We of course know that Beaumont produced no great leaders on the world stage but that does not mean that they have not changed the course of history knowingly or not. This was brought to my attention by Gregory Hinds who had seen Nigel Farage on Breakfast TV during the Election campaign last November. Asked what he would be doing for the rest of the day, with the interviewer no doubt expecting him to say where he was electioneering. Instead he said he would be paying tribute to the late Jerry Gilmore, a wonderful surgeon who in 1987 removed a cancerous tumour from him. He finished by saying, 'I might not be here but for Jerry”: Indeed, Jerry’s expertise with the scalpel has changed British history. That is not the only example: Mark Sykes with his French counterpart divided the Middle East in the interest of their masters and the Arabs live with the consequences today. Hugh O’Beirne was the Foreign Office Minister who first mooted the idea of a Jewish homeland in order to galvanise world Jewry to the cause of the Allies in WW1 bringing about the Balfour Declaration. It was a plot by three Spanish nobles- Alba, Merrito and Leon that brought Franco to North Africa to take command of the Nationalist forces: the country still remains fixated by that civil war. Terence O’Brien held the Chairmanship during New Zealand’s Tenure of President of the UN Security Council in 1993 when dealing with the ethnic cleansing of the war in Bosnia. As you will read later on in The Review, Bobby de Casa Maury was held responsible for what some consider to be the worst disaster of WW 2 and Cardinal Merry del Val’s repression of “Modernism” in the Church.  Jean Vanier’s cottage at Trosly grew into an International organisation for those intellectually handicapped.  Allegations make Jean a flawed character which is difficult to reconcile against what he achieved for the disadvantaged. I would still like to think that seeing this record many will consider Beaumont as a force for good and the righteous but I can’t help feeling that there are those who would say “It should have been strangled at birth”.



To download a PDF version of this Spring 2020 review please click here.





A new document prepared by John Flood - The Beaumont HCPT Legacy has been added under CHARITIES dropdown HCPT.




The date is Monday 5th October: please put it in the diary.






I regret to inform you of the deaths of Michael de Bertodano, Marquis del  Moral, Anglo - Spanish aristocrat, Michael Perrett-Young, Brigadier  & Director of The Intelligence Corps. Mrs Pat Scott, wife of Tony, and teacher of ballroom dancing. Joy Fiennes widow of Gerard  and  generous BU hostess. Rosemary Duncombe widow of Derek. Pyers Anthony Joseph Southwell, 7th Viscount Southwell of Castle Mattress, related to many Beaumont families.  Paul Bedford the last of the Bedford boys, David Crewe-Read well known antique dealer and finally John Mathew QC Captain of everything at School and sensational case lawyer.


See Obituaries Section


These include John Bracey-Gibbon, John Hanrahan, Henry Stevens, and Jerry Gilmore  Michael Perrett-Young. Michael de Bertodano, Pyers Southwell and David Crewe-Read.


I hope to publish a tribute to Paul Bedford  and John Mathew in the next edition.










Brother Michael Strode the founder of HCPT died 29 December at Caldey Abbey. Educated at Haileybury and St Thomas’s, service RNVR, Catholic convert and Doctor, Beaumont became involved with him in 1958 when the Trust was being formed. Not only an inspiration for his work for the less fortunate but The Trust has been one of the binding forces that has kept the BU stong and made us what we are today. There will be a Memorial Mass at Westminster Cathedral Tuesday 23rd June at 2.30pm.


Vanier Scandal


It is very sad to report that a statement has been issued to the press concerning one of our most distinguished OBs and one can only hope that this scandal will not prove detrimental to the outstanding work of L’Arche.


“Founder of French charity who helped improve the lives of people with learning disabilities for over half a century had also sexually abused at least six women, the charity has revealed in a new internal report.


The report, released last week by the French-based charity, L’Arche International, said that Jean Vanier, the charity’s founder, had engaged in “manipulative sexual relationships” with women from 1970 to 2005 and had a “psychological hold” over the victims.


None of the women who said they had been abused by Mr. Vanier had a disability. Some worked in the community, and some were nuns”.










The BOFS will be in Lourdes 15 - 19 April in conjunction with the annual HCPT pilgrimage. We will of course remember you all at the Grotto and at the various Masses. We will also raise a glass or two to absent friends and the Spirit of Beaumont. The Carmen and the Pater Noster will drift melodiously on the night air – “Aeterna non Caduca”.









The annual meeting will take place at Westerham Golf Club 27th May: not only players but supporters most welcome. Details from The Hon Secretary Nigel Courtney nigel@courtneynet.com




We make progress, having gathered a fair amount of clothing and memorabilia at St John’s. It is now a question of making the displays and ensuring that it is relevant to the boys. I’m working to this end with Giles Delaney and Fr Adrian Porter.







We are returning to the Battlefields and Verdun in particular. The Party led by Philip Stevens will be in France 1 – 5 June. It says a good deal about Philip’s expertise  and the spirit of the BU that the majority  going went on the last trip – it will be a  great party!






 “STREETWISE”  The New Musical written by Ant Stevens who wrote the lyrics for “Powder & Paint.






Book & Lyrics – Ant Stevens


Music – Isabelle Fisher Michalakis






Devizes Road


Swindon Old Town




Wed 20th – Sat 23rd May 2020







This highly topical new musical comedy tells the story of how a hapless bunch of rough sleepers take under their wing a middle class lady who has fallen on hard times.   With their heart breaking case histories, eccentric behaviour and love interests, this play will make you laugh and cry in equal measure.




Tickets:  £17.50.  Students: £15.00


Curtain up:  Wednesday - Saturday – 7.30 pm;


 Saturday Matinée 2.30 pm.




Box Office: 01793 524481




Ed: I recommend you listen to Ant’s other Musical on the NET “Powder & Paint “ on Vimeo performed by Crediton Opera.






In a recent REVIEW, I publicised the new novel “Madeleine” by Euan Cameron. Euan does not mention Beaumont by name but “a Jesuit school on the banks of the Thames near Windsor” just happens to be the Alma Mater of the three men in Madeleine’s life .







"Immersive, nuanced, impeccably researched" IAN RANKIN


"Beautifully written and moving" ALLAN MASSIE


"Poignant, nostalgic and redolent of the smell of France" SIMON BRETT


 “I always stay at the Louisiane when I’m in Paris, if only for sentimental reasons. It is not the most comfortable of hotels, but I like to think of figures such as Henry Miller and Ezra Pound staying there in the years between the wars. There is still a lingering louche whiff of a hôtel de passe, and of what I imagine Paris to have been like in the immediate post-war period, with those cobbled streets, open-backed buses and the faces that you see in Brassaï’s photographs.”




Madeleine is a perfectly-formed, psychologically acute first novel of love and war, shameful secrets and cowardly treachery. Euan Cameron’s prose sparkles with unsettling beauty and intelligence as he vividly brings to life the world of the French haute bourgeoisie that is shot through with chauvinism, moralistic posturing and anti-Semitism.




ED: It was on my wish list at Christmas and I can but concur with the REVIEWS. Euan’s style, descriptive passages brought this sad chapter of history to light with considerable understanding. My years in France, I came across many of those who lived through those times and the difficult choices families made. Do go and buy a copy - you will not be disappointed.




Jesuit Livery Alumni - Blandyke Dinner - Save the Date - Tuesday 23rd June.


 Through Christopher Graffius (Stonyhurst and Gunmaker), The Committee is planning to hold the dinner in the Court Room at Gunmakers' Hall (The Proof House, 48-52 Commercial Road, E1). Following the very interesting discussion at the last dinner, Christopher has kindly offered to continue the theme of Jesuits in the City of London.


Space is limited at the Court room at Gunmakers' Hall so it would be most helpful if you could let Steve Hodkinson know as quickly as possible whether you are likely to attend.


Steve Hodkinson (Mount St Mary’s) T: 07801 397 799 E: steve.hodkinson@btinternet.com






It has been mooted that we produce another CD. I’m thinking along the lines of a “Then & Now” combining a digitalised re-working of Hymns / motifs sung in the 1958 recording for Christ The King and The1962 Carols recording. To this we would add some others in particular 2 hymns written by Samuel Smith the first Music Master at Beaumont for over 40 years and who wrote The Carmen. These are “Summer  Suns are Glowing” to the tune of “Ruth” and “Forever Thine” to “Newton Ferns”. Work in progress.






The Beaumont HCPT Remembrance Mass & Reception


Phil Sparke Chief Executive of HCPT and the Headquarter Staff arranged a Mass and Reception at Our Lady of Victories, Kensington on 28th November in recognition of the association Beaumont has had since the inception of HCPT in 1956. Past Trustees, Group leaders, helpers, BOFS and Friends gathered for the Mass celebrated by Mgr.Jim Curry (Hon) and Fr Kevin Fox SJ (Hon). We were fortunate to have a sung mass with the Church’s Director of music Timothy Teague and the soloist soprano Rebecca Hardwick (Missa de Angelis) together with the Beaumont Pater Noster. This was a treat indeed as you will see from Rebecca’s CV at the end of the article. After Mass we enjoyed wine and sandwiches before an HCPT update given by Phil Sparke. Among those OB present were John Wolff, David Liston, Richard Sheehan, Jerry Hawthorne, Mike de Wolff, John Flood, Mike Wortley, Patrick Burgess, Michael Burgess, Chris Tailby, Anthony Outred, Robert Wilkinson and Mandy Bedford. 







The History of Our Lady of Victories with its Beaumont connections.

In the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, right in the middle of one of the busiest and most fashionable streets in Central London, stands the church of Our Lady of Victories, the on time Pro-Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Westminster.

It has historic links dating back centuries. Mass has been said daily in Kensington since long before the Roman Catholic Faith was banished at the time of the Reformation.
The resumption of regular Catholic services commenced in 1794 after a break of nearly 250 years, as numerous French aristocrats, priests and nuns fled the terrors of the French Revolution and found a friendly and tolerant welcome in Kensington, the continuity of public Mass has been unbroken in the Parish ever since.

Prior to the re-opening of Catholic churches, Mass in this period was said in Catholic Embassies or in private houses when both priests and occupiers were in constant danger for practising their faith. In 1866 the Carmelites opened the first large Catholic church in the district and three years later the parish church of Our Lady of Victories opened on 2 July 1869, the Feast of the Visitation, and became the Pro-Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Westminster.

The great Cathedral Church of Westminster as we know it today was not built until 1903 so until that time, Kensington’s beautiful church was the foremost Catholic church in England.

Many great occasions took place here. At Queen Victoria’s 50th Jubilee in 1887 High Mass was celebrated in the presence of Cardinal Manning, sung by the Papal Envoy and attended by all the Hierarchy and leading Catholics in England including many OBs

The following year, the jubilee of 50 years of priesthood of Pope Leo XIII was the occasion of another glittering assembly in the church, during which the famous “God Bless Our Pope” was sung for the first time in public. This hymn and another, “Sweet Sacrament Divine”, were composed by the curate of Our Lady of Victories, Fr Charles Cox. 


On a black September night, 13 September 1940, German bombers struck.  Four incendiary bombs landed on the roof of the church and in the short space of two and a half hours it was completely devastated and burned to the ground.  The Blessed Sacrament was saved and taken by the priests to the nearby Carmelite Church.

Re-building was not permitted until well after the end of the war, so it was a parish without a church. But under the parish priest of the time, Canon Walton, miracles were worked – the motto was “Survival”.

Daily Mass and all services were maintained without a break, first in the local Odeon cinema, and then in the premises of Cavendish Furnishings – forever after known as “St Cavendish’s” by parishioners! – in the Convent of the Assumption in Kensington Square, in the hall at the back of the burnt out church and finally in the local Congregational Church, Allan Street, leased to us with great goodwill.

A succession of parish priests – Canon Bagshawe, Mgr Kelleher and Father Drumm – worked hard to raise funds for a new church. In 1952 the architect Adrian Gilbert Scott was commissioned by Canon Bagshawe to design a new church.  On 16 April 1959 the rebuilt church of Our Lady of Victories, was once again opened as the Parish Church of Kensington by Cardinal Archbishop William Godfrey amidst great rejoicing.

The Consecration of the Church and High Altar was performed by Bishop Derek Worlock, formerly curate in Kensington and later Archbishop of Liverpool, on the 26 May 1971 in the presence of Cardinal Heenan.  Bishop Worlock was the brother in Law of Mr Haywood French Master and rowing Coach and uncle of John Haywood (63).


Image result for rebecca hardwick soprano


Rebecca Hardwick


Rebecca Hardwick made her Royal Opera debut in the 2018/19 Season as First Bridesmaid (Le nozze di Figaro). She has previously sung at the Royal Opera House as Victorian (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) in the Linbury Studio Theatre.


 Hardwick studied Music at the University of York and went on to study singing on a scholarship at the Royal College of Music and to complete English National Opera’s Opera Works course. She was selected to join the Monteverdi Choir’s Apprenticeship Programme, and continues to appear internationally with the Choir. She has sung Purcell’s Mad Bess with the English Baroque soloists and was nominated for the Joaninha Award by Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Her operatic repertory includes the title role in Rodelinda, Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos) with Berlin Opera Academy, Dot/Day (Dove’s The Enchanted Pig), and Lay Sister (Suor Angelica) and Cousin (Madama Butterfly) as a Young Artist for Opera Holland Park. She has also performed with Bergen National Opera, at the Aix-en-Provence Festival and at the BBC Proms. at the Aix-en-Provence festival and the BBC Proms. 






Took place at the church of The Divine Motherhood & St Francis of Assisi Midhurst on the 4th December. OBs present: Ant Stevens (brother), Dominic and Philip Stevens  (cousins) together with his friends John and Annie Wolff, Guy and Paula Bailey, Mike Parker, Mathew Guinness, Robert and Annie Wilkinson, Bill Gammell, John Flood ,  Mandy Bedford and Dara Williams. Henry’s son Julian (wearing his father’s tie) gave the eulogy which forms the Obituary (to be found in that section.


Knowing what the BU meant to Henry a Family Pew was reserved for the OBs


 Ed: Here are some of the tributes that were sent to me


Tony Waldeck


Thank you for sending me the sad news concerning Henry's death. Henry was regarded with some awe among those slightly junior to him at Beaumont. He had swagger and style - which most of us couldn't hope to possess!


Edwin de Lisle


Henry became a good friend and very kindly at a moment’s notice provided ponies for Alexander to play at the “BU rate” which we never quoted to friends as he always gave us a good special deal. He was always reliable and the ponies were also always consistently good. The Polo world will miss him as he was also a steadying influence with agitated polo mothers  ! Requiescat in Pace.


Jacques Leuba


 A good man and a wonderful polo coach and great umpire. 

Tom Scanlon


Oh no! What’s to be said?


As a Beaumont cricketer, four years younger than him, I got to know Henry well. He was the only person who called me Tommy and not just Tom, and ‘Mate!’


We played a lot together when the Pilgrims were still going and I sometimes travelled with him in his car and his little daughter on my knee in the front of his car...health and safety being not then as it is now.


Henry suffered the dreadful tragedy of her and his by then ex-wife being killed in a boat explosion in Hong Kong.


He was both handsome and charming and it was noticeable that women found him very attractive! This included the wife of a famous motor-racing driver.


I know that he later married again and had a son whom I met at a BU dinner; that also happened to be the last time I saw Henry, but I’d often hoped to bump into him again.


He was altogether an outstanding sportsman. As a fast bowler, he had an action as smooth and beautiful as any professional. He was a fine rugby player in the centre, good enough to play for the London Irish first XV and his county of Sussex. At school he had been Captain of Boxing. And of course it was Polo that really took hold of him later and at which he was, I heard, a very successful player and coach (is this right, Robert?) YES!!.


I have nothing but fond memories of Henry and I am so sad to know that he has gone.


Charles Halliday


Henry Stevens RIP.....he was a sporting hero of my first couple of years at Beaumont....very good, like Brian Baker, at all sports he touched. Fr Ezechiel said his bowling action resembled that of Ray Lindwall, the great Australian fast bowler of those days....I wish our paths had crossed in later years.


Richard Sheehan


Again, so sorry to hear of the death of a great BU character.  May he rest in peace.    Although ahead of me I knew Henry from London Irish Rugby Club where at one stage we played on the same team.  He was a great sportsman and of course, as you say, a very good polo player and polo umpire.  He will be greatly missed.


Adrian Naughten


I always remember going back as an OB to play for BU Rugby team against the School in 1964. Though I played Full Back for the 1st XV in 1959, I was invited to play in the Centre alongside Henry: I spent most of the afternoon standing well ahead of him (probably offside) because He was so quick I struggled to keep up with him!!!!! But we managed somehow and it was fun!


Tony Parish



No caption needed






 The late lamented Mike‘s lunching club met to continue the tradition at Boodles on the first Friday of December. 16 of us gathered to remember Mike and past members of the group – Jack Wolff (34), Brian Dillon (48), Tony Mathews (53), Graeme Grant (62), Robin Mulcahy (58) Jerry Gilmore (60) and Henry Stevens (58). For the first time dispensation was received from the Club Chairman for a female guest to join us –Mandy Bedford (tradition had it that no woman had crossed the threshold since 1762). It was also poignant that as we sat down to lunch Jerry Gilmore (also a Boodles member) was being laid to rest at Highworth.



Patrick had found a blue “Studies A” tie lurking in the back of a draw. Deep in conversation with Ant Stevens.







John Wolff arrived with the port.          Chris Tailby (not shooting this year)







Past Boaters Nigel Courtney with Mike Wortley







Feltmaker Bill Gammell and “Bootmaker” Derek Hollamby







Irish connections – Tim, FitzGerald O’Connor and Richard Sheehan









President Guy Bailey with Secretary Mandy Bedford







Ed: For reasons unknown my Email provider does not like Boodles and continually sends missives under that name to Spam. I apologised to past Chairman Patrick Burgess for this ignorance to which he replied:-


“Do you think it us because it smacks of oodles( Mammon) or of canoodles ( fleshpots)?”


My answer was that it probably thought that the B U  were “Dandydoodles”. (even if showing our age)






Jerry’s Requiem took place at St James’s Spanish place 17th January to a “packed house”. His 9 children describing themselves as the produce of “Gilmore’s Groin” gave one of the eulogies the other by fellow surgeon David Badenoch, who out of respect for the Church, felt he could not describe many of Jerry’s escapades but it could be said that Jerry certainly lived life to the full. The number present bore witness to the huge number of friends that Jerry had made in his lifetime and the B U was proud to count Jerry as one of our own.


Among the OB’s present were Guy Bailey, Anthony Chancellor-Weale, Peter Tolhurst, Emrys Williams, Jerry Ford, Derek Hollamby, Peter Hughes, Hugh Mitchell,  Kevin Ryan, Mark Addison, Duncan Grant, Bill Gammell, Tim FitzGerald O’Connor, Tony Outred, Patrick Burgess, John Flood, Mike Wortley, Charlie Poels, Ant Stevens, Richard Sheehan, Jonathan Johnson, Robert Wilkinson, Mandy Bedford, and Bart Bailey’s widow Fran. Another  OB who will remain nameless, with a lapse of memory, went to Farm Street to find an empty church: at least Jerry was remembered in two places at once.  






The Letter from Jerry’s great friend Anthony Chancellor-Weale says it all:-


The Funeral for Jerry in December was very sad but also uplifting. All his nine children joined in the Eulogy and spoke about him his talent his generosity, his loyalty and his paternal interest in all his children and grandchildren and the support he gave to his friends and patients. On Christmas day, Jerry used to round up his children and take them to hospital to sing Christmas carols to his and other patients. He was a loyal and wonderful friend to me over the sixty three years we have been chums with never a cross word or ungracious remark.


He sent all his children to Public school and I used to joke to him that he alone was keeping the Public Schools movement going by contributing to their funds for nearly fifty years. Jerry didn't like dogs much but his children did but weren't allowed one at home. So I used to invite the three youngest children to an annual birthday party for my Springer Spanial Ophelia which they loved coming to and could spoil my dog to their hearts' content. However, this summer had a luncheon party at his lovely home in Hook. Several of us came bringing our dogs with us, to which Jerry made no comment so he mellowed at last.


He valued his membership of the BU and was very proud to wear his BU tie and in his will Jerry left a bequest of £1000 for Champagne at our Annual lunch




David Martin sent me a press cutting in which the actress Wendy Richard praised Jerry after a Breast cancer op. I can’t praise Jerry Gilmore, my surgeon enough. I have bad news for Sean Connery because as far as I’m concerned Mr Gilmore is God’s gift to women”




St John’s OBs V Stonyhurst OBs Rugby.


The Editor could not be there and relied on this Sonyhurst report


“On Saturday 8th February, two teams of OS pupils went head to head at St John’s to celebrate the shared tradition of Jesuit education that binds the schools together. SJB OS took on SMH OS in a match the surpassed all expectations in its skill, physicality and the spirit in which it was played. After 80 minutes, only a single score separated the sides, making SMH the inaugural winners of the Dermot Gogarty Memorial Cup. A span of two decades of OS were represented on the field and over 100 OS came along to support, making this a truly special event. Huge thanks to Giles Delaney, Patrick Hennessy and Susann Laughton for their generosity in helping to host this event at St John’s. The day finished with drinks, pizza and much laughter at a local hostelry”.

















a RUSSELL Lord Mayor of London.


William Russell is the fifth in his dynasty to be the Lord Mayor of London. He is the son of Antony (51) who died tragically young at 32 when William was only one. He is the grandson of Denis (27) and Gt grandson of the Hon.Cyril (83). He was educated at Eton and Durham University. 









“Alderman William Russell took office as the 692nd Lord Mayor of the City of London on 8th November 2019. He served as a Sheriff of the City of London in 2016-17 and, in that capacity, supported the then Lord Mayor, undertaking numerous visits and official functions.




William has over thirty years’ experience in the financial and business City including holding senior positions in the national and international Banking sector. In 1987 he went to work for First Boston Corporation before joining Merrill Lynch in 1992 as an Investment Banker in Institutional Equity Sales, working in Asia, New York and London. William is currently Chair of CDAM, a London based Asset Management business and Senior Advisor to STJ Advisors.




William served on the Board of Innovate Finance, the industry body for the UK based Fintech community and is also an educational entrepreneur, as the co-Founder and Chair of Knightsbridge School and a Director of Knightsbridge School International (KSI). William is also a member of the Campaign Board for Durham Inspired.




Alderman Russell has a number of charitable interests: he has served as Chair of the Development Board of the Royal Court Theatre (Anthony Burton CBE (66) is the Council Chairman); he is a Board Member of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama; he is also on the Council of the Royal Theatrical Support Trust. He is immediate past Chair of Prostate Cancer UK and is currently Deputy Chair of Place2Be, a children’s mental health charity. As of July 2019 he is a member of the Barbican Centre Board.




William was elected Alderman for the Ward of Bread Street in March 2013 and has since served on a number of the City of London Corporation Committees including the Policy & Resources Committee and the Education Board. William is also a Governor of the City of London School for Girls and is a past Governor of the Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls, Adams Grammar School and Abraham Darby Academy. William is a Court Assistant to both the Haberdashers’ and the Feltmakers’ Livery Companies, (Feltmaker Past Masters include Patrick, Michael and Brian Burgess and Bill Gammell) as well as an Honorary Liveryman of the Paviors’ Company”.




William asked Mandy Bedford if it was possible to have a Résumé of Beaumont Russells on both male and female lines: the Editor is providing the details of 31.










Part 1


The year from September 1939 to September 1940 was like no other and that first year of the War was unlike any other.  One soldier was to write “Dear God, help us, Come yourself, Don’t send Jesus – This is no place for children”.  


The devastation of the Great War had greatly destabilized Europe, and in many respects World War II grew out of issues left unresolved by that earlier conflict. In particular, political and economic instability in Germany, and lingering resentment over the harsh terms imposed by the Versailles Treaty, fuelled the rise to power of Hitler. Throughout the 1930s, several events conspired to push the world back to the brink of war. The Spanish Civil War, the Anschluss of Austria, the occupation of the Sudetenland and the subsequent invasion of Czechoslovakia all became key components of the potent tinderbox that was Europe in the late 1930s. “Civilisation is on the operating table and we sit in the waiting room.”



At Beaumont school life seen through The Review July 1939 continued as if oblivious of world events: the exterior of the College had been assuming a fresh coat of paint on all the windows and the Cricket Pavilion had received “a new glory in a coat of cream paint, set off with the school colours. The weather was inclement for much of the term except for Speech Day when the Corps of Drums, for the first time, provided the music for the Trooping the Colour ceremony. A Party from Higher Line motored over for tea and Tennis at Errolston House, the girls’ finishing school at St Mary’s: It goes without saying that they were captivated by the charm of their young hostesses. The BU dinner was at the Café Royale, Commander Huddleston (95) of Sawston Hall was in the Chair. It was also noted that John Darwood (90) arrived in this country to receive a knighthood at the final investiture before war was declared. John was a colonial entrepreneur and had developed a huge timber empire in Burma. He had also built, at the turn of the century The Strand Hotel in Rangoon, and listed as one of the great hotels of the world during those leisured times. The Oratory match at Lords was lost but Higher line “had every right to feel superior, dressed as they were very fittingly in silk hat and tails – and no one regretted the fact”   In August, the Beaumont  Pilgrims went on tour and apart from matches played at the attractive parkland setting of Old Windsor, they departed for a couple of weeks to enjoy house party hospitality and to play against various Gentlemen’s sides as well as the annual matches against both the Heythrop and Cricklade Hunts.



The OTC Officers of ’39: the three cadets in the back row were all commissioned. John Corbould Coldstream Gds, Edward Bruen Rajputana Rifles, Eustace McNaught RA.


Despite this front of normality, the OTC Camps were cancelled by the War Office to conserve military supplies. On his visit to the School Spain’s Ambassador the Duke of Berwick & Alba (96) spoke of “the defeat of paganism”.


In the First War, many OBs had joined up out of a sense of patriotism, but after the Somme they soon became disillusioned. They continued the fight out of loyalty to their comrades, especially the friends that had been killed; their sacrifice should not have been in vain. Those feelings about this next conflict were less common but their motivation stemmed from the moral cause. Some of the boys at Beaumont may have toyed with fascism, and as a whole supported the Nationalist cause in Spain, but Nazism was a different creed and one that was held in abhorrence.  Even before War was declared there were over 100 OBs serving as regulars in HM forces.



The Nazi creed was publicised by George Ogilvie-Forbes (09) who had arrived in 1937 as Counsellor and deputy to the Ambassador Sir Neville Henderson in Berlin. It did not take long before he was expressing the view to the Foreign Office “that the Germans are unfit for human society in their treatment of the Jewish people”. It wasn’t that the Government in England did not care; it was just that they didn’t care quite enough.  Neville Chamberlain said “No doubt, Jews are not a loveable people; I don’t care about them myself - but that is not sufficient to explain the pogrom”.  In 1938, Frankin Roosevelt convened the Evian Conference to discuss the growing refugee problem, the direct result of German policy. Countries were asked to take quotas but their reluctance was summed up by one delegate; “We do not have a racial problem and we are not desirous of importing one”.  Nobody wanted penniless Jews who might be a threat to the indigenous workforce. In the end the British agreed to take 40 thousand and allow a similar number into the Protectorate of Palestine


The World might take them reluctantly, but the Third Reich was not going to let them go without all the official paperwork being correct and exorbitant taxes paid before departure. George saw it as his responsibility to negotiate the “right of passage” with the German authorities and where it was not forthcoming to assist the clandestine operations of others.


After “Kristallnacht”, George sent a strongly worded missive to London; “I can find no words strong enough in condemnation of the disgusting treatment of so many innocent people and the civilised World is faced with the appalling sight of 500,000 people about to rot away in starvation”.  In December, he eventually received permission to send the first of the “Kindertransport”. The Government had agreed “to accept children for a limited period for their education and training provided they returned home afterwards”. George helped to get some ten thousand to England; they probably never saw their parents again and was a small number compared to the half a million children that went to the gas chambers.


When the first Jewish refugees started to arrive in this country they could find assistance at Providence Row. It was run by the Sisters of Mercy and was the first non sectarian shelter open to all.  Wilfred Parker (86), a son of Sir Henry, the one time Premier of New South Wales was Chairman during the influx of immigrants escaping Nazi persecution. Providence Row did what it could to ensure that these people were valued and made welcome.


The plight of the Jews might seem to be of indifference to the Spanish whose new Nationalist Dictatorship under Franco had received considerable German assistance during the Civil War: however this was not born out by the action of certain of their diplomats.





Among these was Manuel Marquis de Barzanallana (91) who moved from the London Embassy to Berlin as hostilities broke out. There was little he could do in the German capital but when he moved to Bucharest in 1943 He refused to remain impassive in the face of horror and barbarism and carried out intense negotiations with the local authorities to prevent the deportation and extermination of thousands of Jewish citizens.


It was not just Jews that felt it necessary to flee the Nazis, the Austrian Baron von Roretz felt it necessary to abandon Schloss Breiteneich as the war clouds gathered and shortly after the Anschluss: the writing was on the wall. The parents had already sent their children to England to boarding school with Ernst arriving at Beaumont in 1938. With their known British sympathies, they had no choice but to make their escape.  Like their close friends the von Trapps, they boarded a train, but to Innsbruck rather than Italy. With a single suitcase between them, they bribed their way through to the front coaches, which uncoupled and carried on to Zurich.  From there they were granted safe passage to England. 







André Clasen (25) was another to find himself in exile because of the War. He was  Charge d’affaires at the Luxembourg Embassy and would help to run the Government  once based in London; a man of lively wit  with a taste for practical jokes, he could bring a smile to the faces of the most downcast, even during the darkest of times. He would be joined in London by the Grand Duchess Charlotte and he would eventually become her Ambassador at the Court of St James.


 Meanwhile in Berlin on the 3rd September after hostilities between this Country and Germany had broken out, the Embassy was evacuated. George Ogilvie-Forbes had lunch in the Hotel Adlon, his guest was Fabian von Schlabrendorf one of the most important leaders of the German resistance movement but it was too late.




 On 23 August, a treaty of non-aggression had been signed between Germany and the Soviet Union thus giving Hitler the go ahead to invade Poland one week later. Both Germany and Russia wished to see the destruction of the Polish state which up until the end of the Great War had been divided between them and Austria for over 120 years. Germany demanded the return of the emotive regions of East Prussia and the Soviets looked for revenge for their humiliating defeat by the Poles at the Battle of Warsaw in 1920 – the “Miracle of the Vistula” that stopped communism in its tracks. Within the Treaty, there was a protocol giving both countries spheres of influence; Germany would get Prussia back and the Soviets would also be able to reclaim land, as well as getting a free rein in the Baltic States, parts of Finland and Romania.


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A week after Hitler launched his assault on Poland, the Russians invaded from the east. On that front and commanding the Operational Group “Uncle” defending bridgeheads on the River Dniestr was Jacek Stefan Dembinski, the father of Andrew (52), a future pupil at Beaumont once peace returned.  Jacek Dembinski epitomised much of what the British imagined, and later learnt of the fighting spirit of the Poles. He was a graduate of the famous military academy at Wiener Neustadt where Don Jaime Duke of Madrid (86) had also studied on leaving Beaumont. The problem was that the army did not have enough tanks and with sufficient firepower to withstand the invasion on two fronts; from this rose the myth of the Polish cavalry making vainglorious charges against armoured vehicles. They certainly took on infantry with sword and lance but normally they dismounted from their horses to use weapons such as anti-tank rifles.


The German and Soviet pincer movement pushed the survivors of the army south to cross the frontiers into Romania and Hungary. Those that failed to make their escape on the Russian front, particularly the officer class were taken east to be systematically shot in what became known as the Katyn Massacres. Dembinski became the representative of the Supreme Command in Hungary and spent the next six months organising the transfer of his troops south by road, and then by ship to France via the Mediterranean. He then moved to Paris for the spring offensive as the commander of the Polish cavalry on the Western Front. With defeat, came the move to England and eventual Head of the military Mission of the Government in exile.


When England and France declared war on Germany over the invasion of Poland, they did not hand out equal measure to the Soviet Union. This was partial appeasement, so as not to take on Russia as well as Germany, together with a feeling that Russia would provide a block on Nazi aspirations to eastern expansion.  There was also the thinking that by taking Eastern Poland and the Baltic States, Russia was reassuming legitimate Tsarist lands and influence. After Czechoslovakia was dismembered by Hitler, Poland and the Baltic region must also suffer amputation this time by Stalin “for the betterment of all in the longer term”.


It would have given little comfort to the Poles that the Beaumont Debating Society had passed a motion calling “That Great Britain to be consistent should declare War on Russia”.




Advance parties of The BEF left England on 3rd September with the main force arriving at the beginning of October to be deployed on the Franco-Belgian border. The French Army also mobilised and on the 7th September started the Saar Offensive to give relief to the Poles on the Eastern Front; the limited and half-hearted attack did not result in any diversion of German troops and the small amount of territory taken was later re-occupied by the Germans.




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The French decided their best plan was to rely on the defences of what they believed was the impenetrable defences of the Maginot Line, in the meantime they had lost over 2000 troops.  Among the French forces deployed was the 7eme Regiment deChasseurs à Cheval  part of the 73ème Groupe de Reconnaissance de Division d'Infanterie.






One of their officers was Capitaine Comte Gaultier de Lesterps de Beauvais (02). He was born at Saumur where his father was serving with the Cavalry. In WW1, he was a volunteer and was awarded the Croix de Guerre. On 9th October Gaultier and his troop were deployed beyond the Maginot Line on a mission close to the German frontier. he was killed in action near Eschwiller the first OB to die in the war. He was awarded a second Croix de Guerre and made a Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur.


On 3 September 1939 when war was declared on Germany, 13 Squadron R A F was based at Odiham in Hampshire flying Lysanders. The Squadron soon moved to France and by 2 October  had established itself at Mons-en-Chausseé as one of a number of Lysander and Blenheim Squadrons that together formed 22 Army Cooperation Command of the British Expeditionary Force. Among its pilots was John Hurndall (24) a one- time regular officer of the 14/20th Kings Hussars, polo player and amateur pilot. To see more action he had transferred to the RAF and would be awarded a DFC in the Battle of Britain.




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The Squadron initially spent time familiarizing itself with the local area and taking pictures of the enemy positions, overlapping them to form a photographic mosaic of Northern France. Time was also spent conducting fighter affiliation training with Hurricanes and on performing signals exercises with the Royal Artillery. During the "phony war" there were very few casualties and the Squadron continued with exercises and photo-reconnaissance sorties.


All this would change once the Blizkrieg started when the total inadequacy of using Lysanders as bombers became all too evident.
















This Country’s first real taste of the tragedies and sacrifice to come occurred on 14 October, when a German submarine having penetrated the antiquated naval defences at Scapa Flow and sank the battleship HMS Royal Oak as she lay at anchor. Over 800 died, but amongst the survivors was Lt Kenneth Leadley (26), a career officer. He went on to command the destroyer HMS Brocklesby and carry Eisenhower and Montgomery to the Sicily beach heads .In the meantime Britain was at war but it was this phoney or twilight war as Churchill described it,


Returning to the Eastern Front, Russia having taken its share of Poland, turned its attention to Finland and although the Soviets were condemned for their invasion, other countries were either unwilling or unable to send regular forces to her assistance. The Finnish government decided to accept volunteers but because of shortage of arms and equipment these men needed to come ready to fight.













One man among a couple of hundred British volunteers was Howard Valentine Gee (31). After leaving Old Windsor, Howard went up to Brasenose, Oxford where he had won an open history scholarship, and perhaps it was his understanding of the subject that led him on this crusade to help stop the spread of communism.    Having improved his physical fitness, he set out by ship and across Scandinavia with his hunting rifle to join the International Brigade




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Howard eventually arrived in March just at the moment when Russia, realising that Finns would not surrender, opted for a treaty that gave them the southern Karelia region. Howard joined the Finnish Army but with matters finally settled by May, he was released from service and started to make his way home. He travelled across land to Oslo as the country fell to the Nazi invasion and so he tried to back-track to Sweden. He was arrested on a train and handed over to the Gestapo as a British spy. After a long interrogation and with the threat of summary execution, he managed to partially convince his captors that he was a British civilian caught up in the War. Howard spoke German fluently which meant that although he could plead his case, he was not entirely believed, as command of the language would help him as a subversive.  He was not interned but sent to a POW camp in Bavaria: his final destination would be Colditz.


Back at Old Windsor the December Review adopted a very different tone to “The spirit of self-sacrifice and the call of duty” adopted by the editor in November 1914   .” It was for thoughts and prayers and that God might protect them all and bless the cause which they had espoused”. The OBs Requiem was still sung on Armistice Day and the gathering at the War Memorial was more poignant with the prayers that the dreadful holocaust should not repeat itself and that if there must again be sacrifices that they should not be in vain.


 Perhaps the bizarre War situation was summed up with “We are happy to acknowledge the gift of pheasants graciously sent by His Majesty after one of the royal shoots”.  




Norway had been invaded by German forces on the night of 8-9 April 1940; conquest would help Hitler control the North Atlantic and help safeguard Swedish iron ore which was imperative for the war machine. The Allies would counter with a landing of troops on 14 April but prior to that, two naval actions were carried out at Narvik. In the second battle, Lt Robert Duval RNVR (31) would distinguish himself. Robert was in the same year at school as Howard Gee, but as an Australian, he returned to Sydney University to study medicine. The threat of war brought him back to England and he was posted to the destroyer HMS Eskimo, one of the most powerful and prestigious of her class afloat, as ship’s surgeon at Scapa Flow. A few months later, he was with the force consisting of the battleship HMS Warspite and eight other destroyers off the Ofotfjord on 13 April. The British had already inflicted a defeat here on the Kriegsmarine a few days previously, and this second force was there to finish the job. They found eight remaining German destroyers short of fuel and ammunition and were to sink these and a U-boat in the ensuing fight, as well as inflicting severe damage on the shore batteries.


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 In one action, Eskimo torpedoed one vessel but was engaged by two others and had her bows blown off losing a third of the ship, but somehow she remained afloat. The overall battle was a morale boosting British success, of which there would be very few in the next couple of years. Robert was one of eleven to be awarded the DSC for the Naval battles at Narvik, the only surgeon and volunteer officer. He later transferred to the Australian Air Force and saw further service in the Far East.


            In order to prepare for the landings of the British troops under command of General Carton de Wiart, Task Force Primrose of the Royal Marines was put ashore. Among them was Peter Morson (37), one of three brothers at Old Windsor and the son of a distinguished surgeon and pioneer radiologist Clifford Morson.  Peter studied law on leaving school but at the outbreak of war found himself as part of the Mobile Naval Defence Organisation. This unit was to provide the fleet with a base anywhere in the world within a week and to defend it when prepared.  Peter was commissioned and commanded a section of guns in the anti-aircraft battery.


© IWM (N 182) Royal Artillery gunners (from Exeter, Devonshire) preparing a 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun and crew at Harstad, 14 May 1940.




The Marines went ashore at Namos and Aandalsnes not knowing whether the Germans had already seized the ports. As it turned out they had not reached that far north but they soon became aware of their presence and the bombing began. There were no airfields in British hands from which fighter cover could be provided and the Germans had complete mastery of the skies throughout the operations. Peter’s guns were constantly in action from dawn to dusk and it was principally the enemy’s air domination that brought about the failure of the Norwegian campaign. “From along the road  the other side of the valley, we could hear faintly the sound of lorries bringing back the remnants of the army; they were tired, cold  beaten though not bowed but in full retreat”. The Marines were the first in as the pathfinders and they would be the last troops out as they formed the rearguard; Norway was a taste of things to come. 


The British contingent commanded by General Carton de Wiart (Oratory) had been under constant attack from the Luftwaffe and he decided that the Division had to be withdrawn.






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The 1st Bn Irish Guards embarked on the motor vessel Chobry and sailed out of the Fjord but she was bombed and set ablaze in the open sea. The Commanding Officer and all but two of the company commanders were killed, so it was up to the young officers and the senior NCOs to save the men. This was done in exemplary fashion despite the chaotic conditions of a burning ship and the risk of the stacked ammunition exploding. The men fell in on deck while rescue parties searched frantically for survivors down below. When the Royal Navy ships came alongside, they rescued almost 700 men in 16 minutes, in what could be described, as in the best traditions of the “Birkenhead”. Amongst the junior officers was Basil Eugster (33). He had already been wounded in action and was to receive a bar to his MC that had been awarded in Palestine before the War.


During their withdrawal, Basil’s company had come to a river but the bridge was blown. Basil had the men make a rope from their rifle slings and after the strongest swimmer had taken it across, he then led the way to test its strength and under heavy machine gun fire. His initiative, coolness and courage was an example to all that witnessed it.


 Basil had left Beaumont as Captain of the School in ’33 and after Cambridge had joined a Regiment with which Beaumont had a close association. In this coming conflict there would be more OB casualties with the Irish Guards than with any other regiment and this included Basil’s younger brother Michael. He was killed in the Western Desert in 1944. By the end of the War, Basil would be in command of a battalion of his regiment.





At Beaumont, the Editor of The Review ended with this summary of the Term “ And So this most awful of Easter Terms with its ice and snow, its cold wind and its rain, its gas masks and its ration books draws at length to its close. Let it pass, unwept, unhonoured, unsung”.








Britain was at war but it was an odd sort of war, which came to an abrupt end when German airborne troops parachuted into key targets in Holland on the 10 May.




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Three days later with The Hague under siege,  the Dutch Queen, fearing she might be kidnapped and used as a hostage embarked on a British destroyer for Harwich and with her went Admiral Sir Gerald Dickens (93) who had been sent to the Hague to oversee such a situation.


 As the Germans were about to enter Amsterdam on the 13th May a remarkable rescue took place. The company of Jan Kors Smit had started in 1888 in the Dutch city when Jan saw an opening for industrial diamonds and he built up a company that had offices throughout the world  and with direct access to the diamond fields in South Africa. His son Johan took on the business and in 1939 sent his eldest son Jan to England to run the British operations. With the outbreak of War, it was vitally important that industrial diamonds did not fall into the hands of the Germans. Government officials approached Jan to see if he could arrange for the diamonds to be rescued from Holland. Through his father, whose reputation was second to none among the other merchants, their entire fortunes were placed in his care with no guarantee that they would ever see them again. Jan returned to Holland on the destroyer HMS Walpole while the fighting was in progress, and together with a British intelligence officer was able to bring the stock back to London. At the end of the war, the diamonds or money due were returned. Sadly there were very few alive to receive them, as the majority of the merchants were of Jewish origin and died in the camps. Johan and his two other sons did survive, despite the Germans knowing of their complicity and they spent the War in hiding. Meanwhile, Jan controlled the Smit world organisation from London and his son John but known as Pete came to Beaumont in 1952.


The German forces swept through Belgium and the Netherlands in what became known as “blitzkrieg,” or lightning war. The reality of the situation was worse than the allies feared. Blitzkrieg was a new form of warfare, and one for which they had neither training nor effective counter-measures.


Part 2 in the next Edition.




A Literary Legacy


Before Christmas I attended a talk given by Oliver Hawkins (61) on Henry 15th Duke of Norfolk at Arundel: a fascinating insight into an extraordinary man. However, what also caught my attention was that much of what Oliver talked about was taken from his own family archives. Oliver is descended, not from the Duke I hasten to add, but from one of the Country’s great Catholic literary families – The Meynells. He also hastens to mention that they should not be confused with the Hunt of the same name who would be horrified to be confused with Catholic intellectuals. (The Editor has had some great days with this pack in years gone by)


 We start with Oliver’s Great Grandfather – Wilfrid Meynell who sometimes wrote under the pseudonym John Oldcastle, was born in 1852 of an old Yorkshire family on his father's side. His mother was related to a family of distinguished Quakers: his grandfather was the philanthropist Samuel Tuke who did much work for the insane and the amelioration of conditions in the Lunatic Asylums In 1870, aged 18, Meynell became a convert to Roman Catholicism which coincided with the First Vatican Council.  He married the writer Alice Thompson in 1877. The pair's first effort at periodical publishing was The Pen, a short-lived critical monthly review. In 1881 he accepted Cardinal Manning’s invitation to edit the Catholic Weekly Register and continued to do so until 1899. Meynell later founded and edited (1883–94) the magazine Merry England in which he discovered and sponsored the Catholic poet Francis Thompson. Meynell wrote biographies of Manning, John Henry Newman and Pope Leo XIII. He contributed to a wide range of periodicals including the Contemporary Review, The Art Journal, The Magazine of Art, Athenaeum, The Academy, The Saturday Review, The Pall Mall Budget, Illustrated London News, The Daily Chronicle, and the Nineteenth century. During March 1906, The Windsor Magazine published an article entitled Politics - Second Series that was coauthored by Meynell and the sportsman author and politician Bertram Fletcher Robinson. By the 1920s, Meynell principally wrote for the The Dublin Review and The Tablet.


Wilfrid and Alice Meynell had eight children, including the writer Viola Meynell  the founder of The Nonesuch Press Sir Francis Meynell and Oliver’s Grandmother Olivia  After his wife's death in 1922, Meynell lived out the last 25 years of his life mainly at Humphrey's Homestead, Greatham, near Pulborough in  West Sussex.. He was appointed CBE in the 1943 Birthday Honours for services to literature.


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 Oliver’s great grandmother Alice Christiana Gertrude Meynell was a British writer, editor, critic, and suffragist, but now remembered mainly as a poet.


Alice Christiana Gertrude Thompson was born in Barnes, London, to Thomas James and Christiana (née Weller) Thompson. The family moved around England, Switzerland, and France, but she was brought up mostly in Italy, where a daughter of Thomas from his first marriage had settled. Her father was a friend of Charles Dickens and Meynell suggests in her memoir that Dickens was also romantically interested in her mother, noting that he had said to Thomas Thompson, "Good God, what a madman I should seem, if the incredible feeling I have conceived for that girl could be made plain to anyone.







 Alice had a sister who is known as Elizabeth Southerden Thompson, Lady Butler (3 November 1846 – 2 October 1933) was a British painter, and specialised in painting scenes from British military campaigns and battles, including the Crimean War and the Battle of WaterlooThe Roll Call (purchased by Queen Victoria ), The Defence of Rorke's Drift, and Scotland Forever!, showing the Scots Greys at the Battle of Waterloo, now in the Leeds Art Gallery, are among her notable works. She wrote about her military paintings in an autobiography published in 1922: "I never painted for the glory of war, but to portray its pathos and heroism She was married  to Lieutenant General Sir William Butler, becoming Lady Butler. ( Oliver’s mother said “they lived in a castle in Ireland with servants but not enough to eat”)


Returning to Alice Preludes (1875) was her first poetry collection, illustrated by her elder sister Elizabeth; The work was warmly praised by Ruskin, although it received little public notice. Ruskin especially singled out the sonnet "Renouncement" for its beauty and delicacy.


After Alice, the entire Thompson family converted to the Catholic Church, and her writings migrated to subjects of religious matters. This was how she met Catholic newspaper publisher and editor and future husband in 1876. A year later she married Meynell, and they settled in Kensington. They became the proprietors and editors of such magazines as The Pen, the Weekly Register, and Merry England, among others.


She was much involved in editorial work on publications with her husband, and in her own writing, poetry and prose. She wrote regularly for The WorldThe Spectator, The Magazine of Art, The Scots Observer, (which became the National Observer, edited by W E Henley the inspiration for Treasure Island’s Long John Silver and for the Poem Invictus ). Like her husband Alice also wrote for The Tablet, The Art Journal, The Pall Mall Gazette and The Saturday Review Her poems show her feminist concerns as well as her reactions to the events of World War I


The poet Francis Thompson, down and out in London and trying to recover from his opium addiction, sent the couple a manuscript. His poems were first published in Wilfrid's Merry England, and the Meynells became a supporter of Thompson. His 1893 book Poems was a Meynell production and initiative. Another supporter of Thompson was the poet Coventry Patmore. Alice had a deep friendship with Patmore, lasting several years, which led to his becoming obsessed with her, forcing her to break with him. She wrote the article on Patmore for the Catholic Encyclopedia. Patmore’s son was Francis (03), a war poet whose treatment in captivity by the Ottomans led to his death after WW1


At the end of the 19th century, in conjunction with uprisings against the British many European scholars, writers, and artists, began to question Europe's colonial imperialism. This led the Meynells and others in their circle to speak out for the oppressed. Alice was a vice-president of the Women Writers’ Suffrage League active between 1908–19. Here she worked with Marie Belloc Lowndes, sister of Hilaire and grandmother of Richard (53).


After a series of illnesses, including migraine and depression, she died 27 November 1922. She is buried at Kensal Green Catholic Cemetery in London. There is a London County Council commemorative blue plaque on the front wall of the property at 47 Palace CourtBayswater, London, W2, where she and her husband once lived.


As previously mentioned Wilfrid and Alice had two equally illustrious literary offspring. The first of these was




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Viola Meynell, Mrs. Dallyn novelist and poet. She wrote around 20 books, but was best known for her short stories and novels. In the pre-WW1 days she made homemade books on the kitchen table, dyeing with onion skins and typing her verse to be stitched by hand into the pages.


The family had a second home in the country at Greatham, Sussex where Viola married local farmer, John Dallyn She was an early supporter of D H Lawrence, offering practical help in the way of typing his manuscripts and accommodation, by way of a room in her home at Greatham. She was also a champion of Herman Melville at a time when he was unfashionable. In 1920 she engineered the publishing of his Moby Dick as the first American novel in the Oxford World’s Classics series in England. During Lawrence's stay at Greatham he wrote England My England, a thinly disguised and unpleasant jab at her family. (Oliver is an expert on this part of Lawrence’s life). Greatham became its own centre with visitors as varied as Eric Gill. Hilaire Belloc and Cynthia Asquith.


Her books sold well, many of them being republished both in England and in America. She had a large circle of literary friends and correspondents, including Katherine Mansfield, Compton Mackenzie and T H White.


She died on 27 October 1956, and was interred in Houghton Catholic Church cemetery, near Greatham. Viola’s younger brother








Sir Francis Meredith Wilfrid Meynell  is remembered as a poet and printer  After leaving Trinity College, Dublin, he joined his father at the publisher Burns & Oates but was  then brought in by  George Lansbury (later leader of the Labour party) to be business manager of the Daily Herald.


In 1912 he came to the notice of wealthy American, Mary Hoadley Dodge who was living  in England. She knew Meynell's parents and had seen him speak in defence of activists of the Suffragette movement in Queen's Hall. With her companion, Countess Muriel De La Warr, she provided support and funding for him in 1916 to start the Pelican Press and also helped with funding for the Daily Herald. In 1921 Meynell was editor of the weekly paper The Communist and became involved with a libel action that he lost. The award against him was £2000, and not being able to pay he filed for bankruptcy. Dodge and De La Warr came to his rescue and Dodge became a godparent to Meynell's first child, Cynthia, in 1915.


Meynell became liable for call-up for military service in 1916, and applied for exemption on the ground of being a conscientious objector. He appeared before a local tribunal in Marylebone in August 1916 and was handed over by the magistrates to the military authorities, he was held in the guard room at Hounslow Barracks and went on hunger strike. After three weeks in hospital discharged by the army as being unlikely to become an efficient soldier. He returned to his work at the Pelican Press and the Herald.


Meynell was also a socialist who supported the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War.  His fusion of progressive politics and conservative aesthetic tastes, similar to those of William Morris which caused some amusement amongst his friends.


Meynell married three times. His first wife was Hilda Peppercorn, daughter of painter Arthur Peppercorn and was a concert pianist who performed using the name Hilda Saxe. She married Meynell in 1914 and they had one child, Cynthia. In 1925, following his divorce from Hilda, Meynell married Vera Rosalind Wynn Mendel. She was the daughter of William Mendel a German born financier who had underwritten several stock market flotations in the late 19th century including Harrods and D H Evans.  Vera and their mutual friend David Garnett provided the initial funding for the Nonesuch Press; she also helped in the early days with production and distribution. They had a son in 1930 and divorced in 1945. Vera took her own life in 1947.


Meynell was knighted in 1946 and in the same year married Dame Alix Kilroy, a civil servant with the Board of Trade and a future founder of the SDP. They worked together during WW2 on Utility Design, an austere and functional style. After the war they lived and farmed near Lavenham in Suffolk for many years.


Among the books the Nonesuch produced was The Week-End Book It contained works of fiction and non-fiction in small articles that could be read in moments of leisure and included a wide range of subjects including poetry, religious works, songs, jokes, games and recipes. It was designed for a middle brow reader who wanted a wide range of cultural topics but never to go in too deep. Virginia Woolf once commented about the books, "The Hogarth Press may not make any money but at least we did not publish The Week-End Book."


Oliver concludes:-


 “The Sussex house at Greatham we still have, with all their various books and papers, reflecting a wide circle of literary contacts. The property, including several houses, is held in the form of a Limited Company, shared by an improbably large number of cousins. As CEO I try to keep the peace in a constituency once described as ranging from Greenham Common to Goldman Sachs (I suppose we’d now say between Extinction Rebellion and Eton, though one does not preclude the other).


(Ed; It is not surprising with this background that Oliver is both a man of letters and a talented artist)






The de Maury Story Continues:


Was an OB responsible for one of the worst disasters of WW 2 ?  Accusations have been made by several historians that the disastrous combined Canadian and Commando raid on Dieppe in 1942 was largely due to the ineptitude of the senior Intelligence officer at Combined Operations HQ: the man in question was Pedro Mones, Marquis de Casa Maury (13). He has been described as “utterly useless”.


 From the previous article, it has to be admitted that Pedro or Bobby as he was usually known did not have the usual credentials for such an important appointment. The son of a very wealthy Castilian family that had made its money in Cuba, he joined the Royal Flying Corps for WW1 which was to be the extent of his military experience except for service in the Volunteer reserve in the inter war years. He was best known as a dashing playboy owning the first Bermuda rigged schooner in the Mediterranean and then as a Grand Prix motor racing driver for Bugatti in its formative years. Later he transferred his allegiance to Bentley becoming the managing director. Under Bobby’s management the public perception was of rich young men, often with more courage than sense, mistresses and champagne enjoying the good life. He married the socialite Paula Gellibrand a muse of Cecil Beaton: her best chum Baba d’Erlanger was to marry Bobby’s great school friend Prince Jean-Louis Faucigny-Lucinge.


Marquesa de Casa Maury


Paula painted by Federico Beltan Masses 1921


Bobby’s marriage did not survive the Wall Street Crash: Paula was a big spender. He may have lost a fortune but Bobby came back and founded the Curzon Cinemas for those wishing to watch their films in surroundings of unrestrained luxury. He also married again and another lady in the limelight – Freda Dudley Ward the mistress of Edward Prince of Wales till Wallis Simpson came on the scene. On the outbreak of War the Curzon Cinema that had closed for re-furbishment did not re-open and was taken over by the Army cinema graphic organisation.


58 Hamilton Terrace | Jeanne Strang


 Freda continued to live at their home in Hamilton Terrace and had been joined by her niece Bindy who had been abandoned by Freda’s sister; she was the de Maury ward and was as colourful as the other women in Bobby’s life. Born Belinda Blew-Jones,  Bindy – as she was always known – was the daughter of  an officer in the Life Guards, she had no education, since she was expelled from 11 schools for various wildnesses. Right from the start, however, her extraordinary individuality, handsome good looks, high spirits and original wit began to attract an army of life-long admirers. When she was 18 in 1942 she met and married Viscount Tony Lambton, son of the fifth Earl of Durham, and embarked enthusiastically on married life.


Bobby meanwhile as a reserve officer was posted to the West Country in a minor intelligence role till the call came from the new Director of Combined Operations in the autumn of 1941. 


Combined Operations Headquarters was a department of the War Office set up  to harass the Germans on the European continent by means of raids carried out by use of combined naval and army forces including the newly formed commando brigades. The first director was Admiral Sir Roger Keys from 17 July 1940 to 27 October 1941. As one of his principle planners, he was joined by Rear Admiral Henry Horan (04). He had joined the Royal Navy in 1910 and served in World War I, taking part in the Battle of Heligoland Bight in 1914. He was appointed Commanding Officer of the cruiser HMS Coventry in 1931, Senior Naval Member on the Directing Staff at the Imperial Defence College in October 1935 and Commanding Officer of the battleship HMS Barham in 1937 (a Jutland veteran she was sunk in the Mediterranean 1941) .Henry started the Second War as Commander-in-Chief of the New Zealand Division from December 1939 to April 1940  before retiring in 1941 but shortly afterwards he was appointed to Combined Operations Headquarters in Richmond Terrace, London.



A “Getty Image” of Admiral Horan briefing Mountbatten and others at Combined Ops.


Not long after his arrival, Keys was replaced by Lord Louis Mountbatten. Horan, considered an able administrator, took the much junior Mountbatten’s appointment in his stride and soon found himself masterminding a rapid expansion of the Organization’s fleet of assault ships and craft.


It was Churchill who brought in Mountbatten offering him the opportunity to do great things; but he was left under no illusion as to the enormity of the task. Warming to his subject, and with no Chiefs of Staff present to temper his remarks, the Prime Minister outlined a twin-track programme of launching increasingly ambitious raids on main land Europe while at the same time initiating detailed preparation for a return to France. Mountbatten whose command experience had been limited to commanding a destroyer flotilla was expected to mastermind these formidable challenges culminating in full-scale invasion. Mountbatten ever ambitious saw it as the stepping stone to his goal of First Sea Lord.


After his arrival at Combined Ops, Mountbatten started to fill its offices with his cronies, who swiftly became known as the “Dickie Birds” by the professional officers. Some considered that these amateurs got on well with their tasks; others were in the firing line including Bobby.


The role of the intelligence Staff was not in normal circumstances to gather material. Rather, its task was to collate, assimilate, synthesize, and interpret all information channeled into Combined Ops from the various intelligence agencies. Where necessary needs would be identified, and material requested, for example via photo- reconnaissance. Comprehensive, up to date human and signal intelligence was absolutely vital to every raid planned by the organization. Bobby was strenuously opposed by Intelligence Officers inside the Admiralty and the War Office who wished direct access to the planners inside COHQ: he was treated with scorn and ridicule.


Even so, was Mountbatten wise to appoint a onetime playboy and confidante of Edwina, whose credentials rested largely on success in the field of yachting, motor racing and art-House cinemas? When Mountbatten was courting Edwina he wrote to her about his inadequacies, one of which “was that he could not drive a car like Bobby”. Overnight Flight Lieutenant Casa Maury found himself a Wing Commander, albeit acting and unpaid (unlike his boss who had risen dramatically from Captain to Admiral).


When Bobby joined COHQ he brought the family with him. By marrying Freda Dudley Ward, the Marquis had become step-father to Bob Laycock’s wife Angela. Laycock, later Maj-Gen Sir Robert, Eton and the Blues was fast becoming a legendry Commando Leader and would eventually succeed Mountbatten at Combined Operations. His wife Angela was always a favourite of Mountbatten’s and she and Freda were invited to open the Combined Ops Restaurant. This proved to be a rip-roaring success, establishing Richmond Terrace as a convivial refuge for anyone with a large appetite and the correct security clearance.  Regardless of Bobby’s flamboyant background or experience he would have to have been exceptional in order to be accepted by the professionals who were waiting for the smallest of errors to demand his sacking.




Bruneval Wurzburg 1.jpg


The "Würzburg" radar near Bruneval: photo that arrived on Bobby’s desk.


 Bobby got off to a good start with the Raid on Bruneval to destroy the radar instillation that was causing heavy bomber casualties on raids to both France and Germany. On the night of 27 February, after a period of intense training and several delays due to poor weather, a company of airborne troops under the command of Major John Frost parachuted into France a few miles from the installation. The main force then assaulted the villa in which the radar equipment was kept, killing several members of the German garrison and capturing the installation after a brief firefight. An RAF technician with the force dismantled the Würzburg radar array and removed several key pieces, after which the force withdrew to the evacuation beach. The raiding troops were picked up and returned them to Britain. Much of the intelligence for this raid had come from Colonel “Remy” (Gilbert Renault- Roulier whose son was later an OB) whose agent carried out a detailed recce and morsed it to London.


The raid was entirely successful. The airborne troops suffered relatively few casualties, and the pieces of the radar they brought back, along with a captured German radar technician, allowed British scientists to understand enemy advances in radar and to create countermeasures to neutralise them. Frost, later the hero of Arnhem was debriefed with Churchill and Atlee present, he recalled “the Admiral asked me about the accuracy of the information I had been given. I was able to say that this had proved to be correct in every detail even down to the name of the German sergeant, commanding the most important redoubt. When told that the officer responsible for this Wing Cmdr the Marquis de Casa Maury was standing beside me, Churchill turned his gaze upon him with such intensity that it had an impact on us all. A beatific smile ended the episode: it was feather in the cap for Combined Operations.


The next operation was to be dubbed “The Greatest Raid of All” that on St Nazaire. Britain’s high command was gripped by fear of Germany’s huge battleship, the Tirpitz, a massive ship, a sixth of a mile long. Its sister ship, the Bismarck, had been sunk in May 1941, but the Tirpitz still roamed large. The only dry dock on the French coast capable of accommodating such a ship was to be found at the port Saint-Nazaire, a town of some 50,000 people. If the Normandie dock, as it was called, the largest dry dock in the world at the time, could be put out of action, then the Tirpitz’s activity in the Atlantic would be severely constrained. Thus, in late February 1942, the British command settled on their objective – to attack Saint-Nazaire. They had only four weeks to devise and execute the plan before the spring tides turned against them. The problem, however, was that the port was heavily defended by the occupying Germans. The idea of an aerial bombardment was immediately rejected because of potential French civilian casualties. The plan they came up with instead was to ram an ‘expendable vessel’ packed with timed explosives into the Normandie dock and destroy it. The vessel they found was old American destroyer, the HMS Campbeltown, built in 1919 and now obsolete. And so Operation Chariot came into being.




ship at 45 degree angle showing damage caused by German gunfire and impact with the dock


HMS Campbeltown wedged in the dock gates.


The raid was a complete success in that all its objectives were realized. But the cost was heavy: of the 621 commandos and sailors who participated in the raid, only 228 made it back to England; 169 were killed and a further 215 were taken prisoner. There were awards aplenty to acknowledge the sacrifice and astonishing bravery – 89 medals were awarded, including five Victoria Crosses. ( DCM for Frank Hemming (24) Chief Engineer of the lead MGB)


Motor Gun Boat moving left to right at sea


Hemming’s Gun Boat


The raid, gave Britons hope at a low point in their history. It was a ‘gutsy plan, requiring luck, bluff and surprise in abundance to come off’; a plan that had a ‘chance of succeeding by virtue of its very audacity’. The raid certainly left the Germans feeling vulnerable – after all, the enemy had managed to penetrate even their stoutest of defences.  And what of the much-feared Tirpitz? As hoped, she never again ventured into Atlantic waters, confining herself to the Norwegian fjords where she was sunk by the RAF on 12 November 1944.


 John Hughes-Hallett (later Vice Admiral) another member of the staff, never generous in his praise was to state that Casa Maury was someone who was not only speedy and efficient in collating intelligence but also imaginative and innovative in uncovering important information: who else would have discovered that the gates for the St Nazaire Lock and the Southampton dry dock were designed by the same engineer an employee of the Southern railway Company who kept all his old plans. Bobby despite the antagonism was proving good at his job.


Now came Dieppe. The raid on Dieppe in August 1942 is still controversial to the extent that “The waters have since been muddied so successfully that today hardly anything about the raid is undisputed. The raid, originally planned under the codename Rutter, was to take place in early July 1942. Operation Rutter was disbanded primarily due to bad weather but was reinstated with some small but significant changes as Operation Jubilee .


In short the operation was to be a “reconnaissance in force,” and according to the combined plan its aim was as follows:


Operation ‘Jubilee’ is a raid on JUBILEE [Dieppe] with limited air and military objectives, embracing the destruction of local defences and power stations, etc., in JUBILEE, the capture of prisoners, the destruction of aerodrome installations near the town, and the capture and removal of German invasion barges and any other craft in JUBILEE Harbour.


The key consideration during the planning stage was the element of surprise. The raid had to come as a bolt from the blue and disappear again almost as swiftly. Hence the attack had to be frontal. Fortunately, intelligence showed that “Dieppe was lightly held by a single low-category battalion.” A frontal assault thus seemed both necessary and feasible.


Another important issue during planning was the extent to which Bomber Command should “soften up” the target by a preliminary attack. The whole idea was rejected, however, because reducing the streets of Dieppe to rubble could actually have made it easier for the Germans to defend it and even harder for Allied tanks to maneuver. Besides, the landing would have come as no surprise if it were “announced” by a heavy air raid. Furthermore, as the Royal Navy (RN) would not risk a capital ship, it supported the operation only with destroyers and smaller ships. All in all the attack consisted of around 5,000 Canadian and 1,000 British troops, while the Royal Navy supplied 237 ships and landing craft and the Royal Air Force (RAF) 74 squadrons, 66 of which were fighter squadrons. The Commando’s baptism of fire began on 19 August. In support of the main Canadian assault force, No 3 & 4 Commandos were to destroy the enemy coastal batteries covering the main landing beaches, whilst No. 40 had selected tasks in the port area and was to be responsible for reinforcements as required. In the pre-dawn run-in the landing craft of No. 3 were fired upon and scattered with the result that only two small parties managed to land, one was overwhelmed, but the other successfully engaged the Berneval Battery for some hours before withdrawing. On the other flank at Varengeville No. 4, under the command of Lord Lovat (Old Amplefordian), carried out what was officially hailed as a 'classic operation of war' and completely destroyed the Hess Battery, successfully withdrawing and re-embarking with prisoners. Unfortunately, No. 40, when committed to their landing, under well-nigh impossible conditions, suffered severe casualties. Of the 370 officers and men, 76 were lost on the beaches. Lt Edward Steibal (38) was on his first operation and survived though he was later killed in Sicily.






Canadian dead on the beach




The operation was a disaster, particularly for the land forces. Of the 6,000 troops who participated, only about 2,000 returned to England. Even Lord Louis Mountbatten, who saw great benefit from the raid in the long run, admitted that the operation, on its own merit, had been a failure.


What had gone wrong? Churchill was under considerable pressure to do something by both the Russians and Americans, and sometimes it is better to do something hasty than nothing at all. But what should this something be? Now things become a bit more complicated as something ended up between a raid and an invasion. The next question in is why Dieppe? First of all, the port had to be close enough to British shores to allow for the naval approach to take place under the cover of darkness. Second, the port also had to be within the protective range of Fighter Command. An important spin-off effect of the raid was that Germany’s Luftwaffe would be forced to encounter the Allies. The last reason Dieppe was chosen was allegedly because the terrain was so difficult that the real invasion, when it eventually came, could under no circumstances have taken place at Dieppe. Hence, the “final reason for choosing this port was the fact that the planners had already ruled it out as a desirable place to capture in the early stages of a real invasion, and we should therefore be giving nothing away by raiding it now.


Dieppe failed for reasons of strategy at the highest level, the plan was too rigid and the rehearsal a fiasco. Add to this, it was not clear who had command and control of the operation, the land or naval commander. Poor intelligence - what the Allies lacked in August 1942 was an appreciation of German positions and abilities. As mentioned before, British intelligence expected to find Dieppe lightly held. That was not the case.


Operation Jubilee is apparently the operation during World War II that has produced the most printed papers-per-killed serviceman. Indeed, one of the last things the history of the Second World War needs is yet another book about the raid on Dieppe. So where does this overblown attention come from?


First of all, in land warfare the occupation of soil is the only currency. Thus Mountbatten had nothing to show for himself after the raid. His claim that “the battle of D-Day was won on the beaches of Dieppe” was too subtle and oblique for his many critics to accept.


Moreover, while success has many fathers, failure is—as we all know—an orphan. In this particular case, there were many others to blame. It was a combined joint operation, so the British could blame the Canadians and vice versa, or the military men could blame the airmen and vice versa, and so forth. There are enough pawns on the table to keep this blame game going on forever.


 However scapegoats were required and the obvious candidate was Bobby, although not responsible for the actual intelligence supplied, he alone of the senior staff acknowledged the failure and resigned though the malicious said that he jumped before he was pushed. It was claimed that he got everything wrong over Dieppe that he had reported the defences as puny when they were comprehensive, ignored intelligence from Bletchley Park, disregarded the advice of a special forces unit which had already raided Dieppe and had concluded that it was the wrong target to attack and had totally underestimated that the defending force.


 Mountbatten did not support him as he himself was the main culprit. Nigel Hamilton describes him as “A master of intrigue, jealously and ineptitude, like a spoilt child he toyed with men’s lives with an indifference to casualties that can only be explained by his insatiable, even psychopathic ambition.” Andrew Roberts seconds the verdict: “He was also a mendacious, intellectually limited hustler, whose negligence and incompetence resulted in many unnecessary deaths.” Indeed, he even pleaded guilty: “Mountbatten finally came clean, boasting that ‘It was I, and I alone who took the—and I must say rather bold—decision to attack Dieppe’.”




Bobby de Casa Maury unlike many, made no comment as to “who was responsible for one of the worst disasters of WW2”. My only thought that to call the man who provided all the right intelligence for Bruneval and St Nazaire as “Utterly useless” is grossly unfair: no professional could have produced a better result. Many of his critics were probably covering for their own inadequacies and errors which they had no wish to admit.


To finish Bobby’s story. His Curzon Cinema re-opened in 1946 but the War years had taken a toll on his marriage and in 1954 he and Freda divorced: neither remarried. In 1966 their house No 58 was purchased by Bindy as the Lambton’s London address and it was here that she entertained her friends and admirers Onassis, Nancy Mitford, David Selznick, Paul Getty and even Bing Crosby. It was at this time that she posed for the famous portraits by Lucian Freud. Her husband became an MP, and Government Minister but had to resign in 1973 when he was involved in a call girl scandal.











 Bindy was far removed from a typical politician's wife, with her life reading more like the script of a Hollywood blockbuster. Deep-sea diving expeditions; lions roaming loose around Biddick Hall, her home near Chester-le-Street; pioneering surgery in a hotel room; friendships with rock stars and artists; and miraculous recovery from serious injury were all features in her eventful life. After watching her diving off the Barrier Reef, the American conservative publicist and OB William F Buckley Jr, said: "I've never met a braver man than Bindy Lambton acting as bait for sharks".




Bobby died in 1968 sadly to be mainly remembered, not for his own achievements but for the beautiful and tantalising women in his life and to be associated forever with Dieppe.






Given by Fr Tom Shufflebotham (aka Fr Shuff) Guest Speaker of the Dinner at Beaumont 9th November 2019.




Thank you for your warm welcome......


There's just one thing, though:     when I accepted the invitation to speak


 I was banking on being  propped up like El Cid on his horse ,


    but I have to make do with this measly STOOL




First, a bit of History – for old times' sake.




When I joined the Stonyhurst staff the Headmaster wanted to give me a gentle, easy landing.…. understandable because he didn't know whether the Provincial had sent him  a silk purse or a sow's ear.




 So he kindly made me Form Master of Grammar 2,  and Assistant Chaplain. 


 After a week or so he was clearly dissatisfied:  I wasn't applying enough pressure to Grammar 2.


 “Michael, my difficulty is that they're such gentlemen”.


 “I don't think producing gentlemen is our immediate priority!!!”         




So, the Gentlemen of Grammar 2, 1973.  We have a visual aid here in the person of Tim Livesey.




But they were a rather exceptional form. (To the Wives and Girl-friends of O.S. generally, I would say, If you find your man a bit uncouth, believe me,


if he'd not been marinated in Stonyhurst for five years ….he'd be a lot worse. )




As Chaplain I had the example of a Chaplain at my old school, the Mount.


(The Mount was a rather Spartan school, and I do envy those Beaumont boys who would spend the morning lounging in the classroom ….and the afternoon on the river....and then come in to a supper like this.)




Anyway, the chaplain at the Mount was a sort of spiritual Taliban.  He was known to stop while giving the blessing at Night Prayers:  “ Benedictio Dei omnipotentis....This blessing is not for those boys who tell dirty stories..... Benedictio...”




But I didn't want to get another thumbs-down from the Headmaster.  


With a surname like mine you don't push your luck, you don't attract attention




As regards the Community,  there were plenty of younger Jesuits,


and there were seniors like Charles Macadam, Ernest Clark, Freddie Turner.     Freddie was their spokesman and shop steward,  and he referred to himself and the other seniors as THE DINOSAURS.


 “Freddie and the Dinosaurs”  may sound like a pop-group. I assure you, there was no resemblance.  None whatever.




Freddie uttered many a polished witticism – known to many of you but perhaps less so to the younger OS.  A sample:




Freddie was walking with a colleague past a row of boys' desks.


He stopped to inspect one on which was pinned a reproduction of a classical painting.   By way of explanation the colleague remarked:


 “That boy's father is the curator of an art gallery”.


 “Really ?  When you see what's pinned to other boys' desks  you wonder what their fathers do for a living”.




Well, all that was then.....and now  everything looks a bit different when you reach dinosaur status yourself, and I'm very grateful to Tim for engineering this day-release


from my northern Jurassic Park....It's grim up North!   Oh but of course you will know that.




So coming down into the splendour and culture of the Thames Valley I feel like one of those ancient prisoners blinking in the sunlight  as they emerge from the Bastille prison.


Here we are, then, in Beaumont College. It was the closure of Beaumont that led to


Fr Tom SMALLEY's transfer to Stonyhurst:  an O.S., the Jesuit to whom I most owe my own Jesuit vocation.  I sensed that if he embodied the Jesuit ideal, then I wanted to be part of it.


Beaumont nurtured so many of your teachers, and produced such loyal Old Boys. I'm particularly impressed by the many O.B s who've been so devoted  to Lourdes and the sick.




In relation to the closure of Beaumont College... I bring in the name of  Ignatius Loyola.  If St Ignatius had never lived, we wouldn't be here tonight,  we wouldn't know each other.  Jesuit education and Jesuit-everything-else go back to him


  • and through him back to the inspiration of the Gospels
  •  and Christ and his values.



Ignatius invented the post of Visitor – with a capital V.  He sensed that the Provinces of Spain and Portugal needed a thorough investigation and overhaul by himself.


But he was stuck in Rome – no carbon footprint in those days. So he sent a trusted deputy and gave him plenipotentiary powers, but listed 17 'suggestions'  or criteria.




 If you saw the film The Mission, then you saw an Ignatian Visitation ….but carried out in a way that would have horrified Ignatius.




Well, in 1963 Father General decided  that the life and works of our Province needed investigation by  a Visitor. A Canadian was sent, and he spent over a year in investigating, deciding and implementing his decisions.




 Our Canadian Visitor decided that our colleges commitment was unsustainable.


…....   We waited with bated breath. The Visitor was contemplating closing all three of our boarding schools... or just one... and if one, which ?  




The Visitor's criteria were broadly:


     resources of Jesuit personnel;


     financial resources;


     the precarious support of parents, current and future;


     and the question, how justifiable was it  to be running Christian schools for the wealthy minority?  Remember these were the years of Vatican 2.




Stonyhurst survived by the skin of its teeth. Beaumont did not.


I am NOT hinting that another Visitation is threatened now !!!  And in any case,  Stonyhurst is now a self-sufficient Trust. No, but let me imagine myself  being sent by Ignatius  to make such a Visitation of Stonyhurst, and then report back to him.


Naturally, I ask, “But Father Ignatius, why me?” and he answers, “Because you were on the staff there - early in the last century,  wasn't it ?  -  and because I can't spare anybody younger or fitter”.


He goes on, “Once we had 30 Jesuits at Stonyhurst. Nowadays we simply can't, but there's a limit to what we can even support.


Go and assess whether Stonyhurst justifies that support and that degree of priority.”




Ignatius gave Fr Nadal 17 questions to take to Spain, but times have changed and he gives me 27.  


I'll spare you 24 of these criteria and just share with you briefly the first three, plus one over-arching criterion.      






Well, I've not been making a Visitation, but in recent months I have spent a few days at Stonyhurst,  and wandered around,noticing particularly the displays in the classrooms. You have an extremely devoted Headmaster, staff and Governing Body.


I've spoken to some, and I've read quite a bit. So here's my impression.




Firstly: INTEGRITY.  I find that Stonyhurst is making an excellent job of helping


the students to know themselves as they are, standing before God and the real world around them;  and – equally important – to glimpse what they could be:


to glimpse their potential realistically, confidently but humbly.




I wince each time I read in the newspapers that this or that celebrity has returned to their old school for speech day, where they've proclaimed to their young audience,


“You can be anything you want to be”




True for one or two, but for a hall-full of impressionable youngsters it's a lie.... and a dangerous lie. It feeds the craving for celebrity. But it's not authentic.  Better to encourage them to respect themselves as they are, and then to develop that to its full potential.....with realism and idealism, but without illusion or vanity.




And with that growth goes an openness to change.


Stonyhurst would not exist if Ignatius had not changed from his original conviction that Jesuits should not run institutions. He prayed, he discerned, and, like St Peter in the Acts of the Apostles, he ventured where he could not have foreseen.


Sometimes that takes courage and humility. After an important innovation at Stonyhurst Freddie Turner said to me: “It's not to my taste, and I keep away from it.....but I think it's a very good thing”.      Humility !




It also calls for truth,  an honesty with oneself and with others...about oneself and others.


When I was a young Jesuit in my first teaching post I founded a Second Form Debating Society.  I was rather pleased with myself. I'm less pleased now as I look back. Perhaps unwittingly I was helping them to be skilful in projecting ideas and arguments and ideals in which they don't sincerely believe. And that way lies cynicism and a grave disservice to one's associates and the wider world.


“The truth will make you free”, said Jesus.


It's Satan who is the Father of Lies.




 But I sense that Stonyhurst today does pass the test of INTEGRITY,


and according to a certain American President


 “the supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity”


 (in case you're wondering, that was Eisenhower!).




A good litmus test for integrity is the prayer of the  Ignatian Examen: …...


That the College has absorbed its spirit and practice is thanks to the staff and to the superb support given by Fr Porter and the Jesuit Institute.  




Integrity of life is as important for Discernment as methods and techniques.


As our adoptive Stonyhurst poet, Hopkins, put it,  “The just man justices”.          




My second criterion is whether they have a Christlike spirit of


    COMPASSION, RESPECT and SERVICE. I sometimes think that the most powerful word in the Bible is a word of just two letters:    A....S    :  ….........   AS.      


       Jesus says, “Love AS I have loved you”.    




During the Second World War some young people in Italy used to meet and pray,


asking themselves what would it mean,  to love AS Jesus does. It transformed their lives, and began a new movement.


That same spirit of loving service is in the air at Stonyhurst:




Thirdly:  CREATION.  Ignatius used to love to gaze at the night sky and the stars


and reach out to their Creator. Like Pope Francis, he would be enthusiastic for our Planet and Ecology.


Who did Sir David Attenborough describe as


             “one of the first people anywhere to recognise not only that the natural world was of great importance, but that it needed protection as humanity makes more and more demands on it” ? 




That was Charles Waterton.......... O.S.    And if Waterton wandered around his old school now he would find much to impress and delight him.




So, 3 criteria:   Integrity.......  Compassion ….... and Creation.




I'll spare you my other 24 criteria, but there's one over-arching one.


 Ignatius would say:-  “so, it sounds as if their education is flourishing,


but one more question:   are the ALUMNI multipliers? ... Do they just flourish in their own cocoon  ? Or are they always looking to work with Our Lord to spread the Gospel, and compassion, and humane values.....and integrity........... wherever they are ?”


I believe the answer is a resounding YES for a high proportion, and a striking sign of that is in the Stonyhurst Association, and all the good you're involved in, and the way you support each other in Christlike dedication and service here and around the globe. 




Witness, that the annual holiday  at St Mary's Hall for Disabled Children has sprouted.


For example, one OS family is responsible for seven such holidays annually.




 Tim Livesey's charity to Embrace the Middle East  springs from the same motivation.




 Witness too the Association's work for bursaries for those less privileged: 




that …. is.... vital   !    ….... as I know from my own experience ..


                                                              bursaries for the less privileged are vital




Thank God,  the Association doesn't rest on its laurels and preen itself.


It lives the motto of Ignatius: MAGIS, More !


 In other words QUANT JE PUIS.




So...For all that makes up the College family,


 let's rise and drink to the health and flourishing


      of...STONYHURST !


(ED; most of us would like to think that St Ignatius would also have been horrified at “The Visitation” that brought about the closure of Beaumont).  











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


“Goodbye to North Yorkshire”.


In the last few years I have had many missives sent to me starting “Hallo from North Yorkshire”. These came from the late Michael Perrett-Young whose death I mentioned earlier in the REVIEW. I felt Michael epitomised many aspects of the OB: he very much enjoyed his schooldays despite going through the deprivations of the last War. He made many friends and stayed in contact in his early years in the Army. However often on the move he drifted away and lost touch with the BU and it was only when he was widowed and into his Nineties that by chance he came across the Website and got in touch. There followed a beavering away at his archives and sending me snippets of information and photos of wartime Beaumont and although we never met and he never came to a BU gathering I came to know him well through our correspondence.


His last “Hallo from North Yorkshire” came only a few days before his death: I for one will miss, not only a man who continued the extraordinary Beaumont tradition in Military Intelligence, but a good friend. 







“Hallo from North Yorkshire”


Just to say how  much I enjoyed your latest  Review; as usual full of interest.  It prompted me to recall a few other  OBs of 1941/44, whom   I'd failed to mention in my previous list of memories to you.  For the record, my fellow pupils also included :




  Paddy Summers son of 'Mutt' Summers,  the famous Vickers Test pilot involved in the proving of the Dam-busters'  modified Lancasters  and development of the 'bouncing  bomb' .  In connection do see :  'Chastise'  Max Hastings' latest book..




 Philip (Humphrey)  McNair Jones., then Oriel College, Oxford, Wartime Service Royal Marines including being stationed at Deal during the German cross-channel  bombardment,  subsequently journalist  South Vietnam, and edited Far East Economic  Review   in Hong Kong




 Lionel Gracey.  Last seen at Cambridge University in 1945, but I see Lionel still donates to the Fisher Society; probably like me in memory of Mgr Gilbey.




 Richard Dunhill ,  a member of the family owning the well-known  Jermyn Street store


 I'm also attaching   -  Resting on my sculls alongside 'The Bells'  and other Beaumont rowing activity in the background,  I think in 1943.  Very close to a small cafe where on notable occasions a boiled egg and sometimes baked beans were available as a special wartime treat !  




- A PR shot of me and Richard Dunhill at the 1942 Beaumont pit-prop cutting camp, West Kingsdown, Kent.




I hope I haven't over- bored you with these further snippets!






Michael P-Y with Richard Dunhill “pit propping”




The Beaumont HCPT Legacy


 As I mentioned at the start of this REVIEW, This has been put together by John Flood: -





The 1958 Group










 In a missive to John Flood,  John Wolff wrote: A minor miracle which answers some of your questions. In preparing to see Henry Stevens this afternoon I was searching for a photo album of the under 14 rugby teams through to the 1st XV 1953-1958which Henry and I were in. Sadly not to be found. However, I did come across an album of my first visit to Lourdes in 1958 with Fr Gillick’s group. See above.


Furthermore there is a small photo of us boarding a plane at Blackbushe.


So Blackbush was 1958 and there were 18 of us including Gillick in the group


Back row left to right as you look at it O’Driscoll, J.Prove, A.Stephen, R.Mulcahy ,Anthony d,Ombrain,  M.Wood,  A,Synnott, R.Hewins, P.Haddon.


Next row M.Bingham, Mitchell, A.O’Conner, J.Wolff, Bernard ,R.J.Gillick ,R.Bellamy ,R. de la Grange, P.Doyle.


I think the Catholic Ass had no room for us on the train, nor for some particularly heavy cases, so 56 of us flew from Blackbushe.I don’t recall us flying again till the mid sixties.







Beaumont had its own Pilgrimage to Lourdes at Easter in the mid 1950s. After HCPT was founded, initially Beaumont boys were available to assist an individual group when this was desired, for example to assist at the Stations of the Cross. The 1961 HCPT list of pilgrims includes Michael Bedford (OB 62) as the first Beaumont boy to be allocated as a helper to an HCPT group for the pilgrimage, this in Group 6 with Fr Handley Lillie SJ. From 1962 the Beaumont pilgrimage merged into HCPT and boys were allocated, generally in pairs, to some of the groups each year until 1967.


Harry Hewitt (OB 31) was the first Beaumont Group leader in 1958, followed by Freddie Wolff (OB 29) in 1959. Fr Handley Lillie SJ was group leader of group 8. John Wolff (OB 58) became group leader of group 2 in 1962, John Bedford (OB 55) of group 18 in 1964, Patrick Burgess of group 24 (OB 63) and Michael Burgess of group 1 (OB 64) in 1965 and Brian Burgess (OB 67) of group 35 in 1969. Other OBs who Gerry Green (OB 64), have been group leaders have included Robert Bruce (OB 64) of group 1, Mike Wortley (OB 65) of group 24 and Jeremey Hawthorne (OB 67) of group 35. John Flood (OB 65) stepped in once in the 1970s at the last moment for Patrick Burgess for group 24 when work prevented Patrick coming and then became the group secretary until 2016 and Michael Bruce (OB 66 & OS 68) stepped in for his brother Robert for group 1 during the Falklands War in 1982. OBs Descendant Group leaders have included Michael Holford (OSJB 77) for group 2, Madeleine Stanimeros (neé  Bedford) for group 42, Christian Longley (nee Bruce) for group 1, Philippa Nash (neé Bedford) for group 42 and Lizzie Macwilliam (neé Wortley) for group 24. Groups 1, 2, 3, 18, 24, 35 and 42 have in the past all been led by OBs and some by OSJBs and/or their descendants. There have also been at least 2 Hosanna House Groups led by them, including Groups 503 & 542.


Beaumont and St John’s old boys who have been HCPT Chair of the Executive include Brian Burgess and John Wolff and Chair of the Trust, Andrew Flood (OSJB 91).  HCPT Trustees include Freddie Wolff and two of his grandchildren, Michael Holford & Philippa Nash and Michael Wortley. IHCPT trustees have included Ian Bangham (OB 64) and Desmond Keane (OB 67), the latter also being Chair of IHCPT.


There are many other Wolff, Bedford, Holford, Stevens, Burgess, Bruce, Wortley, Flood, Houdret, Bailey & Hawthorne children & grandchildren who, although not Beaumont nor St John’s pupils, have been group helpers over the years and there are innumerable grandchildren and great grandchildren who may become helpers in the future and thereby indirectly contribute to Beaumont’s legacy within HCPT indefinitely beyond the death of the last Beaumont College boy.


There are also children and grandchildren who have been taken to Lourdes with HCPT, either on account of a disability or accompanying their parents or grandparents.


The London Beaumont Region was funded in the 1980s from groups that at the time were led by OBs or their offspring. The Cintra café had been discovered by group 24 shortly after it opened in the 1970s and subsequently became the LBR café until its closure earlier this decade. In 2004 Michael (OB 62) & Mandy Bedford founded the BOFs as a group to enable OBs to observe and support the HCPT Pilgrimage. Over the last 16 years 28 OBs and Hon OBs and many of their spouses have enjoyed this experience, several each year. Other OB’s still accompany and support group 24 in its Venerable section, and also IHCPT.


Jean Vanier (OSJB 37) (deceased May 2019), the founder of L’Arche, a charity with 149 homes for disabled adults worldwide, was at St John’s Beaumont for one year before the family moved back to Canada.  He was one of the principal speakers at the Lourdes 150th Anniversary HCPT ‘Called by Name” conference on disability in 2008.  His talk can now be viewed or read at https://www.hcpt.org.uk/jean-vanier-at-hcpt-conference and the 2016 film ‘Summer in the Forest’ relates to L’Arche & his life.


Brother Michael, before his death, expressed his delight that the legacy of Beaumont was marked on 28th November 2019 and is now documented, as well as his surprise and pleasure that so many from Beaumont have been involved over the years.




Mystery colours







John Marshall sent me this photo of the mosaic memorial to Archbishop William Laud in Wells cathedral where he was Bishop before London and the Canterbury. I can find no apparent reason why what became our own colours should frame the memorial. Laud of course was high Church and lost his head to a Puritan parliament and a weak king and without due trial. Do I detect a Beaumont allegory?




Farewell to the EU and all that:-


As we say goodbye to the EU, I discover that apart from the late Baron Philippe de Schoutheete who was Belgium’s Permanent Representative in Brussels, another OB played a leading role for Spain in the organisation.




Image result for fernando merry del val




Fernando Merry del Val (62) spent a year at Beaumont learning the language and the English way of life.  His great Grandfather Pedro was the only one and the youngest of the 4 Merry del Val brothers who didn’t come to Old Windsor. The others were Alfonso (Marquis and Ambassador), Rafael (Cardinal and Secretary of State) and Domingo (Engineer and wine grower).


On leaving Beaumont Fernando returned to Madrid to finish his secondary education before studying Business administration both at Harvard and INSEAD. Since then he worked in both the public and private business sectors   He developed his career in various positions of the Spanish Administration in the field of Commerce and the Economy. He has held the roles of General Director of Commercial Policy, Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Economy and Finance


 He was a member of the team that negotiated the accession of Spain to the European Economic Community in 1984, Chief Economic and Commercial Advisor in Washington, Commercial Counsellor in the Permanent Representation of Spain before the EU in Brussels between 1999 and 2002.


He has worked in several Spanish and foreign companies. As Commercial Director of the National Hydrocarbons Institute, he was responsible for the adaptation of the Spanish Petroleum Monopoly after Spain entered the EEC, selected the Repsol brand and founded Repsol SA. He also worked at British Petroleum, Texas Instruments Spain and Thermoelectro.


He was The Minister of Economy and Innovation and Counsellor of Economy and Consumption in the Autonomous Community of Madrid and a member of the Advisory Council for the Madrid region. In particular he has promoted and undertaken the creation of technology parks in the region and promoted the image of Madrid and its tourism throughout the world


Also during ten years he developed the entrepreneurial activity, founding and presiding over several international training and consulting companies.


Fernando is married with four children and lives primarily in Madrid.


           “It could be said that the EU now has I GB of Free space”




“REBEL IN THE SOUL” (Noel Browne OB34)


Irish Repertory Theatre, New York 2017




Rebel In The Soul


Patrick Fitzgerald in the lead role (with a BU tie!)




Dr. Noel Browne was elected to the Irish Parliament in the general election of 1948. Handsome, intense, arrogant, and unpredictable, he was only 33 years of age, with few political skills but a burning ambition to rid Ireland of the scourge of tuberculosis which had wiped out most of his family. Upon the introduction of his “Mother & Child Scheme”—a plan to provide free postnatal care to women and children under the age of 16—he quickly found himself at odds with the “Man of Destiny,” party leader and ex-Irish Republican Army chief, Sean McBride, and the ruthless, obsessive tactician, Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. John Charles McQuaid.


Larry Kirwan’s Rebel in the Soul closely examines the manoeuvring of these three charismatic people and the ensuing crisis that brought down the government and changed Irish life forever.




A politically-charged drama that’s both informative and compelling…. Rebel in the Soul is your chance to experience some of the most formidable characters in Irish history up close and personal in Irish Repertory Theatre’s cozy atmosphere.” Stage Buddy.


“Looks into the shadowlands of Irish history… a triple-decker drama”   CutainUp


The show is superb and the cast is just great…You’ll enjoy every moment” –Irish Examiner


“Consistently gripping”  Broadway Blog


“I urge everyone to see this splendid play” -Black Tie Magazine






Rhona McCord 




The 2012 controversy arising from the tragedy of the death of a pregnant woman at Galway University Hospital was not the first time that the question of women’s health caused a controversy in Irish society. The campaign to introduce pro-choice legislation in the Republic of Ireland in 2012 bears some similarities to the attempt by Dr. Noel Browne in 1951 to introduce the famous Mother and Child scheme.


Attempts made by Irish governments between 1945-1953 to reform the health service to include health care for new mothers and their infants resulted in one of the country’s biggest controversies, subsequently known as the Mother and Child Scheme, of March/April 1951. This period was marked by what Maeve Wren described as ‘a series of titanic battles between bishops, doctors and politicians’ and ended with the quashing of the proposal.[1]


Failure to introduce the Mother and Child Scheme was due to a number of factors involving the vested interests of the I.M.A. (Irish Medical Association) and the ability of non-parliamentary lobby groups to influence government policy. The public controversy surrounding the abandonment of the scheme and the subsequent resignation of the then Minister for Health, Dr. Noel Browne is well documented and is a reflection of the weakness of Irish Governments in challenging the authority of the Catholic Church in this period.


Dr. Browne’s attempt to bring in progressive legislation to provide free maternity care was fiercely resisted by the Catholic Church and the medical profession. This article re-examines the events and poses two questions, firstly was this was a clash of Church and State or a successful intervention by the medical lobby to protect their vested interests? And secondly was this a defining moment in the decline of Catholic authority in the hearts and minds of ordinary people in the Republic of Ireland?


The 1945 Departmental Committee on Heath Services, was set up to examine the Irish health service and make official proposals for reform. The Department of Local Government and Health, of which the Committee was part, was considered at the time to be a radical and innovative agency.
In parallel with the introduction of the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, post-war Irish governments attempted to implement universal health care in the Republic of Ireland in the late 1940s and early 1950s.


The report written by the chief medical officer, Dr. James Deeney, has been described as, ‘the most radical document ever produced on the Irish health services’.[2] The report proposed the provision, on a phased basis, of a free medical service for the whole population. The scheme was to be administered by G.P.s as state-paid medical officers, mirroring the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom. The subsequent Public Health Bill, 1945, incorporated the main points of Deeney’s report. This was a blue print for medical reform in Ireland.


The year 1947 saw the establishment of a separate Department of Health with Dr. James Ryan, of Fianna Fáil, as the country’s first Minister for Health. Dr. Ryan put forward a Health Bill in 1947, which included the provision for a mother and child service, coinciding with the extension of the NHS into Northern Ireland. It was at this point that the IMA raised their objections.


Dr. Ryan was aware of the need for support from the medical profession – commenting in the Dáil after the passing of the second stage of the bill; ‘Having decided on whatever necessary changes would have to be made, a very big cog in the whole machinery would be the medical profession’. The issue of free medical care without a means test was the main bone of contention for the I.M.A. and they argued that those who were able to pay would be subsidised by the State.


Further debate in the Dáil, was covered by The Irish Times on June 11, 1947, giving a clear indication of the growing opposition from the medical establishment. Dr. T.F. O’Higgins of Fine Gael (from whom most of the opposition to the Bill came) commented, ‘the most efficient dispensary officers were working 15 hours a day already, and there were grave doubts whether they could carry out their new duties’.[3]


O’Higgins stated that ‘Every woman and every child up to 15 would become a free patient by law, and 60% to 70% of ordinary doctor’s income came from attendance on women and children.’[4]


There were also concerns about the financial implications of providing free health care. James Dillon said that the bill would ‘make it virtually impossible for young doctors to set up and start work side by side with the dispensary doctors as they did at present’.[5] At this point there were no references to the religious implications of the Public Health Bill.


Another aspect of the growing opposition to the bill was the question of socialization. The political ideology behind Aneurin Bevan’s welfare state was being referred to as ‘creeping socialism’ and for many politicians was the real issue. The Irish Medical Association would never accept the socialization of medicine, as it would have impacted negatively on their privileged position within Irish society. The idea of a no-means-test health service was always going to be rejected by the conservative forces in the country.


Eamonn McKee, in a study of the Mother and Child scheme for Irish Historical Studies, argued that vested interest was at the heart of the controversy and the vested interest was primarily that of the I.M.A.[6] McKee also noted that the ‘socialisation’ argument was often applied to discredit progressive initiatives, ‘References by the Department of Finance to ‘socialisation’ were part of the usual array of arguments deployed when confronted by a major initiative involving increased outlay by the exchequer and further recruitment to the ranks of the civil service’.[7]


McKee took the argument further to suggest that the Mother and Child controversy did not represent a clash between Church and State simply because they were not fundamentally opposed, he said ‘In a Catholic country, with a government resolutely committed to its Catholicism, the perspectives of church and state are similar. To characterise the issue as one of church versus state is to ignore this and fail to see the logic not only of the lack of protest before health legislation was enacted but also its easy resolution in 1953”[8]








Archbishop John Charles McQuaid



The Catholic hierarchy did not voice any public opposition to the scheme until it came to a head during the administration of the first inter-party government (a coalition of Fine Gael, Labour, Clan na Poblachta National Labour and Clann na Talmhan, which came to power in 1948) under the leadership of Fine Gael’s John A. Costello. The inter-party government had inherited the Mother and Child scheme and none of its leading players could have predicted the trouble it would cause them. Costello as a staunch Catholic was against anything which would undermine the Church’s moral authority while most of his party colleagues were opposed to a no means test scheme.


When the idea of free health care did resurface, the Catholic hierarchy decided to write to Taoiseach John A. Costello to voice their concerns about the scheme, Costello, for unclear reasons, decided to delay in passing these concerns on to the minister for Health, Dr. Noel Browne.


The Catholic Hierarchy objected to the provision for advice on family planning, claiming this was the Church’s prerogative.


This decision created enough confusion between Browne and the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. John Charles McQuaid, to heighten tensions between the two men. Costello compounded this by making a decision not to pass on to the bishop a memorandum written by Browne addressing the concerns raised by the Church.


McQuaid’s objections were threefold; the first concerned ‘morality’ – the scheme intended to discuss family planning with women, which McQuaid believed was the remit of the Church and that the State was not entitled or qualified to interfere in. Secondly, McQuaid rejected the increased role of the State in the life of the individual, which he described with some exaggeration as a step towards totalitarianism. Finally, in an argument that mirrored the concerns of the medical profession, he objected to the fact that the scheme proposed no means test.


The hierarchy argued against the no-means-test element of the scheme because it was, ‘not sound policy to involve the whole community on the pretext of relieving the 10% from so-called indignity of the means test’. Barrington argues that this is when the Church over-stepped its authority, ‘These objections were hardly within the sphere of the bishop’s moral authority and echoed the arguments of the medical profession in resisting Dr. Browne’s scheme’.[9]


When Noel Browne pushed ahead with the introduction of the scheme he was still largely unaware that McQuaid was still dissatisfied. Noel Browne was a new comer to party politics and a first time minister. He was a medical doctor, trained at Trinity College and had worked briefly in the NHS; he firmly believed that money should not change hands between a doctor and patient.


As a survivor of Tuberculosis he was personally inspired to tackle the issue. He allocated a significant amount of department resources into the building of sanatoria for the treatment of T.B.[10] Browne, regularly used radio as a means of communicating with the public, it was on his return from a radio interview to promote the scheme when he was handed a letter from the Archbishop. The letter communicated to him in ominous terms that the scheme as proposed by him was unacceptable to the Catholic hierarchy.[11]


Michael McInerney the author of a retrospective feature in The Irish Times in 1967 explained the hierarchy’s position ‘They felt bound to consider, however, whether the proposals were in accordance with Catholic moral teaching, and considered that the powers being taken were in direct opposition to the rights of the family and of the individual and were liable to great abuse’.[12]


The ideological issue of State control was the root of their fears. The Church feared that state power was a step towards socialism, as McInerney explained ‘The right to provide for the health of the children belonged to the parents not to the State. The State had the right to supplement not to supplant’.[13]






Dr.Noel Browne




The validity of the Church’s argument was challenged by Browne in his autobiography when he argued that, ‘The very existence of the existing free no-means-test schemes within our own social, education and health services, as well as the British N.H.S. in the North, patently gave lie to the bishop’s condemnation of the scheme’.[14]


The hierarchy argued that the mother and child scheme interfered with the Church’s social teaching on matters of family planning and that free health care in certain countries included a gynaecologist and abortion service. At a meeting with Cardinal Dalton of Armagh, Browne pointed to the contradiction of the Church’s opposition ‘The Cardinal made no attempt to answer the one crucial and pertinent question that I put to him, about the use of Aneurin Bevan’s National Health Service by Catholics in Northern Ireland’.[15]


This contradiction existed because the Church’s motive for getting involved in the conflict was not as straightforward as they would have liked people to believe. McKee argued that there was a link between the medical profession, the hierarchy and the government he suggested that it ‘was from Ely House in Dublin that such a thread emanated: the headquarters of the Knights of St. Columbanus’.[16] McKee suggests that vested interest groups in high positions conspired with the hierarchy to use the Church to derail the scheme.


The Church’s objections were intertwined with some medical vested interests in opposing the Mother and Child Scheme.


He explained ‘What brought the hierarchy into the conflict was the successful demonstration of the innate connection between the survival of private practitioners in public health and the safeguarding of Catholic morality and social teaching.’[17] It was ultimately a combination of the forces of the Church, medical profession and weak government personnel, which resulted in the derailing of the scheme and the controversial resignation of Dr. Browne.


In reality it was the combined power of the Catholic Church and the Irish Medical Association, which succeeded in blocking the Mother and Child scheme. Both parties were able to exploit the differences within the five-party-coalition. The inexperience of the government and the difficulties that arose from attempting to balance the divergent groups within the coalition proved a destabilizing factor.






The fact that Browne could not get support from within his own cabinet made it made it impossible for him to take on the Church and the medical profession. His party leader Sean McBride knew this but made no attempt to back him. In a letter to The Irish Times in April 1951 McBride said that he had pointed out the difficulties to Browne ‘in addition to the opposition of the medical profession, he was faced with opposition from the hierarchy, the obstacles to the implementation of his proposals would be insurmountable.’


McBride was being somewhat disingenuous. As the leader of Browne’s party, Clan na Poblachta, he had stepped back from the conflict and left Browne isolated, leading to much bitterness between the two men. It was McBride himself who called for Browne’s resignation, which Browne submitted, and in doing so ignited the biggest public debate on Church-State relations since independence.Browne felt most let down by his government colleagues and party Sean McBride.


The debate, which began in the Dáil with Browne’s resignation, soon took on a new dimension when he turned over correspondence from his department and the bishop’s house to R.M. Smyllie, the editor of The Irish Times. A total of 16 letters were handed over by Browne. Smyllie was prepared to take on the risks involved in publishing the correspondence, he is on record as saying ‘I’ll go to jail and publish’.[18]


In his resignation speech Browne did not cast blame on the Church but rather on the behaviour of his own government colleagues ‘I as a Catholic accept unequivocally and unreservedly the views of the hierarchy on this matter, I have not been able to accept the manner in which this matter has been dealt with by my former colleagues in the government’.


In the debate which followed on the 17th of April, former Clan na Poblachta TD, Peadar Cowan, took issue with the weakness of the government in allowing the Catholic Church to dictate policy; ‘The most disquieting feature of this sorry business is the revelation that the real government of the country may not in fact be exercised by the elected representatives of the people, as we believed it was, but by the Bishops, meeting secretly and enforcing their rule by means of private interviews with ministers and by documents of a secret and confidential nature sent by them to Ministers and to the Head of the alleged Government of the State. As a Catholic, I object to this usurpation of authority to the Government by the bishops’.




The public debate following the publication of correspondence in The Irish Times raged for years afterwards and raised many questions about the role of both Church and State. The nature of the Irish State and the weakness of its democratic institutions were highlighted along with the authoritarian power of the Catholic Church in Ireland.


The controversy highlighted the sectarian nature of politics in southern Ireland. The hierarchy’s argument against public health often referred to doctors who were outside the remit of Catholic teaching. A remark by McBride referring disparagingly to Dr. Browne being photographed with a member of the Protestant clergy was particularly disturbing, a remark for which he subsequently apologised. Perhaps the most obvious point is the fact that the state, in submitting to the Catholic Church on a matter of social policy, handed the Ulster Unionists a propaganda winner, ‘Home Rule’ was indeed ‘Rome Rule.’


Although a significant strand of uncompromising Catholics supported the Church’s stance on the Mother and Child scheme, most working class people did not. Over time people began to feel that they had been cheated out of a free health scheme by the interference of the Catholic Church. Ireland had one of the highest infant mortality rates in Europe at the time and a health system similar to the N.H.S would have gone some way in tackling this and other health issues associated with poverty.


Support for Noel Browne grew over generations in the poorest communities, where he became a hero, particularly for his work on the eradication of T.B. Gene Kerrigan reflects on this fact in his childhood memories, talking of the lives he saved including his aunt Eileen who survived TB, ‘A quietly committed Catholic, through the years she would never hear a word against Noel Browne, however the bishops rubbished him. He saved my life, she said, and she knew whose side he was on.’[19] Although there were only small public demonstrations supporting Browne, letters to the national and local newspapers reflected a growing animosity towards the Church and their role in derailing the scheme.


For the Catholic Church, which was already in decline, this controversy was a turning point, one incident, which in retrospect can be pointed to as the moment perhaps when they began to lose the hearts and minds of their flock. Four years later, when Archbishop McQuaid ordered his flock not to attend a friendly football match between Ireland and Yugoslavia at Dalymount Park, he was largely ignored.[20]


This was, it has to be said, primarily due of the love of the game, but never the less his authority was in decline and his role in obstructing the Mother and Child Scheme and the controversy that lingered for years afterwards played a significant role in that decline.


The late 1940s and early 1950s saw some progressive advances to Ireland’s medical services with the establishment of the Department for Health, the reduction of rates of Tuberculosis, the opening of sanatoria and a significant hospital building programme launched by Noel Browne. The idea of a free health service similar to Britain’s N.H.S was generally supported by the public but the opposition by non parliamentary and vested interest groups was too strong for the government of the day to overcome. Fianna Fáil on their return to power re introduced a watered down version of the Bill, in 1953. But the opportunity to introduce free universal health care had been lost and two-tier health system developed from then on. When the medical card was introduced in 1970 it was based on an income threshold giving effect to what Browne was opposed to, a means test.


The controversy that raged over the abandonment of Noel Browne’s no-means-test Mother and Child scheme exposed the weakness of Irish democratic institutions to assert their authority in the face of the combined power of the Catholic hierarchy and the Irish Medical Association.


The debate at that time raised serious questions about the right and ability of the Church to dictate government policy. However, unlike today’s debates on women’s health, it rarely questioned the right of the Catholic Church to dictate moral teaching. Nevertheless, the controversy that followed represented a turning point in the relationship between the bishops and their flock.


More Ties


Nigel Magrane reported:-


Our tie has appeared on Television again, this time on the BBC.




One  Sunday in an episode of the 'Trial of Christine Keeler' it was worn as a bow tie in a scene in the Athenaeum Club. And last month my son James saw the actor Bill Patterson wearing the tie in an episode of 'Guilt.' 









Looks like BBC wardrobe recognize good taste at last. (and not bad malt)




Our Own Playwright: Francis Beckett


Francis Tweeted Oct 12:-


“Full house last night for A Modest Little Man - and booked solid all week. Thanks to director Owain Rose and splendid cast for six fine performances.”








“after watching the play the present Earl Attlee - Clem's grandson John - enjoys a drink in the bar with me and Greg Dyke. Thanks to both John and Greg for their support, and to Teresa Attlee, both for her support and for taking this picture.”


Ed: did he invite Jeremy (60) ?


The Play


A Modest Little Man




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

“This is one of the most enjoyable fringe shows I have seen in ages” - Reviewsgate

“A very funny and at times moving account of Clement Attlee” - New Statesman

“A splendid illustration of Attlee’s towering absence of ego” - Broadway World

“Beckett’s supreme achievement is to render all the affectionately drawn key characters of the time accessible, engaging and inspiring” - Morning Star

“A thought-provoking piece that is distinctly aware of the importance of remembering the past in difficult political climates” - Thespyinthestalls.com




Paul Raymond-Barker (52).


Another piece of late news that has come to light:-







I have discovered that Paul Raymond-Barker FRICS (52) was awarded the Medallist of the Order of the British Empire for services to Forestry and Silviculture in Wales in the New Year’s Honours 2016


“Paul has many years’ forestry experience throughout Wales and the border counties as an independent forest manager, consultant and valuer of forests and woodlands. He has been a stalwart of the forestry sector for many, many years.


His support for the forestry day and woodlands competition at the Royal Welsh Show has never wavered and has been instrumental in maintaining the competition that we have today. The quality of his work has been recognised by winning many of the sections in the woodlands competition - a long-standing joke in Wales is that Paul had to get a bigger office as he ran out of wall space to hang the certificates on.


Paul was Forestry Partner at Woosnam & Tyler in Builth Wells for many years and established his own forestry management firm in the town in 1999. In recent years, he has joined the team at Andrew Bronwin & Co Ltd, a well-established Welsh firm of Chartered Foresters.


His enthusiasm for the sector is reinforced by his membership of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF), and more recently he has been an active member of the Confor Wales Committee.


Our congratulations go to Paul. This is recognition of his many years of hard work and support for the forestry sector in Wales and the borders. Many people have benefited immensely from his help and experience”.


Tony Scott’s OAR


Following the death of Pat Scott, Simon Scott has found a home for his father’s presentation Oar. It was given to him by the members of the last Beaumont Crew in 1967.  Michael Wortley, Captain of boats ’65 is now the custodian.














From Country Life.


Ed: I don’t know whether there is a strong Catholic influence on the Editorial Staff but without mentioning religion Catholics and their interests get a very good coverage as the next three pieces show:-







Many of these items come from the period when Robert Berkeley (73) was master of Spetchley and was married to Rose Willmott. It was Rose and especially her sister Ellen who laid out the gardens at Spetchley.


Tales of prodigy are many, but they are almost all cast into the shade by the fabulous tale of Ellen Ann Willmott, who came down to breakfast on the morning of her seventh birthday, 19 August 1865, to find a cheque for pounds 1,000 on her plate. I imagine it was a sunny morning, and she was surely a pretty little girl, with ringlets and curls and a white lawn smock over her flowery crinoline. She was the eldest of three daughters: her sister Rose was not quite four and the baby Ada was 14 months. Their father, Frederick Willmott, who was something in the City, was successful, and their mother Ellen Fell had her own family money; they were indulgent parents, living in a large house in leafy Heston, on the fringe of Osterley Park, and sharing a life full of music and beautiful things, especially flowers, and a taste for travel. Ellie's birthday cheque, which would have made a comfortable annual income for a young professional's family, had come from her childless godmother, Helen Tasker - it was to be the first of many, and as the Willmotts had no sons to educate (and a spell at a local convent sufficed for both Ellie and Rose) it could be spent on beautiful things, especially flowers. The only shadow to pass over their sunny existence was that Ada died of diphtheria in early 1872, when she was seven and Ellie was 13; from then on Ellie and Rose became inseparable, with Ellie usually in the lead.


Three years later, in 1875, the family's gardening ambitions and Ellie's in particular, prompted Frederick Willmott to buy a country estate, Warley Place at Great Warley in Essex. It was 24 miles commuting distance to the City, free from "its foul fogs and smoke" and had a lovely old park and garden, with evergreen oaks and sweet chestnuts reputedly planted by John Evelyn. The Willmotts moved in the summer of 1876, and for the next 15 years they were a united and happy foursome, reviving and replanting orchards, flower borders, kitchen gardens, vineries and hot houses. The most famous landscape gardening firm of the day, James Backhouse of York, was called in to build the rock garden, a few acres of pools, waterfalls and fern caves, which Ellie, her father proudly noted in his diary on 1 April 1882, began to plant with alpines. He bought another 22 acres of land on the other side of the road to Brentwood, where a house, The Cottage, was built with a full complement of lawns, flower and fruit gardens: this was presumably for Ellie and Rose, who became heiresses in their 20s, when the benevolent godmother Helen Tasker died, leaving them the equivalent of pounds 5m each, in today's money.


To celebrate Ellie's 30th birthday the family went off on a grand tour, which lasted until the summer of 1889: soon Ellie and Rose were off again to Europe, and the reason became clear with Ellie's purchase of Le Chateau de Tresserve, near Aix-les-Bains, where she spent lavishly. She bought plants enthusiastically wherever she went, and bought both well and unwisely: Henri Correvon, whose nurseries in Geneva were famed in America as well as Europe, thought her stupidly extravagant for paying transport costs for plants for Warley from him, when she could have found them perfectly well in Britain. But by now Ellie was caught in a spiralling enthusiasm, almost a mania for buying and planting, always of the best, always what she wanted: was she buying a bulwark against the blows to her life that she knew must come?










Image result for spetchley park gardens images




In August 1891, close to her sister's 33rd birthday, Rose Willmott married Robert Berkeley and went to live at Spetchley Park in Worcestershire: as Spetchley is about as far across England as one can get from south Essex, the question arises that - though it is said that Rose married for love - did she also rather like the idea of a life of her own? Frederick Willmott died the following year: Ellie was to inherit Warley Place, and when her mother died in 1898 she assumed her grown-up name, Ellen, by which she was becoming well-known. Mrs Willmott's death released a further inheritance to her daughters, and the second "cottage" establishment at Warley was made over to Rose for her visits "home," though Ellen had charge of all the gardens.


Now bereft of her family, Ellen took the horticultural world by storm. She joined the Royal Horticultural Society, which demanded more than just paying a subscription in those days, she broached the male preserve of the Narcissus Committee and proceeded to win four consecutive Gold Medals for her daffodils, which were her first great passion. At Warley they flowered in yellow, cream and white rivers, drifts and seas, all across the vast lawns and under the trees. She named her hybrids for her favourite people - `Mrs Berkeley', `Robert Berkeley' and little lost `Ada': she had over 600 different species and hybrid daffodils collected into a living museum in her walled gardens, and collections of tulips, crocuses and irises from all over the world. She worked on irises with Professor Michael Foster at Cambridge, she earned the respect of all the experts, and was elected a fellow of the Linnean Society. She visited the great gardener, Gertrude Jekyll, at Munstead Wood in Surrey, and perhaps they discussed their shared enthusiasm for photography, each with her own darkroom, and another shared interest in wood carving and inlaid work, which Ellen had just taken up with the purchase of an expensive German lathe. Jekyll's Munstead garden of 15 acres, a small selling nursery and perhaps a dozen gardeners was extremely modest beside the expanses of Warley, approaching 100 gardeners and a household that ran to three footmen and kept several carriages. But the older woman - Jekyll was 52 in 1896, Ellen 37 - was enormously respected and famous for her books and articles: Ellen clearly decided that she must write books. For Queen Victoria's Jubilee, when the RHS instituted the Victoria Medal of Honour, its highest award, for 60 horticultural greats, Gertrude Jekyll and Ellen were listed with 58 men: Miss Jekyll graciously dubbed Ellen "the greatest of all living women gardeners".


Unlike Jekyll, Ellen was not interested in garden design, though she could plant as "artistically" as anyone, but she had amassed a phenomenal knowledge of plants. She presented Kew with a collection of 15,000 sheets of herbarium specimens of European natives, and it is said that she grew over 100,000 different species and cultivars of trees, shrubs and flowering plants at Warley, which was spoken of in the same breath of awe as Kew or Edinburgh's Botanics. Tempted, as gardeners always are, by the lure of the exotic, she bought a Mediterranean garden, La Boccanegra, near Ventimiglia on the Ligurian coast just east of Monaco: it was almost next door to Sir Thomas Hanbury's La Mortola, another pinnacle of plant paradise which she desired to emulate. Sir Thomas had just bought the land at Wisley for the RHS's new garden, of which Ellen was a trustee, and it is tempting to imagine the hotly competitive, planting companionship that might have developed between two eccentrically-English neighbours in that Ligurian heaven, but it was not to be, for Hanbury died in 1907, two years after Ellen's arrival. Extending her range still farther, she partly-financed the plant hunter Ernest H Wilson's third expedition to China, also in 1907. Her support was vital to Wilson and his boss, Charles Sprague Sargent, the autocratic director of Harvard's Arnold Arboretum: they named a Himalayan plumbago with beautiful blue flowers for her, Ceratostiama willmottianum, now a popular garden favourite. To Sargent she confessed "my plants and my gardens come before anything in life for me, and all my time is given up to working in one garden or another, and when it is too dark to see the plants themselves, I read or write about them".


It was not quite that simple, for when she was in England there were committees and correspondence and the endless inter-visiting that feeds the curiosity of gardeners: Queen Alexandra and several princesses visited Warley. Also, Ellen had her music, she played the piano and violin - her violin was a Stradivarius - and concerts and musical evenings were part of her life. And then, with her three large gardens - Warley, Tresserve and La Boccanegra - there was the travelling: I picture her, the Edwardian travelling lady, in duster coat and big hat swathed in voile, with loads of expensive luggage and her devoted maid, Lalla Burge, in tow, trekking from London to the Haute-Savoie, then round to Ventimiglia, in a year- long cavalcade of journeyings and returns. She was always beautiful and beautifully dressed, and undoubtedly umbrella-armed, directing and warning the unfortunates who handled her crates of plants, tenderly bedded in straw and moss. Her arrivals must have been spectacular, house and garden thrown into a frenzy of changes that were hardly accomplished before it was time to move on: Ellen was dictatorial, disorganised and erratic, traits undoubtedly bringing out the worst in sullen servants (a fire at Chateau de Tresserve was caused by a careless servant's candle) or sly tradesmen, but those who got used to her - everyone at Warley - were devoted. Still shadowy, Ellen brings to mind the more vivid presence of the American novelist and garden fanatic, Edith Wharton, making her own imperial progresses from Pavilion Colombe outside Paris, to London, to her garden at Hyeres in Provence, during those same Edwardian years: I wonder if they ever met?


Ellen's first book, Warley Garden in Spring and Summer, appeared in 1909, with still more wonders revealed: imagine a walled garden with paved paths winding through drifts of lilies, primula, delphiniums and verbascum spires, the pavings nestling in carpets of pinks and saxifrages, and hundreds of rare alpine flowers. The rocky valley of miniature ravines that Backhouse and his sons had built now flowered in a crazy-geographer's world - alpines side by side with plants from New Zealand, those of the Andes sheltering others from Greenland, Kashmir next to California, the Cordilleras and the heights of Pamir. Everything was immaculately labelled and, though hectic geographically, the arrangements allowed just those comparisons that horticulturists and botanists loved to experience. But Ellen's latest and strongest passion was a very English one, for roses - the nurseryman Correvon judged her collection, needless to say, one of the best in Britain, and she grew them at La Boccanegra as well. Her ambition was to publish the finest coloured monograph The Genus Rosa, which would topple the famous Redoubte's Les Roses, and be equally desirable to collectors of art or botanical drawing. She had spent years bringing her chosen subjects into flower, about 140 different rose species, to be captured in watercolour plates by the landscape painter and botanical illustrator, Alfred Parsons. Parsons was approaching 60, a crusty bachelor and friend of Henry James and the Cotswold gardening set, and by the time he had accomplished some 40 lovely plates of the roses he had clearly had his fill of Ellen's peremptory summonses across England, or Europe, at all hours and in all weathers, to respond to the needs of a capricious flower. The Genus Rosa is enshrined in history as a publishing farrago: Parsons became argumentative and difficult over the printing of his plates, Ellen kept changing her mind, was abroad when decisions were needed, and was late with her copy for the text, and in-between the long-suffering John Murray was trying to salvage a project in which the costs went haywire. When The Genus Rosa made its debut in 1910 it was a tremendous disappointment, and only 260 of the 1,000 copies produced were sold.


Somehow the publisher, John Murray, scraped up the pieces of this disaster and survived, but for Ellen her most darling child, her book of roses, was the beginning of the end. It transpired that her Chateau de Tresserve had not been insured for the fire, and restoration had cost her dearly - more dearly undoubtedly as she was an absentee proprietress. Murray had lent her money against the success of The Genus Rosa and there was no success. She had started borrowing from her father's old firm, and even her friends were telling her she must cut back. She had to ask her head gardener, James Preece at Warley, to leave; she tried to let the unoccupied Warley properties and La Boccanegra, she sold family treasures, including the Amati and Stradivarius violins, and took out additional mortgages against the sale of Tresserve. Finally, her father's old partner, one of her ablest supporters, she thought, declared himself bankrupt. Then came the war.


Things got rapidly worse. The army took over the Warley estate and much of her beautiful planting was destroyed. At La Boccanegra the tenant, Lady Angela Forbes, rooted out the fabulous roses. Her horticultural friends, Sir Frank Crisp at Henley on Thames and Canon Ellacombe, the gentle bearded patriarch of Britton in Gloucestershire who had been one of her Victoria Medal of Honour companions, both died. Her dear Lalla Burge, who had brushed her hair, put out her clothes and been her travelling companion for 20 years, also died. After the war came the worst blow of all, her sister Rose died on 21 August 1922, two days after Ellen's 64th birthday, of cancer: for two years her writing paper carried thick black borders.


Ellen's last decade was one of increasingly empty horticultural honours paralleled by personal tragedies. She was awarded a medal by the Royal National Rose Society, and she was arrested on a charge of shoplifting in Regent Street. She was elected to the prestigious RHS Flora Committee (though laid low with a bad bout of pneumonia) and the RHS Lily Committee. But with Tresserve and La Boccanegra long gone, she started to sell her beautiful possessions in order to survive. The impression remains of a callous committee life, carried on in bare rooms along all those polished mahogany corridors of the RHS headquarters in Vincent Square, where no one cared what happened to you after you had decided the fate of a lily, and left the building. In those days Vincent Square was about as welcoming to women as the Long Room at Lord's: they thought well of Miss Jekyll, who was frumpish, ancient and absent, but Ellen, patently once so beautiful, with her still fine if old-fashioned clothes and her persistent enthusiasms, was useful, but a nuisance. Did they even notice, I wonder, when she left for the last time? She died at Warley in the early morning of 26 September 1934, probably from a heart attack, and alone.


Warley Place and her belongings that remained were put up for auction; after another war the buildings were gutted, and though the park and gardens remained in private ownership, they were leased to Essex Naturalists' Trust as a nature reserve, surely the final ignominy for a garden. Nature has resumed control, with a wilderness of obtuseness and poignancy that it is hard to evaluate: It is now a triple SI - a site of special scientific interest - but not, I imagine, for Miss Willmott's ghosts. The waves of blue and gold, of crocuses, scilla, aconites and narcissi still sweep back each spring, many of her fine trees must survive in the anonymity of the tangled woodland, and the rocky ravine of millstone grit that Backhouse built for her first Warley enterprise still sparkles with water and the vivid emeralds of ferns and lichens. For the rest, I can best ask you to imagine Kew Gardens, the day after the end of the world.


Other ghosts survive in the willmottiae and warleyensis hybrids of shrubs, narcissus, primula, roses and tulips that fill our gardens. One plant above all, more appropriately named than any, is the tall, elegant form of sea holly, with silvery-blue thistly heads, each with a translucent silver and exceedingly prickly ruff, Eryngium giganteum, unofficially known as `Miss Willmott's Ghost'.


But if the job of ghosts is to wait around for retribution, then the sea holly will be with us for a while. I don't know why I feel such a sense of betrayal on Ellen Willmott's behalf; I do know that I'm not the only one. If Willmott pere had been less indulgent, if he had given her a better education and put a business head on her shoulders, then maybe we should have Warley still. If she had called in at Giverny and persuaded Monet away from his waterlilies to paint her more exciting garden, instead of the peevish Alfred Parsons, then the sale of one painting would bring back Warley. But would she have been such an impassioned obsessive gardener if she had made calculated judgements, for it was her passion that set her apart. She didn't just throw money at her gardens, she threw herself entirely into their creation, to the detriment of any personal relationships, to getting married, to getting an heir, things any sensible person would have done. No sensible person, I hasten to add, ever made a garden to equate with Warley: truly great gardens are only made by obsessives and loners, who invariably bankrupt themselves in the process - Charles Hamilton at Painehill, Beckford at Fonthill, that crooked Chancellor of the Exchequer Alslabie's sublime Studley Royal, depressive Shenstone at The Leasowes, and many more - especially English mavericks in Mediterranean lands - down to the dapper Major Johnstone's Hidcote Manor and La Serre de la Madone near Menton. Miss Willmott's ghost would be happy in their company.


Most disturbing of all are the thoughts that Warley slipped through holes in the safety net of conservation by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When she was busily a trustee, watching the benefactors pouring their money into a patch of Surrey sand for the RHS garden at Wisley, did it ever occur to her that they might have had Warley instead, ready- made? But Essex was not Surrey, and in the gardening snobbery of the 20th century never would be. (However Warley does find itself "conveniently" between junctions 28 and 29 of the M25.) When she was equally busy on committee work, did she ever think she should be on the council and grow rhododendrons, and then her garden would be saved? Committees worked with plants, the council was politics, so that answers that - but Warley did grow rare azaleas and rhododendrons, although not enough. They had to sweep through valleys and coves and across mountainsides, as at Wakehurst, Nymans, Sheffield Park, Glendurgan, Trengwainton, Bodnant or Rowallane and be overlooked by a "great" and preferably Palladian house to qualify for the National Trust (and Warley Place was only a small and rather pretty vaguely-Palladian house). Then after the First World War, when Warley was struggling, there were hundreds if not thousands of gardens facing destruction. After Miss Willmott died in 1934, it was worse than ever, no one thought of saving houses and gardens, they were intent on saving themselves.


It was the young woman who had come to gardening "at the ripe old age of 22", Vita Sackville-West, who helped to change things. In 1948 (when she was 56, and reviving her already famous garden at Sissinghurst after its wartime neglect), she joined a committee of the RHS and the National Trust to save gardens for their own sakes. Her immediate target was Hidcote Manor - as Major Johnstone wanted to retire to his French garden - and so Hidcote became the first garden to be taken over on behalf of us all. Slowly, as the National Trust gathered in neglected acres, the conservation bandwagon began to roll, and a ground-swell of interest in garden history, people talking to people around the kitchen tables of the land, developed into the Garden History Society, founded in 1965.


Apart from a sense that some justice is due to Ellen Willmott, to make up for pettifogging horticultural jealousies and bitter neglect, the presence of happy ghosts of gardens past imparts an ineffable balm to the living. Dozens of projects have shown this to be particularly attractive to the young - whose lives are so often imprisoned in tarmac yards and mean streets, breeding a disaffection and distrust for the earth they inhabit that has already reached epidemic proportions, and bodes ill for us all. But that is another story. Ellen's Warley has come into conversations again: the volunteers who have tended it for what is now Essex Wildlife Trust, know it to be a marvellous and magical place, and perhaps one day it may be possible to gently recall it to life. Eryngium giganteum `Miss Willmott's Ghost' can perhaps be planted, frequently and prominently, to supervise. And, in case you ask, was there not one of the happy gardening children with which I started, who had no gardening life? Wilfred Owen, who gardened so passionately, who attended botany lectures and sought out gardens wherever he want, gave up his love in 1913. His sonnet When Late I Viewed the Gardens of Rich Men goes some way to explain that as he could not stay, he would carry the names and memories of his "darling blossoms" with him: and so he went to war. Perhaps one day Warley could find a corner for the ghost of Wilfred the gardener, too.


Bill Gammell


As previously recorded Bill was Master of the Feltmakers last year  and below are a couple of snapshots  reported in their journal of a  busy year:-


Trip to Zurich.


“A visit to Zurich took place in April, following the kind invitation of Feltmaker, Rene Kalt, and the Waag Zunftmeister, Philippe Welti, to visit the annual Sechselauten.This is a cracking, three day cultural insight into the handcraft guilds of the city, ending with the parade and burning of the Boog on a bonfire to mark the end of the winter and, in folklore, determines the bounty of the harvest. We toured the city, enjoying the local gastronomy in the Waaghaus, which is a fine 16th century guildhall, and met members of several other guilds.  The highlights must surely include the turning of the fountain from water into wine, which our Master, Bill Gammell, supervised very closely.”






We also were guests for an amazing Ball on the Saturday evening, after which we moved on to other guild houses where Swiss techno and beat music was more the theme until the early hours.


Summer Banquet


“The 2019 Summer Banquet was held on Wednesday 5th June, and this year was back in its favourite home, Mansion House”.


Handing over the Family Home.


This article covered those that had bequeathed their homes for one reason or another to the National Trust: two of those mentioned have Beaumont connections.


Sizergh Castle.


In Cumbria was donated to the Trust with its contents and 1,600 acre estate in 1950 by Henry Hornyold Strickland (08). Henry, a JP and past High Sheriff and married to the Hon Mary Strickland realised in the 1940s that the estate was not making enough money to survive in the long term and without direct heirs he donated the property with sufficient endowment to The Trust. It is now open to the public. Sizergh is still lived in by members of the family having been passed to a cousin on Henry’s death.


Ed: I met the cousin’s widow when she came to a supper party we were giving in France: she was a dragon. On meeting her I said “Good evening Mrs Strickland”.


 “The name is Mrs Hornyold Strickland” she replied. I then introduced her to the other guests as Mrs Horny Old Strickland. – Childish but amusing.


Oxburgh Hall


The ancestral home in Norfolk of the Bedingfeld Baronets came to the Trust in 1952 given by the widow of the 9th Bart. Two sons of Sir Henry George 7th Bart were at Beaumont in the 1880s: one of whom Richard “Whisky Dick” went out to the States and became a cowboy. The eldest son and heir  of the 8th Bart - Henry Augustus died of pneumonia while at St John’s  in 1917 and the younger sons went to the London Oratory (whether the Js were held responsible one does not know) but no further members of the family came to Beaumont.


Dogs and Flat Coated Retrievers in particular.


The front cover of the January 8th edition and the article inside featured the retrievers of Simon Fitzherbert-Brockholes.  Simon like all his brothers, father and uncles was educated at the Oratory but his mother Mary was the daughter of Captain Charles Moore (98) – obviously too much of an ask that a member of the family swop to the old rival. Simon is the cousin of Patrick and the late Ian Agnew.




60 years ago from the Beaumont review


Ex Cathedra


The Community Chapel will be in use again after its redecoration: the curved ceiling is in pale blue, the walls pale pink and the centre piece behind the altar a dark puce. There is a new and reasonable sized tabernacle, and the altar table can be detached and brought to the edge of the predella so that when required Mass can be said facing, the people. Work has also begun on the conversion of the old community Wing into boys’ rooms, classrooms, etc.; and though the Arundel prints still hang in the repainted and relit gallery between the front hall and the clock, it is intended to re-place these by ‘Iive’ works of contemporary painters. The Iay-out and decoration of the new Community new Community quarters in the White House has been generally admired.


For the first time for many a year the Shrovetide play and celebrations took place without Hal Dickens being with us to lay the wreath on the War Memorial and to appear before the footlights, While we miss him and look forward to seeing him still when he can get down to Beaumont, we record that a more proper successor than Leo Burgess could not have been found; and the play went off with its customary elan on Shrove Tuesday.


The Quodhbetarians were pleased to welcome Mr Sean Healy, who spoke interestingly and challengingly on the subject of Secondary Modern Schools, and later in the term Mr W. G. Bebbington, who had provocative things to say about contemporary and other poetry. Mr Bebbington last spoke at Beaumont to the old Poetry Society which subsequently merged with the Quodlibetarians.


Group II (French) went to an interesting production of Racine’s Andrornaque in Oxford; it was nice to see an O.B., David Maskell the cast.


Later in the term, M. Andre of the French Embassy, gave a most interesting talk on ’The Fifth Republic’.


At the end of the Easter Term members of  the Quodlibetarian Society went to a performance by the Windsor Theatre Guild of  Ugo Betti’s “The Queen and the Rebels”; a good production, much enjoyed.


We publish an article together with sketch   /plans in this number of the Review by a member of Grammar I. He proposes certain   alterations to the School Chapel which will increase the number of the congregation who will have the altar in view-this with the   growth of the school is becoming more and more necessary and will improve the look of the building itself.




We were extremely lucky this term in the timing of our Guest Nights. The season was opened for us by Sir Tom O’Brien who arrived on the Saturday at great cost to himself; straight from the endless meetings of the Executive of the T.U.C that managed to avert the Rail Strike only the night before. He was most informative about Trade Unions, Strikes, Communism and tremendously encouraging and stimulating in his anxiety to see Catholics taking a lead in social reform. The Rt Hon David Ormsby-Gore hurried back from the Washington discussions on   disarmament, preliminary to the Russian talks, to give us a wonderful evening. It was an unusual experience to come in contact with such sureness of touch, so vast a wealth of information, so wise, moderate, progressive an approach on issues ranging from and Disarmament through to communism to Africa and Hong Kong! Jt was a sobering corrective to much contemporary hysteria. Assistant-Commissioner R. L. Jackson, C.B.E., took us into a world that intrigues us all and is closed to most - Crime. His fascination and charm and generous was an attraction in itself; his position as Head of Scotland Yard and member of the Executive of Interpol gave one added fascination. Our introduction to Crime, Flying Squads, to the world of the professional criminal, the London Gangs, the murders in the papers and the way the murderers are discovered made all crime fiction seem poor stuff! It was a thrilling evening. The term ended with Mr Godfrey Agnew taking us into another world  - that of Privy Council, and the Royal Family-and bringing us exhibits like the Notification Birth of the new Prince and the hammer which the Sovereign defaces seals, At Rhetoric, Breakfast next morning, all agreed that this had been a splendid ending to an excellent series of guest nights and that we can never repay our debt to those who have come so readily to give us their time and interest to help us to grow up.






THE centenary year (1960) of the Cadet Forces of Britain is being celebrated by the CCF and ACF throughout the country. Each school with a CCF unit have been asked to contribute a page, to be bound into a book and later to be presented to H.M. The Queen, who is the Captain General. This page is in Script on Vellum showing the crest and giving a short history of the Corps, together with the names of Commanding Officers and Sergeant majors since formation. Concerning the College Centenary in 1961,the Contingent hope to be able to carry out the Trooping of the Colour Ceremony, which was an annual event on Speech Day prior to the war. With this in view this year, all being well, we are going to try a Dress Rehearsal on 23rd June, though the Colour is getting very battle scarred and will not stand up to much usage. However, something may turn up by next year to allow for a new one. We still have some Swords and Sam Browne belts for the Under Officers, but no bayonets for the cadets armed with rifles. This poses a query Officers with drawn swords, Other ranks without bayonets fixed. Not done, but I think we may get away with it. Certificate ‘A’ Part I Exam. Has now been handed over as the responsibility of the Commanding Officer and this year we managed to pass 43 out of 47 candidates. The test for the Army Proficiency Certificate (Cert. ‘A’ Pt. II) is still carried out by the Regular Army and at the last exam in December 43 passed out of 49 candidates, though quite a few who should have taken it were sick and unfortunately will now have to wait until next December to try their luck Signal classification has not been a success, maybe communications do not appeal, but this is hard to believe, since it only requires two cadets to get together when they are supposed to be silent when one discovers a great desire to break into communication. Those who have passed classification, however, seem to have little difficulty in passing the A.I’s Test. No doubt it is a matter of interest. The last Field Day, 10th March, was held in the Park with the usual large number of potential V.C’s for valour. One Coy. Was pitted against the other in an Attack and Defence Exercise with the Companies changing roles after lunch, each learning lessons from the other’s previous attempt..However, I think everyone enjoyed the day out which was a day of delightful Spring weather.  Major Roddy this term has divided his time between the Cadre and the Signals, the latter being given the rudiments of First Aid. First Aid is a new departure for us and how-ever much we would like to break new and more interesting ground we are restricted by being so under strength in officers; our establishment is 7  officers but we only have 2.The present Company Commanders are U/O J. Paton-Walsh, No. I Company, who are lined up as Champion Company again this year, and U/O P. Peake with No. 2 Company. The C.S.M.s being R. Ruane, No. 1 Company and B. Martin No. 2 Company all of whom are extremely helpful in the day to day administration. During the past 10 years something nearing £2000 must have been extracted from the Government by persistent application and demand for improvements and additions to the Armoury premises, the latest grant being for £100 for improvements to the range. The Firing Point area has been made weatherproof and a new stove installed. At the Butts is a bullet catcher with an electrically controlled snap shooting target holder. I wonder what we can ask for next. Camp this year will be at Catterick during which we hope to make some Map Reading treks around the Pennines with the possibility of a visit to Stonyhurst.


Shrovetide Concert


A year, one is confronted by a staunch minority of cynical reactionaries who condemn Gilbert and Sullivan as hackneyed or childish or out-dated; one wonders if there can be any justification for this. All popular music, of course, dates, and its words do even more, but when seriously considered, there is still a great deal of good stuff in these operas. Gilbert’s best satire transcends time, and Sullivan’s music is a lot more than the ‘Musical’ of its time: it is good Operetta. If a tune is hackneyed, that’s a sure sign that it is a good tune; everyone’s humour seems weak two generations later, because it is no longer spontaneous; and ability to appreciate the qualities of people in different times and circumstances is a mark of the educated man


Anyway an enthusiastic reception greeted what is probably the gayest of the legacies of the Savoyards, on Quinquagesima Sunday; in fact many were heard to say that this was the best all round performance for some years. The Chorus was of a high standard- especially in the two-part work of the ‘Contadine’- and if the words were not always distinct, its rendering of the lively ‘Cachucha” was magnificently rousing. Among the Soloists, it is rather a case of when everyone is somebody, then no one’s anybody’. Charles Halliday made a good blend with the Choirmaster for the two Gondolieri brothers; Kieran Gracie’s mellow tone showed itself at its best in the smooth dignity of ‘I am a courtier grave and serious’; in contrast, Timothy Synnott gave us a solid hearty rendering of the inquisitor’s two songs. Among the ladies’ parts, John Hayward’s mature, intelligent and very feminine singing was outstanding, whiie David Burgess ’superb top notes will not easily be forgotten. John Muir revealed a fine clear tone, and Gareth McLatchy a rich voice if a slightly unnatural style of singing. Altogether, the concert provided a very enjoyable evening for performers and audience alike: on the one hand, the reward which a fine achievement brings and the ‘satisfying feeling that our duty has been done’; on the other, the pleasure of hearing a fine selection of music, coupled with the knowledge that our choral standards are as high as ever. For this, and for the whole concert, the thanks and gratitude of all are due to the untiring work of the Choirmaster and of the only man to take part in every item-and in every practice-the Accompanist.


The BU Play


Shrovetide, in warmer-blooded regions, is called Carnival and is, continentally, a time of mad and gay abandon, a last fling, so to speak, before entering upon the rigours of Lent. The reformed English, of course, being more solemn in their fasts, are more sedate in their frivolities and, traditionally, allow themselves nothing more adventurous than tossing a pancake. But in earlier days, when England was ambiguously called Merrie, we were more spiritually in touch with Europe. Then we celebrated Christmas with all the riot of Misrule and preluded Lent with Mardi Gras abandonment. Shrove Tuesday became, like Twelfth Night, an occasion among other things for wild and colourful masques and plays. It is gratifying to find that Beaumont preserves that ancient tradition by assigning the evening to the B.U. Play.


We came, therefore, prepared for riot and misrule; we came to be amused. We expected a wild and colourful play. And we were not disappointed. The members of The Union had selected Ian Hay’s and King-Hall’s The Middle Watch. In its day which was the 1920s, it was improbable, what its authors called a Romance of the Navy. In our day, of course.  it has degenerated into a sad impossibility. There is no longer a China Station, no longer much chance of a leisured, officered life abroad, no longer much of the Royal Navy left afloat. To the older members of the audience the play, no doubt, brought faint nostalgic touches from a golden age, But the more numerous and younger members of the audience must have been puzzled by the representation of a way of life so archaic and alien. Still it was Shrove Tuesday and we had willing to suspend our disbelief. The Middle Watch made absolute demands on our willing suspension. But because we were prepared, on that night, to give without restraint, the play succeeded in amusing and entertaining us I It was sad to see how the passing had made an improbable romance into impossible farce. But in its own day, improbable romance had succeeded because of the contemporary style of It was a comedy world where heroines were expected to be gigglish and girlish, heroes were expected to be gentlemen inarticulate, where all foreigners were and the lower classes providentially blessed to serve their betters and amuse their by their gaucherie. Now, it is easy enough revive a play; but it is not so easy to revive out-of date style of acting. This was the B.U. and there is nothing left to do but praise a very valiant effort that gave so much enjoyment. One is constantly amazed at the B.U.’s achievement. They move into Beaumont over the weekend and amid much laughter and many late hours a play is magically presented and a most convincing set designed and erected. Our thanks each year have to go to the members of the Beaumont Union who so kindly give of their time and ability so that we may be refreshingly entertained on the eve of Lent. To them all actors, actresses, stage manager, stage-hands, make-up artists, prompters and producer, our sincere thanks go for giving us such a liberal evening’s frolic. Actors included Gus Wolff, peter Churchill, Cyril Russell, Norman Greenaway, Henry Churchill, Guy Pritchett, Michael Hoare, Harry Hewitt and Freddy Wolff. Ladies, Maureen Raw, Mary Danby, Margaret Horton, Angela Found, and Katherine Woodhouse.


BU News


The OB Retreat was given by Mons Gilbey.


Future Events include the Midsummer Ball at Ousely Lodge (Bill Savill and his Orchestra) and a Champagne Reception following The Lords Match.


M P R O’Meara has been commissioned in the Royal Anglian Regiment.


John wall and Julian Maher have been appointed assistants to the Head Physician at Guys.


Jeremy Cuddigan was sailing for Cambridge in the annual Varsity Races at Bembridge Isle of Wight.


A Tribute to Sir George Ogilvie-Forbes in the Book “Front Line Diplomat “ – “In those dreadful days of terror in Madrid 1936  he saved many Spanish lives …In Red Spain, in moments of depression he would retire to his flat in the Embassy and there play his bag-pipes for hours at a stretch. It was weird in the stillness of the Valencian black=out to hear the skirling of this wild music which brought him so much solace”.


The following announced their engagements:  John Harden, Nigel Magrane, Laver Oliver, Mark Penney, Michael O’Reilly, John Rossage, Anthony Thompson and Robin Drummond.


Marriages: Richard Gompertz and Enid Kirker in Bankok


Deaths: Comte Rudolphe van der Stegen


               Jacques Prouvost son of OB Jean French Government Minister and owner of Paris Match.


                Maj –General Cuthbert Fuller CB, CMG DSO.  Commissioned in the Royal Engineers he served throughout the Boer War, WW! In both the Dardanelles and France. BLO to Marechal Foch Post War the Allied Commission Berlin and given command of 130 Infantry Brigade. On promotion to General he commanded Eastern Command and was Colonel Commandant R E. WW2 Home Guard District Commander. French and Russian interpreter/linguist he was married to Princess Sophia Shahoffsky.


              Lt Colonel the Hon Bertrand Russell DSO last surviving son of the 1st Lord Russell. He served in the Boer war, WW1 was wounded three times , MID and awarded the DSO.


              Wilfrid Tolhurst, Son of OB Bernard.  In WW! Served in the RFC before taking up farming then Director of The Palace Hotel Southend.


               Lt – Colonel Charles Walmesley DSO MC TD commissioned 17th Lancers. ADC in Paris. WWI Gallipoli and France, commanded the Berkshire Yeomanry post War 


Music Society.


Music Society, thanks mainly to the new gramophone. The number of members reached an all-time record, and attendance at the sessions, both by Classics lovers and jazz fiends, was on the whole very good. The party that went to Covent Garden for the ballets Petrushka, Les Rendezvous and Pine-apple Poll all appeared to enjoy the performance and our only regret is that we were unable to arrange anything for the Lower Line. We gratefully acknowledge Fr Rector’s donation of Petrushka and Fr Hanshell’s Three-Cornered Hat. The taste for a higher class of jazz has been generally noted throughout the school, as also the trend towards modern Jazz though of course, ‘Trad’ is still the more popular. Society funds enabled us to buy Humph at the Conwav and Barker in Berlin, both of which are excellent recordings. The old system of having one Jazz Session a week, on Saturday evenings, was revived.


Motor Society


Meetings this term followed the pattern set last term; that is one of films, though we had a talk given by Raymond Baxter on his experiences in Rallying, with special reference to his success in this year’s Monte Carlo Rally. Owing to circumstances beyond our control, we were obliged to hold this meeting in the Lecture theatre, which was filled to overflowing by our members, who heard an interesting and amusing talk. As a climax to the term’s meetings, we were able to obtain Final Victory, the film of the 1959 Le Mans 24-hour Race. This film had only been released a month before our members saw it, and we are grateful to Aston Martins for loaning it to us.


SPORT - Boxing





         The main problem this year has been to replace the experience that was lost when 6 colours left at the end of last season. The Club’s record – 3 matches won and 2 lost, shows that we have had a relatively successful season and that the experience gained promises very well for future years. Our record might have been much better but for the fact that very few of our first string fought in the last two matches and that one curious decision cost us the last match of the season.


Wins Merchant Taylors, Dulwich and Wellington. Lost Epsom and Gordon Boys.




Played 17 matches: won 6, lost 9 , drawn 2. Captain Julian Murphy, Vice -captain David Collingwood. We started with high hopes as we had three from last year’s side however the team was rather unbalanced and we lost the services to Collinwood to Rugby and Philip Hinds to Boxing.




Captain M Hywel-Davies, Vice-captain P Haran.  An encouraging season though we still lack a proper ground. However, 30 members found the games rewarding and enjoyable. Won 2 matches, lost 3.






From Guy Chamberlain


Every season I am impressed by the content of your BU Review. I am impressed too just how successful so many Beaumont boys have been during their lives. Your reports are a joy to read and you manage to successfully include Beaumont into some very interesting people’s profiles.


Sadly, I have nothing great to offer, however as a younger man I read the book by Ewart Grogan, “Cape to Cairo”, he persuaded his future father-in-law to allow him to marry his daughter if he achieved that goal. He achieved it around the turn of the century and Cecil Rhodes who died in 1902 wrote a forward to this book. He did marry the daughter.


When I was 65 years, I decided to make a similar journey albeit by the local buses. Even in Grogan’s time the railway was completed to Victoria Falls and Kitchener had completed his railway to Atbara in Sudan where he defeated the Khalifa to avenge Gordon’s death (1885) and then continued the rail line to Khartoum. Grogan’s real and serious difficulties was the middle bit.


My journey was broken into two, one year to Dar es Salam and the following, a return to Dar es Salem and onto Cairo, each section being around a 6/7 week duration.


Time on a bus has few moments of excitement, so it’s the side trips that are special. I journeyed up the East Coast. When the Arabs, Omani’s and Portuguese sailed to these parts and traded with the locals for slaves, ivory and gold they were never comfortable on the mainland and hence occupied the Islands close but separate from the African interior and enforcing the trade to come to them.


These Islands being the ‘Island of Mozambique’ and further north ‘Ibo’ (in the Quirimbas archipelago) both inhabited by Portuguese until the 1940’s. Further on and beyond the River Rovuma-we are now in Tanzania-is the ‘Island of Kilwa Kisiwani’, some 120 miles South of the river Rufiji. During WW1 SMS Königsberg had sunk HMS Pegasus outside Dar es Salam and was pursued and hid in the delta of this river. The British ships were unable to follow up river and some months later two flat bottomed Monitors were towed from Malta and were able to destroy the Königsberg. Those of the German crew who didn’t die escaped to fulfill their service as soldiers and they took their ships cannons, two of which I have seen at Fort Jesus, Mombasa and the other at Pretoria; another I understand is at Jinja, Uganda which is the  source of the Nile. Kilwa hit its economic zenith in the 15th century and collapsed in the 18th century.


Further north we come to Zanzibar and we all know this was the centre of African Trade and whence all the early African explorations commenced. A beautiful city but with much poignant feelings. Don’t miss the gorgeous Omani belly dancing girls at the outstanding roof top restaurants - that’s not the poignant feeling I am referring to.


Leaving aside Mombasa, it is easy to forget that it too is an Island with a vast trading history that eclipses time; further north there is Lamu, another Swahili settlement until the Portuguese and the Omani’s had a go at it. However en route to Lamu there is yet another old Swahili settlement, Gede, close to that outstanding bay where Hemingway fished named Watamu Bay. Around this area there is Malindi, surely now an Italian Mafia town.


These are some of the significant trading Islands over many hundred years on the East coast of Africa.


A change from a bus to a truck at Eastleigh (Nairobi) - don’t go there - to travel through the Kenya desert to Marsabit and onto Moyale on the Ethiopian border. Then to Addis Ababa by bus again. Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile is something dramatic and particularly Haile Selassie’s villa overlooking this lake and featuring a drive lined with Jacaranda in full blossom. Over two weeks in Ethiopia there is much to tell but one stands out. In Harar, (4th most important Islamic city - there are a number that claim this privilege) I was guided by a 14 year old. I asked him why the Christian’s were brighter than the Muslims? He looked at me as if I was daft and replied that he learnt history, mathematics, languages, sciences, geography etc. and the Muslims just learnt the Koran. He said that, not me.


Arriving in Khartoum fully completed my journeys by bus; goats on the roof, chickens inside, ubiquitous babies being passed around and 126 people in a 76 seater bus!! Having said that, throughout my travels I was only treated with courtesy and kindness. Furthermore I was generally offered the best seat.


Now it’s Kitchener train to Wadi Halfa; what a busy life Horatio Herbert Kitchener had, he built the train line to Atbara in 1898 (600miles), fought and defeated the Khalifa, built the remaining 400 miles of line to Khartoum to have another battle at Omdurman and then upsticks to fight the Boer War and lock up all the Afrikaans women and children.


Wadi Halfa is a transit town, one is obliged to go through this town if you go north or south through East Africa (I have ruled Somalia out of the equation). The train leaves Khartoum on Monday and arrives on Wednesday evening, the boat from Aswan arrives on Thursday and leaves on Friday. On Thursday one will see all the travellers going both north and south, a cross-section will comprise 3 or 4 backpackers in their early twenties, perhaps 5 bykers in their thirties, a couple of SUV drivers in their forties with their 20 year old bimbos and one 65 year old backpacker!!!


Now it’s downhill, the Cataract Hotel at Aswan, temples of Luxor, Hatshepsut, Colosi of Memnon etc and a first class train ticket to Cairo.


Another year was spent traveling north up the Great Lakes from Zambia through Malawi, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda then Uganda and up the Ruwenzori mountains. Sadly, I missed the boat on Lake Tanganyika that being the MV Liemba. The Germans built the railway from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma and in 1915 brought this ship down in parts, when assembled it was the SMS Graf Goetzen; soon after they scuttled her to avoid her falling into British hands. This same ship has been plying the route up and down Lake Tanganyika for 100 years. The southern start point is in Zambia close to the Tanzanian border; a boat trip and a 3 hour walk will take one to the dramatic Kalambo Falls, certainly the second highest falls in Africa if not the highest. Close to Kigoma at the northern end of the Lake is of course Ujiji where Stanley finally caught up with Livingstone in 1871. Notwithstanding missing the boat, busses meandered up the east coast of the Lake so my destinations were achievable.




From John Joss


Many thanks, and thanks also for including my comments. In light of our (generalised) creeping antiquity, shared by now by almost all OBs, I recently wrote a poem that you might wish to use (optional, of course). It is not morbid in the slightest way. Simply realistic.




By John Joss


I must die.


I know it.


I accept it.


But when?


When. Ah, yes . . .


When my body abandons its functions?


When my will to live evaporates?


When some accident befalls?


When an incurable disease comes upon me?


Harder questions . . .


How have I lived?


How have I loved?


How have I worked?


How have I served others?


Furthermore . . .


What, of any consequence, have I achieved?


What sins of commission or omission have I committed?


What have I done or not done for which I should be ashamed?


What did I do, when I could, to make amends for my failings?


Then . . .


Will anyone remember me?


Will my family and friends mourn?


Will my passing have any significance whatsoever?


Will there be life after death?


So . . .


Death must come to me, as to us all.


Death is a continuation, not an ending.


Death is a gift of . . . release.


Death is destiny.


From Christopher McHugh


Reading yet another delightful Review of the Beaumont Union, amazingly your 27th edition to date, I take the liberty of sending you a few words of appreciation for your splendid efforts in keeping such wonderful memories of our school days alive and including the legacy of previous Beaumont generations we had the privilege of inheriting.


Most of us are septuagenarians or octogenarians and, as the introduction to your Review makes plain, the Beaumontani tribe is inevitably sliding towards extinction. On leaving Old Windsor we all went our separate ways fulfilling, in many cases, exciting lives and a great many of us should surely be grateful for the education we received at Beaumont. When the last of the tribe finally departs from the planet perhaps a fitting epitaph on his memorial stone might be “The Last of the Beaumontani – Sic Transit Gloria Mundi”.




From Tony Waldeck


Thank you for your latest. A couple of points of possible interest) I have a feeling that the decorations in the Beaumont chapel were physically carried out by William Morris himself. It would be interesting to discover if that is true. Also, of course, what has happened to the chapel? (Ed It was Romaine Walker and the Chapel is now the banqueting hall for de Vere)


 Resident in this part of West Cornwall are 3 BU's: Colin Drummond, Peter Hamilton (whose twin, David, lives in Toronto) and me. Christopher Gardner Thorpe (with whom I was at Beaumont and prep school) is in Exeter but we meet a couple of times a year. When one lives out in the "bush" an 80 mile trip is de rien !


Names mentioned above are all close to - or have passed - the 4 score mark but are still "in the pink", more or less!


From Chris Fry


Thank you for a bewilderingly rich treasure-trove of memories.  How many threads of personal stories lead onto other interesting connections.  You’re doing such a good job and we’re the beneficiaries.


I thank you for publishing my Men’s Breakfast talk under VRIL; also my covering letter elsewhere.  It was very good to see the photo above the VRIL article of the CCF band; I don’t know whether you knew it but I’m actually in the middle row, second from left in the glasses and looking happy.  I recognise other faces but can’t give them names.  I enjoyed playing the fife (although didn’t read music and haven’t advanced beyond that since!) and sort of stumbled along relying on the more talented to hide my wrong notes or silence.  I remember the problems of playing when it was raining.  We still ploughed on with a sort of spluttering sound. 


However, undeterred by such soggy experiences, I am going to sing ‘Bring him home’ from ‘Les Miserables’ at a Music Evening at my church in Brighton (www.calvary-brighton.org.uk) this coming Saturday evening.  It should be dry (indoors).  It’s a joyous annual event with home grown talent and a very accepting audience.  This year we’re raising money for Air Ambulance.  Singing at this event was something that I was minded to do last year but thought I’d go for it this year.  The song is a good one, as is the musical, with strong Christian themes of redemption, forgiveness and mercy.


My cancer is mostly being held by excellent chemo treatment – but it’s medicine under God’s hand and the prayers of many people.  I just want to serve him with the strength and days he gives me.  There are many opportunities to speak with people and point them to the Son of Man who has conquered death and offers us eternal life.


From John Tristram


Robert, you have done a sterling job with your latest edition. You may be amused to know that I was motivated to Google Darnborough when your 75 years feature mentioned him. There I found a 2000 Guardian obituary which stated that he was educated at a boarding school in St Alban's. This is of course because they picked up on Beaumont School in that town. I wonder how many cases of this misidentification are lurking on the internet?


Ed: - a good number!


From Euan Cameron


I’ve only just realised that you kindly devoted some space to my novel Madeleine in your Autumn Review. That’s very kind of you! Beaumont is named at least once, I think, and it’s referred to indirectly a few times. Now I must attempt a second novel before I reach 80!


From Nigel Courtney


The videos of Beaumont activities in the 1950s and 60s are especially fascinating. As I watched I was filled with admiration, then sadness tinged with anger at the closure of such an excellent institution.


Your record of the Normandy invasion is masterly. My late father, Donald Courtney, was there. He was a Captain in the Royal Artillery and was gazetted for a DSC and two DFCs (he actually received one DFC). This came about because the RAF had become too busy to provide the Gunners with map references of enemy targets. He volunteered to fly and, after three days training, gained his wings.


On D-day he flew very low up and down the beach radioing targets to Naval batteries – including a Dreadnought bristling with 16” guns. His plane was peppered by enemy gunfire but he managed to say aloft. After the fierce German resistance at Caen was finally broken a week later he was given a weekend’s compassionate leave. On his way home he was arrested at Victoria Station by an eagle-eyed bobby who decided that wings on an army officer’s uniform was obviously wrong - my father was clearly a German spy. After two days in the cells at Bow Street he was re-united with my mother … and I arrived 9 months later!


ED: my father as a student just after WW1 was a member of “The Bow Street Club” exclusive to those who had spent at least one night in detention there.


From Marc Allez


Thank you, Robert, for adding my name to the persons to whom you send your mails concerning the Beaumont Union. I do not only like it, but I appreciate your efforts to make it lively.  I am conscious of the work it represents for you, but I can assure you that it is thoroughly perceived.


I believe that life can be divided in three parts !


The first one, roughly from the birth to the age of 30, is mainly devoted to « impregnation » and acquisition of knowledge through our parents, educators, friends and interesting surrounds.


The second one, from the age of 30 to 60 years old, is mainly devoted to professional activity, acquisition of maturity (if ever !) and posterity under family training.


The last one, from the age of 60 to the end of life, is mainly devoted to understand the past and to discover, with surprise and admiration, everything that had not been seen before !  It is also the good moment to realize how important was our education to have an agreeable and interesting life.  Unfortunately, those who were in charge of our education are already dead, so that it will be impossible to thank them, whatever is the desire of it.


Why do I say that ?                                                                                                                              The writing and sending which you assume, is a fair replacement of our gratitude to the Jesuits and civil teachers we had in Beaumont College. Of course, I immediately viewed the pictures sent by you and I had a great pleasure at  it !                                                                                                                                   From the C.C.F. of which I was a member, to the buildings of the school in which I lived for a year, to the river Thames on which I rowed in a crew of 4 and won the 1954 Ascension sculls, to the lawn of cricket of which I never played and to the Rugger field in the Runnymede which I joined because I could run quite fast !


From Philip Stevens.


I enjoyed the Normandy article and have kept it for more detailed study.


 One OB is omitted from your tale.  CP Stevens (29), father of Dominic (58), Simon (58), Philip (63) and Mark, (66) was brought home from the 8th Army in 1943, with wife and three small children aboard RMS Mauretania.  He was to join the joint-Allied staff planning for D-Day, his specific role being planning for medical services before during and after the landings.  To this end, he was responsible for preparing UK-based facilities, including clearing all civilian hospitals in the area of the ports along the south coast, ensuring that IA medical services went ashore in the early waves, followed by larger scale facilities as soon as the Mulberries were available.  He spoke about the gruesome need to plan for 15,000 casualties on D-Day itself, followed by diminished numbers thereafter, all to be lifted off the beaches into landing craft that had demountable stretcher racks.  The value of the planning was given evidence by the fact that of all casualties across all Beaches, a little over ten thousand, 60% survived.  He spoke also about the enormous Netley Hospital outside Portsmouth, used for and after D-Day, where the majority of American casualties, as well as PTSD, shell-shock, casualties were treated.


 After the war, CP was awarded the OstJ for his part in this planning.


 CP's first cousin, Denise Brouzet, lived in Caen during the war, and in August 1944 she was running Red Cross transport in the area of the fighting for the town.  She was helping any wounded, regardless of nationality, and in that August she was arrested by the Gestapo and never heard of again.


 From the Editor:


  You do me an injustice! Within the article you will read:-


 “Wounded within the bridgehead were initially dealt with by the supporting RAMC Field Ambulances until Field Hospitals could be set up and evacuation organised. The medical treatment plan (Triage) was organised and actioned by Lt Colonel “C P” Stevens (29) and his staff and was all part of the detailed organisation that was required by an operation on a huge scale.”


I could perhaps have said more but I was not attempting an Antony Beevor. The story of Denise is typical of the Battle especially as most of the reinforcement troops were Waffen SS.


Philip again:-


Wow!  I missed that entirely, but in defence, m'Lud I was having a preliminary skim and not a proper read.  The very word 'triage' distressed CP for the remaining 20 years of his life.  He felt guilty about the fact that he set up a system that required decisions involving rationing care, having to withhold it from men who should otherwise have survived.  My own opinion, formed over the fifty years since his death, is that he would now be said to have suffered from PTSD for that 20 years period.


On a lighter note, my mother, who died this year, used to recall life on Mauretania as they zig-zagged up the Atlantic.  One memory was of pinning notes onto Dominic's and Simon's shirts: Please don't feed me, if you do, I don't eat my meals.  The other was a crisply uniformed officer coming up to her and presenting the Captain's compliments: Please would she keep the boys out of the gun turrets, the sailors inside them were there to work the guns, not entertain the passengers.


From Michael Bourke


Thank you for your BU update. I appreciate all your work in keeping us together. My brother Brian told me about the lunch at The Caledonian Club and arranged for me to attend. I was actually put on a table with mostly old salts like myself from the RN or Royal Marines. The last time I was at a reunion was a dinner at The East India Club some years ago. Brian told me he met you at the annual war memorial mass again this year as did I several years ago. I'm out of touch with the BU as I live out on the west coast of Canada but have a house in Kent. I am about to retire from a life of medical practice in and out of The Navy, RN and Canadian Navy. I hope to spend more time in England in future and see more of my brother Brian who remains in London and his family.


From Brian Deane.


Must admit that your article (The Irish Argentineans), published in the 2019 Spring Edition of the Beaumont Review, has caused quite a stir amongst many of my Irish Argentinian relatives in this part of the world! Must also complement you on the excellence of your sources! Some of the issues you mentioned in the article, were news to many of us!




I received a copy of the article from Hector Deane, a relative who lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Which brings to mind how the Deane’s got to Ireland in the first place. The first Deane’s to do so, emigrated from Scotland to the Emerald Isle shortly after the Battle of the Boyne. Protestants all, members of the Ascendancy, they thrived and eventually became famous thanks to their architectural fame and abilities. As an aside, I mention my father’s meeting with my mother Olive Nelson in St Moritz, Switzerland, in 1921.




He was captaining the British bobsleigh team competing in the annual Cresta Run event. My mother and several of her cousins, traveling the continent from far away Argentina. The ensuing romance flourished and, as a result, my father travelled to Buenos Aires - a 35 day sea voyage in those days - to request Olive’s hand.




When doing so, my grandmother, Juana Duggan, in no uncertain terms demanded that my father convert to Catholicism, or else! Which he of course accepted, given the circumstances, with alacrity, together with the proviso that the offspring be educated at catholic schools, preferably Beaumont, where so many family members had attended!




Another interesting story took place when the twins, Patrick & Brian, returned from their 5 year experience at Beaumont, in 1955.




Our father confronted us to let us know what he had in mind for us regarding our future career’s:




On the one hand, Patrick’s poor academic performance at school had predestined his future, working in the family’s farm business; Brian on the other hand,  was unceremoniously told that he was destined to become an accountant , and was apprenticed almost simultaneously to  Deloittes as an auditor!




As life would have it, Patrick would eventually end planting soy in Santa Cruz, Bolivia - he happens to be the largest soy producer in that country - and Brian has retired after a long life in banking and business consulting!




From Reg Carlton-Morris


Hi Robert, you have probably seen this B4 but it's always good to look at these important events in history again.


I stepped aboard and toured the Battleship USS Missouri as you may have, at its permanent mooring off the US Pacific coast near Seattle. Had piloted a BA flight into that city and had 2 days free of duty there.


That was over 40 yrs ago and since then was she not recommissioned for the 1st Gulf war as a platform for cruise missiles and taken to the Gulf ?


Or am I thinking of the USS Midway? (Ed: both were there)


Also had the pleasure of being aboard the US Carrier USS Midway in 2010, now based in San Diego Harbor as a floating museum.


Had a wonderful selection of a whole variety of old US naval aircraft aboard. Was a great day out. Cafe aboard too.


It included one aircraft that gave us a surprise in RAF days when I was the Captain aboard an Argosy RAF Transport Command flight in the mid-1960's going to Malta and was flying over the Mediterranean.


It was this big white aircraft that suddenly appeared without warning next to my wingtip, based on a carrier below.


It was a Vought F-8 Crusader. Odd looking aircraft. There were a pair of them working together.


Nice to meet some friendlies.


Unlike meeting Russian MIG-19's unexpectedly when they tried to force me out of our Allied Airspace in the Berlin corridor when I was once again the Captain aboard a Transport Command flight full of passengers in RAF days in that decade going in and out of RAF Gatow, Berlin, on 2 occasions. Needless to say they did not succeed.




About 10 + years earlier (early '50's) the Russians had shot down an unarmed RAF Lincoln Bomber in the corridor and all the crew aboard our Lincoln were killed. 


Also passed close to the USS Ronald Reagan when in San Diego Harbor in 2010, the biggest and latest US Carrier at the time. Maybe still is?


Very impressive from close quarters.


Met Frank Staples (BU '57), a retired London Lloyds Broker, here in Norfolk last October and my wife Rosemary and I took him out to lunch at a favourite isolated riverside pub, The Surlingham Ferry.


Frank had many good photos of his marathon running adventures in interesting parts of the world, including Antarctica, The South Pole and around Mt Everest Base Camp.


The latter involving a 2 week hike from the nearest airport in Nepal....and a 2 week hike back again afterwards to catch his flight out....with the help of Yak oxen to carry his chattels next to high vertical drops.


He came to Norfolk armed with a bottle of celebratory Moet Champagne to share over tea-time together at our converted Barn. (Ed: he might have brought OB Charles Heidsieck or Ayala)


It had been 62 yrs since we last met and neither recognised the other when we met in his hotel lobby in Norwich.




Hope all OK with you.


Have a great Verdun trip.