I have written in the past about anniversaries: there are so many and  they seem to come around so often – even quicker it as we get older and more senior. It is indeed hard to believe that it was ten years ago that we celebrated Beaumont’s 150th with the Garden Party and here we are soon to pass the 160th. Also, hard to believe it is 60 years since the memorable visit by The Queen to the school – how young she looked as were we that were there. It is 101 years since the Golfing Society The BUGS was formed – we should have celebrated last year  but for obvious reasons we were thwarted: not to worry we will make up for it at Westerham next week. Celebrating not only the anniversary but the fact that we are still going, playing a game and most importantly enjoying each other’s company. Finally, we look ahead to the Centenary of our War Memorial: it has been at the centre of the BU since the school’s closure  and  we will mark the occasion in a truly fitting manner. In the meantime, Summer is with us and we might ponder the words of the Hymn written by Beaumont’s 19th century music master Samuel Smith: -


Summer suns are glowing
over land and sea;
happy light is flowing
bountiful and free.
Everything rejoices
in the mellow rays;
all earth's thousand voices
swell the psalm of praise.




(Click here to download a PDF version)





Diary Dates.


26th May: BUGS Spring Meeting at Westerham


                (Full Report in the next Edition)


21st Sept: BUGS v OGGS at Denham





14TH NOV: Remembrance Sunday –








I have previously Emailed you all, concerning the publication of:




And a big “thank you” to all of you who have already bought the book and so contributed to “Hounds for Heroes”.


For those who had deleted my missive  in error or have suffered a memory “glitch:


When I first read Fr Francis’s reminiscences in the Beaumont Reviews  of the early Twenties, I  immediately thought they deserved a wider audience and that they gave a slant on the Conflict that has not been covered before.


There is little of the War’s conduct and its horror and surprisingly scant coverage of his ministry as a chaplain. What we have  are reflections on certain individuals who were his friends and a story of country sport enjoyed in the most unlikely setting, behind the front line, by a man who was a poacher’s collaborator, a whipper-in to a motley pack of hounds and certainly a contented fisherman.


Written under the pseudonym of “Khaki Palmer”. Light-hearted, whimsical and an easy read with the turn of phrase of a man who understood the law of nature. At the end of these short stories, I was left wishing that he had written so much more.



So, This Book has been written by an OB, edited by myself, illustrated beautifully by Bertie de Lisle (as above) and brought to you by Simon Potter: an all OB production.


“Every penny” is going to Charity: HOUNDS FOR HEROES. Which I felt would meet the approval of Fr Francis.


A Cheque will be presented to the Charity  in due course on behalf of  THE BEAUMONT UNION.


PRICE: £12.99 ( the price of a bottle of El Plonko)


BUY ONLINE at WITLEY PRESS; go to  www.witleypress.co.uk  BOOKSHOP which is hosted by Amazon.




I heard from Fr Kevin Fox who wrote: “Just to let you know that the book (2 copies) arrived very promptly. It is very attractive, and an easy read, with the illustrations just right for the context.




A nice coincidence was that I was saying the community Mass to-day here in Boscombe, and noticed from our obituary list that this is actually Fr Fleming's anniversary - he died in Preston (presumably in hospital from the Stonyhurst community) on 11th May 1939. So he and the BU had a very special remembrance at Mass.






Shaun Macloughlin (54) sent this message to all of us.




  Happy Ascension Day” 13th May


The challenge that each of us must face if we would live our lives to the full, if we would respond profoundly to our own humanity, the challenge that we must face is to make contact with this power–source within our own hearts. The call is a call to maturity, to fullness of life, and each of us, as we approach that maturity, must learn to accept our own personal responsibility for this work, for this journey and it is not something that we can avoid, any one of us. Either we become pilgrims and follow the pilgrimage or we do not. We cannot, as it were, pay someone else, pay some substitute to make the pilgrimage for us. The challenge that Christ addresses to each of us is a personal challenge: remain in My love. The second rule for the pilgrim arises from the fact that we do not make the journey alone. The invitation to oneness, to fullness of life is given to all.


The road may indeed be narrow but our vision must be all-embracing and must be extended to infinity. It is not just ‘my’ pilgrimage. It is always ‘the’ pilgrimage. It is never just ‘my perfection’ or ‘my holiness’. The call that each of us has, that every one of us has is to become one with the all-holy God. It is the universality of this call and the response to it that is the basis of all true community. When we share the silence of our meditation together, each of us is transformed as we travel within and beyond ourselves and we each of us and all of us become one in Him. All our cultural, social, educational, religious barriers are transcended in the power of His love.




All of us are aware of the poor state of the Memorial. Under the conditions of the sale to De Vere, they accepted responsibility for its upkeep and cost: it is Grade 2 starred,  so in modern parlance “they have a duty of care”. Up until now the Hotel has been closed but John Flood and myself have asked for a meeting with some urgency to discuss repairs and cleanliness. Understandably, in the current fragile state of “Hospitality”, De Vere  have told us that although they understand our concern it cannot be at the top of their priority list though they appreciate it is the Centenary this year. Rest assured we will continue to “badger” the Hotel hierarchy till remedial action is taken.






Tom Scanlon informed me that:


The Emeriti CC is celebrating its 150th year this season and we are delighted to announce a celebratory 150th dinner to be held at The Oval on Saturday 9th October 2021, with guest speaker Graham Gooch. THIS IS A FORMAL BLACK TIE EVENT, with numbers limited so if you haven't already been contacted by your regular match manager or emailed by the organising committee please get in touch as soon as possible with your email address as this is a First-come, first-served basis. Please email, emeriti150@btinternet.com to express an interest, and you will be informed of the costs, format etc.






 I regret to inform you of the deaths of Kevin O’Sullivan (56) our first and hopefully only Covid victim. Tony Canneaux (55): a member of our CD Choir after a long illness. Likewise Paul Evelyn (66) a loyal supporter of his year. Please see OBITUARIES.






THE SPHERE May 15th 1961 (as it appeared)



The White House, in centre, with the Refectory and Dormitories, on right, and the Infirmary on left, at Beaumont College which will be visited by the Queen next week.




The Roman Catholic school in Berkshire is 100 years old




On May 15, the Queen is visiting the Roman Catholic public school, Beaumont College, near her Royal Palace of Windsor.  The visit is part of the celebrations to mark the school’s centenary.



Boys stand for Grace before Luncheon in the “Lower Line” Refectory


Beaumont was founded by the Society of Jesus on an estate which had certainly existed for about 200 years previously.  It was the property, for a short time towards the end of the eighteenth century of Warren Hastings, the creator of Imperial India.  The oldest buildings to-day date from shortly after his departure.



The Chapel at Beaumont College, designed by Joseph Hansom, inventor of the cab bearing his name.                                                      


It is worth recalling the difficulties facing the first Rector of Beaumont, Father James Eocles, when he took his first boys into the boarding school which he had decided should be part or his community.  The official history records: “ Many were the hard-ships endured in those early days by community and boys alike. Chairs were so scarce that they had to be carried from room to room as occasion required.  Fires were a costly luxury, and on winter mornings the  ice had frequently to be broken in the dormitory jugs.”



J Murphy, a school Vice -Captain sits in his cubicle in which he can study as well as sleep


The contrast with conditions in 1961 needs no stress.  Beaumont through the century has expanded its buildings and brought them as up to date as those of any public school.  There are some 250 boys in the College and nearly ninety in the preparatory school, St. John’s.



A section of the school library. The estate in which Beaumont stands once belonged to Warren Hastings who lived there during his trial.


In general organisation the College follows the usual public school system.  But there are some unusual aspects.  For instance, fagging-that ineradicable memory of most old public school-boys has never been known.  Nor does Beaumont have a conventional “ House “ system.   Boys are divided. Into. “ Higher. Line “(roughly those of sixteen years upwards) and “ Lower Line.”





E Roberts is a senior boy from Buenos Aires


Higher Line is divided into Captains, Senior and Junior Monitors and Higher Line Playroom.  Lower Line is divided into Second and Third Playroom. For sporting purposes, of course, the boys are organised in the appropriate age groups.





Mr P Weare with three members of the Classical Sixth Form. They are on left, J.R. Nightingale, and (behind) P. M. Burden. Right is C.R. McArdle.


Rowing is the only sport which can claim its centenary this year:  This is not surprising when one considers the proximity of the Thames.  Beaumont was an early entry at Henley.  Besides boating, the official sports have been for many years cricket, rugby, tennis, squash, athletics. Boxing. Fencing and hockey.



In the Captains’ room P. Hinds, standing, is with Richard Alison, from Jamaica. The Captain of the School has five Vice-Captains to assist him.


In any properly conducted school sport must remain a recreation.   The real accent is on moral training leading to intellectual development.   The achievements of Beaumont in their totality will be told in Beaumont (1861 – 1961) bv Peter Levi to be published by Andrew: Deutsch later this year.   Father Levi is an Old Boy of the School.





S. Creek and J Boon are both third-year Sixth Formers.


Three years ago, the Beaumont Union, the Association of Old Boys,  was instrumental in launching the Centenary Appeal Fund which aims at a target of £100,000. Some £54,000 has already been raised.  This sum has enabled additional classrooms and studies to be built and a new boat house is under construction.  The Beaumont Union Ball, to be held at the College on June 9, hopes to add considerably to the fund.



A Lesson in progress in an Upper Third classroom


This will be the opening event in the Centenary Week-end, which will reach its climax on the Sunday when High Mass is celebrated in the Chapel.  That service will epitomise the story of Beaumont for all boys, past and present.  To them their motto Aetema Non Caduca needs no translation.                    



The Tuck Shop does a busy trade.



ED: “The Sphere” founded during the Boer War to bring graphic pictures to the public also proved popular during both World Wars. However, it fell into decline and with a dropping circulation, closed in 1964.




15th May



THE whole of Beaumont, from the Rector down to the youngest St John’s boy, was gathered outside the White House to welcome the Queen. The Royal car could be seen as it entered the grounds and moved up the drive; for a moment, it was lost behind the trees and then it reappeared in front of the hushed  and expectant crowd. There was silence for an instant-and then came the cheering. To many of those assembled that afternoon, this was the supreme moment, the moment they will remember most-the arrival of the Queen at Beaumont. As she alighted, the Royal Standard broke from the flagstaff.



The Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, the Hon David Smith, presented the Rector, who in turn presented the most distinguished members of the Staff. The royal party then entered the White House, where the Queen, as reigning sovereign, was able to visit the Papal enclosure. In the Campbell Library, she was shown an exhibition of. Incunabula and manuscripts, including the earliest surviving regional map of England. Then the Queen then proceeded across the lawn to the War Memorial.







When she reached the dais, all sang the National Anthem, after which the Captain of the School read a loyal address of welcome, in which he contrasted the splendours Her Majesty had but recently witnessed in the East and in Italy with the simple but affectionate welcome of Beaumont. This scene too was very moving and we should like to quote the following words, first uttered by an earlier Beaumont boy before Queen Victoria, and repeated to her great-great-grand-daughter:


‘It is our happiness to assure Your Majesty that our loyalty, resting as it does on the firm basis of our religion, is, and will ever remain rooted in our hearts.’






The Queen next presented their Queen’s. :Scouts certificates to four Queen’s Scouts, and was pleased to accept presents from the boys for her own children; for Prince Charles, a St Christopher Medal and a tennis racquet;  for Princess Anne a transistor wireless set; and an abacus, symbol of learning, for Prince  Andrew. The presentations were made by the Captain of the School and the Playroom  Captains who later took it in turn to act as her escorts. To commemorate her visit, the Queen now planted a Tulip tree by the Memorial. May it flourish.



The formal part of the visit thus concluded, Her Majesty now began a tour of inspection.    Moving down the main path across which was lined with boys, she stopped out-side the New Wing, where she met the Captains and Monitors.                              



After seeing the Ambulacrum and something of the glories of the C.C.F, she entered the New Wing and was shown some typical boys’ rooms. Proceeding down through the nether regions of the Old Wing, she came into Higher Line Gallery, off which were assembled the Quodlibetarians and Rhetoric. After meeting this august body, she saw the Library and librarians. It was now the turn of the Second Playroom Captains to escort her through the resplendent and cycle-less Cycle Gallery to the Swimming Bath. Here, against a background of Tubbing, she met the boating coaches and chatted with the Captain of Boats.



 Time now for more academic pursuits. Her Majesty was accordingly taken to the Laboratories, where she watched Grammar II wrestling with pins and mirrors. They made an absorbing sight, and the Queen seemed most interested, stopping to talk to several of the class.



Emerging by the main doors of the laboratories,  !the Queen walked slowly up to the Glass Doors. She first visited the Chapel, where a collection of altar plate and vestments was on view. Speakeasy now awaited her in the Hall. The Rudiments Speakeasy, one should perhaps add for the similarity in age her own son, Prince Charles, and the boys she now saw, explains in part the close attention she paid to their doings. This is in no way to detract from the merits of a spirited debate on the relative excellence of Pops and the Classics, to which she listened with obvious relish. After meeting the protagonists, the Queen went by way of the Twopenny Tube towards the Lower Line Refectory, much the chagrin of those waiting for her in dorm 4.The domestic staff were assembled in the Refectory, and Old Boys in particular will be pleased to know that she shook hands with many fine stalwarts like Albert the  Tailor, Corpse Johnson, Paddy Richardson and Barney Mills. Their emotion was very genuine and deep.


A fleet of land rovers was waiting outside to take the Royal Party up to the Cricket Flat where a game was in progress. Here she met, not only the cricket coaches with Ken and  his groundsmen, but also the staff and head boys of St John’s, for the prep school was there in force. Before returning down to the College, Her Majesty was able to admire the grounds, with their brave prospect of her Castle in the distance. In the Infirmary, to which she now turned, she met Matron, and said a few words to her solitary patient before retiring to the First Guestroom to take tea with the Rector, and a small group of Staff and Old Boys, with their wives.



The boys had meanwhile reassembled in front of the White House, and when the Queen appeared on the steps, all broke into the Domine Salvam Fac, which was sung, and has continued to be sung, with remarkable fervour. In the silence which followed, the Rector made an announcement, which we feel must not be allowed to pass into oblivion. ’By command of Her Majesty, I am to give you a week’s holiday.’



The cheer which greeted this intelligence can be imagined. But it was bettered by the redoubled bursts of cheering that followed the Royal Car as Her Majesty drove away. The Domiue Salvam Fac, the Rector’s announcement and the cheer following it were heard that night on the B.B.C. Home Service, after the News.


Everyone was struck by the evident charm  and graciousness of the Queen. It is, I think true to say that the Queen enjoyed her visit and felt, if one may put it at home among us. She has since presented us with a signed photographic portrait, which she desires may be hung near that presented by her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria.


In attendance upon the Queen were the Lady Margaret Hay, Lieutenant-Colonel the Right Hon Sir Michael Adeane, and Captain Peter Harvey.




Further from The REVIEW


Those who have not seen Beaumont for some time are liable to get a surprise when they revisit the place now. The freshly painted White House stands out serenely on one’s first view of it from the foot of the drive, and as one rounds the bend at the top no longer does the wartime yellow-brown of the Infirmary assault the sensibilities: that too is now painted white; and the drive in front and the wide path between the War Memorial and the new wing-itself of course no mean addition has been re-gravelled. The new sixth-form classrooms in the old Community House are not only pleasing in themselves, but their outlook on to the lawns in May and June is almost distractingly taking. Inside the White House the front hall and its approaches have been painted a pale green and the doors and jambs white, likewise the statues in the niches which are a brown-purple. We have described the new decor of the Community Chapel and First Guest Room in previous numbers. In place of the Plaza Cinema-like tasselled electric light suspension there is now a handsome chandelier.  Upstairs in the White House, where those of the Community live who are not in the new wing or scattered else-where in the school, a transformation has also taken place, and the Queen saw something of this when she visited the Community Library.  Traditionalists will not, we trust, shake their heads because the harp in the First Guest Room has been restrung; nor because the Lower Line Refectory has been repainted and redecorated: with its white figured ceiling and crimson damasked wall-paper it is a rich sight now. But just as much noise as ever issues from it. When the Higher Line Refectory and Third Playroom and the old Community House have received their new look, the fault-finding propensity of Beaumont will be deprived of one whole front for its activities. Even the Ambulacrum now looks nice (inside). And of course ,there is the new boat house, designed by Mr T. Bedford, of which an artist’s impression will be found on another page. This looks nice outside as well in.


ED: This follows the old Services’ idiom “If it’s static Paint it, if it moves Salute it”.





The Bedford designed Boathouse


O.B.’s and parents have very loyally understood the wishes of the College that the visit of Her Majesty should be as informal as possible: that she should see the school and the way it functions and in particular the boys themselves in their various groups, rather, than an untypical gathering which would have restricted the Queen’s movements and stiffened the occasion into something more public and impersonal. The first thought was to give as much pleasure as possible to Her Majesty.


With this in view a small representative party of O.B.’s and parents was invited to meet the Queen, some of whom were already known to Her Majesty: Captain Charles Moore, the Queen’s racing manager (Captain of Cricket, 1898), Mr and Mrs Leo Burgess, Mr Justice and Lady Russell, Mr Godfrey Agnew, Clerk of the Privy Council, and Mrs Agnew, and representing Mr and Mrs Gerald Russell, Mr and Mrs Cyril RusseIL


We are sure that the fact that Her Majesty seemed well pleased with the arrangements will be satisfaction enough to all those for whom the Queen’s visit to Beaumont means so much.




As we know Prince Philip  had no connection with the School though you wonder what Her Majesty said to him about her visit in “61 and years later to St John’s. However, he did have OBs who “worked and played” with him. During his time in the Navy and  particularly while in Malta he may well have met and enjoyed the company of OBs but this is speculation. The first to work for him was Peter de Zulueta as a Major in the Welsh Guards he was appointed equerry in 1954 and worked alongside his father in law General “Boy” Browning of Arnhem fame who was Comptroller of the Household. Both were rather fond of “Madame Bottle” but this did not seem to perturb the Duke.  Responsible for the military ceremonial General Sir Basil Eugster was  at one time, the Major General Household Brigade that would have brought him into contact with the Prince and later when he was the only non-royal Colonel of Foot Guards till his death in 1984. Also, in the early Eighties Johnny Cargin of the Royal Irish Rangers was  appointed as equerry.  Sadly, none of these are with us and cannot give an insight into the Duke’s famed humour.




One who can is  Chris McHugh who was MEO on the Royal Yacht Britannia at the same period.


“As regards the Duke of Edinburgh’s witticisms I witnessed on Britannia, there were many but the one I recall most clearly was what he said to one of the guests at a Royal reception for all the Commonwealth Heads of State held onboard during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference in 1982 in Melbourne. 


“Each Head of State was greeted with due formality by the Commander at the top of the gangway and, as yacht officers, our task was to escort them from that position round the deck to the entrance doors of the Royal Apartments. The Duke was stationed there to welcome them and, after a few pleasantries, to usher them into the throng where the Queen was circulating.


With around 50 guests arriving in quick order, we had to double back to the gangway and collect another guest and a small queue inevitably built up so one made polite conversation.  One  gentleman of  dark hue  was very chatty but clearly nervous. He kept fingering his invitation card and explaining to me that he was not the person named on the card but he was representing his Head of State who was unable to come. Eventually we got to the front of the queue and he repeated to the Duke that his Head of State was unable to come and sent his apologies. The Duke looked him up and down and, quick as a flash, said “Oh, so you’re his apology”. There was a split second pause whilst the gentlemen registered the joke and then said “Oh Yes, I’m his apology” and both men roared with laughter. I then doubled back to the gangway to escort another guest.”


I might add that during the Eighties I was also an Extra equerry and was the butt of Prince Philip’s humour being referred to as “  Oh, its Rhubarb and Custard again” from my regimental uniform.


The Prince was a great sportsman and a particularly good polo player in the Fifties and Sixties. In 1957, having seen him play with his undefeated Argentinean team in England, the Prince invited Juan Nelson (the hired assassin) to play in his Windsor Park Team in 1957 for the prestigious Cowdray Gold Cup which they won. Later, He turned to Competitive Carriage Driving  and referred to the very select group of tandem drivers to which I belonged ( One horse behind the other) as “either eccentric masochists or amiable lunatics”.  – not certain which category I fell into.


A marvellous man who is sadly missed.






S A S.


The following is an article about OB involvement in the SAS which has been awaiting (like a good number of others) publication. I was jogged into finally producing it following correspondence with Mike Muirhead the son of Major Alex Muirhead MC SAS (OB)


Dear Robert 


I am the son (aged 72) of Alexander Muirhead. My wife stumbled across your Union website and I have had a look today. It’s very good.


There is a short entry for my father which I think could do with a few additions and corrections. Please see the file I have attached for the details and my suggested version.I note that you have a section for WW2 with more details of the war records for those who lost their lives during the war. My father had an interesting war which I would like to share with others - but their does not seem to be a similar section for those old boys who survived, or have I just not found it? The photo you show for him is an interesting one. I have another where he is not so casually dressed. Could you put them both on your site for him? Regards and well done for all your efforts.


Mike Muirhead (who went to Stonyhurst, a long long time ago.)


Dear Mike,


How very good to hear from you and thank you for the revised entry for your father. It so happens that I’m currently updating the list which will go on the Website in the next few months. – If this takes time it is because the B U website is a “one man band” and I have to do a considerable amount of research work. Stonyhurst has a full time archivist while we are “the last of the Mohicans”. As a youngster of 72 you must have been at Stonyhurst when the Beaumont drafts arrived: we have always remained hurt that the Stonyhurst Jesuits choose to expunge the Beaumont connection rather than go for the amalgamation we had been led to believe would happen.


However, putting that aside, as a onetime soldier I’m very interested in your father’s wartime service and anything that you can add to it would be gratefully received especially over the Belsen Liberation ( I spent five years stationed next door). There have over the years many claimants to have first discovered the camp: my opinion was that your father as the only one to be medically trained would have recognised Typhus and gave the order that no one should leave till proper medical assistance could arrive.


You may be interested in the attached article on The OB SAS WW2 operatives  There is quite a bit about your father and you may be able to confirm or add to it.


Look forward to hearing more – your father kept in touch with the BU up until his death. Robert.


Dear Robert


Thank you so much for your response to my email and for the attachment with regard to the OBs involvement with the SAS.
I found it extremely interesting and have been carefully reading it. I think you have done an excellent job. I have shown in yellow a number of possible alterations and additions. I have also added a couple of photographs.


I can remember my father being extremely angry when the Jesuits decided to shut Beaumont. They could have shut Stonyhurst instead but Beaumont was far more valuable being in Old Windsor. He was particularly incensed because they had only just completed fundraising for the new wing at Beaumont and he, like so many other OBs, had given money in good faith for this (which he never got back).


I was in my last year or two at Stonyhurst when the Beaumont boys arrived. There were not many of them and they just blended in with the rest of us. I agree, it was terrible that the Jesuits decided to simply expunge the Beaumont connection.


He was a self-contained person who did not speak much about his school or SAS experiences. He had signed the Official Secrets Act and during his working life his time in the SAS was still something that was regarded as “secret“. I went with him on two of his annual visits to the Morvan. I was not able to speak French well enough and so, unfortunately, I only got a limited amount of insight into this extraordinary experience in his life. He was a "temporary" member of the armed forces for 6 years, 3 months and 4 days. I feel sure he did not think it would be that long on that fateful day in Cambridge when he signed up.


Mike Muirhead




THE S.A.S. Connections






In this article I will discuss the role OB’s played “in the background” in the setting up of the SAS. To what extent can always be open to conjecture but I feel they are part of a jigsaw to bring about this famous regiment: a regiment in which several OBs served with great distinction which is also part of their story.


A young officer in the Scots Guards and an Old Amplefordian, David Sterling was part of “Layforce” a commando organisation sent to the Middle East in March 1941 to carry out raiding operations on the Axis lines of communications. Layforce was under the command of the future General Sir Robert Laycock who was the stepson of the Marquis de Casa Maury  (13) then Head of Combined Operations Intelligence. However, with the strategic situation going against the Allies and suffering heavy losses, the commandos were diverted to other roles and raiding was shelved.  Stirling though remained convinced that due to the mechanised nature of war, a small team of highly trained soldiers with the advantage of surprise could attack several targets from the desert, including enemy airfields full of aircraft.


Where did this idea come from?


Convalescing from a parachuting accident, he must have had time to consider another soldier “of bluff and impudence who liked taking swipes at military bureaucracy; Lawrence”.  Was it not Lawrence with Pierce Joyce (96) who together, using a combination of armoured cars and a camel born force, carried out surprise raids long distance raids behind the Ottoman lines? They were also mavericks spurning standard military dress, which the SAS would also adopt.




Image result for colonel pierce joyce images


Colonel Pierce Joyce in unconventional uniform


Returning to Sterling and the formation of his specialist organisation, we learn that, “this audacious and insubordinate young officer burst into the office of the C-in-C’s chief of staff General Ritchie to press his case followed by an interview with General Auchinleck, Wavell’s replacement as C-in-C”. It probably wasn’t so dramatic as both Ritchie and Auchinleck were old friends of the Sterling family. So, knowing the young man they supported the idea and the new force became “L” detachment of a deceptive, non-existent 1st SAS Brigade and the men were mainly recruited from the disbanding “Layforce”.


Image result for sas images ww2http://www.beaumont-union.co.uk/obs_clip_image082.jpg


Familiar headdress                                    Maunsell


This non-existent SAS Special Air Service Brigade was part of the deception plan put together by Colonel Dudley Clarke who in 1940 had brought to fruition the formation of the first commando Units and was now responsible for deception throughout the theatre and Colonel Raymund Maunsell (20) Head of Security Intelligence Middle East (SIME). Maunsell was at this time having huge success in capturing Axis agents and “turning them” but needed false information to feed back into the enemy intelligence system: “the key to this deception was not to make the  enemy think what you wish, but to get them to do what you want”. So, in this particular case “L” detachment SAS as Sterling’s outfit was called, was the only actual “boots on the ground” in the Middle East of this fictitious Airborne Brigade.


What sort of qualities in his men was Sterling seeking? Understandably courage, fitness and determination but also discipline, skill and intelligence. It was inevitable that his band of irregulars would attract some very distinctive characters, some strange ones, some positively dangerous and some very independently minded. Their first operation was a disaster: parachuting into the desert behind German lines with bad weather and in the teeth of a gale and against strong resistance they lost a third of their men. When they changed transport method and were carried in on the jeeps of by the Long Range Desert Group they had success in their clandestine attacks and this became their modus operandi, using their own, heavily armed, Jeeps. The part OBs played in the wartime SAS was related in the books by Ben Macintyre’s, SAS Rogue Heroes, and Damien Lewis’s, SAS Nazi Hunters, from which I have extracted the relevant material.


Alex Muirhead’s view of the desert was a little different. When he left school (38), he was off to St Thomas’ Hospital and Sidney Sussex Cambridge. Alex was going to be a doctor but the war intervened and he had to put such plans on hold. He joined up in Cambridge after being “white feathered” for the third time by the local girls.  He was assigned to the in the Worcestershire Regiment as a Private, which came as a shock to him, having been in the OTC. but eventually a year later, as a newly commissioned officer, he volunteered for active service with to the 1st Battalion  in Tobruk in 1942. To get there he had to take the long and hazardous sea journey round the Cape,  but eventually he arrived in Cairo expecting to be sent on to the front.  However, in the meantime Tobruk had fallen and what remained of the Worcesters were now prisoners of war. He was given the option of returning on the next boat home or to find another regiment. Alex had not joined up to spend his time “pleasure cruising” in U-boat infested waters. He had waited two years to fight Germans so he went off to drown his sorrows in the Officers’ Club in Cairo and work out what to do next. He fell in with a “bad crowd”; members of a newly formed organisation - the 1st SAS.


It must be said that Alex was not in the usual SAS mould, many of whom were could sometimes be ill-disciplined when off duty, argumentative, unconventional and merciless where necessary. Alex played cricket, Captained the 2nd XV, was a Member of Sodality, enjoyed acting and debating, he also boxed and was a Corps Under Officer:  Alex wanted to be a doctor not someone who would naturally kill at close quarters. Despite this, he was accepted and as it turned out he had a special gift.


 Image result for alex muirhead s a s 


By the time Alex had completed the exhaustive training, Alamein had been fought and won and the Desert campaign brought to a satisfactory conclusion. However, the SAS were in danger of disbandment: They had a role in North Africa but in Europe, it seemed uncertain, and to add to their difficulties Sterling had been  was then captured. (He was to end his service in Colditz alongside OBs Howard Gee and Pierre de Vomecourt). The SAS had also suffered some heavy casualties. Luck was on their side but they were to lose much of their independence. “L” Detachment was split into a Special Boat Squadron for amphibious operations (SBS), a special raiding Squadron (SRS) under Sterling’s successor Paddy Mayne.   A second regiment had also been formed (2 SAS) under Sterling’s brother Bill. The 2nd SAS continued to be called by the original name and saw action including raids in northern Italy.: OBs would serve in both regiments.   


SAS SRS cliff training for Cape Murro di Porco - Davis Collection


Palestine Training


Back to Muirhead and in the spring of ’43, he started a fresh round of intensive training with the 1st SAS, soon to be renamed the SRS, in Palestine – ski training in mountains of The Lebanon, was followed by endurance marches, cliff scaling, hand to hand fighting, weapon work and beach landings and obstacles in Palestine and the Red Sea.



Alex with 1st SAS - ski training in The Lebanon for possible action in the Balkans.


They formed a mortar section for the first time and the man selected to command the troop of some 30 untrained men was Alex. He knew nothing of mortars but he had the mathematical mind necessary for the precise and devastating art of hitting the enemy positions and they developed their own method of firing the mortars from scratch and became very competent and fast at doing it. “They could put 12 rounds into the air before the first hit the target”. Alex was to prove a key asset.




On 10 July the invasion of Sicily began and the first task of the SRS was to knock out the artillery defences at a key point on the coast – Capo Murro di Porco. The Cape was a veritable fortress; 18 heavy guns atop a steep rock cliff also equipped with searchlights: defenders would outnumber the SRS by 50 to 1. Failure would expose the invasion fleet to intensive heavy shelling with dire consequences.






The SRS went in by landing craft and had the harrowing experience of having to cut through a large part of the airborne glider force that had been released by their tow aircraft too soon and had crashed in the sea; all about them were drowning men including Victor Steiner (37) one of the pilots. The Their mission was too vital to stop and assist. In the early hours while it was still dark, the SRS hit the beach and arrived at the foot of the cliffs and raised their scaling ladders. The Italians were then alerted and machine guns opened up but so did Alex with his mortars: his second mortar bomb hit the main cordite dump and there was a huge explosion and after that it was all over relatively quickly. The majority of the enemy surrendered, those that didn’t were summarily dealt with. The 3 green Verey lights was were fired and the “invasion fleet” came in. The SRS Operation was described as “brilliant in every aspect”: Muirhead had played a key role and proved his worth. Paddy Mayne was delighted and offered him a medal or  promotion.  He chose the promotion, as it would give his wife back home a larger widow’s pension (he rated his chance of survival in this type of warfare as low).  Much later in the war, Alex was awarded the MC for this and other actions.


The next day the SAS and a commando unit captured the key Port of Augusta in a seaborne operation which had not been part of the original invasion plan.  High Command were delighted.


Mainland Italy was next with a number of leapfrog landings ending with the capture and holding of the strategically important position of Termoli.  They were then withdrawn to England to start preparations for D-Day but not before they had been posted to a North African transit camp where many of them including Alex caught malaria, something which dogged him for the rest of his life.


The war in Italy was an unsatisfactory time for the SAS, losing much of their independence and being used in the commando role rather than as raiding parties. On the one occasion that 2 SAS had that opportunity they had two men captured and executed: Hitler had issued new orders which meant that any SAS personnel taken were to be summarily shot: SAS despite being in uniform were to be treated no differently than captured members of the SOE.




France and Normandy now beckoned and both regiments (1 SAS getting their name back) returned to England to prepare for the invasion. Initially, they were told that they would be sent in as a barrier of shock troops between the invasion force and the German reserves: this was not their perceived role, for they were trained to fight well behind the front line, not on it. Bill Sterling resigned over the issue but the SAS eventually got its way, they would go in to destroy communications, impede troop movement, assist the Resistance and cause havoc; it would bring in two other OBs.


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The first of these was Peter Lancelot Le Poer Power (29), who seemed to have eased through school “on the seat of his pants”. His high points were playing a little rugby, some Schismatic cricket and a very low profile in the OTC. He left to breed horses and then became a tea planter in Ceylon before being commissioned in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers at the outbreak of war. He had fought in North Africa carrying a scar across his face from a stray bullet and joined 2 SAS in Italy; he was MID on one of their raids. He would now lead one of five, three men teams that would be dropped into France on the eve of D Day to “sow confusion” for which he would be awarded an MC.


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Bill Ellery Anderson (35) was more the maverick; his only claim to fame at school was in the Boxing ring. In 1939 he signed on as a Trooper in the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars followed, like Muirhead with a commission in the Worcesters but he soon volunteered for the airborne forces and fought with the Parachute Regiment in the Desert and was awarded his first MC, Sicily, where he was wounded and then Italy. He then joining the SAS. He, like Power went in to Normandy prior to D Day landing in a muck heap he had to have a bath before commencing havoc. He was to say that French manure was worse than English and one assumes that he had experienced both. Later in another operation, he was out scouting on a bicycle “all went well and I was enjoying myself until I passed a couple of Jerry soldiers, who were out walking, the pump came off and stuck in the chain and I went head over heels, hit the deck and then the bike hit me. I let go a mouthful “Fuck me you bastard”. I then remembered the Jerries and started cursing in French but all the time thinking I had had it. Luckily, they just laughed, helped me to my feet and off I went pedalling like hell”. Of the Five teams that went in prior to the invasion, two were commanded by OBs.


Op Houndsworth


Meanwhile Alex Muirhead parachuted into the Morvan, in the Massif Central, densely forested hills near Dijon, 400 miles behind enemy lines, with a larger force (A Squadron) on the 19th June on Operation Houndsworth. Here they joined up with the local Maquis and on their information, set up an ambush for an enemy mobile column; Alex and his section strung a thin steel wire between two trees across the road. The lead motorcyclists were spectacularly decapitated and then the Bren guns opened up: it was a massacre with 31 Germans killed and their vehicles destroyed. The German officer in charge was killed and he happened to be the son of the local garrison commander.  Vengeance was swift with villages burnt, nearby Dun-Les-Place Montsauche particularly suffered with innocents executed and women raped. The village of Montsauche was then burnt.  This cycle would continue following every other attack made by the SAS such was the cruelty of this war.


1 SAS (A Squadron) group 1944


Captain Alex at the wheel


The force in the Morvan was strengthened by the arrival of jeeps parachuted in: they had been the favourite form of transport since the days in the desert and provided mobility with firepower with their twin Vickers machine guns. They also dropped a 6pdr anti-tank gun but Alex put it to another use when in early August a large transport plane, a Junkers 52 passed overhead and in range; Alex took a shot, hit it and brought it down.  Next up, they discovered a large synthetic oil factory near Autun producing fuel vital to the German forces; it was an ideal target. However, timing was critical as the workforce were French and the attack needed to be made between shifts. On the 10th August a team of 7 jeeps arrived close to the perimeter fence and at 3.30 am, in full moonlight, the first forty mortar and incendiary bombs hit the factory. The ensuing spectacle prompted Muirhead to lyricism, the bombs and the follow-up machine gun fire ensured that the oil plant burnt for four days.


The operation came to a close 6 September; the SAS were not without losses but to their credit the Squadron had, apart from the successes already mentioned, blown railway lines some twenty-one times, de-railed six trains, destroyed some seventy vehicles and killed over 200 Germans.  They had been operational, far behind enemy lines, continuously for almost 3 months.


Op Loyton


While Alex was busy in the Morvan, Peter Power and 2 SAS were given a new task – Op Loyton: their mission, between 12 August and 9 October 1944, was to be parachuted  into the Vosges Mountains in North-Eastern France close to the German border, which unknown to intelligence at the time had been reinforced with SS troops. As a result, the Germans quickly became aware of their presence and conducted operations to destroy the SAS teams. In fact, the advance party consisted of, not only SAS but “Phantoms”: specialist personnel expert in communications and SOE  who would also  finance and assist the Resistance. Despite the increased German presence, it was felt that the Vosges provided a good hunting ground and the mission should continue and support brought in. The SAS advance party waited at the expected drop zone for a couple of nights but there was no drop and no Peter. Well, there had been a drop with their vital supplies, but 20 miles over the hills to the west.


Peter Power, now a squadron commander had picked 9 of his best men to go and assist the mission, he now found himself in the midst of the local Maquis. Peter knew that the advance party was in dire straits and he needed to get to them as quickly as the terrain and the Germans would permit. Leaving behind the stores and weapons much to the joy of the Maquis, he prepared to head east. Before doing so, he traded his “goodies” for information; learning of an SS troop concentration at Vincey and a dump of 3 million litres of petrol at Nomesy, he radioed the co-ordinates to London. Both were hit by the RAF - 400 SS soldiers were killed and the fuel totally destroyed. Finally, before leaving, with the assistance of the Maquis, they dropped timed explosives into the ammunition wagons parked at a nearby depot transforming the base into a “fireball”. First blood to the SAS mission.


To lead the party over the mountains they needed a guide and here Peter struck lucky, meeting up with a young girl – Simone whose reputation for courage was already legendary among the Maquis.”Barely 17, golden hair, delicate features, combining the grace of a deer with the strength of an ox. She had endurance over the hills and an innate sense of danger akin to a wild animal”. Led by Simone, Peter and his party disappeared into the densely forested mountains. 


Meanwhile the Advance party rather than hunting had become the hunted and were kept constantly on the move. Just as they thought things couldn’t get much worse news came of another air drop. This time it was a 23 man team led by their redoubtable Colonel, David Franks – Bill Sterling’s successor. With him was his intelligence officer – Christopher Sykes (son of Sir Mark OB). Following his father’s death in 1919, he had been sent with his brother to Ampleforth (bullied) then Downside (buggered). Like Mark a diplomat, and a fluent French speaker: initially he had been with SOE before joining the SAS.


https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/815LT1lwsOL._SL1500_.jpg P. Power


Sykes                                                                 Power



Their arrival was a major boost to morale, all they needed now were their jeeps to be sent in and Peter Power, who had seemingly dropped off the face of the earth, to make it safely through.


On 17 September, Peter and his team finally made it to the base camp, they had marched through dozens of miles of hostile and mountainous countryside, evading the German hunting parties and tracking the main SAS force which had always remained a step ahead of them. Luck was changing; two days later and the first delivery of 6 jeeps parachuted in and the force had its speed and firepower.




The Jeeps dropping in


Once complete, Franks led out his complete raiding party; it split into three and Peter’s section were the first to strike in what was to be the most successful part of Operation Loyton. He found the perfect ambush position where vehicles would be forced to slow to a junction. Thick cover was ideal for the jeeps and the machine guns had an excellent field of fire. It was not long before a slender and stylish bonnet of a staff car hove into view but followed by a second and then a third and finally a lorry carrying escort troops for the VIPs: they were lambs to the slaughter. Peter waited till they were all in view and then let rip which was the signal for the others to open fire. 2000 rounds later and it was a scene of complete devastation: no one was left alive but in the silence that followed they heard the whine of engines further down the road, it was time to make good their escape back to their mountain lair. It was just as well as there was a large column of heavily armed troops coming up the road: they got out just in time.




Peter’s team


Peter’s devastating hit stirred up a hornet’s nest. You cannot destroy staff cars full of senior commanders without some significant ramifications.  The German response was swift and vengeful; as in the Morvan it was the local villages that suffered and their innocent inhabitants killed or transported. As it happened, the day after mass deportations, Peter had another success with the German high command when by chance his patrol saw a Staff car travelling at high speed: they hit it with the Vickers at maximum range and it careered off the road at the next bend with the occupants peppered with bullets. It was the SAS’s last “jeeping” success as the villages were now being garrisoned and the road patrols stepped up.




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 The force was tying down the Germans but they were reduced to attacks on foot and their vulnerability saw rising casualties. The impetuous Maquis had also been hit hard, hunted down by the increasing number of Germans in the area. Early October and it was getting cold – snow and hail, they were almost out of rations and ammunition and re-supply was impossible with the German presence: they knew the Germans were closing in. On the 6th October at their base camp, they heard what they feared most the sound of advancing troops and the whine of tracker dogs, their only option was to remain silent and still in the hope of evading the search: it was a tense time but somehow they remained undiscovered. John Hislop, the “Phantom” member of the team and better known as a champion amateur jockey and later trainer wrote: “Major Peter Power, leant against a tree, as inscrutable as the sphinx, He lit a cigarette, the tip barely glowing, and his face was as expressionless as if he was scrutinizing a particularly promising hand at poker and awaiting the next play”.


Colonel Franks took the decision that it was time to get out. They abandoned their remaining jeeps and moved out in under the cover of darkness carrying just their personal weapons and what food and drink they could reasonably take. The next morning the Germans found the camp. It was decided that the force would split into four six-man teams to maximise their chances of making it through to the advancing American troops. Franks would keep Peter with him together with Sykes, Hislop and a couple of others. Spending the night hidden by a family, they were awakened to the arrival of the SS who systematically destroyed everything the family possessed including killing their animals. The family gave nothing away and the team were itching to intervene and kill the thugs, but what then? They could hardly take the elderly couple with them. They had to move out leaving the couple amidst the remains of a home.


A couple of nights later, they reached the River Meurthe but the bridges were too well guarded: they would have to swim for the far bank. One of the party was a non-swimmer and Franks and Power decided to take him between them. Preparing for the crossing, a patrol came upon them and they had to run for it. Peter tripped on a fallen telephone wire and went flying but “being a seasoned rugby player (2nd XV), he was up and running in a flash. Shots rang out but none found their mark and they found cover in the thick undergrowth.


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That night was freezing and to add to their hunger, Sykes was hallucinating, then at dawn another patrol and flight once more with bullets flying. The end seemed in sight but again luck was with them but for how much longer? The team was now split with Power, Hislop and one other together. That night was pitch black and Peter decided it was now or never: with the other two holding on to each other’s belts he set a compass bearing for what he hoped was American held ground. After swimming the Meurthe eventually, they arrived at a road which he felt certain was in by now in friendly hands and they took to cover; dawn brought the first American troops and they were safe. Most of the other teams eventually made it


Operation Loyton would probably have never gone ahead if Intelligence had known the enemy strength in the Vosges but they had created chaos and havoc that only the SAS could deliver. The enemy were kept in a state of tension, never knowing when they would be ambushed, roads, rail and depots blown up: a whole German Division had been diverted to deal with just thirty odd men. “Nothing struck fear into the hearts of the enemy as much as seeing their high command being targeted and killed”. Against this was the terrible retribution on the local population and that over half the force were posted as “missing”: It was later discovered that in accordance with Hitler’s orders they were all executed many suffering torture beforehand.




Germany and Belsen


The high command wanted the SAS to be part of the final push into Germany.  They were assigned to be spearhead troops, a job for which they had not been prepared or trained and which was far from their normal roll.  Their jeeps had been armoured at the front but not on their sides.  They were sitting targets in “tin cans on wheels”.  Notwithstanding this, they were still highly effective.





Belsen ( IWM)


With the end of the war insight in sight, Alex Muirhead, by now the officer commanding  A Squadron, as Bill Fraser his predecessor  had been injured in a fire fight, was heading in the direction of Kiel with the objective of the submarine base, trying to prevent senior Nazis escaping to South America in U-boats. They were approaching Hohne, Hitler’s principle tank barracks and training area in mid-April 1945, when one of their recce patrols came across a camp by accident - it was Belsen. Alex wrote later; “We did not have the manpower to take over the camp and I realised that typhus, dysentery and other infectious diseases were rife. (Alex unlike his brother officers was medically trained) I called the Commandant and  told him to keep the place secure, but if he, or any of his men left their posts, I would personally shoot him and all his guards”. In fact, many of the SS had already fled and had cut the water supply on their departure.  What Alex did not write, was that what he and his detachment saw, was enough to make battle hardened soldiers sick; it was “living Blasphemy”. Thousands of dead, dying and emaciated human beings; people in such a state, that for many, even the arrival of food, water, warmth and treatment arrived too late. Sadly, many more died when relief arrived, from eating rich food they were given after so long been starved.


On the German surrender the SAS were withdrawn to England.




The Germans in Northern Europe had surrendered but the Germans in Norway were under a separate command and had not.  The 1st SAS was flown to Norway to take the surrender and assemble the prisoners. 


Alex soon found himself in a commandeered small fishing boat heading out towards a Flotilla of the most advanced German submarines, at their mooring in the fjord at Kristiansand.  He went on board and up onto the conning tower of the flotilla commander’s U-boat and demanded his surrender. He replied, in good English, that he would only surrender to the British Navy!  Alex replied with a bluff.  He would call in the British Air Force and sink them all.  After a pause for thought, the surrender was taken and the commander handed over his gilded ceremonial navel dagger, his night vision binoculars and his boots, all of which Alex kept as treasured mementos.







Alex of the 1st SAS on the way out to take the surrender of U-boats





The U-boat crew on U 2353 give Alex their last formal “Heil Hitler” salute.




Only one of the U-boats gave Alex the straight arm Heil Hitler salute. The others simply paraded on board. Alex was to  say that this all depended on the "political officer" on board. Each U-boats had to have one. If they were hard liners they would order the crew salute like this. Other political officers were more casual in their approach by this time at the end of the war. After all, Hitler was dead.




On another occasion, while escorting a disarmed German regiment to their internment camp, he and his men were shot at from the steep valley sides by Norwegians seeking revenge on the Germans for atrocities they had committed.   His men were in danger and Alex said he came close to rearming the German as the only way to deal with the situation.


The SAS were ordered not to buy or take any provisions from the Norwegians.  They were expected to live on army rations which were in short supply. However, Alex and the other SAS officers occupied the former German headquarters and decided that German supplies did not fall within the order, so they lived on smoked salmon, Beluga caviar and bottles of French champagne.  The Norwegian wives, mistresses and their children of the German officers stayed on in the  headquarters needing protection and they used the swimming pool there along with the SAS officers.


While in Norway, Alex was promoted to Major and was confirmed in command of A Squadron.  Alex also received official notification of being awarded his MC.


Later, while visiting Alex’s Squadron, Paddy Mayne had one of his drunken bouts and lost control, beating up the owner of the hotel in which they were all billeted.  Alex returned from a short trip down the coast that day to find he had to write a report on the incident for Paddy Mayne’s superiors.  The 1st SAS were hurriedly withdrawn back to England shortly afterwards.






Spring ’45 and the German Army was collapsing and for the most part giving up without a fight, it also meant there was little or no role for the SAS left in Western Europe and any thought they could be of use in the Far East was brought to an abrupt halt by the atom bomb drops on Japan. The powers that be, perceived a new type of war and with a smaller peace time army no need for Special Forces and certainly not one so independently minded: they were disbanded in October 1945.  However, a small group survived unofficially under David Franks specifically to hunt down the Nazis responsible for the executed men in the Vosges and on other operations: this they did.


Returning to civilian life was not easy for men who had been at the forefront of the action: some turned to drink, others a life of petty crime or homelessness but what happened to the OBs that I have mentioned?


P. Power


Peter Power, who had shown such coolness at times of extreme danger, went back to tea planting in Ceylon as if the War had been but a passing interlude; he also continued with his love of horses. He died in 1998 aged 86.


In a similar vein Alex Muirhead finished his medical studies.  While working at St Thomas’  Hospital, London, he joined the newly formed Territorial 21 SAS as their Hon Medical Officer.  Post war times in England were bleak so he soon moved with his wife and 2 children to Cape Town, South Africa, where he was a GP for 4 years.  Returning to England to train further at St Thomas’ and become a surgeon, then going round the world twice as a ship’s doctor looking for a new place to settle.  Alex was appointed to an excellent post in Canada at the University of Vancouver.  Fate intervened and the fact that he had been born in (the now independent) India under the Raj, and the 2 generations before him, meant that the Canadian authorities regarded him as “Indian”, despite being a UK passport holder.  This was something he found unacceptable so the move was cancelled at the very last moment.


He then became the Chief Medical Officer for the BBC for twenty- one years.  This included a trip to Ascension Island and another to Aldabra in the Seychelles with a special team to confirm the island as suitable for a British/American air base during the Rhodesia UDI crisis.  Landing in an inflatable Z-boat, the team found such a perfect paradise that they (secretly) agreed between themselves to report back that the island was not suitable, saving it and its turtles and birds from a terrible fate like Diego Garcia, another British Territory in the Indian Ocean, which is still an American bomber airbase. 


In his 50s while at the BBC, Alex also volunteered as the doctor on board a British Naval protection ship, a frigate, escorting the British fishing fleet during the Icelandic Cod War.  This was during the winter and he was drenched in heaving icy seas while crossing on a “breeches boy” to reach and treat a fishermen on a trawler, who had been badly injured while fishing in these perilous seas.


His time with The Regiment the 1st SAS meant a great deal to him and he organised annual reunions with the Maquis for many years in his later life. When he died in 1999, some of his ashes were taken to the Maquis Bernard Cemetery in the woods near their camp at Montsauche. The cemetery is dedicated to 21 known fallen members of the local Maquis, and  seven RAF aircrew who crashed nearby in Aug 1944. Towards the rear of the cemetery are, his ashes buried alongside three of his other “A” Squadron comrades.


Bill Anderson was one of those who continued to yearn for action: he stayed on in the army finding yet another regiment – the Royal Ulster Rifles. He spent time after the War hunting down Nazi Criminals in Germany and Austria before going out to Korea. Here he tried to set up SAS type operations behind the lines but the British command said it was too dangerous. Bill went to the Americans and convinced them that it was feasible: he became the only man to lead such teams in that conflict and he was given a Bar to his MC. Eventually, finding that the Americans were going to change the “modus operandi”, like Bill Sterling, he resigned and took himself off to the Antarctic for two years. This was followed by taking a yacht  out to Australia but they were shipwrecked off South America and took two weeks getting his crew to safety; the flora and fauna changed him and he gave up battling his demons - his next expedition was botanical to collect specimens in the Andes. One General said of Bill “he collects gongs like others collect luggage labels: he was a man and a half”. He died in 1992 at the comparatively young age of 73.


Of course, the story of the SAS did not end, within two years the Regiment was reformed as part of the based on the TA Artists Rifles as 21 SAS and finally in 1952  the regular regiment once more came into being as the 22 SAS. Since then four OBs have served with the SAS and three of those in the early Sixties. Gilbert Conner (56) with a background of boating and boxing at school was commissioned in The Royal Fusiliers from Sandhurst and was MID with “D” Squadron in Borneo in 1965 during the Indonesian – Malaysia confrontation.  


Here they adopted a "shoot and scoot" policy to keep their casualties to a minimum. Known as "Killer Groups", they would cross the border and penetrate up to 18 kilometres disrupting the Indonesian Army build up, forcing them to move away from the border.  Reconnaissance patrols were also used to enter enemy territory and identify supply routes, enemy locations and boat traffic.



Glyn Williams


Glyn Williams (49) served in the SAS with Michael Gooley (46), later founder of Travelfinders, Glyn was part of a large family at Beaumont though not related to those from Tullamore. Glyn’s father Lawrence was a solicitor and had served alongside George Sass and Florrie Ford in the South Lancashire Regiment. Five other brothers had passed through Old Windsor between the Wars and three served with the RAF; Emrys, the youngest was killed on operations in November 1942 with 131 Sqn.


On leaving school in 1949, Glyn went to Sandhurst and was commissioned in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment. Although, he was remembered as a rugby player and a wetbob at school, he was nicknamed Punchy in the regiment for his prowess with his fists. He completed several tours with the SAS including adjutant of the regiment. On a mission in Aden when commanding D Sqn he was awarded an MC.


In February 1966, one of his troops operating in Haushabi reported a gang of twelve dissidents on the move. Since the enemy were not within range of the patrols, Glyn gave orders to his reserve troop to be lifted by helicopter to a blocking position. This was completed and a fire fight developed and the gang scattered. They would have escaped had not Glyn with initiative and determination repositioned his forces using the helicopter support to encircle them; four were killed and four wounded including two important rebel leaders.


This was a highly successful operation during which Glyn “unhesitatingly exposed himself to enemy fire and his contribution and command together with his personal courage, skill and resourcefulness were an inspiration to the squadron and in the highest tradition of the service”.


Such has been the contribution of OBs to the SAS whose ethos has never been one of elitism but humility in success and a reticence in their particular skills of fighting.




CRICKET Jottings



Aficionados of the bat and ball understandably love to talk of the great players and the stories attached to them and your Editor was reminded of this with the Compton and Edrich Stands that are currently being built at Lords . I have to admit that I was totally ignorant of this except for a conversation with my late brother in law just before he died (a cricket ball currently has pride of place on his grave). I digress: the importance of Denis Compton and Bill Edrich is that they first played together on the 25th June 1935 at Beaumont.



Edrich and Compton


The College XI of that year was one of the most successful despite having only McNiven and Seward as Old Colours from the previous season.


They were to win all six school matches (Eton 2nd Upper Club was drawn): The Oratory was crushed at Lords and two days later they met the MCC.


So, the XI was expected to put on a good performance, sadly it was lacklustre and batting first on a firm wicket, they were all out for 143. The 17year old Denis Compton took the wickets of the openers McNiven and Girkins. Only Goldsmith and Chamberlain batted well with the former carrying his bat for 43. Bill Edrich, two years older than Compton, bowled Cussen and caught Seward.


The MCC batted after lunch and knocked up 282: Compton was not out for 43 and Edrich was caught by future Army player Eric Cooper-Key for 17.


Of the College XI, I note that Pace, Chamberlain, Burden, Goldsmith and Hetreed had sons at Beaumont. Girkins married Seward’s sister and Pace married the daughter of Sir Alec Russell.


At the end of the season John McNiven, the Captain, had the distinction of having scored more runs for the 1st XI than any other Beaumont boy with 1392 overtaking the 1326 of Denis Russell (27) who later played for Middlesex. McNiven  went on to Sandhurst ( he missed half of the MCC match sitting his entry exams) and served with the 12 Punjab Regiment.


 The 1938 season and Compton was back again but without Edrich for the Beaumont Match.


The Beaumont side had a new coach: William Naylor, previously of Essex, who had looked after the XI for the previous seven years retired and in his place came Andy Sandham.



English player, a right-handed batsman who played 14 Tests between 1921 and 1930. Sandham made the first triple century in Test cricket 325 against the West Indies in 1930, and scored over 40,000 first class runs.


It might seem that 4 matches won, 4 drawn and 4 lost doesn’t seem very impressive for the 1938 team but in fact they knocked up 2394 in 13 innings; they lost the Oratory match but beat Eton. Against the MCC, they batted to 197 all out. Compton taking the first wicket of opener Kenneth Nixon (later SJ and 3rd Bt). For the MCC, Peter Foster (Oxford University and future Kent player) scored 123: Compton was 4 not out in a total score of 248 for five.  Future SAS operative Alex Muirhead took the wickets.


After the War, Sandham returned to Surrey as coach and delighted in the county's seven successive County Championships in the 1950s.




Well, being “like a dog with a bone” I couldn’t leave it there: Put aside OB cricketers of repute such as  C E de Trafford and the  Irish Meldons, were there any other legendary characters associated with Beaumont?


Nothing mentioned in the History 1861 -1911, but in one of the first REVIEWS:-


“The chronicler of our present cricketing season ought properly to issue his report in black edged paper, so many bright young hopes, and may he say, budding reputations has he to record the death of. He ought I say, to write with a cypress pen on the tombstone and blot his pathetic tale with tears, only he finds his desk more convenient and does not care to weep in public. Besides he asks why should he weep?  Is not the truth, the truth?  Had the team met with undeserved disgrace, “ Quist alia fando temperetna lacrymis !’ But has it not rather proved unequal to the task.” 


(ED:The side include Philip Meldon member of one Ireland's most famous cricket families whose deeds spanned two generations. A forcing right-handed batsman, whom some thought unreliable, he was a very good leg spinner of whom Pat Hone wrote, "He must have been the slowest bowler who ever bowled in reputable cricket." His deliveries seemed easy to counter, but they claimed the best, including WG Grace, Monty Noble and Victor Trumper.)



 So Beaumont needed some assistance and it came in the form of William Attwell of Notts and England.a medium pace bowler who was renowned for his extraordinary accuracy and economy. On the many sticky or crumbling pitches encountered in his prime Attewell could get on a great deal of spin so as to always beat the bat, whilst his accuracy would make slogging – the only way to make runs under such conditions – very difficult. He was responsible for the development of "off theory" – bowling wide of the off stump to a packed off-side field to frustrate batsmen on the rapidly improving pitches of the 1890s. At times Attewell was a useful batsman for his county, and he scored 102 against Kent. He was the first person in test history to be dismissed for a King pair.  (Against Australia in Sydney 1891-2 : pair in cricket refers to when a batsman is dismissed for a duck in both innings. It is called a 'king pair' if the batsman gets out for a golden duck, getting out on the first ball he faced in both innings.)


Attwell combined assisting at Beaumont while still playing first class cricket which he did until 1899 and it is not clear when his association with the school ended: I can only report that following his appointment the standard greatly improved.


The next Coach mentioned was Charles Etheridge who was retained during the Great War and its aftermath. Etheridge was a slow left arm bowler and tail-end batsman who played for Sussex at the turn of the century. Not a remarkably player but a good coach who was much mourned when he died suddenly in post in 1926 just before the first Lords Match.  His replacement was Walter Mead.





 He had been the principal bowler for Essex during their first two decades as a first-class county. As a member of the Lord’s ground staff, he was also one the most important bowler for MCC and Ground who in those days played quite a number of first-class matches.


A right arm bowler of slow to medium pace, Walter Mead always maintained an excellent length and could spin back to deadly effect whenever wickets were affected by rain. He could vary his stock off break with a ball that turned the other way, but he lacked the deceptive flight to do well on firm pitches. He rarely did much as a batsman, but when sent in as night-watchman against Leicestershire in 1902 he surprised the crowd so much by making 119 that there was a special collection for him as a reward.


Walter stayed as the Beaumont “Pro” until 1931 when, as mentioned above William Naylor became the Coach.


When the War ended and the departure of Sandham, The school was fortunate to  appoint David Cecil Fowler Burton:-



 Better known as Cecil Burton, he  played for Cambridge University (1907-1908) (MCC) (1910-1922) and Yorkshire  (1907-1921). He captained Yorkshire from 1919 to 1921 and in that first season they overcame the odds to win the County Championship. He toured with the MCC including the West Indies 1912-13.


 A right-handed batsman, Burton scored 3,057 runs in his 130 first-class matches, with a highest score of 142* against Hampshire. His other century, 110, came against Leicestershire He averaged 20.24 with the bat, and took 54 catches in the field.


Hugh Dinwiddy his successor wrote the following appreciation:-


THOSE at Beaumont who have known Mr. D. C. F. Burton well at any time during the eight years he has been with us, may have noted that, when he has finished a conversation, he frequently ducks his head, puts his cap under his arm, and runs into the middle distance.  Perhaps he is in pursuit of a motor bus? But why the suggestion of body swerve, and why is the cap not worn?


These are secret questions, and few would presume to answer them. There were three tries scored. On the wing for Cambridge against the Harlequins in pre-1914 days, and there were many other triumphs to his name, He one of the unlucky men selected to play for Cambridge against Oxford, but unable to play owing to injury. At that time a Combined Universities side played against the Midland and East Midland Counties, and he was picked for this game and later won an England Trial cap as a wing three-quarter.


All these are important achievements in the game and live in nerve and sinew to this day. We know him too as a Yorkshire Cricket Captain of the period immediately following the First World War, The present writer remembers, as a boy, cutting his photograph from the paper and adding it to a collection of first-class cricketers he was then making. There is a jaunty air in the tilt of his cap, and half a smile beneath the white rose- the  meaning of which only the white rose knows.    In Yorkshire cricket he holds, with Wilfred Rhodes, the record for the seventh wicket of 253 made against Hampshire, which his own score was 149 not out. He was Captain of the Champion County XI at the Oval in 1919.


Mr. Burton was a fine batsman and a  brilliant fielder at cover point though his  hands are unusually small; he has, too, what came to be an instinctive knowledge of the game. It is almost true to say that he was ‘brought up on a cricket field, for his family home at Cherry Burton, in Yorkshire, was blessed with a private ground, and there, in  the atmosphere of Country House cricket, he learnt  the traditions of the game, to which ‘has remained so loyal.


It is these, with his knowledge, and with his skill in the game, that he seeks to give to the young. In Rugby Football and in Cricket he has been matched with the greatest players of his day. He has followed the course of both games in a changing world, and has kept in touch personally with those now holding the stage. He is not one of the old players who cannot grow away from “what it was like in my day.” No! his single thought, as a coach of young players, is to make games for  them alive with creative possibility. And, we,  at Beaumont, are extremely fortunate to have had a man with such a deep knowledge of games, and with an unerring touch in knowing how to impart it to the inexperienced.




He has coached the 1st XI for eight seasons and the 1st XV for six seasons, and has made many grateful friends among the boys, who have benefited from knowing him, and from the wisdom of his coaching. “Once you know what the twinkle in his eye means, you begin to make progress,” was the judgment of one of his cricketers. He has a way of imparting his own power of concentration to those he teaches, but, with this, goes the twinkle. It is an unexpected pleasure to watch him demonstrate a cricket stroke with anything - squash-racquet, stump, bat-t hat he has in his hand and to observe the watchful penetration of eye and poise of body that go into it. And  then, in the winter, speaking of forward play in the open: “But, I saw the ball stationary on the field (down on the front drive would be placed his Boots’s Library book) and nobody was up to dribble it on.” The concentration in this action makes one’s very toes twitch.


Games for Mr. Burton are serious fun. He, I remembers, or, more truthfully, he “re-lives,” with utmost clarity the details of past encounters, blending his own playing days with those of the teams he has coached during the last twenty years.  He will not forget the Beaumont XV of 1948, which, under the Captaincy of Tom Russell, went through the season undefeated.  In his own language, tinged with Biblical reference, “They confounded their opponents,” as, indeed, did the 1946 Cricket XI, with P. de Zulueta as Captain. In eight years, there was only one  defeatbat Lord’s. But statistics, however are of less value than is the playing of matches with intelligence and spirit.  And these are the qualities he values in a player; these, tempered with a stubbornness ro resist defeat.  Like E. V. Lucas, in his song of the Cricket ball, his is the response that rejoices the rigours of the game:


‘Bruises and buffetings stir me like wine.’ so we raise our glasses to Mr. D. C. F. Burton-nothing later than a vintage port 1912- in grateful thanks for the care he has taken of the teams, and the squash players, he has coached at Beaumont since 1946. He has gone, we hope, to start a Cricket School  in the neighbourhood, and thus he continues to serve the game he loves so dearly.  H.P.D,



During Burton’s tenure at Beaumont I note that a regular visitor with the MCC was E W Swanton, the cricket writer and commentator, a man of whom Ted Dexter said “ He was the standard by which other cricket commentators were judged". 




Burton coached the First XI until 1951 when he retired and Hugh Dinwiddy who had been on the Staff since 1947 took charge. When Hugh died in 2009 ,he was the last person to have played first-class cricket with both Don Bradman and Jack Hobbs. A right-hand batsman and legbreak/googly bowler, as well as a superb cover point, Dunwiddy's career consisted of five matches for Cambridge University and ten for Kent, all coming between 1933 and 1935.


He was included in the Kent side in July 1933 after a double hundred for the 2nd XI against Devon, and in his second first-class game he scored a career-best 45 against Surrey at Blackheath. In that game Hobbs, who was 50 and in his penultimate season, scored a hundred. Dinwiddy later recalled that "Hobbs was very kind to me and wished me luck".


The following season, in his second year at Cambridge, Dinwiddy broke into the XI for the match against the Australians in early May. Bradman, who had opened the tour with a double hundred at Worcester, made all the headlines when he was dismissed for a duck, but the Australians still closed the first day on 418 for 4. Dinwiddy made 0 and 2 as the students were routed by an innings and 163 runs. He described Bradman as "alright … he didn't say much to me".


His first-class career fizzled out in 1935 but he made more of a mark on the rugby field where he won Blues in 1934 and 1935 and was good enough to be given an England trial in 1936.


From The Review:-


Mr Dinwiddy is taking up a university post in Uganda. During his eight years at Beaumont he has made a deep impression on all who have come into contact with him.  In the classroom, on the games-field- he. ‘has coached both the First XI and the First XV - in the Quodlibetarian Society, which. ‘he founded, and in countless out- of school activities, he always managed to communicate his own warm enthusiasm and high ideals to the boys he met, it was not merely that he was a successful English master and games coach: anyone can be successful with the talented boys; but Mr Dinwiddy  was able to discern and foster talent where others would have ignored it; to stir up sympathy and imagination in a class of. ‘dullards; to give polish and vitality to an unpromising team. He had the rare gift of sharing the experiences of his pupils, in such a way that invariably they became not only his pupils, but his friends. We are certain that these friendships will keep the memory of Beaumont fresh in his mind for the rest of his life. Mr Dinwiddy would be the first to agree that these friendships were strengthened by the charm and hospitality of his wife, who, as an accomplished concert pianist, was also a valuable member of the staff


It was a great loss to Beaumont when Hugh in 1956. Our last Amateur coach was succeeded by our last Pro – Bill Harrington of Middlesex and the MCC. Bill’s sides had their successes and failures  but from what I have gleaned ( ignorant Boater) he was held in high esteem by all those he coached.







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




Nigel Courtney received this important piece of NEWS from his Vintners.


Dear Mr Courtney, 


Yesterday afternoon I was lucky enough to taste through many of the 2020 Bordeaux En Primeur releases (tough job I know!). What I can be certain of myself is the vintage is very good. There are some wines which significantly outperform their price point and origin (such as Beaumont and Peymouton below), and others to come which I will highlight to you as they release. 


This marks the third year in a row where we can say the vintage is truly excellent and whilst there will be more vintage reports and analysis in the coming weeks, at this early stage, I am delighted like many critics, as to the potential of the vintage. As ever there are many permutations to consider when it comes to Bordeaux en primeur, but the initial signs at least on price are very promising, with todays wines coming in certainly on par with their 2019 compatriots. 


‘’ Tasting the 2020s was a real joy – not least because so many producers are defying hot, dry years with delightfully fresh, expressive, 'new old' wines.’’ Jancis Robinson www.jancisrobinson.com


“And what a vintage it is. After the excellent quality of 2018 and 2019, many may have expected a drop in form for 2020. But it is clear that 2020 represents a third super-quality vintage in a row for the region.” James Suckling www.jamessuckling.com


2020 continues from the great successes seen in 2018 and 2019, cementing the finest trilogy of vintages Bordeaux has produced since the fabled years 1988, 89 and 90. In many respects stylistically it harks back to a more classical style of Bordeaux, with wines that have defied the warmer conditions, and in turn are beautifully aromatic, and fresh in profile. For me, these wines reign in some of the flamboyance seen in 2018, and show a keener focus and ultimately balance. In short, 2020 should be high on all buyers and collector’s considerations with obvious considerations to release prices and volumes. The 2019’s came out with a significant reduction and from what we have seen so far, prices are remaining sensible at this early stage. 




Today I would like to suggest Chateau Beaumont, my top pick from the left bank so far, followed by the Moueix estate releases including the not to be missed Peymouton at just £145 for the dozen.


Full screen previewChateau Beaumont, Cru Bourgeois Superior, Haut Medoc, 2020 


£105 per dozen in bond **best since 2016**


The Château Beaumont estate is situated in the heart of the Médoc between Margaux and St Julien. Its modern era began in 1986 when it was acquired by Societé Grands Millesimes de France, the proprietors of prestigious Château Lagrange and Château Beychevelle.  


The vineyard has well-drained soils of deep gravel and is planted in a classic Médoc ratio - 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot - and the vines average 30 years of age.  Château Beaumont has always had a good following in the UK, not least with Averys, and with good reason. In good years the gap between top and bottom narrows considerably in Bordeaux, and it is wines like Beaumont in good years that really challenge the hegemony of the antiquated Médoc classification, a wine that certainly shadows the wines of more esteemed peers and in some cases even surpasses them, yet the price remains extremely affordable.
For me this is the best Beaumont since the fantastic 2016 vintage, A precise, classical left bank Bordeaux wine that will sit comfortably in all levels of cellar with polished tannins and I would expect this to drink from release such is the plushness of the tannin and purity of the fruit. This outshone a couple of bigger names, and of the current wines released for sale a best buy. “A very pretty wine, lots of red fruit on the nose, raspberry and redcurrant move through to blackcurrant, spice and a touch of mocha. The tannins are round and polished and this is already very approachable with no hard edges.”








 Peter Piddock wrote to say. That he just belatedly read the BU Winter Review, and was saddened to read of Sebastian Keep’s death at a relatively early age. IHehad been out of touch with him in the last few years, so it came as quite a shock.


As many of his contemporaries seem a bit sketchy on his post Beaumont life, I have worked together with one of his sons and a mutual cricketing friend to put together this obituary.


ED: having read what Peter had written, I thought it worth an article of interest on “a man of his time:” so here goes: -


Sebastian Keep (1949-2020)




Sebastian Keep was born in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, the son of John Keep, a publisher/literary agent, and Rita, an eccentric traveler and immaculate housekeeper. He had three siblings - Christina, Tommy and Oliver. The family lived subsequently in Battle, East Sussex and Twickenham.


Sebastian had a classic English, Catholic childhood, prep-schooled at Ladycross and then on to Beaumont. However, he was a free spirit and ran away from school several times, much to his father’s disappointment; perhaps he was encouraged to a certain extent by his mother scooping him into her Bentley and whisking him around Europe for adventures. From an early age, he never lost his love of hotels, restaurants, travel and fun!


At Beaumont, Sebastian was a year ahead of me, and I remember him as the epitome of ‘cool’, personifying the essence of the hip new freedoms of the swinging sixties. Indeed, he proved ‘too cool for school’ and absconded from Beaumont, for the final time, aged 17 and set up home in Blackheath, taking a room in the house of Manfred Mann’s guitarist, Tom McGuiness, and his wife Ruth. Sebastian’s father barely spoke to him again.


He had always loved taking pictures with his old Nikon, and found work both as a photographer’s assistant and as a runner with Soho production companies.


It was at this point that he achieved celebrity status with us mere mortal schoolboys - by featuring in the American gonzo journalist Tom Wolfe’s essay “The Noonday Underground”, included in “The Pump House Gang”, and published on the same day as his iconic “Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test”. The essay was also published, I believe, in the Telegraph Magazine, and was about the ‘bright, young things’ who frequented Tiles, a new lunchtime club in Oxford Street:


“Shortly after Larry Lynch goes out there onto the dance floor, down into Tiles comes a 17-year old kid, wearing a non-mod outfit, a boho outfit actually, a pair of faded Levi’s and a jacket cut like a short denim jacket, only made of suede, and with his hair long all around after the mode of the Rolling Stones, and he talks to  couple of girls on the edge of the dance floor and he comes away laughing and talking to some American who is down there.


‘Do you know what she said to me?’ he says. She said “Sod off, scruffy ‘Erbert”. They all go for a guy in a purple mohair suit. That’s what they call me, “Scruffy ‘Erbert”’


“What’s your name?”




He turns out to be Sabastian Keep, who works in London as a photographer’s assistant but comes from a wealthy family in Hastings. He comes down into Tiles from time to time during his lunch hour to see Pat Cockell, who is 19 and runs the Ravel store in Tiles. Both of them are from Hastings and at one time or another attended public schools and the hell with all that, but on the other hand they illustrate the class split that persists, even in the world of London teenagers.


All the articles about “Swinging London” seem to assume that the class system is breaking down and these great vital young proles from the East End are taking over, and if you can get into Dolly’s, Sibylla’s, or David Bailey’s studio you can see it happening. Actually, the whole “with-it”, “switched-on” set of young Londoners – or the “New Boy Network” as it is called, as distinct from the Eton/Harrow “Old Boy Network” – is almost totally removed from the working-class mods. It is made up chiefly of bourgeois young men and women in the commercial crafts, photography, fashion, show-business, advertising, journalism. Aside from the four Beatles themselves, and, possibly two actors, Terence Stamp and Michael Caine, and two photographers, David Bailey and Terence Donovan, there are no working-class boys in the New Boy Network.


The New Boys, including a few upper-class adventurers and voyeurs, have borrowed heavily from the working-class mods in their style of life, but in a self-conscious way. Sebastian Keep’s occupation, photographer’s assistant, and his style of dress, 1964 Rolling Stones, are OK in the New Boy world. The suede jacket – cut and piped to look like cotton denim pattern – cost 25 guineas, and this kind of reverse twist, like lining a raincoat with sable, is appreciated by the New Boys, but to the mods, well, 25 guineas is a hell of a mohair suit at Jackson’s, with the lapels cut just like so, like a military tunic, you know? And- yes.”


I think that, as wannabe Beaumont hipsters aspiring to the ‘new’, when reading the above in the Telegraph Magazine, we may have fainted from jealousy!


Sebastian was soon busy in his social and work lives. He had loads of charm and could talk to anyone, take a great photograph - and he loved his life. London in the 1960s was the perfect place for a good-looking rogue with a penchant for girls, travel and fun. Photographers and production companies sent him to take pictures of prospective locations for shoots, and he soon realised, that with his background and connections, and his ‘eye’, he could be an asset both socially, and more realistically, at finding great places to shoot stills and commercials.


He worked with most of the great photographers and commercials directors, both in the USA and the UK, and over the years he became the go-to location finder and consultant. He built up a network of contacts worldwide and could get a shoot set up in any of the four corners of the world.


For many years he produced the annual Unipart calendars, photographed by Patrick Lichfield. They were the younger cousin of the iconic Pirelli calendars and were both lucrative and prestigious, featuring some of the world’s most beautiful women. A mutual friend recounts how beauty didn’t always reflect intellect, and that Sebastian was amused at one model’s reluctance to travel. She was upset at being in glamourous foreign locations, where she couldn’t keep abreast with what was number one in the charts!



He loved the challenge of finding a new vista and would spend weeks travelling all over the globe in order to find the right landscape, road or castle. Nobody has probably ever done it better, because they were neither photographers with his taste and eye, nor did they have his extensive connections. On his demise, among those offering their condolences, were tribal chiefs, Indian merchants and the odd Italian count!


After Beaumont, I next encountered Sebastian as a cricketer in the sizzling summer of 1976. We both played for Magpies Cricket Club, a wandering side that developed from some of us working on the Thames TV children’s show. I can’t for the life of me remember how it was that Sebastian came to play for us -probably those connections again. But his swashbuckling approach, both to life and cricket, was a very good match with our club ethos. Later that year he also introduced Peter Hamill (‘67) to the team as an occasional player. Sebastian played for us for many years, when his travels allowed; his hard-hitting batting was always an asset. He also turned out to have the perfect attribute for a tour player, that being the ability to play even better with a hangover!



He married Deborah Everton, an American model in 1970 and had one son, Joshua with her. The marriage lasted but a few years, before she returned to the USA. 


Sebastian moved into a mansion in Cottage Place, Kensington with a collection of great friends, until he eventually met Jackie Crier, a stylist and costume supervisor.



They set up home in Carlisle Mansions, Westminster where they remained until his death. They have three sons, Max, Milo and Louis, and six wonderful grand-children.


Sebastian Keep was one of a kind – he adored his children, and had an unerring eye for a beautiful woman. His partner Jackie claims that he could always be tracked down anywhere in the world by finding the nearest Michelin recommended restaurant to his previously known location! He was loyal, with a dry wit and loved his lunches and travels, until sadly they became too difficult because of his arthritic pain. His ‘gallivanting’ had caught up with him. Books, cricket, food, wine, vodka, travel, ladies and his boys were his world!


He is much missed by his family and all who encountered him during his colourful life.






In the last Review I asked if there were any Classic Car enthusiasts who would like to share some of their “Motoring Moments and I heard from Tom Scanlon (62).







Ed: Tom has been writing and broadcasting about cars since 1973, originally with the British Forces Broadcasting Service. More recently, for ten years he was the motoring writer for the Reading Evening Post. He now freelances and has contributed to a wide variety of magazines and newspapers. He is a member of The Guild of Motoring Writers and of the Southern Group of Motoring Writers. Tom, fell in love with vintage cars and bought a 1931 Alvis 12/60 before he’d even passed his test. That was fifty years ago and, now  many classics later He writes: -


“I enjoyed your Maserati piece. I have driven a few of the newer ones and am a fan. They’re somehow slightly mad!?


You wondered about cars we have. Here are two Sunbeam cars. The first is a (1949?)Sunbeam Talbot 2-litre in Malta, where it is run by Anthony Camilleri. Now, I am assuming that Anthony is indeed an OB  As you can see, it is pictured on the cover of the owner’s club magazine. (ED: He certainly is.)







 ED: Press Motoring Review. The 2 litre range of vehicles were first introduced in September of 1939 around the outbreak of WW2, so there were very few early cars built. Production continued between 1946- 1948 in the form of saloons, tourers and drop head coupes. In total there were only 1308 cars manufactured across the range with the drop head coupes being the rarest. Rootes at the time used many parts from the range of vehicles that they had to offer. The engine used was the well proven 1991cc side-valve unit from Humber. These vehicles were also very similar to the Talbot 10 range but with a longer bonnet to include the larger engine they also had the benefit of Hydraulic brakes.

The next one is my 1955 Sunbeam 90 Mark 3 (the Talbot name was dropped in 1954).









ED: Press Motoring Review. The Ryton-built Sunbeam Talbot 90 range was launched in 1948 and evolved into the MkIII version by 1956 when production ended. Changes included enlarged air intakes on each side of the front grille, and three ‘porthole’ vents at the rear of the front wings. Independent front suspension was also added as was a larger, more powerful engine that was based on a Humber unit – both of which vastly improved the handling and driveability of the 90. 


Solid build quality and good driving manners make it ideal for long-distance touring. So all told a good all-rounder which is what many of us want from our classic car.




1979 Mercury Cougar XR7 ...I am a sucker for Yank Tanks! This is the third one I've had.


TOM  BOUGHT A 1979 MERCURY COUGAR XR7...Why on earth?


Brands Hatch, July 30th, 1967: the B.O.A.C International 500. I was there.


Amongst the massive total power output on the grid, were the Chevy and Ford V8-engine Lola T70s and McLarens. Yes, the sound of the Ferrari V12s was just fabulous (and I ran a V12 Ferrari road car for a few years, which was huge fun), but what lingered with me was that big V8 growl, as heard from the race winner, the extraordinary Chaparral 2F, with its ground-breaking, or, rather, ground-holding, rear wing...two years before they appeared in Formula





’59 Galaxie


Big V8 engines in old American cars can be as cheap as chips; V12 engines are only found in cars that can, frankly, be afforded by people with more dosh than me, even Jaguars. Anyway, having sold my 1959 Ford Galaxie a couple of years ago and really missing it, and loving Ford’s current V8 Mustang, I just had to get back into that V8 aural experience.


Cadillac did a car in the late 80s called Allante. It was quite a project: a two-seater that aimed to take on the successful Mercedes offering at the time. Pininfarina designed and made the bodies and interiors and they were flown to the USA in especially-modified Boeing 747s to be completed. Big V8 engines, of course, powered the Allante, concluding with the North Star.


I was near to buying one of these, all online in the States; you can get an Allante for not many thousands of quid, but I eventually ended up, as I had probably deep-down hoped, with something 100% American, sort of over-the-top, totally wrong for our pretty little county lanes, but...


And so, all done online, on phone and by email, I forked out, wait for it, all of £4600, for a 1979 Mercury Cougar XR7.







The Cougar




ED: Press Motoring Review. Big Three badge engineering was in overdrive in 1979. The lines between American marques continued to blur, and Mercury was no exception.  However, all was not lost at the Mercury division when it came to intermediate performance-oriented coupes for the 1979 model year.


The Cougar stood fast in the personal luxury segment. It had undergone a redesign for 1977, losing the sweeping fuselage style and gaining sharper lines, including a comparatively straight beltline when viewed in profile. Competitive cars above the Cougar in the corporate umbrella included the Ford Thunderbird, shrunken from its previous Continental size into the intermediate slot to compete directly against the Cougar. Competition from the other automakers included the Buick Regal, and the over-the-top Dodge Magnum XE; last of the rear-wheel-drive Oldsmobile Cutlass Supremes; and the Pontiac Grand Prix.


Even in its last year, with few changes made, the Cougar XR-7 made up for almost 25 percent of Mercury Division production, and well over 163,000 examples were purchased by those buyers looking to get performance and style in a single package. The XR-7 designation was reserved for the top-shelf Cougar, and only when it was in coupe guise. Standard features put the XR-7 into the "loaded" category. A flight bench front seat with fold-down center armrest, cut pile carpeting, electric clock, deluxe steering wheel and courtesy lamps were punctuated with simulated baby burl walnut trim appliques inside. An XR-7-specific sound package belted out the hits.


The Cougar hood ornament was complemented by a landau vinyl roof with opera windows as part of the C pillar. Rounding out the XR-7's standard features were body side paint stripes, special XR-7 wheel covers and radial tires, power steering and front disc brakes, and a specially tuned "ride-engineered" suspension, which included front and rear anti-roll bars.



Guy Bailey would recognise this dealer plate on the back of my old Mercedes.


We got it second-hand, but of course the original sale would I suppose have helped him towards his retirement in Monaco!


Cheers...  Tom.





It might look like scrap but this is a Riley open sports tourer that is currently being rebuilt and restored  at Midhurst and it has Beaumont History. In the 1980s it was the transport of Henry Stevens and Alan Kent ( British International polo player) when Henry was running his  “Goodknight” Night Club in Haslemere.


I came across this American tribute to the irrepressible Henry






It is with great sorrow that the United States Polo Association, Polo Players Support Group (PPSG), Cowdray Park Polo Club in Easebourne, England, and all who were fortunate to meet him, mourn the loss of Henry Charles Auverny Stevens, 79, of Midhurst, West Sussex, England, who passed away peacefully on Friday, November 15, 2019. Henry was a gifted sportsman, generous supporter and avid polo player.

Born in Salisbury, Rhodesia, on December 1, 1939, Stevens attended Beaumont College in England where he developed his passion for sports, including rugby. As a young man, Henry played First Class Rugby and had the opportunity to play a few seasons in Australia. When he returned to the United Kingdom (UK), he was offered a position on one of the country’s leading clubs—London Irish—and later played for Guildford & Godalming. Watching both rugby and cricket remained a lifelong passion.

In the 1980s, Henry opened what became a very successful nightclub, The Good Knight Club, in Haslemere, England, which attracted the local polo crowd. The sport and his love for horses worked its magic on him. It wasn’t long before he learned to play. In one night he bought two polo ponies from one of his customers from the nightclub. He found such enjoyment in the sport and began playing in Cowdray Park’s tournaments, also winning the Junior County Cup with Howard Taylor’s Whitehall team in 1994, with a 3-goal handicap. Henry went on to become a successful umpire for the Hurlingham Polo Association, working both in the UK and regularly in Europe where he umpired several times for the Swiss Open, German Cup Open and Gold Cup Gstaad.

During the 1990s, Henry spent several seasons in California before moving with his partner, Carol, to Wellington, Florida, for the winter season. There he continued his passion for raising and selling young thoroughbred ponies, as well as umpiring.

“I knew Henry for over forty years. He was a real character—a truly genuine man," said Lord Charles Beresford. "He knew a lot about horses and made some very good horses. A really great guy to have around, he was very loyal to his mates and a great friend to everyone in England, Cowdray and Florida.”

In the UK, Henry made and sold polo ponies and could always be relied upon to offer good ponies for hire to professional players when they were short of a mount or two. "Henry Stevens was a great friend of mine and the Santa Clara organization," said Luis Escobar. "He was always ready and willing to help with any aspect of the game. At Santa Clara he always helped us with fall polo, volunteering in the winter when he could as well. When I competed in England and Germany in 1998 and 2000 he was an invaluable resource for horses. And in 2018, the USA won the Junior Westchester Cup in England with the help of two incredible mares that he provided," Escobar continued. Having had polo yards at Lodsworth and Ambersham, England, he was most recently based at the Milford Havens’ Great Trippetts Farm in the UK.

Due to his charm and knowledge of polo, Henry was frequently called on to entertain corporate marquee guests on Cowdray’s big days with his amusing “Introduction to Polo” talks. He remained a huge character at Cowdray Park and a constant presence in polo life.

Just shy of his eightieth birthday, Stevens was known to be full of energy, humor and life. Henry will be missed very much by his partner Carol, his daughter Gaby, son Julian (Jules), their mother Jeannette, four grandchildren and his many, many friends.







“The have Yachts and the have nots”


Sailing has always been popular with OB’s beginning with the BU Ocean Racing  Club before the War. Since then we have seen Sir Reginald Macdonald-Buchanan Captain of the 12 metre Association and the RYS bid for the America’s Cup in 1958.  John, Wilfrid and Philip Tolhurst’s racing successes and indeed Philip’s involvement as Chairman of the Offshore Committee of World Sailing. James Wallin and Clive Fisher and their Transatlantic cruising successes. Not certain whether Rupert Lescher made it that far. Jeremy Cuddigan Rear Commodore of The Royal Yacht Squadron. Finely, the pro - Tony Newling Ward and his sometime “motley” crew of Shand and Chamberlain.


However, a name is missing that I was unaware of until Gilbert Conner mentioned Colin Drummond (56) when discussing his elder brother Robin for the last Review.


Colin rowed in the VIII and then became a Dental Surgeon hardly training for a single-handed yachtsman.


The first British long-distance yacht race for solo sailors was the Single-handed Transatlantic Race which reputedly grew out of a half-crown wager and was first held in 1968. Just four yachts left Plymouth all of which reached New York safely. The winner was Sir Francis Chichester in Gypsy Moth II. Sponsorship from the Observer and news from the Observer newspaper caused someone to coin the name Ostar a name that has stuck, much to the annoyance of subsequent sponsors. Since then the race has taken place every four years. However, for many yachtsmen, taking part in a transatlantic race is an impossible dream. Costs are high and three months or so are needed to prepare the boat, compete and then bring her home.


The 1976 Race


Five low pressure systems followed each other one after the other, relentlessly generating an average wind speed of 35 knots and a raging, chaotic, short, crossed sea for over a week. The fleet were decimated with the well-chronicled retirement of  the two favourites and the break-up of a 70ft catamaran Two skippers were lost at sea in the storms. Only 73 of the 125 starters finished the race within the time limit. The race was won by the legendry Frenchman Eric Tabarly


Colin took part in the race on his boat Sleuth Hound and his report questionnaire has become legendry “sang froid” in the sailing world.


Q: What caused you to retire?


A: Knocked down in Force 11 gale, thrown overboard, harness held, injured shoulder, torn main sail, torn jib sail, main compass broken, all electronic instruments out, batteries lost acid, VHF radio gone.


Q: By whom were you rescued?


A: Made port under own steam.


Colin’s home port is Falmouth and he has for many years been a member of The Royal Cornwall Yacht Club and has been their Commodore



The Royal Cornwall Yacht Club, began  with Queen Victoria and the Duke of Cornwall as its Patrons, and ranked in precedence with the Royal Cinque Ports and the Royal Corinthian as the fifteenth “Royal” yacht club in England. The three Devon clubs – the Royal Western of England, Royal Torbay and Royal Dart – were the third, twelfth and fourteenth respectively; the Royal Thames (Cumberland Fleet) was first and the Royal Yacht Squadron second. In May 1872 the Honorary Secretaries visited the Admiralty and obtained an Admiralty Warrant which granted permission for yachts of the club to wear the blue ensign of Her Majesty’s Fleet defaced by the Prince of Wales’s plume in white, and a similar blue burgee. The Club has enjoyed Royal patronage throughout its history, currently from Prince Charles, who succeeded Prince Philip in 1977. King Edward Vll and King George V,  were also Patrons in their time, 


In 1972 it was mooted that a shorter solo ocean race than OSTAR should be held. As a result,  Colin  with a couple of others decided to act. The Royal Cornwall agreed to host the British end. The Azores archipelago was picked as an ideal destination - distant enough to provide a real challenge within a four to six week time-limit and to be pleasantly “foreign” on arrival, with a course clear of major shipping lanes. The first AZORES AND BACK RACE took place in 1975 with 52 starters: Colin included. With such a turnout, and so many competitors clamouring for a repeat event, it was decided to follow the lead of OSTAR and hold AZAB at four yearly intervals. The second race in 1979 accepted two-handed as well as single-handed entries, an obviously popular decision, as in 1999 only about one yacht in 10 was sailed single-handed. The course covers just less than 2500 miles of ocean, approximately 1220 miles on each leg. The majority of yachts usually take between 7 and 10 days to reach the AZORES allowing a week or so to relax and restock for the return passage.


Entry is limited to single-handed or two-handed crews and before an entry is confirmed the skippers must have completed a non-stop qualifying passage of not less than 500 nautical miles in the yacht in which he or she will compete in the race.


Colin as The Commodore of the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club and the founder and a founding competitor at the outset,  said: "We are delighted with the great response this race produces each time. It is another example of the variety of sailing events with which the RCYC is proud to be associated."


He added: "The town, no stranger to maritime events of many types, is involved in not only the usual warm welcome to competitors but can be relied upon to give a fond Falmouth farewell when the boats leave. The cannon fired from Pendennis castle starts the race”.


 It was appropriate that In 2003 Colin was a Class winner in his boat Sleuth Hound.


The Royal Cornwall has organised AZAB (The Azores and Back) every fourth year since 1975. It is arguably the last of the truly Corinthian long-distance shorthanded events. Other Club  highlights include Sir Ben Ainslie’s Olympic silver medal in 1996 and four gold medals in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012, and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s landing on the Club slipway in 1969 on completing the first non-stop circumnavigation in a yacht. In January 2012 the RCYC officially became the club under which the newly formed Ben Ainslie Racing  would compete in the America’s Cup World Series.  In July 2012 the Club hosted a regatta for the J-Class; it had not sailed in Falmouth since 1936, or as a fleet in UK waters since 1937.


‘The Changing Seasons’ A Descriptive Essay by the late Tom Haran


From the Haran Family Farm in Co.Clare.


The rolling hills during spring are a sight to live for. There is no parallel. Countless shades of green interacting, mingling with one another. It is truly a view to behold. A soft breeze blows through, moving each blade as they dance to silent music. Innumerable flower heads begin their growth and bloom. They stand stiff against what seems to be a never-ending wind. Every colour imaginable culminating on this one mound of dirt, creating a wonderful scent. A mixture of honey, lavender and freshness fills the air. This unmistakable aroma is life to some. Here comes a soft mixture of black and yellow to gather pollen. Its purpose so simple yet vital. A familiar buzz that can cause panic or calm. A stinger to cause pain but it chooses to remain peaceful, unencumbered by worry, unencumbered by stress. A trickle can be heard. The crystal blueness and a shocking cold join to form a quaint stream. The very sound relaxes and the sight pleases. The stream travels through a cobbled courtyard. High walls surround it. They once stood to protect, now they lie crumbled, broken like a sentinel whose duty has halted and who now rests. On the remnants of these defences grows new life, ivy growing without any signs of stopping. Magic keeping the plant stuck to the stone, creating a contrast of living and dead, moving and stationary, vibrant and dull. A glorious sight. A bovine hoard are released into a field of ignorant grass. A soothing sight as calves frolic and jump from one area to another, their mothers watching from a safe distance, witnessing pure innocence. All of this in the spring.




As summer rolls around, the heat does too. A blanket of warmth shrouds the land as if a comforting fire has been lit. The green shades of the hills are amplified by the clear weather and the stillness of the air. Viewing the scenery through shimmers as if seen through a screen of water, this soothing and unforgiving heat creates a sense of security. The flowers are now fully developed, reds, blues, yellows and lilacs sit undisturbed, patiently waiting for a notable event to rouse their interest. It never comes. A hard worker flies around, collecting food for the queen and basking in the sun. No rest, but no complaints. The stream has gotten heavier, as if growing and aging with time. It now possesses the strength to carry rocks as it flows downstream, never stopping and never beginning. The castle is alive with an olive green, no grey in sight. The fallen guardian now at rest, knowing all is safe; a wave of ivy taking his place. The calves, now mature, no longer leap like salmon from water; a sorry sight. Still, there is no lack of joy, the herd roams and ambles, stopping for food and rest. This is all they know, this is all they want during the summer.




As autumn falls, so do the leaves. A layer covers the rolling hills, a layer of every possible colour. A canvas of browns, reds and yellows replace the flowers in patterns that Picasso inspired. A homage to a legend. A traveller crosses the painting with satisfying crunches and clumsy stumbles as the leaves mask hidden inconsistencies in the land. He remains unperturbed as he presses on in the search for something. The unforgiving heat is replaced by the sounds of wildlife. As the days grow shorter, so do the disturbances of man, as animals are given free rein to do as they please. No limitations. The cry of foxes as they seek a mate, the call of birds of prey searching for a victim, the thumping as hares bound back to the safety of their warren. Not a more tranquil scene could be found. The water now runs slower. A season of hard toil has taken its toll as the streams relax. As the sun sets, the courtyard becomes shrouded in darkness. An eerie feel arises as the shadows consume the now dying ivy. A long history haunts this place, forbidding any visitors from contemplating without interruption. No cows are permitted to leave their stale, brown barn. It is too dark. It is too cold. They wouldn’t go out in the autumn anyway.




As the winter arrives, so too does the cold. A bitter, hateful cold that holds and grips warmth, forcing it to submit and dissipate. The weather is now unpredictable. The sun shines, the rain soaks, the hail batters and the snow floats. Through this horror, there is a comfort. An unforgettable sight is engraved in the mind as one sits and watches a white cover placed over the land. The cold is invasive but is dismissed as the importance of the present springs to mind. All sounds suppressed, as are issues, when one enjoys the snow. There is no movement, there is only stillness. Blissful stillness. The stream is now frozen over, stationary, silent. Nothing moves within it and it has adopted a white tinge as the bubbles get caught as they rise to the surface. It cannot sustain life until it thaws in the spring and a trickle can be heard. As the carved earth is followed, a castle is reached. Hardly recognisable, the stone has no grip; walking through the courtyard is treacherous. The walls have lost their distinctive blandness as they are covered in ice and snow; cold to the touch and painful as it sticks to any moist skin. The walls stand defensive and dangerous until new life grows once more. Nothing can be heard from the pens as new life awaits the spring so they can frolic once more.


Richard Sheehan sent me the following: -


I was very sorry to read that Tom Haran has died.  My last contact with him was back in 2017.  He had a house in Co Clare [we’re in the next county, Co Galway]. In the past we’ve met up with him approx. halfway at a very good seafood restaurant Moran’s of the Weir at Clarinbridge. Indeed, my last communication referred to getting together there again for lunch when Phillip and Margot Mayer were over. Unfortunately, timing did not allow that and it would have been a post lockdown plan for later this year.  


 As you no doubt know Tom mainly lived in France and I gather that he’d inherited the house in Co Clare from his parents and used to visit it from time to time.   As it happens he knew our house in Connemara because he had visited when U2 lived there.  They made some of their earliest recordings at the house – that was some years before we bought it.  I remember that Tom mentioned that U2’s manager was a friend of his and indeed he’d painted a picture of them performing at a concert in Dublin. 





U2 by Tom Haran


I’d certainly echo the sentiments expressed about Tom.  He was a really nice fellow and I’m just sorry that we were unable to meet again.  May he Rest In Peace.




PANNING (and not for gold)


Christopher Gardner-Thorpe  bought from a local bookseller two books which were prizes at Beaumont, lovely calf bound and bearing the mprint that the later prizes bore, namely Merenti Collegium Sti Stsnislai Beaumont.He wondered whether I had any note of the recipient who was Adrian (Adrianus) Evans


In July 1908 the prize was in Rudiments (1st Division) which perhaps was Ruds A (Ancient Catholic Homes of Scotland)


The second was In November 1909 in Gram I (The Catholic Highlands of Scotland).


 ED::Well, it so happened I did and it records what seems to have been a case of panning that went to the High Court.


Adrian Myddleton-Evans: -



Born 1895  in Chichester the son of Charles Hanmer Myddleton Evans an Actor manager and his wife Agnes ( Heathcote-Hacker) and died Oct 1982 Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.


Prior to his arrival at Beaumont in 1905 he had been a page at the Papal Court ( to whom not recorded.) He left school in 1910 and served in WW1 as a Lt in The Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He became a school master and was Headmaster of Leas House School,  a Preparatory at Kingsley  Way, Finchley, North London. In 1945 there was a court case  in which he was found not guilty and was awarded costs.


The Times, London, 19 October 1945


High Court of Justice: King's Bench Division


“Punishment of boy: Action against head master fails”.


Feldman v. Evans; before Mr. Justice Wrottesley (Ed: Later Lord Justice of Appeal)


HIS LORDSHIP gave judgment for the defendant in the action in which Peter Feldman, a boy aged eight years, suing by his father, Mr. Emmanuel Feldman, of Aylmer Road, Finchley, N., and Mr. Feldman claimed damages for alleged assault from Mr. A. Myddleton Evans, the head master of Leas House School, Kingsley Way, Finchley.


The plaintiffs' case was that on March 10, 1944, Mr. Evans beat the boy by striking him on the leg with a stick or other instrument, drawing blood.


Mr. Evans, in his defence, denied liability, and said that it was a term of the contract between himself and the parents of boys that he might administer corporal punishment if he considered it in a boy's best interest. On March 9, 1944, the boy struck a fellow pupil in the face with a piece of metal, injuring him, and it was agreed between him (Mr. Evans) and Mrs. Feldman, Peter's mother, that he should administer corporal punishment to Peter if inquiry showed that there was no sufficient provocation for his assault on the other boy. Mr. Evans admitted that, having found that there was no sufficient provocation, he gave Peter six strokes on the naked buttocks with a flat rubber instrument about 17½ inches long, 2½ inches wide, and ¼ inch thick, and that in the course of that punishment the boy sustained slight grazes of the upper right leg, and he pleaded that the punishment was reasonable and was justifiably and moderately administered.


It was stated that the day before the punishment was administered the infant plaintiff found the handle of a motor-car door on a piece of waste land. Another boy tried to take it from him and pushed him over and the infant plaintiff struck him with the handle, first in the stomach and then in the face, injuring his nose. The only real issues were whether or not the punishment inflicted had been excessive, and whether or not Mr. Evans had struck the boy on the bare buttocks with an unsuitable instrument in such a way as to draw blood.


At the conclusion of the evidence counsel addressed his Lordship.


MR. JUSTICE WROTTESLEY, in giving judgment, said that the real question which he had to decide was not whether there had been an unjustifiable assault on the boy, but whether the punishment administered had been excessive. It was given by this kind of glorified slipper, an instrument made of the kind of material used for the rubber soles of shoes, which, in his view, must be a safer thing to use on the tender skins of small boys than a stick or cane. The instrument had, however, the disadvantage that the toe of it was square and, therefore, had a corner which might break the skin.


Having carefully considered the evidence he had come to the conclusion that the boy's skin was not bruised by the whacking which he received, but that in the course of being beaten he squirmed or moved so that by accident the toe of the instrument bent round the boy's buttocks and grazed him in two places on the leg. People who punished little boys like the plaintiff must be careful, but he was satisfied that in the present case no unnecessary violence had been used and that really the matter was a storm in a teacup. There had been no undue violence shown, and the grazes from which the boy suffered were small and trivial and were caused by accident. There would be judgment for the defendant, with costs.




3rd VIII


How many of us enjoyed rowing in the 3rd VIII: not for us the glories of Henley and  making do with a cast- off boat from those further up the “socio- rowing society” – Clinker is the word that springs to mind.


Paul Podesta sent me some photos from the late Fifties: he cannot remember all the names and they are certainly beyond me.





The Crew: Alcazar, Guinness, Miller, Payne (str), Pritchard, Shepard, Smallman, Walker (Capt), Podesta (cox) also d’Ombrain, McGregor and Collingwood.







Head of The River -  Reading?


















“Country Life” featured this painting of Sarah Bernhardt in its “My favourite painting” chosen by various personalities. It is by Georges Clairin who was one of her lovers and long -term friend. Georges was the Uncle of Pierre Eugene Clairin (08) probably Beaumont’s best- known artist.           




Born in Cambrai and after Beaumont, he went on to the Ecole Des Beaux-Arts Paris. In  WW1 he served both as a Lt 12th Cuirassiers and in the  Air Force and was awarded numerous decorations. After the war studied under Serusier and was Gauguin’s last pupil, he was also helped and guided by his Uncle Georges. During WW2 he led a Resistance group. Pierre Eugene died in 1980.




Returning to Sarah Bernhardt who was described by Mark Twain “there are bad actresses, fair actresses, good actresses, great actresses and there is Sarah” – she was the wealthiest and most famous personality of her time.


The painting was described by Zola as “Vulgar sensuality”.


A BADA Advert caught my eye: -





ED: Price not mentioned but thought to be in the range of “Ow to Ouch”.






I heard from Mark Marshall that watching a Channel 4 programme on The Royal Family, who should appear to give his view, socialist of course, but Francis Beckett. I was unable to find it on “catch-up” but I I hope that Francis was less scathing to them than in his assessment of Beaumont.






Father John Brogan


R I P. 12th March 1991







John Brogan was born in Richmond, Surrey in. 1919 but by the time he was of school age he was living in Johannesburg, where he was educated by the Marist Brothers; his final two years of school were with the Society at St Aidan’s College in Grahamstown. He worked for a short time in  the department for Native Affairs in the South African Civil Service before joining the noviceship at Roehampton in 1937. Juniorate at Roehampton and Heythrop between 1939 and 1941 was followed by a year of teaching at Preston Catholic College. He returned to Heythrop for philosophy (1942-45), and then taught at Beaumont until 1949. Theology was at Heythrop, where he was ordained in 1952; and tertianship at St Beuno’s in l953-54.




More teaching followed: first at Stonyhurst (l954-56) and then back to Beaumont (1956-68). In 1968 he was appointed Rector of SiGeorge’s College Salisbury  Rhodesia; and from1968-72 he was also a Mission consultor. In. 1971, however, he suffered a serious coronary attack  from which physically he never fully recovered. After completing his term as Rector, he became Assistant Director of the School of Social Work in Salisbury (1974-76), and curate at the Cathedral (1976-84). In 1984 he returned to South Africa, to Yeoville, Johannesburg, where he also worked as curate. At the beginning of 199I, failing health necessi-tated his moving to Nazareth House, Yeoville, where he died on 12th March.


Bernard Taylor writes: ‘Johnny and l joined on the same day, 7th September 1937. He was always a very pleasant companion. My only clear memory of him was on long walks when he would regale us with large amounts of Gilbert and Sullivan which he recited by heart or sometimes sang’ -he was practically tone-deaf! We took our First Vows on 8th September 1939, five days into the second World War. There followed an extraordinary Juniorate. I went to Heythrop in August., but Johnny followed in October after Manresa had been hit and Bobby Howarth killed. He was one of the Bellarmine Babes, being lodged in a room next to the Philosophers’ chapel.


‘In January 1941,he and three others were sent to Preston to teach. A few days later I was summoned by the Provincial, Fr Francis Mangan, and was sent to Wimbledon. Johnny and l returned to Heythrop in August 1942 to restart philosophy. We were two years behind our year and found it a little difficult, to put it mildly!  ‘


‘Our paths parted until 1947 when I was sent to Beaumont to find that  Johnny had been appointed First Prefect by J.D. Boyle. It was a very  important post to be filled by a scholastic, but he did it extremely well.  Sadly, I have no special incidents to recall. Just before we went into Theology the novices visited us for the traditional’ Beaumont Day’. He told me with great glee that one of the novices pointed at me and asked him: “Is he a late ‘vocation?” Johnny’s reply was that I wasn’t when l started, though ! was now!


‘So to Theology. He could have had 2nd year Ordination but did not in order that his family could be present a year later. He was M.C.at our Ordination.


Finally, to the tertianship. We had the privilege of having Fr Ted Helsham throughout the year, the only tertians who did. It was a happy year and Johnny was our Beadle. I can still remember him putting up notices on our birthdays.


‘In 1954 he went to Stonyhurst and then to Beaumont andl  began my 24 years at the Mount.I  can’t remember meeting him again until 1983 at a Province gathering at Farm Street. He had obviously gone down physically, but was his old cheerful self. He had become very deaf a trouble which started I think during Theology. Thel ast time we met was on a very happy occasion, the gathering at Stamford Hill of the six. Jubilarians in 1987, he was much more frail, but his old wonderful self. He was an altogether admirable person and l feel better for having nown him and worked with him for several years.’


Bruno Brinkman also goes back some way: ‘In that self-important world of the noviceship (old style) Johnnie Brogan was one of those  deputed to welcome this particular new boy (blue school caps, remember?). ln that welcome was the whole almost archetypal, good man. He seemed sagacious with an unknown  mysterious wisdom belonging to this new world. He was simply kind and generous, with unending attention to equally unending imperatives and their details. Obviously, he was a much- trusted person, and just as obviously that was right. Moreover in  a       slow, matter-of-fact way he was giving his friendship, leaving you to discover, perhaps months, perhaps years afterwards that that was what you had received.


‘As careers of scholastics fell out during the war years, we found ourselves intermittently and always unpredictably in the same communities. A year together at Preston Catholic College marked him out as the one among us four who could smile rather than join in general complaints during and under the rectorship of Fr ‘Pi’ Smith. At Beaumont later and at Stonyhurst even later again, the sheer goodness, patience and unfailing }amiability of Johnnie Brogan always got through to cormnunity, boys and parents. Friends of mine became life-long friends of his. In school affairs I seem to remember that he was not always exactly punctual, He.  was always forgiven in advance.In the end the rendez-vous would make sense and lead to greater understanding.In later years his visits to the UK seemed, alas, too rare.


‘What young men, as we were, had to do with holiness was always a. puzzle to rne. Not to Johnnie Brogan. He knew better than the rest of us.’


Robert Carty recalls: ‘John Brogan first came into view I think when.  It he arrived with the others of that famous group – the Bellarmine Babes. These were the juniors who had been bombed out of their quarters in. October1940 at the old Manresa in Roehampton. His stocky robustf igure {featured much on the football field and served him well in deep adversity after he had a severe stroke in the early seventies at St. George’s. That robustness combined with determination and sound common sense helped him to weather more than one upheaval in work and in the world as he first knew it. For his generation and for so many others war time swept away much that was treasured and assured. He did not return to Southern Africa where he had been educated till late in life comparatively, and changes in both Church and State made the return far from easy for him. Deafness and disability from the stroke made life something of  a struggle, but that would not appear at all in his conversation or his.  determination to help as far as his not inconsiderable resources would allow. He played golf as his recreation till very recently and had continuous exercises to help with his arm and leg which were affected in a gymnasium for just such patients when he came to Johannesburg after some years of service at the Cathedrali n Harare. I do not remember him  ever seeking to avoid a task if he could possibly do it for the welfare of another person.  He had an aimiable though sometimes exasperating insistence on helping say with Communions on Sunday morning at the Yeoville parish masses, when he did not I think realise that the congregation were sometimes on tenterhooks for his safe negotiating of the steps up and down. Even men much younger andl ess handicapped than he was find those steps something of a hazard. And then too I wondered whether he did realise that he could not move as fast as he used to be abile to do on the football field and consequently could be consistently behind schedule when schedules were important for other people. His care for and sympathy with fellow sufferers went far beyond the ordinary and will be remembered when the failings just mentioned are forgotten. He took over the care of house finances and so on at the parish in Yeovllle and carrled out the task with his usual slow but sure exactness. I  suspect that this was the least congenial of all his duties – but then it too could help others do so much more good, so it was well in line with the A.M.D.G. which was at the heart  of all his striving and patient endurance. Change did not come easily to him and the changes in the circumstances of his own life were certainly part of his offering of himself to the Lord in sacrifice. L do not think he could ever have understood those who loved change whether for the better or for the worse. His own mind set was for stability and order. Yet his early experiences were the very reverse of that and those reverses were to continue through the rest of his life. So much swept away: what was replacing it? He did have the happiness to see something of a rebuilding of the South African Jesuit presence quite different from the one he had grown up in at St. Aidan’s and with the Brothers. He was rightly a bit critical, rightly a little sad in reminiscence, but full of hope for the future of which he wished wholely to be a part.     


At Jonny’s requiem at Yeoville, Johannesburg on May 5, Ken Nixon (an O.B., gave the address, which ended:


‘In 1954 he was one of the six Tertian Fathers selected for Rhodesia. But anxiety concerning his health led to his being retained in Britain.  He served two years as Stonyhurst’s First Prefect, before moving south to Beaumont, where he was involved again in disciplinary management. These were the years leading up to the centenary celebrations and the roya] visit by the Queen in 1961. After Beaumont was closed, John was sent as rector to St George’s in 1968. He arrived at a College preparing for its 75th anniversary, bringing with him alI the experience he had acquired in a similar situation at Beaumont.  He soon won the confidence of parents and old Georgians called in an Australian professional fund  raising firm and launched the Trident Development Trust. This aimed at promoting God’s worship by building the long awaited new Chapel; improving academic facilities by extending the science labormories; and enhancing provision for sport in the form of a new swimming bath and pavilion. The funding target of £100,000 was very nearly reached and the triple development splendidly achieved.


‘As a young man, John was strong, agile and very fit. He was the College soccer goal-keeper at Heythrop, while rugby, cricket, golf,  scouting, camping and mountaineering all claimed his active interest. He drove himself hard and worked late habitually. As rector of St George’s, he had to face many problems from Government, staff, prefects and boys.   As the internal war with its tensions intensified and the College developed its multi-racial character.


‘On the 16th March l971, John suffered a stroke which left him practically paralysed. With great determination he continued to carry out the Rector’s duties – Fr Tom Crehan had deputised for him during his short absence – and saw the Jubilee through, coming from hospital to attend the Passion play. After completing his term of office, John spent brief periods as chaplain to Hartmann House and Emerald Hill, on parish work at Rhodesville (1974),and in administration at the School of SociaI Work (1975). In 1976, Fr Brogan joined the staff of the Cathedral in Harare, where he remained until 1984. In that year he moved to S. Africa where he worked at our parish in Yeoville until the end of 1990.


‘John’s courage and determination were only matched by his gift for friendship. And these qualities which he used freely for God’s service inspired those about him to cooperate with confidence and loyalty. The last chapter of his life saw him involved with his old friends, the Knights of De Gama, as their chaplain. His final move was to Nazareth House, to facilitate the medical care he now needed – but also as chaplain. It was in the service of the Knights and the Sisters that he received his Master’s summons on the morning of 12th March. Three days later the clergy and faithful of Johannesburg gathered in great numbers to speed him on his way. May he rest in peace’.  




At the beginning of March, I received this from a John Mullholland: -





Hi Robert,


A fellow OS here. I don't think we have met but Mike Sullivan said I should contact you. So what are your areas of interest? I was at the College from 1966 to 71 so this is our 50th anniversary of leaving!


Best wishes




 ED: Well, I naturally and politely corrected him and commented that he was at Stonyhurst during the arrivals of the Beaumont contingents following the so-called amalgamation. His reply came winging back:




From John


Thank you for your interesting message and the Stonyhurst/Beaumont relationship. I arrived at Stonyhurst in 1966 when a lot of Beaumont and St John's boys arrived to the place was overflowing. In fact, I was writing about it this week as I am writing a memoir of my five years at Stonyhurst. A number of ex Beaumont boys were pretty unhappy to be sent up North. I notice in Wikipedia that there was a phrase "Pulling a Beaumont" aimed at Jesuit incompetence over the whole matter.




Fr Dunphy came as Rector in my final year to replace Fr Hoy. Joe Dooley I knew well. He taught me and I was in one of his plays. I attach an account.




In 2016 I went on a 5 day residential training course in a hotel in Old Windsor and it dawned on me I was at the Beaumont site. The Scholar's Bar with photos of Js gave it away and the chapel. Over breakfast one of my fellow trainees said the site used to be a convent. I said "Really?" and carried on with my breakfast and left him in his ignorance. At the end of the course I had to sit a formal 3 hour exam. I thought it ironic that at the age of 64 I was sitting an exam, the first in 42 years, in an old Jesuit school!


“The Hot Tiara”




As my Class Master had suggested I took more part in extracurricular activities, I decided to try drama – as if we did not have enough already. The Hot Tiara was a three act light comedy written by Janet Allen in 1963 and set in a drawing room of an apartment in a square in London SW1. The action takes place in the 1960s and was a ‘whodunnit’ but instead of a body, there is a missing tiara - hence the play’s title. Detective Sergeant Slade is sent to investigate its whereabouts. Clearly the culprit is one of the cast. The tiara belonged to Freda and all the cast have a motive for stealing the tiara – including Freda herself as part of fraudulent insurance claim. The impressive set was painted by my history teacher, Hubert Pragnell, who painted Berkeley Square as a backcloth in less than three hours. I was impressed to see a teacher who could actually do what he taught.




I had the dubious honour of delivering the opening line of the play as Bracken (the butler) with Mick played by Chris Collyer. The stars of the play were Cassidy, played by Charles Knevitt and Freda (Phil Frank). They had the largest parts and I was in admiration of how they memorised all their lines. I struggled to memorise mine and only had a minor part which was to provide a lighter mood by making myself an object of mockery which partly explained why I landed the part.










Cast of The Hot Tiara by Janet Allen – Grammar Shrovetide Play – 3 March 1968




Left to right: Bernard Hitchen (Detective Sergeant Slade), John Mulholland (Bracken), Charles Knevitt (Cassidy), Chris Collyer (Mick),  Stephen de Kerdrel (Gregory).


On sofa: Sean Keegan (Kim), Louis Biggie (Kitty), Philip Frank (Freda).  Directed by  Fr Joe Dooley SJ. Stage Manager: David Allen.




In this posed photo, all the cast (except me) are looking at Detective Sergeant Slade, the clueless policeman. I am looking into space. Our direction was that most of the cast were upper class, Inspector Slade was lower middle class and Bracken (my role) was working class. Perhaps because of the “certain roughness”, identified by Brigstocke at the time, I landed the role. The lower classes were not to look in the eye those of a class above them. So at the bottom of the hierarchy, I could not look at anyone. Hence the vacant look into space. At Stonyhurst, I had wondered about the definitions in the British class system and where I fitted exactly. Years later a friend helped me out by defining the lower middle class as "the people who know how they would spend their money, if they had any". I was unsure if this was before or after school fees had been paid. I assume after.




Top left of photo please note the paint still drying. The high point was Kim (Sean Keegan) in the Green Room asking me to put newspaper in his/her bra. The low point was when Chris and I were on stage in the play’s opening scene when Freda missed her entrance cue via the door on left of the photograph. There was a long pregnant pause. I decided to break the suspense as it became apparent to the audience something was amiss. So while awaiting Freda to enter, I said to Chris: "Sir, may I get you a drink?" To which Chris replied: "Whisky and soda please Braken; pour yourself one, as I think we are in for a long wait!" I tried not to laugh. At that point Freda burst in and delivered her lines looking flustered with her wig at a rakish angle. The Bard said: "They have their exits and their entrances." Freda had her exits but was challenged in the entrances department.


The play was underwhelming – it was supposed to be a comedy. I remember Dooley telling us to pause after delivering a humorous line to give time for the audience to laugh. But when our comedic lines were delivered, the audience were generally silent but they did laugh unexpectedly when they were not supposed to. As inexperienced actors, we talked over the laughter. So, I found it very confusing.


At Stonyhurst at the time drama productions consisted of Premier League of Mel Morrow high budget drama productions featuring future stars of stage and screen such as Charles Sturridge, Edward Duke, Charlie Peters and Hugh Wooldridge (son of actress Margaretta Scott). ( Ed what  extraordinary theatrical talents in one year)


Then there was the non-Premier League like Joe Dooley, low budget shows and us lesser mortals.


So, who, then, was selected to act as the play’s critic and write a review in The Stonyhurst Magazine? The very same Mel Morrow. This is what he had to say in his own incisive way which I later thought was funnier than the play itselself.


Morrow said that my performance rather unbutlerlike (true) and that my make-up too heavy (true). In fact I was unrecognisable to my friends. One friend said he thought I was in the play but did not see me! A bit like the much maligned Schrӧdinger’s Cat.


Phil Frank, who played Freda, wrote to me in 2020:


I’ve done my best to erase all memory of The Hot Tiara. I do remember being coerced into it and not enjoying the experience at all, particularly as Charles Knevitt and I had to dance at one point. It was definitely not an experience that I ever repeated – both the “acting” and dancing with Charles – and I thought the review by Mel Morrow was overly kind.


After The Hot Tiara I got a taste for treading the boards and quite enjoyed the part so I decided to move to the Dark Side and I auditioned for a role in Mel Morrow’s next production. Although my make-up had been heavy in The Hot Tiara, unfortunately Morrow recognised me in the audition and I did not get the part. So, The Hot Tiara was my first and last experience on the stage at the College. So the gap between my ‘entrance’ and ‘exit’ was very short indeed. However, one very important lesson from participating in the production was to know how to improvise and ad lib – a skill I have been using all my life, especially in front of clients or when making presentations at seminars and conferences.






Stephen de Kerdrel  (OB)  ((left) and John Mulholland (right) in The Hot Tiara, March 1968




From Robert


Good to hear back from you and I’m much amused by your acting anecdotes. The J’s were very keen on theatricals and we certainly had Class, Lower line and Higher line and The Panto each year capped by the BU production at Shrovetide. I was a soldier and was often asked how at 25 I had the confidence to lecture at the Staff College - I said it was because of the importance of public speaking at Beaumont but then had to admit that I was not considered good enough even to appear in the Ruds B production !.


Several of those you mentioned were at Beaumont before going up to Stonyhurst: Sturridge, de Kerdral, Biggie and Wooldridge ( Hugh is one of those who keeps in touch with the BU.) I also notice that your play stage manager was David Allen. David was one of  the most popular masters  of those latter days at the school. I knew him when he first came to teach while at “Catz” Cambridge and he helped out as a rowing coach. He was only a few years older than us and knew and understood us all too well: more of a fellow conspirator than a Master.




From John


Glad you enjoyed the account of Joe's play. Yes please edit and use in any way you wish if your readers will think it of interest. I am in touch with Louis Biggie who is an academic in the USA. Bernard Hitchen is retired in Guernsey and Sean Keegan runs a hotel in the Galapagos Islands. I am in touch with them both. Stephen de Kerdrel became a monk and in 1999, a hermit. He lives in a mobile home on an island in the Orkney Islands. In Dec 2019 he hit the news for getting excommunicated for denouncing the Pope, a Jesuit, as a heretic along with RC hierarchy. One sad loss was in June 1970 was Chris Collyer who was killed in a car crash near the College. I have written about this in my memoir as I carried his coffin and he is buried at Stonyhurst. So quite an interesting cast.


Would I be correct in saying you were an army officer? If so, you might be interested to know that I have the miniatures worn by Brig Gen E W Costello VC CMG DSO CVO who was at Beaumont and Stonyhurst. I bought them at auction (Gorringe) in 2006. However, the family in 1981 were clearing a house and from a skip I rescued Costello's family history, letters, papers and photos. I also write books on military history and am working on a Bibliography of the Battle of Britain. My co-author lives in Windsor.


I also have the miniatures of G G Coury VC  (OS) a Somme hero. I got these in 1990 (Sotheby's) indirectly from his mistress. Coury's daughter I am in touch with . She is 96. I also have the miniatures worn by Col Leslie Humphreys OBE (OS), MI6, Section D and founder member of SOE. Early in WW2 he ran F Section (France) and I wonder if he recruited Pierre Vomecourt SOE OB as an early SOE agent. Humphreys recruited the famous Vera Atkins who was his agent in Bucharest in the 1930s. Hollywood are making a film about her. I notice quite a few OB were spymasters.


It was interesting to hear how Beaumont was closed by Rome. Sounds like a shambles. So why were the parents so irate towards the Js? Did they not realise Rome was responsible or where the Js the nearest target for their wrath?


One of my friends at prep school and Stonyhurst was Ned Dowling who was commissioned in the Life Guards and died on a route march in May 1970. An ex Beaumont boy was Fr Peter "Vic" Low SJ who I knew well via teaching and climbing and caving. He drowned in the Wye in Aug 1971. There was quite a death toll as the Head of the Line, Mowbray Berkeley was killed in Jan 1970 and Paul Archer in Nov 1970. Not to mention one of my friends being on an attempted murder charge...


From Robert.


Well, John, my wife Annie says that I’m an expert on the dead with scant information on the living and I have to admit I know very little about what happened to those that had to go up to Stonyhurst to finish their education. I have now tracked down Louis Biggie and Stephan de Kerdrel - as a contrast his eldest brother sold “Gin Palace yachts” to the most wealthy and his father was an SOE agent “Lutine” in the south of France. Mentioning SOE did you know Simon Bailey son of Yvonne Baseden who came up from Beaumont in ’67. She was a great friend of Nancy Wake who worked with two OBs Tom Kenny and John Farmer: I have written an article on Yvonne which should go into one of The REVIEWS this year.


I didn’t know about Leslie Humphries - understandably I know a great deal about OBs and their contribution to Military Intelligence (nothing about Stonyhurst) from the Boer War through to Korea. Pierre de V would have of course known him and it was probably Humphries that arranged to get him (with La Chatte) out of France. However, I think it was Thomas Cadett who recruited both Begue and Pierre.


Fascinated to read about your interest in Military history and the VCs ( needless to say I have been busy on the internet). Costello was a remarkable man both as a soldier and an intellect : his act of valour made the more remarkable as he rescued a man of colour – I wonder if he was the first.


Yes I soldiered for some twenty odd years ( I joined mainly to ride horses rather than for an F-M’s baton), firstly as an Eleventh Hussar and then a Royal Hussar and apart from realising the importance of military history, I was an expert on chemical warfare. I then retired at a very early age to live in France before moving back to the Surrey/Sussex border a few years ago.- I was then inveigled to taking on the B U.


Further to the Beaumont closure and the anger of OBs , parents etc was because there had just been a Centenary Appeal from which a new accommodation wing had been built; all that money wasted. There was a great deal written in both the National and Catholic Press with the attack being led by Ld Russell of Killowen: there was even a cartoon “What next Eton and Harrow” . The Jesuits were stunned by the re-action and poor Dunphy as Rector was left to carry the “verbal can’ at a time when he was planning expansion – having just informed the BU Committee he wandered the streets of London saying “I have lost my dearest friends”.


I see that your latest Book was on Speakman – I remember watching his coming home on Black and white TV Newsreel.  What aspect of The Battle of Britain are you covering? The RAF Memorial overlooks our old Rugby pitches on Runnymede.


Others you might remember from school who are ion touch with the B U include Ed Anderson now a Ld Lt. Konrad Wallerstein in the USA, Michael Sproule in Guernsey and a pair of Scanlons: there may be other sleeping members.


 So, mention by John of Stephen de Kerdrel, I looked him up and needless to say the tabloids enjoyed the story but I have reprinted from the more reliable  piece from The Tablet: Jan. 2020: -




“Hermits excommunicated after accusing Pope of heresy”


Three hermits living on an Orkney island in Scotland have been excommunicated from the Church after accusing Pope Francis of heresy.


The Black Hermits of Westray in Orkney – Fr Stephen de Kerdrel, Sister Colette Roberts and Brother Damon Kelly – received notice of their excommunication from the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles on Christmas Day.





Fr Stephen.


The diocese’s action was in response to a declaration’ signed by the hermits in April 2019, in which the they state that Catholicism is “being transformed inexorably into [a] False Church” and that the pope, “by his utterances, his behaviour, his teaching and his actions, has shown himself to be...a great heretic."


The three hermits' excommunication means they will no longer be able to receive the sacraments licitly unless they reconcile with the Church.


The diocese has clarified that, given the declaration contained a statement by the hermits that they have withdrawn “obedience from Pope Francis and severed communion with the Holy See”, the group had, canonically speaking, excommunicated themselves.


Bishop of Argyll and the Isles, Brian McGee, wrote to the Hermits on being informed of their intent to sever communion with Rome, warning them of this, and urging them to reconsider.


The Black Hermits were founded in 1999 by Fr Stephen De Kerdrel, a former Capuchin novice master, for "young men seeking a more primitive form of life". He runs a Hermits Blog for the three.


The group has attracted controversy in the past: in 2015 the Diocese of Northampton requested they leave one of the diocese’s properties following complaints about one of their number’s behaviour.


Speaking to the Tablet, Fr. Stephen emphasised that he had taken this controversial course of action only because he felt there was no other way to draw attention to what he sees as the failings of the current Pope. Despite having had no interest in church politics, what he termed as “ambiguities and outright heresies” on the part of the Pope had driven him to speak out about the “False Church” he sees as now controlling a large part of the Catholic Church.


Unusually for such a strong critic of Pope Francis, Fr. Stephen sees many of the roots of the current unrest in the church in the proclamation of papal infallibility at Vatican I, and sees the Pope as similar in certain ways to Bl. Pius IX, the Pope who presided over that Church council. Catholic tradition has become “overgrown, luxurious, almost jungle-like”, in comparison to the “remarkably stable” Eastern Orthodox tradition, he noted, arguing that the temporal power of the Papacy, historically and contemporarily, has become a “millstone around the Church’s neck”. Despite his appreciation for aspects of Orthodoxy, however, the hermits have no current plans to convert to an Eastern church.


To the surprise of the three hermits, given their reluctance to seek vocations, the recent controversy has caused interest in joining their way of life to rocket. The three hermits, who currently live in three mobile homes, have visitors only rarely, internet access infrequently, and are dependent upon a wind turbine and two solar panels for electricity. Given their isolated way of life, very little practical changes are likely to occur as a result as the excommunication: Fr Stephen, who sees the excommunication as “null and void”, will continue to provide the group with the sacraments. 


He does, however, have a serious personal issue as the result of the excommunication: it will be very difficult for him to find another priest to act as his confessor. In spite of this, Fr Stephen remains convinced the hermits have done the right thing in spite of the difficulties: “We are a scapegoat, in the biblical sense, for the sins of the current Catholic Church; the sins of the Church are heaped upon us”.


The hermits currently live on Westray, an Orkney isle with a population of around 600 people, and share their dwellings with five cats.




Fr Stephen said to another reporter:


“When they are attacking you left, right and center, we come through it, we are still going!” he said. “We’re still together and we haven’t gone insane!”


De Kerdrel said that he hails from a “rather bohemian” background and that his brother was gay and died of AIDS. He revealed that before becoming a Capuchin monk, he had taken an interest in opera singing.


“I wanted really to do the big Wagner roles, but I have a talent for comedy, and I don’t think that would have worked well with Rossini,” he quipped.


The hermits, who started blogging in 2012, later began to rail against homosexuality, gay marriage and evolution on their blog. When local bishops told them to shut down the online pulpit, the hermits ignored them.


Ed: The Gay brother must have been Jeremy






Some Thoughts from our eminent Professor (Down Under)





I  recently found I had a scan of the Guardian Oxford physics class lists of 1963  and was sad to find Sir Anthony Leggett”s younger brother Terence had graduated in physics in the same year as I did. He was one of the civilised classmates I had throughout my time at Beaumont and I never met him in my three years undergraduate at Hertford. 


He and I had been the beneficiaries of his fathers “science club” where he gave us both the basic science education that Beaumont denied the top of the top stream and his father fixed that. Ironically, I don’t think the utterly brilliant Anthony attended and roars on to Double Firsts in Greats as Beaumont always intended for him.


His apostasy of the 2020 rear view vision so common in “religious” educational institutes did not stop him as he was and is in a different stellar category to the rest of us top of the top stream 


When I wrote to him over his physics Nobel, I asked after Terry and he told me I was decades too late and both Terry and their father had both died in the 1990s.


It’s ironic that 30 years later, I find that Terry and I had both followed the same path to physics at Oxford almost certainly through Terry and Anthony’s fathers determined extracurricular teaching.


Mr Sinclair (who recognised my maths abilities at the time and sent a special amazing Recommendation  to Chichester High that got me into the special one year two maths A levels 3 person stream (we all ended up at Oxford from this State School reading physics.. a recurrent theme)


Mr Dinwiddy the inspirational English Master who so nearly tipped me into journalism (I did spend 15 years as a part time motorcycle and computing amateur journalist)


and Father Kyne the young Classics teacher who left me with the first and most lifetime enduring demonstration of integrity that remains THE flashbulb memory of my entire time at St John’s and Beaumont.


It’s worth telling


Background, I have never bought the Catholic or indeed any religious belief system, but won every single RD prize as I understood the theology perfectly (for every exam question look at it ,see where it sorted from, see where it was supposed to end up, find the step of faith required to bridge the gap, cite the theological authority and next question..unbeatable!!


One day Father Kyne was teaching Greek (I scraped an O level pass with 49 in the end) and we were queueing for the usual Liddle and Scott etc pair of dictionaries, one set per classroom. I was at the back of the queue and turned to Father Kyne. “Father of say today I got the gift of faith.. yes.. but tomorrow I learned many things that challenged this gift, what then?”


His eyes changed from looking at a boy to looking at a peer and he said sadly


“That is the hardest road of all- and most of us Js are on it”


The sheer integrity of this exchange has never left me and out weighs the harsh and continuous bullying I had at Beaumont the entire time was there.


I have used it repeatedly in mentoring of which I have done a lot and in discriminating between the sillier parts of various religions and the remarkable integrity of so many of their followers, and in teaching the difference between bible/religious studies (so often with pernicious results) and theology a seriously valuable branch of Philosophy.


The theology of which the basics were taught so well at Beaumont and the sheer integrity of such as Father Kyne (quite different to the totally inhuman Father Coventry under whom I suffered massively) is the best legacy of Beaumont for me and the whole reason I stay in touch..


I’m sure I have bored you but as I teach 80 later this year and have survived an urgent heart valve replacement ,I do find myself reflecting on the Telugu influential points on my life and the people who catalysed them, with both kindness and respect


Other events that seemed terrible decisions at the time now fall into a life history context as having led to good outcomes (turning down a Readership at Oxford, ducking two firm offers of Division Head posts at the World Bank, turning down a Fellowship at MIT, ducking Head of a state government instrumentality, the list goes on of conscious turning down of what looked like career making appointments.. yet the clear understanding of the need to always be true to oneself so well illustrated by Father Kyne has apparently worked out well.. I long thought that I lacked courage over these events - I certainly did not appreciate that I was considerably more intellectually gifted than  we realised until a year or so ago  (beaten into me by some friends who really thought that imposter syndrome in the late 70s was just TOO hard to take)


I thought that you, as one who has shared the Beaumont culture, might find these undoubtedly tedious small -scale personal memories of the enduring influence of shared times well over half a century old, of at least some mild amusement.


Ed: Marcus’s considerable academic and lifetime achievements are listed below


WIGAN, Prof. Marcus Ramsay (57). Hertford Oxford, Melbourne and Monash Australia. Emeritus Professor of Transport and Information Systems at Edinburgh Napier University and Visiting Professor at Imperial College London. He has published for over 45 years on the interactions between intellectual property, privacy, ethics, big data, identity and data integration in electronic road pricing and intelligent transport systems for both freight and passenger movements. A genuine multiple specialist in many fields, MA, DPhil(Oxon) (Nuclear Physics), MBA, MA(Asian Studies), MA(Musicology) (Monash); GradDip Legal Studies(IP Law), MA(International Relations), MA(Applied and Professional Ethics)(Melbourne); GradDipApplied Psychology(Organisational)(Victoria), and Fellow of further fields FICE(Civil Engineering); FACS(Computing), SMIEE(Electrical and electronic engineering); FAITPM(Management, traffic and transport) and an invited FInstP(Physics), While he has held Honorary Professorships in Infrastructure Engineering(Melbourne), Sustainable Society(Melbourne), ICT(Swinburne), Social Inquiry(Swinburne), Technology and Society(Wollonongong), Hon Fellow in eScholarhip(Melbourne) and currently in Musicology at the Conservatorium of Music (Melbourne),it might be more fun to know that he has also held FIM International Motorcycle Racing Licences and competed in world championship rounds and the Isle of Man TT. If you burrow into his website www.mwigan.com you may find where he also did research on parapsychology at Oxford on a project funded by the CIA… The usual academic identity is ORCID 0000-0002-8529-0785.




Probably off the memberships’ radar but may well be on  that of our wives, girlfriends etc but with a strong OB connection is that of Chanel NO 5.





Although by 1921 Coco had already taken another lover – Grand Duke Dmitri Romanov, she still mourned the death of Boy Capel and indeed her nephew Andre was still at Beaumont. Her first and most memorable scent NO 5 was created in Boy’s memory and the iconic bottle design was taken from the shape of his whisky decanter which she admired and wished to reproduce in "exquisite, expensive, delicate glass".


We know that the Suit was based on the Beaumont Boating Jacket, But is there any truth that the “little black dress” was based on the Jesuit’s soutane?




In Conversation.


The Editor joined in with Gilbert Tristram Conner (56) and his cousin John Barrington Tristram (58) :-


Gilbert to John


The world is full of colourful people, but we all get a bit dubbed down where rather like the weather we never really know whether we are up the right way round and we suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.  History has a way of repeating itself over and over again and rewritten over and over again as those in the new generation struggle making sense of where they are and how they fit in.  In NI one moves in with the fairies, everyone is so friendly and hospitable.  Have you ever been there?


John Replies


Yes, we were deployed day 1 as a Coy under command 1 Queens. While we were there the Bogsiders moved from cups of tea to bricks and stones and a bit of gunfire at night. The Navy at Sea Eagle considered the trouble was nothing to do with them and while our soldiers were practicing Hong Kong Police style riot control, complete with banner men bugler and snatch group, and rolling dannert wire across the Craigavon Bridge to deter the Saturday morning demos the matelots were still able to drink in the pubs. Never been back since.




Did you go to university first or post school activity before being called up?  






No university. Went to work in London for United Africa Co, part of Unilever. Later worked at Bracknell Development Corporation, their office was a large house in Binfield next door to where I was living with my parents in part of another large house. Missed National Service, signed on after a few years with 4/6 Royal Berks TA. Left when both my parents had died and was engaged to Pat and she didn't fancy regular NI tours. We had 3 houses in Newbury, first a new-build semi, then a detached, where we added an extension for Pat's mother, then our large Victorian semi in Donnington Square, which is probably worth a million plus now, where we lived for 23 years. I don't follow the NO liturgy, as I am committed to the Tridentine liturgy. Sometimes I may go to NO Holy Mass if away from home etc. Why did Bugnini et al excise from the full biblical readings so many references to sin, judgement, possibility of damnation for the wicked? A watering down of Magisterium and acceptance of Lutheranism. Oddly, despite proclaiming the importance of scripture, the reformers reduced the length of many of the readings, and further mangled them by authorising even briefer options which many priests in UK seem to choose. Not much point in walking together if you are going in the wrong direction.






Have you read through Trent and its Roman Catechism its appendices or taken the trouble to follow the church through Vatican l and then Vatican ll.  The church is not like a car or even a luxury liner.  It did not start in Augustine's day and his City of God or his Confession or anything else which has been written since.  No it started, if it started anywhere in the mind/ soul of God.  Pope JP on his deathbed gave us the Mysteries of life in the first he quoted God in saying 'This is my beloved son in whom my soul delights' - Creation is on continuum, which will have an end.  There are all sorts of ideas about that and you have reflected some of them. Back to this Pope, who has done his best to open the doors of the church to all those Our Lord came to save all his predecessors except Benedict have been declared as saints and I a sure so will Benedict when he goes.  What makes us saints is not so much what we do, but what God has done for us and our openness to his will (see Our Lord's prayer).  I cannot believe there is anyone who sets out to do their worst, we are all in some way accommodated by God's plan who does not wish for anyone to be lost.  Jesus' first words are always 'fear not'.




Going back to your last and your house moves.  I think my son visited you in your third house which you say must now be worth millions.  This particular son of mine brought up in our various Army Quarters was not impressed with the situation and the way we lived as gypsies.  Caroline's father was a career soldier who was wounded in Burma, while mine survived the war unscathed, both continued after the war.  My father retired early commuted his pension and went into fruit farming, which was not profitable, he then became a Civil Servant, gained a teaching qualification and then moved to education where he became a deputy head master, before starting and running his own school in his own house (a large old rectory).  It accepted those who failed to cope in big schools and coached them through to GCE from which those capable of going on could be crammed, but for most it gave them a chance to get into something when they left him.  Caroline's father did what I did (his two brothers and his sister all with war time service left the military to make their way in the Civil Service as Emergency Planning Officers, while the sister went on to become a deputy commissioner of police in Kenya (Their father had had had a career in Burma, so like your family and the Tristrams in the Middle East were interfaces of the British Empire).


ED to John,


I had no idea you had been with the TA and a tour in NI. In May 72, I asked my Colonel permission to get married and he said NO which took me by surprise as he knew my “intended” very well. So, I enquired why and he said “You are going to NI and I don’t want a young widow on my hands!”  I was in Belfast and ran an operation which I called Prostitution: we would go down the main street in our armoured cars to draw fire and sent the infantry down the back streets and take them in the rear. What memories.




Gilbert to John & Ed. 




This is all getting a bit like “facebook”.  Once starts the ball rolling there is no way of knowing where it will end.  Some years ago I was walking down one of the Stonyhurst's many passages/ indoor routes from one cave to another and I noticed a lovely little memorial to Vernon Fulmer (I think his name was), who was at Beaumont  about my time and went to heaven early.  I think it must have been given to or past on to the school by his parents, who wished it to be were people who might have known him, might see it.  I think he was American.  Ratzinger says Human life is, in the first place, a search for meaning -  this simple idea explains a lot and probably accounts for all of the ground we have covered on and off 


 John to Gilbert & Ed.


Verne Fulmer was in my class. Yes, American, a rather diminutive, bespectacled and amusing chap. He was one of the early casualties among my contemporaries, by chance all 'foreigners', Chris Payne from the West Indies and Ron Shepherd from Argentina. It's impossible to say where some of the unrecorded survivors are now. I met an Old Dowegian in Belize who was living with a Mayan Indian girl and spent most of his time lying in a hammock. He said 'have some honey, I used to take it to the cooperative to sell, but I can't really be bothered'. 'There's a beer in the fridge, but it's not very cold as I have run out of paraffin to operate it'. He had been government development officer but resigned. What happened to Richard Hewins who was a tremendous academic high flyer? I was told he became a hippie.




Ed to Gilbert & John


I can only add that Fulmer died in a motoring accident a couple of years after leaving in ’59: his death unrecorded in the REVIEW. Richard Hewins coasted into Christ Church and was destined to be a QC like his Pa with chambers in Chancery Lane. Grandfather was a Conservative MP, economist and one time Colonial under Secretary  and later  Director of the LSE. Hewins the Hippie- quite possible as nothing has been heard of him in years – searching for an alternative meaning to life? – though probably not what Pope Benedict had in mind.




Messing about in boats


Philip Stevens continues his memoire.


“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” - Toad to Moley, The Wind in the Willows.


With my career now under way, I can turn to boats. We always had boats at Greenlawns, usually one at a time and they were usually punts, and even before that we had the excitement of Tuggy Butler’s Seaquest. Boats were part of the fabric of the place, teaching us about risk-taking and giving over-confidence in and near water. I expect that every person who ever visited Greenlawns in their youth, during the summer months, has some memory of a boating expedition. We never asked visiting school friends whether they wanted to mess around with boats; boats were what we did, and if you didn’t join in you’d be left ashore to amuse yourself.


I have mentioned the creek at the end of the garden, part of a man-made system of channels intended to reduce the worst effects of flooding when the winter river would threaten to overwhelm its boundaries. It worked most years; only in 1947 and 1962 were we flooded into the upstairs rooms at Greenlawns. In most other years the river advanced more or less menacingly a little distance up the garden and went away again.


My father’s parents, who lived a couple of houses closer to the river, were more inundated in 1947 and so moved into Greenlawns during the flood. My grandmother, Granny Stevens, assumed command in the kitchen, and although I claim to remember her standing on a stool in her wellies, cooking at an old-fashioned gas oven, that may just be the invention of having heard the story over the years: I was two and a half at the so it that memory is correct, it would be the earliest memory of my life.


The creek gave us moorings, and earliest experiments in boats all took place within a few yards of home, on that narrow, smelly and stagnant waterway. We never fell in; it was a fact that if you did you would get lockjaw and die almost before you could be carried back to the house. We played for hours in whatever punt or boat was around at the time, paddling up and down the creek. It turned a sharp corner at one point, and the houses beyond the turning had boathouses, underneath the houses themselves. We never asked the owners of these houses, it never occurred to us to do so, whether we could use their boathouses as caves and other accessories in our games. The large fig tree right on the corner where the creek turned was a constant point of reference. Every year we watched the fruit buds emerge, picked one or two from time to time to assess their edibility, and were always disappointed. But a private fig tree on our own waterway was definitely an exotic landmark to be made much of when we allowed other children to join our adventures.


Phyllis Sutherland lived next door. Three generations lived, there, grandparents, two daughters, a son and a grandson, David, of my own age. Actually, he was a year older, but nobody except he, probably, and I certainly, seemed to be aware of the gulf. Grandfather Sutherland may have been other things, but he was also a diamond trader, and on a couple of occasions showed me the contents of a little black


drawstring bag that he produced from somewhere. Very dull, odd-shaped bits of glass, not nearly as interesting as marbles. Maidenhead was, and may yet remain, home of the world’s most important competitive punting regatta. Phyllis was Ladies’ World Champion for many years, and taught many of us to pole a punt in proper form. Going back to punting in 2005 I found that I can still punt for a whole day and have completely dry clothes at the end of it.


As another intertwining of life, Phyllis’s brother Peter was also a noted oarsman and Olympic coach. He founded a new rowing club at Henley, Upper Thames Rowing Club, for whom my brother Mark would cox VIIIs in later times.


In the 1930s, the punting and skiff regatta was part of the summer season, reported on the sports and social pages, even painted by Sir John Lavery. By the time we knew it, it was altogether a very minor event, even on the river.


Maidenhead Punting Regatta, 1934, Sir John Lavery


Being able to handle a punt properly, and swim across the river, where lockjaw was apparently not a risk, gave access to another world. The swimming test had to be undertaken, across the river in clothes but without shoes, and once passed, we were allowed to take out the boat onto the main river, the Thames itself. Here we children manoeuvred the punt between Salter’s River Steamers, barges towing lighters full of soil dredged from the river bed, and a variety of pleasure craft driven, rowed or paddled by tourists out on the river for the first time. Many a visitor to the river at Maidenhead was rescued from their incompetence by a scruffy eleven- or thirteen-year old child insouciantly bringing a punt alongside their stranded or stalled motorboat and helping to get it restarted.




Being on the river probably was the most important intermingling that we ever did as a family of nine children; the age difference was too marked, and there too many of us, for great mutual interest or support in any other activity. Hockey and the crow’s nest had been helpful as well, but the family came together in boats. Even our parents were known to join in the more sedate outings, and picnics were a regular feature. There was actually another rule to cover picnics. If you were going to be away from a meal, you had to tell Louie that you were so planning. If you wanted a picnic, she would provide a paper bag containing sandwiches, an apple, something to drink, and perhaps a few raisins or a biscuit or two.


Dopey, Simon’s personal dog, was a passionate river dog. At the sight of anyone heading down the garden towards the punt, he would abandon any other project and rush to join in. If not taken aboard at the start he would run alongside as we went down the creek, through several gardens. If not taken on board by the time he reached the last garden, he would run up through the last garden and round about half a mile of roads to where the creek ran into the river. There, a boatyard’s landing stage gave Dopey a chance to gaze longingly at us as we went out onto the main stream. Still not taken aboard? Not a problem, he would see whether we turned upstream or down, run ahead, leap into the water and swim out, in time to go through his drowning dog routine as we went past.




Family, with Dopey and Simon on right, punt cushions for the front row.


The creek emerged onto the river between two boatyards. One belonged to a well- known river family, the Bushnells. I first became of their great importance on Coronation Day 1953. We went to watch it at the family home of the Mauretania / Greenlawns naval man. They lived at the other end of Berkshire, and probably were the nearest people with a television whom we knew. As the State Gold Coach processed to the Abbey, we were very impressed to learn that the eldest Bushnell son was actually one of the red and gold – actually grey and less grey – figures marching close beside the coach, closer even than the Beefeaters. The family had an ancient right to nominate one of themselves, generally the oldest son, to be a Royal Waterman. These men had and have to this day the privilege of closest protection of the Sate


Regalia, a nod to the days when the crown and other items were kept in the Tower of London and brought upriver to Westminster by the Royal Watermen. In fact, a ceremony takes place up to the present day, before the State Opening of Parliament: a coach procession from the Tower to Buckingham Palace. Two coaches transport the Imperial State Crown and other regalia, but on the boxes of the coaches are the Queen’s Bargemaster and Royal Watermen, not the Royal Mews coachmen.


One of the family, Bert Bushnell, lived on an old Thames sailing barge, named SB Glasgow, with his wife and eventually three daughters, whom we got to know as we manoeuvred our boat through the tiny gap between the Bushnells and Andrews boatyards. Bert won the double sculls in the 1948 post-war Olympic Games, describing the competition, taking place at Henley: “The Olympics didn’t feel like a big deal. It was Henley Regatta with a few foreigners thrown in.”


I, at least, was terrifically impressed by Bert and his medals, royal connection, an enormous sailing barge and three daughters, called Patty, Jacky and Susan, much younger than I, but allowed to go boating with us, as many of our friends were not.


In later life I learned two things about the Thames of which we were all blissfully unaware in our childhood. More people die in this river than in any other in Great Britain, and in an average year, week in, week out, one body is taken from it. Neither fact would have been much comfort in the early days, when swimming was a consequence of falling out of the boat rather than an end in itself.


Below our own reach of the river stands Brunel’s great brick bridge that carries the Great Western Railway across the river. As a wide, flat and entirely smooth structure it was far more famous to us as the Sounding Arch, returning the best echo that one could ever require. Immediately downstream below the central pillar of the bridge was Dog Island. This is a tiny island, more or less circular and about four or five yards or less in diameter. Two trees adorn it, one with a branch leaning out over the river at an ideal angle to facilitate climbing up and dropping out of the branches alongside totally unwary passing boats. There is also a grave on the island. Not having been on the island for twenty-five years or more, I cannot guarantee the inscription on the grave stone. “Hic iacent canes tres, Mufti, Klaus Maximusque. Amici domini et deliciae dominae.” - Here lie three dogs, Mufti, Klaus and Maximus. The friends of their master, the pets of their mistress. - I have wondered about that grave over the years. I think that the inscription ran on to give a date in the years between the wars, but there was no indication of who the master and mistress had been, or why they had chosen that spot as their pets’ cemetery. For most of my life it seemed a good idea to reserve a burial plot alongside, where I could set off for eternity from the river, the place in the whole world that I loved the most. Nowadays, I just hope that in due course my ashes will be scattered from it.




The sounding Arch and Dog Island immediately below it.


Boating by day was fun, but boating at night was adventure. We never had lights on the craft, and frequently had no either, until the Thames Conservancy caught up with us half-way through each season, and never once in our lives wore life jackets. In the late summer evening we would go out late, stay out until the early hours and the river was ours alone. Boulters Lock lies at the top end of the Maidenhead reach of the river. It was manually operated, but we knew how to work locks, and more than once we met a grumpy lock keeper, leaning out of his bedroom window in his pyjamas to find out who was abroad at the late hour. Behind the lock were the boat rollers, a slope to allow small boats to be taken up and down between the two river levels without going through the lock. It was hard work taking a boat up, but easy taking one down. In later times, when we had a plastic flat-bottomed boat with no luxuries and a small outboard motor, the greatest adventure was to shoot Boulters Weir, only done once or twice, and always at night when there were no authorities around to stop us.


Apart from boating, we swam in the river, running down the road, diving off the roadside railings and swimming before running back. We took no dry clothes, rarely a towel, and nobody, as far as I can ever remember, thought it at all odd. As we grew more confident we would also swim in the sluice races below Boulters Weir. Looking at the weir and its currents from the public gardens beside the river, it seems a mad and dangerous place to choose for a swim. In fact, it probably is. In the summer, with the river low and flowing slowly, one can swim upstream between the flows of the sluices, land on the ledge of the weir and then dive into the races to be carried downstream at great pace. Lock keepers and others used to stand by and shout at us, but sometimes the noise of the weir made it impossible to hear them, so as they waved at us, we would wave back in a friendly manner.


Many years later, on the river with some American friends and our daughter Antonia, we allowed her to do the same thing at Cookham Weir. If Art and Tory could have


taken Antonia from us and into their care, they certainly would have done so; they were deeply, obviously and very vocally shocked by our failings as parents. The precognition of certain death from some deadly disease, assuming she wouldn’t have drowned or been eaten by a river creature before the disease took hold, troubled them greatly.


Boulters Weir, River Thames at Maidenhead, ideal for wild swimming, but not after rain, as in this picture


As a second-year pupil at Beaumont, one elected either to play cricket or to join the rowing club. This was not a difficult choice, and for three happy years I messed about in sculls, four and eights on the Old Windsor reach. As a casual oarsman, I was in casual crews. Occasionally we entered the most insignificant novice classes at Egham or Staines Regattas, and very occasionally rowed against other schools, always either Eton or Strode’s School at Egham. In the first year it was essential to avoid the deformed boat. It had become twisted lengthwise, so that as the blades (oars) at one end on one side were impossible to get out of the water, the blades at the other end of the boat on the other side were impossible to get into the water. Nobody ever won any race in that boat.


As an oarsman I was to produce my highest sporting achievement. A coxed four entered the Novice Clinker Fours at Egham Regatta. If there is a less important competitive class at regattas, we would have been entered in that instead. To the surprise of the crew, and perhaps more generally, we actually won the final, and even though we were the canaille of the Beaumont College Boat Club, I recall that that trophy was the only regatta prize that was won during that Summer. It was not a regatta nor event smart enough to be worthy of the winning crew members receiving a medal to mark their success.


Despite being a regatta winner, I was not a good crew member, and had not acquired any physique that would make up for my individualistic style. However, there were single sculls for the dregs of the rowing world, and many a happy afternoon was spent




alone, in the backwaters of the river, hidden under a willow tree, asleep on the bank. The river, again, was a place where the rest of the world was held at arm’s length, and where I was at ease with all.


In due course I graduated to the 3rd VIII. Perhaps only 24 boys in the top years were still oarsmen. We rowed against, and held to a narrow margin, the 1st VIII in their final preparations for Henley Royal Regatta, to the disgust of their coach. We thought our efforts were inadequately recognised, and made our point by throwing the 1st VIII cox, also Captain of Boats, into the river. Immediate expulsion from the rowing club followed, and for the remainder of my last term at Beaumont I was a free spirit for every sports afternoon. On a few afternoons I was able to sample a new and worthwhile form of boating. A class-mate seemed to have imported, or at least to have use of, a sailing dinghy. It seemed to live a clandestine existence tucked away somewhere near the boat shed, and from time to time I was allowed to crew for the owner. Apart from that, I certainly wasn’t wasting my time on academic endeavour, although I have little memory of how I did pass the time. Perhaps I took the afternoons as they came, watching a little cricket or just existing, I have no recollection of ever playing cricket, as non-boaters were supposed to do.


The first day of Henley was always a full day’s holiday. A fleet of Windsorian Coaches took us all to Henley and decanted us there to amuse ourselves for the day. The Beaumont VIII rowed in their first-round heat of the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup, restricted to English public schools, of which about twenty had boat clubs. Beaumont was always an entrant, and almost always went out in the first round of heats. That formality out of the way, the day was ours to enjoy. A large funfair was situated on the river bank, below the regatta enclosures, and inevitably many schoolboys from other schools congregated there. It was a matter of some pride to liberate the boater, straw hat, of a boy from another school, and of course a matter of honour for boys of the liberated boater’s school to seek to recover it. Scuffles and chases tended to increase towards day’s end, when the chance of getting away with the spoils of the chase were enhanced by being able to take refuge in the waiting transport.


After my last year at Beaumont I was much on the river, before and during my time at the Premier Supermarket. There were also many summer parties, not least on many weekends at Yew Gate on Remenham Hill, next to a night club with a swimming pool that we could use just for the effort of climbing over the fence. Once thrown out of the nightclub pool we would run down Remenham Hill and dive off Henley Bridge. We would try to hitch a lift back up the hill, and on one occasion someone actually stopped to pick us up. If I recall correctly, we had set a decoy, just one couple, whilst the remainder hid. The bait taken and the lift offered, we all emerged and climbed in as well. It was as well we’d left Beaumont: the driver of this vehicle was the brother of one of the teaching staff there.


During this season, the river also brought my only other sporting achievement. Most local river towns staged an annual “rag” regatta. Supposedly, these were not serious sports, but rather were celebrations of messing about in boats. In the three river towns, Maidenhead, Marlow and Henley, lived a fair few of my own age, from St John’s and Beaumont. A group of us decided to enter one of the oldest sporting events on the river, Wargrave and Shiplake Regatta, then and still today a true rag. Someone formed several crews, some just us school-friends, some roping in sisters and girl-


friends for the mixed events. We had a wonderful day, competing fiercely, but always under the handicap of competing honestly, which placed us at disadvantage when up against crews with long pedigree in the skullduggery of the rag circuit. However, we learned fast, and entered the Marlow rag a week later. Prepared for what the opposition might seek to do to us, we did it first, and the earthenware pot for the crew members winning the Dongola fours was the only tangible sporting trophy that I took into adult life. Would my grandmother have been able to use it as a retort to the Tunbridge Wells competitive circle? Perhaps she would have just looked at the word Winners, and ignored the setting and the actual event.


Dongola crew, Wargrave & Shiplake Regatta, 2017, the spirit lives on.


Thus, at home or at school, the year was split in two; the bit when boats were in the water, and the rather duller bit when they were not. Memories are almost all of the times when we were on the river, swimming, boating, just simply, gloriously messing about in boats.


Boating was by no means at an end, but for the two years at Sandhurst it had taken a back seat. Now, as a young Second Lieutenant, aged 20 and four months, I had much other than boats to worry about, and the military had to take priority. Little did I know, fate would throw a lifeline back into the water within a year.






From Damian Russell


many thanks for the filmed  memories of Beaumont and the recollections of the late Tom Haran. I did meet him at TCD, where he was rather disguised and seemed to have formed a friendship with a tent-pole; years later we  crossed paths at the Chelsea Arts Club, where he questioned me about a mishap at BC, which was denied by me and in fact by the party concerned; but we can’t all be right all of the time. A Wild Rover indeed. 




From John Joss.




Many thanks, as ever, Robert. I was saddened to see that Tim Ruane, a contemporary and friend, is no longer with us--I always liked


to see his family lorries in East Anglia with the name on them. Famous spuds.


Where on earth did you get the photo of me with my VFR? It is to larf.




From Nigel Courtney.




It was great to see your beautiful Maserati. In 1982 a neighbour in Dulwich Village had one and I loved the lines and the soft leather interior – and wanted one. Unfortunately, the world and his wife chirped about reliability. So I looked elsewhere and found a gorgeous Aston Martin DB5 in Gloucester Terrace for £21,000. But a pal who had one said it spent most of its time at Newport Pagnell, being fixed.  


I settled for a Jaguar XJS v12 – which I took round Spa, exceeding 165 through Eau Rouge.  But I should have bought the DB5 - still superb to look at … and worth a fortune today.






From Christopher McHugh




I did indeed receive an email from Nigel Courtney about the BUGS but I think there has been a misunderstanding somewhere along the line as I have never swung a golf club in my life. Alas, this lacunae has contributed to my misfortunes on several occasions in my life as the following tale faithfully recalls.


On retiring from the RN, one of the portfolios I secured was a lucrative consultancy contract with a French defence engineering company. It lasted almost 5 years until I was elbowed out of the post by a newly arrived ambitious little sh*t whom I had known in my navy days. Whilst licking my wounds, I was alerted about a forthcoming vacancy for a very prestigious job at the Palace of Westminster with an equally impressive remuneration package and frequent overseas travel in the company of House of Commons MPs and peers from the Lords. One of the job specifications was the requirement for the applicant to speak fluent French. Through an accident of birth, French was my first language which I still speak fluently with no accent so I thought I stood a good chance. I felt very encouraged when I got through the head-hunter's initial sifting and, in order to verify my claim of speaking French fluently, I was interviewed by a very attractive female French linguist that I rather fancied.


I was then called for the final interview before a selection board of three MPs and two peers and felt as nervous as I had been almost 40 years earlier when facing the Admiralty Interview Board to get into Dartmouth. The interview was not helped by the board chairman who was an obnoxious Labour MP, clearly republican minded and unimpressed that I had served in the Royal Yacht Britannia. The Tory and Lib Dem MPs were generally more friendly and the two peers were simply geriatric aristocrats. After being cross-examined by each board member in turn, the chairman remarked that, having heard all about my good points, he would like to know what were my weaknesses. I explained that as a naval officer one would lose all credibility if one stood on the quarterdeck in front a group of sailors and admitted to any weaknesses but I could give him the address of a lady in Dulwich who could give him a list of these that would run into pages. The chairman frowned and was not amused but the other board members chuckled. Then came the googly, bowled by one of the peers that I thought was fast asleep. He asked me pointedly “Do you play golf?” I had to admit that I had never swung a golf club in my life and he replied “Ah! so now we know your major weakness!” I was not entirely surprised to receive a phone call subsequently from the head-hunter to say he regretted to inform me that I had come second at the finishing line. 


I am sorry to disappoint but I cannot make the 26 May with the BUGS although I am much looking forward to our expected BU lunch in the autumn.


From Paul Burden

I was recently trawling Google for info about P G Wodehouse. My book group is currently reading for the first time a Jeeves novel. I thought it worth reminding the less informed of us about the controversy surrounding Wodehouse over his perceived cooperation with the German authorities between 1940 and 1943 after he was detained by advancing German forces at his French home near Le Touquet.
To cut to the chase I learned that Wodehouse was questioned by MI5 in Paris in 1944 and his interrogator was OB Edward Cussen, then MI5’s principal legal adviser. There was extensive mention in the Summer 2019 Review of Cussen’s possible role in the Ruth Ellis story. I wondered if the Review had also covered the Cussen/Wodehouse story. It’s certainly worth a mensh. Its remains somewhat controversial. Cussen effectively exonerated Wodehouse and just before his death, Wodehouse was fully rehabilitated with the award of a knighthood by HMQ. Might be worth some space in the next edition.




Ed “Strike while the iron is HOT.”




Edward Cussen was a barrister by profession and  during the War, under the cover of the Intelligence Corps, worked for both MI 5 and 6. At the end of the War, he was sent to Paris to “interview” PG Wodehouse over his role in Nazi propaganda. Cussen reported on a man that was both naïve and foolish not unlike his character “Bertie Wooster”. He had been recommended to the Germans by the traitor John Amery and was tricked into giving humorous accounts of life in an internment camp.




The facts are as follows:









Wodehouse and his wife, Ethel, had lived in Le Touquet since 1934. The speed of the German advance, through northern France, in May 1940, took the Wodehouses - as it took the British High Command - by surprise. Wodehouse was captured and sent to an internment camp at Tost in Upper Silesia. In June 1941, he was released, and taken to Berlin. There he made five broadcasts on German radio. His wife soon joined him in Berlin. The Wodehouses lived in Germany under supervision for just over two years; in the Hotel Adlon in Berlin during the winters, and for the rest of the year with friends, in, respectively, Degenershausen in the Harz mountains, and in Lobnis in Upper Silesia. In September 1943, they were allowed to move to Paris, where they stayed under supervision at the Hotel Bristol. In August 1944, the Allies liberated Paris. In September, an investigation into Wodehouse's actions was carried out by Major E. J. P. Cussen of MI5.


The main charges against Wodehouse, which Cussen specifically investigated, were as follows: that he made no attempt to escape the advancing German Army in May 1940; that he and his wife willingly entertained Germans in their hotels in Germany and France; that he was a Nazi sympathizer; that during his time in internment he was granted special privileges for collaborating with the Germans; that he was released from internment on condition that he broadcast Nazi propaganda from Berlin; that he did broadcast such Nazi propaganda; and that thereafter he lived a life of contemptible ease and luxury for the rest of the war, paid for by the Germans, as reward for his help in their war effort.


Cussen's first report, and, as it turned out, his only report on the truth or otherwise of these charges, was signed by him on September 28, 1944. The purpose of  giving this date is to make clear that the report was written after only a month's investigation; and, of course, it was written while the war was still raging, with all the chaotic difficulties which that meant. In that month, Cussen was able to find no proof of that guilt on any of the charges, and in the case of two of the charges - namely, that Wodehouse had not tried to escape the advancing German Army, and that the broadcasts were Nazi propaganda - Cussen found Wodehouse innocent.


Cussen continued his investigation after September 28; indeed, there are copies of important letters from Wodehouse to Cussen, dated as late as February 1946, included in the MI5 file released last month. By this time, Cussen was convinced of Wodehouse's innocence. I have been told this by independent witnesses who had discussed the case with Cussen. But Cussen, sadly, did not produce a report giving his final conclusions of Wodehouse's innocence. Nor was the one report he did produce, referred to above, released until 1980. This failure to make public his innocence was tragic for Wodehouse. Furthermore, Wodehouse suffered from the loss of another opportunity for his innocence to be publicly made clear. There is a passage in one of Wodehouse's letters to Cussen, in the file, dated November 2, 1945:


“I had a letter from Ian Hay [the authorial pseudonym of Major-General John Hay Beith] in which he mentioned meeting Sir Donald [Somervell; Attorney-General] at the Beefsteak Club, and he said that Sir Donald, when my case came up, said that, while I had been indiscreet, no possible charge of disloyalty could be made against me”.


Later on, Cussen was one of the British prosecuting team at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials and was involved with bringing William Joyce Lord Haw-Haw to justice.


 Following the trials Cussen  was a prosecuting counsel for the next eighteen years and also served as a Judge at the Old Bailey. It was probably surprising to hear that many a prisoner found the bitterness of their conviction was lost in admiration of Edward’s gentle skill and firm understanding. There was truth that a substantial proportion of his Christmas mail consisted of cards sent by the inmates of Wormwood Scrubs and Wandsworth, but none came from Deutsch Gefangnissen.









Parodies, Spoofs with a sprinkling of satire: please feel free to contribute to some passing whimsy. Contributions to this Literary Backwater are gratefully received. SO FAR VERY LITTLE! Your Editor is getting close to his WITS end.







Wine for this Summer - Charles Heidsieck: A Beaumont “Bubble” ?




“Annals of the Beaumont Boat Club”.


This leather- bound volume was the final work to come off the Scout Press in the laundry Dorm in 1967. The gold tooling on the front was completed by Fr “Botty” Hull – regrettably, it was not noted till its presentation to HM on the occasion of her visit to mark the Closure of Beaumont that an N had been left out of the title, The Editor understands that Fr Botty was appointed  Master of English  at Campion Hall  shortly afterwards.


July 1967: the last regatta and the day of the Wraysbury Skiff and Punt club “Head of the River” held under the Oxford End tradition. Tony Sprott, head coach of rowing, noted in his diary. Ever since the Christine Keeler Memorial Trophy had been first awarded in 1963, he and the BCBC had coveted this cup. (Miss K was well known to Wraysbury Members having lived next door to the boathouse for a number of years). This Head of the River was the most important event of the year and to win there held the same prestige as losing in the prelims at Henley.


Tony had to admit that his VIII were always at a slight disadvantage having little time practice their techniques: both on and off the water; “shoving, pinching and pricking” might have come naturally at The Oratory but not at Beaumont though the Captain of Boats was often known by his courtesy punting title of “Wright Prick” (named after Cyril Talbot Wright (83) a founder of the Club.  This year would be different with the imminent closure of the school, they had re-varnished the Scudamore made E de Menthel that had been presented at the time of the Centenary and named for that legendary coach and biology master who had memorably introduced the “After VIII” to the crew menu. (The young lady concerned was the sister of the Prefect of Sodality: so, all was above board)


The race conditions required the crew members to sit in the punt while the cox now punter uses the pole, the course ran from the old BCBC Boathouse upstream to Ricardo’s. As luck would have it our 1st punt was drawn against the Eton 13th which had always beaten us on previous meetings and the third punt, in this highly contested event, and in their first attempt, were the girls from St Lary’s Ascot.


The remnants of the school turned out along the river towpath to cheer the crew.  Our punt went downstream to the stake boats flaunting their traditional Floppies, Eton in their boating jackets and flower garlands on their boaters, and the girls, in their very appealing “Janet Reger” shorts and string vests, received appreciative applause.  It had to be admitted that fervour had gripped The VIII on waking to the prospect of taking on the maidenhood. Last-minute press-ups had been performed and bottles of cologne emptied onto various cheeks.


The race got off to a false start when the St Lary’s cox forgot where she was and was left dancing on the pole.  After that entertainment, the race eventually got under way and Beaumont had the advantage on the first bend: Eton were warned by the Umpire for “taking the water” out of the BC crew as they eased level.  St Lary’s were half a deck down at this stage and their coach Reverend Mother Sabrina had to be warned for language. Into the final bend, and It seemed that Beaumont were dragging weed while Eton were snorting something stronger. Then it happened: -


Coming downstream from the Old Windsor Lock was the river Launch Thomas Bedfit captained, though not necessarily in control, of Mike Bedfit (62) with various old school friends. Mike had wisely allowed a Jeroboam of Ch. Beaumont per person as a moderate aperitif before the proposed liquid lunch at The Bells. The wild cheering and gesticulations from Stewards were seen as signs of welcome to the old imbibing waters of generations of OBs.  The sight of the young “amazons” in their punt drew the OBs undivided attention to the port side, the wheel went over, boat hard a starboard, Eton sunk, wets bobbing, garlands floating and Beaumont through in the ensuing melee. Announcement on the tannoy “Entering the enclosures, the final of the Keeler Cup with St Lary’s Ascot on the Wraysbury Station who are leading Beaumont College on the Bouzely’s by half a deck”.


 Whether it was the sight of the St Lary’s body swing, the scent of Chanel No 5 wafting on the breeze from the opposing boat or Fr Henschel’s recitation of “Oh this too, too sullied flesh would melt…”  but on a final throw the Beaumont punter went for the single-handed paddle wheel technique and was left stranded mid- stream. He was picked up by the Bedfit and Mike insisted that he put away a Yellow Izarra for going Up and a green for going Down.


So endeth Beaumont’s final regatta. Reverend Mother Sabrina accepted the Keeler Memorial Trophy on behalf of St Lary’s and suffered the traditional ducking: winning for herself the wet tee shirt prize.  Tony Sprott received the Mandy Twyse Dalley Memento for the Runners- Up. Tony was to say “ah well – Gentlemen do prefer blonds”.


Dear convent girls (hiding every blush)


Have raised a laugh with their latest crush


Smiled  the coquette chancing fate,


For they fancied


Every member of the Beaumont eight.


The actual Memento was sold by the Jesuits along with all the other College valuables a few months later. It went for an undisclosed sum to another Gentleman but from Cliveden.








The OB sits up alone in his chair,


Pulls at his ear-lobe, scratches his hair–


Opens the website and out of the blue…….


he has just discovered the B U REVIEW.




Who are these people – I have no idea –


They were not in my team or even my year,


With their lunches and gatherings and other fun do’s,


Drinking Heidsieck or is it Ayala grand cru?


If they’re not at Henley, or some other bash,


They all have reasons for making a “splash”.




That chap was a lawyer  – I know that’s correct ;


And wasn’t he in my Club if I recollect,


And that is the one who is married my Miss “thing”,


He’s the fellow who floored me in the boxing ring.




And who is this man with his stately home and park


And his paintings and sculptures and silver hallmarked.


He drives a fast car with a glamourous wife,


And his B U friends enjoy sporting life.




I suppose I should know each OB by name,


And be versed in the mysteries of their past fame,


But to tell you the truth, I’m too bored and too old.


And I couldn’t care less even if I was told.




The OB stretches out for his glass of pink gin,


Closes his eyes, considers: “What might have been,”  


Yawns, sighs, “Quite honestly, I have not a clue”,


So, the silly old fart bins The B U REVIEW.




 The Currant (a bit fruity) Affaires Society


To Johnnie Spewer (Regimental chum and School day’s squit)


Dear Johnnie,


                     I’m certain that you are truly, madly, deeply  concerned, as my good self, by the news that we are to have a Memorial to the “Covid Dead “at  The National Memorial Arboretum  so that those who gave their lives in the  World Wards should be remembered. I gather it will take the form of Weeping willows that will surround a mother figure statue in full PPE with arms outstretched to receive the old and the lame – well mainly the old. The statue of tactile material (to give that all important  touch and feel that is so representative  of the modern British spirit), will be surrounded by a fountain of sanitiser while the sound of Captain  Sir Tom singing “ You will never walk alone” will be available at £1 in the slot machine tastefully formed in the Ventilator at the mother figure’s feet. 


I gather it will only be short distance from yet another proposed erection to the LGBT Community  whose sons, daughters and those that cannot work out which they are, gave  so generously of their Aids to serve one another. I understand  that Anthony Gormley has been commissioned to produce an edifice appropriately  in rainbow colours. 


However, these are but minor issues compared with the new pandemic spreading  havoc throughout our world –  yes: NATCA   people are dying in vast numbers from “natural causes’, again it is the old that have been badly hit. The Chief Medical officer, asked to comment admitted that those over 80 were particularly vulnerable and for those over 90 there is no hope of recovery. Boris says he has a roadmap to get us out of Covid, well I for one remembers that with Fr Bogs Bamber in Ruds B learning that “The rolling English Drunkard built the rolling English Road and at this moment  there are no brakes on our Boris Bikes on our way to Beachy Head!  So, I’m pouring another glass of Chateau N’Importe Quoi  while  the prices last.


This new “virus” has once again hit the Care Homes particularly badly – I have heard it said that those that enter in …… well it is a national disgrace and the W.H.O. have still not been able to find the source of this plague.  Anyway, our Government  say they have far more important matters on its mind:- 


Cometh the moment cometh the Gove; yes, he who gave us the  “freedom pass” to go anywhere, provided it is in this Country (N. I. excepted) can surely do what Canute failed to do: stop this tidal wave that could overwhelm Boris’s thin red line. 


 “ Will you join in Gove’s crusade?” ( though in the interest of Muslim relations it will be downgraded to a  social  excursion) 


Will  you be strong and stand with he?
For beyond  the HS2
There  is a world you long to see?


Then join in the fight
That will give you the right to live in Chorley!


Do you hear the European research Group sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be  Brussels’ slaves again!




Are you with them, Johnnie? Or are you  unfortunately confined to a Travelodge room at £1795 for 10 days “jankers “ – I believe it is  shortly to be introduced into the penal code permanently for anti-social behaviour.




At your convenience,




From Johnnie Spewer,


(Dodging my questions as we were overtaken by much more serious events:-)




 Is Michael Kent the last straw… even the short stalk to break the donkey’s rump, when the Colonel’s Traffic Light has just turned pink?


But all’s well that ends well… when the martini’s shaken, not stirred and ice to the Eskimos is delivered in a prepacked thunderbox.


So be it... I felt the attached synopsis of their awfully big adventure might possibly interest you.


‘’Prince Michael of Kent accused of selling access to Kremlin,’’ reports the tastefully embellished Guardian   11 May 2021


In a recorded meeting with the undercover reporters, Lord Oscar Reading, ballading on zoom from his metaphysical gaol, said: “If he [Prince Michael] is representing the House of Haedong, excuse me, Hanover, he could mention that to Putin, and the Putinistas (whose hit single ‘’Can’t Buy Me Access’’, you know, with backing from some disbanded Beatles has just topped the Charts) would find the right person who is interested in South Korea, or South Kensington for that matter, or interested in gold… or frankincense or even myrrh for that matter. It just opens the door, you know, which is so helpful, when you can’t get the staff and the butler is locked up in the pantry.”


He added: “I think, if I can say this, this is kind of slightly discreet, we’re talking, relatively discreetly, but not absolutely discreetly, you understand, here. Because we wouldn’t want the world to know that he is seeing Putin purely for business reasons which, between you and me, are actually to do with the upcoming reincarnation of Czar Nicholas 11; or indeed HRH’s missus to know he’s seeing the Putinistas for what only they have to offer, which is their particular posh puff of post-Romanov class, if you follow me.”


He went on to describe Prince Michael as “Her Majesty’s unofficial ambassador to Russia” and said tension between the UK regime and the Russian regime has not affected Michael’s relationship with Putin or with the Putinistas’s lead singer Olga Abramovich. He said: “He is just generally regarded as Her Majesty’s unofficial ambassador to Russia. As for Olga, she’s just a decorative piece on HRH’s sideboard, slightly to the left of the soup tureen, if you know what I mean. I mean, I say that, you know, between you and me and my Georgian gate-post slightly, but I mean it’s generally known that’s the case… anyway, it certainly is at my lockup in Cirencester, if you know what I mean.”


Prince Michael’s office said: “Prince Michael has no special relationship with President Putin. They last met in June 2003 and Prince Michael has had no contact with him or his office since then. ( No statement has been made concerning his  relationship with certain OBs)


“Lord Reading is a good friend who in trying, but awkwardly failing, to help ‘made’ suggestions which Prince Michael would not have wanted, or owing to longstanding pre- booked engagements with Olga, been able to fulfil.”


Lord Reading said: “I thought the approach from the House of Headlong into the Ditch, sorry, Haedong was genuine and I was only trying to lubricate, there I go again! facilitate an introduction to my friend Prince Michael. I made a mistake and over-promised and under-delivered and for that I am truly regretful. I not only wasn’t at my peak, I was quite clearly in my trough, as I was recovering from a brain, I mean kidney transplant.


“For the record,’’ he added, ‘’the ‘Little Black’ Sambo event which was eight years ago was my undressing event for hungry tigers and Prince Michael was simply my guest along with Black Jumbo and Black Mumbo and many other people. By the way, Mumbo’s pancakes were delicious.”




To Johnnie Spewer,


Well, Old Chum, I demand an Enquiry into the whole affair, indeed an Enquiry into Enquires, or an Inquiry into whether it should be Enquiry or an Inquiry as we have now been promised  a full frontal, no holes barred ( backside excepted in view of sensibilities) Enquiry to outlast all Inquiries into the handling (protective gloves mandatory) of the Pandemic Pandemonia. Well, I don’t have to tell you that the responsibility lies, according to the likes of Jeremy and Ken Loach, with the Hunting Toffs who all took time off work ( sorry, they don’t know the meaning of it) to go racing at Cheltenham last year. Their virus spread like their Trust Funds or was it marmite ( the new more spreadable variety). I had previously written to Unilever and petitioned the PM that this would happen – but what do you expect when it was spread/ invented by a HUN: The French hate us for it and its ruddy German! what kind of perverts would have given the green light to altering a “national treasure”. Well, of course it’s those ruddy Red coated, blood loving sportsman again.(covert Brexiteers).


I digress, our latest Enquiry  following on from Cladding, Abusing, Lobbying, Shooting (NI variety) though I’m certain Grouse will get a look in there somewhere is Covid. It will make Jarndyce & Jarndyce  pale into insignificance ( is paleness a symptom?). 


 Questions to be asked include not only lockdown but more importantly who was lockedin or  lockedout  and who “locked it all about” and who is going to be locked Up for it.  Well, I’m Up  for it, if you are, indeed recently it seems to have been in short supply!  Must be age related.


I’m reliably informed that the Archbishop of Canterbury will address the Nation from his  “Kitchap” : C of E parlance for the Lambeth combo Kitchen / Chapel (without the magimix) with a message of  sympathy  with social conscience and prayerful overtones.  The Saga is set to run and run  (not only their health insurance  but  also their Holiday Programme for 2021). 


Will this be the end of the Enquiry to end all Inquiries? Was “Not in your lifetime”  written by Anthony Summers  or was it ………. 


With my “Good vibrations” for the forthcoming Summer.


Johnnie replies:-


God Only Knows! I've searched (although only after 'paragraphing' your Vibrations epistle into a digestible form)  for shortcomings in the latest of your Joyce/Woolf streams of unconsciousness.


And I have to admit, even after asking for Rhonda's Help, I've come away only to ''feel so broke, I want to go home'' with or without a hoisted or half-masted John B Sail. 


Because I know only too well courtesy of today's Covid Times (''the more we talk about it, it only makes it worse to live without it...'')  that ''Indian Curry Stains Lock Upped Underpants'' while at the same tie warning 'Third Wave Risks Drowning ''Covid Opportunity Knocks!''  the latest in the BBC's challenging new game show. In which case I can only say, 'Wouldn't It Be Nice'!




And now, from  your semi-prostrate correspondent, who must go and lie down. 








L. D. S.