I wonder if you, like me, raised an eyebrow to read about the Church of England’s latest guidance on “Contested Heritage”  which seeks to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation. Worthy sentiments,  but it goes on to call for the removal of objects that people find troubling because of their depiction or commemoration of, or association with the oppression or marginalisation of people on the basis of their race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. This sounds like a second Reformation with whitewashed walls  and possibly a Cross and certainly no Crucifix. I accept that this is extreme but it did make me wonder what  Beaumont heritage would have lasted to the present day in order to meet the “correctness” that society requires.

Well, we never had fagging, corporal punishment would have gone anyway  and the power of The  Captains and Monitors and the privileges of Higher Line and Studies “A’ would  have been considerably curtailed. Gallery marching, various hands in pockets would belong to the past. No more compulsory CCF and sport and would  class streaming still be allowed?  I would imagine that the big game trophies and the various tiger skins would have been removed -  suitable role models might have replaced them. Most contentious of all would have been the “Golly” – loved, cherished and coveted by the Schismatics as much as a “pyjama” jacket for the 1st XI. Would that have been our “Rhodes moment”: who knows.

(Click here to download a PDF version)



As previously announced will take place at the Caledonian Club, Halkin Street, Monday 4th October. The Bar will open at Noon, Lunch at 1pm. Dress: Suits.

May I remind, as I have in the past:-

'A man who tires of Club Events tires of life ' (to paraphrase Johnson -not the Boris variety) ....

Since we have not met to enjoy each other’s company for a couple 

of years  the Committee looks forward to seeing you all again and if

we cannot tempt you, perhaps the thought of Jerry Gilmore’s Champagne will !


BACS payment preferred to Sort: 30-99-09. Beaumont Union A/c 02198243 with NAME as reference. £50.

Some have asked how we manage to keep the cost of the Lunch so low. Although he would not wish it publicised, I feel we should recognise the generosity of our President who picks up the tab for the extra expense. We are most grateful as always to Guy.


I have been informed by Benson & Clegg, our one and only stockist of ties, that we have been discontinued!

I have plans afoot that, like Lazarus, it will be resurrected: I will keep you informed as to what I can arrange.

“STREETWISE”: The Ant Stevens Musical


Wed. 27thto Sat. 30th October. Tickets are still available  online; Book now at the Swindon Wyvern Theatre. Tel. 0343 310 0040


John Flood and myself have met with De Vere Beaumont to discuss the renovation of the War Memorial and we are pleased to tell you that despite the economic problems of “hospitality” at present, they are prepared to carry out the work though it will be in two phases. Prior to Remembrance Sunday and the Centenary of the unveiling, the Memorial will be professionally cleaned by “Prelude Stone” who have worked on many historic buildings. Phase 2 will be the restoration of fissures, re-grouting etc. at a latter date to help defray the cost.

We are indebted to De Vere  for their willingness and interest in preserving the Memorial for future generations.


Please remember that if you change your Email  to let me know: Its one thing to lose you to the grim reaper which is inevitable but to lose you because of an oversight is just as sad ! Two “Bounces” and you are deleted from the system. David Liston reminded me that I had not deleted the late John Mayle: His Email hasn’t bounced in the last year so perhaps he can still receive beyond the grave!

A reminder that I moved to gmail some 4 years ago: robertsnobcob@gmail.com

St John’s Old Boys


From Mrs Susann Laughton

We have only about 400 Old Boys on our database, as the previous SJBOB database has been mislaid here a while ago and I had to restart it last year. Would you be able to pass our newsletter on to other SJBOBs who might not yet be on our database?

Here is a link to the newsletter:


And a link to sign up to our new database here:





In the last Edition I mentioned that I needed a new Website Manager and here he is: -

If the face looks a little familiar it’s not surprising  as I introduce Ben FitzGerald O’Connor, a son of Tim. He has “Tech “ Company ONEGA at Canary Wharf. Thank you Tim for making the introduction.


Trailfinders founder and chairman Mike Gooley  who was at St John”s (46) has received a knighthood in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

The honour was made for services to business and charity.

Trailfinders was founded in 1970 by former SAS officer Gooley with a staff of four.

The company remains privately owned but has a staff of more than 1,000 at 39 travel centres and has made travel arrangements for over 16 million clients.

Gooley received a CBE in 2007 for services to the travel industry and his charity work through the Mike Gooley Trailfinders Charity, founded in 1995.

He was honoured by the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame in 2001.



Frederick Devaux (51) was awarded a CBE for services to the community. He had previously been made a CMG in 2001.

Fred is Chairman of the M & C group of companies on the Island with interests in retail, building supplies, insurance and shipping. During the pandemic, Fred and his Companies have done an enormous amount to support everyone on the Island: it has been recognised.


On the 2nd July Patrick Burgess was created a Knight of St Gregory the Great at Arundel Cathedral. The Ceremony was conducted by Bishop Richard Moth Bishop of Arundel & Brighton in the presence of Maggie and the Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex Mrs Susan Pyper.

The Lord Lieutenant and Bishop Richard flank the new Knight.

In case, like myself, you were not entirely clear on the qualification for such an honour here it is:-

 “A gentlemen of proven loyalty to the Holy See who, by reason of their nobility of birth and the renown of their deeds or the degree of their munificence, are deemed worthy to be honoured by a public expression of esteem on the part of the Holy See". They must progressively maintain, by continued meritorious deed, the reputation and trust they had already inspired, and prove themselves worthy of the honour that had been conferred on them, by unswerving fidelity to God and to the sovereign Pontiff”.

Fair to say that Pope Francis has picked a “good’un”: Congratulations Patrick.

OLYMPICS (Personal note).

After the glory of David Danson’s daughter Alex  winning Gold in Rio, I too am basking in some reflected glory:-

My Gt niece Kate French won the  Modern Pentathlon Gold.

Kate is the daughter of my nephew and godson Fred French ( Master of the Mid-Surrey Farmers and a onetime useful amateur jockey): one of my sister’s boys. Like all our family she is a great all -round horsewoman brought up on the Pony Club triathlon. She won a sports scholarship to Cobham Hall and the other aspects of the sport developed from there . She started on International Competition in 2014 and was 5th in Rio. She has consistently been in the medals since then and is the consummate all-round sportswoman. Swimming, fencing, show jumping, running and shooting; every aspect of athleticism is covered at the highest level. She is totally unassuming and grounded : as you can imagine we are totally over the moon!!!!

The Champagne flowed.


I regret to inform you of the death of Richard Mills-Owens QC SC (55) eminent Hong Kong Lawyer See Obituaries ( under NEWS dropdown).We have just been informed of the death of Richard Fitton (60) who had been living near Cirencester in recent years. Also, Ron de la Grange (58) a regular supporter of the BU and the Catenians.


Ron R.I .P.

BOOKS – even more from the pen of Simon Potter.


“This is a beautifully presented book with attractive photographs and clear, well-spaced, user-friendly text. Most striking of all, however, is the enthusiasm of the author. This pulsates through every page, conveying itself irresistibly even to a reader like myself with little prior interest in the subject. And one can only marvel at the depth and detail of his mastery of the material. How did he ever assemble such a wealth of knowledge and understanding of something which – let us be unkindly frank – is of little real importance to most of the human race. I am afraid I could not resist the (perhaps unfair and churlish) thought that the author might have employed his obvious ability on something more significant! Still, he has produced a splendid book which will no doubt be read with delight by the many (presumably) who share this particular enthusiasm.”

Available from Witley Press.  £12.95


And in case it has slipped your mind:-

 “CROSS Between the ANTLERS”

The Sporting memoire of a Chaplain in the Great War

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

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


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

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

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

Available from Witley Press.  £12.00


BUGS Westerham Society Meeting

Nigel Courtney reports: -

The BUGS, is now in its 5th season but, far more importantly, the 101st year since it was established. Sadly, any centenary celebrations became a casualty of the covid-19 pandemic - but the Spirit of Beaumont has prevailed yet again with an excellent meeting at Westerham on 26th May, when Summer finally arrived. ( Ed: on second thoughts – it didn’t)



B U G S  (B U Goose Squad ?)

To mark the occasion a dozen stalwart OBs assembled for the joust - including a new recruit to the present Society  Peter Flaherty, whose amateur golfing career includes thrice being Surrey Champion. ( ED: In the late 50s and 60s Peter was the backbone of the Halford Hewitt side and in 1967 was a member of the victorious Irish Team that won the European Amateur Championship). In addition, we were delighted to host four St Johns-Beaumont players - the BU Casuals, aka the BUCS. And to top it off we had the pleasure of the company of Susie Marshall as co-pilot, with Mark, of the indispensable drinks buggy.

Once again we played two competitions: ten BU golfers battled it out-for the Mike Bedford Trophy and a BUGS team of four contested the Desmond Tolhurst Cup with the BUCS. Our non-playing captain, Robert Wilkinson, reprised his role as course marshal and agent provocateur and, with John Flood, photographed events throughout the day.

For the BUGS v- BUCS competition Kevin McArdle and Mark Addison took on Iain Lindsay and Tim Fitzgerald. Then Clive Fisher and Peter Flaherty played Joe Notter and Ross Munroe.

Simultaneously these BU players had to compete for the Mike Bedford Trophy alongside John Flood, David Hiscocks, Patrick Solomon, David Collingwood, Nigel Courtney and Rupert Lescher.

Despite best endeavours the BUGS were trounced by the rather athletic-looking ‘young BUCS’ who took home the Tolhurst Cup for the second time. The result for the Bedford trophy was more nuanced; for the second time Kevin McArdle carded an excellent score and was awarded the Mike Bedford Trophy. Some way behind, Nigel Courtney was runner-up again, just pipping Clive Fisher.

Kevin receives the Bedford Claret Jug – again.

All winners received BU golf balls to mark their achievements. A Westerham GC pichfork and ball marker was awarded to Joe Notter for best score of the day and to Ross Munroe for the Longest Drive on the 3rd.

But the prize-giving did not end there. Golf balls engraved with the reminder: “play your Provisional ball first” were earned by Patrick Solomon for hitting his ball into the lake; by Peter Flaherty for being a very good sport; by David Collingwood for torturing his fossilised BU tie; and by John Flood for breaking the course record with 19 shots on the 16th hole!

Robert Wilkinson told us more about this 101st Anniversary, presented the organiser Nigel with two bottles of fine wine, and we all raised a glass of port to toast the Spirit of Beaumont.

Nigel reminded all present that our match v- Downside’s OGGS will be at Denham on Tuesday 21st September 2021. Seven BUs signed up on the spot! And by popular request, we will be able to play for the Mike Bedford Trophy again, at Westerham, on Wednesday 25th May 2022.

Please make sure both dates are in your diaries. Every BU is most welcome to participate, as a player or non-playing supporter. Just contact Robert or Nigel [nigel@courtneynet.com] as soon as convenient.

Some Inspiring moments:


 Courtney & Lescher: “Hooks to the left of them, Slices to the right “ Alfred lord  Tee….


    Fisher- to the wide green yonder.            Hiscocks – The  Banker to Bunker.

  Flaherty – the expert eye.                              Addison  - the wood for the trees 


Susie: Not so much Marshall’s niblick more the driver.  The Collingwood collapse.

Flood: going for the “record” at the 16th.


Soloman: In the pink but grief at both “sea and sand.”


“The Coldest place on Earth”

A chance remark by Clive Fisher at the BUGS meeting – “I hope to be meeting up with Chris Elliott”. I looked blank. ‘Antarctic survey and the Falklands” he added.

Well, he wasn’t on my radar but certainly should have been:-

Chris came to Beaumont from the Oratory Prep but left early in 1962 to go to the School of Navigation in Southampton in preparation for a commission in the Merchant Navy. One of his earliest appointments was as a junior deck officer in 1967 on the RRS John Biscoe that saw the start of his distinguished career with the British Antarctic Survey. A career that lasted forty years culminating with the command of the RSS James Clark Ross.


RSS John Biscoe

In those early days he also served on the RSS Bransfield an ice-strengthened cargo ship. Vessels would  depart from the United Kingdom in September or October of each year, and return to the United Kingdom in the following May or June. Ships undergo refit and drydock during the Antarctic winter, but were also used elsewhere during this period. 

Chris earned promotion to Second Officer on the Briscoe in 1970 and it was in that capacity that he and the ship played a small part in the lead up to the Falklands War.  on a brief stopover, they berthed at Montevideo, Uruguay, in March 1982 when the call came that there was the threat an Argentine invasion on British territory and she needed to do her duty.

She had just finished delivering essential supplies to scientific bases in Antarctica, was 175 miles from Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital, when they were ordered to take a detachment of 40 Royal Marines to Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands. These were the only troops on the Islands when the Invasion occurred.

On becoming Master of the ship, He established the successful Offshore Biological Programme cruises and helped superintend the building of the Biscoe’s replacement  the RSS James Clark Ross in 1991. He then took command of one of the most advanced oceanographic research vessels in the world working mainly for the British Atlantic Survey  but also undertaking scientific research on behalf of other organisations in the Arctic.

 Chris was one of only a few people with experience of operating a research ship in extreme polar environments.


RSS James Ross Clark


A BBC correspondent joined Chris on one of his voyages

“So what do you do when you get stuck in the Antarctic ice and the ship's captain says the water must be rationed? Christine McGourty, our science correspondent, reflects on her "Shackleton moment"

In all the months of planning my trip to Antarctica, this was something I'd never foreseen. It was well past midnight; we were stuck in the ice; and the debate raging in the ship's bar was over how many lightbulbs there were in the Hermitage museum in St Petersburg.

All the same

The James Clerk Ross was heading to the British Antarctica base at Rothera, taking scientists and cargo with it. We'd covered some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) from Stanley in the Falklands. But just 50 kilometres (30 miles) or so from our destination, the ice had intervened. it was white in all directions - snow and ice stretching out to the horizon to meet the white cloud-filled sky. Truly, it was not such a bad place to be stuck. From where we stood. It was only just below freezing and there was plenty of time to stand on deck admiring the scenery. Sleepy seals lounged around on the ice flows, a solitary Emperor penguin preened itself in the sun, and tiny fluttering snow petrels flew in rings around us. The only occasional sound came from the ship's engines when they were fired up every so often to stop us drifting too far with the ice.

On our second day trapped in this polar wilderness, a dozen or so scientists stood forlorn around the bar, debating the wind direction and thickness of the ice.

Crushed in the ice

It was simply a matter of waiting - waiting for the wind to blow the ice away from land and back out to sea.

For the moment, though, it was blowing exactly the wrong way - packing the ice in tightly to the coast and pushing us in the direction of dangerous rocks. Our ship could be trapped, crushed. God forbid, we might have to abandon ship and wait to be rescued.

Not much chance then of seeing in Christmas with the family. This was no matter for idle speculation. It was exactly what had happened to this crew on this ship two years ago, and in this precise spot. The ship was stuck here for six full weeks and it was an experience that our captain, Chris Elliott, had no intention of repeating.

Star Wars technology

He assured me that there was "no cause for undue pessimism". But it was not comforting to see the chart from two years ago laid out on a table on the bridge to compare the situation then and now.

It was our third day in the ice when water rations were introduced. The jokes about the explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and his ship the Endurance, crushed in the Antarctic ice in 1915, were starting to wear thin.

Quite suddenly though, in the early afternoon, the wind dropped, the ice loosened and the captain decided the time was right to make a bid for freedom.

The ship's engines roared into action. There were some anxious moments. I could feel the deck shaking beneath my feet as the engines worked at full power. We were barely moving. Soon, though, it was full speed ahead. And to our astonishment, the ship just kept on going.

It crashed its way through the ice for five hours and then - beautiful, dark-blue water opened up in front of us. Finally, land was in sight. Our destination was approaching, and just for a moment, I felt a certain sadness. I might after all be home for Christmas”.

Shortly before his retirement in 2005 Chris was awarded the Polar Medal  which is awarded for extreme human endeavour against the appalling weather and conditions that exist in the Arctic and Antarctic.

The Medal may be conferred on those citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland who have personally made conspicuous contributions to the knowledge of Polar regions or who have rendered prolonged service of outstanding quality in support of acquisition of such knowledge and who, in either case, have undergone the hazards and rigours imposed by the Polar environment. The Medal may also be awarded in recognition of individual service of outstanding quality in support of the objectives of Polar expeditions, due account being taken of the difficulties overcome.

Chris seems to have ticked all the boxes. The Fuchs Medal is a medal awarded by The British Antarctic Survey for "Outstanding devotion to the British Antarctic Survey's interests, beyond the call of normal duty, by men or women who are or were members of the Survey, or closely connected with its work." The award was created in 1973 and is named after the polar explorer Sir Vivian Fuchs  who was the director of BAS from 1958 to 1973.

 Further to this he was awarded an MBE in 2005.

However, probably his most prestigious and memorable award came when the Antarctic Place Names Committee named the marine channel running northeast–southwest between the southeast coast of Adelaide Island and Jenny Island “The Elliott Passage”.

From the Beaumont perspective Chris becomes the third OB to have a part of Antarctica named after them: a Briton now joins a Frenchman and an American.

The Dion Islands are a group of small islands and rocks lying in the northern part of Marguerite Bay 11 kilometres (6 nmi) south-west of Cape Alexandra, Adelaide Island  off the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. They were discovered by the French Expedition 1908-10  led by Jean-Baptiste Charcot, he sailed with the ship Pourquoi Pas ?  exploring the Bellinghausen  and Amundsen Seas discovering various Islands including the Dion which he named  for the Marquis Albert de Dion (70), who donated three motor sledges  and whose De Dion-Bouton works produced equipment for the expedition.

I’m certain OBs would be interested to know that The islands have been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by Birdlife International because they support a breeding colony  of about 500 pairs of Imperial Shags. 


The Mackay Mountains are a distinctive group of montains in Marie Byrd Land  in West Antarctica . In the Ford Ranges they loom 16 km south of the Alleghenny Mountains. They were discovered in 1934 during the second American Antarctic expedition (1933-1935) by the  polar explorer Richard Evelyn Byrd.

It was Byrd  who had made the first hazardous flight to the Pole on his first  expedition. On this one, he almost killed himself living alone through the winter with a faulty stove that emitted carbon monoxide: he was rescued just in time. However he did discover this mountain range that he named after the US telecommunications Entrepreneur Clarence Mackay (92) who  sponsored the research expedition.



The  Second  British Antarctic Expedition under Captain Scott  started out in 1910 and Beaumont had an interest with the dogs. It is little known that both the animals and the tentage and sleeping bags were sponsored mainly by schools. For some reason Beaumont was the only Catholic establishment and apart from Eton and a few others, most of the backing came from the state sector. The school’s involvement may have come through Sir George Clifford Bt, and a man that had given much support to Scott and his ambitions. The expedition also took with it cases of Bohane owned Kopke port to give required sustenance.

Thirty-three sledging dogs were collected from Siberia and taken to the port of Vladivostok and from thence by steamer to Lyttleton New Zealand to join the expedition. Kumgai, named for an island in those northern Russian regions was re-named Beaumont. As it turned out, it was bad news for the pony sponsors as the beasts were inadequate for the task, and were slaughtered by the team members on their trek south and the meat cached at depots to supply rations for the return journey. The canine contingent, including Beaumont returned to base camp having reached Cape Evans and before the final leg to the Pole. Scott had decided to man-haul the sledges as he had problems with handling dogs on his previous expedition and had little faith in them.

Scott failed to appreciate that “man is a poor beast of burden” which had been an obvious lesson from his last attempt. Meanwhile Amundsen and the Norwegians had guessed correctly that the dog teams would go all the way, and if trained properly with the expedition members were the solution against fatigue and time. Amundsen was prepared to sacrifice the weaker animals as they progressed to feed others in the teams as well as themselves.

The problem was that Scott had the typical English approach and was to say “one cannot contemplate the murder of animals that possess such intelligence and individuality which have such endearing qualities and one regards as friends and companions”. The ponies did not come into that category and were sacrificed while Beaumont and the other dogs were spared and survived. What it came down to, was that the British had no idea how to work dog teams and were ill-prepared for the task. They might not have got to the Pole first, but at least they would probably have survived. Cynically, they had to die so that we could have our “Heroes”.

Bill Anderson.

Over 40 years later and an OB led an expedition to “the coldest place on earth”.

Anderson would say that he was born about the right time: the Second World War started when he was twenty. He had just finished his time at Beaumont  having distinguished himself of ploughing the school certificate examination with amazing regularity. and, reluctantly, he was about to be articled to his father, an ecclesiastical architect. He was commissioned into the Parachute Regiment fighting in the Desert before  being seconded to Special Operations and parachuted behind the enemy lines in France. For three years he fought in Korea, where he was the leader of a “private army” of British, Americans and Koreans, which carried out dangerous and highly successful raids into North Korea.  For this he was awarded a bar to his M.C., the M.B.E. and the U.S. Legion of Merit.  Disillusioned by the cavalier treatment of his men by superior command, he resigned his commission in 1954 to look for fresh fields to conquer.

He applied for a position with the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey and after an interview with Sir Vivian Fuchs  was appointed commander and meteorological observer for Base D,  known as Trinity House at Hope Bay, Antarctic Peninsula: the area where Shackleton had come to grief.

Trinity House

His team was engaged in medical, physiological, meteorological, geological, and zoological research, in addition to extensive surveying.

Anderson (Left)  with his team ready to leave on one of the expeditions

 Here the enemy was not his fellow-man; in fact, there was no enemy, only the challenge of nature. He moved from a land torn with bitterness and strife, with hatred, death and disease to a place where fear did not exist unless brought by man with his own heart.


 RSS John Biscoe ( later the command of Chris Elliott) took the team south.

Anderson spent almost two years in that barren wilderness of snow and ice and he loved the survey work, the expeditions and the camaraderie. Strangely for a soldier prepared to cut the throat of an adversary, he hated culling seals for the dog rations. One of the aims of the expedition was to breed and to test dog teams in extreme conditions. Snow tractors were good, but there are certain places where only a team could get to.  Some of the dogs lived and died there or were destroyed, and a few of the huskies served the expedition after they died. Bill was to write; “We even ate Scottie, one of the old ones, to see what the meat tasted like, in case we ran out of food on a journey and had to start eating the team. The meat and liver was excellent, but the meal was a gloomy one - we were all very fond of Scottie”. The dogs almost returned the compliment, when Bill fell through the ice on one occasion and was getting himself out of a hazardous situation, it was not helped that his team attacked him, thinking he was a seal. 

His team covered over 8000 miles  with the dog sleds with his longest expedition lasting 83 days and covered  900 miles.

At the end he was to write: -

“I had come to the end of a phase of my life  I shall never forget. I had initially gone down to the Antarctic to think over certain things for myself. I wanted to get re-orientated after Korea, but I found that l hadn’t had a moment to think in during the last eighteen months. I was back where I started”.

Anderson, the born adventurer, went on to co-lead an  expedition to the Andes and later to rescue his yacht crew after they were shipwrecked: two weeks cutting their way through the jungle. What a man.


 Apart from those who served on the Arctic Convoys in the last War, did we have  anyone who went on an expedition to the frozen North? The answer is yes, when by chance Johnnie Muir told me that he was going to be in my vicinity for a “Jostedal” reunion. This scientific expedition in 1970 was the first led by Ranulph Fiennes to the Jostedal Glacier in Norway. “Johnnie Jostedal” or “he who was aerodynamically unsound'', as Fiennes christened him was one of those who took part in what was  fairly hazardous  scientific research which apparently involved the deepest of crevasses and lemmings.

 A reticent Johnnie  mentions that  “thereby hangs a tale. ( and one or two dangling on the ends of ropes).. which in the mists of time, may or may not be told by tail-end-Johnnie...” so wait out.

 The Bravest of the Brave

This story begins when a young officer of the Royal Flying Corps, Clifford Baseden crash-landed his fighter in France at the home of the Comte Ludovic Hurault de Vibraye, and he was invited by the Comtesse to have dinner. Whilst there, he met and fell in love with Antionette the youngest daughter of the Comte and Comtesse.  The Comte was himself the youngest son of the Marquis de Vibraye whose home was the magnificent Chateau de Cheverny.


Chateau de Cheverney

As an old cavalry soldier and General, the Comte had come out of retirement to command the Cavalry depot at Versailles during the War. The Comtesse was of the Law de Lauriston family of Scottish / French nobility. The young couple were to marry after the War in 1920.

 Ludovic Hurault de Vibraye

Clifford and Antoinette had two children both born in Paris: Yvonne a couple of years the elder in 1922 followed by Rex in 1925. The family travelled and lived around Europe, so as a result the Baseden children were educated at schools in England, France, Poland, Italy and Spain and in addition to being bilingual (English and French), they also spoke a basic level of many other languages.


In 1937, the family moved to London and Rex came to Beaumont in 1938. He left in 1943 having played in the 1st XV and rowed in the VIII – they beat Eton for the first time in several years.  He joined the Navy and was posted as a young Sub-Lt to the aircraft carrier HMS Formidable. He was later wounded in May 1945 at the Battle for Okinawa when a Japanese suicide plane hit the flight deck off the Sakishima Islands. After the war he married Huquette Steverlynck and moved to Lille in northern France, where Rex involved himself in several family businesses rising to Chairman of one of them before he retired. During this time, as part of the Anglo-French Chamber of Commerce for the region, he helped in the preparations for the Channel Tunnel and was awarded the OBE for his efforts.

Rex and Huguette had five children, four sons and a daughter. Patrick the second son was at one time a Vice President of Veuve Clicquot and has wine interests in Bordeaux including being the founder and CEO of the Montesquieu Wines and Domaines, he is also responsible for Chateau Sanctus from St Emilion. Another son, who went to Stonyhurst, since Beaumont had closed, had a long and distinguished career with Unilever around the world. A grandson is a Director of Hermes.

Rex died in 2000.

However, it is not Rex nor his progeny who are the best remembered of the Baseden family but his sister Yvonne who died just over two years ago at the age of 95.

 Image result for yvonne baseden              

She was one of the last surviving female members of an elite band of courageous, idealistic and resolute people risking their lives across occupied Europe and she led an extraordinary life.

With the defeat of France she applied to join General de Gaulle’s Free French but was turned down for having an English father so at 18 she joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) as a General Duties Clerk. She was commissioned in 1941 (later promoted to the rank of Section Officer) and worked in the RAF Intelligence branch, where she assisted in the interrogation of captured airmen and submarine crews. It was through this work that she came to the attention of the Special Operations Executive (SOE), which she joined on 24 May 1943. 

At the age of 22, Yvonne became the youngest agent to parachute into France  to co-ordinate Resistance fighters. Following one of the largest daylight airdrops of the Second World War, she was subsequently captured, tortured and survived the notorious Ravensbrück concentration camp where she fell ill with tuberculosis.

Yvonne was awarded an MBE and France’s highest honours – a Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur, the Resistance Medal and the Croix de Guerre avec Palme.

The SOE, housed in Baker Street in London, was created in July 1940, shortly after France’s surrender to Germany, by Winston Churchill, with a remit to create havoc and “set Europe a blaze”. Dropped behind enemy lines, agents helped forge the secret army of resistance fighters who prepared the way for the Allied invasion. They all knew the consequences of capture by the Gestapo – often brutal interrogation and torture, followed by execution, or grim survival in a concentration camp. The F (French) Section alone sent 39 female agents into the field, of whom 15 were executed, two were liberated from camps, one escaped and two died of natural causes.

SOE was far ahead of contemporary attitudes in its use of women. From its inception, SOE began recruiting women with language skills into the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) and the Auxiliary Transport Service before sending them for specialist training; many were used as couriers because they were seldom stopped at controls and rarely picked up in mass arrests.

Codenamed ‘Odette’, Yvonne was paired with a French aristocrat, a distant cousin, Gonzague de Saint-Geniès, codename ‘Lucien’, and their mission was to re-establish the ‘Scholar’ réseau (network) around Dole, near Dijon, eastern France, after the Gestapo had compromised the previous one. Following an aborted first attempt, on 18 March 1944, Lucien and Odette were parachuted into Auch, just north of the Pyrenees. They landed some distance away from each other. Greeted by several Frenchmen, Yvonne was given a bicycle and was taken to a farmhouse. She then embarked on a two-day journey to Dole, near the Swiss border, where she was to operate with Lucien.

As a wireless operator behind enemy lines, an occupation which had a life expectancy of just six weeks, Yvonne was vital because she was the only link between London and the resistance in the Jura area. She was tasked with organising night-time drops of arms and explosives, while constantly moving about to avoid detection by the Gestapo’s direction-finding technology. In addition, she also helped train fighters in setting explosive charges, which was particularly important in the run-up to D-Day.

Following D-Day, the resistance networks sabotaged bridges, railway lines and communications, considerably delaying German troops heading to the Normandy beaches; a two-day journey from southern to northern France took up to a fortnight, which helped the Allied troops and undoubtedly saved many lives and possibly shortened the war by several months.

With the new Scholar network re-established, the team’s work increased as the Resistance grew bolder. In ‘Operation Cadillac’ they organised a mass daylight drop (14 July) by American B-17 Flying Fortress bombers, during which Yvonne was in radio contact with 36 Allied planes. Around 800 armed men and women from various local resistance groups were waiting to collect 3,791 canisters and 417 tonnes of armaments dropped at the designated targets.

The operation was a success; the next day a celebratory meal in a cheese factory ended disastrously. A German patrol arrested a ‘Scholar’ agent near the factory (which was also a safe house) because he was unaccountably carrying a radio transmitter. He knew nothing of the planned meal, but the Wehrmacht sergeant searched the factory on the off-chance of finding something there.

With their arrival, the team scattered for cover. The caretaker’s wife cleared the table but the bicycles outside raised suspicions and guards remained. After hours, a noise was heard and more Germans returned. The sergeant fired a burst from his machine-gun through the ceiling to illicit a response. One bullet hit Gonzague de Saint-Geniès in the head, killing him, and blood leaked through the ceiling. Further shots were fired and the rest were caught. Yvonne hid under a pile of logs but was retrieved by the hair, punched in the face and manacled.

They were taken to Dole prison and transferred two days later to Dijon where she was placed in solitary confinement. Regularly interrogated by the Gestapo, she revealed nothing. Another captured Resistance fighter, however, declared Yvonne was a wireless operator and probably a British agent. She maintained she was “an ordinary French woman who had become involved with the Resistance”.

In attempts to persuade her to reveal her Resistance contacts, the Gestapo beat her, stamped on her toes and bare feet and intimidated her – leaving her in a dark cellar for a few days before having a guard tie her to a chair and start firing at her feet.  She later suffered mock execution to try and break her.


On 4 September, Yvonne was sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp (which was exclusively for women), near Berlin, where to her horror she encountered fellow SOE agents Violette Szabo, Lilian Rolfe and Denise Bloch; they were shot in February 1945. She also shared a hut with fellow SOE women, including Odette Churchill – the others were later sent to the gas chamber. Yvonne never understood why she escaped their fate.

Conditions were appalling, with mistreatment and abuse part of daily life. She laboured on a farm until falling ill with tuberculosis in February 1945. In the atmosphere of mounting apprehension among the camp authorities, as the Allied armies approached, Himmler did a deal with Count Bernadotte, the Swedish diplomat to release several thousand Camp prisoners and it secured Yvonne’s removal in a Red Cross train to Sweden, from where she was repatriated.

Yvonne married after the War and lived in Northern Rhodesia and after the death of her husband Major Desmond Bailey MBE, MC, she married again and lived in Portugal: she would never talk of her experience in Ravensbruck.


“This is Your Life” in 1955 among those in the Photo are her husband Desmond Bailey. Her father Clifford, brother Rex, Colonel Buckmaster Head the French Section of SOE, Fellow agents Col. George Starr, Pearl Witherington and Yvonne Cormeau.

Yvonne Brunley

Yvonne with Rex’s wife Huquette in 1989


With Nancy Wake at a re-union in 2005:

Nancy worked with OB Tom Kenny on the “Pat O’Leary” escape line up until 1943 and then John Farmer in 1944. Although Yvonne was only 22 when she parachuted into France, she was not the overall youngest SOE Agent: Modwena Rafferty brother of OB Brian SOE was only 18 at the War’s end. Her records are still classified.


“The moral contribution of secret war, which would have been impossible without the sponsorship of SOE and OSS, was beyond price. It made possible the resurrection of self-respect in occupied societies which would otherwise have been forced to look back on the successive chapters of their experience of the conflict through a dark prism; military humiliation, followed by enforced collaboration with the enemy, followed by belated deliverance at the hands of foreign armies. As it was, and entirely thanks to Resistance, all European nations could cherish their cadres of heroes and martyrs, enabling the mass of their citizens who did nothing, or who served the enemy, to be painted over in the grand canvas cherished in the perception of their descendants.”


Yvonne Baseden remarried in 1966 to Anthony Burney, whom predeceased her, and they lived in Zambia and Lesotho until retiring to Portugal in 1972.

While travelling by car in Zambia with her 12-year old son, they were surrounded by a hostile crowd at a junction. She opened her handbag to reveal a pistol and the mob disappeared. That son Simon came to Beaumont in 1964.  He writes:-  “I was one of the last boys to leave Beaumont at the end of the summer term 1967 and go to Stonyhurst, for my sins! I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed Beaumont, perhaps too much as my academic achievements were pretty mediocre. Stonyhurst saved me academically in that I achieved 3 A Levels and a commission in the Royal Marines.

I retired from business and IT consulting sector 5 years ago.

Ed:  During his service, Simon served with 41 Commando in Malta as the Signals Officer when the Adjutant was Robert Bruce.



I don’t have to tell you that a war memorial is a commemorative object intended to remind us of the people who served in and died as a result of war. They may take many forms, but common to all of them is the intention that they remind us of those we have lost in conflict. Despite differing ideas about an individual war memorial’s form, purpose, artistic merit, cost or location, all memorials have a shared intention of reminding us of this. War memorials fulfil our need to recognise, remember and learn about the profound losses and achievements of war.

It was not only for that generation that they erected but rather for those who come after  and had not experienced the horrors of war, or realised the wanton destruction and utter futility of it all, may be they would inspire  some better means to settle international disputes other than by international slaughter.


They are part of our nation’s political history. How the past is commemorated mirrors what people want to remember and lack of attention reflects what they wish to forget; remembrance enhances our image, while neglect defames it.

With the Centenary of  our War Memorial being commemorated this year I thought it of interest to look at the Beaumont approach to memorialisation and how it compared to other schools. However, we need to start with the aftermath of the War in South Africa.


The Anglo-Boer war was the first mass raising of such memorials throughout the country. Often considered the high point of what was the New Imperialism, the War in South Africa produced an unprecedented frenzy of jingoism throughout Britain with its focus on patriotism and militarism so it was understandable that the need for remembrance arose within the public, regiments, church, and the schools.

Young men were groomed during their education years to perpetuate the class system in adult life but strong senses of loyalty, duty, and self-abnegation, instilled whilst at school, resulted in their willingness to fight for patriotic ideals  often at an army rank far below what, in circumstances other than war, would have been expected. Because these men saw themselves, and were seen by others, as important elements in a hierarchical society, it was natural that their deaths in the cause of preserving a particular way of life, should be commemorated.

Dennis Huggins produced a Thesis on the subject of Memorialisation at the University of Roehampton and I draw on much that he wrote.

Courage, chivalry and victory in the present are aligned with an instantly recognisable champion of those qualities in the past. Within schools, as well as within the wider community, it was found that traditional forms of memorialisation, sometimes echoing very ancient traditions, were likely to be the most effective and successful. War in nineteenth-century Britain was understood not in its grim reality but as something noble, righteous, worthwhile, and uplifting. Against that background, the efforts of the dead could be increasingly perceived as worthwhile, self-sacrificial and contributing to a higher purpose. The bereaved would find comfort in such ideas.

Schools, more than other institutions of society decided on a greater variety of how the war dead should be remembered and these can be categorised as Windows, Tablets, Improvements and Utilities. What was decided upon depended on who took over responsibility whether it was the Headmaster, the Governors or the Old Boy Association.

For those who wished their memorials  be noticed, to influence and to persuade, therefore, there was no better place than the school chapel and no better means of conveying their significance than by the visual means offered by stained-glass. It was said  if public-school men were asked in later years which feature of school life stood most clearly in their recollection; which building would be most vivid in memory; and which experiences were 'nearest the core of their love and loyalty for their old school' the answer would be 'the school chapel and its services'.

Some of the best examples  of glass are at Bradfield, Marlborough, Rugby and Shrewsbury. Statues were also placed in the chapels: St George being the most popular as at Harrow and Radley but Clifton placed theirs outside “gazing towards South Africa” Another popular warrior saint was St Michael the Archangel as chosen by Loretto for their emblem.

Tablets, plaques and memorial boards are, by far, the most common of the memorials found in the schools under discussion but they were constructed in a wide variety of materials and range from the very simple to the highly ornate.


Huggins chose Beaumont as an example:  Colonel Sir James Gildea in his book  (Remembrance  & Honour to those killed in the in South Africa) explains that the style and design of the mural tablet at Beaumont  “is a free rendering of that which prevailed during the Renaissance period of architecture. The material is of pure white alabaster and the panel upon which the names are inscribed has small Corinthian columns on either side. Continuing the description, Gildea writes that a 'richly carved cartouche', containing the College crest and motto, surmounts the whole tablet; Irish marble fills 'the pediment and the bases”.

Stonyhurst also has its own mural tablet, in bronze rather than alabaster, erected at 'the head of the great staircase' and depicting, 'in the upper part', Christ rising from the tomb and in the lower part the names of the dead 'in alto relievo'. Both the Beaumont and Stonyhurst tablets show the names of those being commemorated( Six at Stonyhurst, Five at Beaumont) but that at Stonyhurst became much more difficult to read because the letters were 'initially covered in the same bronze coating as the rest of the memorial'. An attempt has been made to remedy this situation but the material used at Beaumont appears to have been the more successful. Both Stonyhurst and Beaumont had, of course, perfectly good chapels in which to place their memorials but chose instead, in the Stonyhurst case, the top of a staircase, and in the Beaumont case, the refectory. The precise reason for the Stonyhurst decision is not recorded, but oak panelling had recently been installed in the chapel, against which the memorial may not have sufficiently stood out, and, in any event, the walls were somewhat crowded with stations on one side and confessionals on the other.

The poignant reason at Beaumont, however, was explained by the college memorial fund secretary, at the unveiling ceremony. Four OBs had accidentally met, as serving officers, on the plains of South Africa and their thoughts naturally turned to their old school, to friends who had died, and to the possibilities of future memorialisation. Their wish was that a 'memento' be erected in some part of the college 'around which the young generation could meet and talk, and which would be an incentive to them to emulate the devotion to duty and bravery of their fallen comrades',  The four officers would doubtless have considered the Refectory to be the ideal spot.

The Beaumont and Stonyhurst memorials are each religious in nature – the Resurrection at Stonyhurst and at Beaumont the inclusion of A.M.D.G, the horseshoe crest of St. Stanislaus, and the letters IHS, representing the abbreviation of the Greek IHΣOYΣ, meaning Jesus. At both locations, however, it was felt better to utilise a secular, rather than a religious space. Appropriate placing seems, generally, to have been the main concern, and whilst the majority of tablets and plaques are to be found in school chapels, those that are not are usually in positions likely chosen as places where generations of boys would regularly pass by on their way about the school.


At Beaumont we also had subsidiary plaques in the chapel and the Stations of the Cross were also dedicated to the fallen. It is worth remembering that 110 OBs served in the War by far the largest percentage for size of any of the Catholic schools.

Some schools were fortunate to suffer no casualties which would explain the absence of memorials at both Ampleforth and Downside. This was also true of The Oratory but it was still important that your contribution was seen of equal standing and be recognised.

Huggins wrote:- 

“A large Medals Board  at The Oratory is on such prominent display in its front hall that it cannot be missed by anyone entering, or leaving, the school buildings. The board commemorates all those ex-pupils who were engaged in conflicts going back to the Zulu War of 1879 and the names are displayed under the heading of the campaign medals they were awarded. Example medals head the individual columns and below are etched, in black, the names of all those who fought and survived and, in red, all those who fought but perished. Two awards were made for service in the second South African War – the King's Medal, for those who took part during 1902, and who had completed eighteen months service by the time the war ended on 31st May of that year; and the Queen's Medal, which was awarded to all who served in the war. It was, therefore, perfectly possible for a participant to be presented with both medals and in the case of The Oratory School the twenty-five names which appear in the King's Medal column also appear in the Queen's, although they are, of course, all written in black. It has been suggested  that this  memorial may have been designed as much to enhance the reputation of the school as to commemorate and the impression created by the double-count of names at Oratory may be an example of this”.

Memorials which upgraded school facilities, together with those which were aesthetically pleasing, certainly amplified the standing of the schools at which they were installed. Some opted to improve existing facilities, in the name of memorialisation, and in several cases the improvements were to the structure, or contents, of the school chapel. Harrow, for instance enlarged its place of worship by the addition of two transepts and two porches and, as a result of creating arcaded recesses in each transept provided an opportunity to house bronze tablets containing the names of those who fell in the war. Repton built an impressive 'Organ Loft Screen and Masters' Stalls', which featured trumpeting Angels at the entrance and an Antechapel at the rear. Uppingham  opted for a multi-functional building in the form of a Gymnasium, Concert Hall and Armoury combined.

The ambitious monument at Dulwich  was the South African Memorial Library with the ‘provision for many thousand volumes'. Eton also built a Memorial Library and Hall the decision having been taken by a Committee of Taste and Design. ( Ed: you would have thought that such a judgement would not have been necessary at Eton).

it is not surprising that Eton suffered the most Casualties with 129, Others – Harrow 55, Cheltenham 54, Marlborough and Clifton 43, Rugby 36, Winchester 32 and Shrewsbury 14.

Huggins  concluded:-

The plaque eventually erected at Beaumont exclusively delivered religious messages.  The huge obelisk erected at Haileybury displays the names of battles for which clasps were awarded.  Uppingham’s multifunctional building. Three very different memorials chosen from three very different schools, Beaumont, known as the ‘Catholic Eton’; Haileybury, associated with the armed forces, and Uppingham, a progressive school. Each  was happy with its choice of memorial and the overall impression formed of the schools in this study is that all regarded their memorial choice right and successful for them and their ideology.

To be wise in hindsight, personally, I think at Beaumont we got it wrong. The main purpose for a Catholic memorial is to pray for the dead – how many of us knew that the Stations were a Memorial and read the Tablets at the back of the Chapel? The Refectory might have been a meeting place in Edwardian times but this changed  as the years went by and we went to our tables without a glance at this beautifully designed and emblematic memorial: it was possibly only those seated  beside it, that gave it any thought.  The story behind the memorial is unique not only to us  but to all the School memorials in the country and  to meet the concept of the Four OBs, a better place would have been somewhere on the main gallery.

At least, when it came to the World War Memorial, Beaumont would  produce an edifice to perfection.


Monuments, that is structures serving no practical purpose, increased for The Great War Memorials  with  a cenotaph  at Cranleigh and memorial gateways at Clifton and Radley, crosses at Bradfield, Haileybury and Dulwich and a memorial calvary at St. Edward’s Oxford. The Bronze Freize at Eton was inscribed with the names of the 1,157 who perished but the main memorial was in the form of educational bursaries granted to the sons of its dead alumni. Eton had firmly moved away from a bricks-and-mortar type of memorial but that was certainly not the case at most other locations, although nearly all  establishments with funds to spare created bursaries.

Charterhouse had erected a very substantial cloister in honour of those Carthusians who had served and died in South Africa but now commissioned a new chapel  designed by Giles Gilbert Scott to remember those who served and died in WWI and Rugby, St Paul’s  and Moncton Combe followed suit. Harrow erected a large memorial building and arcade  having considerably enlarged its chapel following the Boer War, whilst Uppingham followed its utility complex with a Great Hall and they were not the only ones to see it as an opportunity to improve facilities for the post war generations, and although they erected small monuments, the main emphasis was on the secular. Marlborough built a Concert Hall, Repton restored one of the Boarding Houses, Haileybury a new dining hall,  Bradfield added playing fields and Hurstpierpoint a cricket pavilion.  Winchester and  Cheltenham  went for the more traditional cloisters.

Once again statues were erected with St George again popular as at Wellington, but also Sir Galahad, a Roman soldier, a Greek athlete being thought suitable and Sir Philip Sydney at Shrewsbury. Others went contemporary with dying officers more akin to French taste.




But what of the Catholic Memorials. Stonyhurst chose an altar shrine at the end of the long school gallery and also built a science wing. Ampleforth also went for an altar and shrine in a chantry chapel in the new abbey church, all to the design of Giles Gilbert Scott. Scott was also responsible for part of the memorial at Downside with the completion of the nave to the Abbey church: Downside also erected a  stone cross in the grounds. The Oratory produced a tablet with the names of the fallen but this was left behind at Edgbaston when they moved to Caversham in 1922. I’m sure that these schools are happy with what their monuments achieved, though to my mind their size and locations meant that it was difficult to have Remembrance to include the whole school. It also seems sad that The Oratory were left without a memorial so soon after its dedication. One school that made a successful choice though not perfect was The Mount with a Memorial Chapel designed by Adrian Gilbert Scott who drew inspiration from the Duomo in Florence. It has an atrium with the names of those lost from the Boer war through to WW2.  The original was opened by Thomas Dunn OB Bishop of Nottingham in 1924.

The BEAUMONT Memorial

I am of course preaching to the converted when I say that our War Memorial is hard to criticise. The location in the grounds is perfect with the lawns and the backdrop of trees and it can be seen without being overly obtrusive. It is a peaceful setting reminiscent of the graveyards in France. Being at the end of the Long Walk your eyes are immediately drawn to it. Unlike chapels or other buildings, it is immediately recognisable as a War Memorial.  Its design is unique with the crucifix the emblem of sacrifice with head bowed to the names below. The Altar at which, in the Catholic tradition, Mass and prayers for the dead may be said  is also  raised  so that it can be seen.  Unlike  the Chapels at  Stonyhurst, Ampleforth  and The Mount, it has the space around it to accommodate the whole school and indeed a huge number of others if required.

From the military perspective, every time the Corps/JTC/CCF marched out for Field Days in the Great Park you paraded past The Memorial – a reminder of the duty by those that had gone before.


For the Centenary a Souvenir booklet will be available.


Francis Tregarthen Brokenshaw ‘Brock’ (29)

Mike Morris writes:-                                               

It’s a freezing afternoon in early 1962.  I am standing in the art room next to the hall at Beaumont.  It’s my last term at school, but I have never been in here before.  If you were in the ‘A’ stream, you did Greek, not art.


Standing next to me is a stocky grey-haired man with a moustache. He is my mother’s first cousin, Francis Tregarthen Brokenshaw. For Frank, it’s his first time in this place since he left Beaumont in the nineteen twenties. There is a long silence.  He turns to his wife, Louise and says, ‘Yes’, he says.  ‘It is just as I remember it.  It hasn’t changed a bit.  I spent many happy hours here.

Later, over tea in the captains’ lounge, he confides, ‘I only spent a year here.  It was obvious I wasn’t going to be a credit to the Jays academically.  My parents were far away in India, so I just didn’t go back to school after the summer.  I was only fourteen, but I wanted to get on with my life.’

What a life!  Frank grew into an accomplished artist. He used the name ‘Brock’.  There were many adventures along the way.  Sometime in the sixties or seventies a coffee table book of his works was published and the following is taken from a brief biographical introduction, plus some family recollections.

Frank’s father, Arthur Brokenshaw, worked in the Indian Posts and Telegraph Department.  He is credited with taking the first telegraph cables to Kabul.  Later he rose to be Postmaster General of India.  Frank was born in his native Cornwall but was taken by his mother back to India, where he remained until sent to school in England.  In India, he was given a pony, leading to a life-long love of horses.  He had a servant.  One day he watched the man fashion a statue of a Hindu god out of clay.  He said that he was inspired by this to pursue a life in art.

After Beaumont, he went to work on a farm in Cornwall.  He struck lucky because his employer encouraged his interest in horses.  He looked after the horses on the farm and went steeple-chasing around the county, Meanwhile, his mother in India encouraged his interest in art and sent money for paint and brushes.

Later, he enrolled in the Westminster School of Art and came under the influence of a rather traditional artist called Fairfax Ivymay.  One day Frank said he admired the work of Cezanne.  ‘In that case, I have nothing to teach you’ Ivymay replied, and threw him out of the studio.


Then, he hung out for a while in Paris, where he met His future wife, Louise, an American art student.  Together they went to Spain, rented a villa and spent time painting together.  They were blissfully unaware of the political situation in that country and became engulfed in the Spanish Civil War.  They fled through Malaga as bombs were falling and were evacuated on a British destroyer. They went back later to find the villa totally destroyed, along with all their work. Homeless, they went to stay with Dutch friends and on their suggestion, enrolled in the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Antwerp. By 1939 they were in New York with Louise’s family.  As the Second World War broke out, Frank went north and enlisted in the Canadian Black Watch.  The official version is that he spent the war drawing maps for the Canadian army.  However, he told me that what he actually did was paint camouflage on tents and armoured vehicles.  He was never posted to Europe.

After his demob, he spent some time in Greenwich Village with Louise.  But the rural life – and horses- started calling and they bought a tumble-down clapboard house with some land in a village called Shady in up-state New York.  Louse made ceramics and Brock painted. Gradually they both began to build a reputation.  Horses appeared and goats and other livestock. The house was repaired, and by the time I first visited in the seventies, it had become a handsome New England-style homestead. Both my brothers, Richard and Charles stayed at Shady in the seventies and eighties.  Charles was there for an extended time on a ‘gap year’ and worked building swimming pools, a job fixed up for him by Brock. 

Brock moved into painting portraits, and they used to pack up their station wagon and head down to Florida in the winter.  Brock would do portraits of the wealthy retirees.  He was making a decent living. 

Of course, they are both long gone. (Brock died 2004) They never had children.  Here is what the Curator Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harry B Wehle, wrote about Brock:

“Whatever the medium in which he works, Brock makes the work come excitingly alive.  He is versatile in his choice of subjects.  He has stated vigorously the validity of beauty and warm human emotion.  He uses his great technical skill and sensitivity to celebrate these verities simply and straightforwardly, with the touch of the poet”.

Brock held a number of one-man shows in England, including one at the US Embassy and another at the Upper Grosvenor Gallery in 1965, which I went to.  I am the proud possessor of three of his works.  I love his style, but he was out of sympathy with the abstract ‘modern art’ movements of the 20th Century and was never truly fashionable. A lovely man.  How much of his talent was developed in the art room at Beaumont?

ED: The Art Master was John Fridy Esq who was appointed in 1888. He retired in 1937 after 49 years of loyal service when the journey from his home proved too onerous.

Brock had more than a dozen one man shows over the years. He was represented by the Lewis Gallery, Woodstock, and also exhibited at the Albany Institute of History and Art. Brock is known for his use of all media. Critics have noted that his washes and watercolors were handled with a masterly touch and that his use of acrylics is excellent. In superb washes, he captured many subjects, including landscapes, figures, still-life and animals ... all handled with ease. His paintings are represented in many important collections in Europe, Canada and the U.S.


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

A Slippery Tale.

Following my missive concerning the St Ignatius Mass 31 July, I received the following from our esteemed Vice President:

“Sorry I’m def. a no show. Xx approp”. John

 Ed: “I might have raised an eyebrow if it was yes. “Wherefore ar’t though now?” – is it Sussex by the Sea as the song goes”. ( JMPW has sold the house in Herefordshire and seeks “Gents Res” or otherwise in Wealden Country).

‘Not a movement was there’……….the Market is as ……as it can be…………….not helped by your scribe’s lack of forethought.      

You may have come across things called non- slip bath mats…..well I decided to prove them wrong and won hands down ……..left leg succeeded in shifting the bugger and there was a fall.      Not broken and seemed relatively ok ……..but within 2 days I had bruising from top to toe, or rather from arse to ankle.    Your very bad -tempered scribe does not recommend this to all our readers.  John.”

Ed:” If I may say, to quote Samuel: “Beauty is slain upon thy high places ( and it seems also some lower ones): how are the mighty fallen”. Sorry to hear about a Black and Blue Patterned Walsh. As yet I have not fallen foul of bathmattitis which according to our grandchildren can be as lethal as The “Doomfang”. However, having suffered the odd hoof on the nether regions from ungrateful nags over the years which have produced bruising of woadlooking proportions  I know how painful it can be: you have my  commiserations etc. and trust for a speedy recovery.


Under the Floorboards

We heard from De Vere Beaumont that during the course of renovations during Lockdown, they made a discovery of various letters and beer bottles (empty) below some of the floorboards  in the White House. The following  dates from 1945. One was written by a Hugh and the others by Robin in what would seem to be in their first term: I had thought that it was fairly simple to discover who these were but so far my research has been unsuccessful.  However here is one example:-



Interesting reading and make of it as you will – he certainly seems to have discovered the delights of one of Beaumont’s many varieties of “Gristle stew”: an inheritance down the generations.

Other documents such as exercise books have also been found dating from the 1890s  and I will  discuss these and their owners  in the next REVIEW.


I had been led to believe that the only OBs to race in Beaumont Colours were the Wolffs and myself. I was wrong: Derek Hollamby  had Light Blue and Dark Blue halved with Chocolate sleeves and cap back in the 1990s.  Thank you Derek for putting me right.

Derek’s “Little Nod”.

Artist’s Licence.  

When I asked Bertie de Lisle if he would illustrate “Cross Between the Antlers” I gave him some ideas as to subject matter  but naturally gave him artistic license. I noted when he produced a sketch of “A man beyond reproach” that the cap badge looked similar to that of the Grenadier Guards. Bertie’s brother Hubert, not only confirmed this, but told me that is was taken from a photo of their father  Ambrose (11).

B U 1921


From the REVIEW:-

Following a particularly boisterous BU Summer Dinner in London  there was still some excitement in store for certain of the revellers. A party which included three of the Captains of the School and some distinguished members of the Community, was travelling towards Beaumont like homing birds (no ; they were not singing, at least not much) when they were abruptly stopped by a large and plantigrade section of the County Constabulary with square faces and automatics which looked as if they might go off.  A minute examination of the party followed: to the questions asked answers were given of an astonishing coherence ; but then the business end of a pistol has a sobering effect.   However, the innocent faces of the captains, and the-comparatively guileless countenances of the Community shook the monstrous suspicion that Sinn Feiners were abroad ;and the very obvious fact that some of the Community were not adapted by nature for the felonious ascent of telegraph poles brought complete conviction. Wherefore the party was allowed to proceed on its lawful occasions, singing alternate verses of. ‘ God Save Ireland ‘ and the National Anthem.


Through the kindness of Sir Charles Russell, the meeting was arranged for and held at Burnham Beeches, and some 16 players foregathered to do  battle. The heat passed one’s conception of the possible: nevertheless, pair by pair the players vanished from the first tee into a parched and shimmering wilderness. Considering the unusual conditions, the course provided some very pleasant golf :  the fairway was a little less like concrete than one was accustomed to in those fierce Hours of The. Dogstar: the greens were astonishingly green and true; the rough was nothing to worry about unless one was looking for trouble. The scoring was appreciably better than last year, most of the cards showing figures in the near neighbourhood of 80,  But none of these was good enough, for Paddy Hayes again emerged successfully with a 78

After certain necessary restoratives and prophylactics against chills,  the players adjourned to Sir Charles’ charming house, found there the Spanish Ambassador, His Excellency Don Alfonso Merry del Val (76), and  in his company did justice-the very surroundings demanded justice-to a lunch for which our dictionary provides no adequate superlatives.  Towards the end the host proposed ‘The King,’ and shortly thereafter ‘ The King of Spain.’   Both toasts were duly honoured and His Excellency made graceful acknowledgment for his Sovereign.  Then Sir Charles sprang a surprise on his guests in the shape of a very handsome silver cup, to be known. As. The‘ Beaumont. Union Golf Cup,’ and to be played for annually, by members of the Union and kindred souls. He omitted to mention that the gift came from himself.  However ---.  This stately dish he asked the Ambassador to present to the winner-Paddy Hayes, as we said—and his health was drunk with musical circumstance.  There. followed then as fine an outbreak of pungent after-lunch oratory as one remembers to have heard : but considering the quality-and the quantity-of Sir Charles’ hock cup, this was not surprising. Excellent speeches were delivered by Justice Russell, George Langton, Fred Noble, Hal Dickens, and the Lord Abbot of St. John’s- the last in response to Sir Charles’ proposal that the Lord Abbot should be appointed Grand Custodian of the Golf Cup.   The company were understood to agree to this suggestion, but with the distinct proviso that when the B.U. visit St. John’s the cup shall be put to that use for which cups are intended. The question of its contents on such occasions is to be decided by the mature consideration of a special committee.

After lunch those who were not overcome by the heat or by their emotions or by...well anyway, certain foursomes occupied the interval between lunch and tea, to the no small profit of the exchequer of the ‘Review.’

Finally, a considerable section of the golfers their way to Mrs. Cyril Russell’s for dinner, and the rest of a delightful evening passed; all too quickly   And so home to bed, but whether. ‘late at night or early in the morning’ the present deponent does not remember.   It was one or the other, certainly.

To Sir Charles Russell, on behalf of all concerned, we offer our thanks for his splendid hospitality, and for the Cup he so generously gave for the competition.  To Gerald Russell our thanks for his good organisation and our congratulations on the success of it all.   And to Mrs. Cyril Russell our gratitude for an extremely pleasant ending to what was, in short, a very perfect day.

Other Sporting News 100 years ago

Val Miley  (1906) has a tennis record which is worth inspection.  To begin with he won the Irish Championship after a very hard game with Sir G. A. Thomas. Next, with the assistance of his brother, John (1904) he won the Doubles Championship, beating Sir G. A. Thomas and A. E,  Beamish  He also played for Ireland against England  and won three of his four matches.

A new Beaumont star has appeared in the firmament of County Cricket. for thirty years C.. E. DE TRAFFORD (83) was the captain and mainstay of Leicester County: now JOHN DE Lisle (09) has appeared with. ‘meteoric brilliance for the same shire. In ‘the match against Kent he scored 72 in the first innings,  in the second he bettered that very respectable performance against such bowlers as Woolley and Freeman by going  in third, and being last out, after scoring 88 by what the Times describes as ‘a faultless display of cricket.’  This is pretty well, in view of the fact that it was his first county match.  Unfortunately for Leicester, and for English cricket generally perhaps, John’s business is in India ;  and until such time as he returns to live in England, we shall have  to content ourselves with an occasional display such as this.

As the regular No. 1 of the  Freebooters  team, the DUKE OF PENERANDA (1899) has  played a distinguished part in a very distinguished Polo season.  He was also, No.1 in the Hurlingham team which beat the American Four—an unusual experience.

(ED: “Freebooters” was a popular team name for OBs of Penerandas vintage as the O’Reillys and the Meldons ran a football team in Dublin of the same name).


From The Times

‘ On ‘Monday, May 2, at King George’s Hall, Caroline Street,  a performance of John Galsworthy’s  drama, “Strife,”  by the kind permission of the author, was given by the Beaumont Union - an association of old Beaumont College boys - in aid of the Earl Haig’s Warriors’ Day Fund.    This, we believe, was the only performance given by a Catholic and indeed a Public School in Town. ‘The Beaumont Union production of plays is ordinarily accomplished at the College under restricted conditions, but on this occasion the play was acted  without cuts, and the Union enlisted the help of their sisters, their cousins and their aunts, for portraying the female characters.  They were further assisted by the kindness of Miss Alice Clayton Greene, who, in addition to giving her professional services, rendered valuable aid in the stage management of the play. The Author waved his fee for the performance as did Henry Woodgate’s Orchestra.  (ED; £7000 in today’s currency was raised for the Fund)

“Strife” was one of the most successful of Galsworthy’s plays having runs in both London and New York. However, it relies a great deal on the characterisation by the actors as its theme is a prolonged unofficial strike  at a factory; where the trade union  and the company directors attempt to resolve the affair, which is causing hardship among the workers' families, there is a confrontation between the company chairman and the leader of the strike: as such it was quite a challenge for OBs to play the roles convincingly. According to the Press Reviews they did this remarkably well.

Some 30 OBs took to the stage with a further 7 female roles and it is interesting to see the names of those that took part. The lead roles were played by John Noble  (Banker and London Police Reserve) as the factory owner who took on the strike leader played by his brother in law Edmund Callaghan whose wife Keira ( Noble’s sister was also in the cast  as was a younger brother John Noble). Notable among the ex-servicemen were Gerald Russell (Capt. RA, MC), Paddy Hayes ( Capt. RA, MC whose brother was KIA and another so badly gassed he died a few years later). Noel Gordon Cleather ( Lt. Royal Sussex WDD), Thomas Pritchard ( Capt. MGC, MID, WDD). Anthony Arnold (Capt. KRRC, Brother KIA). Philip Witham ( Lt. Grenadier Guards). Wilfrid Bowring ( Brother KIA). Hal Dickens (Red Cross. OBE). Capt. Gerald Dickens ( RN. CMG, later Admiral KCVO, CB) and his wife Kathleen). Sonnie Hale (later the star of both stage and screen).

Of the younger ones who missed the War, (Cedric Bicknell - both Father and Brother KIA), Cecil Whitehead ( Brother KIA)  Francis Gerard ( Brother KIA). A further 10 would serve in WW2. Others of interest include Frederick Barry  Barrister and later the Assistant DPP. Denis Capel Dunn  (Colonel, Secretary of the Joint Intelligence Committee. His daughter Hester married the brother of Lawrence Olivier. One non- OB was Gerald Henry Dickens (son of Hal: he went to Naval school but his son Christopher came to Beaumont (54).  Among the ladies was Hal’s sister Enid and Cyril Russell’s daughter Valerie.

All in all, what an extraordinary effort and performance.

Snippet on Christopher Dickens:-

Cara, Lady Fairhaven the American born wife of the 1st Baron saved Runnymede for the Nation and had the Entrances built by Lutyens. Her son the 2nd Baron married the widow of Gerald Henry Dickens ( Hal’s son). Their son Christopher (54) became the step-brother of Ailwyn (3rd Baron) who was my brother Richard’s Squadron Leader in The Blues and may also have been Henry Haywood’s.

Christopher  who went to Trinity Cambridge died in 1999 and his home the 18th century South Walsham Hall near Norwich is now a hotel. He was a past Master of The Silk Weavers.

South Walsham Hall

Conversations: The Ed with Hubert de Lisle.


Thank you for the cheque, the cutting and the Band music – I will get on to Patrick (Burgess) about it. He took over as Drum Major from brother Richard who resurrected the band after it had been in abeyance for a couple of years. You will be amused the Richard put himself forward to Tom Kelly thinking that it would be a cushy number. The wily Tom surmised Richard’s reasons and sent the unsuspecting candidate down to the Bn in residence at Windsor for “instruction”. He returned after his first session completely knackered having spent the afternoon being doubled around the parade ground by a Drill Sgt – he wasn’t allowed near the mace till he had “passed off the square”. – a story he always recounted against himself. I had a letter from Gerard, followed by his beautifully produced volume on the Quorn – what a lovely surprise.  Sadly, I only had a couple of days with the pack but Richard kept horses at Melton and always stayed on at the weekend for the Monday country.  (Gerard is Chairman of The Quorn).


The weather here is like early Spring – constant April showers !

I remember once or twice riding out from Melton with Richard and others ;

those were great moments and memorable hunts !

C/Sgt Windsor WG was for years the co-ordinator , another great figure !

I am glad Gerard has sent you a copy of his book ‘’ Operations of the Quorn Hounds – 1869 – 70 .

It was his first venture into publishing interesting documents / memoirs in 1982 .

Tom Kelly, a good Mick , was quite a personality and featured at least once in the London Illustrated News .

I last saw this article some years ago and I think Edwin has had those reviews at his home. (Ed: yes and published in The REVIEW)

Richard must have been sent to Victoria Bks , Windsor – a Foot Guards posting !

I remember one year my cousin Everard de Lisle ( 1930 – 2003 ) , then Adjt RHG stationed at Combermere Bks , Windsor inspected the Beaumont CCF .

Incidentally when was Fr Francis Fleming born ? ( b ….. d 1939 )

And secondly when did you publish your book ‘ Once more to Runnymede ‘ ?;  I find no date in the book .


To answer your queries Fr Francis died at the age of 64 which makes his birth date 1875. The first Runneymede book was published in 2012 and the second in 2014.

I think we were very privileged to have been affiliated to the Household Brigade / Division which began officially after the Great War but there had been a sporting friendship since the school opened: Ld. Downe from the Life Guards brought his cricket side for the very first match against outside opposition and there were football games against whoever was in residence at Windsor. It was always a Guards band that played on the lawns at Speech Day and for The Trooping  each year. We may not have appreciated the standard required – I always recall for the Cert “A” Board the drill staff appearing in No 1 Dress and the Board Officer in Frock coat.


I attach a photo of the Band being inspected by a Ft Guards Officer ( cut of his Service Dress) in 1954 – what  I immediately noted was the polish of the boots which had also caught the eye of the Officer concerned ( I believe Col. Gordon-Watson IG) . Finally, I always show military friends the video clip of the Trooping in 1961 on the Website; the standard of drill and on grass for a school CCF is extraordinary, apart from that the size of the Band which we shall not see the likes of again!


 I have at last been able to sit down and read with great pleasure your book ‘’ Cross between the Antlers ‘’ – the sporting recollections of Fr Francis Fleming SJ in the Great War .

It is a wonderful series of recollections which illustrate so well the role of a Chaplain – ‘’ close to the front line but always to be found in the ‘’ sick bay ‘’ where he is most needed ! ‘’ 

The incident of the ‘sanglier‘ (p34 ) reminds me of a different encounter at Marche -en-Famenne ( Belgium ) when BAOR Liaison Officer to the Low Countries from 1992 – 1994 . The Belgium Training Area was to be used by British Infantry and with my Belgium Warrant Officer we visited the site to coordinate the visit of the Infantry Regiment.  On arriving at the Training HQ we parked near a small enclosure – and were greeted within seconds by the biggest ‘ tusked sanglier ‘ I have ever seen . Luckily the enclosure was well built and resisted his ferocious attacks and hind -leg prances on the enclosure fencing.  After our two day visit the Belgium Commandant asked us to ensure that in our briefing to the British the Camp’s ‘sanglier ‘ mascot ( alarm – animal ) should be introduced but was in no way to be considered as extra ‘’ fresh rations ‘’ !

As regards the Beaumont affiliations with the Guards stationed in Windsor indeed we were well supported.  If I remember Maj Gen Ld Downe (a Dawney by birth) served in both the Life Guards and 10thHussars and married a Molyneux daughter (Sefton family) who both hunted in Leicestershire from their home -  Dingley near Market Harborough. Edwin has played polo with the Dawneys in the past – a well- known family of polo players from Ireland. (Ed: Hugh polo player and coach was in my Regiment. His father Gen. Sir David was Colonel of the Regiment and the Grandson of the Ld Downe who was such a good friend to the fledgling Beaumont).

What has happened to the official opening of the British Normandy Memorial – has it been delayed or will it take place with very restricted personalities ? ( Ed Sunday 6th June – Covid restricted)

 For information: I have received a mail from Johnnie Astor ( we were at Mons OCS together in 1966 ) , that the commemorative ceremony for the restored equestrian statue of his Grand-father FM Earl Haig at Montreuil-sur-Mer has been postponed from June 2021 to the 18thJune 2022 .


Ed: Hubert mentions the Normandy Memorial as I’m most fortunate to possess the Memorial Miniature: I have it in memory of my Regiment that took part in the campaign and also for those members of the Beaumont Union who fought and died.


As Hubert mentioned he sent me the Music  prepared by Patrick Burgess ( Drum Major (62-3) These include:-

McNamara’s Band (which was the Band’s signature tune)

My name is McNamara, I'm the Leader of the Band,
And tho' we're small in number we're the best in all the land.
Oh! I am the Conductor, and we often have to play
With all the best musicianers you hear about to-day.

Written at the end of the 19th cent  for the music hall it was inspired by a  fife and drum band from Limerick the leader of which John McNamara was KIA with the Munster Fusiliers WW1 1915.

Garry Owen (Corps quick march).

Another Irish tune and the Regimental March of the 5th Irish Dragoons, the Connaught Rangers and the London Irish Rifles It was also adopted by the US 7th Cavalry  but has since been discredited as it was used as the attack signal for the massacre of the Cheyenne at Washita by George Custer 1868.


Carmen Beaumontanum ( Corps Slow March).

For obvious reasons

Come Back to Erin (Slow Troop)

An Irish song but written by an English poet Charlotte Bernard in 1866. It was adopted as the Regimental March of the Leinster Regiment.

Skipio (General Salute)

The  slow march Scipio was composed by Sir George Frideric Handel and taken from his 1725 opera The Mercy of Scipio, which was based on the life of the Roman General Scipio Africanus. The year after the premiere of the opera Handel presented the march Scipio to the Band of the Grenadier Guards which he held in high esteem.

Blaze Away

 Written in1901 by the German-American composer Abe Holzmann.  He  was inspired by the Battle of Manilla Bay when a command to American sailors to open fire on the Spanish fleet was reputedly met with the response "Well boys, let's blaze away" by the gunners.


These included the Happy Wanderer and the Theme from “Z” cars which was  based on the Liverpool folk song “Johnny Todd.”

The Lack of Luck of the Irish

Shamrock was a racing yacht built in 1898 that was the unsuccessful Irish challenger for the 1899 America’s Cup against the United States defender, Columbia. Shamrock (also known as Shamrock I, to distinguish her from her successors) was built in 1898 under a shroud of secrecy, and christened by Lady Russell of Killowen at its launch on 26 June 1899. Shamrock featured a composite build, with manganese-bronze bottom and aluminium topside clinkerbuilt over a steel frame and a pine decking. She was owned by Sir Thomas Lipton

During her trials she raced against the 1895 America's Cup challenger, Valkyrie 111  as well as twice beating the Prince of Wales yach Britannia in regattas on the Solent. She sailed to New York for the America's Cup race in the summer of 1899. The Cup defender Columbia  beat Shamrock in all three races. She returned to Britain in the autumn of 1899, towed by Lipton's steam yacht, Erin. She was subsequently refitted to serve as a trial horse for Shamrock II and Shamrock III.

(ED: my step-grandfather sailed the later Shamrocks with Lipton).

Another “Boat”

Triune of Troy

0028.P.002.jpg (982×1393)

The list of owners of this 1938 Channel class is most distinguished: Built immediately pre-war for the second Lord Russell of Liverpool. 1950 she was purchased by Captain Arthur Johnson RNVR who later sold her to Ralph Hammond Innes C.B.E., the author, but Johnson came to regret the decision and attempted unsuccessfully to buy her back from Innes, who dedicated his novel ‘The Wreck of the Mary Deare’ to The Mate & Crew of Triune of Troy in memory of a gale off the Minches
Subsequently she was owned by, among others, Sir Charles Evans, the mountaineer credited with promoting the use of oxygen in climbing Everest, and Chris Elliott, at one time Master of RSS James Clark Ross the British Antarctic Survey research ship.
Of Triune a quote in the 1938-39 Yachtsman's Annual espoused 'She was stiff, extremely handy and light on the helm under all conditions, close hauled, reaching and running.'


(probably a bit late)

Long-term Marlow resident Paul Burden has experience as a former member of Marlow Town Council, governor of St Peters RC Junior School and Great Marlow School. The greater part of his working life was spent in financial journalism. Subsequently he became Communications Director of one of the country's largest retailers.


 Paul (62)

He says: 'Marlow has been very important to Jo and me and our family. This is the place where our five children grew up and, quite simply, the town has been good to us.

Now I'm retired I want to give something back. Marlow does not benefit from having one single party to represent its diverse community. It requires vigorous alternative voices if it is going to get the attention it needs from the new county-wide authority.'

Paul was previously a member of Marlow Town Council for 3 years. He was a Governor of St Peters RC Junior School for 10 years and for eight he was a Governor of Great Marlow School. He says: 'The town face some serious unresolved questions - for instance, how can we meet the housing needs of ordinary families already here without compromising the character of the town.

We also need to give some serious thought to how we ensure a healthy economic recovery from the Covid pandemic.'

His priorities:

  1. Meeting the housing needs of ordinary families in Marlow without compromising the character of the town
  2. Working towards a healthy economic recovery from the Covid pandemic
  3. Properly funding adult social care in Buckinghamshire.

ED: whatever your political views, I would say “Amen” to all of that. 

Fr Fizz remembered.

Robert Fettes writes:

As happened to so many boys entering the conveyor into Beaumont, I 

was assigned to the Laundry dormitory, under the charge of Fr. 

Ezechiel.  How fortunate we all were.

The first impression of him could be quite daunting; he was not a small 

man, whose presence loomed everywhere.  This impression was short-lived, 

as his good, gentle and friendly nature quickly dispelled any fears.  His room in the 

dormitory building also served as an office.  The multitude of 

activities with which he was involved, meant that  his room became a hub from which he generated so much work.  Printing was one of his particular tasks, with which we 

willingly volunteered assistance.  His output of printed matter was prodigious.  We all learned, from him, about the finer aspects of type setting, embossing 

and printing.

Fr. Ezechiel's innate charm and kindly nature exuded a most likeable and 

engagingly avuncular persona.  He did acquire, however, the epithet 

'Fizz' for a good reason; he could be explosive when circumstances overwhelmed his good nature.  Such occurrences never lasted long, and he was never unkind or 

Thoughtless as to the needs of boys in his care; be they spiritual, temporal or 

personal.  All were addressed with gentle consideration.

  One such, relatively minor, occurrence happened to me during my 

membership of the choir, as a treble.  We had been practising the 

Hallelujah chorus with Fr. Ezechiel conducting and Mr. Clayton on the chapel organ.  I found myself unable to achieve the top note without emitting a tuneless croak, at which point Fr. Ezechiel swung his baton to the exit, mouthing the word 'out'.  Typically, he later provided solace for the abrupt expulsion, with his characteristic broad smile and good humour.

  A fact, of which I had been totally unaware, was that he had been 

born and lived in Darjeeling, which was where I had spent my infancy.  I 

was born in Calcutta,for the simple reason that Darjeeling did not, at the time, provide adequate medical facilities; hence my mother was sent to a Calcutta 

hospital, where Istarted life, and then returned quickly back to Darjeeling.  The reason for such haste was due to the Hindu/Muslim riots in Calcutta and 

beyond.  Calcutta was littered with the bodies of victims from both sides of the conflict. Indeed, the Indian lady doctor who attended my mother was also murdered two days later.

That period of India's history was a dreadful and raw time, not helped 

in the least by independence and partition which occurred the following year.

My father had particularly sensitive political antennae, attuned to the 

social climate at the time, and managed to keep a foot in each camp.

I wish, now, I had known of Fr. Ezechiel's origins; we would have had 

much about which to talk and reminisce.Fr. Ezechiel was, in my view, a truly unique; not just as a priest, but as a human being.  He is fondly remembered and greatly missed as a person who enriched the lives of all those who had the privilege and pleasure of his company.  Judging the world as it is today, Fr. Ezechiel is now 

in a better place.

Fr Michael Ross  SJ

Born 28 May 1916                                                                     Died 27 May 2001

 Fr Hugh Ross SJ (37)  gave the following Homily at Michael’s Funeral Mass at St George’s Collehe Harare.

There were just the two of us, so I speak very much as the younger brother. We both went to school at Beaumont. In  his last term at school Michael sat the quite stiff entrance exam for the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich, which trained young men to be officers in the Royal Engineers, the Royal Artillery, as our father was, and the Royal Corps of Signals. He passed in successfully, 28th, high enough for him to make his own choice of regiment.

But in that last term, in the English summer of 1934, he also applied to the English Provincial, saying that he wanted to try his vocation as a Jesuit priest. He was accepted and so he did not take up his place at the Shop, as Woolwich was called.

After the long Jesuit training he was sent back to Beaumont, as a priest, to teach physics. This was no surprise to anyone. Very soon he was asked to take a clever class, some of whose members would be sitting, about three years later, the very severe and competitive exams for Open Scholarships to Oxford or Cambridge. Now, partly because of the war, he had not been sent to do a degree. Officially, therefore, his physics qualification was an A Level gained some fifteen years previously. Yet he was being given the challenging task of lifting his teaching to a standard  that, in today’s terms, could fairly be called Further Physics at A Level.

However, as Michael’s younger brother I was not surprised both that he accepted this wise and percipient offer and that he was outstandingly successful as an A Level Physics master. I had, you see, grown up with Michael’s insatiable appetite for the increasingiy advanced Meccano sets which were just coming on the market, the later ones with electric motors, gyroscopes and so on. The Meccano Magazine was meat and drink to him from, I suspect, the age of 8 or 9 onwards. And then came wireless: crystal sets, with cat’s whiskers as they were called; building them; persuading them to capture broadcasts not just from Daventry but from Europe – the name Hilversum comes back to me. Wireless World now either replaced or was added to the Meccano Magazine with its help Michael progressed rapidly to making one-valve sets, then to two- or three-valve sets; soon of his own design; finally to the very latest, a six-valve super-heterodyne set. All of this was totally beyond me, as indeed it has remained ever since. Michael thus demonstrated early and unmistakably a natural bent for physics. Not just the practical side but the theory too. While he was at Beaumont.   he went to a course at Harwell for sixth form schoolmasters with his interests. He was at home at Harwell, and gained many useful pieces of only very slightly out-of-date equipment.

And then several things happened to make his life change direction. The Jesuit authorities forced the English Province to close one of its schools, because of manpower shortages, and Beaumont was the unlucky school. In England ,the obvious posting would have seemed Stonyhurst, except that the damp climate had previously proved very bad for Michael’s asthma. Here at St. George’s, Robert Carty, a contemporary of Michael, was headmaster. And he needed a Senior Physics Master. I presume Michael was given a choice. He arrived here in September 1967 laden with all sorts of equipment for teaching physics, much of it made by himself: Also with the full requirements for twenty or so different A Level experiments. Suddenly we were up to date, especially in electricity and electronics.

Africa had other appeals too for Michael> Our father was stationed for three or four years at a small army experimental camp called Porton, 8 miles from Salisbury, in the middle of rolling chalk hills of Salisbury Plain. Special wild fiowers grow on these chalk downs,special butterflies feed on these lovely flowers, so there is also a flourishing and varied bird population, with nests to be found and eggs identified.  Michael was eleven when he left Porton: old enough to have discovered that besides building meccano models, he had the interest and understanding of a field naturalist He was riot quite a predecessor of Gerard Durrell, but once, when we spending a summer holidays on the rocky shores of Brittany,

He did capture an interesting, attractive and harmless grass snake, Unfortunately it escaped from his bedroom and got loose in the crowded pension where we were staying, to the.   fright and subsequent wrath of the old ladies who seemed to stay there in droves,

Michael was also a countryman. Beaumont owned a small farm on the same property. So for some years Michael would teach physics in the morning, then put on wellies or strong boots and make his way through the mud to meet the farm manager and discuss with him the cows, their milk yields and any other problems. Again, during his years of training at Heythrop in the Cotswold countryside, he had looked after a large number of bee-hives in his spare time; and had also gone out with gun and dog to shoot rabbits at dusk to supplement the large community’s meagre meat ration  during and just after World War Two. 

I don’t know whether the boys at Beaumont knew much of this. But they were very aware of a related characteristic. Among them he had a well-deserved reputation for his uncanny knack of turning up, without warning just where he was neither expected nor welcome: a feast or a smoking  party, at midnight or thereabouts, in some remote, carefully  chosen, obscure, almost unused and unknown corner of the rather rambling set of buildings that made up the school. So perhaps the Beaumont boys would have said that in their experience he was less a born naturalist or countryman than a born gamekeeper.

This uncanny awareness of impending mischief was demonstrated to more than one person here at St.George’s.  Michael was in charge of our gardens for many years. Again, he really was a gardener that is to say he himself grew plants of all sorts, including a number of our trees, from seed or cuttings. Prominent just now are the double red globe poinsettias outside this chapel; also the handsome tree ‘(Koelreuteria paniculate) with pale pink fruit near the swimming pool entrance, and the Inyanga fIat-top acacia just beyond the pool, overhanging Connell Field. He was especially fond of his roses. More than one member of staff or lady visitor has been embarrassed by being caught in the very act of quickly, quietly and unobtrusively, snipping off one of Michael’s special blooms.

Finally, he could state his opinions, clearly, distinctly, even downrightly. I must have been present at one early manifestation of this trait, but was too young to appreciate it. My mother told it to me much later. We were still at Porton, where we went to Sunday Mass at a small village hallway to Salisbury. A tiny church with a tiny congregation. The preacher went on too long. Suddenly a clear voice spoke for the congregation. Michael said: ‘Mummy, when is he going to stop?’

I seem to hear him saying to me: ‘Hugh, when are you going to get them to pray for me?’ And as usual, that is the right question. That is, above all, why we are here today. I do indeed ask you, invite you, beg you to pray for Michael. We are all sinners. We do, all of us, need each other’s prayers. As scripture says: It is a holy and whoiesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins, so pray for Michael, and for your own dear ones who are dead, and for those now dying, and for those who look after them.

I seem also to hear Michael making another suggestion:  Why not read them the words we used to hear every night at Beaumont at the very end of our public night prayers? Well,on Mondays, for example, we were told, and soon knew by heart, ‘Death is certain: the time and manner are uncertain whether by a long illness or by some unexpected accident. The Son of Man will come at a time when we little expect him. Be therefore ready every moment, seeing you may die at any moment.

Now I invite you to pause in silent prayer. If you like a picture while you pray, add yourself to those faithful few - Mary, his mother, the other women and John – who watched Jesus die just outside Jerusalem on Calvary Hill.

Fr. Hugh Ross, SJ  (37) was the oldest member (96 old) of Jesuit Zimbabwe Province, now Zimbabwe-Mozambique Province. He was born on 16th January 1920. He entered the Society of Jesus on 7th September 1937, and took his first vows on 8th September 1939. He was ordained to priesthood on the 11th July 1954 and took his last vows on 2nd February 1956. Throughout his years (50) at St. George’s College, Fr. Ross has shown himself a very good teacher; one who has given all his attention and efforts to the college and driving a Jesuit example of faithful service. He died on 11th August, 2016 in Preston, England. Dear Old Georgians and Friends,

Fr Ross began teaching at St George’s in 1955, and was a stalwart maths teacher, who also taught cricket and, later, swimming.  He was very well-known and admired by many generations of OGs and left the College in 2007, to return to Preston in the UK. 


60 years ago from The REVIEW,

Ex Cathedra

John Lipscombe joined the staff  to strengthen the science side ( and is still with us) Also David Allen down again from Balliol to help in the Laboratories and on the tow path.

Goodbye to Mr O’Mahoney with his guitar ( remembered as part of the Beaumont Three Tenors with  Donovan and Richmond)

Fr Toby Murray left for Farm St after seven years. He produced the Higher Line Play on four occasions and despite his size  the choreography for all the pantomimes. Class master of Syntax 11 (unforgettable). Zealous supporter  of the Fifteen, the Eleven and the Eight. It was said that if you attended any sporting social occasion there would be Fr Toby!.

Promotion to Lt Colonel for P M Roddy  following the extraordinary standard achieved for The Trooping of The Colour.

State Scholarships for Martin Haddon, Michael Morris and Oliver Hawkins.

Publication of Peter Levi’s book “Beaumont”  very well received especially as it was so different from the usual school history. However, it was heavily criticised by B U Vice President Hal Dickens as hardly mentioning any OB and their achievements.

There was a special “Thank you” to the College Servants who had so willingly taken on extra burdens during the Centenary year: They were all taken for a day out to Brighton in August: a small way of showing our gratitude for their loyal and deeply appreciated support.

The main Rhetoric Guest was Sir Herbert  James Gunn  R A the Scottish painter best known for his portraits of eminent people including that of the Queen commissioned for the Royal Collection in 1954.

Quodlibetarian guests include Mr Bruce Mitchell from St Edmund’s Hall and Dr Godfrey Lienhardt from the Social Anthropology Institute, Oxford ( an expert on the Dinka people of Sudan).

Group 11 English went to see Frank Hawser’s rather drab production of Hamlet in London.


“The Queen took tea at Beaumont apparently without fear of being poisoned”

(French Press)

The Celebrations

11th June Solemn High Mass in the presence of His Eminence  the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster. Preacher: Mons. Alfred Gilbey.

 Message and Benediction from the Pope


Open- Air Play: ‘The Birds’ by Aristophanes


A new translation by Dudley Fitts, produced by Rev. G O’Mahoney S J with a cast of over fifty members of Rudiments.

Mr O’Mahoney is to be congratulated not only for his skilful adaptation of the play, but also for the highly imaginative production. The play was, of course, basically Aristophanes’ text, in Dudley Pitts’ excellent translation, but a great deal of labour had of necessity to be expended on it, apart from the obviously necessary use of the blue pencil. The structure of the play remained the same, but whole passages had to be recast or adapted. Contemporary allusions were brought adroitly. .up to date, and the play was seasoned with a fair sprinkling of topical and local jokes.All this was designed to transform the play from what must be to us a literary museum-piece, into a lively, spirited comedy, that would appeal to the present audience in the present circumstances. At any rate, the splendidly dressed members of the chorus played their part very well, keeping the audience amused with their antics, but maintaining strict discipline on a stage which must have been all too small for them.

The actors all entered into their parts with enthusiasm, and gave excellent performances. Arnoux and Williams as the two (young) Athenians, sustained their long parts very well. Together with Sheraton, who gave a very smooth and polished rendering of the Parabasis, they bore much of the burden of the play. Of the lesser characters, Kelly (a distinctly modern character), Potter, the ‘vague Mathematician, Garnaud, Cree, a spirited Iris, Seibold and Meyers, as the glutton Hercules, deserve special mention.


A fine setting was provided by the lawns and the White House, especially on the first night, when the sky was blue and the sun shone. Fullest use was made of the extensive area available:. For an uncrowded stage is essential to a play of this sort The bane of all outdoor plays, is of course, in this country at least, the climate-both actors and audience showed remarkable fortitude in the damp and cold of the second night. London Airport, of  course. Did its worst but passing aeroplanes were firmly dealt with, by the use of a stray chorus adapted from the ‘Frogs’. But inaudibility was a problem for some parts of the audience, and the amplification could do little to compensate it


But in spite of all difficulties, Rudiments gave us a fine performance, which stayed dose to the spirit, if not the letter, of what was one of Aristophanes’ gayest and most lyrical plays.


Centenary Ball


THE Ambulacrum had, by some miracle of decoration, been transformed from a stark drill hall into an extremely attractive ball-room. The lowered ceiling and decorations pendant gave it an air of unaccustomed immensity. Captain Kelly, who seemed to be enjoying himself very much, could hardly have recognised his usual Thursday afternoon habitat

Here was an excellent temporary dance floor which was made use of to the full by the guests; in the middle, in an island, of lively sound, was Bill Savill’s orchestra and later The Lawson-Turner Big Band. Early in the evening there was also a jazz band in the supper-breakfast marquee, playing for the benefit of the Trad fans. The marquee, incidentally, became quite a familiar sight, as it was used for luncheons and teas on the was for luncheons and tea  on the Saturday and Sunday. The Ambulacrum remained transformed for the speeches also, but we digress.


People talked, people danced, people bought tickets for the Tombola and for the Grand Draw, and people wined and dined to their heart’s content and, most important of all, people met other people; how often, one wonders, did those ancient and heavily disguised Ambulacrum pillars hear: ‘Hello, what are you doing with yourself now?’


When the moment for the Grand Draw arrived, the lucky winner of the first prize, a mini-Minor, was announced, and he proceeded to drive jubilantly around the dance floor, triumphantly sounding the horn. The merry-making continued and it was early in the morning, and already quite Iight, when the last guests left the ballroom.


I am sure that all the evening’s guests will join me in thanking the Beaumont Union for a wonderful evening, and in congratulating Basil Bicknell in particular for organizing so successfully Beaumont’s Centenary Ball.

SATURDAY 10th June

Boat  House

A GREAT EVENT in the history of the .Boat Club took place on Saturday, June 10th when the new Boat House was officially opened in the presence of a vast gathering of parents, old boys, friends, boaters and cricketers.

Father Rector presided and expressed, on the School’s behalf, our gratitude to all those who made a new Boat House possible and our sincere appreciation of the splendid work of T. Bedford, Esq., who had designed the Boat House and supervised its erection,  everyone was invited to look round It thoroughly after the opening. He also announced the gift of a new Eight next season by a person who prefers to remain anonymous, the Eight to be named the ‘Camp-bell’ in memory of Father Campbell who coached the 1st Eight from the early twenties to 1934. Father Rector then made presentations on behalf of the Boat Club, of a suitably inscribed tankard to Mr Bedford and of a shield, also beautifully inscribed, to Mr Merrell, who had been active in the Boat Club for 31 years.

Father Rector next introduced G. O. Nickalls, Esq. (Chairman of the A.R.A. and. a great oarsman), who said a few words intended especially for boaters, stressing that he hoped the Club members would treat the fine building with great respect and look after it as one tries to look after all boating equipment. We are, indeed, grateful to Mr Nickalls for coming and giving up his time on this auspicious occasion. Next, we were introduced to Terence O’Brien, Esq., O.B.(Olympic oarsman) who, after a few well -chosen words of advice and encouragement, declared the Boat House open,

After an inspection of the Boat House by those present, a procession of boats followed, headed’ by an Eight composed of well-known Beaumont oarsmen whose combined ages totalled just over 500 years.

Then came the 1st ,  2nd, and 3rd Eights, the Colts A and B Eights followed by the Sliding-seat Fours, the Fixed-seat Fours and finally, the small boats. All rowed up to the Lock, turned and came downstream to Haines’ Boathouse before turning to land at the pontoon.

The Boat House is an airy building to the eye and with ample room to house all the boats, and more, and yet leave comfortable room for repairs and overhauls. It is well lighted by day and, for dark afternoons, especially during the autumn and winter, is provided with very efficient electric lighting. There must be many past boaters who will be delighted to know that it will not be necessary to unrig boats to store them at the end of the season.

To go with the Boathouse is a 60 foot long landing pontoon, hinged by steel rods to the reinforced concrete piers on the river bank so that the pontoon rises and falIs with river; to reach the pontoon are new concrete and wooden steps and hinged gangways from the towpath.

The site on which the Boathouse has been  built was purchased about 1929 by Father Tempest who, at that time, was First Prefect at Beaumont. One wishes that he could have lived to see the result of his farsightedness in this purchase, for, apart from the position of the land on the Straight Road, a much better view of the river, both up and down stream, is obtained from the tow path by spectators: indeed, compared with the position of the old Boathouse we are in elysian fields. Altogether, a most enjoyable and memorable afternoon.



 Bow.  H. M. Seward. O.B.    1930

 T. P. Mulcahy.                      1925 .      

 M. B. Coleman.                    1921

 G. V. Lake.                           1927

J K . Peppercorn.                  1922    

T. Peppercorn.                      1925

Stroke T N O’Brien                1923 

Cox.  C. Pritchett.                  1927

SUNDAY 11th June

Trooping The Colour


The  Salute taken by Major General Sir Leslie Tyler KBE, CBE.

Music by the Band of the Irish Guards and the Corps of Drums of the Guards Depot

Parade Commander: Major P M Roddy

Adjutant: Captain  T R Kelly

Commanding the Escort: U/O P Hinds

                      No 2 Guard: U/O A Stibbs

                      No 3 Guard: CSM B Trowbridge

                      No 4 Guard: CSM E Roberts

     Ensign to The Colour: CQMS D Harrington

                                 RSM: CQMS C Halliday



From the saluting dais ( photo from Robert Fettes)

Other Activities


IT has long been evident that the number of Scouts in the Group is quite inadequate, given our numbers of Senior Scouts this state of affairs shows some signs of being remedied, P/L’s M. Morris and F. Gould-Marks achieved their Queen’s Scout badges and were joined soon after by E. Hinds and K. Sommi.

May 15th, Her Majesty the Queen honoured our Group by presenting the Royal Certificates to these four new Queen’s Scouts. This is the first time Her Majesty has presented these certificates personally.

Despite the imminence of examinations, attendance during the Summer Term has been very good, the main feature being a Fireman’s Badge Course, run by Supt. Harvey from Windsor, to whom we offer our thanks. AII fourteen candidates passed.

Some belated enthusiasm having been aroused, some members are attempting to gain the Duke of Edinburgh’s award. As we must be one of the largest Senior Troops in the British Isles, it is encouraging to see that Beaumont Scouting is not only up to Queen’s Scout standard, but is also capable of holding its own among other youth organisations. Consequently, a Senior Athlete Course was held, one member attaining gold standard and three the silver standard. This implies we shall soon have four seniors ’ith the Silver Award. In this connection, we thank Fr Dunphy for the use of St John’s Flat, and Mr King for coaching and testing candidates.

The end of the term saw B. Stevens added to the number of Queen’s Scouts.

Apart from badge-work, the Seniors have not been idle. They now have a kitchen for their coffee-bar, invaluable and much in use. Some ambitious members have built a hut and kitchen just behind the grass tennis courts. The hut has been covered with off-cuts from the park; and we are most grateful to Ken, our groundsman, for supplying fencing-poles, mowing the grass, and letting us use his implements. A sturdy flag-pole has also been raised on the site. The kitchen has been in regular use for afternoon tea, and the site has provided valuable opportunities for the keener seniors and for one Troop P/L. without whose help the project would probably not have been completed.

Seniors and Troop united over two assault courses - one set by each for the other. Each in its own way proved useful as well as entertaining

For once in a way, these notes contain much more about the Seniors than about the Troop. This is not to suggest that the latter have been doing nothing, but their activities have been, if not less dedicated, at least less spectacular. Let us hope that the foundations that they have been laying will be such as future Queen’s Scouts can be built on !

This year is seeing both Troops breaking fresh ground: the Seniors are off to the West of Scotland, camping at Roshaven on Loch Ailort in two parties, each of whom will spend four days on South Uist. The Troop are going at the same time to Somerset, near Porlock, where the site promises to be a challenging one in many ways. Let us hope that the challenge will be met!


Fr Richard Incledon (1937-46) has been appointed assistant to Fr Michael Hollings (1932-39) at the Old Palace, Oxford. This is one up on the already substantial record of having Old Beaumont boys as chaplains at each of the ancient Universities.

Major Geoffrey Scrope (1933-38) has been made a Knight of Honour and Devotion of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

The Lord Chancellor has appointed Mr Justice Russell (1921-26) to be President of the Restrictive Practices Court.

The Editor of the Review had the pleasure and the honour of meeting Philippe de Vomecourt (1915-19) at the party given by his publishers to launch his account of the resistance movement in France, entitled Who Lived to See the Day . Also present was Anthony John (1920-25) who has been producing a version of the book in episodic form for I.T.V.

In recognition of his work for French Resistance during the last war, Philippe, Officer of the French Legion of Honour, was awarded the British D.S.O. and American D.S.C., the French and Polish Croix de Guerre and the French Medal of the Resistance.

Sir Charles Russell, Bt., has been elected Chairman of the Challoner Club.

Anthony Leggett (1950-55) having while at Balliol achieved a double first (in mods and greats), now after two years as a Harmsworth Scholar at Merton, has taken a first in physics. It is pleasant to recall that the foundation of his latest success was also laid at Beaumont when in his last two terms Fr O’Hara coached him in this very different discipline.

At a meeting of the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Evelyn Sprawson prize was awarded to Nicholas Anthony Sturridge (1953-56) of the Royal Dental Hospital.

Rory O’Sullivan (1951-59) has been awarded the Edward Nuttall Scholarship by the Civil Engineering Scholarship Trust for Cambridge University.

Michael Scott-Moncrieff (1954-59) is co-editor of the new and only Scotch literary review, The New Saltire, whose first issue appeared on 16th August.

News came of the sudden death of Val O’Connell Miley (1902-06) on 28th November, 1960, after the invitations to the Centenary celebrations at the Gresham in Dublin had gone out. His widow wrote: ‘Val went  off in the best of form to play golf. He got a coronary thrombosis after playing two holes and died a few minutes after the attack. He was a very wonderful person and I think one of your most brilliant pupils. I believe he was the first Beaumont boy to get an Oxford scholarship; and while there distinguished himself by getting a Blue for soccer and a half-Blue for tennis.

We announce with regret the death on 8th August of Squadron-Leader Edmund Hardman, D.F.C. (1899-1903).  Son Gordon KIA WW2.

Basil Bicknell (1944-48) who has been so active and successful in B.U. arrangements for the centenary year, has sent us, will some interested collector apply?_A dollar note autographed by Hy Melhado (1888-96) who originally hoped to fly over for the Ball but was prevented at the last minute by his wife’s illness. He lives in British Honduras, is the Commissioner of Currency (without pay) and the oldest J.P. in the colony, having been one for forty-seven years.

Under the heading ‘Melville may be key to title: an Evening Standard report for Tuesday, 19th September, went on to speak :of ‘Jim Melville (1950-53)-the man who inspired a shock Club Cricket Conference victory in July by taking six for 46 against the Australians. His victims on that memorable day in Club Cricket history included Lawry, O’Neill, Burge and Booth.’

The consecration of the new Abbey Church at Ampleforth is an occasion upon which we should like to congratulate and express our good wishes to our distinguished contemporary, even if, as a correspondent informs us, ‘Alfred Gilbey (1912-19) very naughtily appeared with Michael Hollings (1932-39) surplice and hood for the consecration. They did not carry mortar-boards to complete  the Anglican scene’. They would be only too welcome to do so at a ceremony at Beaumont; for it is surely nonsense to talk, for instance, of a new  cricket pavilion when (dare we say?) the more important inadequacy of the present school chapel is or should be a daily reproach to our consciences. Let the first charge on our second century be a fund for the new school chapel.

Hatches, Matches, Dispatches

 A Son for Gerard Horton,

Daughters for  Baron Peter Gemmingen von Massenbach, Robert Wallin, Capt. David Wilcox and Capt. Christopher Tyler.

Engaged:  Chris Cafferata, Robin Deane, Stephen Corcoran and Robert Schulte.

Married: Antony Paton Walsh, Sir Richard Barrow, and Anthony Russell.

Died: Fr Bernard Lickorish SJ  (90) ( 54 years on the Zambesi Mission)

           Evelyn Harrington (10) Industrialist and President Irish Lawn Tennis.

           Sir Edward Jackson KCMG, KBE. (04) Lt-governor of Malta WW2, Chief

                                              Justice Cyprus, Judge of the Supreme Court (War

                                              Crimes Germany)

            Brigadier Cyril Murphy DSO, MC. (98). Awarded decorations WW1 with

                                              RFC, Lecturer Agricultural Botany Cambridge.

Boat Club



THIS has been a memorable year both for the Boat Club as a whole and for the Eight; Memorable not merely from the material point of view but also in the fine standard of rowing throughout the club and the successes we have throughout the club and the successes we have met with in our racing.

To come back to the Eight. As usual we have made it our policy to ‘row to win: and above all to win at Henley, and although we have not fully realized this policy yet, none the less, technically speaking, we have gone further than anyone before us. At last we have produced an Eight which can go off at a good high rating of about 40, and then stride it out to about 35 with plenty of power. What  has been achieved in this way is due above all to Mr. Scott’s coaching, and also to that of Mr Garton and Mr Roland George, both of whom have been invaluable in giving us a more powerful and longer finish.


Lincoln Oxford  Lost 2 L

Eton Excelsior Won  4 L

Eton Lost 2.5 L

Reading Regatta Kings Worcester Won 0.5 L,  St Pauls  Lost 0.5 L

Henley  Nautical; College Pangbourne lost 2.5 L

Post Henley

Kingston Regatta: Ibis Won Canvas, Kingston Grammar Won 1,75 L Quintin Lost 0.75 L

2nd VIII  Beat St Georges’s and Sir William Borlaise. Lost Eton, Imperial College, St Catherine’s Camb. at Reading. Royal Shrewsbury and King’s Chester at Marlow ( whole crew was ill the day before.

3rd VIII. Beat St George’s and Sir William Borlaise Lost Reading Univ. N C Pangbourne and Staines.  (Ed; Our boat was damaged early in the season by a motor cruiser which  brought the call from our cox McHugh and later Captain RN

 “ Abandon ship”.)


The XI

WHEN the season began, it was clear that any team that might be chosen would be most inexperienced, only one colour and two other regular members being left from last year. It seemed, however, that there was some fair batting talent, if only it could be matured fast enough, but that the real problem would be adequate attack. In the event, the batting proved adequate attack. In the event, the batting proved on the whole did rather better than had been expected of them. They would be the first to admit that they were supported by a side whose fielding improved with every match until it reached a very high standard.

For the record, no matches were won - two might safely be described as moral victories, three  drawn, and eight lost. It is tempting, if unprofitable, to consider how different this record might have been if Murphy and Hywel-Davies had, as originally intended, been available. Their experience and skill might well have produced a very different story. However, it is no use indulging in vain regrets!


In a memorable year this was not a match which Beaumont will recall with pleasure or satisfaction. It began in the usual way, with Beaumont. winning the toss, and Oratory batting, and a general collapse to 24 for 5. There was nothing to  account for this, unless it were a psychological than a physical atmosphere, and some excellent catching by Tolhurst and Grant to the average bowling of Hancock and Crormpton. At this stage an optimistic Beaumont supporter was heard to enquire if the game had ever been over before lunch. When the Oratory were all out for 171, a partnership in the middle, and one at the end, had produced all but a Fifth of their score. Apart from a few balls from Hancock, which earned him two lbw verdicts, and an accurate, but unsuccessful initial spell by Capel-Dunn, the bowling had shown little venom .Fault could hardly be found with the fielding or wicket-keeping, which was commendable throughout. Unless he was injured, it was a puzzle to the spectator why Scanlan was not given a trial, however out of form, as he had taken one vital wicket and two useful ones the previous year.

Beaumont, when setting out to bat with almost even time in which to make the runs may  have doubted their ability to do so. Scanlan soon fell, and Tolhurst followed almost immediately. After Mills-Owens had been clean bowled attempting a wild shot,  it was pretty obvious that the match would be lost and this was confirmed  when Halliday, who alone had shown any resistance, had his stump uprooted by the same bowler. Half the side were out by tea for 30, and it was a fairly steady procession until .the last wicket fell at 5.30 for a paltry score of 78. Bedford struck a lusty hit or two, Lazar and Hancock made a brave 29 for the ninth wicket |but there was little to it. There was, as usual ,a run-out on each side. Apart from this it is per-haps of interest to observe that every Beaumont wicket fell to the bowler without the assistance  of any fieldsman,

Aucto Splendore Resurgo
I arise again in greater splendour. Motto of the KSLI

More from Philip Stevens’ Memoir.

On Monday 17 January 1966 I took the train to Plymouth to join my new family as the youngest and junior officer of the Regiment. On the morning after my arrival I was sent to meet my new commanding officer for the first time. Colonel Neil asked one question; about the ability of my private income to support the life-style of an officer in his regiment. Discovering that I had none, he instantly, completely and obviously wrote me off as an asset to the regiment. After this, it would come as little surprise to me that many of the members of the Officers’ Mess were similarly aware of a decent regiment’s need to keep the financial standards of the Mess members appropriately high. Some time later, one colleague told me of a similar experience, in his case with his platoon soldiers on a ’smoker’ at a pub near Plymouth. One of the boys asked him where was his family estate in Shropshire, and rather made clear that my brother officer had let down the platoon by not having one.

The country had spent a reputed £10,000 a year on training me, when public schools’ annual fees were about one fifth of that figure. I thought it short-sighted to lose all interest in my future when it was revealed that I planned to live off my pay alone.

I knew nothing about the reality of soldiering, and my preparations for leadership had done nothing to prepare me for my first morning as a platoon commander. However, having met, if such an interview could be called meeting, my new commanding officer, it was time to become acquainted with my new platoon sergeant, Alec

Flaherty, and then set off with him to meet the boys. It was no surprise that most were away from the platoon quarters; the whole battalion barracks was full of noise and bustle of preparation for a move in three days’ time to take part in a fortnight’s training at the Army Training Area, Thetford. I was less prepared for my first introduction to the discipline of battalion life; in the middle of my meeting the few members of the platoon who were present, the platoon’s quarters received an incursion from the Regimental Police, the RPs. A member of the platoon had been arrested in Plymouth the evening before, an unusual occurrence because it had been a Sunday, and most arrests involving drink took place on Thursday, pay day, when soldiers were paid in cash. However, we were invaded by two RPs, with a worse-for-wear Private Rowden between them. The visit was to collect such kit and uniforms as a soldier under close arrest in the guardroom would require. In the bustle and shouting that always seemed to accompany RPs on duty, I was somewhat overlooked. Without thinking about the correct procedure, I asked Sergeant Flaherty whether he could explain to me why these people had come barging into a room where an officer was present, without saluting or asking for permission to carry on with whatever it was they were doing, and why he had not done anything about it. The change in the whole atmosphere was a revelation to me; a young, totally inexperienced officer had told a man twice his age, who had been a soldier for the whole of my lifetime, to deal with the improper behaviour of two RPs, who were generally believed to answer only to God or his Regent on Earth, Sergeant Griffiths, the Provost Sergeant. If all had laughed aloud at my impertinence I would scarcely have been more surprised than I was by the actual outcome. Sergeant Flaherty sprang into action, told the RPs forcibly that an officer was present, and they in turn sprang to attention, saluted and with much asking permission to ‘Carry

on Sir please’ got back to chivvying Private Rowden. I had, but had not known it, struck the right note, which would be noted with approval at some levels, at least in the junior ranks’ messes, where RPs were generally seen as deserving any setback that came their way.

Over the next two years I was proud of the fact that Rowden became a popular, respected and successful private soldier. He might never achieve promotion, but he would be recognised as totally different from the platoon’s weakest member and greatest troublemaker whom I had first known. He was perhaps the first person who could say that he had benefited from working with me, to an extent that could be called transforming.


KSLI cap Badge

In the whole of my career as an officer, albeit a truncated one, as will be revealed, I would only have two occasions to commit any soldier to the process of close arrest and a charge under Section 69 of The Army Act, ‘Conduct to the Prejudice of Good Order and Military Discipline.’ I like to claim the belief that an unimaginative and arbitrary system of discipline made for unimaginative and uncommitted soldiers, but it was simpler than that. In reality I found that the platoon could get along perfectly well with everyone encouraged to get on with the work in hand, with peer group pressure the most effective influence on the shirkers to pull their weight as well.

After these two early encounters, with the commanding officer and his vision of the regiment as an outpost of the Guards, and the regimental bad hat, I would have two days in Plymouth before the whole battalion moved to the Army Training Area, Thetford. My contribution to preparing for this move and battalion exercises was precisely nothing. My own needs were taken care of by my batman, the first of a number, who all proved more or less equally useless and unnecessary. My kit and equipment were packed, rations for the journey were collected and on Thursday afternoon we set off on the overnight journey, in the stinking and squalid trains that British Railways kept for the purpose. The soldiers were crowded into compartments, eight per compartment. Each platoon had compartments for the soldiers and lance corporals, one for the sergeant and three corporals, and each officer shared a first- class compartment with one other. We were all cold and uncomfortable, and the officers complained; the soldiers, infinitely worse accommodated, did not.

On Friday 21 January, the day after arrival in Thetford, I set off with my new platoon on a map-reading and compass navigation exercise. The plan was to arrive at a distant firing range where we were due to shoot for an hour or so. Somehow, we had become 32 almost miraculously re-united assorted countrymen, recruited from Shropshire, Cornwall, Devon, Yorkshire, Durham and Jamaica. I marched confidently ahead and the platoon marched confidently behind. We reached the turning in the road, swung left and proceeded onwards. The church that was my first marker point failed to appear, and continued to fail to appear for a couple of miles. In due course I recalled that all platoons have a platoon sergeant, nominally second-in-command, but actually there to smooth over moments like this. Sergeant Flaherty and I conferred. Corporals Phipps, White and Brown joined in. The general opinion was that a turn right instead of left at that distant junction would have helped. My dreams of effortless command fading, I asked why nobody had thought to mention it at the time. ‘We did Sir, but we thought we’d wait and see what happened next.’ There was nothing for it but to join in the laughter and general collapse of discipline as the entire platoon celebrated the arrival of their new officer and managed to overlook the fact that we had all marched several totally unnecessary miles.

On the following day, I set further navigation exercises for the platoon in small groups. These were set as individual marches on compass bearings, followed by change of direction and further marching on the new one. My grand plan was that after several legs all would re-gather at a spot some distance away, each pair of soldiers having taken a different route. Later that evening, as various search parties collected up the last of the distant and dispersed troops, I recalled the lesson that there is a considerable difference between the bearing to a point and the back-bearing from it. My reputation as a map-reader was established for all time.

Sunday seemed to go well. On Monday, as the most recently qualified officer, and therefore likely to be aware of firing-range control procedures, I was made responsible for the exercise in which soldiers fired live rounds with sub-machine guns. Several groups of trainees arrived, shot and went away satisfactorily. The Headquarters Company group arrived, and the Commanding Officer and other senior people arrived with them to watch. In truth cooks, clerks and sub-machine guns do not mix well. A clerk from Battalion stores set off down the range, weapon pointed ahead as instructed. He tripped, spun round, and fell, grasping the nearest object to hand, which happened to be the trigger of the fully-loaded weapon. The CO and other senior people, about five or six in all, threw themselves headlong into the nearest cover, a damp and distinctly unpleasant old trench, a leftover from some previous exercises. I stood and watched as the bullets flew, for no reason of courage, but simply because I was thinking about the probable penalty for being an accessory to the unlawful killing of the battalion’s entire command group.

My diary records that by next Thursday we had been lost once more, had set fire to an abandoned building by lighting a fire in the hearth under a chimney full of old birds’ nests, and been reprimanded for managing to wreck a battalion exercise by getting my platoon captured en masse within two hours of its beginning. We had been meant to evade capture for a full 24 hours.

Communication was an ever-present challenge. My assorted group of highly trained soldiers, led by the product of the finest officer-training establishment in the world, could not understand each other. Estuarine English, the lingua franca of the television age, had not yet overtaken the land. Cornishmen spoke Cornish English, the Geordies spoke Geordie, and most dialects in between were represented as well. Not understanding each other well at the best of times, we were effectively strangers in the stress of training or after a drink, states in which we lived large parts of that fortnight in Norfolk. I got better at it in the end, but never quite mastered the diverse English tongues as they still existed, very strongly, in 3 Platoon, A Company, The 1st Battalion The King’s Shropshire Light Infantry.

During this period in Norfolk, I got to know for the first time a fellow platoon commander, Johnnie Chisholm. I first noticed him when he told his fellow subalterns – second lieutenants – about his great-aunt’s death, news that arrived during the Thetford training fortnight. He had been told the news, which was not unexpected and was scarcely likely to put him into great mourning, given the distance of the relationship. However, she had been a Russian émigrée princess, a fact that was well appreciated by our socially ambitious commanding officer. We enjoyed Johnnie’s mimicry; ‘Oh John, I was so-o sorry to hear about your aunt’s death. I hadn’t re-alised you were Related to Royalty.’ In an instant, Colonel Neil decided that Johnnie was an Asset to the Regiment.

Dad’s Army came to your screen a couple of years after this training camp, and was filmed at Thetford. Perhaps the authors had been looking around the area for inspiration during our training trip.

Back in Plymouth I was bound for the training courses that teach a young infantry officer the extra skills needed to become an asset rather than a liability. The first of these was the officers’ sports course at the Army School of Physical Training. The Army Physical Training Corps provided the instructors, colleagues of the Sandhurst PTIs. The garrison gymnasium at Aldershot was their spiritual home. For a month the instructors taught a group of about twenty officers, some young, some not so young, to referee football, judge boxing contests, act as officials at athletics and swimming meetings, and so on. We emerged qualified to officiate in a round half- dozen different activities: most of them never featuring in my life after the day I left the place. We gained very lowly belts in judo, boxed a bit and travelled around the Parachute regiment training and assault courses. Most of us became extremely physically fit. The Parachute Regiment trainasium is a famed test, with recruits walking the topmost level, two parallel poles and no safety features, as a milestone in their training. By the end of our time in Aldershot the younger course members were enjoying hair-raising games of tag around this construction. The older ones on the course sat out this activity.


The Parachute Regiment trainasium, Aldershot

The Army Boxing Championships were due to take place as the course was finishing, including the Officers’ Championship. I found myself entered for this latter glamorous- sounding but actually deeply unfashionable contest. I trained even harder, and various expert instructors taught me to attack and to defend myself. Time was not on our side. The day of the first round of matches arrived. The competition was held in the gymnasium at Sandhurst, a familiar backcloth. I was matched against a young officer cadet from Sandhurst. I later learned that he had been a corporal in the Parachute Regiment, promoted through the ranks and now seeking a commission. I had come up against an opponent who normally competed in the national amateur boxing ranks and who was certainly not boxing his first ever match. My first and last boxing bout ended in a welter of blood, entirely my own. An interesting experience; he could not quite knock me over, and I could not quite bring myself to fall voluntarily. However, I was thought to have showed good OQ, Officer Qualities. Why anyone thought that my standing like a dummy and swallowing large amounts of my own blood proved good OQ remained a mystery.

Part of the course was to be trained in unarmed combat. A grizzled senior warrant officer from the Army Physical Training Corps taught us many ways to kill, disable or overcome the enemy, using bare hands, boots or whatever might be available. We learned about the difference between instant pain and slow pain, we learned about pressure points and levers. But the part of the course I learned the best was the philosophy that the grizzled sergeant-major expounded at the start of every lesson or practical demonstration of how to maim or kill in an instant or less; ‘The first rule of unarmed combat is to run like f***.’

After this sporting interlude, it was time for the more serious introduction to the skills actually needed by an infantry officer. The Small Arms School was formed during the Napoleonic wars as the School of Musketry, and was still based at its original home in Hythe, on the Kent coast, actually in the buildings of a former ‘Asylum for Military Lunatics’. All infantry officers were trained there, and here I was to meet again the third group of outstanding instructors who had already influenced my military life. The small group who formed the Small Arms School Corps in their home garrison were precise, knowledgeable and dedicated to the art of shooting, and wanted everyone to share that dedication. They never despaired, never raised voices, even when the combination of live ammunition and occasionally hung-over trainee officers threatened injury or worse to all around. We seemed to spend a lot of time learning the procedures for dealing with mis-thrown hand grenades: it appeared that training to throw grenades always led to at least one incident that could kill or wound all involved.

We had two officers of The Royal Greenjackets on our course. Neither seemed to work at all, and both had fast cars that took them to London several evenings a week. Both seemed perpetually tired. As the course came to an end they appeared to be indifferent to the prospect of the tests that would determine their ranking in the course results. To the surprise of us all, both passed the course among the top five students. On our last evening, as we celebrated the end of the course, in the local pub, one of the Greenjackets confided that as they were leaving the regiment to come on the course their commanding officer had told them that as Greenjackets they were expected to be among the top students on the course and that anything less than excellence in their results would have prejudiced their careers with the regiment. The reason why they were always tired was that every evening, after getting back from London in the small hours they had brewed strong coffee and done all the after-hours reading and study that the rest of us had done earlier. The Greenjackets ethos of appearing to do little work whilst still being the best was already ingrained.

Since joining the battalion, I had already met the tradition that every Tuesday was Dining-In Night. This involved all the bachelor officers, and a few married ones dining formally, with dinner jackets de rigeur, except for the handful who had velvet smoking jackets, naturally in Light Infantry green. I was now to experience my first Guest Night. These occurred about once a month, and were the pinnacle of Mess hospitality. The programme was unchanging:

All officers, of course wearing mess dress, gathered in the ante-room, the largest area in the mess. Guests had been invited by the Mess President, after consultation with Colonel Neil, and were generally representatives of other local military establishments, with an occasional mayor or other civic dignitary. The drink of choice was Vodkatini, for some reason a particularly lethal combination of nine parts vodka and one part dry vermouth, shaken over ice, poured neat into a glass with a twist of lemon as garnish. There were occasions when unsuspecting guests risked becoming victims of the Mess’s hard-drinking habits even before dinner was announced.

The double doors thrown open, the mess sergeant would announce dinner and we would go through to dinner. The mess owned an enormous Georgian dining table that seated 40. Colonel Neil sat at one end, and everyone was placed in order of seniority from that end to the other, guests generally seated between two hosts. As we took our seats, an ensemble drawn from the battalion band took their places in the vacated ante-room. Bandmaster Mr Ridings, took his signal from the mess president and led a musical accompaniment as we ate our way through endless courses appropriate to the occasion.

In all military units a formal meal ends with the Loyal Toast. Guests would wait with port glasses charged for the moment when the president would call for the junior officer to propose the toast. In the KSLI, dining at home, we never drank the toast, and that perplexed guests until it was explained. About 150 years previously, officers of the regiment had been in a theatre in Brighton when the Prince Regent had entered the royal box, to be roundly hissed by the audience, who had sided with his wife over his proposed divorce. The officers formed a guard in front of the royal party, and enabled the regent to retire with some semblance of dignity. As a reward, the regent decreed that henceforth the officers of the regiment need never again demonstrate their loyalty by drinking the loyal toast.

To compensate for not having this formal end to the meal, and to mark the moment when cigars could be lit, Colonel Neil introduced a tradition of his own. Led by the band, a half-hearted attempt to sing a verse and the chorus of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau – Land of my Fathers - was his chosen tradition. Why? Who knew? An English regiment, singing a song irrelevant to our heritage, in a language that not one of us spoke. I think that tradition was quietly let drop when the next commanding officer took over.

After dinner, the serious business of roulette and blackjack took over. The ante-room, converted to yet another purpose this evening, was the casino. The paymaster was master of ceremonies, and signed chits for the gamblers. He discreetly warned young officers to back off if their chits began to mount up, a not infrequent warning.

Mess games after the gambling tended to begin when the senior officers and guests had left. The favourite game was mess rugby. Huge and heavy leather sofas were placed opposite each other and tipped forward, forming a low tunnel. Teams of three or four would be formed, and everyone else sat on the upturned sofas to hold them in place. Two teams would enter the tunnel, one from each end, seeking to get past the team coming in from the opposite end. The first to emerge from the tunnel won the game for his side.

For me, mess nights were undilutedly awful. They were expensive, guests were only invited by the senior members of the mess, although paid for by all, and junior officers were firmly at the foot of the table, physically and socially. However, as we shall see in time, mess nights could be very memorable, given the right combination of guests, venue and circumstances.

In 1966, as spring turned to summer, the KSLI was preparing to go overseas. The Aden Emergency was still alive but winding down, and the Borneo Confrontation was coming to its end. However, the Vietnam War was almost at its futile peak, and there was loose talk about the United Kingdom sending a token force to stand with the US forces. We were to be posted to Singapore ready to be ‘spearhead’ for this possibility. Naturally training was now being taken seriously, when it could be fitted in around more pressing demands on time and personnel.

With National Service having ended a few years previously, it was important that the Army would maintain its profile, especially as most of being ‘at home’ consisted of prolonged and dreary postings in Germany. Before going abroad, we needed to do our bit for the Army in Shropshire and Herefordshire, our home counties. To achieve this object of ‘profile’ a small touring military tattoo was set up, and A Company went out to tour the two counties during that summer. It was called KAPE, Keeping the Army in the Public Eye. We stayed in desolate Territorial Army camps up and down the Welsh Marches, and every day ventured out into a local town, where we provided an evening of ‘tasters’ of army life. To give a flavour of the Battalion’s new expertise and readiness to overcome the Viet Cong, my platoon demonstrated the art of attacking a terrorist encampment in the deepest jungle, using stealth and jungle cover to approach our quarry unspotted. Some imagination was required when creeping unseen across the tarmac of the town square, or a playing field, not a tree in sight and with school-children shrieking in best pantomime tradition to the unsuspecting terrorists as they sat around in their encampment; ‘Look out, They’re behind you!’ The attack always ended with a smoke grenade or two, some thunderflashes, and the capture of half a dozen villainous terrorists who were led away. The crowd usually had what we would now recognise as a Corporal Jones attitude to Asian terrorists, and thought that bayonets should have featured somewhere in the final rush into the terrorists’ camp. There were always a few old KSLI warriors in the audience, who wore their campaign medals with regimental beret and blazer. Our display was important to them; they’d come to talk to the young soldiers who had inherited their tradition, and wanted to know all about life as a modern Light Infantryman. The young Light Infantrymen were more interested in chatting to their granddaughters.

At some stage on this tour, we had an evening off and my platoon invited me for a drink, a ‘smoker’ at a noxious pub near the training camp at Oswestry, where we were housed for a couple of nights. The clear plan was to ensure that I drank too much. Fortunately, I was able to pretend to drink a lot and actually drink less than would have been disastrous. At some stage, a distinctly less than fully sober private put his arm around my shoulder and told me, very confidentially: “Why Sir, you’re the best fookin’ officer we ever ‘ad.” I was more than pleased to receive this praise and on the following day, I told a colleague that one of the boys had said something really touching during the smoker. His reply was deflating: “Oh God, you got the ‘best fookin’ officer speech, I suppose. It always happens at smokers, as you’ll discover.”


Ludlow Castle Green, an improbable setting for a jungle attack.

At about this time I acquired a nick-name from my platoon. “Wombat” might refer to a cuddly Australian marsupial. However, in the context of Army existence it probably took its origin from the newly-introduced anti-tank rifle, WOMBAT, that was arriving at the battalion more or less as I did. The Weapon Of Magnesium, Battalion, Anti-Tank, was already reckoned to be noisy, dangerous to be near and probably useless. However, they liked the name and I was quite happy with it.

We did some more relevant training that July. We took A Company to Scotland for a fortnight’s training at the Glentrool Training camp. The journey involved a train to London, the London Underground and more trains to Glasgow and beyond. We lost a few in the Underground, but fortunately they had the sense to get to Euston on their own, an achievement as they had no tickets and before they joined the Army very few soldiers have ever been as far from Shropshire as Birmingham, let alone London.. Training was conducted on steep hillsides, appropriate to where we would soon be operating, even if the open heather was scarcely a substitute for tropical jungle. Military activity was constantly interrupted by having to stop to tune the company military radios into the BBC to listen to England’s progress in the World Cup. Remembering little of what we did for the rest of the time, I remember the Final, encamped on a hillside overlooking a loch. As the game drew to its dramatic end, the quiet hillside erupted into a yelling crowd of deliriously happy soldiers.

At Glasgow we joined the train back south. With only about 120 soldiers, it was not worth having a chartered train, so a few carriages were hitched onto a scheduled service. As efficiently as ever, somebody had labelled the compartments for occupation by each platoon, for the company headquarters group and for the officers. My platoon was allocated exactly the necessary number of seats, none to spare. It was therefore a problem to find a determined lady in occupation when the boys boarded. She had been shown to her seat by a porter and it was not her intention to move, come what may. A moment of inspiration came to me; “Madam, of course you are most welcome to stay, and I am sure that the eight soldiers who are about to enter this compartment for the journey to London will be happy to have your company.” If anybody has ever gathered up their coat, hat, virtue and suitcase and left a carriage more quickly, the Guinness Book of Records has yet to hear about it. Our parting gift to her was that one of the soldiers carried her case down the train to more salubrious accommodation.

At the end of August, we began to see evidence of the move abroad. Visiting experts lectured us about diseases, some tropical and some social. Senior officers arrived to tell us how we were to form an important, even vital, part of the defence of the West against international Chinese communism. One such talk was memorable; short, clear and full of advice vital to our national interest. It needs to be read in groups of words, each about three or four words long:

“Chinese restaurants. It is now known in Peking - that this battalion - is posted for service in Singapore. - In every Chinese restaurant in this country - there are agents - of the Chinese government, - who will listen to your every word. - Within 48 hours, - any information - that you reveal, - however trivial it may seem to you, - will be under analysis in Peking. - It is in this way - that military operations can be compromised. - You are not being ordered - to avoid Chinese restaurants, - but it is - a matter of great importance - that you recognise - that in a Chinese restaurant - you have an especial duty - to avoid - discussing military topics.” We hoped he was joking, but thought he might not be. As far as I recall, the common topic of conversation at that time was still England’s winning the World Cup Final. Perhaps the Chinese Army waited nervously for the arrival of highly motivated troops who spent their whole evenings discussing their latest battles, in which the Germans had lost again, this time because they had never mastered the 4-3-3 attacking wave.

I was given a job as part of preparation for the great migration. A battalion going overseas on a posting accompanied by families seems to need to move about 2,000 souls. They take some management, but souls were less important than the regimental silver, a collection of which the Officers’ Mess was justly proud. That was to be shipped to Singapore in a Royal Navy vessel that happened to be going that way. Unfortunately, the ship was in Chatham and the silver still in Plymouth. I was given the task of escorting the silver on the first leg of its journey, and of ensuring its delivery. Had they forgiven or forgotten my record with a map? I went to Plymouth police station on the day before the journey and explained that I was to travel across England to Chatham, the following day with a military cargo. They would of course understand that I was not at liberty to reveal what it was, but the Army would appreciate it if an eye could be kept on our progress.

We set off early the following morning, a 3-ton lorry, two drivers and me. As we drove out of the barracks, a policeman hovered by the gate, and by gestures indicated that we were now under the careful eye of the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary. With no motorways and few dual carriageways, we set off on the dull day’s long drive. The drive to the first county border was indeed mundane. As we crossed the county border a police car took station ahead of us and led us through the Sunday traffic at a pace perhaps a little quicker than we had expected. The day ceased to be dull after we reached the next boundary between two police forces. The single car turned away with a Bon Voyage wave and the next county took over. They provided two cars, one ahead and one behind, and by judicious use of sirens and lights took us across the

Salisbury Plain at pace. By the time we reached Hampshire, at about 5 p.m. as the crowds decanted from the Farnborough Air Show, we were travelling as fast as the lorry had ever been driven, police cars to front and rear, motor-cycle outriders at every road junction, and sirens wailing non-stop. At one stage we stopped to change drivers and were approached by the curious police inspector in charge of our travels in Surrey. He didn’t like to ask outright but was desperate to know what vital military stores were being carried with such precaution. Of course, he realised that we would have our own arrangements for close quarter defence if the nation’s enemies did decide to attack, and he assured us that his own team stood ready to give all the assistance at their disposal. Trying to conceal my embarrassment at this turn of events, I confirmed that indeed this was a pretty sensitive mission. Her Majesty’s Army, as represented by a brand new, turned 21-years old a week or so before, second lieutenant, appreciated the offer of assistance, and would indeed call on the Inspector’s resources if our own protection arrangements should be overwhelmed in an attack by enemies of the State.


Bedford 3-tonner, not designed for high speed work.

My two drivers turned out to have been ordered to give up their weekend as a penalty for some misdemeanour. Weeks later, when I was orderly officer inspecting the vehicle park in Singapore, they reminded me of our adventurous day on the road: they seemed to think that I had arranged it all for their enjoyment.

This mission having gone well, I was given another task, this one with some real purpose. As the battalion and families moved from Plymouth to Gatwick and then on to Singapore, it was necessary to have a liaison officer in the offices of the air-charter company that had gained the contract to transport us. I spent two weeks at Gatwick, dealing with the lost children, lost soldiers, and other problems of moving 2,000 people by air. One very young wife of a very young soldier decided during check-in that she preferred to go home to her mother instead of going to war. The soldiers who had over-celebrated their leaving Plymouth and were in detention arrived, in handcuffs. The check-in girl took pity on them and insisted that airline regulations prohibited passengers being handcuffed. The restraints were released and within seconds we were one passenger short as he made for the open spaces. However, in the end, we got everybody into the aircraft, often on the right days.

Each flight had a person named as ‘officer responsible’. Most of these officers realised that the airline staff knew how to manage large groups of excited holidaymakers, and kept out of the way. The Regimental Sergeant Major, in charge of his flight, was taking no chances and called an Orders Group, to issue his instructions to all the passengers on the flight, in the middle of the main concourse. He instructed everyone in their roles and responsibilities, divided the plane in zones of control and appointed a sergeant to be in charge of each. The command group would meet two hours after take-off and at four-hour intervals thereafter. All complaints would be referred to him as Flight Commander, and he would decide on any actions that might be needed.

With only one or two flights each day I was generally not too busy in my role as travel agent. There was a book of travel warrants for issue in emergencies, and London was just a train ride away. There were indeed several emergencies needing my personal attention, mostly emotional, as I said my goodbyes to a variety of girls who, I hoped, realised that I was off to make the final sacrifice for my country. Few – or more accurately, none - felt inclined to recognise my impending sacrifice with any of their own.

The regiment had been posted to Selerang Barracks, Changi, outside Singapore City. In its accommodation, crowded for about 700 soldiers, over 17,000 prisoners of war had endured captivity in Japanese hands after the fall of Singapore during the War. It had been an infamous place ever since, especially as a result of the Selerang Incident in 1942. Suffice it to say that in 1945 justice caught up with the Japanese commandant at Chang / Selerang, and he was tried for war crimes and shot on the very spot where he had murdered many British and Australian prisoners of war. The marble floors of the barrack rooms still bore the marks where prisoners had been accustomed to light cooking fires, and the whole place sometimes had an air of intense loneliness or unease. That feeling may have been associated with the hangovers that seemed to be an integral part of military life.

Singapore did not start well, in terms of my personal military efficiency. Junior officers took turns to be Orderly Officer for 24 hours. Life as orderly officer was largely one of inspecting areas of camp life, like the kitchens, ensuring that prisoners in the guard room were properly treated, visiting the junior ranks’ dining hall during meal-times and paying particular attention to the security of the compound, a doubly-secure area in the camp where weapons, ammunition and the like were stored. The compound was guarded by particularly unpleasant and savage-looking guard dogs, let into the compound to roam free at night and re-gathered by their handlers in the morning. The ceremonial part of the orderly duty came at 6.30 each evening, when the overnight guard came on parade, was inspected by the new orderly officer, and all saluted the sunset ceremony of lowering the battalion flag and sounding Last Post. Next morning, the overnight guard was replaced by the RPs and dismissed to normal duties. On my first turn as orderly officer I was keen and efficient, but forgot to dismiss the overnight guard at the end of their period of duty. Hauled before the adjutant, I was ordered to try again for five days and nights in a row the following week. As keen and efficient as before, I undertook all the relevant duties on these extra days. However, I did forget to stand-down the guard on my last morning of these extra duties, as before. Was the adjutant was laughing or crying as my period of extra duty was extended somewhat?

The orderly officer was called out to deal with some flare-ups. Unmarried soldiers, abroad and sometimes homesick reached their personal flash-points in the evenings after pay-day, and the orderly officer was first to the scene with elements of the guard. Sometimes flare-ups happened in the areas of camp where lived the married families. These outbursts usually involved drink, homesickness and wives both bored and bewildered in their new surroundings. If by some chance the orderly officer got to the scene first, the best course was to do as little as possible and wait for the arrival of the Families Officer, always older and almost always a former sergeant or sergeant major who had received his commission and was now a captain familiar with these matters.

A new young officer joined the regiment now, and I was not to remain the junior subaltern. Kit Chambers, the battalion Intelligence Officer (IO) agreed to pick him up at the airport. The duty driver, Arthur Gates, was a long-serving and well-known battalion‘character’. Officeranddriveragreedtoswaproles.ThismeantthatRichard was met at the airport by a somewhat scruffy officer and a well-uniformed driver. A suitcase appeared and officer turned to driver; “Chambers, carry the officer’s suitcase to the vehicle.” “No Sir, I’m a driver, not a F’ing porter.” The charade continued as they arrived at the barracks main gate. Unfortunately, the RP on duty was suspicious, and decided that the IO was conducting a security check. New young officer, IO and driver were detained whilst the adjutant was summoned to take control of the situation. Richard, still reeling from 24 hours in a plane, had received a first, outlandish and not entirely untrue impression of his family regiment.

Remembrance Sunday was naturally taken very seriously, in any regiment and especially in Singapore. I was, and remain to this day, proud that I was selected to command the guard of honour for the British military and civilian service at the war cemetery at Kranji, overlooking the naval base. Many graves there are of people who died during the fall of Singapore, or subsequently as prisoners. Some are of soldiers killed in the Malayan Emergency in the 1950s, and some are more recent, victims of the Borneo Confrontation. This was evidence of a very contemporary phase of active service. Some part of my subsequent life-long interest in military history was kindled on that day. I wanted to know who these people had been and the how and why of their collective stories. Unexpectedly, after the ceremony, Colonel Neil came to compliment my handling of the guard of honour. It was the only time that he ever spoke to me apart from when it was strictly necessary.


Kranji War Cemetery

For this first part of the Singapore posting, there seemed to be little serious attempt to become proper soldiers.

On Friday December 23rd 1966, during a morning’s training activity with my platoon I was handed a telegram. I still have it:

daddy dangerously ill asthma you couldn’t achieve anything coming home pray all love mummy

I thought first about the farewells my father, CP, and I had said before I set off. They seemed now to have had some forewarning about them. I said nothing and tried to get on with the task in hand. A runner from the adjutant’s office delivered a call to report there. Nobody could have done better than the adjutant and his team. I was to hold myself ready for any further summons; he was already putting in hand some enquiries about the situation at home. Within a couple of hours, the call came; the Army had spoken to the hospital where my father was, and decided that I should fly home at once. BOAC deprived someone of their seat on that night’s flight and I arrived at Heathrow late in the evening on Christmas Eve. For the last leg of the flight, from Rome to Heathrow, the plane was almost empty, and first class entirely so. The cabin crew knew why I was on the plane, and invited me to join a small party with them, and valiantly we drank as much of the ration of champagne allotted for a full first-class cabin as we could hold. I staggered through arrivals, tired and emotional. Various brothers and sisters were there to greet me. My father was still alive.

On Christmas Day we spent time at the hospital whilst trying to celebrate a normal Christmas Day at home. In a scene straight out of Cat Ballou, my father was vaguely aware that it was a special day, and took hold of the idea that we were there with him to celebrate my sister Christian’s birthday, and the last sound I heard of him was a thin dying voice singing Happy Birthday. On Boxing Day my father died.

The same day I went to see some friends down the road. It was fun to see them and the atmosphere only changed when one asked whether I wasn’t in Singapore. The fun of seeing them all had enabled me to forget to tell them why I was home. Mother was deeply shocked and rather thought that visiting her four daughters on such a day was deeply disrespectful to my father’s memory.

The funeral stays firmly in my memory. These were the days before a preference for charitable donations instead of flowers: the lawn at Greenlawns resembled the Chelsea Flower Show. The Moyses Stevens vans appeared from London, the local florists worked in shifts, and I counted 91 wreaths ready to adorn the hearse. The funeral Mass was celebrated by the local Bishop, accompanied by many, perhaps a dozen clergy, Jesuit priests and so on. From where did the Russian Orthodox Bishop appear? The older members of the family were impressed that the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Alexandra sent letters of condolence to Betty, but the younger found it more exciting that the celebrated disc jockey David Jacobs came to the funeral in a long, low and loud sports car. My aunt Myfanwy was scandalised. “Who IS that man? That car!” She not greatly reassured to learn that for many of the family his presence was more important than letters, even from Buckingham Palace.


Immediately after the funeral a problem arose. CP had been a trustee of the Institute of Ophthalmology, as well as a trustee of a charity that supported medical good works. The Institute had some connection with the world premiere of a new film in just a few days’ time. The film was Charlie Chaplin’s much anticipated ‘Countess from Hong Kong’. The charity was able to obtain tickets for the screening, and some publicity person had thought that it would be worthy publicity if the after-show dinner at the Savoy would feature two centre tables, one with Charlie Chaplin and his wife and nine children, the other with CP, who was actually quite well known to that part of the nation who watched afternoon TV for housewives, and his wife and nine children. Most of the family felt unable to attend, so I was to go, with various friends, marshalled by Uncle John. The evening was not a great success. Perhaps because I was still jet- lagged, or the grieving process was kicking-in or we were somehow aware that Countess from Hong Kong was about to join the list of some of the worst films ever made by great film-makers, it was a down-beat experience. However, I was introduced to Charlie Chaplin.

I did not want to stay on as my compassionate leave came towards its end. Mentally I was back in Singapore, hoping to resume my campaign to attach the interest of the daughter of an RAF squadron leader, considered to be the most attractive catch in the small pond of the RAF Club.

To be Continued.


History re-Written.


John Flood  in Boating Colours (courtesy of David Hiscocks Captain 2nd VIII 1959).

It seems that despite victories on the River, John, unlike previous 2nd VIII Captains was overlooked  for the award. Whether we can make good the error is debatable but at least  the jacket fits and it is better late than never.

Another Flood Feature

Taken from an article in his local Catenian Magazine concerning HCPT


1965 Lourdes  pilgrimage with John leading, Patrick Burgess behind and a “hip” Mike Wortley with the wheelchair.



From Nigel Courtney:-

 “Aged Rocker?”                 

As I mentioned when we met at the BUGS match at Westerham, I decided in

March 2020 that prolonged self-isolation was probably the only way I could

reduce the risk of taking covid into my middle daughter Lauren's care home. 



One result was a pandemically-induced follicular exuberance. In due course I

started to resemble Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant and my eldest daughter Thea

persuaded me to sport a 'man bun' - which I gather is rather fashionable in

Hackney ...  ( Ed. I think you drop the “H”)

However, once I was twice jabbed I ventured back to Trumpers. It was a great

weight off my mind. (Ed: also to the BU!)

From Paddy Coffey.


Concerning D C F Burton

Great to get your latest epistle. much appreciated. I  remember DCF.Burton very well as he always called me Pepper, as I  reminded him of an Australian bowler circa 1919-20,whom he had faced.

However, Burton had been blinded in one eye, following a squash On a loud appeal,  he would turn his "Nelsonian eye" and  utter a resounding NOT OUT-

warmest wishes

From Adrian Naughten,

Concerning Bill Harrington

You mention the much loved Hugh Dinwiddy who was Cricket Coach at Beaumont when I arrived in 1956. He had some talented players in the early 1950,s including James Melville who took 6 wickets against the 1956 Australian Tourists for the Club Cricket Conference, David Bulfield who took All 10 wickets against The Oratory in 1954, Henry Stevens and others. Bill Harrington succeeded him and was most popular and successful with less talent available. I , for one, owe a huge debt of gratitude to Bill Harrington who plucked me from the relevant obscurity of The Schismatics and lower depths of 2nd XI to the glory of opening the bowling at Lords against The Oratory on 27th July 1959! At the beginning of 1959 I stood little chance of playing 1st XI cricket as I was, at best, a middle order 2nd XI batsman. In late April of that year Bill Harrington came to watch the 2nd XI Nets and took me aside with the never to be forgotten words: “ Now look Naughten, you are a big strapping lad and I need another Quick Medium Bowler. I want you to mark out a Run Up that you are comfortable with and starting bowling at a Single Stump in the Nets for an hour every day for next 3 days. I will then come and have a look to see how you are progressing.”

The rest is history!!! I played in 2nd XI 10 days later( I think it might have been against Oratory!), made a Duck but took 5 wickets. The next week I again played for 2nd XI against Reading School and took 6 wickets for 9 runs!!! The following week I made my 1st XI debut against Aldenham and never looked back!!! An interesting start for someone who subsequently Captained Army Cricket, playing both Army and Combined Services over the period 1967-81, Captained Singapore, played against India( took 3 for 57 and made 30 not out) and member( playing) of MCC as well as I Zingari, Free Forresters and Stragglers of Asia in addition to being member of Trinity College , Dublin XI for 2 years!!!

All the above thanks to the wonderful, friendly, kindly and much admired quietly spoken Bill Harrington who gave me such encouragement and advice.

Additional comment:-

I think Julian Murphy( my opening bowling partner at Lords in 1959) would support my view. Bill was a most unassuming and gentle soul who never raised his voice but gave constant encouragement. We were a young inexperienced XI in 1959 with only 2 whom had played 1st Team Cricket in 1958- Mike Barr( very fine player and excellent Captain) and Anthony Scott. It says much for Bill,s skills as our Coach that we did so well. He deserves appropriate recognition.

Incidentally, on several occasions when I played Combined Services and Army Cricket at Lords in later years I often had a good chat with Bill,s brother who looked after the Changing Rooms in the Pavilion. He was there for yonks and my memory of him was that he was ‘ very much like Bill ‘ in character.

From Tom Scanlon

Concerning Cricket and Other Matters

Another extraordinary gathering of news and history! The courage of B.U. in war-time was again inspirational. 

On a lesser note, I was particularly pleased to see all the cricket stuff. I saw the photos of D.C.F.Burton and E.W.Swanton — I worked for both! In 1962, the St. John’s P.E.Master, Jim Broom, asked me (I assumed because I was Captain of Cricket that year) if I’d like to do some coaching at Mr. Burton’s cricket school, near Sunningdale. Of course! So I did a few days there. 

Then, in 1970, I became Assistant Editor of The Cricketer magazine, whose Editorial Director was E.W.Swanton.  By the way, I only knew there was a position going because it so happened that the boyfriend of the magazine’s owner was none other than dear Henry Stevens!

Re. remarkable Beaumont cricketers: who can top David Bulfield’s all ten Oratory wickets with his leg-breaks at Lord’s?

On another note, I think I can recall that the boy seated in the photo of the 3rd VIII was Dobbie. If true, how amazing that, after sixty years, the old brain can still sometimes deliver; the name ‘Dobbie’ just popped up about a day after seeing the photo. (Not so good in short-term memories, though.)

Keep at it!

From Christopher McHugh

                                  “Oh! Not another McHugh offering”

I have just spent a most enjoyable afternoon reading the latest BU Summer 2021 Review. Quite apart from the fact that you have generously published two of my anecdotes which I appreciate, even if others might think “Oh! Not another McHugh offering; has the man got literary diarrhoea?”, I found the rest of the Review most entertaining. By the time I got to the end of the Johnnie Spewer correspondence I was genuinely in fits of laughter.  

Incidentally, I was meaning to thank you for the last Spring Review but slothfully never got around to it although I particularly recall one anecdote from that edition. It was John Marshall’s story about serving Father O’Hara at Mass and his question at the consecration: "Boy, do you believe that this is the body of Christ?" Following Marshall’s affirmative answer, O’Hara retorted "I am glad you think so, I am not so sure...". The story stayed in my mind for rather a long time and, perhaps to the dismay of my more religious school contemporaries, I have to admit that I fall firmly into the O’Hara camp!


From John Marshall.


                                              “ The Quiet Life”

Superb as usual and particularly interesting. At the Queen’s visit, all the photos taken at that time were in black and white. We’re they all taken by Fr Lawson? Wasn’t he the photographic person at Beaumont?

The colour Photos you probably know were taken by Tom Palmer the French teacher at St John’s. He took the photos hundreds of them while at St John’s and processed them all himself in the St John’s dark room. What you might be interested to know is that they were all taken using a Voightlander Bessamatic which was an early semiautomatic camera. They are collector’s items now. Tom Palmer had been in the Colonial Service in Ghana and could speak the local language in his area, called Tiv. His son Peter was a boy at St John’s when I taught there from 1973-6. Tim’s wife worked as a bursar at St John’s for a few years but died some years before Tom ( whom I am guessing is now dead)

Just to make you laugh about our life here with bullets flying, a different kind of story yesterday. Shyama drove us home through the Agoura Hills from Camarillo (where we had had lunch ) along the 101 and we got home at 6.30 pm. Just as well we didn’t hang around in Camarillo which we half wanted to do because of the interesting stores because at 7.00 a light aircraft landed on the eastbound side (safely) and as you would imagine it caused huge delays!!! 

My flight home has again been cancelled by British Airways.

ED: What an "interesting" life you lead. Mark should have sent you his War Bonnet collection - the wild west doesn't seem to have changed that much! ( I gather it has gone to the Cody). Yes, Fr Lawson was usually the man behind the camera and I well remember developing film from my Box brownie in the Dark Room. The one at St john's was obviously put in after my time.

                   “NO, NOT THE BEAUMONT REVIEW.”

Parodies, Spoofs with a sprinkling of satire: please feel free to contribute to some passing whimsy. Contributions to this Literary Backwater are gratefully received.  – I am  still waiting.



There are shenanigans going on at Beaumont College,

The national press has had to acknowledge.

A figure from Rome paid an unwelcome visit,

“All hells let loose and it’s just not cricket”,

Said Leo.

There are shameful goings on at Beaumont College,

The national press has to acknowledge.

Rumour has it, they are closing the school,

“It’s a farce, a disaster and total misrule”,

Said Leo.

There are appalling goings on at Beaumont College,

The national press has had to acknowledge.

The place is too small and far to elite,

“We will fight on the beaches, accept no defeat”,

Said Leo.

There are duplicitous goings on at Beaumont College,

The national press has had to acknowledge.

They want to amalgamate us with Stonyhurst

 “It’s a  disgrace“ wrote Sir Charles in a fiery outburst,

Said Leo.

There are Jesuitical goings on at Beaumont College,

The national press has had to acknowledge.

“We’ve paid thousands of pounds for a smart new wing

Such outrageous behaviour is not the done thing”,

Said Leo.

There are heinous goings on at Beaumont College,

The national press has had to acknowledge,

The J’s are misguided, devious and foolish at best,

“We’ve demanded the Cardinal hold an inquest”,

Said Leo.

There are knavish goings on at Beaumont College,

The national press has had to acknowledge,

“The school is allowed to go to the wall,

With a Chaplain to Eton to make up for it all,”

Said Leo.

Shenanigans went on at Beaumont College,

The national press had to acknowledge,

But the B U has flourished despite all the odds,

Aeterna non Caduca perhaps “the twilight of the Gods”,

Said Leo (beyond the grave).

The Currant Affaires Society (Even more fruity).

As I wrote in my prep for Fr Borrett: “Vous avez raisins”. (more Traffic signals.)

From the Ed in conversation with Johnnie Spewer during the Summer months.

Ed to Johnnie,

I hope you are sitting comfortably with a glass of sangria to hand as

yesterday  Sir Cliff re-issued his hit single “Summer Holiday” (backed by the Shadows with Keir on lead Guitar and Rippon on the Tom Toms)

We're all goin' on a summer holiday
No more workin' for a week or two
Fun and laughter on a summer holiday
No more worries for me or you
You must be joking! NO WAY.

BECAUSE  Matt Hanbrake (Breaking News in Downing St.)  has issued his latest NO, NO Rules.

                                               TRAVEL LIGHTS.

New regulations issued by MATT (Minister at Transport Travel)  for those finding their routes blocked by temporary Travel Lights as work is in progress. Your option is to follow the guidelines below  or as suggested follow the diversion signs to Cornwall for a truly memorable British Holiday spent mainly on the A 303 listening to Cliff. If you chose to ignore the advice of GoflUK. (go fly UK) org which is  the quango assisting  MATT then read on:-

Their catch phrase is CLEAN GREEN, AMBER GAMBLER or  DEAD RED,

The law is very strict when it comes to crossing an amber ​or red light. The law states that it is your  obligation to remain in this country unless the light is green. You may continue to travel only when you have  already crossed the white line (Cliffs of Dover rather than Richard)) or, when your coming or going, is unlikely to cause an epidemic.

When should I stop?
There is a complicated mathematical method of working out the point of no return in regards to travel lights, however, in time you should be able to decide whether it is safe to go or not. (GoflUK.org guidance is currently undecided itself.)

What to do when approaching any travel lights.

If you do stop, ensure that there isn't someone too close behind you ( remember the 2m rule) as this could cause a “Coughspot”. Be aware that not stopping at the amber light is still a punishable offence, although usually lockdowns are not given, but traveling  through a red light is given a punishment every time. Throughout the last few weeks, there has been a rise in the number of red light cameras at points of exit, which means there is an increasing  risk of being caught  curb crawling. 

How long will the amber light stay on for?
As a general rule of thumb (or two fingers), the amber on any travel light usually stays on for one day or possibly more at any one time depending upon the situation both at home and at your destination. The rule is clear: You have been warned.

Jumping a red or amber light
Going through the red light is very dangerous but travelling through an amber light can be as equally contagious. On short holidays the amber  usually turns red just as the other set of travel lights turns green.( As the EU has just decided) This means if someone travels through the amber light, it is quite possible for the light to turn red and then you could face other irate returning travellers coming against you.
You  may think that have an incredibly safe method of travel, you may also think you will be able to escape other travellers  who may also be on holiday or on  essential needs, by jumping the lights. If caught, you will be tested for being over the Covid limit, In the UK the punishment is 10 days detention at a GoflUK.org destination. 

What to do when a light turns amber 
The best idea if you see a green light turning amber ​is to check your travel insurance (Compare the Meerkat: the only ones you will see this summer) and safely come to a stop behind the white line.(Cliffs of Dover or Richard if you are still in tune)).

Travelling through an amber light.… Should you risk traveling  through an amber light? The short answer is NO! You must STOP if you see amber or red  at a Travel light. The only exception is if you are totally confused by the lights to stop yourself safely - going demented.

Which I certainly am…..

From Johnnie Spewer

it's taking me a while to recover from the Friday afternoon fever of disco dancing lights flashing through the membranes of what's left of the old cogito, courtesy of your latest lit-up L'Allegro... aka ''Come, and trip it as ye go, On the light fantastick toe...''  even Milton might feel mildly confused. 

Meanwhile, since catching sight of Johnnie Spewer's latest ramblings on the BU Review, which make stitch-dropping by the guillotine a mere U certificate,  I regretfully have to report the REAL Johnnie Spewer (having latched onto me via three zoom meetings he/I recently attended; the first  for old African bounty hunters, the second for batsmen  bowled first ball at Lords and the third for relatives of defrocked  priests)... is on our case!

 And threatening both of us with a veritable bevy of writs... false representation, abuse of language, ignorance of Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights...

 Have we had a good TRIP, I ask myself!?

And now I must go and lie down again, Johnnie B Goode. 

From the ED:

Dear Johnnie,

I’m sorry to raise you from your quantitative easing but I thought that while on “Rest and recuperation” you might like  to Wanda  and contemplate this exciting news:-

                                        “A Fish called Nicola”

I understand that we are about to have a remake of that classic Cleese comedy with a complete new aquatic “piscipelian” cast. Originally destined for Bollywood till the Indian variant struck, it is now being acted out at the Scottish equivalent Hollyrood. Starring the Sturgeon ( the poorest of substitutes for Jamie Lee Curtis, even the hair) and a predator that  can swallow very large prey items, including whole Salmon  which is bad news for the Lumpfish as he is known. Having been caught apparently leaping on others on his way upstream,  this wild specie had to be freed despite prawnograhic evidence to the contrary. The Sturgeon was thwarted and in danger of losing her habitat, suffered over-baiting  and pole-lution (the latest Gov pole for Independence is 50 – 50) and  If all of this sounds fishy, it’s because the Salmon caught a bad case of Scrabster at the National Elections. Did he not quote the Robbie:-

Ha! whaur ye gaun, ye crowlin ferlie?
Your impudence protects you sairly;
I canna say but ye strunt rarely. (more’s the pity)

The Fisherfolk north of the border are on the trawl and not just around the pubs. Indeed, since Brexit  they have trawled so deep they have apparently hit rock bottom laid there by Greenpeace or the naval arm of the organisation - Codpeace, to protect our scallops or was that a Greta mis-pronunciation?

I know you are only too well  aware that our crustaceans need looking after (what cricketer doesn’t), which is a good reason to bring this matter to your attention and indeed The Boris who  has a possible insurrection on his hands. Will the Clans rise up like the mayfly ? will our PM be prepared to pilchard the McDonalds again at Glencoe? Though I think Gleneagles is more likely and much more comfortable: Divots could fly. Most worrying is the mass vote of Clan Mackerel who are currently peppered with propaganda and could be fileted to support both causes. In the absence of our Aircraftless Carrier, The Boris is threatening to send our few remaining Drifters (high seas rather than high plains, Clint is not available) north. He could find himself in the soup, more likely scotch broth or bisque – better leave the French out of this - they’ve stirred it enough.

Let the Beatles sing:

                     “Here comes the Sturgeon.

                      Little darling, it's been a long cold covid winter,
                      Little darling, it seems years since referendum been here”.

If this smacks of a (fore and aft rigged) ballot, as in the ’15 or the ‘45, Fr Joe could have been right that we are on the leeward side of history. Worse is to come – another right Charlie plans to raise his standard (complaint against the Press, and the Royal family) at traditional Glenfinnan or possibly Glenmorangie (hints of ginger on the palate quotes Markle).  Cometh the opportunity, cometh the Prince Hairry, a man who has turned bleating into an art form. Will we be drinking to the Prince across the water? I don’t know about the ginger cockade on a bonnet of mixed colour but it’s going to cause angst to his rival William the Bald.   Without the French allies this time around, the Exile can rely on American support and  his wife Lady MacBegan.

In the Scottish play with its dark, should that be questioned, overtones, she is undoubtedly,  one of Shakespeare’s most infamous and frightening female characters.  “Stronger, more manipulative, and more ambitious than Hairry, she seems fully aware of this and knows that she has to ginger Hairry into putting the knife in”  according to theatre critic Piers Morgue’n.

Hairry has demanded Granny that The “Archiwell” Foundation be retitled the “Archdukiwell” Foundation a belated honour for son and heir and has  further announced that the Foundation cream launched in conjunction with Proctor & Gamble is to be “ A lighter shade of pale”.  So, put that in your palace and smoke it!  This Oprah could run and run: even more interviews and videos for our  so-longing for privacy couple.

At this moment, it seems to be Nets for the Sturgeon and Flix for Harry: we are all  in for a pun-ishing time.

With my apologies for disturbing your rest -  I gather Aunty has gone and bashired Princess Diana. we expect a response from Spencer Tracy or Tracie Spencer or…..

From Johnnie Spewer

Quantitative easing? If you only knew what “Bliss it is at bedtime to be alive; But to be elderly is very heaven.”

As for fishy Nicky… question, how exposed is her windpipe? As for myself, I can only plead breathlessness on the grounds of feeling like a fish out of water. which I suppose is an improvement on being up the creek without a paddle...  

From the ED

Johnnie,                      Saturday Night Fever “Stayin’ alive”

This is no time to be taking to your scratcher – you should be itching to join the fray! Early bed and long sleep are for days of ill spent youth.

We  indigenous people are under threat. Our First Nation elders  according to Dominic, currently more going than cumming, have  been sold down the river.  “Let the river run” seems to have been OurGov policy for their  reserved care homes. Dom should know about the  spread, even if used sparingly, having tried it on his picnic in Yorkshire last May. The man cannot be trusted, as Nanny said “He didn’t use the butter knife”!

The finger has been pointed at Matt yet another Handcock. Has this problem been Handmade and is he putting his Handup or is he going to Handwash the whole affair?

I was discussing the matter with Gungy Din who runs  our local petrol station  (his extended family run the majority between here and Land’s End).  The “Modi” operandi has allowed  the latest Indian model into this Country. I was going to leave aside Tata motors and the latest Landrajah but I have decided that we need, to save  what little remains of this green and pleasant land:-

I have this gas guzzler called Zeta

Recognisable by the size of her bumper,

She  has a twin turbo and  the engine’s six litre

And a personalised registration number.

But now she must go, to save the planet, hey-ho,

By an electric job, clean, green and  named Greta.

Not only that, but is it time  to stop  Natives  going walkabout? I’m concerned  that  many so -called ramblers have become trampers causing mayhem to good honest hardworking British farmers who  having voted out cheap European imports are now faced with  an Aussie coming to “a Tuckabag near you”. Crack open that bottle of Kanga rouge you may say in expectation of cheap Aussie wickets but as a veteran member of the Marrowbone C. C. I should warn you the only ones available will be the full strength unboxed rich benaud variety and  that will wipe the crease from your face.

Trusses are for long spans and they don’t come much longer than what OurGov has in mind : do you recall the old wartime song.

“Oh what a pity she has only the DiTI  to feed the ravenous throng”.  How many “Jubetrees”  - noblesse oblige, will it cost or can we expect the return of  the windjammer or Lis’s hot air to get those platypus on the great British menu? And thinking of travel: don’t: unless you wish to attend the gala performances of the Balletrusse: two prima donnas centre stage each offering  a Nutcracker to those that criticise the cast.

At least I can finish this missive on a happy note as I gather  Carrie Simon sang “Nobody does it better” at her good old fashioned Catholic wedding,  though perhaps she should remember those prophetic words from “Working Girl” 

 “You shouldn't go letting your Johnson make business decisions for you”.

Dear Johnnie,

                                        Matt errs of the Moment

I trust you have not been overtaken by events as holidaymakers in Portugal, and perhaps  are enjoying the pleasures of a two “persons” bivvy on a wet but welcoming  Welsh hillside.  I’m concerned that I have not heard  from you in a while – perhaps my “Track & Trace” has also lost its lateral flow  but matters needing attention are spreading quicker than  the Delta  variety or should that be Gina which has embraced and overtaken “Hold me Tight, Matt”.  Was it not another Johnnie (Nash) who sang:-

“Well, I know I was wrong,
But, I was just a fool,
Too blind to see
You were the only girl for me.
Ah but now I see the light,
And everything's gonna be all right”,

Should we be surprised that he has taken a lead from Boris?  Are we soon to learn that The Mogg has had more than a crush for Nanny’s marmalade and it was probably before breakfast.  Mention of which: am I alone with the King for wanting “some Butter for the royal slice of Bread”. I ask this pertinent question as  ClimComGov. Advisors to Dept of Energy and Climate Change - DECC  (and ANT must be in there somewhere) for their comical advice calls for the eradication of “Daisy” and her herd as  “Enteric fermentation in ruminants is one of the biggest anthropogenic sources of methane –  contributing significantly to global warming”. The fact that Daisy and her ilk have happily grazed this green and pleasant land for thousands of years is of no consequence –  As usual the indigenous should be eradicated: Big Macs are going to help out with  expanding the British waistline with that and a new line in environmentally healthy Bat’s Droppings.

Seriously, do you think that all that gas from the College Guernsey herd has had a detrimental effect upon some of us – more specifically You and Me. Probably better not to answer!

As for going Green, I’m sorry to report that your old home at Wisborough is dropping the title. That colour is definitely out, as Build South East  is in, with Brown adopted by the Council. Pity it doesn’t run to the roads  - holes rather than Stones as Mary Carpenter sang in the ‘90s.

And the stones in the road fly out from beneath our wheels
Another day, another deal, before we get back home
And the stones in the road leave a mark from whence they came
Baby (and Johnnie), I don't know.

 But Wait, should that be Orange, has Ed knocked them for Six (Which is more than you did at Lords on both occasions). Is the Blue wall crumbling, have the Tories been Amer-shamed? Actually, I’m concerned about Walls, as I have had to delete my capabilities  at the dry- stone variety in my CV, in view of its LGBT connotations.  My latest Council newsletter Headlines announces  that our local market town is proud that they have been chosen for this year’s County Pride March. Don’t expect me to join the welcoming throng for those in “ Coloured thongs” or for The Huns for that matter over for the Footie. Not that, if memory serves me correctly, we were averse to entertaining the odd Hilda while serving on the frontier of Western civilisation. Indeed, assignations that led the Worldly Priest in the confessional to say “My son, what was that third one you mumbled after forgetting your night prayers”.

I appreciate that as a member of the academic elite you missed out on the wisdom of Fr Horace Bamber in Ruds B: “ Boy, let your balls hang down” . But it’s never too late, and I’m forwarding his advice to Matt in his current predicament  and I expect you to back me up.

PS. No need, Matt has  already done the indecent thing (Kier has demanded another public Inquiry as to whether Matt was wearing full PPE)  added to which he has now remembered  that it would have been more discreet  to switch off the light before leaving Office.

From Johnnie Spewer.

Worry not, just ticking over, no misfires or back fires to report (yet)... but mildly concerned about NATO's response to the latest from Putin's dog kennel (see below extracted from my frequently upticked facebook page )...


Covid common in cats and dogs, study finds… reports the BBC.

"We can't say there is a 0% risk of owners catching Covid from their pets," said Dr Broens from the Veterinary Microbiological Diagnostic Centre. "But I don't see the scientific evidence for that now… Most reports are that this infection appears to be asymptomatic.’’

Asymptomatic Cat on a Warm Wool Duvet is a three-act play written by Delaware Walliams, author of chic lit novel, What Did Dela Ware? and distance-learning descendent of Tennessee Williams.

Set in the 'high-rise condo in Dover’’ of Big Mummy, a wealthy biotech tycoon, the play examines the ‘beached’ relationships among members of Big Mummy's pharma family, primarily between her son Mortar and Vac the "Cat", Mortar's wife. 

Mendacity is a recurring theme throughout the play. A recurring phrase is the line, "Wouldn't it be funny if that was true?"

The ways in which humans deal with death are also at the focus of this play. 

Williams deemed Cat on a Hot Tin Roof a "play which says only one affirmative thing about 'Man's Fate': that he has it still in his power not to squeal like a pig but to keep a tight mouth about it." 

Walliams says Asymptomatic Cat on a Warm Wool Duvet, by concluding with the Christian hope "Let my eyes at the last be blinded/ Not by the dark/ But by dazzle " affirms the obverse of Dylan Thomas's "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night", which Williams added as a postscript to the 1974 production.

NB ‘’Vets in Russia have started vaccinating some animals against the disease’’ which might make NATO’s head honchos sleep easier at night.

End quote...

Onward and upwards old bean, 

 From the Ed:

Your latest is decidedly  “Libertarian” ouzely lodging with euphemisms where as I’m more “Bogs” standard,  for as a B streamer, you will not be surprised that I’m more Bob than Thomas in the Dylan stakes and in current US politico I can think of one man who would  certainly “Lay, Lady, Lay”  -

“Why wait any longer for the world to begin?
You can have your cake and eat it too”

Tolkein would update “In the land of Mordor, in the fires of Mount Doom…..”

For HE is making a comeback and no need for a Ring a ding ding!  And considering your Del a ware and for all to  Tenn es see. What a color a do about The Donald whose Florid a complexion has Orange Countied even more with his dirty Washing  ton  on the line following his Cali forniacation.  Did he Mont Anna or was it Minni Sota (giving an added nuance to intern)? Illinois ing is not the word he used and his lawyers have demanded Wy oming as to the Connecticut  when they thought all evidence had been buried and Ore gone.   Missouri in the Donald camp? Not a bit of it- he doesn’t give a Tex’s arse. He has promised to come out fighting Never’ada. Indeed, his supporters are singings “Oh io, for the next election.

I don’t think he is Biden his time. (Please don’t….. I hate to see a man cry).

From Johnnie Spewer.

Your reference to ‘ouzely lodging’ has brought back disturbing memories... of ‘’oozing charm from every pore, how I oiled my way around the floor’’… of the Bells of Ouseley… sizing up the native skirt.

 “Bliss it was in that BU menopause to be alive! But to be a spotty adolescent was the very purgatory!!”

Ed: Mention of which it would be appropriate to end.

                             L. D. S.