Many of you tell me that I have an encyclopaedic memory for anything to do with Beaumont and when I comment on a piece of news especially aspects of history certainly my wife Annie always says “No, not another Beaumont connection” or words a little less ladylike. I usually reply that it is not my fault that such a small school produced so many people of interest and the majority have made a contribution to society both large and small. I am glad to report that Beaumont produced few criminals and involvements in scandal have been relatively rare. One aspect of Editing THE REVIEW is that one still comes across Beaumont connections where one least expects them. I was still at St John’s when Ruth Ellis was the last female to be executed in this country for murder but I recall it being discussed at home when she went to the gallows in July 1955 – and yes there is a Beaumont connection and one for Edgar Lustgarten whose short films of murder cases were part of our schooldays.



To download a PDF version of this Summer 2019 review please click here.











BU Lunch


Advance notice that our lunch will take place Monday 7th October at the Caledonian Club. Please put the date in your Diary


Those of you who may feel that the armed services have dominated the limelight in recent years will be pleased to hear that his year’s Chairman is Oliver Hawkins (61).




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Oliver studied at the West Sussex College of Art and St John’s College Cambridge. Among many things he is a talented contemporary artist (un eboueur), one of the driving forces behind the Friends of Arundel Cathedral and, to add a bit of spice, an expert on D H Lawrence.









The BUGS meeting at Westerham takes place on the 29th May. Supporters are most welcome.  We hope that 8 to 10 players will contest the Bedford Claret Jug and BUGS will also contest the Desmond Tolhurst trophy against the BUCS ( BU Casuals aka St John’s OBs). All to play for!


 We also have the match against the Old Worthians at The Aldington 26th July and the Old Gregorians at Denham 10th September to look forward to.






Please remember if you change your Email address to let me know. Each time I send out a missive, I invariably get a few that come winging back as “undelivered”: I usually let it ride one more time and then remove the address. If you find you have heard nothing from me and the website has been updated, get in contact.




The REVIEW is non-political in that it does not support one view over another but it is by nature political in the articles I produce about OBs. In the last edition we had William Buckley on the far right of US politics and I give space to the left wing thoughts of Francis Beckett as and when he writes. Philippe de Schoutheete EU Bureaucrat ! Sykes and his responsibility for the Middle East situation. Lord Emly who refused to drink Queen Victoria’s health over the Irish question and expelled from the Lord: these are but a few. The REVIEW, I hope is a bit “edgy”: it makes us stand apart from other Old Boy newsletter – often dull and dreary. One of the strengths of Beaumont was I believe its readiness to discuss the problems of the day. I find this in letters to the REVIEW back in the Twenties and Thirties, articles written by the boys themselves and throughout its existence the HL Debating Society’s topics. We were very lucky to be able to tackle issues of importance: great lessons for later life. We learnt tolerance of others views however distasteful we might find them. (I remember being incensed to find some of my friends opposed to hunting).


  Adding Hans-Christoph’s piece on “B….t” to my “round robin” was in keeping with our ethos. I could have awaited history, however I considered to have a European’s opinion would be of general interest as he is on the outside of the debate. I am certain that you accept that he is entitled to his views as you are to yours and me to mine. Anyway, I’m glad it rattled some cages and I have included some of your responses under Correspondence.


The “lighter touch”: John Marshall picked up from The Times  that the talk of Westminster is the “BAmber  Dream Team”  - perhaps Hon Members might like to make some nominations of our own to join such an administration: modesty prevents me mentioning,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


Further to this John added:- I took Bamber around St John’s when he came on a visit during my time ( of four years ) teaching there. As we came up from the boot room and up that short flight of stone steps past that lavatory immediately before the study place he pushed the door of the privy open and thought it appropriate to confide to me that “ I pumped a lot of shit in there!”


Ed: The “late Lamented” could have been talking about the state of British politics 50 years on.






It was brought to my attention that I may be guilty of using an inappropriate word in the “History Facts” section of the Website. I described an individual as Coloured.


 It is difficult to keep up with what the latest terminology that is now giving offence in our PC World. However,  the word lives on in the name of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, generally called the NAACP In 2008, its communications director Carla Sims said "the term 'coloured' is not derogatory, [the NAACP] chose the word 'coloured' because it was the most positive description commonly used [in 1909, when the association was founded].


It may be outdated and antiquated but not offensive. – Some might say appropriate for the BU.


I would not wish the Website to give offence to anyone and just as well I have not mentioned the Colours award to the Schismatic XI. Some of you will undoubtedly recall Victor Xavier who played in the ‘59 side and I very much hope that he didn’t feel a racist slur was intended.




I regret to inform you of the following deaths: Robin Mulcahy (57) one time Jesuit, long time doctor, loyal friend and supporter of the BU. Dr John Kells (59) T’ai Chi Grand Master. Peter Brindley (56) Lawyer and writer on legal matters. Peter Wheeler (47) Lived and loved his American Heritage. Mike Sykes-Balls (63) who dropped his Balls and founded Dragoman. Jean Vanier (37) the most inspirational of OBs and “living Saint”. See Obituaries Website section. (Robin’s will appear in the next edition)




 From David Martin: “After John Boon (1955-1961) died in December 2006, his widow Gayl found John’s copy of the above book and passed it to me for safe keeping. As I already have my own copy of the above I would like to donate John’s copy to the BU.


I would like to propose that it be offered to any one by way of an informal written auction to the highest bidder and with any proceeds realised going into the BU coffers”. BIDS to the Editor.




Jesuit Alumni Livery (Notice)




Blandyke Dinner 2019 - Save the Date - 18th June 2019




The dinner will be held in the Judges’ Dining Room at the Old Bailey by kind permission of Sheriff Vincent Keaveny. 




John Dewhurst has kindly offered to talk to about the Jesuits who were martyred in the City of London. It may be highly appropriate that we are dinning at the Old Bailey!




As always, if you know of any others Members of Livery Companies with Jesuit connections and who may be interested, please let me know.




Steve Hodkinson steve.hodkinson@scotchpartners.com






Stonyhurst Association Dinner






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 The dinner will be on the 9th November (eve of Remembrance Sunday) when Tim Livesey OS77 will be President and Fr Tom Shufflebotham SJ will be the guest speaker.  As the dinner is at the De Vere Beaumont Estate, Old Boys of Beaumont have been kindly invited to attend!  


Booking is available on the Stonyhurst website: https://association.stonyhurst.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Annual-Dinner-2019-Booking-Form.pdf


Help line


Mrs B Sillitoe, Stonyhurst Association Office Tel No: 01254 827043 Email association@stonyhurst.ac.uk








BOFS in Lourdes.


Easter was late but the BOFS were on time though some fell by the wayside as departure neared. The Baileys were unable to make it, Bill Gammell as Master of the Feltmakers was judging Ladies Hats, Tim FitzGerald O’Connor was working - “Oh these business lunches” and finally Tony Parish setting out from Italy “Cannot make it. Have a problem with Camper! Tailgate won’t close. Have to return to Varese. I am very sorry and upset”: so were we not to see them .Perhaps Tony should have stuck to Ferraris.  So who did turn up? Well apart from Yours Truly, Derek Hollamby, Tony Outred, Robert and Agnes Schulte and with Richard Sheehan (sadly without Marylu) on his Irish passport we ensured that in the BU tradition we had our international flavour. Of course we were brilliantly organised as ever by our new BU Hon Secretary Mandy Bedford and administered to by Mons. Jim Curry (Hon) our Chaplain. With other group members we were 17.


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We BOFS like to stick to our routines but 2019 was going to be different.  If our numbers were reduced so also was the HCPT Pilgrimage as many of the groups which were teacher led were unable to make it with the return to school, so Mass was in the Basilica de St Bernadette. The Ukrainian Church was fully booked as was our usual restaurant in Bartres. Finally the Hotel de Palais at Biarritz was closed for renovation (The Donald is going to visit). Did that deter us: not at all, we had our usual BU gathering in the “Riviera Sol” at midnight where we were joined by Patrick and Maggie Burgess, John and Andrew Flood and Michael Wortley. Robert Bruce was detained elsewhere – we gather “he was in the Outer Hebrides carrying his daughter Maeve’s handbag: sounded very commando”. Getting back to our itinerary we got a good soaking at the night mass at the Grotto on our first evening, but despite the bad forecast we went to Gavarnie for our picnic with all the regional delicacies that your correspondent could find in the market.



Fr Jim and Acolyte Outred prepare for Mass at Gavarnie


 Fr Jim said Mass “en plein air” with a snow covered backdrop. Our Bartres Lunch on the Saturday was at La Petite Bergere where we were well wined and dined. The Hotel Moderne looked after us with their usual care and attention and in return we greatly reduced their stock of Armagnac and Veuve de Beaumont Champagne (a pity that it is not available in the UK).  


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Part of the “High” Stations


I’m glad to report that we had few dramas this year though Patrick Burgess lost his watch in his hotel room: the frantic but successful search was described by John Flood who then promptly left his telephone behind at Hosanna house: was this a case of “Hallo Pot, Kettle calling”. Tony Outred had the pleasure of sharing a room with Richard Sheehan but reported his initial concern on waking to find Richard bowing up and down on his knees: was this an Irish Hajj?











Happy pilgrims: Maggie  and Mandy


A huge thank you as always to Mandy for her impeccable organisation and Fr Jim for his inspirational guidance.





From now on “its downhill all the way”




And so we returned to Stansted courtesy of Ryan air: squeezed into my seat and about to read the latest Felix Francis racing novel I wondered if Michael O’Leary had given his Tiger Roll similar treatment - of course not. We did though have one thing in common – the little horse had a “Mary” medal sewn onto his bridle to see him safely home: mine was in my pocket.








Jean Vanier’s world of love and kindness.


Mary Wakefield


Ed. I have produced several articles about Jean Vanier over the years and this is one of many.






Jean Vanier has died at the age of 90. In 2017, the founder of L’Arche spoke to The Spectator‘s Mary Wakefield about how a visit to an ‘idiot’ asylum inspired him:


Some of the time, most of the time, it’s tricky to believe in God. There’s just too much that’s sad — and behind it all, the ceaseless chomping of predators. Then sometimes the mist lifts and just for a moment you can see why the saints insist that everything’s OK. There’s a documentary out now, Summer in the Forest, that for a while cleared the mist for me and made sense of faith.


It tells the stories of a group of men and women with learning disabilities who live alongside volunteers without disabilities in Trosly-Breuil, a small French village north of Paris. The community is called L’Arche — The Ark — and it was founded 53 years ago by a French-Canadian former naval officer, Jean Vanier. In his mid-thirties, Vanier visited an institution for ‘idiots’ and was struck by the great loneliness there. Where most of us would scuttle away guiltily, Jean Vanier made a decision in the autumn of 1964 that sent his life’s trajectory off at an odd angle.


He invited two men, Raphael Simi and Philippe Seux, to leave the asylum where they’d spent their adult lives, and come to live with him in his cottage in Trosly-Breuil. He thought it would be fun, he says. He thought they could go for drives.


In the film, a now elderly Philippe Seux explains what Vanier’s decision meant to him: ‘In the psychiatric hospital, there was nothing to do — just sit on your arse all day doing sod all. When some lads misbehaved, they were given injections to calm down. It was quite a relief to be out of there, I can tell you.’


The cottage became L’Arche, which in turn became an international movement over the years, and there are now hundreds of L’Arche communities worldwide, where men and women who would otherwise live locked up can live as family. The strange and lovely thing is that if Summer in the Forest is to be believed, it’s a family filled with unusual joy.


Jean Vanier is now 88 and, if you ask around in Catholic circles, it’s whispered he’s a saint. He still lives in Trosly-Breuil, but in his spare time he’s a sort of secret superhero for peace — flying around the world to broker between powerful players. Justin Welby called on him this year to mediate between cross bishops, and it’s said he made them all wash each other’s feet. Though Vanier’s life has been punctuated with great accomplishments and prestigious awards, it’s that first invitation to Raphael and Philippe that seems most impressive. You can change the direction of your life — you can change other people’s lives! Deep in my everyday rut, I forget.


When I spoke to Jean Vanier, England was simmering in the aftermath of the election and the Grenfell Tower fire. Summer in this city — all the railing against the rich — seemed a far cry from Summer in the Forest. Vanier lives with and champions the very poorest people. I asked him: All this rage against the rich, can good come of it? Will it be productive? He replied: ‘I mean, it’s not only unproductive but it kills oneself. If you hate people, then you begin to hate yourself. You destroy yourself and no more peace! You are just continually in anger.’


So what are we to do? (When you’ve got a candidate for sainthood on the line, you cut to the chase.) ‘When there is a lot of poverty it should be a call for a lot of people to rise up to share tenderness,’ he said. ‘It’s what the Samaritan did when he bent down and started looking after this Jewish guy somewhere between Jericho and Jerusalem. Something suddenly rose up in him that he could communicate life, and he did it to this guy who was a sort of enemy in religion. We all have that — that’s the beauty, we all have that potential. If we can cool the anger down.’


One way of cooling the anger — better than another smug-fest pop concert — might be a giant screening of Summer in the Forest in Trafalgar Square. This, I think, is actually a genuinely good idea. The residents of L’Arche, unlike most Corbynistas, are some of the least fortunate people on the planet. But they have a laugh. The documentary shows the canteen at breakfast. One young man, David Surmaire, says: ‘I’m a strong man, me. People who treat me as if I’m small — they have to stop it.’ Then he drops to all fours, and barks like a dog while his girlfriend miaows. They’re having a blast. Jean Vanier eats all his meals in the canteen. He sits to one side and gently teases his friends.


Michel Petit, the real star of Summer in the Forest, is a barrel-bellied 75-year-old with the gait and purposefulness of a toddler. In his pre-L’Arche life he spent angry decades in a home. He says, simply and seriously to camera: ‘Jean Vanier is a man who loves us very much. He loves me very much. He taught me about calm.’


To me, Jean said: ‘I’ve been with these people now for 30 years, they are super people. Because they are people of fun, they love to celebrate. Every meal can become a celebration. That doesn’t mean to say that now and again people won’t prod their next-door neighbour with a fork — this is life. But the fundamental movement from many people with disabilities, they have been so pushed down, they don’t know they’re lovable, and then the day that they discover that they are lovable and they can trust themselves, then it becomes whoopee!’


The L’Arche communities are peaceful places, but they’re a puzzle for the West. We all talk great game on equality but the truth is most of us think: ‘I’d rather be dead than very disabled.’ Witness the hundreds of poor babies with Down’s syndrome aborted each year. So how can these men and women at L’Arche be living better lives than our own?


Vanier explained: ‘Look, there are two realities, two cultures. There is a culture of power and there is a culture of relationships. The men and women I live with see that it is good to be together and we don’t have to solve all the problems of the world when we are together. They teach me to lighten up. But then now and again,’ he said, ‘you get people from The Spectator who ring you up and you have to start being serious…’


I looked down at my great list of serious questions, and ploughed on. Here in the UK, the dominant philosophy in the social services is one of ‘care in the community’. The idea is that people with learning difficulties should live not in homes, but in their own flats, independently. Communities like L’Arche are closing down. Isn’t that lunacy?


‘We did that for a while right in the early days,’ said Vanier. ‘We found jobs for people and got them into apartments and everything, but then they found that television and beer go really well together and then we had to work with the AA! The point is not just to have independence, it’s to have friends. People belong together in a shared life.’


‘If I could change the law,’ he said, ‘I would organise it so that industries can be welcoming people with disabilities, meaning they don’t have to pay such high prices, they have much greater flexibility in wages and time and so and so, that could be adapted to people with disabilities.’


Oh what a hot potato this is in England! Rosa Monckton argued the same case in this magazine a few months ago. She suggested that people with learning disabilities who long to work, should not have to be paid the minimum wage. The reaction was apoplectic, I told Jean. ‘What a shame!’ he said. ‘The Down’s people would bring in laughter to the businesses! It would benefit everyone. But anyway…’ Anyway. It’s life, and we’re all in it together.


According to the philosophy of L’Arche, men and women with learning disabilities — loving and guileless — teach us how to live. But, says Vanier, they have another lesson for us too — they also teach us the mystery of living with loss. This I find unnerving. What is the mystery of loss?


‘We all live with loss,’ said Vanier. ‘It’s inevitable. We begin, most of us, by being loved totally when we’re born — then we enter into a world of loss, a mystery of loss. Every time you lose a job, or something precious, or there’s death, there’s loss. We cannot live without this movement of loss and gain. But some people are so frightened of loss, they are just scared stiff of loss.’


He laughed. I didn’t. I thought of a life spent acquiring and keeping safe: a husband, the baby, a house, the great stream of packages from Amazon. The possibilities for loss give me vertigo.


‘You can’t escape it,’ said Jean Vanier, gently. ‘In the end, you even lose what you feel is yourself. We all do. There’s a beauty in that. There’s a beauty even in something like Alzheimer’s, because it is a cry. It’s not a disaster, it’s a cry for a one-to-one.’


But how can that be beautiful? Isn’t it just catastrophically sad?


‘We have to learn to cry,’ said Jean Vanier, ‘because we’ve created an identity of power and not an identity of relationships, and that’s what the whole film is about — an identity of relationships.’


It’s true that Summer in the Forest turns the world upside down. If these men and women, who have so little of what the world admires, can be so happy, then we must be going about things a little wrong. The mystery of loss remains a mystery to me — but I’m left with the image of Sebastian, a member of L’Arche in Trosly-Breuil, whose life is spent lying scribbled up on a sort of motorised bed: limbs useless, head twisted sideways. In the film he’s shown having his heart checked by a doctor. When the doc is done, Jean, standing beside him, leans his head down next to Sebastian’s. ‘You are so beautiful, Sebastian,’ he says. Sebastian, who should by all rights be furious with life, accepts Jean’s love.


Pope Francis pays tribute to Jean Vanier


Christian philosopher, writer and humanist Jean Vanier, an ardent advocate for the most marginalized by society, died on 7 May aged 90. Pope Francis paid tribute to him as he travelled back to the Vatican after a three-day apostolic visit to the Balkan nations of Bulgaria and North Macedonia.


By Linda Bordoni


“I want to express my gratitude for his testimony” Pope Francis told journalists aboard the papal flight from Skopje to Rome, as he recalled Jean Vanier who died on Tuesday.


As he prepared for the questions put to him during the usual inflight press conference upon his return from an apostolic visit abroad, the Pope’s priority was to pay his heartfelt tribute to the man whom, he said, was able to read and interpret the Christian gaze on “the mystery of death, of the cross, of suffering”, on “the mystery of those who are discarded by the world”.


Jean Vanier, who gave up a career in the Navy to follow in the footsteps of Christ, was the founder of two international organizations for people with intellectual disabilities: “L’Arche” and “Faith and Light”. He advocated for marginalized people for over five decades, highlighting the profound teachings and the gifts that they offer.    


The Pope said he knew of Vanier’s illness through Sister Genevieve who kept him informed.


“A week ago I called him on the phone, he listened to me, but he could barely speak” he said.


Pope Francis said that Jean Vanier worked “not only for the least but also for those who, even before being born,” risk being condemned to death.


“He spent his life in this way” the Pope concluded: “Thank you to him and thank you God for having given us a man of such great witness”.




“One for Lustgarten”


When I was researching the “Runneymede” books I looked up the Cussens. Edward was a good example of an OB – Oxford, barrister, Military intelligence and a High Court Judge. Investigation of Desmond Cussen, his cousin, only produced details of a man involved in the Ruth Ellis Case: the last female executed in this country. I dismissed this as obviously a different Desmond; how wrong I was: -


“As 9am approached on 13 July 1955, crowds of people began to line the streets outside Holloway prison. Some stared solemnly at the prison walls. Others prayed. Most fell silent. Inside the prison gates, Ruth Ellis received communion and drank a glass of brandy. Then, as the clock ticked round to the appointed hour, she was led to the execution chamber”.


According to the News Chronicle, Ellis “looked on a crucifix for a few seconds before she died”. She was, stated the Daily Mirror, “the calmest woman who ever went to the gallows”. That equanimity wasn’t shared by thousands of people in the country at large. On that grim July morning, Ellis became the last woman to be executed in Britain – and the furore surrounding her fate would resonate for years.








By the time Ellis died, her case had already become a cause celebre. It dominated newspaper front pages, inspired hundreds of Britons to pen letters begging for clemency, and led to a dramatic 11th‑hour appeal for a reprieve.


The Ellis case gave the nation a considerable emotional jolt – and that’s because a huge number of Britons could personally identify with the 28-year-old wife and mother: “She seems to most people a normal human – all too human – being, weak, foolish, hyper-sensitive.”


Born Ruth Neilson on October 9, 1927 in Rhyl, Wales. The daughter of a cellist and one of five children raised in a strict Catholic home, Ruth Ellis left school at age 14 to work as a waitress. At age 17, she had a brief affair with a married man and gave birth to a son. After a short while, she never heard from the father again.


At the age of 23, Ruth married George Johnson Ellis. The troubled marriage ended in separation and produced a daughter whom George would not acknowledge. Ruth soon took up with another man, David Blakely, but the turbulent relationship was fraught with jealousy. The situation was spinning out of control when, on the evening of Easter Sunday, April 10, 1955, Ellis fired five rounds at her ex-lover David Blakely outside the Magdala pub in Hampstead. Blakely was rushed to the New End Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Ruth Ellis was charged with murder which she admitted and found guilty at her trial at The Old Bailey on June 20, 1955.


What has this to do with Beaumont apart from the team who ran the Department of Public Prosecutions at the time? Sir Theobald Mathew the Director had his son John educated at Beaumont and his father in Law was the Hon Cyril Russell (83) son of the Ld. Russell of Killowen.  Mathew’s assistant was Frederick Barry (20), a barrister who spent most of his career with the department and finally one the three assistant solicitors was Patrick Cussen (25).


The man who was a key witness to the prosecution was Patrick Cussen’s young nephew Desmond (40). He was the “other man” in Ruth’s life and with whom she was living at the time of the murder. According to their police statements, Cussen dropped Ruth and her son Andre at her flat in Kensington at 7.30 pm on the evening of the shooting and didn’t see her again until she was in prison. All seems perfectly straightforward and Desmond would not be the first OB to have been following a somewhat louche lifestyle.


I’m not a believer in conspiracy theories but the involvement of Cussen in the murder case has been brought to my attention by Monica Weller who has become an expert on the inconsistencies in this murder. Before discussing the actual killing and the trial, we need first of all to look at the key players.


Ruth Ellis came to London during the war years and her first job was as a nude model. She was then employed as a hostess at The Court Club in Duke’s Street. At some stage she met Dr Stephen Ward who later found notoriety in the Profumo affair. Ward’s skill was “finding uneducated girls from a poor background.” He groomed and transformed them into ‘somebodies’. There is evidence that Ward provided information to the Intelligence services from what the girls gathered entertaining their clients. In 1951 Ward found her a small role in a film “Lady Godiva rides again” and a couple of years later the job of managing The Little Club in Mayfair much frequented by Society and the film world.




Blakely and Ellis


 It was here she met David Blakely through racing driver Mike Hawthorn. Blakely was a public school man (Shrewsbury) and had expensive tastes but also a racing driver himself with a passion for fast cars and hard drinking. There are some that link Blakely to the cold war spies Maclean, Burgess and Philby. At the time of meeting Ruth, Blakely was engaged to another woman but soon moved in with Ellis, who lived in an apartment above the nightclub. He was smitten and began proposing marriage. Ellis initially desisted, as she was still legally married to George Ellis, but eventually accepted. Blakely began to show a jealous side and spent progressively more time at the nightclub, where he could keep an eye on Ellis, who enjoyed much male attention from her customers. Blakely’s behaviour began to have an adverse effect on her earnings and his inheritance was all but depleted in the funding of his lavish lifestyle and on developing a racing car. Fuelled by frustration and alcohol, the couple began fighting over money issues and before long these fights became violent. Blakely had been keeping another mistress, which had provoked jealousy in Ellis. She then took another lover, the slightly older Desmond Cussen.


Desmond Edward Cussen was described during Ellis' court proceedings as her 'alternative lover', in a 1999 Guardian article as her “sugar daddy”, though at 33 he was hardly the classic older man. He was a rather respectable director of the family tobacco business: Cussen & Co. What else do we know of Desmond?







He was the younger of two brothers the sons of David Cussen and the family lived in Leatherhead: they were described as wealthy. Desmond’s elder brother William followed his elder cousins Edward and Patrick to Beaumont leaving in 1936. Desmond was to leave in 1940. He was not an academic or a sportsman like his elder brother but he did cox the 1st VIII, played in the 2nd XV, enjoyed tennis and was said to be a plucky boxer though he didn’t win any bouts.


A contemporary Michael de Burgh remembers Desmond as good company and a reliable friend: he was in Africa at the time of the murder and knew nothing of Desmond’s involvement and was surprised at the revelations.  Desmond’s career on leaving is not entirely clear. Apparently he initially joined the Home Guard where it was reported that he was a crack shot (though at school he was not rated a marksman). He stayed with the Home Guard until April 1941. It was then said that he had trained and became a Lancaster Bomber pilot till the end of the War. However, in the Air Force List at the Public Record Office the entry for Desmond Cussen, 197248, is odd. It states he achieved pilot officer status in the General Duties Branch on 10th April 1945 and left on 10th October 1945 He took up residence in Devonshire place not far from the flat of Dr Stephen Ward. So what was he up to during those War years? Was he, like Edward, part of the Intelligence/Security services?


At the magistrate’s court in 1955 before Ruth was committed for trial at the Central Criminal Court, Cussen stated he’d known Blakely, “Just over two years, maybe three.” He lied again at Ruth’s trial when he said on oath that he’d known Blakely “Approximately three years.”


There is now evidence of Cussen’s long term friendship with David Blakely. They’d actually enjoyed each other’s company for approximately six years; something that has never been made public. The pair frequently visited the now defunct Paddock Club, which was a mile or so from Cussen’s Leatherhead family home, since the late 1940’s, it was a place frequented by the smart London set. What had Cussen to gain by lying and why did Ellis feel it necessary to kill Blakely in cold blood? Some still believe it to have been a crime of passion but her fate was sealed at the trial when she was asked what she intended to do when she fired the revolver. “It is obvious when I shot him I intended to kill him,” she replied. The trial lasted just over a day. A swift and unanimous verdict of guilty saw the trial judge, Mr Justice Havers, don his black cap to pass the death sentence. Attempts to halt the execution were futile. The Home Secretary, Gwilym Lloyd George, refused to allow any further inquiries. Yet the Home Secretary knew before her execution that she had made a death cell confession to the solicitor, Victor Mishcon (later Lord Mishcon) that she was not the lone, cold-blooded killer she had made herself out to be at her trial. A Home Office note of the conversation explains why she told Mishcon she had not implicated her second lover, Cussen, at her trial. "I didn't say anything about it up to now because it seemed traitorous - absolutely traitorous," she told him. Cussen had supplied the gun.



The murder Weapon


 Ruth Ellis had originally claimed she had been given the revolver three years before by a US servicemen in payment for a debt and maintained that she had ordered a taxi to take her to the Hampstead pub. This is apparently false. Also on the day of the shooting Cussen took Ruth’s son Andre to be with her sister Muriel. While left there Andre didn’t say much to Muriel except that he’d seen Uncle Desmond cleaning and oiling two guns in his Goodwood Court flat the day before. Andre, who was nearly 11 years old, added quite innocently that Uncle Desmond that same day, “drove him and his mother (who was in a state) to a forest to teach his mummy how to shoot”. Cussen had one gun and gave another to Ruth.


Andre thought she was funny because she couldn’t even shoot a tree and her hands kept shaking. Andre held important information but was not interviewed by the police during the investigation into the crime. Was the gun produced at the trial and now housed at the Crime Museum, the crime weapon or was it the second gun that Andre saw Cussen cleaning on the day of the shooting?


There is also evidence from a witness, who was not called at the trial that Cussen was present at the murder scene. This evidence was dismissed as it appeared to be an open-and-shut case of cold- blooded murder. There was no need for forensics on Ruth or her possessions or for investigating the case properly. Apparently nobody else was involved.


Ruth had a gun hanging from her hand. She was pointing it towards Blakely’s dead body. In the press she had already been portrayed as a peroxide blonde tart. Therefore she was guilty.


There was no need to consider if 28 year-old Ruth, the 5’2,” 7-stone woman with tiny bird-like hands, one gnarled as a result of rheumatic fever, with poor eyesight  was physically capable of shooting anyone. Let alone repeatedly pull the trigger on a heavy .38 Smith and Wesson revolver that required a 10lb pull for each shot fired;  it would probably have required both hands for her to hold and fire. There would also have been a considerable recoil. Ruth apparently shot at close range yet there was no blood splattering on her clothing. The murder weapon broke during ballistic tests so remained incomplete: All these aspects were left unsaid at the trial.


Monica Weller looked into the transcripts of the witness statements to discover that there had been alterations:-


The off-duty policeman who happened to be in the Magdala that fateful evening and arrested Ruth after the shooting. His words “She was holding the revolver loosely” (crossed out) “pointing it downwards at a slant” (crossed out) became “she was holding the revolver in her right hand pointing it downwards.” PC Thompson was inside the Magdala when he heard “a succession of bangs” outside. Importantly, his statement at the magistrate’s court “No shot was fired after I came out of the public house” was omitted at the trial. This key witness did not see who shot Blakely, but anyone listening to him being questioned you’d think he did.


Scene of the crime: Ruth Ellis shot David Blakeley on Easter Sunday, 10 April 1955, outside public house The Magdala in Hampstead


Outside the Pub




There was also this statement made by Clive Gunnell, Blakely’s drinking companion at the Magdala on the night of the shooting. Originally he described Ruth pursuing Blakely and pointing the gun at his back. The statement was changed to read “The accused was firing the gun into his back”: these statements went unchallenged.


What seems to have occurred at the trial is that detailed evidence and questioning of witnesses was not required because Ruth admitted the crime. Even her defence counsel, stated categorically that Ruth was guilty. “Let me make this abundantly plain: there is no question here but this woman shot this man….You will not hear one word from me – or from the lady herself – questioning that.”


It would be easy to say that the judicial system let Ellis down, but the fact remains that she admitted her guilt, did not seek an appeal and felt her punishment just.


Image result for gwilym lloyd george


Home Secretary Gwilym Lloyd George


The Home Secretary, apparently rejected the Ruth’s confession to Victor Mishcon just prior to her execution, that on the day she shot her former lover, she had been drinking Pernod for many hours with Desmond Cussen, who had handed her an oiled and loaded gun, and driven her to the scene of the murder.


 Home Office papers show that a stay of execution should have been ordered while this new evidence was investigated.


On the afternoon before she was due to die, Scotland Yard failed to find Cussen to corroborate her account and the Home Secretary instead relied on a prison officer's account of her death cell confession to refuse a reprieve.


The prison officer confirmed Mishcon's version but added crucially, in the view of the Home Office, that Ellis had asked Cussen to give her the gun.


But the official papers, released by the Public Records Office, show that six months after she was hanged, the Home Office  believed the claims that Ruth Ellis had been acting under the influence of Cussen to ask the Director of Public Prosecutions to examine whether he should be charged as an accessory before the murder.


The documents give a detailed view for the first time of the thinking at the highest levels of the Home Office in response to the massive campaign that was mounted to save Ruth Ellis from the gallows.


 Following his interview with Ruth, Mischcon rushed to the Home Office with the new evidence and the most senior Home Office civil servant, Sir Frank Newsam, was tannoyed at Ascot races so that he could return to Whitehall. Scotland Yard were ordered to search for Cussen, but they only waited for an hour outside his London home before giving up.


The new evidence was dismissed that night by senior civil servants. Philip Allen, who later became the most senior Home Office civil servant, said the prison officer's note of the interview "has the important addition that Mrs Ellis said that it was her suggestion that she had the gun”. I questioned the officer on this; she was positive that her report was accurate. An attempt was made to find Cussen to question him on Mrs Ellis's statement, but he could not be found."


Evidence submitted by Ellis's lawyers two days before her hanging included witnesses testifying to the repeated beatings that David Blakely, jealous of her involvement with Cussen, had inflicted on Ellis and that she believed he was responsible for her suffering a miscarriage three days before the murder.


She had unsuccessfully relied upon the defence of provocation at the trial.


Sir Frank Newsam had advised the Home Secretary: "It would be a bad day for this country if we adopted the doctrine of crime passionel. This was a deliberately planned and cold-bloodily executed murder, and jealousy is not one of the emotions which entitle a man or woman to kill her lover."


The Home Secretary said the "law should take its course" because "the crime was a premeditated one and carried out with deliberation... If a reprieve were granted in this case, I think we should have seriously to consider whether capital punishment should be retained as a penalty."


Six months later, after persistent representations from crime reporters the Home Office conceded that there might be something in the Cussen's connection, without admitting that she should have been reprieved.



Cussen with Ellis


In February 1956, a Home Office official said in internal papers: "It might be possible to prove that Cussen and Ruth Ellis were together in Cussen's flat in the evening, and they drove together to the neighbourhood of the crime... but on public grounds there is a good deal to be said for not re-opening the case."


On Newsam’s advice, the papers were sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions who examined the case that Cussen supplied Ellis with the gun, incited her to shoot Blakely and drove her to Hampstead to kill his rival lover.


He concluded that since "Ellis is no longer available as a witness there is no evidence to prove that Cussen supplied her with the gun." So Desmond Cussen had no case to answer and was assumed innocent.


Following the execution, Cussen naturally adopted a low profile, he didn’t surface again till he was found to be living at the Atlantic Hotel, Queens Gardens in London in the earl sixties.  It is of interest that Christine Keeler, Mandy Rice-Davies, John Profumo and osteopath Dr Stephen Ward were frequent visitors there at the same time.


In 1965 Cussen went to live in Australia: He never married and became an alcoholic, dying in Perth on 8 May 1991 of pneumonia and organ failure following a fracture dislocation of the neck in a fall at his home.




 Some 17 books, numerous television programmes, press articles and a film have argued the rights and wrongs of the case for years. Certain papers have been retained by the Home Office and will not be available for public scrutiny till 2031. An appeal for a posthumous pardon has also been reviewed but turned down. The fascination and speculation with the case will continue. Could there be any truth that Desmond Cussen was working for MI5, that Blakely had knowledge concerning the “Cambridge 5” that it would be better silenced. Was it opportune that Ruth Ellis wanted Blakely dead for the violence he had inflicted on her and that Cussen was able to facilitate the murder. Indeed was he there at the scene as the back-up. Why was so little police effort put into the search for him, why could he not be found, was he protected? Is there any significance that he “surfaced” again during the Profumo scandal? The Cussens except for Desmond were well-known supporters of the BU was anything ever said or implied on the OB network? What was the position of the DPP with its Beaumont connections?


Desmond Cussen could have gone down as the most infamous OB in our history but as it is, he remains just a shadowy figure who died a lonely sudden death in a Perth apartment and the truth as to Ruth Ellis died with him – or has it?


In the Film “Dance with a Stranger” Desmond Cussen is played by Sir Ian Holm and received two nominations from two Film Societies for “Best Supporting Actor” for his depiction of a spurned but devoted suitor.


  Even More Cussen: The 75th Anniversary of the Normandy Landings.      


 How a Homesick wife almost blew the deception plan




Britain's most important double agent of the Second World War almost had his cover blown because his homesick wife could not stand living in England, according to secret files made public for the first time.


Juan Pujol Garcia - codenamed Agent Garbo by MI5 - was a Spanish national living in the London suburb of Harrow from where ran a network of fictitious sub-agents sending back a steady stream of false intelligence reports to his German spymasters.


His elaborate deceptions helped to convince the Nazis the D-Day landings would take place at the Pas de Calais - diverting German forces away from Normandy, scene of the actual invasion, saving countless Allied lives in the process.


However MI5 files released to the National Archives in Kew, show how his scheming was nearly wrecked because his wife, Araceli, struggled to cope with the pressures of his double life.


Fears the deception could unravel if she was recognised by fellow Spaniards in London, meant that her movements were strictly controlled by Pujol and she was largely confined to the house with her two children, to her intense frustration.


Matters finally came to a head in June 1943 - a year before D-Day - when, after quarrelling violently with her husband, Mrs Pujol threatened to go to the Spanish embassy and tell all unless she was allowed to travel home to see her mother.


"I don't want to live five minutes longer with my husband," she screamed at Pujol's alarmed MI5 case officer, "Even if they kill me I am going to the Spanish embassy."


With a visit to Spain out of the question,MI5 suggested she should be told Pujol had been sacked as a result of her outburst, while quietly allowing him to carry on his work against the Germans under the cover of working as a BBC translator.


Pujol, however, felt rather more drastic action was needed if she was to be brought round. With the agreement of MI5’ s Major Edward Cussen, he came up with a deception plan every bit as cunning as those he used to fool the Germans.


The next day Mrs Pujol was informed her husband had been detained following a violent argument with his MI5 spymasters over her treatment - prompting what was described in his report as a "hysterical outburst".


She then threatened to take the children and "make a disappearance". A MI5 officer who was sent to check up on her found she had turned on all the gas taps in the house in an apparent suicide attempt."He said he felt there was a 90% chance she was play acting, but there existed a 10% chance of an accident,"


The following afternoon, a tearful Mrs Pujol was taken blindfolded to MI5's Camp 020 interrogation centre near Ham Common, west London, where her husband was brought before her, unshaven and dressed in camp clothing.


In an emotional reunion, she swore to him she had never meant to carry out her threat to go to the embassy and had simply wanted her request to return home to be taken seriously.


"She promised that if only he was released from prison, she would help him in every way to continue his work with even greater zeal than before”. She left Camp 020 more composed, but still weeping."


The charade was not quite over. Mrs Pujol was taken before Major Cussen, who after a stern dressing down, told her he had decided her husband should be released and allowed to continue his work.


"He reminded her that he had no time to waste with tiresome people and that if her name was ever mentioned to him again, he would simply direct that she should be locked up," "She returned home very chastened to await husband's arrival.




The Knox-Leet Story






It was only after two years of existence that diptyque created its first perfumed candles in 1963. So far, the founders had been focusing on the creation of fabrics. They designed the patterns, chose the colors and oversaw the printing. This work led them to think of candles matching their textile creations. As always with diptyque, it was due to their privileged relationships with craftsmen whose work as well as their ways of working they liked. So it was with their wax myrtle the candle maker came up with the idea of creating perfumed candles. He suggested scents such as hawthorn, cinnamon and tea and the three founders were immediately keen on attempting the adventure.


Desmond Knox-Leet got on with it straightaway. He already had a sensitive nose and educated tastes. He liked the smells of nature, of raw materials and everyday objects – and perfumes of course, especially those of English tradition. During his childhood his mother had introduced him to the arts – music, painting, theater, literature – and including the one of perfume. His natural preference was for simple scents liking to distinguish within a perfume the natural and authentic odors that built the chore of its fragrance, from flowers or essences. He would always look for the natural framework of a scent.


The perfumes of these very first three diptyque candles were all created in Desmond’s workshop at 34 boulevard Saint-Germain, above the boutique, where he conducted countless tests to find the right combination for the three scents. He was the “nose” of the House until his death. He enjoyed mixing and working the combinations, adding powders, essences, herbs and spices to create the right aroma. That says a lot about this whole way of working – a taste for fine things, working hands-on, having fun, experimenting, the understanding of quality crafts, the lack of a written idea contemplated from a desk with a whole business-plan in mind, the desire of adventure, the personal dedication for things well done, made with patience, care and thoughtfulness.


At the time, rare perfumed candles were a costly product – diptyque wanted to offer handcrafted perfumed candles with home-made scents which would be affordable. They worked with a renowned perfumer trained at Ecole de Versailles to reproduce as faithfully as possible the scents that were born in Desmond Knox-Leet’s workshop.


The making was to be of perfection – wax and wick would depend on the family of aromas, wick was fixed with a special glue, glass was preheated to prevent ridges of wax.


The diptyque of today, a scent designer for home and body, was born with this trio of candles, perfumed with hawthorn, cinnamon and tea.




Ovale Cyprès - Desmond Knox-Leet




The label of the diptyque candle “cyprès” (cypress) is also a calligram – a few letters arranged in a conical shape to remind us of a cypress tree. It pays homage to Desmond Knox-Leet’s passion for calligraphy, cryptography, all kinds of written signs, languages and pictorial art. He’d worked as a translator and cryptographer during World War II before becoming a painter. He created all the diptyque labels until he died in 1993.


The calligram is a poem where the verses or the letters are drawn into a pattern which usually illustrates the theme of the poem. The word itself was invented by French poet Guillaume Apollinaire (1880 – 1918). Some of his calligrams became very well known – first his Eiffel Tower where words reveal a certain defiance from that time, or his aching passion for Lou not forgetting his bestiary.


Although he invented the word, he didn’t create this form of art. The oldest known calligram is from a Greek poet, Simmias of Rhodes (first century b.c.), named Pteryges.


When modern art appears, the calligram becomes a poetical act in itself rather than in illustration mode. Apollinaire was searching for “a synthesis of all art, music, painting and literature” therefore Christian Morgenstern’s Fisches Nachtgesang, the cover, should be regarded as a concrete poem in abstract shapes. The same dynamically affects music, electroacoustic music and its hybrids, which we referred to when posting an article about Karl Heinz Stockhausen  whom the diptyque founders were so fond of that they never missed any of his concerts in Pairs. So, as text with image, it all connects.




diptyque fragrance has its own illustration in Indian ink just like a diptyque (two-panelled pictures hinged in the centre that complement one another). These two elements, linking the material to the imaginary, are conceived then brought to life with equal grandeur. To feel is already to imagine.


Right at the beginning when diptyque the perfumers launched their first eau de toilette L’Eau in 1968, it was Desmond Knox-Leet who both created the perfume and drew the illustration for it. He experimented making candle fragrances at the back of the boutique at 34 Boulevard Saint Germain and drawing the labels and illustrations that would accompany diptyque stamped products. He bought his tracing paper, Bagnol & Fargeon pens and Indian ink from the Artists Cooperative and in Faubourg Saint-Honore. He would go on to entrust the fragrances he imagined in his head to perfumers and his illustrations would be inspired by his travels and the distant memories of the three friends and founders of the brand.


Each diptyque perfume has its own hand-drawn illustration. The latter is an image of the former only insofar as the perfume illustrates the image that accompanies it. Since time immemorial, a diptyque fragrance has been conceived as the passage to a magical place evoked by its perfumed juice and the lines of a drawing in black ink. Desmond Knox-Leet would end up drawing the labels and pictures for fragrances right up until his death in 1993. Yves Coueslant, his friend and co-founder, would subsequently pick up the baton and do all the illustrations for eaux diptyque until 2006.


The founders’ time may have come to an end, but their inventive minds; artistic legacy and taste for collaborations are continued on by the tradition and spirit of the company. Every perfume created requires the right choices of designer, the perfumer and the illustrator, whose personal expression, orchestrated by the House, will infuse both the juice and the image with spirit and concept.


This initial alliance of perfume and its graphic evocation can be seen on the bottle: the illustration is reproduced on the back of the label so that by turning the bottle around, you can see the illustration seemingly floating through the perfumed liquid inside. The image only shows its face in full when viewed at very close quarters.




Desmond Knox-Leet drew on a respected, but long lost, formulation to create diptyque’s first eau de toilette. Spicy and adapted to each and every genre, « L’Eau » is secretly in tune with the upheaval of customs and the thirst for the exotic of its time.


Forgotten Hero
The man who invented the two-stroke engine 
By David Boothroyd with the odd addition by the Editor.


You would think that the man responsible for a world changing invention would at least have his name in the encyclopaedia. In certain areas of motor sport, his invention is so widely used that he would have statues in his honour in every boat club, his picture in every bikers’ bar, and yet I’ll bet you have never heard of him.


Perhaps you have never realized how all pervasive the two-stroke engine is, and what a clever and radical development it was. Here are a few examples. In the motorcycle world all three Grand Prix Classes have been won by two-strokes for as long as most people can remember. Motocross and Trials riders never consider anything else if they are serious about winning. Certainly throughout Europe most people’s first experience of motorcycling is powered by a two-stroke engine, In four wheeled racing, nearly all of our Formula One drivers learned their craft driving two-stroke Karts, and on the water the majority of outboard powered boats and personal water craft are still cruised or raced under two-stroke power.


The earliest internal combustion engine used a system that came to be known as the four-stroke cycle. In engineering circles it is called the Otto Cycle since it was invented by Karl Otto. A four-stroke engine needs to have valves, and a mechanism for opening and closing them at the correct time, and it produces power only once every two rotations of the crank. A well-built two-stroke halves the number of components and doubles the power.


Some people reading this will have books on the history of bikes or boats and will be able to explain that the two-stroke engine was invented by Sir Dugald Clark in 1881. Sir Dugald was an interesting character in his own right, but the engine he designed was not the sort of two-stroke that became such a world-beater. An engine operating on the Clark cycle uses valves like a four stroke and requires a compressor to blow air, possibly mixed with fuel, into the cylinder. Some very fine Clark cycle engines were made, by the Detroit Diesel Company for example, but they were for ships or big trucks or locomotives. They never made an impact on the mass market.


The everyday two-stroke, which we find in everything from chainsaws to two hundred horsepower V8 outboards, is a much simpler and cleverer design. It uses the pressure in the crankcase below the piston to force fuel and air into the combustion chamber and simultaneously push out the spent gases. Using only three moving parts, the highest specific power output ever was recorded by a tiny two stroke Suzuki which produced an astonishing 395BHP per litre. Imagine if you had nearly eight hundred horsepower from your two-litre car engine


When I first started researching into the early development of two strokes, I was astounded to discover that not one of the standard works on the subject even gave the name of the inventor of “our” sort of two stroke. Then at last I found a book that stated that the crankcase compression two stroke was invented by “Day”. It was two more years before I found that his first name was Joseph. This is a brief outline of his story.



Joseph Day


Joseph Day was born in London in 1855 and was the second of seven sons sent to Beaumont by their father the High Court Judge Sir Day He was well known for sentencing criminals to lashes (He was at Downside). In his later years, he would sometimes listen to cases with his eyes closed, listening intently, and opening an eye suddenly if something significant were said. Colleagues jocularly referred to this as "the peep of Day" He was also known as “The Day of judgement” and “The Day of Reckoning”. Of Joseph’s other brothers, the best known were Samuel, a Master of the Supreme Court, Fr Henry SJ  WW1 Chaplain awarded the MC and Fr Arthur SJ another Chaplain MID and OBE.


 Joseph left Beaumont in 1875 and trained as an engineer at the School of Practical Engineering at Crystal Palace in London. On graduation he became a trainee at an engineering firm in Bath. In 1878 he started his own business, an iron foundry making cranes, mortar mills and compressors amongst other things. Interestingly he advertised a new design of “valveless air compressor” which he made on license from the patentee, Edmund Edwards. By 1889, he was working on an engine design that would not infringe the patents that Otto had on the four-stroke. This is what eventually came to be called Valve less Two-Stroke Engine.






In fact there were two flap valves in Joseph Day’s original design, one in the inlet port, where you would probably find a reed valve on a modern two stroke, and one in the crown of the piston, because he did not come up with the idea of the transfer ports until a couple of years later. He made about 250 of these first two-port motors, fitting them to small generating sets, which won a prize at the International Electrical Exhibition in 1892.




A 1922, 268cc Sun motorcycle fitted with a two-stroke Day engine




It was one of Joseph Day’s workmen, Frederick Cock, who made the modification which allowed the skirt of the piston to control the inlet port and do away with valves altogether, giving rise to the classic piston ported two stroke. Only two of these original engines have survived, one in the Deutsches Museum in Munich, the other in the Science Museum in London.


The first American patent was taken out in 1894, and by 1906, a dozen American companies had taken licenses. One of these, Palmers of Connecticut, had produced over 60000 two-stroke engines before 1912. Many of these early engines found their way into motorcycles, or onto the back of boats.


So what happened to Joseph Day?


His company in Bath was a general engineering one, and his engines were a sideline. Much of his money came from the manufacture of bread making machinery, and the prices of wheat were very turbulent around the turn of the 19th Century. The profitability of Day’s factory fluctuated just as wildly. These were early days for the idea of the limited company, and shareholders, then as now, could panic and bring down a company that they thought to be under threat. The problem is made worse, (also then as now) by the publication of rumours, or the deliberate orchestration of publicity campaigns in the press.


This happened to Joseph Day, with the result that his firm was driven into bankruptcy. A flurry of lawsuits followed, with Day as both plaintiff and defendant. The Treasury Solicitor even tried to have him extradited from the USA where he had gone to try to sell his US patents in order to raise money. The case was eventually settled when the jury found that Day had no case to answer, but it all came too late, and he went into virtual retirement by the seaside. The development of his engine then passed to his license holders in America, whose royalties restored his finances sufficiently to allow him to launch a spectacular new venture after the First World War.


This new enterprise was the exploration for oil. Unfortunately he was looking for it in Norfolk in the east of England. A second financial disaster was the last straw, and Joseph Day disappeared from public view between 1925 and his death in 1946. His obscurity was so complete that a mere five years after his death, the Science Museum made a public appeal for biographical information about him – with no apparent result.


I hope that everyone who has enjoyed two-stroke power will agree that this is a man who deserves to be famous. He should be in every engineering hall of fame alongside Otto, Diesel and Benz. It’s time to give Joseph Day his place in history.









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


Henry Stevens today.


I can always rely on Henry to bring me up to date with his activities and a few snaps from the past.



Henry in Florida with his young American thoroughbred which he is “bringing on”


Henry yesteryear.





London Irish V London Scottish at Richmond





Henry with the Sussex XV 68 -69 before the match against Eastern Counties.


Image Makeover:-


The Editor was visiting Classic Cars in Midhurst a couple of months ago to find an aged rusting “beemer” on the forecourt which he recognised as the transport of one Henry Stevens. On inquiry I was told that far from scrap, it was to be restored to its former glory at the end of which it would be worth “a bob or two”. Having recently seen the makeover in the workshop, I’m certain that it is going to turn the heads of many a lady down at the polo grounds but it does beg the question as to whether the owner needs similar treatment.  (Having written this, I heard that Henry was rushed off to the “garage” where they managed to sort out his big end and is now recovering with his daughter and being treated like royalty: one would expect nothing less. Henry get well soon.)  






When I ordered my copy I jocularly mentioned to Simon that I would take my copy with the BOFS to Lourdes. Having taken a “Shuft” at the opening paragraphs I decided it was probably not the most suitable choice and anyway I was drawn into the narrative and read on. After 100 pages the subject of Billy Bunter was discussed and needless to say I thought of the “Beaumont Connection” – not the setting but the marvellous character of Mr Quelch and it so happens two OBs played the role in the Television productions. Best known was:-


Philip Arthur Reeves 


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Reeves was born in London on 29 May 1893 and was the first of two sons of Arthur Robert Reeves (born 1855) and Clarissa Mary Kynaston (b. 1864). His brother was John Edward. He came to St John’s in 1902 and left the College in 1910. During WW1 he served as a Lt in The Royal Fusiliers.


He was married to the Australian Jewish stage actress Paula Sabina. They had two children, Thomas and Suzanne.


Philip Arthur Reeves, professionally known as P. Kynaston Reeves or Kynaston Reeves, took his mother's maiden name as a middle name when commencing his film career with a small part in the 1931 film “Many Waters”, before dispensing with the prefixed initial. He believed that having a name that reminded directors of the famous actor Edward Kynaston would help him to get work. In1932, he progressed to a supporting role, playing an editor called Bob Mitchell alongside Ivor Novello and Jack Hawkins in “The Lodger” (renamed the Phantom Fiend ).


After playing the Reverend Edmund Ovington opposite Otto Kruger in the 1938 film “Housemaster”, Reeves developed a speciality for portraying authority figures, such as judges, doctors, professors and clergymen.


Television was to provide a valuable source of income. In 1950, Reeves was invited to voice the character of Mr Growser in a BBC children's show, “The Cruise of The Toytown Belle”.


This led to further work for the children's department at the BBC, namely in adaptations of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” (as Alonso, King of Naples) and Philip Wade's “Jenny Meade” (as Mr Steele), both produced in 1951.


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Kynaston as Mr Quelch


Reeves was then offered one of his most notable acting parts on television, namely that of Henry Quelch, form master to the 'Fat Owl of the Remove', Billy Bunter, in the long-running television series “Billy Bunter of Greyfriars School” He recorded six episodes in 1952, after which fellow actors Raf de la Torre, John Woodnutt and Jack Melford began sharing the portrayal of this supporting character. Making just a single episode in 1954 ("Bunter Won't Go"), Reeves then returned to reprise the performance for two more episodes in 1956, and a further four in 1957, following which he gave up the role


This did not end his involvement with BBC productions however, and in 1958 he appeared in the six-part project “Leave It to Todhunter “(based on the 1937 book "Trial and Error" by Anthony Berkeley, playing Ambrose Chitterwick in an episode called "In Search Of a Corpse".


In 1959 he played the Duke of Omnium in all six episodes of another series from the BBC, “The Eustace“ adapted from the novel by Anthony Trollope about the London society scandal caused in the 19th century when a diamond necklace goes missing.


In 1962, he starred as Thomas Crawford in the Broadway play “The Affai”r. 


In a rare outing for ABC Television, he took the part of Major General Goddard in a 1966 episode of “The Avengers” TV series, entitled “What The Butler Saw” and starring Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg but would go on to play an entirely different character called Dickens in the 1968 screening of "Legacy Of Death", by which time Linda Thorson was portraying John Steed's female sidekick.




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As Nichols Forsyte                        School for Scoundrels 1959


Reeves also appeared in seven of 26 episodes of the classic BBC television series “The Forsyte Saga” broadcast in early 1967, playing Nicholas Forsyte.


He could be seen throughout the 1960s in a variety of other popular productions, such as the police serial “No Hiding Place” drama anthologies Armchair Theatre and The Wednesday Play and as "The Minister" in an episode of Patrick McGoohan’s “The Prisoner” television series.


Reeves' film career continued in parallel with his small screen contributions, and in 1941 he had portrayed Lord Stanley to John Gielgud’s Disraeli in the biographical treatment “The Prime Minister”. In  1948 he played Dr Chawner in the Peter Ustinov’s tour de force  Vice Versa (Ustinov having written, co-produced and directed it),and in the same year he appeared as the Lord Chief Justice of the High Court in  “The Winslow Boy” which starred Robert Donat  In1950 he revisited the subject of Disraeli in the film “The Mudlark”  when he took the part of General Sir Henry Ponsonby  in the story of a street urchin (or "mudlark") who is found in  Windsor Castlel attempting to talk to Queen Victoria. This time, Disraeli is played by Alec Guinness


In 1957, he took the role of Professor Walgate in the  science fiction flim “Feind without a Face”, whose hero was played by Marshall Thompson and whose plot had Canada attacked by mutated caterpillar-like creatures made of human spines and brains. During a period of steady cinematic work, he also found time to portray a "testy old millionaire" in “Carry on Regardless” in 1961.


A year before his death in 1971, he made both his final television appearance and his last film. In a dramatic enactment during an edition of the BBC arts magazine Omnibus, he took the part of French painter Renoir in a piece entitled "A Requiem for Modigliani", describing the final part of the Italian artist's life, and his love affairs. And in the cinema, he fulfilled a small role in “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” the 1970 film which starred Robert Stephens and Genevieve Page.


Reeves died of a cerebral thrombosis in Lewisham at the age of 78.




Raf De La Torre (14 February 1905 –15 July 1975) was an actor and a member of the BBC Repertory Company.




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Born in 1905 in Paris, France as Rafael De La Torre, he came to Beaumont during the Great War and left in 1923. He appeared in the films The Pickwick Papers in 1952, Italian Attaché in  Penny Princess (1952), Filibert in Moulin Rouge (1952), the Chief Justice in  The Golden Coach (1952),  Wicked as The Come (1956), Mr Petheridge in The Strange Awakening  (1958), Grave Robber in The Flesh and The Fields  (1960), Monsieur Le Guestier in  There’s a Girl in my Soup (1970), Charles Cardinal of Lorraine   in  Mary Queen of Scots (1971), and the King of Swobodia in S P Y.S. (1974).


He followed Kynaston Reeves in the role of Mr Quelch in the television series Billy Bunter of Greyfriars School (1955). Other television roles included Durracq in The Count of Monte Cristo   (1956), Ali in  Ghost Squad (1963), Orator in Sergeant Cork  (1964), Senior Judge in the Doctor Who  episode The Keys of Marinus  (1964), Belanger/Torres in  The Trouble shooters (1969-1970), Count Guiccioli in Biography   (1970), John Dee in Elizabeth R  (1971), Prince Oblonsky in The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes  (1971), and Etienne Le Blanc in The Regiment  (1972).


Torre's stage appearances included Christ in The Just Vengeance (1946) by  orothy L Sayers and in Andre Obey’s  play Frost at Midnight (1963) at the Hampstead Theatre Club.


He died on 15 July 1975 in London, England aged 70.


Further to the Potter Book


One expects Simon to be forthright both in context and in his use of language and there are a couple of paragraphs that I particularly enjoyed:-


“I suppose there are parts of the world uncorrupted by the worst of what our age has to offer. There must be peoples on this planet who do not feel themselves lost in the numbing grey security of the West, somewhere there are individuals – small pockets of them, perhaps – who live undegenerated by the stupid prurience, the deep cynicism, the self- loathing, the rotting materialism, the need for endless novelty; the inanition bred of comfort, the absence of moral boundaries, the outer-space vacuum of spiritual emptiness, of trust, of tenderness, the hatred of the quiet, the reflective and the modest, the worship of the twisted, the depraved, the mad, the freakish, the noisy, the ill, the violent, the bloody, the powerful; the deep sense of suspicion of honour, of nobility, of gentlemanliness, of chastity, of charity, of hope, of humility, of bravery, of faith; the longing to drag down and trample on the heroes and heroines of the past and the lights which shine in the past, the reason, the decency, science, balance, humanity, striving and glory of the past; the crushing monotony of buying and buying and eating and eating and wasting and wasting and neglecting and neglecting and using and using and losing and losing and growing old in ignorance; facing the puzzling enormity of death without any self-knowledge without satisfaction, without purpose, without confidence; always chasing self-esteem, happiness ( whatever that is)  taking into the abyss only fear, whimpering, self-pity and anger.


 There must, as I say, be such people in pockets of our world, but they don’t seem to me then, Holly, to live in Southern California”.


Fortunately John Joss lives in the north of the State but Simon Li might take issue with Simon.




David Neckar


It seems to me that every time I put out an “All Stations Call” to the BU , I usually get an automated reply from David that he is out of the office: obviously a busy man:-


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David Neckar is Client Director at Willis Towers Watson Financial Solutions. WTWFS is a global business division led from London, specialising in political and credit risks, with dedicated teams in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Sao Paolo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney and Tokyo - as well as Paris through WTW’s wholly-owned subsidiary Willis Gras Savoye.


David Neckar’s responsibilities include managing relationships with key clients and export credit agencies, dealing with Basel issues and with strategic development projects. He has over thirty-five years of specialist financial risk experience holding senior positions in both underwriting and broking - and in reinsurance as well as direct insurance. His early career was spent in the Lloyd’s insurance market, as a lead underwriter of political risk, pioneering expropriation and contract frustration coverage. This was followed by senior underwriting and management positions in credit insurance with the Euler Hermes Group and the Royal & Sun Alliance Group.


David has an MA degree from Oxford University, and an MBA from INSEAD. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.


David is also on the Board and Secretary of The International Trade and Forfaiting Association, ITFA, previously known as IFA, is the worldwide trade association for companies, financial institutions and intermediaries engaged in trade and forfaiting. The headquarters are in Zurich.


Founded in 1999, and with members all over the world, the ITFA brings together banks and financial institutions who are engaged in originating and distributing trade related risk and finding creative ways to mitigate risks. Expanding from its original focus on the purchase and discounting of simple but robust payment instruments, such as negotiable instruments and letters of credit, the forfaiting industry has embraced new instruments and created new structures to become a prominent part of supply chain finance. The ITFA acts as a valuable forum for its members to interact and transact business together profitably and safely.


David is the younger brother of Francois (62). Their father was the couturier Francois Neckar whose clothes were much loved by Margaret Thatcher and were very part of the image she wished to portray. Many of the dresses and suits designed by his House are now collectors’ items and are also to be found in the V&A.




This 1981 portrait by acclaimed photographer Norman Parkinson hung in the stairwell at No 10 Downing Street during her tenure as prime minister. She wears a grey wool suit by Francois Neckar Couture, a tailor on London’s Sloane Street, a silk blouse and her favourite double pearl necklace. The suit and blouse together are estimated at £1,000, and the necklace up to £1,500




“Thatcher had favourite designers that changed throughout her time in office — dominated by English couture houses Francois Neckar, Aquascutum and Tomasz Starzewski. Lady Thatcher wore this Neckar-made suit frequently in the early ’80s as she was rising to power. She was photographed many times walking into 10 Downing Street sporting this fetching number. Incredibly, the whole ensemble is still complete. “When it was put away, the blouse she was wearing at the time was put away with it,” 






Rowing: Richard Sheehan’s nephew was once again in the victorious Cambridge Boat and this year’s President.




Dara Alizadeh CUBC President


Dara is in his second year at Hughes Hall where he is studying Education, Policy and International Development. He was in the 4 seat of the victorious 2018 Blue Boat. Before Cambridge, Dara rowed for Penn University and spent the 2017 season at Winchester where he trained Tobias Schroder the youngest member of this year’s Oxford crew. . He was Junior Varsity Wrestling 189lb New England Champion in 2009.




Racing: at Sandown in March I met up with fellow ex-amateur Malcolm Wallace and apart from talking horses I gathered that his brother Guy (58) has given up training gundogs in Scotland and living a leisured and warmer life in Spain just to the north of Seville.


Some of his friends have enquired what has happened to Derek Hollamby’s stud interests that I have reported upon in the past: it seems that Derek is winding down his operation and that the fillies have been dispersed – the foreign bloodlines which initially showed promise  failed to live up to his expectations.


David Collingwood, Johnnie Muir and myself would describe ourselves as proud Kings Royal Hussars so it raised the odd eyebrow to read that an entry of that name for the Spring meeting at Nottingham was fancied as “his performance had greatly improved after gelding”. 


The week of the Cheltenham Festival, how many OBs went for a punt on William Henry in the Coral Handicap Hurdle. If you didn’t, you missed a 28/1 winner! On the other hand you may have backed Mulcahy’s Hill  in the Amateur’s National Hunt Challenge Cup “Slowly away, recovered, then lost place 5 out, weakened 3 out, beaten when falling at the last”: Brendan and Robin, you did Paddy Power a service.




Robin Remembered.


When I wrote that piece Robin was still with us and I know he would have been amused by it. Over the last few years I had got to know Robin better and we sat together at the last Bedford Boodles Lunch discussing this and that. I recall him talking of his childhood when his father Timothy (25) had retired from the Indian Medical Services and was among other things the MO for the resurrected Cowdray Polo Club. Robin would accompany his father and position themselves behind a goal in the Bentley estate wagon which acted as the ambulance in case of a serious fall: how times have changed. When I arrived at Beaumont, Robin was Captain of the School and Rugby; one Saturday morning I had damaged an ankle with the scouts   but managed to get to the Meads for the 1st XV match pm at the end of which I was unable to move.  Despite being "knackered" at the end of the game he noticed I was struggling and came across and gave me  "a piggy-back" to the road: such generosity of spirit was typical of the man. I also recall that his admonishments on our behaviour to the Lower Line always ended with “It’s just not Beaumont” Robin would later have a totally unnecessary guilt complex about corporal punishment and what he metered out in The lounge – I told him from a personal point of view I was grateful as having been sent there for smoking where he informed me that it was not so much the act which caused offence but the choice of cigarettes “Woodbines are not acceptable”; I changed to Sullivan and Powell’s Turkish No 1s.


Robin, in later life loved Real Tennis and I came across this cutting:


“The Club took a contingent of five to this year’s Calhoun Witham doubles tournament at Aiken in South Carolina – out of a total UK contribution of six, not so tawdry. The feelings of mutual loathing between the five caused some difficulty over partner selection for the organiser. We resolved this problem this year through my inspired decision that we would all partner Americans, and therefore our mood was much enhanced when we arrived. Whether the poor sods who were paired with us shared this view was yet to play out. Dr Robin ‘Feelgood’ Mulcahy partnered Marge Goodyear of prosthetic arm fame. This he did not out of any concern for her nor from professional interest in her condition, but solely because he saw her as a route to allow him to spend his declining years nestled in the comfort of the Goodyear billions. He had a shocker of a tournament, so that won’t happen.”


Sadly I didn’t have the opportunity to commiserate with Robin over this unfortunate failure on his behalf.


As Editor I’m going to miss Robin’s beady eye going over my spelling and use of English in The REVIEWS and his tongue in cheek caustic comments such as “It saddens me that you continue to use the Vril banner to peddle your wares without any references. Sucks. Did you ever read "The Coming Race"? Do you know who wrote it? I am sure you will now courtesy of Google. A few of us who started Vril in 1955 are not happy with your spin offs. Please mention this in your next solipsistic monograph. Robin.


While at school Robin was Chief Gherkin of the “OLE” Society and I contacted him for more information, to be told that “as I would not have been elected I was not entitled to the affaires of such an august body”.


Life for me will not be the same without the “Frisson” of a missive from Robin.




Beckett’s latest


A play about Clement Attlee




A Modest Little Man




A Modest Little Man, was at Bread and Roses in Clapham, in January.


Francis wrote:
May 1945. Britain celebrates victory and cheers Winston Churchill. The men and women who fought the war want a better world. But the Labour Party is led by a nonentity – “a modest little man with plenty to be modest about. ”He says almost nothing. He sits in his grey suit and puffs his pipe. One wit remarked: “An empty taxi drew up and Clement Attlee got out. ”How can the insignificant little Labour leader win an election against the great Churchill, and create a welfare state in a war-ravaged economy?


How was it received by the critics?  Gary Naylor “Broadway World”.


 “The recent discussions concerning whose faces should adorn the Bank of England's new notes, few suggested that of Clement Attlee. Who he? Your kids are unlikely to be asking questions about him for homework, because although I'm not alone in having benefited immensely from the education reforms he introduced, he (and his 1945-1951 Labour Government's policies) are largely excluded largely from the national curriculum.


That formal downplaying of the achievements of the most radical government that this country has ever seen, one proud to declare itself "Socialist" - because it was - allows journalists to control the narrative, detaching the ideas, individuals and struggle behind the founding of the Welfare State from  the "national treasure" NHS. And when something of those birth pangs hove into view - for example, at the 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony - the press barons don't like it.


But, as the shock General Election result of 2017 showed, when the people are presented with Attleean (why is that not an adjective?) options - there's plenty in thenLabour Party Manifesto - rather more people vote for them than the media would have you expect.


Some of those beliefs are also held by Francis Beckett, whose comic play, A Modest Little Man, offers a splendid illustration of Attlee's towering absence of ego. Labour's post-war Prime Minister was a public schoolboy, a major in the trenches, a man of fixed left wing principles, but a man of few words if the subject is anything but cricket. Fortunately, those around him had enough words for him and everyone else ten times over.


We meet the Welsh firebrand, Nye Bevan and his equally socialist wife, Jennie Lee; the urbane Hugh Dalton; the ambitious Herbert Morrison; the rough diamond Ernest Bevin; and Clem's long-suffering, dedicated wife, Violet. Their words are absorbed by the modest little man who listens, considers and decides - it's the way things got done once upon a time.


Roger Rose acts mainly with his eyes, his reactions as Attlee confined to a quizzical look for disapproval and er... nothing at all for approval. There's a touch of John Major in the portrayal (both men who were happiest at The Oval) but the dignity never wavers. As Violet, Lynne O'Sullivan is a winning narrator, a touch too keen to protect her husband, but a fine judge of character.


The rest of the cast spiral through the politicians named above and a few journalists too, often caricatures rather than characters, but that injects humour into what might be a dryish hour. If the accents wobble a little and the production felt somewhat under-rehearsed on press night, well, that'll settle down.


Performed all-through in a pacy 75 minutes, you leave with the same valuable lesson you take from Hamilton (a very different show) - not everyone gets to tell their story. I doubt Attlee would care about his story's telling, but he would certainly care that his ideas' stories are still being told day after day, however imperfectly: education for all; the State as guarantor of a basic standard of living; and National Health Service free at point of use. All delivered in the ruins of a war ravaged country, in which politicians rose to the occasion - they did not scurry away.


And, if he might sigh a little at how those achievements have been watered down by successive governments (particularly the political pygmies of Austerity), he need only look across at the inheritors of Alexander Hamilton to see just how much worse it could have been were his cabinet of talents, misfits and egos not led by a modest little man.


On the other hand:


“It is a play that promises much but gets a little lost between political commentary and a comedy of manners, and ends up not quite being either. Like its protagonist, A Modest Little Man rarely has much to say. But unlike Attlee himself, it is unlikely to leave any great lasting impact”.







Fort Garrys on the march




I hope that some of you were fortunate to see the Munnings exhibition of paintings at the National Army museum that ended in March. Over 40 had been brought over from Canada and depicted mainly the Canadian Cavalry Brigade in the final year of the Great War. Beaumont’s interest in that riding with the Fort Gary Horse was:-


Tpr Lionel Geoffrey Wood (06) Son of Cecil Wood, British Consul in Malta.  He emigated to Canada to farm in Alberta. Married Elisabeth Kipling of Calgarry. Enlisted April 1916 . He went to France to join the Fort Garries where they joined the Royal Canadian Dragoons, Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) and A and B Batteries, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery to form an all-Canadian Cavalry Brigade. The Regiment took part in many actions, acting as Cavalry and also relieving Infantry in the trenches throughout 1916 and 1917. 
In November 1917, as part of the famous tank attack on Cambrai, "B" Squadron was given the task of capturing a German Corps HQ at Escaudoeuvres. Destruction of a vital bridge caused the Cavalry Brigade's advance to be cancelled, but "B" Squadron had already crossed a temporary bridge and did not receive the order. The Squadron leader was killed but they pushed on. Coming across a German artillery battery, the Squadron charged with swords drawn and put the battery out of action. The Squadron rallied in a sunken road and found that only 43 men were left and most of the horses were wounded. After dark, the horses were stampeded as a diversion, allowing the men to make their way back through the German lines on foot, bringing in 9 prisoners.




 Later, Lionel was to take part in probably the greatest Cavalry action of the War; the attack on Moreuil Wood which began on 30 March 1918 :-




“At Moreuil Wood, on the banks of the Avre River, victory would not only secure the river bank, it would help stem the German Spring Offensive of 1918.  In the 10 days since the German breakthrough against the Fifth Army at St Quentin, the Canadian Cavalry Brigade had trekked a 120 mile, anti-clockwise loop south from Peronne to cross the Oise east of Noyon and then worked back north to get round the spearhead of the enemy advance. The Germans had smashed the British line, advancing 40 miles and taking more than 100,000 prisoners. The gloom was shared by the greatest war reporter, not to mention war leader, who ever put pen to paper. "Actual defeat seemed to stare the Allies in the face," wrote. Winston Churchill, Cavalry had been made all but redundant by trench warfare. The Germans had disbanded theirs at the end of 1917. Lloyd George had argued for the Allies to do the same after the disaster of the advance of tanks and 27,500 horses on Cambrai, Horses were easy targets, but a committed group could still act as a sort of early day parachute brigade. At full gallop they could shift hundreds of men half a mile in a couple of minutes. It was in this climate that General Seely, the Brigade commander, took the decision to charge. The signal group would lead - 12 men ready to plant a red pennant with a black C on a white star for the Canadians to aim for. The General led the charge.






The Charge at Moreuil Wood




The pennant was planted. Squadron after squadron came thundering up the hill, taking terrible casualties but going on to exact many of their own. They were supported by the Royal Flying Corps, which dropped 190 bombs and fired 17,000 rounds into the mêlée. The German official history records that one bomb knocked out an entire battalion staff: "Moreuil Wood was hell," especially for horses.




The engagement went on into what became a rainy afternoon, and as the light faded an unlikely looking little motorcade came down the valley. "The Bois de Moreuil lay before us," wrote Churchill, who was accompanying the French prime minister, Georges Clemenceau. "The intervening ground was dotted with stragglers, and here and there groups of led horses were standing motionless. Shrapnel continued to burst over the plain in twos and threes, and high explosive made black bulges here and there. Though Moreuil Wood had been taken and the German advance had been checked, a quarter of the men and half of the horses had been lost and fighting continued for another two days.From the War Diary of the Fort Garry Horse, 1 April 1918: The attack started at 9 a.m. and was completely successful, although the losses were heavy. The whole of the WOOD was in our possession by 11 a.m., having taken 121 prisoners, and 13 M.Gs which were successfully used against the enemy. The enemy were seen to be Massing for counter attacks, which when delivered were repulsed with great loss.




Casualties for the Fort Garry Horse that day were about 60 wounded, 8 killed and one missing. Among the dead was Lionel KIA 1 April 1918. He is  Commemorated at The Canadian National Memmorial at Vimy. Having no known grave. Age 28.








I have been asked in the past whether we had any OBs on the opposing side.  One such person was the Freiherr Wolbert von Boeselager. I found him difficult to trace till I asked the assistance of Hans Christoph von Masenbach. He was able to tell me that the problem was the Christian name. Our Wolbert was he believed Friedrich Maria Ferdinandus Clara Clemens Hubertus Walburgis Antonius Josephus Aloysius von Boeselager- Eggermuhlen; no wonder he opted for the simpler Wolbert at school. He was sent to Beaumont in 1890 and left in 1896 having been Prefect of the Sodality and the first Captain of Boats.


 He married Marie Louise Lawlor, daughter of Michael Lawlor, M.D., and his wife, Philomene Caron of Toronto. Marie Louise was the sister of Lt John Lawlor (93) killed in the Boer War in the cavalry charge at Waterval Onder with the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons August 1899.  Friedrich himself served in the 15th Hanoverian Hussars.





However, I then ran into a problem as he apparently married Marie Louise, a talented musician who had studied at various conservatoires in Germany in April 1893, three years before he left school! I know Captains’ had certain privaledges but this seemed one too far. Despite this Beaumont connection to John Lawlor I obviously had the wrong man. Further investigation and I came across a cousin Baron Wolfgang Hubertus the son of Maximillian von Boeselager-Heesen.




Wolfgang (Wolbert) was born in 1877 at Shloss Heesen the family home in North Rhine-Westphalia and fits the bill.




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We do not know what he did after leaving school except that he married 21 April 1910 Helene Freiin von Furstenberg and they had two sons both of whom also married into noble families.


Wolbert and Helene made their home at Schloss Hollinnghofen at Arnsberg and not far from Wolbert’s old family home. He died there in 1935 at the relatively young age of 57. Whether he served in the Great War we do not know: he was 37 at the outbreak of hostilities. Wolbert was an Uncle of Georg and Philipp v Boeselager both involved in the 20th July ‘44 plot to kill Hitler.










The Sisters.


Marie-Louise von Boeselager was not the only sister of an OB who found themselves with divided loyalties. There were a couple of others also married into distinguished German aristocratic families.




Christine Grafin Wolff-Metternich zur Gracht was the sister of Frederick Navarre Fane (85) and Ernest (90): the children of Admiral Sir Charles Fane KCB and their mother the daughter of Sir Edward Kenny PC Canadian politician. We know little about the boys except that their aunt was the companion and confidante of the Empress Eugenie and Frederick was presented to Queen Victoria on her first visit to Beaumont. Quite what the Monarch would have said about his behaviour after leaving school for Frederick probably caused apoplexy in the family when he was involved in marital scandal:-


From “THE WORLD” May 1896







Christine married late, for that époque, at 33. Her husband was Graf Paul (not to be confused with the pre-War German Ambassador) and they married in London in August 1914. This was after the outbreak of War and one presumes that Paul would rather face internment than leave his bride.  Their first child Peter was born 11 months later and was educated at Downside. He was KIA in 1941 on the Russian front and has the distinction of being the only enemy named on a British War Memorial (Downside). They also lost 4 nephews fighting with the Wehrmacht.




Evelyn Princess Blucher was the sister of 5 OBs including Robert (93) KIA in the Boer War and Wilfred (03) KIA at Ypres 1914. Another sister, Gertrude , married Vice Admiral Kenneth Dewar and their son was another OB – Brigadier Kenneth (34) and Ethel married Herbert Throckmorton: they had 3 OB sons including Robert (37) KIA Dunkirk.



  They were the children of Frederick Stapleton-Bretherton and Isabella their mother the daughter of William 12th Baron Petre. They lived in Rainhill, Lancashire, in what was then Rainhill Hall. They were also the great-grandchildren of Peter Bretherton, a coach proprietor, and a brother to the better known Bartholomew Bretherton, coach proprietor of Liverpool.


 On 19 August 1907, Evelyn married Gebhard Blücher von Wahlstatt, the fourth Fürst (Prince) Blücher (1865–1931), an Anglophile descended from the great Prussian General-Field-Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher (1742–1819), the first Prince, who had contributed notably to the allied victory at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. 


After leaving the Channel Islands, where the family had taken the lease of Herm, the smallest of the habitable islands, she spent the War years with the Prince in Germany, where he commanded a hospital train for the Silesian Order of Malta. Here she kept a diary, describing life in Berlin and at the family estate of Krieblowitz (now Krobielowice) in Silesia (now in Poland), from the point of view of an English exile among the deeply conservative Prussian nobility. This became the basis for her account of the war published as Princess Blucher, English Wife in Berlin: a private memoir of events, politics and daily life in Germany throughout the War and the social revolution of 1918 (Constable, 1920).


The journal remains a well-known source of information on life in Germany during World War I. During the cold winter of 1916/1917 she noted the shortages of fuel and food in Berlin which caused public morale, especially of the poorest, to plummet. Also described are the last weeks of the German Empire, with the decline of the old order, the fall of the monarchy, and the appalling social conditions that led to Spartacist uprisings and the German Revolution as the country became a failed state.


There is intense cold here, such as has not been known for more than half a century. There are shivering throngs of hungry care-worn people picking their way through snowy streets... We are all gaunt and bony now, and have dark shadows around our eyes. Our thoughts are chiefly taken up with wondering what our next meal will be, and dreaming of the good things that once existed”.


Her memoirs were translated into French and German and reprinted many times, becoming a minor classic.




Js & Friends.


The Spring edition included a contribution from Fr Kevin Fox (Hon) who amongst other things looks after the Jesuit Retirement Community, he mentions “that its members have appeared regularly in the magazine but usually in the obituary pages”. He goes on to write “ the facts of old age, common to all humanity, are captured  by one of our number – Michael Campbell-Johnstone, in an earthy-spiritual poetic reflection. “ A Necessary Preparation”. Michael’s apostolate  took him to most parts of the world, but now approaching “the narrow door” he finds that the joyful vigour of an active life may be reduced to “sleeping, eating and evacuating”, and he acknowledges the “systematic undoing of the constituent parts / that make me who I am” but Michael ends with hope:




As a good wine mellows with age,


So should we;


Advancing years


Can provide growing clarity


About what really matters


And what doesn’t.




For it is not our present life


That is all-important,


But rather the passage


To a new and fuller life


For which the first was made.


Lord give me eyes to see this,


Increase my faith to accept it as true


Death then becomes a friend to


           Be welcomed,


Not end of road but gateway to


            A better place.




And old age supplies the means to reach it,


The process enabling me to get there,


In some cases long, in some painful,


            In some both,


But in all an inescapable preliminary,


A necessary preparation.






I had a missive from John Fieldus (Oratory) for contact details as he is organising a 60th Anniversary Lunch to commemorate the 1959 Match. John played twice at Lords in ’58 when Ralph Bates’s side won by 5 wickets, batting at 6 he scored 9 before being caught by Martin Bulfield off the bowling of Henry Stevens. The following year Michael Barr’s side was victorious, this time by 6 wickets though not before Fieldus again at six arrived at the crease and promptly hit Barr for 4 then Haran for 6 in a splendid innings of 78 the last man out caught by JMPW off the bowling of Barr.


John was at the Oratory Prep and has remained good friends with those that came on to Beaumont and others including Patrick Haran, Ian Swabey and “Beefy” Thomson. He is hoping for an enjoyable get-together which will be presided over by Igor Baron Judge the one time Lord Chief Justice and Oratory XI Captain in’59.




RAF Leads Commemorations On 75th Anniversary Of Great Escape


The RAF took part in a flypast and formed a guard of honour alongside the Polish Air Force at the Stalag Luft III camp.


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Chief of the Air Staff Sir Stephen Hillier and Lieutenant General Mika of the Polish Army lay wreaths at the Stalag Luft III camp


76 prisoners of war attempted to escape from a Nazi camp through tunnels they had painstakingly dug underground.


Only three of the men managed to escape to safety, while 50 of the 73 who were recaptured were shot.


Beaumont’s representative in the camp was Nicolas Tindall-Carill-Worsley


This was his obituary from the Irish Times:-






Nicolas Tindal, c.1940.


A career officer in the Royal Air Force, he had joined Bomber Command in 1939 and became a prisoner of war in 1940 after being forced to crash-land in France.


He was involved as a prisoner of war in the preparations for what has become known as the Great Escape from Stalag Luft III in 1944.




General view of the huts and compound at Stalag Luft III




There he took part in the laborious digging of the three tunnels - Tom, Dick and Harry - but his expertise was for forging the documents and stamps and other paraphernalia which were essential if capture was to be avoided.


That the escape, which was to be attempted by 200 officers and involved so much intensive preliminary work, was kept secret is astonishing and there were constant fears that it might be betrayed either accidentally or deliberately. Roger Bushell, who was in overall charge, was suspicious of a certain Irish airman, who had for weeks been feigning madness to persuade the Germans to repatriate him. For good measure he also claimed to be a member of the IRA.


Bushell asked Tindal, who had been brought up in Ireland, to keep an eye on the suspect. Tindal was later able to reassure Bushell that he was absolutely reliable and would never betray the escape. This was just as well as arrangements had already been made to drown the Irishman in his bath, had suspicions been confirmed.






Some of the Documents produced by Nicholas and his team




The Great Escape was a disaster; the tunnel chosen surfaced far too near the camp perimeter and the escape was discovered while still in progress. Unknown to the escapers, Goering had ordered that an example be made to discourage escapes of this kind and 50 of the officers out of the 75 who initially got away were shot. Bushell was among them. Tindal was on the parade ground when the ashes of the murdered men were returned to the camp in urns. He had the chance to escape but had given his place to a Czech airman, whose wife had recently given birth and was anxious to get home. Typically, Tindal urged him to make an Act of Contrition before he left. He was among those shot.


After the escape the ever-present gloom in the camp became much worse and Tindal never forgot the tedium and anxiety of men who wondered if they would ever see their families again. Some went mad and threw themselves on to the perimeter wire and were shot. A guard told Tindal he would never get out because the Nazis were going to win.




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The memorial at the end of the tunnel






But the Germans were forced to evacuate the camp in January 1945 in advance of the Red Army. The prisoners were forced to march hundreds of miles westwards in freezing conditions- one of his worst experiences of the war.


Nicolas Henry Joseph Tindal Carill-Worsley, normally known as Nicolas Tindal, was born in Dublin on March 7th, 1911, the son of a naval officer who had at one stage served aboard the British royal yacht.


His mother was Kathleen, daughter of Simon Mangan of Dunboyne Castle, his majesty's lieutenant for Co Meath. Tindal's parents separated when he was still a child- and he ever afterwards suffered from the rift - but he was brought up in the midst of a large extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins.


He was educated at Beaumont, Stonyhurst and Trinity College Dublin.


Stockily built and fast he was a gifted player and excelled at tennis and rugby, at which he represented TCD.


While at Trinity in 1930, he applied for and won one of the six commissions in the RAF then open annually to university graduates. During the long summer vacations he learned to fly Gipsy Moths at Filton near Bristol.


After Flying Training School at Grantham he went to the Army Air Corps at Old Sarum for further training, and soon proved to be so brilliant a pilot that he was posted as an instructor at the central flying school.


There he taught among others the future air ace, Robert Stanford-Tuck. After a further period at Grantham he wrote to the under secretary of state for air, Sir Philip Sassoon, seeking a London posting. Sassoon invited him down to Port Lympne, his luxurious retreat in Sussex. Sassoon was a keen tennis player but a very bad loser and when his staff heard that he had asked Tindal for a game they begged the young officer to let their master win.


Tindal remained for a year, 1936-7, in London, where he married, and was then posted to Abbots Inch near Glasgow. He was in Scotland when war was declared. He was next posted to Cottesmore in Lincolnshire where, now a squadron leader, he underwent a conversion course to bombers. After Dunkirk in 1940, Britain had no way of showing defiance except by bombing Berlin and the Ruhr, and it was on such a raid that he was taken prisoner.


Tindal made several escape attempts before arriving at Stalag Luft III and spent many weeks in solitary confinement as a result. On one occasion, when he was at a camp near Bremen, he was free for eight days surviving on iron rations and by drinking water from puddles. He was captured when the goods train on which he managed to hitch a ride ended up in the middle of one of the German army's principal training areas in the Black Forest.


On another he and "Wings" Day walked out of the camp in German uniforms made by the prisoners. This was at a time when prisoners were still treated in a gentlemanly way and Tindal was even taken skiing by his first prison commandant who was named Rumpel.


A local countess, whom Tindal had met before the war in Scotland, once invited him to dinner with the approval of Rumpel, but he decided that it would be unwise to accept. For all his determined attempts to escape Tindal was mentioned in despatches.


After the war Tindal was promoted wing commander and posted to Flying Training School, Shrewsbury, for a year. He was then sent to Palestine. He was promoted group captain and served in Italy and Austria before returning to England as commanding officer at RAF Coltishall. He retired from the service in 1947.


Tindal, like many of his colleagues, had studied agriculture while a prisoner of war and soon after it ended bought a mixed fruit and dairy farm at Bruckless, not far from Killybegs, amid beautiful coastal scenery. Here he brought up his growing family.


Though a novice Tindal proved to be an innovative farmer and a good businessman. He was one of the first fruit-growers in Ireland to introduce cold storage and his orchards were highly successful until they were destroyed in a single day by the hurricane Debbie in 1961. Not deterred, he turned part of the farm over to battery-hen farming then almost unknown in Ireland. He had been told, on arrival in Donegal, that he would probably stay a year. He retired to Lough Conn in Co Mayo in 1975.


Always known as "the Captain", Tindal was an immensely popular figure in Donegal, notorious in his family for chatting for hours with anyone he might meet by the roadside. Poverty was widespread at the time. Although he was known to sack unreliable workers, and to prosecute poachers, he had the kindest of hearts and was always helping those less fortunate than himself.


He was in charge of the RAF benevolent fund for many years. Tindal was a devout Catholic and daily Mass-goer. He was devoted to his wife, to whom he was married for 60 years, and after she died he gradually divested himself of his earthly belongings.


After one particularly traumatic railway journey he was heard to say: "I have lost my house, my car, my wife and now my luggage."


He married, in 1936, Winifred Cooper daughter of the Master of the Belvoir. They had seven children, two of whom pre-deceased him. He is survived by three sons and two daughters.


Nicolas Tindal: born March 7th, 1911; died on January 28th, 2006




Papal Roundabout


In February I received an Inquiry from a Kate Winter:-


Dear Mr Wilkinson,


 I hope you don’t mind me contacting you. I tracked your contact details down from the Beaumont Union website.


 I just wondered if there is a way of finding out whether any paintings/studies of Pope Pius VII by Sir Thomas Lawrence were ever hung at Beaumont College?


 I would be very grateful if you could put me in touch with anyone connected with the school’s artwork before it closed down, as I would like to know what happened to the paintings. I was wondering if there is a record anywhere of the paintings that hung there?




 I replied: Dear Kate,


                Thank you for getting in touch. I'm afraid that I'm not going to be very positive on a number of fronts. Firstly, anybody who might have concerned themselves with the artwork at the School is long since dead. As far as Pius VII in particular, I'm unaware that a portrait or studies of this Pope were held despite his being responsible for the restoration of the Order. Beaumont dated from 1861 and it was more likely that Popes Leo XIII or Pius X would have been displayed: Stonyhurst is more likely. From what I can recall the only painting of merit was a portrait by Thomas Gainsborough of a Doctor presented by the Earl of Denbigh and I would hope that it was offered back to the family when the school closed.


Sadly, I do not hold any records on the disposal of the very valuable books etc held by the school. I would suggest that you contact the Jesuit Archives at Mount Street or Stonyhurst, both of whom should be able to assist.


I'm sorry not to have been more helpful but good luck in your research.




In April from Antony Outred


Dear Robert and Patrick (Burgess),


The correspondence below is self-explanatory.  Please help if you can.


From Fr Kevin Fox


I don't know if this address reaches you personally. If so, I hope, first, that you are well; and then that you don't mind my intruding with a question that is part professional, but maybe mainly a matter of Beaumont reminiscence.


 Our archivist (for the British Province SJ, that is) is seeking help in tracing/identifying what she describes as 'a sketch owned by St John’s Beaumont School until at least 1967'. She goes on to say that 'the sketch is a half-length portrait of Pope Pius VII in papal robes, seated, made by Sir Thomas Lawrence.'  She has some evidence that it may have been sold c.1970 - though whether at this point it was still owned by SJB is not clear.


 I'm just wondering if you have any recollection from schooldays or later conversation of such a sketch, on display or spoken of.


 There is a well known portrait of Pius VII by Lawrence. The Royal Collection Trust list it in the Waterloo Chamber of Windsor Castle. I suppose any sketch might be related to that portrait, itself


dated to 1819. There is maybe a reason for an SJ interest in Pius VII, as he was the Pope who restored the Society (in 1814) after it had been suppressed forty years earlier by one of his predecessors.


 It's a long shot, Tony, but at least it's an occasion for wishing you well and hoping that you enjoy the spring sunshine.




From the Ed


 Dear Fr Kevin and Tony,


I think I may have helped start the trail –see below from a Kate Winter (First Letter). I do not remember the sketch at St Johns I’m sure you appreciate that paintings didn’t figure highly in the minds of small boys




However from Patrick Burgess:-


Dear Kevin


Tony Outred has passed on your note to him (and I am copying in one or two other OBs) I do remember the ‘sketch’ (to my untutored eye it looked like a pukka oil painting): it used to hang in the White House.


Was there a mention (or no) in the catalogue for the auction at Beaumont? If not it presumably went up to Stonyhurst or to St John’s.


Hence my copying in some distinguished alumni who kept a longer connection with St John’s.


I hope you are keeping well!




Ed. Even with the “untutored eye” it seems we have an art expert very much alive.




Finally where did it hang?




From Patrick


It was hung in the entrance hall of the White House, as I remember it- it is possible that it was moved to one of the Guest Rooms or the Js’ Refectory, but I think not....






 Ed For those, who like myself, lacked a critical eye for artwork while at school, I reproduce the painting that was commissioned by the Prince Regent in 1819 and hangs at Windsor Castle. Why – certainly not for the restoration of the Jesuits!  It was part of a series for the Waterloo Room collection of the Allied Leaders that brought about the defeat of Napoleon. Although Pius was present at the crowning of the French Emperor, he later excommunicated him when the Papal States were invaded and himself taken as a prisoner for six years: he was often seen as a martyr for the Allied cause.






File:Sir Thomas Lawrence - Pope Pius VII (1742-1823) - Google Art Project.jpg




Pope Pius XII by Sir Thomas Lawrence






From Christopher McHugh:
You deserve the most sincere thanks and congratulations for producing yet again, at the start of a fourth year, these masterpieces on our Alma Mater which I, and doubtless so many others, enjoy reading and I feel rather flattered that you should end this edition with my genuinely true little story about Chateau Beaumont.
But the article that really caught my attention was the extract from the memoirs of Fr Thomas Dunphy SJ, the last Rector of Beaumont, recounting the harrowing tasks of organising the closure of the college. After all this time I still find it astonishing that this Canadian visitor, a certain Fr Gordon George, should have succeeded in imposing his will against that of almost every stakeholder involved with the school, simply because, to quote Fr Martin D’Arcy SJ, he was “determined to strike a blow at the gentlemanly airs of the old country and no doubt Beaumont.” This Canadian visitor seems to have pulled rank and invoked the vows of obedience on his unilateral decision and tolerating no dissent or consideration of other points of view when there were so many alternatives. Most of the great catholic public schools in the last 50 years, both those for girls as well as boys, have migrated to lay management under Boards of Governors and survived as such to provide good upmarket education. When I finally depart this planet and hopefully make it at least to Purgatory, I earnestly hope that if Gordon George’s is there, his sentence is very significantly longer than mine; even better if he is quietly roasting in the other place! 


Ed:  Below is a photograph of the man who destroyed Beaumont. It would seem that he allowed his personal political and social views to dictate his decisions when holding such overriding powers as Visitor on behalf of the Superior General.







Fr Mark Hackett SJ in a memoir recalls that Fr George “asked me whether I was frightened of him and on being told that I was not, and we had recently had another visitor from Rome. He pointed out to me the enormous powers that he had and that I ought to be frightened of him”. 


I don’t’ know about “the roasting” but I think Christopher and his Naval OB Buddies might have arranged a “Keel Haul” if they had the opportunity.  For a man who also held the appointment of Provincial for the Society in Canada, I can find very little information about him: no obituary.


From Adrian Vickers


I’ve been meaning to write to you for some time to thank you for your magnificent stewardship (it would probably be called curation these days) of the B U Website, and in particular for your regular fascinating Reviews. Taking the latest, who would have thought that William Buckley went to our school, or been aware of the ruthless machinations surrounding our closure reported by Fr Dunphy?


I used to feel slightly uncomfortable about being a pupil of a school that had ceased to exist, imagining people thinking it can’t have been very good. You have banished this feeling by constantly reminding us of what a high-class educational establishment it was. As for the absence of any new boys to report on, I regard this as an unalloyed bonus since Old Boys are, let’s face it, so much more interesting!


ED: How very kind to write: much appreciated. I know exactly what you mean. Even when Beaumont existed I would still meet people who expressed ignorance of the School and I have felt that it was part of the Beaumont ethos to be understated and certainly not to brag. The Closure felt like ignominy –  the school was a failure that it had achieved little and its OBs of no consequence and had contributed nothing in this World


What I have tried to do is reassure those of us left that we were fortunate to have been educated at a special place and in a special environment, that for so small an establishment we produced many remarkable people in so many fields. Beaumont leaves a legacy of which we can be justly proud.


From Andrew Pace


I was interested to note the mention of Philip de Laszlo in the review. Although a naturalized British Citizen from the early 1900s (and having British Children) he was interned in the later years of WW1 because of his Hungarian origins. Rather than being sent to an internment camp, my Great Grandfather Sir Charles Russell 1st Bt, offered to stand surety for him and this was accepted on condition that he stay at Charles Russell's house, Littleworth Corner. This he did and, as a result, my first cousin, Charlie (4th Bt) has a painting of Littleworth Corner in winter with snow and I have one of the house in spring.




Image result for littleworth corner




 Both paintings of course are very much removed from the portrait painting for which he was best known. As a footnote Littleworth Corner was divided and eventually Stephen and Jules Compton came to own and live in one half for several years before they moved back to London relatively recently.


Ed: Below is a portrait he painted of Sir Charles together with a self-portrait with his wife Lucy and son Henry.




http://www.delaszlocatalogueraisonne.com/media/w1000h1000/displayed/russell-sir-charles-1st-bt-without-frame-6657.jpg http://www.delaszlocatalogueraisonne.com/media/w1000h1000/displayed/de-laszlo-henry-pa-lucy-10491.jpg




This proved to be one was one of de László’s most creative periods as he was free to paint for pure enjoyment rather than dealing with the demands of portrait commissions. His wife Lucy and children were his primary subjects as was the house and its surroundings.


From Tom Scanlon


 For a dozen years while still at and after school, I played cricket at Teddington Cricket Club in Middlesex.


 One of my old friends from that time died a couple of months ago and there was a memorial afternoon for him at the club recently.


 His other friends were fellow enthusiasts of classic Lancia cars.


 Being big into old cars myself, I introduced myself to one of them and, by sheer coincidence, it turned out to be Anthony Hussey, who had left Beaumont in the fifties.


 Actually, I knew his name from some previous Review, (ED article Autumn 2017) it having sparked an interest as it was in relation to the world-famous Connolly leather company, of which he was a family member. Connolly supplied leather to, amongst others, Rolls-Royce, The House of Lords and King Edward VII’s Coronation carriage....not a bad CV!









Anyway, here is a photo of Anthony and his wife Lorna, in their wonderful Lancia Spider America. (Ed Anthony is a “Concours d’Elegance judge and I reproduce from Motor Sport a potted history of this interesting family firm, which was founded by the brothers Samuel Frederick, formerly a medical student, and John Connolly in Euston Road in 1878. Each had been left £1,000, which they had put into what is believed to have been the first "while-you-wait" shoe repair company, a fact which annoyed their conventional competitors, who retaliated by breaking their windows! They branched into the selling and eventually into the making of harnesses; S.F. used to load a pony and trap full of samples, tour round the South Coast taking orders and then dash. back to the workshop to complete them. This brought the Connollys into contact with the leading coachbuilders, who began to buy hides from them for carriage hoods, wings and dashes. Soon they were employing teams of experts who visited the coachbuilders, Hansom* cabs in particular receiving their attention, wetted hides being shrunk on to the bodywork by means of a crude form of "dope". From exterior leatherwork, Connolly expanded into upholstery for horse-drawn vehicles and railway carriages. When coachbuilders turned their attention to "horseless carriages", so too did the Connollys.


  • Apart from cabs Hansom built the Beaumont Chapel.



The seemingly never ending “B” saga:-


From Gino Ciuffardi,


I’m not sure if you are soliciting any replies, but having been brought up as a European (who still wishes Italy’s rugby team might just, for once, win something other than the wooden spoon!), I feel the need to respond on the subject of Brexit.


One paragraph from the text you sent stands out:


The British standpoint is: “Either we play a leading role, better still, the lead role, or we stay out”.  Despite famed long British “club” and “team player” tradition, the nation continues to find it singularly hard to accept the confines of international “club rule” partnerships.


That’s not quite how I see it. It is not the confines of “international club rule partnerships” that is the problem. It is the unshakeable belief of the cabal running the club itself that everything they are doing is hunky dory. To talk of rules is rich given the endemic corruption, trough snorting and rule bending that continues to be fostered from within. Our net contribution is sufficient for us to play a leading role, but I’m not sure we necessarily aspired to play the lead role. Cameron did his best to influence some reasonable restraint on EU budgets only to be rebuffed out of hand. We have now seen two years of May being rebuffed at every step of her so-called, rather pitiful, negotiations. As I recall, Greece didn’t exactly express jubilation at the “confines” imposed upon them. Italy is spiralling out of control and I don’t have time to write about the other numerous “hotspots”.


Tatty-bye for now and thank you for your commitment to the BU.


From Richard Sheehan,


Irrespective of which side of the argument one comes from, the crucial question is this; in the context of Brexit, does democracy prevail or is autocracy permitted to subvert the democratic decision of the Britain people?  Whilst from time to time democracy results in a perceived unsatisfactory outcome, at least it can be corrected in the future.  However, if autocracy triumphs, there is no control over its decrees or its exercise of power. 


Forty-five years ago, a majority of people in Britain voted to join the European Common Market.  Nowadays the EU, which has become its successor, bears only a partial resemblance to the entity which Britain had agreed to join.  The European Common Market is now subsumed into a would-be sovereign power which controls our lives.  This was never agreed to by the British people. The decision to opt out is evidence of that. 


Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty made provision for this to be allowed [“Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements"].  However, events have now proved that the EU never intended that Article 50 should function.  There have been insinuations on both sides of lying, and it is clear from the intentions of those seeking to thwart Britain’s democratic decision to leave the EU, that Article 50 is itself in danger of becoming a lie.


Indeed, the hatred that Britain’s decision to leave the EU has stirred up brings dishonour to civilised society.  A particularly low point was reached on 6th February 2019 when European Council President Donald Tusk essentially damned to Hell those negotiating Brexit.  Leo Varadkar the Irish Taoiseach echoed his words.  Yet they both might care to recall the conclusion of the first reading for that day, which was taken from St Paul’s letter to the Hebrews; Chapter 12 verses 14 -15 which said:


Always be wanting peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one can ever see the Lord. Be careful that no one is deprived of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness should begin to grow and make trouble; this can poison a whole community.


Coincidence or Prescience?


From Christopher Coleman,


I think it a bit of a shame that you introduced politics to the BU Newsletter but as you have done I feel I can’t let Hans-Christoph von Massenbach’s letter go unanswered. He suggests that an upsurge of right wing politics might put an end to the democratic system of British party parliamentary government. It is the potential loss of our parliamentary government that so frightens us and I don’t mind saying that some right wing politics is just what our country needs at the moment after so many years of mismanagement and deceit by our 3 main political parties. 




Much of what he says I can agree with, for instance parliament not only failed to perform, but its figureheads themselves did everything possible with rhetoric to reduce the character of debate to a battle of emotions, purposefully concealing “the facts” of the issue, but these facts have also been concealed by all our mainstream media, our civil service and many if not most of the higher echelons of our society.




Hans-Christoph’s attitude towards us with “sights more focused on the glorious past than on the way ahead.” Is straight out of the EU commission’s handbook. What continues to upset us is the loss of democracy and the deception and lies we have been subjected to for over 40 years.  A majority of the British public (not me) were fooled into thinking they were just joining a common market.  We all know now that that was never the sole intention of those in power.




OK, so we’ve had the worst-case scenario for leaving the EU given to us by numerous outlets. Lets now have the worst-case scenario of remaining in the EU based on actual known factors and figures, sourced from the public records of the UK Government, the EU Parliament, The Bank of England, the CBI, Migration watch, The Stock exchanges around the world, the IMF, and the UN.






1: The UK along with all existing members of the EU lose their abstention veto in 2020 as laid down in the Lisbon Treaty when the system changes to that of majority acceptance with no abstentions or veto’s being allowed.


2: All member nations will become states of the new federal nation of the EU by 2022 as clearly laid out in the Lisbon treaty with no exceptions or veto’s.


3: All member states must adopt the Euro by 2022 and any new member state must do so within 2 years of joining the EU as laid down in the Lisbon treaty.


4: The London stock exchange will move to Frankfurt in 2020 and be integrated into the EU stock exchange resulting in a loss of 200,000 plus jobs in the UK because of the relocation. This has already been pre-agreed and is only on a holding pattern due to the Brexit negotiations, which if Brexit does happen the move is fully cancelled but if not and the UK remains a member it’s full steam ahead for the move.


5: The EU Parliament and ECJ become supreme over all legislative bodies of the UK.


6: The UK will adopt 100% of whatever the EU Parliament and ECJ lays down without any means of abstention or veto, negating the need for the UK to have the Lords or even the Commons as we know it today.


7: The UK will NOT be able to make its own trade deals.


8: The UK will NOT be able to set its own trade tariffs.


9 The UK will NOT be able to set its own trade quotas.


10: The UK loses control of its fishing rights


11: The UK loses control of its oil and gas rights


12: The UK loses control of its borders and enters the Schengen region by 2022 as clearly laid down in the Lisbon treaty


13: The UK loses control of its planning legislation


14: The UK loses control of its armed forces including its nuclear deterrent


15: The UK loses full control of its taxation policy


16: The UK loses the ability to create its own laws and to implement them


17: The UK loses its standing in the Commonwealth


18: The UK loses control of any provinces or affiliated nations e.g.; Falklands, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar etc


19: The UK loses control of its judicial system


20: The UK loses control of its international policy


21: The UK loses full control of its national policy


22: The UK loses its right to call itself a nation in its own right.


23: The UK loses control of its space exploration program


24: The UK loses control of its Aviation and Sea-lane jurisdiction


25: The UK loses its rebate in 2020 as laid down in the Lisbon treaty


26: The UK’s contribution to the EU is set to increase by an average of 1.2bn pa and by 2.3bn pa by 2020




PROBABLE WORST-CASE OUTCOMES. ( OK, very pessimistic but we are taking about worst-case and its not difficult to think of many more outcomes)


1: The UK will become nothing more than a vassal protectorate state. Our parliament will become entirely superfluous with no more relevance than a parish council.


2: With the continuation of freedom of movement, the population of the UK will continue to grow at a rate higher than pre-referendum level ranging between 400,000 to 675,000 per annum.


2.1; Which will result in not just wage suppression but even wage depression.


2.2; More than 500,000 new homes to be built annually (We are currently only managing 125,000)


2.3; House prices and rents will skyrocket annually by 23%


2.4; Class sizes in schools would have to increase by 50% if not even double


2.5; The NHS will become solely an emergency service of care provider as they would no longer be able to cope with the numbers of people needing care other than those of emergency.


2.6; GP’s will become triage centres


2.7; Public transport will become permit holders use only


2.8; Only those that did a serious crime namely murder will be given a custodial sentence


2.9; The Court system becomes fully overrun to the point extreme cases only being heard and the rest being given an automatic fine


2.10; Emergency services collapsing for not being able to cope with the scale of things


2.11; Social care becoming solely private social care for those who can afford it.


2.12; Homelessness to increase by over 28% annually


2.13; Unemployment to increase annually by 37%


2.14; The Benefit system to collapse fully to the point of the return of soup kitchens and even workhouse existence


2.15; Crime to increase by over 59% annually


2.16; Shanty towns to become the norm standard of housing


3: Because the UK would no longer be able to make its own trade deals, nor control its tariffs or quotas, Food prices would increase by over 25% and the cost of living would go up by over 39%


4: Because the UK would lose its oil and gas rights it would also lose the revenue from taxation on them, resulting in a loss of over 600 billion per year in taxation revenue


5: Because the UK will become a member state its percentage share of the vote on any new laws, regulations, treaties and everything else is at current member numbers 3.57% of the vote. That’s right, the UK say in the EU if it was to remain a member is 3.57% total.




Everything is verifiable and is something the EU propaganda machine as well as our very own government are not telling us.




Hans-Christoph obviously feels a close affinity to our country and, as he infers, tries to keep himself up to date with the political climate over here but he will not get an accurate impression of how we think if he confines his research to our mainstream media or reports from parliament.




Many of us were horrified by the German chancellor’s illegal invitation for anyone whether or not they were genuine refugees, to come and set up home in Germany and in effect anywhere in the EU. Now anyone who queries this insanity is labelled a bigot or Xenophobic. More humane, efficient and cheaper options of help in countries of origin don’t seem to have been considered. Maybe the majority of Germans are happy with the situation but I doubt it.  We, on the other hand are a small country, already grossly overcrowded and our services and infrastructure are at breaking point. Those with money including our politicians are insulated from these problems.




The majority of Britons are very happy to call themselves European. This should not change with Brexit.  We do want cooperation with our neighbours and do see an increasing need for European partnerships/alliances but as YanisVaroufakis the Greek economist has shown, cooperation can be very one sided when dealing with the EU.  Cooperation by dictat is not cooperation at all but subjugation.




Finally a typical amusing view from my brother Eleventh Hussar




 From Johnny Muir,




Ides of March Briefing Note… in keeping with the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Armoured Corps on 4th April 1939


Ed: For the non-military, the Royal Armoured Corps is the “umbrella” organisation of the old Cavalry Regiments and the Royal Tank Regiment.


“The Maybot Mark 1 Scorpion Vehicle having been de-commissioned when the Camshaft on an earlier Reconnaissance Vehicle cracked suddenly on manoeuvres in Downing Street on 24 June 2016…  the prototype Maybot Mark 11 Battle Tank (alleged amphibious) was commissioned in its place for BAOR (aka Brexit’s Agony Of Remaining) manoeuvres in Europa’s Hall of Mirrors in July 2016… but, fatally, with an engine still equipped with horizontally opposed side draft carburettors.


 Such a configuration combines air with fuel in the correct ratio prior to its entry into the engine's combustion chambers. But should the air become intemperately hot and the fuel no longer very clear but worryingly cloudy, it becomes anyone’s guess (least of all the Tank’s  gunner, Spread sheet Phil, turret-down behind No 11’s securitised door mat) whether the tank’s cocktail cabinet of vertically opposed cylinders, leaking freely, is strong and stable enough to stand a cracked  head, or two, or three...


And so it was that in that stille nacht the cry ‘Gasket means Gasket’ was first broadcast over Albion’s fetid air waves. And thereafter, when it wasn’t echoing fitfully across the waste land of BAOR manoeuvrings in April’s cruellest month, it became the go-to password for the Tank’s creaking hull-down positions in some of the most inhospitable of Brussels’ and Berlin’s unregistered VAT 69 massage parlours.


‘‘Plenty of intake and  compression,’’ cried the REME (aka Residential Electroconvulsive Manipulative Engineers) as they whipped the Maybot’s moving parts through the echo chambers of the Tank’s four stroke engine cycle… ‘‘But bugger all power…’’ exclaimed the Trench Latrine Wallahs knee deep in spent cases (some cartridge some legal)… ‘’only backfire and misfire… for the love of Michael!’’ they moaned…‘’you guys, gals and persons need to get real with the Withdrawal Agreement… you may be past caring but you can’t be sof….., mea culpa! exhaust-ed, that you’re past taking the necessary precautions.’’


                                                                            (JM 3.00pm 12 March 2019)








Final Thought


From the History of SOE


“We did not ask why; we only knew this was what we must do. Let the historians seek more complex motivations if they wish, but they will not destroy the simple truth as we saw it”


Phillippe de Vomecourt.