Helena was born Anna Maria Helena Coswell with wealth coming from the Baring banking family.  She married Charles-Antonin, second son of Antoine- Claude-Just de Noailles, Duc de Mouchy and Prince-Duc de Poix   in Paris, 25 April 1849.

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her marriage had been short-lived as her husband died within two years and their only child died at birth. She was known for opposing vaccination and vivisection, as well as financially supporting Elizabeth Blackwell during her struggle to become the first female doctor in the United States.

Madame de Noailles was a wealthy woman with houses in England, Paris, Montpelier  and the French Riviera which she moved between frequently. When she was 40, she saw at the Paris Salon of 1863 the portrait of Maria In an extraordinary deal, the countess, “Madame”, bought Maria from her father who stipulated that she should never be painted again and must be raised as a Catholic.

Separated from her family, her culture and homeland, little Maria began a strange new life under the wing of a highly-eccentric, though essentially kind-hearted, woman with bizarre beliefs on matters of health and hygiene. Maria Pasqua's childhood was  to be an extraordinary one.

Not only did Madame de Noailles move constantly from place to place but she imposed curious rules and regulations on her adopted daughter. These included the wearing of loose clothing. Maria was sent to a Catholic boarding school in Sussex, England, and Madame de Noailles enforced her rules on clothing and thus Maria was excused from wearing school uniform. Maria was also given her own supply of fresh milk from de Noailles's personal dairy herd. Madame de Noailles encouraged her cows to graze near open windows believing the methane they produced was good for her health.

                                                 Philip Candler Shepheard, the north Norfolk landowner who became Maria Pasqua's husband. Picture: SUBMITTED

Philip Candler Shepheard, the north Norfolk landowner who became Maria Pasqua's husband.

Madame de Noailles also left England every winter for fear of catching flu. When Maria grew up she and her family were instructed to do the same. Madame believed the climate to be unhealthy when leaves fell, especially from oak trees, which she thought England had too many of. When Maria was at home, Madame de Noailles would only eat food served on plates behind a two-foot-high silk screen, for reasons de Noailles never revealed.

Other habits included sleeping with a loaded pistol beside her bed, even in hotels; having a string of fresh onions hung on her bedroom door to protect her from infections; wrapping silk stockings stuffed with squirrel fur around her forehead to prevent wrinkles; eating large amounts of fresh herring roe to prevent bronchitis. She also believed that port wine should be drunk at sunset, mixed with a little sugar and diluted with soft rainwater collected from the roof of their house by her servants.

Maria recorded that de Noailles once shrieked in terror at her staff because a piece of blue silk covering her brass bedroom door handle had fallen off and she feared that the glaring light shining off it was damaging her eyes. Her fear of glaring light led her to put red glass in the lower half of all her windowpanes, claiming it was healthier and more cheerful.

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                                    Abbots Hall: The Shepheard family home


At the age of 21, while staying with friends of Madame in Bournemouth, Maria met the recently-widowed Philip Candler Shepheard, 20 years her senior, who’s farming family came from Erpingham, near Aylsham, although he had been practising as a doctor in Gayton, west Norfolk. The unlikely pair married and Philip later bought the Abbots Hall estate, near Aylsham, where they raised their four children.

Madame de Noailles never let go of her grip on Maria Pasqua even after her marriage. She wrote constant letters to both Philip Shepheard and Maria, advising Philip on how to manage his land and to Maria herself on the best way to bring up her children. She believed that children brought up on milk were less likely to become drunkards. 

When Madame de Noailles was visited at her house in the south of France by the two  sons Philip (02) and Samuel (03), she instructed them to accept no invitations to afternoon tea after 5 o'clock, believing that most people caught flu at this time because of dangerous miasma in the air at the end of the day. On one occasion a visitor was wearing some high-heeled shoes which de Noailles asked to examine. She then threw the shoes on a fire, believing that flat shoes were better for general health. 

So what of the Shepheard boys:

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Philip  (02) was a good games player at school and played in both the  Football and Cricket XIs. On leaving he gained a Regular Commission in the Essex Regiment and joined the 1st Battalion in 1904 which was in Mauritius. When war broke out in August 1914. they departed for England, arriving in December. On the 18th of January 1915.They were training for France when orders arrived to prepare to depart for Gallipoli. They embarked from Avonmouth on the 21st of March sailing via Malta to Alexandria then on to Mudros in April. They landed at Cape Helles, Gallipoli on the 25 April 1915 and were involved in heavy fighting particularly on 4 June when they took three lines of trenches.  Later on the 6 June they came under heavy fire and Philip, now a Captain, and his men took many casualties before losing their trench. Of his 90 men only 25 escaped, Philip was fatally wounded and died 13 June 1915. He is Commemorated on the Helles Memorial. Having no known grave: he was 31. 

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                                  Samuel with his father at Abbots Hall

Samuel (03) went to St Thomas’s  on Leaving Beaumont despite Madame encouraging him to become a vet rather than enrolling at medical school. In  WW1, he served as a  Captain RAMC and in peacetime  was consultant for tropical diseases to the Ministry of Pensions. Samuel never married and lived alone in Abbots Hall until his death in 1973, two weeks after a fire at his home which broke out during a stay in hospital. He had been well-known throughout Norfolk as an active master of otterhounds.

The youngest Martin died while at St John’s in 1903. There is no recorded comment by Madame de Noailles on his unfortunate demise

                                                     GISS - GOSS



GISS – GOSS is THE REVIEW gossip column with tittle-tattle gleaned from various sources.


Fr Kevin Fox Emailed me to say In case it's not recorded elsewhere, we might like to know that Beaumont is featured in the Oxford English Dictionary as an example of the use of the word 'eight':

1955   Times 25 July 3/6   Beaumont College, who won their juniors at Molesey a week ago, followed it up by winning the junior-senior eights.

According to the REVIEW

The ’55  VIII came to their best late in the season. If they had shown that form at Henley one can only speculate how far they might have gone .  Apparently there was not enough serious rowing in the Easter term ( reading between the lines too much time in the classroom) which meant their fitness was well behind their rivals with the resulting consequences.


The Crew: Bow Colin Drummond

                      2 Anthony Whyatt

                      3 Rory Nicholas

                      4 Bruce Murray

                      5 John Hanrahan

                      6 Nicholas Aldington

                      7 Jimmy McAleer

             Stroke  Patrick Deane

                Cox   Peter Walker


Nice to think we were chosen as an example rather than the  “heavyweights” of the sport. ( Mentioning no names)


Ronnie Goodchild (47) mentioned Darragh Waterkeyn in one of his Emails to me as they were the same year. Darragh was Captain of the School and Boxing and played in the XV. He was commissioned in The Royal Fusiliers and served in the Korean War  1952-3 and was Adjutant of the Battalion I came across this photo:-


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                                               Darragh on the left.

He retired from the Army in 1956 and  was a Director of the shipping company Golden Ocean. He  died in 2010.

Darragh’s elder brother Ronald (39) served in the RAF during the War and his son Stephen was among the last boys at Beaumont.

His Sister Marcelle married Raoul Grant son of the Baron de Longueuil who was KIA serving as a Lieutenant Royal Navy in 1942.

Webber in the Saddle

Below is a photo of John (42) one of the three Webber boys: his brother Michael (46) served in Korea with the 5th Inniskilling Dragoon Guards at the same time as Darragh Waterkyn. John amateur rider and later National Hunt Trainer is “snapped” at Wincanton in 1963. I can tell you that from my own experience of riding round Wincanton that with the rain coming down and the wind blowing it can be one of the most miserable experiences of jump racing.

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John trained for a fair number of OBs all of whom he counted as friends. When he died it was said of him that he epitomised all that was good about National Hunt racing.

“CORPSE” Remembered.

Robert Fettes sent me this account of  his death:-

“This is the brief, and very sad account as related to me by Fr. Dunphy.

Old Johnny was in the habit of regularly visiting his local parish church; not always necessarily for Mass. His visits were quite frequent through each week, spent mostly in meditative, contemplative solitude. Visits were always concluded with a donation of a florin or half -crown in a collection box.  It was on one of these visits when the parish priest found Johnny sitting alone in an empty church; slightly stooped, but dead. Johnny was still clutching his Florin, ready to be placed in the collection box.  Very sad and moving indeed.

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I well remember Johnny at St. Johns, when he displayed, with irrepressible exuberance, coaxing us boys to demonstrate courage and determination in our boxing bouts! Incidentally, it was Richard Sheehan who biffed me out of the ring!  Johnny was a most popular personality, who seemed  to exude an avuncular and caring attention for all under his charge.  Fond memories of a big -hearted gentleman”



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John Marshall found this envelope among his late brother Michael’s belongings ( part of his stamp collection.
Ronald du Poulpiquet du Halgouet (59) came to Beaumont from Ladycross in 1957 and stayed in the “A” stream till leaving in Syntax. Born at the Chateau du Brassy near Renac in Brittany, his family had played an important role in the region since the 12th century. Both his father and grandfather served in the Senate and were members of the Regional legislature. Ronald eventually inherited the Chateau and title of Vicomte and managed the estate and lands He married Veronique de Chabot-Tramcourt but the marriage ended in divorce; Veronique later married the Prince Alain Murat. Ronald then married Marie-Josephina Teixeira Salgado. A daughter Corentine married Clovis Tattinger heir to the business empire that includes the champagne house and the Hotel Crillon. Ronald died on the 17 September 2013.

Ed. I hope he enjoyed the champagne  and staying in arguably the best hotel in Paris!

Piers Anderton. (29)

As described by Helena Merriman in her new book “Tunnel 29”.

“A  tall dashing  Princeton graduate who served in the Navy during the Second World War, then became a journalist.  Charismatic, his dark hair streaked with a white quiff, Piers was admired by all for his rare combination of competence and brilliance.”


John Wolff sent me a cutting from “The Oldie” : A French poet’s description of  the Victorian Englishman “He absorbs an astonishing amount of food and drink – sandwiches, ham, pastry, ale, porter, sherry, port, brandy, claret and champagne”. Could be an OB?

On the reverse was a piece on “Sex mad DH Lawrence”  - John didn’t underline anything there about OB habits but many of you will recall the Trial of Penguin Books 1960 for the publication of “Lady C” and the book doing the round at school. The prosecution was brought by the DPP Sir Theobald Mathew son in law of the Hon Cyril Russell and father of John Mathew QC.

From St John’s ( Tom Scanlon).

Fantastic news for Jacob in Year 7 who has been nominated Player of the Year U11s at Berkshire County Cricket Club. He is making us and his coach Tom, who once-upon-a-time was a First Team captain at Beaumont college, super proud!


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Lord Mayor’s Show.

I, for one raised an eyebrow when the Lord Mayor’s carriage arrived at the Mansion House and the first to descend was the L M’s Chaplain wearing what is best described as the “full Monty” or in his case the “fully Monsy” : it was Monsignor Jim Curry, Chaplain to the BOFS and Hon OB. I think Alfred Gilbey would definitely  have approved.  The BOFS look forward to seeing him “robed” in Lourdes.

PS. The new Lord Mayor is Vincent Keaveny  who succeeds William Russell son of Anthony (51) and another of The Faith


I was amused to hear from Charlie Poels  how he had met up  again with Gerry Ford some years after leaving school. Dining at a recommended restaurant in Colchester, Charlie was somewhat disappointed at the  size of the portion on his plate and sent his compliments to the chef asking, rather like Oliver, for a second helping. The Incensed  Chef reported it to the Owner and Manager and so it was that Gerry appeared at Charlie’s table to see who had the temerity to think that “size mattered”.

Beaten but not Out.

David Martin sent me various pieces of trivia among them the Daily Mail press cutting  22 Feb 2017 in which Nicholas Travers (53) claimed to have been beaten 25 times in one term (not certain whether this was Ferulas or Lounge cane). I have previously printed this report. David writes that he himself “broke this record with 45 strokes and finally becoming Vice-President of the 2 X 9 club in 1960, an achievement which now makes me feel an absolute disgrace to my fellow associates!!! My humble apologies and regrets to all the ‘J’s’ I upset during my five years at the college”

Ed. Who was The President?.


Oliver Hawkins dropped me a line that his cousin Tom Eden (OB/OS) has managed the sale of some of Alwyn Gosselin’s medals.

Sold at auction  at Sothebys by Morton & Eden of St George’s St, London

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An Officer’s Great War ‘Mons’ Trio with M.I.D. awarded to Captain Alwyn Bertram Robert Raphael Gosselin, No. 3. Company, 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards, who was awarded the D.S.O. for gallantry in action on 8 October 1914, but was later killed by an enemy shrapnel while shielding a wounded fellow officer at Cuinchy on 7 February 1915, comprising: 1914 Star with clasp ‘5th Aug. – 22nd Nov 1914’ (Capt: A.B.R.R. Gosselin. G. Gds:); British War and Victory Medals, 1914-1919, the latter with bronze ‘M.I.D.’ spray of oak leaves (Capt. A.B.R.R. Gosselin.); Group loose, old cabinet tone, extremely fine (3) £200-300 .

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Captain Alwyn Bertram Robert Raphael Gosselin (1883-1915) was born in Berlin on 16 February 1883, the son of Sir Martin Gosselin, G.C.V.O., K.C.M.G., C.B., British Minister at Lisbon, and The Hon. Lady Gosselin, of 41, Hill St., Mayfair, London, daughter of the first Lord Gerard. He was educated at Beaumont College, Windsor, and then at the Royal Military College Sandhurst. He received his first commission as Second Lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards in October 1901, being promoted to Lieutenant in January 1905 and then to Captain in August 1910. He fought in France during the earliest stages of the Great War in 1914, and was mentioned in Sir John French’s despatch of 8 October 1914, and awarded the D.S.O., for gallantry in action: ‘Although wounded and in considerable pain, commanded his company for two days in action against the advice of the medical officer, and until he could be relieved by another officer.’ Captain Gosselin continued to fight on the Western Front, and was sadly killed in action by an enemy shell while tending to the wounds of a fellow officer at Cuinchy on 7 February 1915. According to other sources, Gosselin shielded his fellow officer from the shrapnel which took his own life, but in doing so he saved the other officer. The ‘History of the Grenadier Guards in the Great War’ by Ponsonby, recalls that: ‘On the 7th Second Lieutenant H. A. R. Graham was badly wounded, and subsequently had to have his arm amputated. Captain A. B. R. R. Gosselin was bending down trying to dress his wound, when a piece of shell struck him in the neck and killed him instantaneously.’ A Requiem Mass was sung for him at Farm Street Church, Berkeley Square, London, on 18 February 1915. He is buried at Cuinchy Communal Cemetery, France.

Alwyn had two sisters:  Mary married her cousin Frederick 3rd Lord Gerard of Bryn.

Elaine married  A/Cdr Sir Percy Smythe-Osborne. They had two daughters: Marcia married General Sir Basil Eugster late Irish Guards (OB). And Rosemary married The Earl Cathcart ,a Scots Guards Officer ,who rose to the rank of Major General. Their son who succeeded his father served in the same regiment also reached the rank of Major General.



              The story of a 1929 bi-plane with a truly fascinating pedigree

Britain’s best-known wartime Prime Minister piloted a Gipsy Moth aeroplane that will be sold by auctioneers Bonhams in February 2013 at a guide of £120,000. The same craft was also featured in an iconic 1980s film and was also supposedly flown by a member of the Fiennes family who mysteriously disappeared in 1998.

Piloted several times by Winston Churchill and used in the Oscar award winning Out of Africa, this 1929 De Havilland Gipsy Moth bi-plane is 24-foot long and has a 30-foot wingspan. It is capable of a maximum speed of 105mph and “wears” a yellow and black livery. It’s registration is G-AAMY in homage to the pioneering English aviatrix Amy Johnson (1903 – 1941).

In the film, the plane was flown by Robert Redford but though the life of the big game hunter Denys Finch Hatton.

Pilot Roger Fiennes (1944 – 1998) pictured with Alexy Zaitov during the 1989 Glasmoth project expedition to Moscow and back

Another person to have piloted the Gipsy Moth G-AAMY, according to a comment left in the PPRuNe Professional Pilots Rumour Network forum, was a man named Roger Fiennes. Whether this “rumour” is true or not, the cousin of the actor Ralph Fiennes and the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, is another character with a flying history as fascinating as his true family name – which turns out to be “Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes” when presented in full. Of why he did not use this lengthy and historic surname, Fiennes is said to have once commented:

“You try writing that signature on a cheque book.”

Fiennes flew many hours in a variety of planes and one of the best documented was an expedition supported by the Daily Mail from White Waltham Airfield in Berkshire to Sheremetyevo Airport in the Soviet Union in April 1989 and back. He flew one of three Tiger Moth bi-planes with a Russian navigator named Alexy Zaitov. The journey took three weeks to complete, involved 33 perilous stops and covered 5,000 miles.

On 19th April 1998, Fiennes was piloting a 1941 DH82A Tiger Moth, G-BALX, from Dieppe to Headcorn Aerodrome in Kent but he failed to reach his destination. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report into the disappearance concluded:

“Although the pilot contacted Paris Information by radio, in the absence of a specific request, the flight plan was not activated. Lashenden was therefore unaware of the flight’s departure and ETA. When the aircraft was reported missing overdue action, and the subsequent Search and Rescue operation, which was activated on the morning of 21 April 1998. Since then there has been no sign of the aircraft or pilot.”

Articles at the time and forums since are sparse in detail but several forum posters and articles suggest that Mr Fiennes had “mounting debts and a string of business collapses.” Whilst some go as far as to suggest a “Lord Lucan” style disappearance and make references to “paddling canoes” and “check[ing] the Panamanian register,” others remember a “nice guy, sadly missed.” Whatever really happened that fateful day, though, will probably never be solved.

Roger left Beaumont in 1960 to supposedly study law. But made money by restoring historic buildings.   He lived at Great Pagehurst farm, Marden in Kent, and had a common-law wife, Rachel, and a son, William, by his divorced wife, Denise.

 His elder brother Gerard (59) is remembered by his many friends in the BU and introduced “Red Bull” to this country.


As I mentioned in the last REVIEW, de Vere discovered various items in the White House during renovations. One such find was in the name of C Berington.

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                         A certificate for passing a Greek Examination.

Major Charles Michael Berington.

Younger son of Charles Michael Berington  Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant of the County, of Little Malvern Court, Worcestershire, the family seat of the Berington Family for four Centuries.

1876 May 16 Born at Little Malvern, Upton on Severn

1884 Sent to Beaumont with his elder brother William leaving in 1893.

1900 May 1. 5th Battalion, the Worcestershire Regiment, The undermentioned Gentlemen to be Second Lieutenants :— Charles Michael Berington.

1900 Aug 29. The undermentioned Officers are seconded for special service on the West Coast of Africa: — 5th Battalion, the Worcestershire Regiment, Second Lieutenant C. M. Berington. His record says Ashanti 1900-1901.

1900 Oct 2. 5th Worcs. 2nd Lt C M Berington to be Lt  seconded Yorkshire Light Infantry service in South Africa.

1907 Married Ethel Balfe (her two Uncles Edward and John Martyn of Tilyra were at Beaumont (1870-77).

1908 Mar 8. 5th Worcs. Lt C M Berington resigns his commission "to go abroad"

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 Franconia – Cunard Line ( Later torpedoed by U-Boat in the Mediterranean 1916)

1915 Jan 18. Arrives in UK from Halifax, Canada with his wife Ethel on SS Franconia. Rejoins his Regiment.

1915 May 27, Landed in France.

1915 Aug 14 Invalided back to UK with Shell Shock

1916 Oct 6. Worc.—Capt. C. M. Berington to be temp. Major  with Reserve  Bn training recruits for France.

1919 Aug 1. 6th Worc.—Capt, C. M. Berington relinquishes the temp, rank of Maj.

1919 Aug 15 Recovering from Gonorrhoea !

1920 Aug 6. 6th Worc.— Capt. C. M. Berington resigns his commission and is granted the rank of Major.

1920 Nov 24. Joined ADRIC with service no 1096. Posted  to K Coy in Cork (Ethel Berington’s Uncle Edward Martyn (76) was the first President of Sinn Fein)

The Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary (ADRIC), generally known as the Auxiliaries or Auxies, was a paramilitary unit of The Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) during the Irish War of Independence. It was made up of former British Army officers, most of whom came from Britain and had fought in WW1  Almost 2,300 served in the unit during the conflict. Its role was to conduct Counter – insurgency  operations against the the IRA, acting mainly as a mobile striking and raiding force. It operated semi-independently of the RIC and was mainly deployed to southern and western regions where fighting was heaviest.

The Auxiliaries became infamous for reprisal  attacks on civilians and civilian property in revenge for IRA actions, including extrajudicial and arson; most notably the burning of Cork in December 1920. It was during this episode that did huge damage to both business and residential property that the Dillon’s Cross ambush took place.

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1920 Dec 11. On Saturday, 11th., December, 1920 a six-man IRA squad  ambushed a convoy from K Company of the Auxiliary Division at Dillon’s Cross, not far from Victoria Barracks in Cork City. One Auxiliary and twelve were wounded. The IRA squad suffered no casualties.

Most military convoys to or from the Victoria Barracks went past Dillon’s Cross. The IRA men hid behind a low stone wall only a few hundred metres from the barracks. The field behind the wall gave them a good line of retreat. Five men took up position behind the stone wall. One was at Harrington Square, on the opposite side of the road. Kenny wearing an overcoat, scarf and cap to give the impression that he was an off-duty British soldier.

The ambush party  were able to throw grenades into the lorries. The bombs exploded, fired a volley of revolver shots before escaping. Both lorries suffered casualties, with roughly half the men in each wounded - hardly surprising with a grenade landing in both lorries.

Berington was among the wounded and later sought compensation and received £2500 for his wounds. Admitted Military Hospital Cork

1921 Jul 18 to 14 Oct 1921 on Medical Leave

1921 Oct 20. Left ADRIC - discharged medically unfit from wounds at Dillons Cross.

1939 He is Retired & of Private Means. Living with wife at Shepton Mallet,Somerset

1946 Jul 13 . Died Bath Somerset.

1951 Feb 7. Ethel Berington, wife of late Major Charles Berington, died Shepton Mallet, Somerset.

ED: well, Berington is certainly the only recorded OB to have suffered from “The Clap” and a member of the notorious Black  & Tans.


As a grandparent one often finds oneself sitting through films  with grandchildren.  I recently watched the 1989 Roald Dahl’s “Danny: the champion of the world”. For the uninitiated it is the story of the son of a widowed poacher who saves the local estate from a grasping land developer. It starred Jeremy Irons with a guest appearance by his father-in-law Cyril Cusack. Interestingly the poaching technique for the pheasants are the same as used 60 years  previously and explained by Fr Francis Fleming  (94) in “Cross between the Antlers”.

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Cyril was the father of Paul (66): the only member of the family who didn’t go on the stage  - after Beaumont he went on to Trinity Dublin before becoming a Television producer with RTE.

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Back to the film and the setting is Stonor Park the home of Lord Camoys and where  he and his younger brother Robert (Bobby) passed their youth.

Mention of Jeremy Irons and the role that brought him to prominence was that of Charles Ryder in Evelyn Waugh’s “Brideshead Revisted” in 1981.

Based on the book (1946) it is  considered by many to be the British gay novel, with its early  setting in Oxford during the 1920s, it is Waugh’s personal reflection on the aristocratic gay scene of the era of which he was apart.  A scene was more alluded to rather than explicitly described and what these aesthetes got up to went far beyond what is mentioned in Brideshead

 What is not mentioned  by name is The Hypocrites Club to which many of these young men belonged. Beyond drinking and putting on gender-defying fancy dress, the club also produced a film. The Scarlet Woman (1924) was, as with Brideshead, mostly concerned with the connection between homosexuality and Catholicism, and demonstrates the group’s lighthearted attitude to the arts at this time. The film was not released publicly, unsurprising given its implication that the Dean of Balliol  Francis “Sligger” Urquhart  (86) was trying to convert the then Prince of Wales (the future Edward VIII) both to Catholicism and so the scandal rags implied- homosexuality.

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                                                   Sligger  Urquhart

The Hypocrites also had a wider, more public presence, with the publication of The Oxford Broom magazine. However, their behaviour was to result in a hostile environment both from other students and College authorities.  It was Francis “Sligger” Urquhart, who ended up, shutting down the Hypocrites’ Club in 1925 after witnessing several of his students dressing  as women and nuns  and wearing vermilion lipstick. Waugh, probably because of his lifestyle, felt excluded from the “Sligger” set of bright young things  that included Harold Macmillan, Cyril Connolly and Quentin Hogg and chose to lampoon Urquhart’s  character in Mr Samgrass the obnoxious professor and parvenu.

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                        Andrews.              Sturridge                          Irons                                       

The TV series was directed by the young Charles Sturridge (67) who was one of those that had to move to Stonyhurst. He gained international recognition for his work on the eleven-part  adaptation  which won over 17 awards including two Golden Globes and six British Academy awards. It was while on working on the series that he met his wife Phoebe Nichols who played the role of Cordelia.

GIRL GUIDES International Camp 1957.

While World-wide Scouting were holding their Jamboree at Sutton Coldfield, the Girl Guides were having their own International Camp, some 5,000 strong, in Windsor Park. Fr Rector had been asked if Beaumont could look after the Catholic religious aspect of this camp, and the request  was duly handed on to the Scouts. In order to meet this request, we decided to hold our own camp in the Beaumont grounds so as to be conveniently at hand.

We were delighted to have with us again Fr Peter Kelly (O.B.) who had been ordained at.   Beaumont for the White Fathers a few weeks earlier. He and Fr Sass and Fr Ezechiel took it in turns, two at a time, to say daily Mass for the Guides, with two of the Scouts serving each.

On the Sunday we provided Altar Staff and the Choir for a Pontifical High Mass in the Park. Our faithful sacristan, Mr Markiel (who incidentally was a Scoutmaster in Poland before the War), fitted up the marquee to everyone’s  admiration. It almost seemed as though a complete altar and sanctuary had been transported from some cathedral. The Altar Staff, under the able direction of Fr Close, assisted by Anthony Hinds, carried out their duties.  admirably, especially in view of the very little practice they had had. The Scout Choir sang.   ‘the Proper very creditably to a simple four- part harmony, and the whole congregation- some 900 strong-sang the Missa de Angelis.   Bishop Craven was the preacher, and the. Mass was celebrated by our own Archbishop King, Bishop of Portsmouth. His Grace was kind enough to send the Scouts his thanks and congratulations after the ceremony.


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Before the High Mass, the Queen had entered the Guides’ Camp for her official visit. Two Bishops and Fr Bushey (Catholic Guides’ National Chaplain) were presented to Her Majesty, as was the G.S.M. (Fr Fizz)  through the kindness of the Guide authorities who took the Queen  to the Catholic Marquee to show their appreciation of the Beaumont Scouts’ efforts on their behalf.

Other duties undertaken by our Scouts included shepherding a party of 500 Scout visitors who had come from the Jamboree to visit the Guides, acting as gate-keepers, etc on the ‘Open Day’ and as marshals at the Grand Finale.

The Guides were not slow in expressing their gratitude, not only on the spot, but in letters sent to the G.S.M. by, among others, the Chief Commissioner and the Chairman and Secretary of the Catholic Guide Advisory Council. It is pleasant to be able to quote such remarks as: ‘It is impossible adequately to express our gratitude, and all can say is that I don’t know what we should have done without the help and support given us by Beaumont; or again, ‘I am most grateful, and one cannot speak too highly of your boys’.

It is only fair to add that the boys, for their part, did not find all these activities to be mere chores! The whole atmosphere was so friendly as to make co-operation a pleasure. One can recall, too, the flattering demands for auto-graphs (especially in one direction!) and the apparently magnetic properties of a certain native of Switzerland. ( Ed: must have been Raffaele Altwegg).

Let it not be thought, however, that our own camp consisted merely in a series of migrations to that of the Guides; nor, we must hasten to add, did we provoke Emmwood’s admirable cartoon in the ‘Daily Mail’! There was a good deal of activity all the time in our own camp, and these various wanderings, however pleasurable, were rather in the nature of distractions.

The small but select body of Seniors were worth their weight in gold. Not only did they set a very high standard of camping themselves but they made an immense contribution to the life of the whole camp by their consistently unselfish help in all sorts of directions. ‘Music while you work’ seemed to  be their motto, and a superficial observer might perhaps have been pardoned in mistaking them for a glee-club on holiday;   indeed, they even composed-and sang-a song about a distinguished member of the camp.


Lawrence Razavi, MBBS

His family was originally from Iran and he came  to Beaumont in 1948 and left as Captain of the School in 1954.

He went on to study medicine at Guys before taking up a Research Fellowship at the Harvard University Medical School.  He settled in the USA. The only reference about his life and work that I have come across is this:-

“Massachusetts prisons apparently have not started using psychosurgery yet, but the danger is real. From 1966 until 1973, Dr. Lawrence Razavi of Massachusetts General Hospital did research on prisoners at Bridgewater in an attempt to prove that violent crimes and sex crimes are linked to brain damage caused by inherited genetic defects. He theorized that violence-prone people could be spotted at an early age by studying fingerprint patterns (which he also thought were linked to genetic damage). Razavi received a $79,000 Federal grant for this work in 1971, but he did not need to pay prisoners to take part because prison officials forced them to be examined. Similar studies were done at Framingham, Concord and Bridgewater by other doctors.” (Ed: far be it for me to comment but didn’t a Dr Mengle…)

Peter Hammill: Prog Rock's Unsung Hero

NPR Music article

Musician Peter Hammill isn't a household name, and his music isn't necessarily for the household. As a founding member of the British progressive rock scene in the early '70s, Hammill reached beyond the pretension of prog rock and into the fury of punk.

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In 1973, progressive rock's epic sound was king. Sitting on the throne were Genesis, Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. But there were a lot of bands slaving in the fields — like Van der Graaf Generator, whose leader and singer, Hammill, is not a big fan of the label "prog rock."

"It began to seem that in order to be in a successful group, you had to have 23 banks of keyboards and a zillion lights and all that sort of thing," Hammill says.

Virtuoso Rockers

Progressive rock replaced rock 'n' roll's blues-based approach with classical virtuosity. But according to Jason Pettigrew, editor-in-chief of Alternative Press, that left many people scratching their heads.

"It got to the point where it seemed that rock music, in a lot of aspects, was more about 'look at how many notes I can play,' " Pettigrew says. "It's not writing; it's typing. It's just dexterity. Prog rock was just too smart for its own audience."

Still, bands such as Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer got famous while Van der Graaf Generator managed a niche audience at best. Many argue it was the lesser-known group that really understood the genre.

"Somehow, listening to Jon Anderson of Yes talk about the marvels of the world just didn't really cut it," Pettigrew says. "And I think Van der Graaf were the ones that got it right, because they understood that you can do tension with a big old roar or with a quiet whisper."

Johnny Rotten's Unexpected Praise

Music geeks made up a large portion of the progressive rock audience, but Van der Graaf Generator was gathering attention from an unexpected place. In 1977, punk pioneer Johnny Rotten of the  Sex Pistols played guest DJ on a British radio show. He called Hammill a true original, saying, "If you listen to him, I'm sure David Bowie  copied a lot." Pettigrew says the interview became legendary.

"[Rotten] played two tracks from Hammill's Nadir's Big Chance record. That record was very much an influence on him," Pettigrew says. "And when you consider what [Rotten] did with Public Image Ltd., that whole type of reductionist thinking, I think a lot of that has to do with Van der Graaf and Peter Hammill."

Hammill's influence on Rotten is intriguing, because punk was the antithesis of prog rock. It was about immediacy and not caring whether you could play your instrument well. Yet Hammill insists it shouldn't be a surprise that what was assumed to be a brainy overload of pretension actually had a broader appeal.

"Part of the drive was just for it to be visceral, immediate, active," Hammill says. "And actually, I think we picked up quite a lot of audience at that time who wouldn't have remotely dreamed of going to see ELP or Yes."

Still Going Strong

Hammill has managed to hold on to his fans. He's released more than 30 solo albums and still fronts Van der Graaf Generator. Sure, he says his music can be complex, with dramatic shifts in tempo and oblique lyrics, but it still gives the boys down on the docks something to hang on to. Hammill knows he's not Peter Gabriel and he says he's fine with it.

"Not everything I've done has been touched with absolute fairy dust. It's not easy listening, and it's not meant to be. I'm not Neil Diamond," Hammill says.

Hammill understands that his experimentation will keep him off the charts, but it still keeps him busy. 

Peter Hammill announces first ever covers album

Jerry Ewing of Louder Sound  February 16, 2021

VdGG singer Peter Hammill will release In Translation later this year


Peter Hammill

(Image credit: James Sharrock)

Van der Graf Generator singer  Peter Hammill has announced he will release his very first covers album later this year. In Translation features songs from a variety of musical worlds including classical, American Songbook, Italian pop, and Tango.

In all but three cases, Hammill has also translated the lyrics into English. These songs have remarkable stories behind them. The album has, Hammill, explains, been recorded during the Covid lockdown and partly inspired by Brexit.

“This collection seems to fit together as a group, not least because most of these songs are to do with measures of dislocation, of loss, of some kind of imagined future which didn’t arrive," explains Hammill.

“Only three of the songs here were originally in English; I’ve translated the rest, having had a some experience of song translation over the years. I didn’t feel that I could do proper justice to the songs if I sang them in the original languages. My approach has always been to make cultural rather than strictly linguistic translations, so that the spirit of the song rather than its precise narrative is rendered.

"I was unfamiliar with several of these songs before I began this project. One discovery led on to another in a kind of paper trail. It’s worth noting that many of the back stories to the songs are interesting and some of the writers and singers had a spectacularly dramatic time of things. I doff my hat to these sometimes complicated lives. I hope I’ve addressed the material, the writers, and the original performers, with due and proper respect. Inevitably though there’s spin here, mine all mine.

“These recordings were made, of course, in the time of Covid and lockdown. But also in the knowledge that Brexit – in all its horror – was fast approaching. So these performances of, for the most part, European songs were my last as a European singer, with all the rights and privileges that has brought me for so many years.”

In Translation will be available on CD, white vinyl and as a digital album. Release date is currently TBC.

The School Reorganisation  (circa 1902)

“A Catholic Public School in the making: Beaumont College during the Rectorate of the Reverend Joseph M. Bampton, S.J. (1901–1908). His implementation of the “Captain” system of discipline.”

By Bernardo Caparrini ( University of Cadiz).


This article traces the rectorate of Fr. Joseph M. Bampton, S.J. at St. Stanislaus' College (or “Beaumont College”), a Jesuit boarding school for boys opened in 1861 near Windsor (Berkshire, England). Although Bampton did not succeed to a flourishing school (the number of students was then extremely small), his term of office (1901–1908) was so productive that Beaumont received recognition as a public school with the admission of its Rector to the Headmasters' Conference (HMC) in 1906. Several factors which made this recognition possible, and which Beaumont shared with its Protestant counterparts (Eton was only a few miles upstream on the other side of the Thames), are analysed: character formation, athleticism, scholarship, Oxford and Cambridge links, leadership, gentry aspirations, intimacy with aristocracy and royalty, and military spirit.

Prominent among them (and of special relevance in this study), is Bampton's introduction of the “Captain” system of discipline, or government of boys by boys, as opposed to the ageā€long Jesuit system of strict and “ceaseless” boy supervision by masters of discipline or prefects. The latter was the method pursued at Stonyhurst (Lancashire), the “doyen” of the Jesuit colleges in England, and also at the sister educational establishments of France and Spain. The practice of surveillance in French and Spanish colleges run by the Society of Jesus also receives its due share of attention.

At once, Bampton's method invites comparison with the reforms introduced by Thomas Arnold (1795–1842) at Rugby in the 1830s. Like Arnold, Fr. Bampton had to face opposition from his community, but his strong will and determination enabled him to pass on to his successor a school restored to its former prosperity. By the 1920s, the “Captain” system of discipline had become a Beaumont tradition which was copied even by Stonyhurst, for so long the sanctuary of Jesuit orthodoxy. For the explanation of Bampton's scheme, “revolutionary” in a Jesuit college, both unpublished material written in the Rector's own hand and the expository articles from his pen which appeared in The Beaumont Review, the school magazine, have been drawn upon.

Norther Ireland retrospective

Tom Scanlon wrote and asked about my thoughts on the “Troubles”.

I replied:

You asked about Northern Ireland. I first went there with my squadron in 1972 -3.  Which was one of the worst years for casualties. Funnily enough I was just about to get engaged in the Spring and went to see my Colonel to ask permission - he said NO and when I asked why, he said you are going to NI and I don't want you to leave a young widow behind! I thought that was re-assuring!  We mothballed our tanks in Tidworth and went out with Ferret scout cars to provide mobile patrols in Belfast and the surrounding countryside. From what I remember one was not unduly apprehensive, we just had a job to do. In the city, we ran a system we called prostitution - we would motor down a street where we thought it would provoke someone taking a shot at us, meanwhile our infantry support went down the parallel side street so that they could come in the rear of a property at a moment’s notice. In the country  we provided mobile cordons and road blocks depending upon tip offs  but our main concern were roadside explosives laid in the culverts. We were lucky with only light casualties. On another tour I lost my old Troop sergeant who was on my Guard of Honour to a roadside bomb: that was bitter. My own view of the situation was that it was an own goal brought about by the unjust laws and restrictions placed on the Catholics  by the Unionists that was the best recruiter for the IRA. We were piggy in the middle having totally lost the goodwill of the minority after the errors made by 1 Para both in Ballymurphy and again on Bloody Sunday.  We found ourselves restricted to any form of offensive action unless fired upon first or bombed.  The worst form of military situation - a civil war with terrorists on both sides and ourselves in-between them.  We were expected to clear up the mess which was not going to happen until the politicians faced reality - decades of entrenched views could not be reconciled overnight.

Just a few of my  own personal thoughts. Other OBs may have a different perspective and fared far worse.

TATLER 2020 on St John’s.


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Another SAILOR.

The late Charles Tyndall.

Charles passed away peacefully in Victoria, BC  in 2016

Charles was born in Ahmednagar of Irish parents stationed in India with the British Army. He grew up in England and at Beaumont (31 – 39)  was in both the Rugby XV and the Cricket XI. He graduated from  Cambridge before serving as a Captain in the Royal Engineers in Holland and Germany during WW II. The “Peripatetic Pakistani” later used a little know demobilization statute to circumnavigate the world via Palestine, Iraq, Singapore, Hawaii, San Francisco, and New York.

After the war, while distributing diesel power plants throughout Mexico and the Caribbean, he met the love of his life, Jessie Danforth Miller. They were married in Mexico City on November 10, 1952. Charles and Jessie searched the world for a place to settle down and raise a family. In 1956, they bought an orchard and moved to Naramata, BC.

Charles bought the first of many sailboats in 1957, which began a lifelong love of sailing. Charles was a world-class competitive sailor, a founding member of SOSA, Commodore of the Penticton Yacht Club, and Commodore of the North American Flying Dutchmen Association. Later in life, Charles cruised most of the Inside Passage. Charles was also an avid tennis player.  As doubles partners, Charles and Jessie won the Gold Medal at the BC Senior Games in 1986.

Charles had a strong belief in community service and the need for quality education. He served eight years as Chairman of the Penticton School Board and later was a founding member of Glenfir School.

The last eight months of Charles’s life were spent at Sunrise Senior Living in Victoria, BC. Charles had a full and happy life.

                                      Fr Joseph Dooley

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Born 1920

Died 2011

‘]oe’, as he was always known, at least behind his back (rare were the colleagues who so addressed him to his face, although it seems that his nephews and nieces did),was born in 1920.  He had two sisters and two brothers all older than he. His was an entirely Catholic family. For his secondary education he went, as did his brothers, to the Jesuit College at Stamford Hill in north London. He became aware of a vocation to the Society of Jesus, just as his brother Matthew had done some years before. He became a novice in 1938 when the storm clouds were already gathering over Western Europe. The novitiate was in Roehampton, but by the time he   finished his two years as a novice, war had been declared and the novices had been evacuated to St Beuno’s. There Joe took his first vows along with his peers and then they all moved to Scotland, to the retreat house at Bothwell outside Glasgow for a year of resumed secular studies – Latin, Greek, French and so on.

Michael O’Halloran remarked in his homily how ‘”Joe”, as we Jesuits came to know him in later years, was in a class of his own when it came to not having a good word to say for a place or a situation. Perhaps that gift for unconditional dismissal was honed and sharpened by that year in Craighead, but certain it is that he loathed and detested those twelve months. Release eventually came, however with a move to Heythrop in Oxfordshire, with philosophy as the principal subject of study. Joe, like so many in that large community, was unstinting in his praise of the Jesuit Brothers who fed them well in spite of the food rationing which was the national order of the day. Joe by all accounts was a lively and active member of his community of young Jesuits – he had a good mind, relished the arts, sang in the choir, took part in dramatics, played a good game of. Tennis and so on, all of  which made him well placed for his next assignment, teaching as a young master at Stonyhurst.

From 1946-1949 he made his mark there as a competent and popular young Jesuit and then came Oxford. He read History, which was to become his main teaching subject, although not a few of his former pupils speak more gratefully of his religious classes. As a history graduate, he went back to Stonyhurst for a year and then to Heythrop for theology. He was ordained priest in 1952 and two years later completed his Jesuit formation in North Wales where he had taken his first vows fifteen years before. Now, that last year of formation for Jesuits is meant, as it were, to put a final stamp on the emerging priest or Brother made ready now for any assignment, any challenge in the service of. God and his Church. And what assignment and challenge now awaited Joe? Once again it was Glasgow.  A year of that was enough to let all concerned know that something more congenial had to be found and so Joe was moved to his old school at Stamford Hill. Once again a year was quite enough and so the next stop was Beaumont College near Windsor. There by all accounts, including his own, Joe was content. He immersed himself in the life of the school and its pupils, edited the magazine for some years and gave himself fully to the work assigned to him. That was his life as a Jesuit priest and school master for the next nine years. But in 1966 it was decided that Beaumont must close. This is neither the time nor the place to examine the reasons given for that decision, but obviously it caused anger and distress to parents and pupils and Old Boys. Another Jesuit priest who was there at Beaumont with Joe at the time told me that one of the most hurtfull things for him was that none of the vociferous critics of the closure seemed to imagine for a moment that it wounded and greatly distressed the Jesuits working there. Quite possibly the whole matter ‘was a wound that Joe had to bear for the rest of his days. 1 hope that doesn’t sound too dramatic a thing to say.

I was in the same community as Joe for more than twenty years in total at Stonyhurst and Farm Street and it was distressing to observe in him a kind of sourness and disappointment which was so much at odds with what I’d heard of him in his earlier days. I don’t say this in criticism and I don’t believe that it affected his attention to the needs of his pupils; certainly, l have no wish to over-emphasise something about which I could be wrong. At times obviously, he showed happiness and good humour and there was a period when he stood in need of help from his brethren, something he accepted with evident gratitude.   Too often things were not as they used to be or indeed as they ought to be now. At such time we heard the familiar tirade about was “hopeless” or “ridiculous”.

But a great characteristic of Joe at Stonyhurst was his kindness to boys who found life harder than their friends did. He was always there to help lame dogs over a stile. I found at St George’s in Harare, where he spent only a year (1968), that he was remembered as giving time and attention to the few black African boys in the.    school at a time when the independent schools of the country were just beginning to find ways of making their intake multi-racial, although that was flying in the face of declared Government policy. To be a friend to the under-dog in ways like that must rank high among the virtues of a Christian and Jesuit life.

Nick King has collected a number of tributes to Joe from former pupils at Beaumont and Stonyhurst.  First ,some remarks of his nephew, Paul Ives, who would visit him there. ‘He was always a cheerful engaging person, always interested in what we children were doing and full of ideas and suggestions, which might have been to do with games, arts, crafts, or, later on, careers. When we went to Beaumont, we used to be rowed down the Thames by him and given a short history lesson at Runnymede l

Three of his Beaumont pupils.  Have recorded memories not only of his time at the college but of subsequent meetings with him. Tim Brindley writes “As an Old Boy of Beaumont, and a parent of three boys who attended Stonvhurst, I would like to say how Fr. Dooley contributed greatly to my very happy memories of Beaumont .He was exceptionally fair, kind and understanding, but, as you would expect from a Jesuit, no “easy push over’! Our boys all had a similar experience with him at Stonyhurst. Fr. Dooley officiated at our daughter’s wedding at Farm Street. 1t was a mixed marriage which he handled with superb sensitivity and understanding. He was truly revered by generations of Beaumont and Stonyhurst boys. He will be so missed.’

Paul Reynier writes, ‘Though I was not a good student of history, all those dates to remember, Father Dooley was so enthusiastic in his teaching that he made the events seem real. His stories of Los Conquistadores converting the South Americans were full of adventure. I remember he was always standing outside the “O” and “A” level exam hall, the ambulacrum at Beaumont, to calm and encourage us as we went into the history exam and was there to console us at the end, always with a confident and cheerful re-assureance that we had done our best. His writing was meticulous and his memory prodigious. He was always so calm. When asked a question he broke into a lovely smile, drew breath through his teeth as he paused before giving his considered answer. When asked how he was, after a Beaumont Remembrance Sunday Mass, he answered, ”Physically fine but spiritually a weck l”’

Guy Bailey describes Joe as a ‘great champion of Beaumont and the BU … He was not happy at being an old man, he was a young man in an old man*s body, nevertheless he was cheerful to the end. He died somewhat unexpectedly, if one can die unexpectedly at 91, from pneumonia. He played a big part in the Lives of many OBs.  He had an open mind, understood modern difficulties and was much loved.’

Nick King writes on his own account, ‘When Joe arrived at Stonyhurst from Beaumont, my brothers were still in the school, and he made a considerable and immediate impact; he was of course immediately christened “Tom”, after a Western song of that era (“Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley…”). He was perhaps most gifted with the younger boys, and was atways willing to help them, with walks and swims and games of golf, He formed long-lasting relationships with them, and it was noticeable how often they sought him out when they came back to the College in later life Many of them were extremely distressed to learn of his death; many had retained contact down the years, would visit him at Farm St or Boscombe, and ask for him to be at their weddings.  He was a music lover, his taste running mainly to opera; indeed, he would often hum a tune as he walked through the College, and it was widely held that one could detect his mood from the tune that he was singing. Some tunes meant that it would be wiser to avoid him for a while. It has to be said that there was detectable a deep anger or sadness in him and certainly the closure of Beaumont, where he taught for many happy years left its mark on him. He was not always the easiest of colleagues, and often made evident his disapproval of a number of one’s activities. As for his teaching, Donal Godfrey SJ remembers how with one hand Joe would be writing his notes on the board while with the other he was rubbing them out, so that it was never possible to take them down. For a few years Stonyhurst had an annual Marathon, and with characteristic generosity he agreed to staff  one of the marker posts  that a radio came but with perhaps equally characteristic impatience he would not bother with the technological instructions that the master in charge of such devices offered him. His sermons were always rather different, and, showing an unorthodox streak that one would not always have foreseen, he used to preach before the readings presumably on the grounds that  t was the only way of getting the boys to listen to the gospel.’

Michael Bossy in his  recollections of :Joe Dooley were always seemed that he  seemed to be looking back to a Golden Age. For Joe that age of  gold  included the provincialate of Fr Martin D’Arcy, his time as a scholastic in the 1940’s, and, at least in reminiscence, of his years at Beaumont in the 1950’s and 1960’s. .It was a time when all our institutions were firmly in the control of fellow Jesuits. It certainly did not include most of the situations in which Joe found himself in the later years of his life. The last words I heard him utter, when I visited Boscombe for a day or two, were, “This place: D for Disaster!”.

I lived for fourteen years in a room next door to Joe in Shirk at Stonyhurst. Now and again I heard snatches of opera, either on the radio or hummed by Joe, and quite often cheery voices of the boys, especially of those who were finding the more astringent qualities of the Ribble Valley a poor substitute for the comforts of the Home Counties. Joe was a solidly reliable history teacher, not keen on any revisionist ideas about Catholics and the Reformation; he was a most faithful editor of. The school magazine, both at Beaumont and at Stonyhurst.

He could be rather acerbic; his homilies to the boys at Stonyhurst often included references to things done by the school authorities of which he disapproved. But he could enjoy himself, and be very good company. Can I be imagining an occasion of a party at Stonyhurst in the course of which Joe was carried in dressed as a Renaissance Pope?

Years of retirement at Farm Street were pretty contented ones, I think, and he was less than pleased when a Provincial tried to persuade him to move on in an attempt to smarten up our apostolate there. “Joseph Dooley, you are the weakest link”, was how Joe characterised his meeting with the Provincial.

Joe was a particularly keen example of those Jesuits who find many of those outside the Society more appealing than members of their community. He loved and was loved by many families from Beaumont and from St John’s and was at his happiest in Lourdes, where he went every year with the HCPT group from Beaumont. He will be wonderfully at home in Jerusalem the Golden, which will have touches of the Grotto at Lourdes, and of a glorified White House in Old Windsor.’

He left Stonyhurst in 1991. He was then posted to Farm Street. In 2004 he moved to Boscombe. Tim Brindley was one of his last visitors at the Corpus Christi Community. ‘We visited him only two weeks before he died, and were greatly heartened to find him in excellent spirits. We are happy to have this final memory of him. Joe Dooley had of course the great sadness of having accusations made against him, though they never came to trial. Those who knew him best were dismissive of such allegations  but they left their mark over the last years of his life. He died at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

May he rest in peace.

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Ed: I always remember Fr Joe as a lover of the social occasion – here at my daughter’s wedding and greeting my wife Annie at Farm Street.

Levi’s Notes on his book: Beaumont.

May I add three notes to my slim volume Beaumont. The first in pursuance of a point made in the Spectator review, the remarkable enthusiasm of both boys and masters for explosions.

The second point is that the philosophers were called ‘the fiats’ because they lived in the upper storey of the White House (then called simply Beaumont, as opposed to St Joseph’s), but this was an allusive pun, which is explained from a contemporary slang dictionary in the footnotes of  Byron’s  Don Juan: at that time a relatively recent work. ‘To queer a flat’: to puzzle or confound  a gull, or a silly fellow.’

The third and most interesting note is to add to the Pompeian pedigree of the chapel ceiling an Italian tradition, of which Leopardi’s Library in  the Palazzo Leopardi is an example. This was illustrated in Origo’s ‘Leopardi’ example. Further, the style already existed in England, for example, in two rooms at Rousham decorated by Kent  and apparently before the first Pompeian excavations. This style must have been based on Roman wall-paintings of a sort much later categorized as the second Pompeian style. In this connection I ought also to have mentioned the chapel of Worcester College, Oxford, which is Beaumont’s twin.

 60 Years ago: THE REVIEW WINTER 1961

Ex Cathedra

Fr E. J. Warner, S.J., has joined the Teaching Staff. As an Army Chaplain during the War he served in the Norwegian expedition, and subsequently spent more than six years at the War Office as Assistant to the Principle Chaplain. For his services he was awarded the M.B.E. He has had much experience in Jesuit Colleges in India and South Africa, as well as in England. He comes to us  from Liverpool where he spent more than ten years in St Francis Xavier’s College: for more than eight years he was  their Headmaster.

Fr Hanshell has left us. He has been appointed Master of Campion Hall, Oxford and  our best wishes go with him as he begins to shoulder his new responsibilities. Nevertheless, his departure is a sad loss to Beaumont. For  ten years he has given  his best as an exhilarating  master of English with a list of academic successes to his credit. As the Editor of the Review which he did much to improve both in style and format, as the energetic promoter of the Music Society. The stylish producer of pantomimes: he will be much missed. He was, more-over, the inspired President of the Quodlibetarians, the creator of Vril and the enthusiastic.  Patron of both College Rowing and Boxing.

The Music Society attended a performance of ‘Aida’ at Covent Garden.

Group I went to an Oxford Playhouse pro-duction of the complete ‘Oresteia’ trilogy at the Old Vic Theatre.

Rhetoric guests during the Christmas tern\Rhetoric guests during the term : Chtistopher Hollis, Mr Paul Johnson, Miss Muriel Bowen and Mr Patrick O’Donovan.

An Exhibition of Art was assembled in the Lower Gallery at the end of the term. It was very creditably inspired by Oliver Hawkins and it is to be hoped that younger art enthusiasts will follow his example and make this an annual event.

At the beginning of January, a party of fifteen boys went with Fr Dooley as last year for a skiing holiday in the Austrian Tyrol. This year they went to Telfes, near Innsbruck.

Centenary Celebrations 9th and 10th October, 1961

THIS term saw the actual Centenary Day. On the Vigil, there was a Solemn Mass of Requiem for Old Boys, sung by the Rector at Farm Street Church. The whole school as well as many former members and parents attended. Fr Munster, O.B., for many years Superior of the London Oratory, preached a short but moving sermon, The austere beauty of the Plainsong setting, sung by the combined trebles of the Beaumont and St John’s choirs, was impressively answered by the whole congregation. Impressive also was the number of Old Boys, many straight from work, who went to Communion.

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Afterwards, there was a Reception at the Criterion. A great crowd had gathered, including several whose connection with the College whether as boys or staff dated back to well before the Golden Jubilee, The presence of the whole of Beaumont and St John’s meant that the solid refreshments disappeared at an alarming rate, while that of so many Old Boys was more than the triple bars could cope with.

On the Centenary Day itself, there was Pontifical high mass in t6he chapel , celebrated by.  Archbishop King of Portsmouth, an old friend and frequent visitor for many years now. If few O.B.s could assist at this, they turned up in force - over 200-for the B.U. Dinner. This was held for the first time at Beaumont itself, and to mark the occasion, Community, Lay staff and boys were all invited. The Ambuiacrum was its gala, not its usual and the lower line refectory a well- appointed bar. Suitably fortified, the B.U. trooped out to the Lawns to join the boys assembled at the War Memorial. Here, a minute’s Silence was observed in m emory of all O.B.s who died in the World Wars.

At Dinner, every vintage of Old Boy was represented, and Leo Burgess had done the seating supremely well, for no-one found him-self in the wrong bin. The Rector was in the Chair, and, after replying to the toast of Beaumont, proposed by Leo Burgess went on to propose that of the Beaumont Union.  Mr Justice Russell replied. Charles Russell then made a presentation of an antique snuff box to Leo Burgess, subscribed bv the B.U. in recognition of twenty-five years devoted service as secretary -an office  vhich has so far seen only three holders, a remarkable tradition. Leo was so touched that he could only stammer out his thanks. Mr Clayton, as so often before, then intoned  the Carmen:it is a wonder the singing did not bring the glass roof crashing down about our ears.

To round off the whole proceedings, there was a spectacular display of fireworks on the playground. Some splendid set pieces - Her Majesty the Queen, so recently a visitor, and The College Crest, and in between, unbelievable cascades of fire, pools of coloured light, space-worthy rockets and bangs.  Spectators of all ages were enthralled; half repressed gasps of amazement here and there with younger cries of delight around.

It all added up to a wonderful day, a memorable occasion. Few of those present will be there in 2011; rather fewer in 2061. !t is hard to see either occasion in the future sur-passing the pride and affection we showed and felt in 1961.



Old Boys’ Dinner in Ireland perhaps  for the :first time in the hundred years of the history of Beaumont, the Irish  Old Boys joined together to pay tribute to their Alma Mater  on Wednesday, 29th November.

The  Rector, Fr Costigan, SJ., and Fr Dunpby, SJ. and  the Chairman of the Centenary Committee in England, flew over to attend the Dinner, a gesture which was fully appreciated by all Irish O.B.s and their families. We were truly delighted to meet them and our only regret was that we could not fete them for a week or two.

Because we are so thin on the ground in this country and also because we knew that our ladies would wish to hear all about the Queen at Beaumont, we invited wives, sisters, and guests. The party was spoken of later as.  All a ‘brilliant social gathering”. This was an apt description. The Shelbourne put their best foot forward in every way and this resulted in a scene of splendour, beautiful appointments and  floral decorations.

The Toasts, Ireland, and Her Majesty the Queen, were proposed by Vincent Williams from the Chair and then Fr O’Conor the Irish Provincial proposed the Toast of Beaumont.: His tributes to Beaumont were accepted by Fr Rector  on behalf of all Past and Present Beaumont Community and Boys,  he then went on to speak of what the School done, causing much amusement by his  masterly understatement of what the School had achieved for the Centenary Celebrations: we rounded off by singing ‘Carmen

Herbert Purcell proposed the Toast of the Beaumont. Union.

Among those present:

Mr and Mrs Bathurst, Mr and Mrs T. Bidwell, James Dudley, Mr and Mrs Douglas Dennehy and Guest, Tom Haran, Mr and Mrs Reggie Leonard, Mr and Mrs Ralph Leonard, Dr and Mrs Coote Lloyd, Barry Martin, Mrs Jack Miley, Miss Alice Miley, Adrian Naughten, Lt-Col. Herbert and Mrs Purcell and guests, Mr and Mrs Denzil O’Donnell (Mrs O’Donnell is Gerry Lake’s twin sister), Mr and Mrs Tom Dennehy, Mr and Mrs Leslie Robinson, Bobbie Roantree,  Dr and Mrs Raymond Rees and Guests, Ian Swabey, Mr  and Mrs  L. Teesdale,  Mr and Mrs Vincent Williams Mr and Mrs J. D. Williams, Mr and Mrs D. G. Williams, Mr and Mrs R. J. Williams, Mr and Mrs D. D. Williarns, Mr and Mrs  Noel Judd, Justice and Mrs Lannigan-O’Keefe.


Robinson Crusoe

For some years now Fr Derek Hanshell has been producing Beaumont pantomimes and many in the audience did not realise at the  beginning of this one that it was to be his last production here. Now that he has departed for another, if possible, higher seat of learning we  sadly contemplate the problems of the future. However, that was not in our minds as the show began with an overture composed by Fr Hanshell, as indeed was all the music in this show.

Jt will be difficult to comment on every item. Suffice it to sav tha it provided a thoroughly enjoyable evening. The audience was given its ‘money’s worth’ by the ‘variety of quality and length of the performance. Perhaps some of the songs were a little too lengthy, especially after repetitions. Some might have preferred a faster tempo to the rhythms we heard. Yet even here the slow debut de siecle quality of the music and of the rhythm suited the choreography and those who performed it.  The deliberate ,steps were parodied by the music When the more modern songs and ballads were sung between the acts one realised how cleverly the producer, by a sharp use of contrast, increased.  Our enjoyment of both types of music.

To come now to some of the items and the performers. N. Hinds carried the show along with a genial performance. His presence, good-natured and never bitter, ensured that we could enjoy our fun with no fears of what was to come. H. Synnott, while relapsing occasionally into boyishness, contrived to give a vigorous and boisterous performance. His admirable solo on the trombone was not merely admirable in itself but suited the part to perfection. P. Burrough as Hayley, with a background of an earlier performance of such  in a Grammar class play, managed the part of a beatnik fiancee of Dick Whittington quite effectively, M. Cronly as President N’Friday, had a really professional touch to all he did and said, he was unerringly convincing in the part. One even had to look closely at the orchestra as he mimed the use of the cornet to discover who indeed was playing it. His West Indian accent never faltered and he even managed the gangling, loose- limbed appearance of an island chieftain constricted by formal dress. Perhaps the best performance of the evening. J. Nightingale gave a very amusing and well-acted performance of the First Prefect-his antics never failed to bring the house down.

The Toniterama  deserves especial mention. It was cleverly worked out in a mixture of  Clapham and Dwyer of yester-year (‘Before your time m’boy, before your time,’) linked up with Channel Two. The phases and foibles Beaumont life during the term were cleverly parodied. Among others should be singled out E. Monaghan’s mime and monologue. He de-scribed the life of their august highnesses the Captains in a way which delighted the younger members of the audience. Not an easy act to  carry off well. He achieved it though he might have pruned here and there to provide pace for the act

Between the acts we were entertained by no less than Mr A Richmond SJ, Mr K  Donovan, SJ. and Fr T. Lynch SJ.  They very nearly stole the show with their repertoire of calypso, English, Scots, Russian and Italian songs: what  a thrilling song the Russian one was! Before two of this Jesuitical Trio of Troubadours depart for the more serious study theology we should so enjoy  another opportunity of hearing their music.

So many good things , so many crowded out of the mind  and not because they fell below the high standard of performance but because the critic’s very human memory cannot retain so much excellence. Those who go unsung were far from unappreciated.

 The Show was rounded off with a farewell to Fr Hanshell by the Captain of the School.  The task he now embarks upon has great responsibilities but we shall miss his guiding spirit. However, we look forward in later years to other pantos which, if they will find  it difficult to rise to the heights of Fr Hanshell’s riotous performances will no doubt benefit by the guidance his work has set up as an ideal to aim at.


THE HIGHER LINE PLAY.  ’The Importance of Being Earnest’

THE task of the critic is, generally, a thankless one. In fact, the only convincing motive for engaging in such a metier seems, to the writer to be a mercenary one.  Such a motive, in the present circumstance, is necessarily non-existent. This writer  protests, from the outset, that his motives as a critic, are pure and disinterested, that he wishes only to express fearlessly (yet with tact) his own very subjective impressions of this Higher Line production. In this way, he retains a small hope that any possible readers, and all those whom he may offend by his sins of omission and commission, together with all those whose ego he may inflate just a trifle  by his indulgent flattery, will not take him too seriously and remember that, at least, he passionately upheld the honesty and purity of his motives. Such a man is surely worthy of a hearing.

The act of judgement whereby a play is as suitable to be performed by a school involves, on the part of the producer, lengthy consideration and no small sense of the tastes and tone of his audience. Let us hasten, at once, to congratulate Fr .J. Dooley in having ‘backed a winner’ with this ‘trivial comedy for serious people’. The sub-title is, of course, Wilde’s, and the adjectives, although not quite Wilde’s, and not to be taken either too trivially or too seriously. The reader will take them as he will, with the true liberty of a child of Beaumont.

On 12th and 13th November, then, we were entertained by Higher Line’s interpretation of Oscar Wilde. And it was obvious from the start that even if Higher Line failed to entertain us, then, at least, the self-conscious wit of Wilde would hold our attention. As things turned out, however, it was Higher Line mainly, and Wilde only to a secondary degree, who entertained us. It would be difficult to imagine a play better cast, as regards at least two of.  the main characters, than this production of The Importance of Being Earnest.

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The play, involving, as it does, only about five main characters calls upon considerable skill on the part of boy actors but at the same time gives them the chance of distinguishing themselves. We must at once record that at least two of them distinguished themselves -Tussaud, whom the part of Algernon Moncrieff fitted like a glove, and Nightingale cast superbly as Lady Bracknell, carried this production well over the footlights from Act I,  and that in spite of a somewhat apathetic audience on at least one of the nights.

Tussaud will long be remembered by a host of boys in Lower Line for the speed and dexterity with which he polished off cucumber sandwiches and crumpets, and, by others, for the miracles he achieved by speaking with his mouth full. But his performance went further. In than that at other times, it is true, he merely had the proverbial hot potato in his mouth which was an enormous help in portraying the kind of Algie Moncrieff that Wilde intended. He gave us an Algie who was at once frivolous, rakish, exquisitely  unscrupulous, dreadfully shallow, yet somehow appealing. No doubt, it was whispered by the malicious, that Tussaud had no great efforts to make by way of acting to this. Indeed, it must be admitted, he was, or appeared to be, utterly at ease as Algernon Moncrieff; but we must at once retort that in his case, ars est celare artem, and this slick performance, carried off with such ease and aplornb, could not have been given without a sound basis of stage sense and considerable hard work. The wit of Wilde appeals to many.  It sparkles and amuses. To others, it is not merely tedious but also repulsive mainly  because it is so obviously self-conscious. In  the present critic’s opinion, Tussaud’s real  achievement and it is a splendid one, was that  he succeeded in communicating the sparkle of Wilde’s wit without the self -consciousness. We  have no hesitation at commending  Tussaud for his enormous contribution to the success of the play.

But, luckily, he had formidable support from Nightingale’s Lady Bracknell. From his first entrance, Nightingale was an obvious success mainly because he entered with relish into this difficult part, making the most of his lines,  many of which, alas were lost on the       audience The temptation to over-act in such a part is obvious. We can safely say that it was.    successfully resisted by Nightingale. He gave us a Lady Bracknell who dominated the scene.     When present and haunted it when absent . The scene (with Ernest) of the inquisition into the eligibility as a suitor to her daughter remarkably well played, with good support from Stileman, But here we did detect  less success than was the case with Tussaud in taking the edge of self-consciousness off Oscar sparkling witticisms. Nightingale, however, whose lines were funnier than Tussaud’s had to contend with the intermittent laughter  of the audience and had to exercise considerable self-poise in finding the exact moment at which he would be completely audible to all in the house, Although a responsive audience is encouraging   also involves deft skill and experience on the part of the actors to time their delivery in the face of constant bursts of laughter. We must say that Nightingale coped efficiently with the  problem. His  success in the part was rather obvious. There was something of a caricature in his Lady Bracknell, but it is hard to see  how any boy actor could tackle or interpret the role otherwise.

If the parts of Algernon Moncrieff and Lady Bracknell, so skilfully interpreted gave a certain scope for caricature, the part of John Worthing, JP .(Ernest)  involved a serious and sustained effort in much more straight acting.  Stileman, as Ernest acquitted himself of this difficult task with honours. Indeed, one felt that it was he, much more than the frivolous Algie or the booming Lady Bracknell, who was called upon to carry most of the weight of the play. It is clear that any actor vying with two such caricatures must, and especially in school plays, start with a handicap. As the play progressed, however, Stileman gained in confidence and gave us a creditable performance as the serious  Ernest, John Worthing, J.P. ( of the Manor House, Woolton, Hertfordshire).

R. Goldsmith made a most convincing Cecily Cardew, John Worthing’s ward, at least as far as external appearance was concerned although at times his walk belied his femininity. He did, however, convey, with much skill and courage, the essential freshness and naivete of the character. B. Pearce, as Gwendolen Fairfax bravely took on the part of the other young girl and although first-night nerves were on occasion apparent, he gradually gained in confidence and interpreted for us a Gwendolen who was at once charming and catty. No small courage is required in boys to take on and act convincingly before a  whole school of their fellows such parts as these. Both did well , although one sensed one sensed the lack of real feminine sting in their little quarrel entre femmes. But how can any boy recapture the venom of two elegant little ladies insulting one another nicely? It is surely at moments such as these that the whole system of boys playing girls breaks down.

Darby’s Canon Chasuble and Dearing’s Miss Prism were an excellent comic couple, who more than supported the high standard of acting set for them by the leading characters. Darby incarnated (with his splendid bald head!) all the befuddled confusion and other-worldliness of Wilde’s parson. Dearing presented us with a Miss Prism who was both prim and precise but somehow vaguely ‘phoney”. Russell was a perfect “Jeeves” like  figure in the role of Algernon Moncrieff’s.  manservant, Lane, whilst Lescher gave a solid performance as butler to Mr Worthing.  A. de. Lisle generously stood in as a footman.

To the producer a final word of thanks for a gratifying evening’s entertainment. His choice of play showed a showed sense of his audience, production was slick, his casting superb. To all who co-operated with him, and gave so generously of their time and energy we extend sincere appreciation confident that not only did they enjoy  playing  for us but are now the richer for having done so.


THE annual Drama Orgy took place as usual on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Once again the gay hubbub of spectators, and the diversity of national costume, lent some-thing of a Festspielhaus atmosphere to the Hall. To complete the illusion, we even had a World Premiere from Ruds C.

Specially written by Ian Burford from an idea by Hugh Ross-Williamson, The Case of the False-Bottomed Umbrella was the ideal play for the occasion. An original plot, a touch of farce, and parts for everyone in the class. They entered into the spirit of it, and the evening’s proceedings opened with a flourish. ‘This may look like a platform full of bowler-hatted city commuters, but really it’s Ruds C’. The shape of things to come. The play was duly parodied in the pantomime - the hallmark of success.

Ruds B and its elf gave us a light-hearted passacaglia on the 1984 theme-the nearest got to a problem play. (The Man who thought for Himself). The goons and politicians were well portrayed by a cast again comprising the whole class, but their change of heart was inevitably somewhat abrupt.

The choragus of Rhuzalpha  ( Ruds A : The Spartan Girl) presented his demesmen in Attic dress this time; perennial triumph of Wardrobemanship. Their parody of (surely) Euripides fortunately owed more to Aristophanes than to Housman. An aptly inane Chorus and a frabjous Phoebe.

By now the audience was really warm, and they fairly roared approval of Grammar III’s guardroom burlesque. (Gloves Rubber) True, the army is always good for a laugh, but the verve with which the whole class, actor-manager and all threw themselves into the fun of the thing was  infectious. This squad certainly has some of the richest comic talent in the School. ( Ed I note The name Potter)

We were not privileged to see the whole of Grammar II on the stage, but the Village frolic  ( Rustic Revelry) they regaled us with  was none the less agreeable. Making less demands on the martial passions, it gave the emotions valuable respite.   Further, as another critic has pointed out, it was the only play written in verse. Much was made of the mock serious, much too of dialect contrast between the bituminous polish of the Villain and the loamy pig-and-whistling burr of the Hero.

Declining to end on a note of moral uplift this year, Grammar I gave us the broadest of broad farce. (The Crimson Coconut) Blessed with a natural clown, they built round him to good purpose. Cheerfully impromptu, this was yet a drama of real flesh and, yes, real blood. Inaudible at times: but never dull  with an hilarious end; and what-ever the initial missgivings, a thoroughly enjoy-able set of performances that augurs well for the future of the Beaumont Stage.


 Camp was on Dartmoor  with an overall theme of dampness – it either rained or misted or both. Bogs and pools were traversed. A dozen or so returned home invigorated but a good time had by all.

Field Day. No 1 Coy took up a defensive position in the Great Park. No 2 arrived, attacked, outflanked and No 1 capitulated.

No 3 Platoon won the Drill competition.

Cert “A” part 11: “if prospective candidates learned the syllabus better and more quickly, it would be unnecessary to spend whole parades repeating what had been done before and we could have more Field Days”.


 Visiting speakers: Victor Musgrave  on “ Art and Art Dealing” Dr Guy Atkins “ African sculpture and Western Art”. From Home -  Mr O’Malley “Existentialism”   (not surprising),

Colonel Roddy “Art from Byzantine to the Renaissance” ( and I thought his expertise was Telegraph poles in perspective).


The highlight was the visit to Covent Garden for an evening performance of Aida withCharles Craig “the most Italianate of English operatic tenors and principle tenor at the Royal Opera until 1980, Amy Shuard described” as the best English dramatic soprano since her mentor Dame Eva Turner”. She died young at fifty.

( Ed: I recall we all went in black tie)


Scout Troop Camp,Porlock, 31st July-I4th August, 1961

This year’s Troop camp was a pioneer venture in more senses than one. Through the kindness of Mr Justin Blathwayt of Dirham, we were given the use of a splendid site just above West Porlock in Somerset, almost within shouting distance of the famous Porlock Hill. First impressions were mixed: admiration at the sheer loveliness of the setting-something almost akin to a wild forest of gorgeous trees and undergrowth with the sea sparkling, it seemed, a mere stone’s throw away; and, at the same time, a certain awe inspired by the hard work which would be needed to make the site habitable.

However, after the first back-breaking efforts had been made (so cheerfully!) and one had attractions became evident:  running water in a limpid stream next to us, endless supplies of wood of all sorts, splendid terrain for wide games and pioneering projects, sea-bathing within easy reach, seclusion without isolation, and in fine weather at least, a wonderful view across the Bristol Channel to South Wales.

The chief memory of this camp that lingers in the mind is perhaps a certain sense of accomplishment. Seldom, certainly never in our experience, has a junior troop been set such a challenge as this site provided. First, it was vitally necessary to clear thick clinging undergrowth before space could be found to pitch the tents.  This successfully accomplished, pits had to be dug in a soil that turned out discomfitingly stony. Then that had been done, a fresh hazard arose: fires were lit, but before long a series of ear-cracks announced that the said stone was apt to explode in the presence of heat! Soon after learning that lesson, we became aware of unwelcome visitors: ants, ubiquitous and large and persistent! These were gradually overcome with the help of ant-killer and Fr Sass, though the Squirrels had to smoke out a hollow tree-trunk in their kitchen which was almost a solid ant-nest. Next, as soon as food appeared, the wasps arrived. They proved more persistent, and blue-bag was much in demand. Rather more alarmingly, some bud‘ding naturalist identified a swarm of hornets!  These, however, proved to be wood-wasps, a harmless variety of insect. Other hazards came later, but by then we were hardened

Let not all this give an impression of unhappy campers cowering under successive blows of fate: far from it! Seldom has so much cheerful noise been made for so long by so few. Far from growing dispirited, the Scouts seemed to relish the successive challenges, and a growing sense of achievement was prepared to take almost anything in its stride. Not content with merely dealing with emergencies as they arose, they took with both hands the opportunities the splendid site offered: gadgets were bigger and better than ever, patrol-fencing was no mere flimsy sisal-line but stout stakes with cross-bars firmly lashed; altar-fires were awe-inspiringly solid erections; and so on.

Activities were innumerable swimming was constant, and one very pleasant afternoon ended with a picnic on the beach, with A. Russell presiding over a massive fire of driftwood. Cope, Garnaud and Solomon disappeared on mysterious  fishing expeditions, not that the larder benefited! The Swifts P/L, when not busy training, Haddon and Newling-Ward, were usually leading parties to the tops of the tallest trees, what time the Eagles’ P/L was having difficulty with some ‘haze’ or other. Hikers were constantly setting out or returning in all weathers: they had their work cut out, as Exmoor’s glorious country provides a severe test of map-reading and powers of perseverance-though not all emulated the pair who, losing their map, returned successfully by compass alone. There were two night games: one of which ended with the unfortunate Bell breaking his nose against an un-yielding tree in the dark; whilst, in the other, the entire Lion patrol ‘disappeared’ down what seemed a bottomless abyss but fortunately proved to be only ten feet deep. There was also an assault-course which included a fine opportunity for everyone to improve his digging. Nor shall we forget the most successful coach-tour of Exmoor, with a scrumptious Devonshire tea at the famous ‘Ring o’ Bells’ at  Challacombe.

Mr Blathwayt further enlarged our debt of gratitude to him for putting at our disposal  his cottage at West Porlock. On our arrival there he had plied us with some of the local cider, a welcome addition to the iron rations we carried, and the cottage was much in use for storage purposes. It was decided to spend the last night there as, otherwise, it was hard.    to see how we could clear the site in time to catch our train unless we rose about 2 a.m. on the last morning. Just as well we did! For owing to the slippery state of the paths, the lorry carrying our luggage refused to come up to the site, and every blessed thing bad to be.   man-handled over about half a mile of muddy pathways. That the campers set about this most unwelcome chore willingly and even  cheerfully was a further tribute to the wonder-ful spirit that prevailed throughout. Even one Squirrel who had carved a piece from his hand was seen manfully, and with the inevitable grin, dragging a home-made and well-laden sledge with his one sound hand!

And so, to the end, the sense of achievement remained, of challenges successfully met in a spirit of cheerful unselfishness. That the camp was a happy one was at all times plain to see; and those who took part must have learned a good deal, not only of the technique of good camping, but-so much more important-of the spirit that must underlie it.


KANDERSTEG (Switzerland), 1959 . , ., the Seniors went farther afield than Tipperary (Ireland) in 1960  went farther afleld than ever before, and yet never left the United Kingdom. For if we take Lochmaddy, on North Uist, as the ‘Ultima Thule’ of our wanderings, we find that it is no less than 718 miles from London—though this, of course, is the mileage as the railway rambles and the packet-boat potters, rather than the route which would be flown by a reasonably adjusted and amphibious (? Triphibious) crow.

Once again, our impressions of this camp will remain painted in the book of memory in water-colours -chiefly rain-water! In the two weeks of. In the camp, we had about three fine days and three  overcast days when there was no heavy rain; for the rest, it was wet-very wet-with two days (one in each week) when it rained continuously for twenty-four hours. Perhaps it is tempting Providence to camp in the Hebrides in August; yet it seems that, in this particular August, the Highlands and Islands escaped fairly lightly, compared with some parts of the British Isles; and there was some slight consolation, while lying rain-bound  but snug in a hike-tent on South Uist, to read in the day-old newspapers about floods in Glasgow and gales along the South Coast!

Besides the weather, the other natural hazard the region which imprinted itself deeply on our consciousness was  the plague of midges, We had been warned, of course -there are travellers’ maps of the region which have heavily inscribed over the West Coast of Scotland the simple legend, ’Here be midges!’ We went forearmed with in-numerable tubes of ointment and bottles of lotion, all claiming loudly to be infallibly insect-repellent: but before long we were reduced to trying to decide which of these unctions the creatures liked least!-for they seemed to thrive on most of them. With these two of the Ten Plagues, however, the resemblance to Egypt began and ended; in all the resemblance to Egypt  we found the Highlands and Islands a veritable Promised Land, for the purposes for which we came.

Our main camp-site was at Roshven, towards the seaward end of Lochailort, with wonderful views of Eigg and Skye when visibility was reasonable- (The weather-lore of the locality, according to cynics, reduces to these simple propositions: ‘When you can see the island—it’s going to rain; when you can’t-it’s raining.’) There is no road to Roshven, and the last link in our chain of communication with civilisation and the grocer was a thrice-weekly service by the Jacobite, a capacious, sea-worthy ‘water-bus’; the only other means of access to road and rail at the head of the loch being a mountain-track of some five rugged miles.

Roshven itself had many of the qualities of the ideal camp-site besides the view and the setting: abundant wood, safe swimming, patches of sandy beach, fishing in the loch or in burns, a rowing-for short expeditions to Goat Island and its vitrified fort, and the availability of the Jacobite for longer trips like the run round to Moidart and Eilean Shona, or to Seal Island; the mountain of Roshven itself (2980 ft.). dominating the glen, from which views to out-rival those Ben Nevis itself could be obtained on a clear day. The domestic chapel in Roshven House, could always be sure of having Mass whatever weather: all these factors add up to a suitability for Senior Scout activities, especially for a for a Catholic troop unrivalled in Britain or anywhere  else given fair weather and no midges!

Our plan of campaign was that half the campers a party of twelve, should remain on the train and go straight to the Isles via Mallaig, while the rest set up the main camp at Roshven. After four days in the Islands, the first party returned, and all I spent the week-end together at Roshven.  In the second week, the other party journeyed to the Outer Hebrides, returning similarly to spend the final two returning days at Lochailort.

What was the achievement? It varied with individuals and parties, of course; but at least eight  completed their 50 mile hike – one of the requirements of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (Gold Standard)-not only over rugged and unfamiliar terrain, as the regulations require, but under weather conditions that would have daunted many. As a work of supererogation, having reached the vicinity of Fort William, some of the  hikers proceeded to climb Ben Navis. Three of rhem at least were rewarded with wonderful views from the summit, as this extract from the admirable log-book of P/L M. Morris shows: ‘I can recall few experiences so memorable as the unfolding of the view around us. At first we could only see the Glen, which reminded us of Switzerland; then the mountains towards Loch Leven, the middle reaches of Loch Linnhe, then down towards Loch Lochy; the town of Fort William, the upper part of Loch Linnhe, and Loch Eil, with a steamer leaving a wake as if it were moving on snow; the isle of Mull, the mountains of Ardnamurchan and Moidart, unfolding range after purple range away to the west and to the north beyond Glenfinnan, finally the isles of Eigg and Rhum, and away to the north-west the blue and jagged line of the Cuillins . . . If anything, it was still clearer on the way down. We could certainly see the islands of ColI and Tiree, and there were smudges on the horizon which could only be the Outer Isles”.

Others did lesser hikes and climbs; but all felt that they had added richly to their store of experience through this brief sojourn in the Highlands and Islands. Maybe other parties from Beaumont will visit the same area in future years; certainly, many individuals in this party will hear the call of the Isles summoning them back for another stay; if, in answering that call, they stop along the road to the Isles they will be sure of a most hospitable welcome from our hosts, the Blackburn family of Roshven, and all our other kind friends of Lochailort, to whom we offer our tribute of sincere gratitude.


The following bred:- Crouch, Wilkinson and Orme, (daughters). Holquin, Ruane, Smith, Penney, and Rospigliosi (sons).

Engagements:- Belloc Lowndes, Bruce, Loades-Carter, Shanks, Dunn, Horsfield, Walsh.

Marriages:- Hacket, Outred, Leonard, Creagh, Parker, and Cahill.

Deaths: Major John de Lisle . WW1 17/21 L,  Capt. Leicestershire Cricket. DL and High Sheriff.

             Brig. General Francis Fuller. late RE, Boer War MID, WW1 General staff. Wdd, MID x7, CMG, CB, Legion D’Honneur,  Croix de Guerre.

               Capt. William McCartan- Mooney. BNC Oxford. Irish Cricket XI, WW Duke of Cornwall’s L I Wdd retreat from Mons. Son and Grandson ( Geoffrey Kelly)  OBs.

              Sqn. Ldr. Edmund Hardman. WW1 DFC. Last of the famous Stained Glass Makers. Son Gordon RAFVR KIA WW2.

              Maj. General Francis Harter. Royal Fusiliers. WW1 Wounded, MID x 5, Invalided at Gallipoli, DSO & MC, and Croix de Guerre. WW2 Governor of Portsmouth, Commander Midland District. Colonel of the Royal Fusiliers 1947 – 54. Two brothers were KIA in WW1.


                                            A group of people posing for a photo

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With only two survivors from last year it was obvious that this year’s XV would be severely limited in experience. While there was hope of a reasonably strong, if somewhat young scrum, the possibility of finding three-quarters of sufficient speed, skill and physique seemed much more remote . The outcome of the matches proved both hopes and fears well founded. Apart from a win at Reading we lost to Douai, Oratory, Whitgift, Merchant Taylors and Wellington and against the Club sides no better.

2nd XV. All matches lost but not by great margins. Heroic defence but defence does not win matches. Defeats were taken cheerfully – perhaps too cheerfully and the season much enjoyed.

3rd XV  went forth to battle  with uncompromising spirit and if they did not win any battles, the spirit was maintained to the end. All five matches lost.

Colts and Junior Colts – not much better.

Under 14s. A record of 8 matches won out of 10  including the much larger Wellington, Harrow and Merchant Taylors.

Fr Gerry Hughes SJ

Gerry’s Obituary is in that section but to add to it. Hubert de Lisle who was taught by Fr Gerry and also remembers him as a good rugby coach sent me a piece from The Heythrop News on Gerry’s acceptance speech when he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (D.Litt.) of the University of London.

                                               A person in a graduation gown holding a diploma

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Vice-Chancellor, Principal, Fellows, esteemed former colleagues, ladies and gentlemen:

First of all, let me say how honoured, delighted, astonished and humbled I feel at the award of this degree. I would like to thank the College and the University most sincerely, not only for this compliment, but also for all that was I given and gained from my many years at Heythrop College in the University of London. It is a privilege to have been here.

I don’t know how many of you are regular fans of the early morning Weather Forecast. A couple of weeks ago, on Radio 4 the representative of the Met Office, a propos of no less than three areas of the UK, said that given the gales and floods, the actual temperatures were ‘academic’. ‘Academic’, I take it, in the sense of ‘irrelevant’. Well, I have been an academic for more than forty years……. Quite so!

I take rather cold comfort from the example of a much more distinguished philosopher.

            Two cabbies were talking to one another. One of them said, ‘D’you know, I was driving down Piccadilly one day, and this old gent flagged me down, and got in the back. And when I looked in the mirror, I said to myself ‘I know ‘im!’ So I said, ‘Aren’t you Bertrand Russell, the famous philosopher?’ ‘Yes, as a matter of fact I am’.  Well then, says I, tell me what it’s all abaht, then.’ ‘And you know’, he said sadly to his mate, ‘He couldn’t tell me!’

And that really is sad, in a way. Not perhaps, that it was altogether fair to suppose that a philosopher could give an instant answer to the deepest questions about the meaning of life. But perhaps we could be expected to make a start.

I recall a conversation (at a rather dull interlude in an Examiners’ meeting here in London one summer, when I was chatting to the late Gerry Cohen, then at University College, and subsequently a Fellow of All Souls College in Oxford. He pointed out that I was at Heythrop: Yes. And you’re a Jesuit, right? Yes. So you believe in God? ‘Yes, I do’, said I. ‘Well done!’ he said, with the kind of admiring astonishment with which one might greet someone who had just climbed Everest before breakfast.

So chalk up one success for the philosopher. But I honestly do not think that philosophy has an answer to all our deepest questions, and certainly not an instant answer. What the philosopher might perhaps aim to do is to provide a forum, and many of the tools, with which the deepest questions of life can at least be honestly, intelligently, and fruitfully discussed. On the other hand, I certainly do not subscribe to the view that philosophy, or science for that matter, will instantly demonstrate the meaninglessness of most, perhaps even all, of these deep questions about ourselves and our world. I have always thought that the existence of a College such as Heythrop provides us with a living example of the ways in which several different disciplines, theology, psychology, and philosophy together can add up to much more than the sum of their parts.

More seriously, I suppose many of you will have read the article by Stefan Collini in a recent edition of the TLS about the revised procedure for assessing departments, the Research Excellence Framework. One major element in how the work of the College is to be assessed in future involves what is described as the ‘impact’ of our work.  This in turn is spelt our almost entirely in economic terms – the .ways in which our work helps local industry, or contributes to the research of pharmaceutical companies, or its impact on other disciplines of  rather more immediate market relevance – mathematics, for instance, might assist engineering research. As the author argues, such a commercialisation of the aims of a university poses a dreadful threat to the humanities. I doubt if any of my work has or has had the slightest commercial value. But then, I have always believed that rather than any kind of commercial impact, the value of education in general, and of philosophy in particular, has to do with the development of people’s minds. Any teacher worth having surely waits for, and treasures above all else, those moments when one can see that look of sudden comprehension come into a student’s eyes as a whole vista of thought reveals itself to them. I believe it is such moments of insight that Heythrop College has always sought to foster. Long may that continue.

But from such high ideals perhaps I ought to return to the real world; and perhaps the real world never impinges upon students more than in their final examinations. Over the years, I have made a collection of those deep thoughts exactly as they occurred to students of one or other of the colleges of the university, and which they recorded in their examination scripts. I offer two of them to you now.

            Primitive man probably did not cause tidal waves inadvertently…

Don’t laugh too soon. Think about it: it is undoubtedly true; and it may be a truth never put into words until that student had that insight. And note the scholarly caution of that word ‘probably’. How often have you ever heard something which is at once delicately qualified, totally true and utterly original? You heard it here first!

The other insight, more cosmic, is perhaps a shade more controversial; it is this:

The world is like --- the world is like a large complex zip-fastener; the trouble is to discover why it exists at all.

Again, think about it. Not quite so daft as it sounds. Poetic, perhaps, rather than daft – modern poetry of course, what with the zip-fastener. But the question remains: why is our ‘zip-fastener’ world there at all?

Perhaps that’s it! perhaps that’s what it is all about! – and poor Bertrand Russell missed it!

I wonder if I can find that cabbie?

Once again, Vice-Chancellor, Principal, thank you: I feel truly honoured.


More from the Memoir of Philip Stevens

Be Bloody, Bold and Resolute
A quotation from the Scottish Play, my father’s advice on how to get on in life.

After compassionate leave, I resolved to return to the regiment a better and more dedicated soldier. I would study my profession, embrace the foibles of this adopted family and become a model young officer.

Socially, things seemed less likely to follow so model a path. As young officers our social lives revolved around the RAF Officers’ Club adjacent to the RAF base at Changi. We young guest members behaved outrageously. We condescended to the younger RAF officers, sought by every means to attract the affections of the daughters of the older ones, and drank too much, regularly. Johnnie Chisholm was always willing to step in if one’s romance was going a little too slowly, and take it over. In matters not of the heart he was a generous and loyal friend, and we spent much of our leisure time together, at the club or further afield. However, on getting back from compassionate leave I was very quickly to discover that my idea of fixing the interest of the attractive daughter of the squadron leader had to be replaced by the knowledge that in my absence Johnnie had cast his lures and made his catch.

We had been training, but with no apparent great sense of purpose, since our first arrival in Singapore, but for the battalion our short time before that first Christmas abroad had been as much about settling into a new way of military life, and into a very different local environment as about actually preparing to become ready for jungle warfare. Apart from anything else, a small group of officers and others had needed to attend a course at the Jungle Warfare School, Khota Tinggi before they could train the rest of us. Now, with the New Year, training began to increase in intensity. For some time, I found myself ending every Sunday evening heading over the Causeway and north into Malaya in the back of a Land Rover on the road to Khota Tinggi. On the way we would pass occasional reminders of the futile British attempts to fortify Malaya and Singapore against Japanese invasion in 1940-41, blockhouses by roadsides, easily by-passed by Japanese troops, who, contrary to belief at the time, were able to leave the graveled tracks that passed as roads and take to the jungle beside them. The blockhouses are now preserved as reminders of the history of the country during the war.


In Malaya, as in Belgium,
concrete defences are sinking into the soft ground over time.

For five days a week we were trained, and trained others in our turn, in the arts and mysteries of staying alive in the jungle. We learned how to find abundant clean and pure water in the middle of the jungle. We learned that taking soap into the jungle was suicide; the CTs, the Communist Terrorists, could pick up the scent of it from miles downstream after one had washed. Leeches became constant companions, small scorpions were reputed to be more deadly than larger ones, and centipedes, anything up to six or eight inches long were to be avoided at all costs. Emerging from the jungle on Friday afternoon, we were very ready for the three essentials, well known to every soldier returning from exercise. They are the three S’s, including a shower and a shave. Some sleep was welcome as well.

We began to learn the mysteries of jungle fighting, and I realised that my KAPE demonstration of attacking a jungle camp, conveniently situated on the other side of Ludlow Castle Green, had been a little naïve. Fighting was apparently mostly about staying ahead of the jungle itself, with actual business of ambushes, attacks and defence taking second place. Some of the soldiers took to the jungle life with enthusiasm, but many of them were town and city dwellers. The jungle was so alien to any experience of life before now that training was a prolonged anxiety for all concerned. Their experience of greenery before this had probably been limited to seeing a municipal park from the top deck of a bus. One townie actually volunteered to go on a course to learn tracking and sharp-shooting skills. We saw nothing of him for weeks, until a totally transformed young man returned. He could track a quarry where most of us could not see a track to follow, he could spot an out-of-place piece of vegetation that indicated human activity. He was also allowed his personal choice of weapon. Most of us were armed with an Armalite rifle, light and supposedly reliable in jungle conditions, but Robinson was now our lead scout, who would inevitably be the first to see an enemy. Like others in his role, his personal weapon was a Browning pump-action shotgun, not loaded with No.6 or 7 shot suited to the English game season, but with a weight of shot altogether, designed for larger quarry. He

demonstrated the technique of this weapon to me once, on a firing range. No time to raise it to the shoulder, he fired from the hip, three or four shots in two or three seconds, completely shredding his targets, not distant, but jungle fighting was not about distance.

As Vietnam was on the agenda, Khota Tinggi’s facilities included a Vietnamese village, a like-like simulation of the real thing. For greater realism the village also included a selection of tunnels, underground hiding places and booby-traps. It was an eye- opening experience to learn about the variety of dangers that the Viet Cong could create, using nothing but the materials provided by the land. Elephant traps were routine. These were large holes about six to eight feet deep, with sharpened bamboo stakes about four feet long buried, point facing up, where they would impale anyone who fell in. The whole would then be covered so as to leave no trace until the unwary enemy might walk onto the covering. Other uses for bamboo were more ingenious, but always seemed to be designed to deliver a sharpened stake where it would remind the recipient that they were not welcome. Like many an enemy, before and since, the Viet Cong had worked out that to injure an enemy severely is far more effective than to kill him outright, because the business of immediate medical aid, followed by evacuation consumes time and resources that hamper effective military action, sometimes for hours, as a casualty evacuation plan, CasEvac is implemented.

One day, training at this village was interrupted. The Secretary of State for Defence, Denis Healey, was reviewing all British military commitments ‘East of Suez’, and was in the Far East to consider the future of the substantial British involvement in SEATO, South East Asia Treaty Organisation, a regional military cooperation similar to NATO in the west. He arrived at Khota Tinggi, clearly at short notice, accompanied by the sort of flurry of senior officers that was to be expected, and with two or three civil servants, ill at ease in their unaccustomed situation of actually being close up with the servicemen whose existence was normally only an abstract concept; numbers of mouths to feed, written in some ledger. My platoon was actually in the village at the time, and Healey came to see what we were doing. He watched for a few minutes, then called Colonel Neil over. The colonel, other military figures and the civil servants retired to a discreet distance, and I was left with Healey. He wanted to meet the boys, and some dozen gathered around. He was totally at ease with them, and it was easy to see how he had begun the Second World War as a private in the Royal Artillery and ended as a major, with a ‘good war’ record that included having been senior beachmaster for the Anzio landings in 1943. He wanted to know what they wanted him personally to do to make their lives more tolerable. Suggestions about barracks accommodation, leave and so on were noted. The platoon radio operator was responsible for carrying, in addition to all his personal equipment, the A41 radio that linked us to company headquarters. He wanted something that actually worked and weighed less than the 20 kilos that were added to his burden for hours at a time. In particular, he wanted a radio that did not require an aerial about four metres high to be in place as he tried to get through the jungle. Healey called one of his civil servants over to join in. Explanations about service needs and equipment trials came volubly, to be quietened by Healey. He asked my radio operator to hand over his back-pack to the unprepared civil servant, and suggested to this unfortunate and now-flustered person that as this radio was what the civil service procurement process expected a radio operator to carry for hours at a time, in addition to about 20 or 25 kilos of standard kit, he might try to carry it for an hour or so. I am not qualified to comment on Healey

and withdrawal from East of Suez, but I can confirm that the soldiers of at least one platoon thought he was a top bloke.

British Army Military Radio Wireless Set A41

The Company Sergeant Major, Eddie Waters, was approaching the age at which he would have to retire, against his wishes, from service. He had been a member of the SAS for fourteen years, with wound scars to show for it, and the jungle was second home to him. He could always be relied upon for a hot drink at the end of a long day, or a strictly forbidden cigarette – apparently a sergeant major’s smoke does not travel through the trees and give one’s position away. He would sum up a new young officer, a new addition to the sergeants’ mess or a new general in charge instantly, and with no nonsense about prejudice of any kind. He either liked you or he didn’t, and that was that. He was pre-disposed to like the young officers who were posted to the company, and I fell on the right side of the divide. He did not, I thought, have much time for some other officers, but to my surprise he was a great admirer of Rodney Hazzard, company commander of ‘C’ Company, a man whom I thought to be pompous and unbending. Rodney’s junior company officers were admirers as well, and many young subalterns were aware that C Company was probably the best part of the battalion in purely military terms. Many years later I met Rodney again, at a wedding, and greeted him warily. Having established who I was and chatted for a while, Rodney confidentially asked me whether I too had thought that some of our fellow officers of the time were not one’s first choices of companion for a walking holiday. We chatted and reminisced for some time as the speeches droned on. Eddie had divined the amusing and human man behind the distancing mask. Indeed, Eddie became gamekeeper on Rodney’s family estate after leaving the army, where he was on one


occasion responsible for facing a gang of poachers alone at night. The story, much told and re-told, about how Eddie persuaded the poachers to leave whilst they still could, has become a small part of the mythology that surrounds people like him. Suffice it to say that poachers were not known to trouble that estate again.

It would be fair to say that if we young officers thought that C Company under Rodney Hazzard’s command was the best in the battalion for a platoon commander, every single young officer knew for certain that to have Eddie as company sergeant major was as good for learning to be a soldier as it could get.

Under Eddie’s guidance I learned far more about the jungle and life both in it and outside than I ever would have done in the ordinary course of the formal training on offer. Under Eddie’s guidance I have cooked and eaten termites and rodents. I learned to cut liana vines and catch the precious, cool and pure water that they offer. Eddie’s little bag of spices and curry powder could make all this, and even standard rations, palatable. In time, this became valuable, as the school’s expertise was offered to the American forces, now fighting to save off failure in Vietnam. I spent time as instructor on short two- or three-day courses designed to teach American aircrew the most elementary survival techniques, to keep themselves alive if shot down over the jungle, until help would arrive. It was a real shock to meet the first group of trainees. Not one of them wanted to be in the US forces, not one wanted to go anywhere near Vietnam, and every one had no interest in anything except staying well away from danger and going home safely. To sleep on the ground, where every poisonous animal in South East Asia could reach one, was simply not an option. To drink water from a liana was clearly suicidal, and hot meals were supposed to be delivered at the end of every day. The lack of iced drinks was a reflection on the lack of civilisation that had affected Great Britain since America rescued us in the last World War. In due course I was not at all surprised that the US forces pulled out of Vietnam in something that looked then like, and now is recognised as, defeat.

More than thirty years after leaving the Army, I met John Slim, son of the famous Second World War general. John too had been a soldier, served in and around the SAS for many years, and had commanded that regiment. I asked him whether he remembered Eddie, and was gratified to learn that my youthful recognition of him as a special man and highly skilled soldier had been correct. John recalled him instantly: “Eddie - he was a man among men.”

Eddie is firmly in my Hall of Fame, the people who made a difference.

The jungle was a relief from a battalion life that clearly did not suit everyone. One fellow-officer expressed his frustration during dinner at the RAF Beach Club at Changi. Sweeping up several settings of cutlery, he hurled it all up into the fan revolving majestically above his head. “God, I hate this bloody place!” Knives, forks and spoons sprayed out among the astonished diners. The wife of a senior RAF officer sitting nearby attempted a reprimand. “Madam, if this were Aden, that would have been a grenade, and there’d be one every day. Think yourself lucky.” Years later I met up with this free spirit again; a decorated, retired senior officer had replaced the bored lieutenant, but the same spirit was still there, and the eyes metaphorically scanned the ceiling for the presence of a revolving fan. He naturally denied that the event ever took place, but I wrote a diary, and he didn’t.

The town of Changi was a little fishing village at one time, but the arrival of the British, and their return after the Second World War, had given rise to a little town that catered for the needs of the Royal Naval families at Kranji, the RAF at Changi and their military neighbours at Selerang Barracks. It did not operate a balanced economy, almost everyone worked for, or somehow depended on the British presence. A few fortunate tailors depended on contracts that enabled them to fit, make and deliver tropical uniforms within 23 hours of a newcomer’s arrival. Others offered similar speed of service for making suits, shirts, tailored shorts and the like for non-military uses. The emporium of Yee Yee Tailors was favoured by many KSLI officers, for no discernible reason: neither product, speed of service nor price seemed to distinguish them from any of their rivals.

Changi shopping 1965, Yee Yee Tailors in background

Electrical goods shops offered reel-to-reel tape recorders, record players, vinyl records, frequently featuring Petula Clark, Peter, Paul and Mary and other favourites of the time. Useless hand-held radios, intercoms and other electronics were sold in a dozen shops. Street vendors appeared at dusk with pans of rice concoctions held precariously on the handle-bars of their tricycles. Thus, they fed us whilst simultaneously we fed the local mosquito population.

Singapore City itself was a taxi ride away from Changi. A taxi or bus into the city was cheap, and should have been; during monsoon season, it was important to select one’s transport carefully: some older vehicles had long since lost their floors to rust, and during any rain storm, passengers were treated to a upwards shower bath if they were unfortunate enough to be in one of these decrepit vehicles. Mrs Butcher’s nightclub knew us well. It was the first discotheque that I had ever heard of, in Singapore City itself. Mrs Butcher was respectable and her nightclub was the same. Parents allowed their daughters to visit this club with us. We behaved ourselves, mostly, aware that there was no other nightclub in Singapore and Mrs Butcher had no


time for nonsense from unruly customers. Actually, I think we were patrons, Mrs Butcher’s was not the sort of place that had mere customers.

Across the Causeway that links Singapore with Malaya was the Sky Dance club, but this was a somewhat different establishment. On arrival one bought a book of tickets each of which bought one dance, with the next hostess in line. This social arrangement is known as taxi-dancing. For many years, until long after marriage, I carried the last ticket of my last book in my wallet, reluctant to admit that I would never get to cash it in. The club was open to the sky, at the top of a high building, and there was no refund if your dance was interrupted by rain or thunder. One did not take nicely brought up girls there, although I was innocent enough to think that in terms of suitability there was little to choose between the Sky Dance and Mrs Butcher’s.

We were not attracted to the gentility of the Tanglin Club or Bukkit Timah Club. The bastions of British life during the colonial era held little attraction for us, and were too crowded with the wives of our more senior colleagues and their lunching friends. However, the Tanglin Club had the best swimming pool on the island.

Tanglin Club swimming, 1960s

At some stage during the period of being a good soldier, a combination of the drink, perhaps another failed romance and homesickness all arrived at once. Acting on a sudden impulse, perhaps to end it all, I leapt over the balcony of the pier at the RAF Officers’ Club. The tide was out, the mud waist-deep and extraordinarily smelly. Even after extended showers and application of soap no-one would give me a lift back to Selerang Barracks and I was obliged to make my odiferous way back, alone. If that was an attempt to end it all, I have not committed suicide again since then; the laundry bills that follow are too great.

The Army owed much to a British charitable foundation, the Nuffield Trust. This organisation had funds that bought sports equipment for military units in far-flung places. The KSLI already owned a small yacht, Chuff, or was that Chough?, bought by the trust. This had been shipped from Plymouth to Singapore by the Royal Navy, in a hair-raising voyage that had included being dumped on a quayside in some remote


harbour when the ship was diverted to do some proper naval work involving actual military action rather than providing ferry services. Nuffield munificence now provided a couple of small power boats for use as water-ski tow craft. I cannot say that in Singapore any but a few more senior officers and their families saw much benefit from these opportunities for leisure activity, and probably most soldiers never even knew of their existence. I was only aware of them when I was invited to join a party made up by a senior major, and then the invitation came at his daughter’s suggestion rather than from any friendly thoughts of the major himself.

There was no wind on this particular Sunday, making sailing impossible, so we motored out in Chough to our rendezvous with the ski boats. For the first time in my life I was faced by this new sort of boating activity. It looked straightforward, but before my first attempt I was assured that it was much more difficult to master than it looked, and that I would need many attempts even to get up out of the water. In the event, it seemed stupidly easy and I was up on the skis and able to achieve a couple of circuits of the bay at first attempt. It was suggested that I had been less than honest in saying that it was the first time I’d tried this, and denial made it more galling for those who had found the pastime a challenge. Perhaps as a result of the day, I was never that interested in the skiing part of water-skis, but to drive the boats looked like my sort of fun.

It was, of course, difficult to get any worthwhile time away from this existence. Mess life was expensive, the RAF Club was expensive, and a subaltern’s annual pay of £1,200, although supplemented by Local Overseas Allowance, LOA, gave no spare funds for weekend breaks off the island. However, the Casuarinas, a spartan little hotel that was actually a number of wooden huts beside a beach, did give space that was affordable. I could afford to stay here, living a very different life, even if just for a long weekend. It was not lonely, even as a small boy at St John’s on the occasions when we had a film show, missing the film to sit alone in some quiet corner, always undisturbed, was luxury. Staying at the Casuarinas was not luxury, but it was away from the Mess, where increasingly I felt out of place.


From Reg Carlton-Morris (58)

 I was saddened to hear that my old friend Ron de la Grange ( Beaumont 1953-1958) has recently died. Funeral September 3rd 2021.

He and I were in a coxed Four in 1958 which competed in various Regatta's. 

Your date of him leaving Beaumont (c1957) is incorrect. He left Beaumont at the end of the Summer term of 1958, as did I.

The Four were a volunteer crew who made their own arrangements for regatta competition. They achieved a lot of fun taking part, that was their success.

The members of the Four were:

R. de la Grange

T. Richardson

Powell (pronounced Pole)

R. Carlton-Morris

The cox:

O'Conner (ex-1st Eight)

Over the years have enjoyed seeing Ron de la Grange's cheerful features in BU News photographs of the Annual Dinner, later to be the Annual Lunch.

He was a reliable supporter of that event, his happy smile reflecting how much he enjoyed the occasion.

Heard someone today being asked "What is the worst thing about being old?"

The reply was "Remembering being young".

Ron was young when we last met and I recollect many good times in those far off days when at Beaumont.

From Tom Richardson (58)

Please forgive me for not replying earlier, I had a small op on my arm and wasn't sure if I would be able to make it.  The op was all successful but in the interim I completely forgot to let you know about the BU lunch, so apologies.  My wife has now committed us to babysitting duties in Bath.  I do like to come every year although my arthritis is really affecting my mobility now, but hopefully next year as I take your point about the importance of meeting up.

I have also neglected to let you know of the death of my younger brother Timothy Francis Richardson.  He was not a member of the BU but several BU members have asked after him at the BU dinners, I think he was in college 1959-64.  He died on Christmas Eve 2020 aged 75 yrs of heart and kidney failure in hospital where he also contracted Covid.  He never married but was a caring uncle to lots of nephews and nieces, we could not all go to the funeral but there was a live broadcast which was very moving.  I don't know if you would want to put this in the BU News.  He is survived by  his brothers John, me and StephenJohn is in a nursing home in London, I retired from General Practice in 2006 and two of my children are doctors and the third is a tax specialist, and Stephen is still working as a consultant endocrinologist in New York.

From Philip de Ayala (son of Richard)

It was such a pleasant surprise to meet Mandy Bedford at Phyllis Court. I had only recently joined the club & it was the first time in many years that I had attended Henley Regatta.

My father & grandfather had both always spoken so highly of their days at Beaumont. So I had felt it was totally appropriate to wear their old school tie to an occasion they had no doubt attended many times in the past. Neither, I believe, did any serious rowing at Beaumont but I'm sure they would often have gone to support the Beaumont VIII.

My mother is now 87 & stopped using the internet a while ago. I've visited the old school grounds several times over the years &, though it is now a smart hotel, it still has a very special atmosphere. Above all I remember as a child of about 5 watching my father in the early 1960's play his last cricket match against the school 1st XI. It was a perfect summer's day & we had a great picnic at the edge of the boundary.

My parents had intended to send me to Beaumont but it was not to be. Instead  like several contemporaries, I went to Worth Abbey which, without the tradition or iconic grounds of Beaumont, always seemed a a rather bland substitute.

I would be delighted to be put on your membership list & would be very keen to attend your future events. Many congratulations on not only keeping the Beaumont Union going but on running such a fascinating website. I plan now to spend many pleasant hours perusing its contents fully. 

From Brian Deane.

As you know, our permanent place of residence is Argentina, with our ranch located in Uruguay, in second place. March 12th. 2020, we decided to visit the ranch and, thanks to the pandemia, are still here after 17 months!

From Tony Waldeck

My very old friend (in both senses) Gonzalo Calderon was with me at prep school and at Beaumont for a while (until his diplomat papa got posted from London). I am still very much in touch with him and he always claims that Beaumont was ideally placed for the RC families of the Corps Diplomatique in London. As to the school being elitist, quite interesting! Gonzalo's family really are from the top of Spanish aristocracy. His wonderful mama was in 2 minds about sending the boy to Beaumontuntil she discovered that the Duke of Alba had been at the school! He was the Spanish equivalent of the Duke of Westminster so that nailed it! Some years ago G was in Paris and a taxi stopped outside his hotel, dropping someone off and convenient for G to take his place, Not before the 2 chaps exchanged words. The fellow alighting spoke good English and G commented favourably. The man turned out to be a named distiller (cannot recall his name, dammit, something like Martell) and the reason for his English? He went to Beaumont! Wonderful moment for the two. (“Memory recall”: Gonzalo tells me that the man he met at the taxi in Paris was Gonzalez Byas! Who, Gonzalo says, was at Beaumont a long time before us.

He also quotes Henry VIII on turbulent priests.

Pip, pip, P.S

Contemporary with me was a very effeminate boy called Sixte de Bourbon. He wasn't liked at all; in retrospect I feel sorry for him. In class one day the subject came up about whether any of us might have a vocation. An uncomfortable question for what, really, were a bunch of ruffians. So, the question came around to de Bourbon. In his pansy French accent he said "Well, you see father I am a de Bourbon. The lowest I could be in the Church would be as a bishop". Greeted with howls of brutish laughter. Ho Hum.

Ed. Prince Sixte is known as Enrique V by supporters, and considered Regent of Spain by the Carlists who accord him the titles Duke of Aranjuez and Infante of Spain. He is very right wing and for a “pansy” he took part in a far-right meeting in Vienna   a few years ago to discuss  how to 'save Europe from liberalism and the "satanic" homosexual lobby'.

From Fr Kevin Fox.

Thanks for the latest bumper fun book. Particularly I liked the piece on memorials. I hope you can have a fitting centenary service this year whether live or streamed. Looking at memorials other than Beaumont's manifestly 'hard to criticise' masterpiece (or maybe a gender-neutral 'best in class'), you - or is it still Mr Huggins - are generous in recognising Mt St Mary's quality: 'successful though not perfect'. Agreed, and the principal reason for the imperfection was economy. Adrian Gilbert Scott's Plan A was for a larger chapel that would have been splendidly central in the school; but funds wouldn't go so far, and in Scott's Plan B the nave was confined to the lines of the existing chapel, making for a narrow nave that was not ideally proportioned to the fine sanctuary. It is still big enough to hold the whole school (and under cover) but no tree-lined lawns for the overflow!




P.S. The detached plaque sitting in the window lists the handful of Boer War victims.

Thanks again and all good wishes.

                            NO, Not the B U REVIEW

The 3rd XV (after disobedience)

Richard, Simon,

Nigel and Mike and Valentine,

Loved their ,

game of rugby

though they never

crossed the opponents line,

Richard, Simon,

Nigel and Mike and Valentine

Did plenty of scrummaging, chasing and kicking

But couldn’t get passed the “swine”.

The next fixture was against

the old enemy: the French Lycee,

They brought their girl supporters,

Expecting a victory like Bastille  Day,

Mr O’ Malley exhorted his team

They are larger and bigger in the melee,

But remember those tricks I taught you

Even if they shout foul play.

Richard, Simon,

Nigel and Mike and Valentine,

Warmed up on the pitch,

Fortified by an illicit glass of wine.

Richard, Simon,

Nigel and Mike and Valentine,

Started the match with vigour

To re-write the team’s story line.

The best French player Jacques

Slipped on a meads cowpat

Lost his balance completely,

Went down on his arse ge-splat,

Lay there puffing and cursing

He said that wasn’t too clever

Je vous donne le Tit for Tat.

Richard, Simon,

Nigel and Mike and Valentine,

Went at them if it were El Alamein

Sending the ball from the scrum

And down the

Threequarters’ line.

Richard, Simon,

Nigel and Mike and Valentine

Pushed the ball over in the corner,

And gave them the victory sign.

The French came back at them hard

But the boys wouldn’t give a yard,

We were stuck in our twenty-five

And the scrum seemed to be losing its drive

the  French girls they shouted for more

But we rallied again and gave them what for,

Down the centre ran Mike

for a three points crash dive.

Richard, Simon,

Nigel, and Mike and Valentine

Loved their game of rugby

And for this win gave thanks to The Devine.

Richard, Simon

Nigel and Mike and Valentine

Gave their all on that day

And on their victorious Home way

For the first time sang the Carmen

and not the Dies Irae.


                                      A M D G