SUMMER  2023


  Well, a good number of journals seem to have had  a Coronation Special Edition  and so in the tradition of past Beaumont Reviews this one follows suit. In the span of the school there were four celebratory editions and I will cover those festivities as the principle article. This time around there were no reports of OBs in attendance at the abbey or taking part in the pageantry. The best we could come up with was Richard Sheehan enjoying a pint with a cardboard cut- out and Robert Bruce seated in front of the Television in his highly polished “regimentals”. Indeed, he sent me a signal: Bravo all Matelots, Wooden Tops, Pongos and Crabs, but a special Bravo Zulu for all Donkey Wallopers and Bootnecks!  Impeccable!  Oh, to be on Buck House lawns today!  God Save The King! .

My own contribution was a “supply of  Charles Heidsick” (what else). No, to the so called Coronation quiche ( I was always told ‘real men don’t eat quiche’  but of course ‘Poulet Reine Elizabeth’).  I’ m reminded of the Twenties song  "I've danced with a man, who's danced with a girl, who's danced with the Prince of Wales" as the closest I came to the King was that on the eve of the Coronation “I patted the rump of his mare”. I hasten to add that this was  not over familiarisation with the Queen but HM has just sent some horses to our “jump’ trainer and the mare in question has the same sire as one of ours in the yard and is in the adjoining box. 

In the spirit of past Beaumont Coronation Banquets can I urge, those that can, to come to our more modest Lunch on 2nd October and certainly drink the health of our new Monarch.




As previously announced will take place at the Caledonian Club, Halkin Street, Monday 2nd October. The Bar will open at Noon, Lunch at 1pm. Dress: Suits.

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

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


 The Committee looks forward to seeing you all again.


BACS payment preferred to Sort: 30-99-09. Beaumont Union A/c 02198243 with NAME as reference. The cost is £60.

There is no charge for members of the Clergy..

Cheques to The Hon Secretary at the address below.  Alternatively, if you have paid electronically you must  email to: amanda@mbarrington.net


Mrs A Bedford

94 Hurst Park Road



RG10 0EY

Tel: 0118 934 2110



Although a few months away, please note Sunday 12th November. I will send out a Notice closer to the time.




There was a smaller participation than usual at the Annual Lourdes Pilgrimage last Easter. The BOFS  consisted of Mandy Bedford, Tony Outred , Richard Sheehan and Mons. Jim Curry.  In support of the Groups were Patrick Burgess and John Flood: the latter travelling down in the recovery “Van” behind the intrepid cyclists who made the journey raising money for the cause.


5 June 2023, was a century since the birth of Brother Michael Strode founder of HCPT.

Several hundred of his family, friends and admirers defied the rail strikes and successfully made their way, perhaps against the odds, to Westminster Cathedral for the Mass celebrated by Archbishop Mark O’Toole of Cardiff and others to commemorate this day and his remarkable life and legacy. Over 400 more were present virtually through the live streaming facility. At the outset, all of them were warmly welcomed by Archbishop Mark who gave thanks to God for Brother Michael’s Cistercian vocation and legacy.

To support the cause for Bro. Michael’s canonisation, his follower and friend John Wolff  (58) has written  a book about his life and philosophy which was launched the same day.


           John has written:-

"I believe Michael has left us many gems within 

these pages. Some lie on the surface. 

Others need a little digging for. 

My prayer is that readers find them." 



ED: To my mind John  has written a remarkable book. I found it a compelling read. This sort of biography can be fairly dry stuff but John’s easy-going style takes one through a life from agnosticism to what we hope is sainthood. Brother Michael’s life of service to others is obviously a great example to us, but we cannot all go and found an extraordinary charity  but we can certainly learn from it. Despite suffering from ill  health, Michael never backed off from seizing opportunities and with love and good humour. He was not an OB but it is hard to think of any other who truly lived by our motto “Aeterna non Caduca”.  I wrote to John and said that Korngold and Humperdinck only wrote one opera but they are great works; John might have written this one book but “cometh the man, cometh the moment” . Highly recommended.

John Wolff’s book is now available at: https://www.brothermichaelstrode.org/news/the-latest-news at a cost (worth every penny) of £15 +£4.75 for package & posting.



An account of the 103rd annual meeting of the BU Golf Society.

From Nigel Coutney Hon Secretary:-

When John Maynard Keynes was asked to explain an episode of irrational exuberance in the markets he put it down to “animal spirits”. Perhaps something of the sort could be attributed to the intrepid BU golfers who kicked off the 103rd year of our Golf Society at Westerham Golf Club on Wednesday, 31st May. What else can explain the way they shrug off the slings and arrows of increasing maturity and simply decide to have an enjoyable day in congenial company.

This year was no exception. It started with refreshments in the Sports Lounge while we picked up conversations where they had broken off last time. However, the eight members who played had to manage without the guidance of our captain Robert Wilkinson who had had to miss a BUGS event for the very first time.

The glittering prize we had assembled to compete for is the Mike Bedford Claret Jug. So, out on the course everyone gave it their best shot – both figuratively and literally. Kevin McArdle, winner at the last three outings, and Rupert Lescher set off with great aplomb. Then Chris Tailby, Mark Addison and Nigel Courtney launched their opening drives and soon disappeared into the bright morning haze. Finally our buggy-mounted cavalry – Patrick Solomon, James Ingram-Cotton and John Flood – who were surrounded constantly by banter and laughter.

A group of people on a golf course

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On the 2nd green, after crossing the lake and missing the bunkers …

After the match we retired to the dining room for a restorative meal. Port had been laid on but Nigel produced a bottle of Chateau Beaumont. This was welcomed as ideal for our traditional toast to the “Spirit of Beaumont”. Attention then turned to the notably competitive results. Westerham Golf Club has hosted this event six times and the assembled company are clearly getting to know the course.

This year Mark had come close to repeating his 2017 victory but had to settle for a commendable 3rd place. He received a golf ball engraved with the BU crest. Kevin had put up a fine fight, succeeding in coming second and narrowly missing his fourth successive triumph … but earning two BU golf balls. This left room for someone else to secure the trophy, and it turned out to be Nigel.

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Kevin graciously handing on the Claret Jug to the winner.

Nigel then presented each of the remaining five players with a consolation prize - a golf ball engraved with the helpful reminder: “Play your provisional ball first”. Rupert had achieved a remarkable score on the testing Part 5 fifth hole and was rewarded with an enamelled Westerham ball marker. As Young Mr Grace used to say: “You’ll all done very well”.

All present then clamoured to do it again next year. Accordingly, Wednesday 29th May 2024 has been booked. Please put it in your diaries.

Reminder: The BUGS is open to every Beaumont OB, as a player or non-playing supporter. Just contact Robert Wilkinson or Nigel [nigel@courtneynet.com] as soon as convenient to register your interest.

Final thought from the non-playing Captain  who was absent that day:-

Wife to Self: “Why don’t you play golf with the BUGS?”


               Self: “ You must be joking – Would you play with someone who laughs loudly when you are teeing off, moves the ball when not looking, and doesn’t admit to all the shots taken. 


               Wife: Certainly not.


               Self: Neither would they !!


I gather that Patrick Burgess hosted his annual lunch party in the car park at Stewards for his clan and a few other guests among whom was Nigel Courtney who reported meeting up with Charlie Poels in the course of the day.

The Princess Elizabeth was  won this year by Teddies over last year’s winners St Pauls.  The first time St Edward’s has won in over 20 years.




Michael de Burgh (41)   was 100 on the 11th June. As far as I know Michael was our most senior OB ( and 9th Lancer).  On the 8th June, Michael went to Clarence House with members of his family at the invitation of The Queen for a celebration. The Queen had that day been appointed Colonel in Chief of both her father’s and Michael’s amalgamated Regiment  - The Royal Lancers. So, it was a double celebration..

The Queen also presented Michael with The  Buchan Medal in recognition of his support for the Royal Lancers over the decades. (The medal is in memory of a wartime contemporary of Michael’s who was killed in action and is in recognition of exemplary service to The Regiment). Michael himself was wounded just 14 days before the Allies’ victory in Europe was declared. His gunner was the last member of the 9th Lancers to die during the War. He joked about his injuries saying his sergeant said to him at the time: “What a bloody mess you are sir.” Michael’s uncle Ronald McDonnell (16) commanding the Regiment was also killed. Both Michael and The Queen’s father fought at El Alamein - Bruce Shand with the 12th Lancers. Michael; with the 9th and knew each other socially after the War was over. Michael enjoyed Champagne and chocolate cake and more champagne with the Queen. On the 11th. Michael’s family gave a party for him at his home at Duncton, West Sussex. Sadly, in many respects it turned out to be Michael’s ‘Living wake” as he died just over a month later peacefully at home on the 21st July.


I regret to inform you of the following deaths.

Anthony Miles (56)

At his home in Madeira  and famed for “Madeira M’Dear”. The Family wine company formed in 1814.

Richard Barnes (52)

Robert McIntosh (56) a stalwart of the  onetime BU Squash team and undercover police officer.

Richard Hewins (58)

Peter Pouncey (55) .

Classicist, Author, writer  known for his wit, his erudition, and his sophisticated works of both academic analysis and fiction.

Guy Wallace (58).


Onetime soldier, buccaneer of the hunting world, gundog trainer and old Africa hand.

John Farr (67).


Much respected London corporate Solicitor with Herbert Smith and a regular supporter of the BU.

Also included in the Obituary section is Maurice Cronly whose death was reported in the last edition: Maurice spent much of his life on Charity work in Eastern Europe.



CORONATIONS  (the Beaumont perspective)




When Queen Victoria died  on 22 January 1901, Edward became King of the United Kingdom, Emperor of India and, in an innovation, King of the British Dominions. He chose to reign under the name of Edward VII, instead of Albert Edward—the name his mother had intended for him to use —declaring that he did not wish to "undervalue the name of Albert" and diminish the status of his father with whom the "name should stand alone". The numeral VII was occasionally omitted in Scotland, even by the Kirk, in deference to protests that the previous Edwards were English kings who had "been excluded from Scotland by battle". To the surprise of many of his subjects  he was the most popular king England had known since the earlier 1660s.


The Coronation had originally been scheduled for 26 June 1902. However, two days before, he was diagnosed with appendicitis. The disease was generally not treated operatively. It carried a high mortality rate, but developments in anaesthesia and antisepsis in the preceding 50 years made life-saving surgery possible. The next day, Edward was sitting up in bed, smoking a cigar. Two weeks later, it was announced that he was out of danger. Edward was eventually crowned  on 9 August 1902. 

At Beaumont,  news of his illness was greeted with dismay and prayers for HM’s swift recovery.

Fr Bampton (Rector) told the School that “ The king had on several occasions shown an interest and a regard for Beaumont and they now had an opportunity of making His Majesty some return for the interest shown  - an opportunity which was denied to so many other schools throughout the country who were no less devoted to the King than they were.”

The plans made for a festive holiday were cancelled including  a special stand for the school on the processional route.

Delaying the date to August in the middle of the Summer holidays meant that there would be no celebration at Beaumont. Not to be outdone, it was decided that the Holiday would take place on 25th October to coincide with the King’s Royal progress through London and a special edition of The REVIEW was published to mark the event.

On the 25th the Boys  set off in Cabs to Windsor Station and took the train to London in reserved carriages and from their re-erected stand at Southwark  had an un-interrupted view of some 700 yards. At about 3pm the state carriage passed to deafening cheering – if the King didn’t see the Boys he must have had at least heard them! The return journey showed all the initiative of Beaumont: finding their reserved carriages had been taken by others, the boys commandeered the Guard’s van – captured and held it!  At least back at Windsor the cabs were ready and waiting.


That evening there was a grand banquet in the refectory  for the entire college. The room festooned with flags both from the gallery and around the fireplace. In his speech Fr Bampton  said that in conversation with an OB at Balmoral the King had said that he often drove past the gates and  stopped and met Beaumont boys ( apart from that he often sent game to the Rector following a shoot in the Great Park) . Francis Patmore, Captain of the School in his speech reminded all, that OBs had already laid down their lives for their Queen and Country and would be prepared to die for their new King if called upon to do so in the future. (he very nearly did) A Telegram of Congratulations had been sent to The Palace and  Lord Knoylls the Private Secretary had responded on behalf of HM. After Dinner the school admired the illuminations on the front of The White House before watching the Bonfire blaze  and a firework display.

In the REVIEW there was an Article written by the future Sir Edric Wolseley Bart (03) who was  Page to his Uncle The  Viscount Wolseley  in the Abbey. Apart from carrying the Coronet, in Wolseley’s case he also carried the Field Marshal’s Baton. During the Ceremony, Edric  had to leave his place, bow to the Princes of Blood Royal, The Queen and The King before presenting the Coronet and Baton to his “Master” . Afterwards, before the State Procession The King chatted with Lord Wolseley and Edric had the opportunity to bow once more!.

Note: The king had a close relation with Beaumont in other ways: in his days as Prince of Wales, two of his mistresses were the mothers of OBs Jeanne Princess de Talleyrand-Perigord  and Marie Elizabeth Hope Vere. To the concern of many, Edward included several Catholics and Jews among his circle of friends, among them the de Murrieta brothers (79) and Ct. Antione Amadee  de Mores the father of Paul (06). One of the first Catholic weddings Edward attended was that of Paul’s parents in Cannes in 1882.



Following the death of King Edward in May 1910, as a mark of the fondness he had for Beaumont, on the express approval of the new Monarch, the Corps provided a Guard of Honour within the precincts of Windsor Castle for the Funeral and the College wreath was laid just outside St George’s Chapel; Queen Alexandra now the Queen Mother sent a personal message of thanks.

Sadness at the school was not just for the King as Cerberus, long term College dog also died and it was to him (rather than the King) that the poetic tributes flowed in the REVIEW:-

Some Dogs are valued for their breed.

Some for their prowess, or their speed

Or service faithfully maintained ;

Well-bred, well-fashioned, and well-trained.

But, though you served no useful end,

Your praise is highest-since a friend.

More than a servant, gives to us ;

And you gave friendship, Cerberus:


What though to strangers you might be

A mongrel!  We, who knew, could see

A comeliness, an agile

A beauty in your honest face, 

A welcome in your lashing tail. 

Though on all you would prevail

To give you, as you gave to us,

A genial friendship, Cerberus.  

The celebrations for  this Coronation in June 1911 were no less than for that of the predecessor, however there were no special Edition of The Review with poetic odes to the King, and an ornate cover and photographs. One of the reasons being that the Coronation coincided with the Golden Anniversary of the School with all the celebrations that entailed.  The first point of note, well greeted by the Boys was that the Rector received a letter from the Palace in April trusting that an extra week’s holiday would be granted: it was added to the summer vacation.

The First festivity of note was not at the school but at Forbes House at the end of May when The Earl of Granard (90)  Master of The Horse, gave a State Dinner at his London Home  which members of The Royal Family attended.  The Times described it “as the most brilliant of recent years”.

At Beaumont two days before the Coronation, 60 boys  whose parents had places in the Abbey by right or invitation left to join them. On the day before, cricket was played in the morning followed by a picnic lunch. In the evening there was the Banquet accompanied by the orchestra in the Minstrels gallery . After the Speeches, the assembled company went outside to admire the illuminations and then the bonfire and a fine display of fireworks.  On Coronation Day a further 70- boys left for London to watch the procession from reserved stands and had a memorable view of the pageant. The next day, in what was typical of the ethos of the school all the tenants, servants and workman were given their own banquet in the refectory in the evening  served by the community and the boys.

The celebrations could said to end on the 1st July when  The King made his State entry into Windsor inspected a Royal Review of Troops in the Great Park. The Corps  had the double honour of street lining  next to the Coldstream Guards and the band of the 2nd life Guards.  A further contingent under the command of Captain Mayo  were part of the 4th Brigade for the Royal Review. Five Brigades were present of 17 thousand men together with the Massed Bands of the Brigade of Guards. Following the inspection by the King mounted together with the other Royal Princes, The troops marched past the saluting base. Beaumont then marched back to Old Windsor together with the Stonyhurst Corps that had come down from Whalley to take part.  



The REVIEW of April 1936   announced  the death of George V and that The Rector had sent a telegram to Queen Mary expressing our sympathy together with a Wreath  which was acknowledged with sincere thanks.


The Front piece of The REVIEW

The whole school listened on the wireless to the Prime Minister’s address and to the Proclamation on 21 January:  The Corps was invited to form the Guard of Honour for the Proclamation in Windsor.  On the 28 the January the State Funeral took place with the Corps once more honoured to take part  on  street lining duty  from Park Street to the Cambridge Gate of the Castle.



The Corps at the State Funeral

Among the OBs that took part in the Funeral procession mention was made of The Earl of Granard ( Master of The Horse) Vice Admiral Gerald Dickens ( later Sir Gerald), Lt-General Sir George MacDonogh and Colonel Bertram de Klee (Silver Stick in Waiting) commanding The Household Cavalry.

The March Review 1937 opened with Abdication. Higher Line listened to the Speech on 11th December. There was also a note that Thomas More Eyston (20) had been “pricked” as High Sheriff of Berkshire and Henry Hornyold Strickland (08) for Westmorland prior to this by the King.



On the 14th December the Corps was invited to form the Guard of Honour for the Proclamation in Windsor . A message of Loyalty was sent to HM and a gracious reply received on the last day of term.


During Coronation week there was an exeat from Tuesday to Thursday – the Coronation taking place on Wednesday 12th May. The Earl of Granard and Colonel Bertram Klee both taking part in the Procession.

On the Thursday evening there was a fireworks display. In front of the illuminated White House. In the Coronation Honours list there were Knighthoods for Sir George Ogilvie-Forbes (KCMG) and Admiral Sir Gerald Dickens (KCVO). Also, a CMG for the brother of the Earl of Granard - Colonel the Hon Bertram Forbes (92).

On the 12th June the King and Queen  with the two Princesses made their State Entry into Windsor. The Corps took part as Street liners on the Long Walk; Forming up at Victoria Barracks and marching through the Town with  the Corps of Drums playing.


In The July Review 1952  it was reported the shock of the death of the King. A Telegram was sent to HM the Queen expressing our condolences and prayers and a reply received expressing HM’s gratitude. A wreath in the form of the Crest was sent to the Castle and was seen in a prominent position for the funeral which took place 14th February. The Corps were once again on street lining: this time inside the Castle near the Sovereign’s gate. The detachment received congratulations on their drill and turn out by the CIGS Field Marshal  Viscount Slim and from the Adjutant General. 

The King’s relationship with Beaumont had been in his acknowledgment of the service of The Corps as part of the Windsor Castle Guard during the War when he had taken the salute, if present , when the detachment had marched in. Also, his concern when the Farm’s Champion Bull died and the finding of a replacement.




Prior to the Coronation ,Sir Owen Morshead the Royal Librarian and who had been the Commanding Officer of the  Castle Home Guard of which the Corps had formed apart, came to the School to give a lecture on the Coronation ceremony.  There was no record of how Coronation Day was spent except that once again the White House was illuminated in celebration. It was noted that the first detachment of the Foot Guards in the Procession was commanded by the future General Sir Basil Eugster then commanding 1st Bn of The Irish Guards. Mr Kelly ( later Captain) as Sergeant Major of The Yeoman Bodyguard marched on the  right-hand side of the State  Coronation Coach.

On the 13th June The Queen made her State Entry into Windsor with the Corps (now CCF) Street lining, this time  in the vicinity of The Guildhall and not far from where the Queen would alight.  Marching by Half- Companies  a comment was heard “ Who are we Cheering?”. “It’s them Boys from Beaumont playing at soldiers” . The only other source of amusement was that the whole procession was preceded by a brown mongrel dog wagging his tail in acknowledgment of the laughter and cheering.

As we are aware The Queen visited both Beaumont and St John’s  and this was a special recognition for the school.  Growing up and in those early days of her reign, the man who shared her passion and hobby for racing and breeding was her manager Charles Moore.



As I recorded in the WINTER REVIEW the only participation for the Funeral of The Queen was once again Street Lining ( a Beaumont Tradition) but by tractors organised by the College Farm as the Hearse passed through Old Windsor. Appropriate in view of the close relationship between the Farm and the Royal Herd.

The school’s only connection with our new King was the present of a tennis racquet for him when the Queen made her visit in 1961. How much of an enthusiast for tennis the King is, is uncertain but we hope it gave him pleasure rather than frustration!  ( as with the leaky pen).

So, no  Collective Beaumont  Union Coronation Celebrations  but I imagine we all enjoyed ourselves  - some more than others;-



This is the story of three OB’s who left their mark on Singapore during the 20th Century.

Vivian Bath

Vivian’s story begins as the son of Tom and Elsie Bath resident in  Ballarat , Victoria Australia and it was from here her was sent to Beaumont in 1920.  Since the early 19th century the Bath Family had interests in Malay and   when Tom died young, his widow married the affluent Ezekiel Saleh Manasseh, a Jewish merchant from Bagdad with interests in both rice and opium. This man owned the Goodwood Park Hotel, named after the English racecourse and one of the finest residences in Asia and catering for the rich and rarefied.


Image result for goodwood park hotel singapore images

 It had been built in 1900, originally as a clubhouse with its Victorian facade of tower, turrets and high decoration. It was designed by Bidwell who was also the architect for the hotel’s great rival – Raffles. Vivian  having passed his education partially in Australia at and then Beaumont which he left to return to the Far East in 1923.  He became a rubber broker and like most well-heeled expatriates of the time, his social life revolved around horses and house parties. His step-father also owned Eden Hall, an Edwardian minor masterpiece which he had built on his old nutmeg estate. Built in 1904, the residence’s distinctive décor of white plasterwork foliage on a gray background has earned it two nicknames: “The Wedding Cake” and “Wedgwood House.” The Hall became Vivian’s residence.


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However, he also travelled a good deal and while in the USA some four years later he met and fell in love with the film and stage actress Mary Hay. She was previously the wife of one of the great stars of the “silent Screen” Richard Barthelmess but her marriage ended in January 1927, a few weeks after a Paris court had granted a divorce decree, and Hay had traveled to France for solely that purpose. On April 9, 1927 at Greenwich, Connecticut, Hay married Vivian. This marriage ended in 1934 at San Francisco, some six years after the birth of their daughter Anne.


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Mary Hay

With the coming of war, Vivian joined the Singapore Volunteer Defence Force but when the garrison surrendered the island, he was captured and imprisoned and sent to work in the mines. He said that he survived purely on his dreams of one day breeding thoroughbred horses. The Goodwood Park became the Japanese Imperial Army Headquarters and Eden Hall was taken over as an officers’ mess. By all accounts, they took good care of the property and the furniture and everything was left intact. When Vivian returned from captivity, he regained possession of his home and took over the running of the hotel, where to his satisfaction, War crimes trials were held. He spent $2.5 million on The Goodwood’s renovation with money coming from his plantations and it again became one of the most fashionable places to stay in the Far East. Vivian still had his unfulfilled dream and he eventually decided to sell up and move to Australia. He sold Eden Hall to the British Government in 1957 as the High Commissioner’s residence for a nominal sum, with the stipulation that a plaque be installed at the base of the flagpole which read “May the Union Jack Fly here for ever”.  There are few of the house’s distinctive original touches that have survived. These include the “M,” for Manasseh, fashioned in each spindle of the interior wrought-iron balustrade, and the octagonal-shaped tiles with patterns of brown, beige and maroon clay in the sunroom. (A parquet floor now covers similar tiles in the foyer.) The grounds that surround Eden Hall and its staff building are still home to a variety of tropical birds, including kingfishers, long-tailed parakeets and black-napped oriels but much of the original estate has been sold off.

      In 1952, Vivian bought what has been described as one of the Hunter Valley’s most valued properties that he re-named “Bhima”- the figure symbolic of great strength. It embraces some 3000 acres of the best pastures in the Newmarket equivalent of New South Wales. There was never a water shortage with two large waterways on the property and several wells. When the townsfolk of nearby Scone ran out of water in the Sixties, Vivian came to the rescue pumping some 200,000 gallons an hour to alleviate the problem. The wells and the rich pastures were to nurture many fine horses over the years that have made their mark in racing history. Certainly, a fitting reward for a man who had the courage to dream when he was starving in a dysentery-ridden prison compound.

Vivian was the Uncle of Clarissa Dickson-wright the celebrity chef, television personality, writer, businesswoman, and former barrister.

Howard and Joseph Cashin.

Howard (38) and Joseph (37) came to Beaumont from St Joseph’s in Singapore. Their father was Alexander Cashin, whose family history in Singapore can be traced back to the early 1840s. Their Grandfather a lawyer's clerk made his fortune investing in legal opium farms in the 1880s. He had a portfolio of some 400 properties he owned island-wide. He was the first Eurasian Singapore millionaire.

 Both boys were talented sportsmen in the Rugby XV and the Cricket XI (Howard Captain) and went on to New College Oxford for Law. They qualified as solicitors and returned to the Far East to practice. The Cashins owned several properties of special interest in Singapore starting with the Lim Chu Kang Jetty.


Nicknamed “The Pier”, located at the coast of Lim Chu Kang. It has a panoramic view of the Johor Strait. This is probably one of the most unique houses in Singapore. Likely to be built before the forties, The Pier was occupied by the Japanese in 1942 when they invaded the north-western part of Singapore during the Second World War, catching the defending allied soldiers by surprise. When Kranji and Lim Chu Kang fell, the Japanese officers used The Pier as their comfort stop.

Fortunately ,both Cashin brothers did not suffer the same fate as Vivian Bath as they had left the colony to join up. Howard served as a Captain in the Indian Army while Joseph held a commission in the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry.  After the war, the Cashin family regained possession of the pier-house. Howard like Vivian Bath also had vast rubber plantations at Lim Chu Kang in the fifties and sixties. After their marriage in 1953, Howard and his wife Gillian would live at The Pier occasionally as their weekend resort until 2009.


Front view of the Butterfly House. Source.  

Another property and main Cashin residence was the “Butterfly House”  a grand old Katong mansion with its unique crescent-shaped verandah, and is the forgotten cousin of Singapore's grand dames - the Raffles Hotel and the Goodwood Park Hotel. All were designed by Regent Alfred Bidwell, one of Singapore's most famous architects in colonial days. The unique neo-Renaissance crescent-shaped home once stood just in front of the coastline and was built in 1912.

Finally ,another of the Cashin properties was Matilda House seen below in its pre-war glory and complete with Royce.


Image result for joseph william cashin 

It was named after the brothers’ Grandmother Matilda and was built in 1902. It was also known as Istana Menanti (“Waiting Palace” in Malay) or the Punggol Kampong House, and was a weekend resort.

 The bungalow had six rooms, servant quarters attached to it and also a tennis court for the sports-inclined family. Raised floor systems on brick piers allowed air circulation to pass underneath during hot weathers. Entrances were located on the both sides of the building and the long verandahs offers extensive views out onto the sea accompanied with occasional coastal breezes.

A small path at the back of the house led to the Punggol River. Back then, the house overlooked the magnificent view of the Punggol River and the straits of Johor. Stories were that the Sultan of Johor would visit the Cashins by boat for a cup of tea.

The house is surrounded by orchards of mangosteen, durian and rambutan trees, implying an appreciation for tropical fruits by the Eurasian family. Well-manicured lawns and tropical flowers lined up at the frontage showed the vast wealth of the family.

 In 1953, when Howard came back to Singapore after the War he again took up residence in this family home with his wife and children.

In the 1960s, the house changed hands yet again to Howard's older brother, Joseph. He lived there with their sister and their mother, Sarah Cashin. It was used as the film set for the drama “Tenko” made by the BBC in the eighties. Appropriately Joseph was part of the legal team that dealt with Japanese War crimes that were tried at the Goodwood Park Hotel. In the post war era both Howard and Joseph were two of the most prominent lawyers in the period when Singapore moved from colony to republic. Both men were also involved in the games in which they both excelled at Beaumont. Joseph was President of the Cricket Club while Howard was President of the Rugby Union.

Howard died in 2009 remembered as one of Singapore’s longest-serving lawyers – who took on the inquiry into the 1983 Sentosa cable car tragedy and the sensational Adrian Lim murder trial. It was said that so passionate was he about his profession that he spent almost every day in court.

  Today, Matilda House is the last remaining historical Bungalow in Punggol. In disrepair for some time, the building became known for its decrepit appearance and rumoured hauntings and a favourite with photographers. And yet it might be because of that same grandeur that contributed to its reputation as one of the most haunted estates in Singapore.

The following article appeared in the local press:-

“Supposedly, evil spirits have occupied the estate, and would brutally murder anyone who even dares to step on the threshold. Skeptical? Don’t worry; I’m not done yet. A story goes that the Matilda House was actually set to be demolished, but when workers set about the process, three mysteriously died of unnatural causes. As a result, the demolition project was abandoned.

Curiously, there were accounts of a lady with long hair actually sitting atop nearby trees. While the sightings weren’t especially clear in the description, they all share a single similarity – she seems misty to your eyes, and her eyes seem to look through her long hair.

That’s not all; there were also cases where people claimed to visit the house. While I find it kind of doubtful (because the house has been equipped with CCTVs), their stories still send a chill down my spine.

One writer claimed that he saw a white figure floating up the stairs, and right into the house. He wasn’t exactly near either – he was on the expressway, and had shot a glance at the Matilda House just then.

Another writer insisted that he infiltrated the House, and actually explored the place. As expected of a ruined house the estate was damp and dirty, but that wasn’t what caught his attention. According to him, he could hear noises when he was looking through a room, and when he was exiting the House he could swear someone forcibly pushed him out”.


Our MAN   on NAVAL special OPS.

This is the story of Frank Hemming  (24) and  MGB 314 in WW2. “The Most decorated Ship’s crew in The Fleet” . Frank was the son of Captain Frank Allnat Hemming  and came to Beaumont in 1921 leaving in 1924.


MGB 314

The Boat was commissioned June 1941, Bangor, North Wales. A 'C' class boat of mahogany hard-chine construction, built by the Fairmile Company, M.G.B.  Powered by three 850 h.p. supercharged engines, producing speeds of up to 26 knots, she was heavily armed with a Rolls semi-automatic 2-pounder aft, two twin Y2 inch heavy machine guns amidships and a 2-pounder Vickers pom-pom forward.  Responsible for the engines was Chief Petty Officer Frank Hemming.

She served initially with the 14th MGB Flotilla before being transferred to Combined Operations and loaned out to Commander Ted Davis’ special ops flotilla operating out of Dartmouth, under the control of Naval Intelligence. Later established as the 15th MGB Flotilla, these boats ran a clandestine service between Brittany and the south coast, carrying agents for the SIS, as well as British and French Sections of SOE.

The  key members of the Crew:

Lieutenant Dunstan Michael Carr Curtis, RNVR

Sub Lieutenant William George Leslie ‘Bill’ Brooker, RNVR (‘Number1’)

Sub Lieutenant Robert Thomas Christopher Worsley, RNVR

Petty Officer Motor Mechanic Francis Stuart Hemming, RNVR (E)

Acting Leading Seaman Fred McKee, RN - Coxswain

Able Seaman Peter Charles Ellingham –cook, and trainer, after gun

Able Seaman A. ‘Lofty’ Sadler – layer, after gun

Able Seaman William Alfred Savage, RN – layer, forward gun

Able Seaman Francis Albert Smith, RN–  forward gun

Able Seaman Albert Richard Carver Stephens, RN

Ordinary Seaman Arthur Vallance – port .5” turret

Ordinary Seaman C.E. ‘Bill’ Whittle – starboard .5” turret

314’s first operation, ‘OVERCLOUD II’, was carried out on behalf of SOE’s French Section on 31 December 1941. The boat was to land an agent  on the Ile Guénnoc  off the coast NE of Brest and return with four others. On the night, only one returning agent was ready for pickup: he, Fred Scamaroni, had been Sous-Préfet of Caen, before joining the French Air Force and evacuating to England to join de Gaulle. Later imprisoned in Dakar he managed the first of a number of escapes and was on his way back to the UK.

‘OVERCLOUD III’, again for SOE’s French Section, took place on 6 January, 1942. Departing from Falmouth with the same destination as ‘OVERCLOUD II’, Curtis and his crew  landed four agents and embarked seven.

On 10 January, another SOE op, ‘PICKAXE’, saw 314 sail from Dartmouth to Lannion Bay at Locquirec  on the north Brittany coast to land a female Soviet agent. Then, over February 1st and 2nd they undertook the joint operations ‘OVERCLOUD IV’ and ‘TURQUOISE’. Departing from Falmouth Curtis’s tasks were to land a couple on the Ile Guénnoc for the SOE, and then land another for the SIS.


Their last two operations before being recalled to take part in the Saint-Nazaire raid, were unusual in that they were both sanctioned and observed by German Intelligence. The key figure here was Mathilde Carré, also known as ‘La Chatte’, who had been assistant to Garby-Czerniawsky, leader of the Polish ‘Interallié’ resistance network in France. Eventually betrayed to the Germans, the network was broken up and Mathilde arrested, at which point she agreed to work for the Germans as a double agent. She was suspected of a double-cross by Pierre de Vomécourt  (19) who, instead of breaking all contact re-recruited her into the resistance, making her a triple agent. To make things even more complicated, Mathilde had begun an affair with Hugo Bleicher, a sergeant in German Military Intelligence (Abwehr). She persuaded Bleicher to sanction both operations ‘WATERWORKS’ and ‘ROWAN’. Thinking she was still working for the Abwehr.



Carré.                        De Vomecourt

‘WATERWORKS’ took place on 12 February, with 314 again heading for Lannion Bay, again for SOE. The object was to land a couple of  agents  then take off de Vomécourt and Mathilde Carré. On this occasion the pickups were prevented by heavy surf (agents were brought out to the 314 by canoe or small boat).


 De Vomécourt and le Carré were eventually picked up from the Pointe-de-Bihit  further round the bay over 26-27 February during op ‘ROWAN’.

Following ‘ROWAN’ the 314 was recalled by Combined Operations to take part in CHARIOT: The St Nazaire Raid.

(ED: at Locquirec there is the Grande Hotel des Bains where I have stayed: highly recommended.)

On 26 February 1942, Commander R. E. D. Ryder, R.N., was mysteriously summoned to a meeting in London chaired by the new Director of Combined Operations, Lord Louis Mountbatten. Glancing around at the assembled V.I.Ps, Ryder took a seat at the back of the room and listened intently as Mountbatten unveiled an outlandish plan, involving Commando troops of the Special Service Brigade, to destroy an unspecified enemy port with a destroyer packed with explosives. Without preamble Mountbatten went on to announce that Commander  Ryder, R.N., would command the operation's naval forces. Having coolly confirmed his acceptance, Ryder was introduced to his army opposite number, Lieutenant-Colonel Newman. Immediately after the meeting, Newman proceeded to bombard him with all manner of questions regarding the naval side of the operation. Still ignorant of the target's location, an exasperated Ryder demanded to know the name of the port they were supposed to strike. “Haven't they told you?”, asked the astonished Newman, “it's St. Nazaire.”

Thus Operation “Chariot” was born. The strategic value of St. Nazaire was paramount to the Kriegsmarine, as it contained the only dry dock on the Nazi-occupied Atlantic seaboard capable of berthing the mighty battleship, Tirpitz. This vast facility, known as the 'Normandie' Dock after the French transatlantic liner, measured 1148 feet in length and 164 feet across, and formed a passageway between Europe's largest wet dock, the Bassin de Penhoet, and the Loire estuary. At either end it was sealed by sliding lock gates, or 'caissons', strong enough to withstand the tremendous outside water pressure and accidental collision by ships.

After the London meeting Ryder and Newman had just one month to organize the raid down to the last detail. The Intelligence brief was given by Wg. Cmdr. Pedro Marques de Casa Maury  (13) who was responsible at Combined Operations. In no time they had set up their headquarters in the conservatory of a sea-front hotel, complete with eye-pleasing Wrens, at Falmouth. The chosen destroyer, launched in 1919 as the Buchanan, and now renamed H.M.S. Campbeltown, was sent to Devonport for the necessary conversions. Captain W.H. Pritchard, M.C., R.E., who had long studied the caisson demolition problem, and Lieutenant N. Tibbits, D.S.C., a naval explosives expert, arranged for a four and half ton high explosive charge to be installed in Campbeltown just behind the forward gun supporting pillar. This ensemble was then enclosed in a specially constructed steel tank and encased in concrete to prevent the Germans dismantling the charges after ramming.

Meanwhile, work commenced on gathering a suitable armada of Naval craft, chiefly M.Ls to carry the Commandos but, owing to her being equipped with a radar set and echo sounder, Ryder chose to take M.G.B. 314 as his headquarters ship, to lead the assault force over the Loire estuary mudflats and thence to battle.

On 18 March, M.G.B. 314 joined the attacking force at Falmouth, which comprised Campbeltown, M.T.B. 74 and sixteen M.Ls, carrying Commando squads divided into small demolition, protection and assault parties detailed to specific dock side tasks. Two Hunt-class destroyers, H.M.S. Atherstone and H.M.S. Tynedale were assigned to escort the expedition on its outward journey. All told, the strength of the raiding force was 345 Naval officers and ratings, 257 Commandos, a four-man Medical Team, three Liaison Officers and two members of the Press - nearly 170 of whom would be killed in the coming enterprise.


At 1400 hours on Thursday 26 March 1942, the raiding force set sail from Falmouth in anti-submarine formation under a protective umbrella of R.A.F. Spitfires. To conserve fuel, M.G.B. 314 sailed on tow of H.M.S. Atherstone. At dawn the following morning Gordon Holman, a Fleet Street man aboard M.G.B. 314, heard Hemming  start the engines which roared  into life. On the bridge he discovered that a U-boat had been sighted and that Tynedale was already steaming off in pursuit, with Atherstone following two miles astern. After dropping a pattern of depth charges, Tynedale's Captain felt sure he had achieved a kill. However, it was later discovered that the U-boat had feigned death by lying motionless on the sea bed for over five hours, in which time its Commander had reported three British destroyers sailing on a westerly bearing. Fortunately, he made no mention of the M.Ls and this misleading intelligence drew out five Mowe-class destroyers from St. Nazaire, which otherwise posed a serious threat to the whole operation.

At 2000 hours, 75 miles off St. Nazaire, M.T.B. 74 and M.G.B. 314 discarded their tows. The Gun Boat drew alongside Atherstone to take Ryder, Green (the navigator), Newman and his staff aboard. The escorting destroyers broke off and the convoy assumed attack formation with M.G.B. 314 leading Campbeltown and two columns of M.Ls. The rear was brought up by Lieutenant Nock's Torpedo M.L. and Micky Wynn's temperamental M.T.B. 74. As arranged H.M. Submarine Sturgeon was sighted at the mouth of the Loire at 2200 hours. Force Chariot was on course and on time.

Everything now depended on Lieutenant Green's calculations. Working away in the M.G.B.'s small chartroom, he skilfully plotted a course over the mudflats. In Campbeltown, Lieutenant Tibbits sealed the old destroyer's fate by activating the eight hour explosives package. Towards midnight, as the ships cruised on between the closing banks of the Loire estuary, the drone of Bomber Command's aircraft engaged in a diversionary raid could be heard overhead. At 0122 hours, Force Chariot's luck began to run out. Two shore searchlights swept the river and settled on Campbeltown. Other lights were switched on and soon the whole force was illuminated in a blaze of light. A German Aldis lamp winked out an identification demand. Standing on the bridge of M.G.B. 314, Leading Seaman Pike signalled back in German temporarily baffling the defenders. Still Force Chariot was pushing on to its target. Eventually the Germans, unable to identify the ships in mid-river, opened fire. Pike continued to signal, and Ryder attempted to fire a Verey light of similar colour to the one currently being used by German shipping. But the game was up: about this time Lieutenant Tom “Lizard” Boyd, R.N.V.R., C.O. of one of the M.Ls, casually commented to his Coxswain, “This is a queer do,” to which he received the prompt rejoinder, “It'll soon be a bloody sight queerer, sir.” And so it proved.

Aboard Campbeltown Lieutenant Commander Beattie rang the ship's bell to signal 'open fire'. The Iron Cross was struck and the White Ensign run up in its place. Klaxons sounded throughout the fleet and the night became alive with the sight and sound of battle. The biggest problem for Savage, who had already started his epic night's work, was identifying the enemy positions against the blinding glare of searchlights - but we may be sure he was ably assisted by his loader Stephens.

Steaming in at 18 knots and with the port column only 100 yards from the bank, Ryder began to wonder how long his vessels could withstand the awesome rifle and machine-gun fire from the left bank, not to mention the 75 mm., 150 mm., 170 mm. and 6 in. howitzers of the coastal batteries. Yet incredibly every ship sailed through it all, but Campbeltown was suffering badly. Two of her Oerlikon Crews were hit, the Quartermaster and Coxswain were killed in the wheelhouse, and her 12-pounder high angle gun was blown into the sea along with the crew of a 3-inch mortar. Bullets and shells, and red, white and green tracer were hitting the ships from all angles. Blinded by searchlights, Beattie steadfastly followed in the wake of M.G.B. 314, as they passed the East Jetty of the Avantporte. Here the Gun Boat came under the gunwhales of an anchored Sperrbrecher (Barrage Breaker), which opened fire. Savage and his pom-pom team spraying Sperrbrecher 137 from end to end silenced every weapon on board, including its powerful 88 mm. gun. It was indeed a remarkable feat of gunnery bearing in mind they were firing from a pitching and moving platform. Closing fast on the Normandie Dock's massive southern caisson, Curtis swung the Gun Boat to starboard allowing Campbeltown to increase speed in the final yards. He turned through 360 degrees giving those on board a perfect view of Campbeltown as she cut through the anti-torpedo boom. At the last moment Beattie ordered a slight change in direction to ensure hitting his target square on, leaving the nearby opening to the Old Entrance clear for the M.Ls. At 0134 hours Campbeltown smashed into the caisson tearing back forty feet of her bows.


Her main mission accomplished, 314 now dropped off Newman and his staff at the Old Entrance, while Ryder also came ashore to ascertain how effectively the Campbeltown had been placed. But while he was away disaster befell most of the M.Ls, one after the other falling victim to the horrendous point-blank fire - in fact four M.Ls were destroyed within a matter of minutes. Meanwhile, too, 314’s decks were getting crowded with survivors from the Campeltown, so that by the time Ryder returned, it was time to head for open water - but not before witnessing the fate of two more M.Ls at the Old Mole, where the Gun Boat also came under heavy fire. And at this moment, perhaps above all, Savage, his No. 2, Able Seaman F. A. Smith, and Stephens, his loader, put on a magnificent display of courage and were a true inspiration to all - for as Curtis brought his exposed pom-pom team to within 250 yards of the Old Mole, they fought a savage duel with the all-powerful Gun 63 it its concrete emplacement, all the while regardless of the web of tracer around them: Gun 63 was silenced, several rounds finding their way through the emplacement’s embrasure.

Continuing on her journey, but her decks now a shambles, 314 came under coastal artillery fire while passing the Les Morees Tower at 24 knots, yet the Gun Boat’s luck continued to hold. In fact, as referred to above, it was at the ‘fag end of the action’ that disaster struck the gallant pom-pom team, when 314 had the misfortune to run into a heavily armed enemy trawler. Dorrian’s Storming St. Nazaire takes up the story:

Hemming quickly worked up to her full speed, and the gunboat raced away, on this occasion sorely missing the firepower of her after pom-pom and powered machine guns. Up on the fo'c'sle gunners Savage and Smith had only seconds in which to train and fire their gun before the German ship drifted behind the shelter of the gunboat's stubby superstructure [so, too, Stephens, as their loader]. ‘It raked us from stem to stern,' recalls Frank Smith, 'with small-arms fire, bullets and shrapnel flying around, pinging off guard rails and metal fittings, and dull thudding sounds as the bullets hit the splinter mats which were secured to the sides of the bridge. The action was sudden and unexpected; we were no more than a hundred yards away when she opened up on us. We only had time to fire a few rounds off before she was abaft the bridge, and the pom-pom couldn't bear.’

And then, almost as suddenly as it had begun, the brief but violent encounter was over. A small fire was visible on the enemy's deck, while the gunboat, sporting a new collection of holes, appeared to have got away with a clumsy encounter which could have spelled the end for all of them.  Hemming reported that the engines were all right, there was no vital damage to the structure, nor was there any evidence of fatal casualties. It was only when Frank Smith attempted to train the pom-pom fore and found it would not budge that it was discovered that Bill Savage, lay slumped across the elevating wheel. Hit by a small shell or by chunks of shrapnel, Bill had died instantly from a massive, open chest wound, during the very last throes of an action whose enviable list of honours would include a Victoria Cross in his name, in recognition of the courage displayed by so many of the ratings.  With Bill dead and the loading number, Able Seaman Stephens, dying nearby, Smith was left alone on the gun until such time as Curtis could detail a relief ... ’

Dunstan Curtis described the exit from St Nazaire   They'd been the last to leave; the vessel a mass of bullet holes, the dead gunner lying where he’d fallen and everyone on board wounded: ‘Below decks there was a mass of groaning men. We could show no light down there until the shell holes had been blocked, otherwise we should have been spotted.

Before too long, the destroyers Atherstone and Brocklesby hove into view and, it being decided to scuttle 314, her survivors were transferred to the latter destroyer.


‘I found a sea-boot containing a torn-off leg, which I threw into the river, lying between the pom-pom and the forward ready-use locker.  I looked around for the limb's former owner and found him lying on the deck near the site of my first action station. The leg had been ripped off obliquely downward from the inner side of the groin, leaving so short a stump that it was not possible to apply a tourniquet. To try and stop the bleeding I bound a field dressing on it as high and as tightly as I was able, then covered the rest of the wound with more field dressings. Except for injecting a syrette of morphine, there was nothing more I could do for him so I continued on my round’. The fate of Able Seaman A. R. C. Stephens, as described by Sub. Lieutenant Christopher Worsley.

“The greatest raid of all.” and the following awards were made to the regular crew. The VC to Savage, DSC to Curtis and Worsley, DSM to Hemming, McKee, Smith and posthumous Stephens making MGB 314 to have the most decorated  Ship’s company  in the Fleet. The  citation for Savage  summed up the whole, valiant, tragic night at St. Nazaire. The Victoria Cross was awarded not only for  his individual gallantry, but also for the great valour shown by many others unnamed, in motor launches, motor gunboats and torpedo boats, who carried out their duties in entirely exposed positions against enemy fire at very close range.

Overall Five Victoria Crosses were awarded to the raiders. One went to Commander Ryder, overall in command, in recognition not only for his personal valour but of the collective bravery of the men under his command.”

Of the 241 Commandos who took part, 59 were posted as killed or missing and 109 captured. 85 Royal Navy personnel were killed or missing and a further 20+ captured. Many others were wounded. 5 other ranks returned to England via Spain.

Frank Hemming was later commissioned and was MID on 3 more occasions before the War ended.



“The Beaumont connections”

Conchita Supervia will always be remembered as one of the great mezzo-sopranos of the operatic stage.


 A vivacious singer whose dusky voice was an acquired taste for many listeners, Conchita Supervia was an inimitable interpreter of mezzo soprano roles in the early nineteenth century repertory long before great bel canto revival of the 1950s. Her exceedingly rapid vibrato disturbed some, but added to the piquancy of her interpretations. Moreover, she was always an engaging personality on-stage.

She appeared at all the great opera houses both in Europe and America. Conchita was born in Barcelona and at the age of twelve, she entered the Colegio de las Damas Negras in her native Barcelona, and made her debut at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires some three years later. In 1912, she was the youngest singer ever to have professionally sung Octavian, in the Rome premiere of Richard Strauss’s  Der Rosenkavalier  before returning to Barcelona to sing Carmen – a role she would be associated with for the rest of her career. Supervia assisted the conductor Vittorio Gui in reviving Rossini's Bel Canto operas. Supervia was the first contralto, as opposed to a soprano, to be regarded as a prima donna . She possessed a kind of magnetism which would not be seen again on opera stages until the arrival of Maria Callas , and her singing and acting were both superb. Supervia could also be volatile; she  sued Covent Garden in 1934 for omitting one of her performances and made her point, settling out of court.


In 1915, she crossed the Atlantic to make her debut at the Metropolitan where Clarence Mackay OB was one of the directors. After the War, Conchita was back in Italy, where she started her world famous Rossini revival in his three great works, and up until 1929 she was to sing at every session of La Scala at Milan. It was also during this period she had an affair  with a man who was the Mayor of Naples that resulted in the birth of her son George. Her London debut was in 1930 and the following year she married Jewish business man Sir  Ben Rubenstein and settled in the city: he would send her flowers to be ion her dressing room after every performance.

George was sent to Beaumont in 1931 under his step father’s name though he later reverted to Supervia; he was already known to the world of music as “Little Georgino” in his mother’s enchanting records of children’s songs. Meanwhile, Conchita performed several times at Covent Garden and in 1934 appeared in the film musical –“Evensong” loosely based on the life of Dame Nellie Melba. It also starred Evelyn Laye, the cuckolded ex-wife of Sonnie Hale OB, and it was also the first appearance on screen of a young Alec Guinness.


Portrait by post- impressionist Walter Sickert.

In 1936, Conchita entered the London Clinic for the birth of her daughter – the child was still born and Conchita died herself a few hours later. Her death at age 40 greatly saddened thousands whom she had bewitched with her indefatigable energy and brilliance. Supervia left many important recordings as evidence of her art. The Carmen discs from Paris in 1930 stand with her records of Rossini and Spanish songs as unique treasures; Supervia was an artist whose essence was indeed captured in the recording studio and the personality behind them is thoroughly irresistible.


Alaistair Macauley the music critic wrote:-


Her grave was designed by Edwin Lutyens is in the Jewish cemetery at Willesden; she converted to Judaism when she married Rubenstein. The sculptor William Reid engraved it with four  tortoises, since she adored tortoises. Some will remember her grandson James Supervia (1949-2019), an actor, choreographer, and dancer in London and elsewhere: he had his grandmother's large eyes.

Supervia’s fascinating in her use of both head voice and chest voice. Few singers are more vivid -  and she was evidently a fabulously natural actress (there’s a famous film clip from the 1934 film Evensong in which, as the young rival of Nellie Melba, she sings and acts Musetta in the Waltz Song in La Bohème – her performance stops Melba, or rather the  actress playing Melba, in her tracks). Supervia’s diction was stunning: English was her fourth language, but her recording of “Oh no, John, no, John, no, John, no” is one of the all-time classic accounts of English folk song. 

Her repertory included Mozart, Rossini, Berlioz, Bizet, Massenet, Humperdinck, Puccini, Richard Strauss: she sang the title role in Der Rosenkavalier (Octavian), conducted by its composer at La Scala (it was sung in Italian as Il Cavaliere della Rosa). She was a famous Carmen for more than twenty years, singing it in both Italian and French. Although Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia had never disappeared from repertory, she single-handedly made two other Rossini comedies, La Cenerentola and L’Italiana in Algieri popular again. She performed Carmen and those Rossinis at Covent Garden under the baton of Thomas Beecham in the last years of her too-short life. Hers was not a large voice: when she sang Carmen at Covent garden, the critic Neville Cardus wrote in The Guardian that Beecham toned down the score to make her register. But Beecham would not have been averse to that. Decades before, the general manager of Covent Garden, Harry Higgins, said that John McCormack’s voice would “never be heard over the orchestra”, whereupon Beecham replied “Then make your damned orchestra play softer.” 

What’s not to all tastes is her intense, rapid vibrato, sometimes called a flutter. Probably recordings make us more aware of it: some who saw her live were unconscious of it, whereas on records it’s been compared to the rattle of dice in a box. But here, on the same side of one 78rpm, she sings two Spanish songs, using her vibrato to very different effect. The songs are “Nana” and “Polo” of Manuel de Falla’s Siete Canciones Popolares Españolas (Seven Spanish Folksongs): her accompanist is Frank Marshall, who taught Alicia de Larrocha (who, in addition to her own first-league concert career, in turn accompanied Victoria de los Angeles). 

De Falla had composed, or arranged these seven songs in 1914. In 1928, he had recorded them, playing the piano to the Spanish coloratura soprano Maria Barrientos. Barrientos is good (her recording is on YouTube), and de los Angeles’s several recordings of the songs - the most sheerly beautiful - are better (at least one is on YouTube, the live one with de Larrocha); but the 1930 recordings by Supervia go beyond her own customary standards of vividness. There are notes in “Nana” when you sense the intensity of that vibrato. But nothing prepares you for the combination of vibrato and chest voice in her calls of “Ay!” in the final song: if the opening “Ay!” startles you, brace yourself for what’s to follow. The single ten-secoind “Ay!” is a good candidate for most fabulously weird sound in the history of vocalism.

George Supervia.

George  “Il mio Georgino”  settled in Lima, Peru and married Maria de la Gloria Cassidy and followed a career in telecommunications: very different from his mother. However, during the War when he served as a Captain in The Intelligence Corps  and was involved in the cinema and by an extraordinary co-incidence with a  Beaumont connection while he was in Italy.

During World War II, over 100,000 Italians helped at least 10,000 Allied escapees and evaders, by providing material and financial assistance to them in their efforts in avoiding being seized by the Germans and Fascists, as well as their efforts to reach the Allied lines. 

Lt. Col. Hugo Graham De Burgh, O.B.E., (the father of Michael ’41 and Simon ’42)  the commanding officer of the Allied Screening Commission (Italy) and a former escapee himself, in early 1946, was interested in  the possibility of a movie being made about the Italian helpers, those they helped. 

De Burgh had  discussions with several people.  Subsequently he discussed the movie idea with  the representative in Italy of the Paramount Film Corporation of America. In late May all the permissions were given and  according to De Burgh’s Personal Assistant (and future 3rd wife), then Junior Commander Lucy Addey, Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, the film was designed to show, first, the work of the partisans and other helpers who risked so much for Allied escapers, and secondly, to show the work of the Allied Screening Commission (Italy), 

De Burgh assigned  George Supervia of The Intelligence Corps, to the task of assisting in the making of the  film which had by this time been given the  title “To Whom Honour’s Due.”  George would arrange the filming area around Aquila and all the “props” – uniforms, vehicles, weapons etc.

The 25-minute film, formally titled Onore al Merito (To Whom Honour is Due), was completed during the late summer of 1946.  It was produced in both English and Italian versions and a special musical score was composed to accompany it.Colonel De Burgh, in his final report to the Deputy Director of Military Intelligence, on August 1, 1947, reported Onore al Merito was very well received wherever it was shown in Italy.

The newspaper Il Popolo  reported that , before a select audience of Italian politicians and diplomats that Onore al Merito, “showed the heroic sacrifices made by the Italians in order to assist and protect British soldiers during the German occupation…This film will be shown in Italy and England, and will revive and register that some good will, truly natural and heartfelt, between our two Nations, which war did not diminish, but on the contrary became deeper and more personal. This is a generous gesture by Britain, which is worth far more than any Peace Treaty clause, as it signifies the will between two people, to fraternize and collaborate.”

This mention of George Supervia is the only information I can find except that he sent his son James to the school in 1958 and who died in 2019.

James Supervia

He left Beaumont in 1960 for Ballet school ( from what I can find, he is the only OB to follow such a career though John Farmer of SOE fame was, not only a talented athlete, but was also  a dancer noted by  Ninette de Valois).

James Supervia. Photo: Sean Conroy-Hargrave

In a diverse career, the charismatic dancer, choreographer and actor danced for Frederick Ashton and Rudolf Nureyev, appeared in pantomime, fringe theatre, the West End and with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and was directed by Harold Pinter.

The grandson of opera singer Conchita Supervia, he was born in Rome and spent part of his early childhood in Lima, Peru, where he showed an early interest in dance after seeing the 1948 film The Red Shoes. Later, following his telecommunications manager father to London, he enrolled at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts. On graduating, he pursued a dual career in acting and dancing, appearing in Scottish Theatre Ballet’s first London season (Sadler’s Wells, 1969) and Martin Starkie and Nevill Coghill’s Canterbury Tales (Phoenix Theatre, 1971).

Shortly after, he began choreographing for Scottish Theatre Ballet and the short-lived Balletwho company while continuing to act. There were occasional appearances in pantomime  and he was seen as Chief Stoat alongside David Suchet’s Mole and Derek Smith’s titular Toad of Toad Hall for the RSC (1973), in the first West End revival of West Side Story  (1973), Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show (King’s Road Theatre, 1976) and with Northern Ballet Theatre, before joining London Festival Ballet in 1977.

The company’s 1980 Nureyev Festival saw him in prominent roles and he rose through the ranks to become a junior soloist in 1987. Lead performances included Natalia Makarova’s 1988 revival of Ashton’s Swan Lake and the dual roles of Tchaikovsky and Drosselmeyer for Peter Schaufuss in The Nutcracker (1989).

The same year (for the newly renamed English National Ballet), the New York Times hailed him as “the most Italian and convincing Friar Lawrence we have seen” in Ashton’s Romeo and Juliet at the Metropolitan Opera ( where his mother had performed). He enjoyed late success as an admired Dr Coppelius in the company’s Coppelia in 2000 and also taught at and created work for its ballet school.

Later acting credits included the Priest in Dario Fo’s Abducting Diana (Cafe Theatre, 1996) and the Waiter in Pinter’s production of his own Betrayal at the Duchess Theatre in 2003.

Several of his ballet performances survive as television broadcasts and his few film appearances include Billy Wilder’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) and the Alan Bates-starring Nijinsky (1980).

James Patrick Supervia was born on September 13, 1949, and died on May 30 2019 aged 69.

"James Supervía Legacy"

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria will be able to get closer to the exceptional Catalan mezzo-soprano through an exhibition that recovers the legacy of Concepción Supervía i Pascual (Barcelona 1895, London 1936) thanks to the generosity of Mr. James Patrick Supervía, only grandson of the well-known artist like Conchita Supervía. This altruistic gesture of the charismatic dancer, choreographer and actor who died in May 2019 was made in  a donation to the Board of the Néstor Museum.






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


When discussing the closure of Beaumont and the fact that a good number had to transfer to Stonyhurst, my wife  said “ I suppose in the modern idiom you would describe them as “Trans”.

I’m not certain how our OB/OS brethren would feel about that description.

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Middleton Blackwell  (31) now has a Wikipedia entry as a soldier and businessman and not just for his wife being the lover and muse of Ian Fleming. One gathers that he was Chieftain of the O’Malley Clan.

Middleton’s father Gordon  was killed in the Great War:-

“Educated at Mr Herbert Bowden-Smith's Preparatory School at Bengeo, privately. He joined his brother Robert in the firm of Blackwell Bros, and became a member of the stock exchange in 1908.

On declaration of war he enlisted straightaway in the Honourable Artillery Company and was sent to the French front in September 1914, obtaining a commission in the 4th Royal Fusiliers in 1915. He fell at Flers, in the Battle of the Somme, on 6 October 1916 being then attached to the 8th Royal Fusiliers.

One of his commanding officers said of him; “I saw a great deal of him and he naturally endeared himself to me by his kind nature and manliness of character. I deplore his loss, the nation has lost a gallant soldier and a great gentleman.

His major wrote;He was a grand soldier, he could get the utmost out of men and did so, but they all worshipped him. Gordon’s brother Charles was also  Killed with the Royal Fusiliers the previous year.


Lieutenant Blackwell married in 1910 Nina Mary, daughter of the late, Middleton Moore O'Malley and Mrs O'Malley of Westport, Co Mayo and leaves a widow and one son.

Polar Music Prize

Record label founder Chris Blackwell has been announced as  a recipient of the prestigious Polar Music Prize 2023.

The award, which is often described as the “Nobel Prize of music”, is celebrating  his significant achievements in music.

The ceremony for the award, which was first handed to Sir Paul McCartney in 1992, took place at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden, on May 23 in the presence of the Swedish royal family. Marie Ledin, managing director of the Polar Music Prize, said: “We are delighted to honour those who have all made such a global impact with their music. Chris Blackwell founded and built Island Records into one of the most successful labels in music history. He has had a huge influence on the world of music and we are delighted to be able to celebrate this”. Chris the son of Middleton (31) spent a year at St John’s in 1945 but suffering badly from asthma  had to return to Jamaica. When he  was well enough to continue his education,  it was to Harrow  with which the Blackwell family also had strong connections.


Editorial 10 July.

An OB “Heritage Site”  in danger:-

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The Curzon Mayfair, a Grade II listed building, is one of London’s oldest and most prestigious art-house cinemas.The birth of Curzon Cinemas occurred on 6th March 1934, when a modest building on Curzon Street, Mayfair, opened its doors for the first time, inviting audiences to Willi Forst’s biopic of Schubert, Unfinished Symphony. Built by The Marquese di Casa Maury and designed by architect Francis Lorne in a European style, the brick facade was low-rise and the only relief was a vertical white stone feature that had the name ‘Curzon’ mounted on it in green neon script.

Inside, the 492-seat auditorium was provided on one level with a raised section containing luxury ‘club’ seats. In contrast to the picture palaces of the era, the Curzon Cinema had an austere interior, but with luxurious blue carpets and velveted armchairs.

In early September 1939 the cinema was closed for refurbishment, but due to the war it stayed closed and was taken over for army screenings. It was during this time that Harold Wingate acquired the lease and the cinema has remained in the family ever since.

However, property prices in the area were ever increasing and the cinema was sitting on a prime location. Closed in 1963, it was demolished in 1964 to make way for an office block which would include a new cinema on the first floor.The new Curzon opened in April 1966 with Viva Maria and now boasted a larger 530-seat auditorium, a huge 43-foot by 20-foot screen and two Royal Boxes. In 2002, the rear stalls were converted into a second screen, offering a wider selection of films.


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“They don’t make men like Guy anymore”  Guy’s Telegraph obituary is to be found in the OBITUARY section but this is one of several  articles that brought him to the attention or notoriety of the wider public.

“Sticking to his guns: Controversial game hunter speaks out”

By Ellie House 2017

Over the next few days, weeks and months, Caithness big game hunter Guy Wallace expects to become a much-despised figure of hate, yet joked: “You’ll probably be reading my obituary next week.”

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He is the subject of a controversial documentary film released this week, End of the Game, which had its world premiere at the Glasgow Film Festival.

It’s made by film-maker and committed vegan David Graham Scott, from Wick, who has also put himself in the firing line by befriending the big game hunter and accompanying him to Africa where he filmed his attempts to kill a Cape buffalo.

The film explores the ethical issues around hunting but also delves deeper into the unlikely bond that develops between the two men.

Guy lives with a Swahili talking parrot and has just one-and-a-half teeth – the result of eating too much buffalo meat in his younger days, he tells me, while his broad moustache and the pipe often found clamped between his lips make him look like a figure that has stepped from the pages of a history book.

His attitude towards hunting will make some feel that the past is where he belongs, but Guy says he “doesn’t give a monkeys” about what other people think.

“I’ve never been ashamed of what I’ve done,” he said.

An unrepentant relic of the colonial era, Guy has been a soldier, serving both with a parachute regiment and the Gordon Highlanders; a mercenary and a tracker.

Until this month he lived in splendid isolation in a battered old caravan on the Caithness moors.
“I’ve lived in mud huts, stone huts in the desert and corrugated iron shacks in South America so I’m not fussy, plus you can only use one chair, one plate, one cup at a time so there’s no point in having lots of stuff,” said Guy.
He is now relocating to Spain, a move he assures me was planned years ago, and nothing to do with the controversial film being released.
“I’ve been hill farming in Caithness since 2002 but I’m 75 now and had enough of it,” said Guy, who has also been a professional gun dog trainer for 40 years.

He’s led something of a “Boy’s Own” life, one full of adventure and drama, but as he approached the golden years of his life, he had one burning, remaining ambition – to hunt and kill a Cape buffalo.
“Hunting is one of the oldest things in the world and if it wasn’t for hunting the human race would have died out years ago. I know it was a necessity then but in some parts of rural Africa, it still is,” said Guy.
“David sees me as a Victorian hunter, but I was brought up with field sports from a very early age by my grandfather and uncles and inherited their ethics, something which has rather gone out of the window these days.

“There is a very strict code of conduct which I always follow. The professional hunter on the safari we filmed in Africa was rather surprised when I told him that I would not shoot within 500 yards of the vehicle or within 500 yards as it is unethical.

“The hunter said it would completely reduce my chances of shooting a Cape buffalo so I said, so be it, I’m not prepared to compromise.

“During the dry season, which is the hunting season, the animals need their water and, until the rains come, there are not many places to drink, so to ambush them at a waterhole absolutely stinks.

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“I wanted to hunt a mature Cape buffalo, one that has been pushed out of the herd by the younger buffalo. They often end up being hunted by young lions so they run into thorn patches where the lions will spend days slowly attacking them which leads to a slow, lingering and painful death.

“In Britain there’s nothing that fights back – a salmon or fox is unlikely to kill you, but with a Cape buffalo it’s a case of you kill him or he kills you.

“If you turn your back and run, you are dead. You must stand your ground.

“You have to be ready for it and you have to be practiced. I have fired rifles since 1965 and shot more than 1,000 British deer to control them. I’m not a trophy hunter but having a trophy is a great visual reminder of that hunting experience.”

Guy is ready to face his critics as he’s used to being in the firing line, as for years he was a professional huntsman on horseback, controlling a pack of 40 foxhounds in England and Wales.

“When I was fox-hunting, wearing my scarlet coat and leading the pack of hounds I had all sorts of abuse directed at me. People would shout and scream at me but they were just a bit of a nuisance.

“I’ve always known that some people won’t understand why I hunt but what you have to look at is why are they anti- hunting? There are always two sides to everything. As Robert Quillan said: ‘Discussion is an exchange of knowledge, an argument an exchange of ignorance’.

“When people shout and start spouting stuff it shows they obviously haven’t studied the subject at all. David, at least, could see where I was coming from.

“If a complete stranger had phoned and said I’m an anti-hunting vegan and want to make a film about you in Africa I’d have said I wasn’t interested, but we were friends already and understood each other.”

Speaking ahead of the movie launch, Guy said: “I invited my chums to the premiere and told them to bring a few mates along as there would probably be a lot more bunny huggers there than red-blooded men of the veldt.”

And after years of hunting, he’s decided that he’d like to meet his maker in the same quick manner he dispatches his prey.

“I’ve always said that being killed by an animal would be better than hanging around an NHS waiting room – and I still say that,” said Guy.

Film director David Graham Scott said: “People are a strange mix and don’t see the world in black and white, and while Guy is a controversial character, there’s a gentle side to him.

“End of the Game is an incredible, contentious, controversial, funny and at times a demanding film and if you come to it with a narrow view of the universe where human beings are written off because of one aspect of their life, then you’ll probably hate it because I gave this man time to air his views – views which are not necessarily views I or others agree with.

“I still hate animal cruelty, would never shoot a living thing and step around insects on the pavement but as a documentary-maker, I have to be open-minded.

“There will be people who say why did I give Guy the time of day but I say why not? I’m a documentary maker and Guy is one of the most extraordinary characters I’ve met and great documentary material.

“I hope people will see that the film is somewhat poetic in that it paints a picture of an old man in decline, but I’m not romanticising him or big game hunting, although in a strange way parallels can be drawn between Guy and the old Cape buffalo, a gnarly old beast who, if not shot, would face a horrible death being torn down by lions.

“The Cape buffalo is not an endangered species and money from this type of hunt goes into conservation.

“It wasn’t a particularly pleasant thing to watch but, if you pardon the pun, you have to respect Guy for sticking to his guns.”

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(ED: I always recall Guy’s statement to the Press concerning the docking of certain gun dog’s tails when the RSPCA called for the ban a few years ago (now implemented).

“When I was like a new born pup I was circumcised: I don’t recall making a fuss and neither did any of my friends!”)

Guy’s elder brother Graham was also at Beaumont leaving in ’57 but died young in 1963.  Guy Bailey remembers him as “Charismatic”  and known as “Little Wal” but suffered from spinal deformity: he “hit the headlines” when with John Howe (56) they killed and cooked a deer in their rooms at BNC Oxford. The youngest brother Malcolm went to Clongowes and I know him well through the Army and Racing world. His son Harry was in my Regiment and was also a useful amateur jockey. 

THE BBC (One the Editor forgot in the last REVIEW)

Shaun MacLoughlin, Drama Director, Writer, Presenter and Teacher

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Shaun's closest friend at school was Peter Pouncey – 1955, with whom he went on a vespa to St Tropez in 1954, and who died in May 2023. ( see Obituaries and next article)

Father Coventry SJ told his widowed mother (journalist pen name Martha Blount, ex Daily Express columnist) that Shaun was a total dreamer and would never get into Oxford University.  Shaun was read the riot act and began to work.  When he opened his acceptance from Balliol College he looked up and saw Father Coventry's dantesque smile and thought: “you lovely, calculating bastard, thank you” .

In his last year at school Shaun shared a room with Jonathan de Villiers - 54  and Simon Burrough – 55, who later became captain of boxing at Oxford. After a-levels Father Gillick led a 140 mile walking pilgrimage from Beaumont to Walsingham with Brian Wall – 54,  Simon Outred – 54, Outram – 54 and  John Richardson – 54. We spent one night sleeping on the floor of the library of Monsignor Alfred Gilbey - 20, Catholic chaplain of Cambridge University.

Shaun was offered a place after National Service for 1956, but because his mother wanted him to finish his education, he instead went up to St Edmund Hall in 1954, where he made two very good convert friends, the late poet, biographer and teacher Michael Ffinch and the late Father Jeremy Davies, later to become a doctor and then chief exorcist for the Catholic church in England and Wales.

After Oxford and working as a tour guide in France and Spain, Shaun had the distinction of being Mons Officer School's second worst office cadet, but he did end up as a National Service 2nd Lieutenant in Germany.  This experience later gave him invaluable experience as a producer of comedy.

After some years as a theatrical agent he joined BBC TV Drama Script Editor, BBC2 Thirty Minute Theatre (working with Tim Aspinal - 52), the Wednesday Play, before moving to radio, which he much preferred, to become BBC Radio 4 Script Editor, The Afternoon Play and then

BBC Radio Producer /presenter of Drama, Documentaries, Poetry for Radios 3 & 4 in Bristol. Shaun, larely due the creative genius and inspiration of Hugh Dinwiddy, Shaun produced programmes on Gerard Manley Hopkins, which he partly researched at Saint Bueno's College, North Wales, which was administered by  Christopher Campbell Johnstone – 51, captain of school

Shaun often directed his good friend Hugh Burden – 1929, who said Shaun was the second best director he had worked with, the first having been Shaun's father, Hugh Neil MacLoughlin - 1927

Winner of the Sony Award for best radio comedy for “Crisp and Even Brightly”.

Producer of 13 one hour radio programmes on Australia to celebrate the 1988 Bicentenary. 

Presenter of a BBC radio 4 documentary about a 1,100 mile cycling pilgrimage with his 12 year old son, Seamus, from Mont St Michel to Santiago de Compostela. This is inspired him to cycle the 'Greenway' from Prague to Vienna designed in his retiremont by Lubomir Chmelar – 1953 and to stay with Lubosch at Mikulov in the Danube basin.

Tutor and producer of radio acting at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and the Birmingham School of Acting, producing Shakespeare for local radio.

Director of “The Healing Arts” with leading Vietnamese actors at the Small Stage Theatre Company, Vo Van Street, Ho Chi Minh City.

Tutor in writing drama scripts at Bath Spa University and the University of Wales.

Helping primary school staff and children in Wales and Special Needs children in four Bristol comprehensive schools to write and perform audio plays

Radio Drama Producer in HM Prisons Channings Wood and Rye Hill. Winner of the Arthur Koestler Award for creative work in prisons for the radio documentary “A Journey through Drugs”.

Producer of “The Flower Room” for BBC Radio 4, recorded on location in China with ethnic minorities. Author of “Writing and Acting for Radio”,  recommended on University courses.

Several more old B.U. friends designed a splinter group of mostly Oxford graduates for yearly lunches in London clubs and trips abroad.  These included John Walker – 1953, Howard Lyle – 1953, captain of school, Christopher Lord - 1953, co-founder of Lord Brothers travel, John Okell – 1953, teacher of Burmese to embassy staff and compiler of the Burmese dictionary, Michael Macavoy - 1953.

Over the last few years together with Filipino friends Shaun has  developed teaching English through Drama in Thailand and Nepal.  Please see www.learnetd.com

In 2023 Shaun became a consecrated member of The Community of the Sons and Daughters of God.The Community was founded in 1947 by an Italian priest, Fr Divo Barsotti (1914 - 2006). It was established first in Italy and recognised as a Public Association of the Faithful by the Catholic Church in 1984.  It has spread throughout the World and The heart of the Community is the Mother House located in Settignano in the outskirts of Florence.

The Community consists mainly of laypeople, who through Fr Barsotti, have discovered a contemplative vocation and have been inspired to live the monastic spirit in the world. The Community also comprises of men and women who live a traditional monastic life, as well as diocesan Priests.

(The administrator in England is Lord Tom Craigmyle, an old Etonian, but you can’t blame him for that).


Amherst Mourns Peter Pouncey, President 1984 to 1994.

Peter Pouncey

Peter Pouncey arrived in a time of unrest and transition and left the College a more diverse and stable place. Peter Pouncey, Amherst’s 16th president, was a president of firsts: the first to be born in China, where his father served as the British commissioner of maritime customs; the first in 50 years to come to the College with no previous connection to it; and, later, the first to publish a critically acclaimed novel begun during his term. Serving from 1984 to 1994, Pouncey gave the College “a decade of extraordinary service,” said an Amherst magazine headline. He arrived in a time of unrest and transition and left the College a more diverse and stable place. Pouncey died on May 30, 2023, at the age of 85. Amherst College mourns his loss. “Peter Pouncey was my president when I was an Amherst student, and I think of him every time that I walk into Converse Hall,” says President Michael A. Elliott, a member of the class of 1992. “I had the chance to speak with him several times during my undergraduate career, and he was always gracious and kind. He was a true scholar who led with hope and ambition.”

Pouncey, a specialist in ancient Greece, was previously a professor of classics at Columbia University, where he’d also served as dean of Columbia College from 1972 to 1976 and as chair of the Contemporary Civilization program. He became Amherst’s leader during a period of upheaval following the sudden death of President Julian Gibbs in 1983 and the decision to abolish the fraternity system the following spring. Pouncey now led a campus whose main form of social life had just been eliminated without anything lined up to replace it. He remained sanguine about the challenge, urging unhappy students to “throw yourselves into forming a positive future.”

From the beginning, Pouncey had a strong sense of the issues he wanted to tackle during his term. In addition to creating a robust post-fraternity social life, he was particularly concerned with attracting a more diverse student and faculty population. To that end, under his leadership, the College undertook a yearlong study of how the school’s image affected students’ decisions when choosing a college. Pouncey thought the College needed to make a more concerted effort to recruit students from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, first-generation college students and others who might not see themselves as a natural fit at Amherst. His goal was for the College to represent “a full sample of the nation’s talent.” He was also the driving force behind the first expansion of the faculty since coeducation.

He strongly encouraged interdisciplinary programs and advocated for breaking down barriers between departments. Both the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies (now Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies) and the Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought Program were established during his presidency.

Pouncey oversaw the College primarily during a period of expansion—the endowment grew from $132 million in 1983 to more than $320 million in 1994. During Pouncey’s tenure, the Keefe Campus Center was built, along with Cohan Dormitory and LeFrak Gymnasium. The College also acquired the former U.S. Strategic Command Bunker in South Amherst.

Pouncey was popular among Amherst students, acquiring the unlikely nickname “Pounce Dog.” A gently mocking article in The Amherst Student in 1993 poked fun at his unwillingness to use his new VAX account, reporting that Pouncey had no wish to become bogged down in the new diversion of email and had announced that “he would not answer more than three pieces of email a week.” Pouncey’s feelings about technology didn’t seem to change later in his life; in a 2005 profile in The New York Times, he is described as approaching “his computer warily. ‘They really do smell fear,’ he said.”

After Pouncey stepped down as president in 1994, he remained at Amherst as the Burnell-Forbes Professor of Greek until 1998, when he returned to Columbia to finish his teaching career, becoming a member of the Society of Senior Scholars in 1999.

Pouncey’s first book, The Necessities of War: A Study of Thucydides’ Pessimism, was published in 1980 and won the 1981 Lionel Trilling Award for Columbia’s best scholarly publication. His next book, the widely acclaimed novel Rules for Old Men Waiting, was published 25 years later, in 2005. Pouncey began to write it during his Amherst presidency, accumulating thousands of pages of notes. Returning to them in 2003, he eventually produced a slim, finely wrought volume that received the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which called the book an “extraordinary debut novel.”

Pouncey is survived by his children, Christian Pouncey (of Charlottesville, Va.), Maggie Pouncey (of Rhinebeck, N.Y.) and stepdaughter Emily Liebert (of Cleveland, Ohio); their spouses, Victoria Pouncey, Matt Miller and Vlad Kobzar; and five grandchildren, Eliza Pouncey, Felix Miller, Dominic Miller, Henry Kobzar and Louise Kobzar.

In his final Amherst commencement speech, Pouncey ended with these words: “I must say, as we head out, I find myself not grim but optimistic. … I believe at root, however far we travel, whatever our differences, we are all members of one tribe. And that means that, however far you go …  you need never be lost, because there will always be someone to understand you, and tell you where you are.

So let us go, pleased and proud and grateful for what has happened to us here, and good luck—good luck, you might say, to all of us”.


John Flood sent me a happy snap of socialising with some of our Lancashire associates.

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“I was invited by RIchard King to meet him and some of his Stonyhurst colleagues who were staying at the Holiday Inn on the Epsom Downs near the Race Course here and meeting up for lunch at The Derby Arms opposite the grandstands. The attached photo was taken and includes Timothy O'Neill-Dunne, younger brother of Jarlath (64) who died in 1998. It also includes Richard King and a very good Rugby player who played for the Lions and for Ireland: John O'Driscoll (far right).  He is the Uncle of Brian O’Driscoll the one time Lions Captain and now commentator”.

 John also sent some Sporting Memorabilia.


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“I have in my loo a picture of the 1964 Beaumont 2nd VIII which included Jarlath & myself  - the attached picture shows us immediately after my oar (no. 2) hit a swan bringing the boat to an abrupt complete halt. Our reaction to this was so frenetic that we went from being down on Teddys before we stopped, to going through and beating them!” 


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Irish Politics.

Another Irishman was Patrick O’Byrne, who followed his elder brother Edward (84) to Beaumont leaving in 1888.

He was the son of was John O'Byrne of Corville, Tipperary  (who had originally been granted the title of Count by the Pope) and his mother was Eleanor von Hübner, the daughter of Austrian diplomat Count Joseph  Hubner . He was a direct descendant of Edward Byrne (c.1739–1804), a wealthy Dublin merchant and Chairman of the Catholic Convention which campaigned for Catholic rights.  Patrick studied law and was called to the Irish Bar in 1893.  O'Byrne was elected unopposed as a Sinn Féin Teachta Dala  (TD) to the 2nd Dail at the 1921 elections for the Tipperary constituency.

He opposed the Anglo – Irish Treaty  and voted against it.  He  then stood as an anti-Treaty Sinn Féin candidate at the 1922 Election but was not elected. He did not follow Eamon de Valera   who split from Sinn Féin in 1926 to found the Fianna Fail  party to enter the Dáil.

O’Byrne followed in the footsteps of Edward Martyn (76) ( first President Sinn Fein) and John Sweetman (66) ( 2nd President) in involvement in the Irish Republican movement..

Patrick married Bernadette Boland  in 1897. His brother-in-law was John Pius Boland a Home Rule MP.  O'Byrne died in 1944 and is buried in St. Cronan's graveyard, Roscrea, County Tipperary.


OLYMPIC GOLD Medallist Engaged to OB’s Daughter.

Tom McEwen MBE is to marry Harriet Fettes daughter of Richard (66 and then to Stonyhurst). Niece of Robert and David.

Tom McEwen is a British event rider who was part of the gold medal-winning team at the 2018 World Championships and won team gold and individual silver at the Tokyo Olympics  with his top horse Toledo De Kerser. 

British Olympic eventing team final outing

Tom McEwen and Toledo De Kerser at Keysoe in July 2021.

Tom was born on 10 May 1991. He is from a horsey family – his mother Ali showjumped and his father Bobby is a vet. His sister Ella rode on the British pony team in 2007 and 2008.He was a successful rider in under-21 ranks. He won pony team gold in 2007 on Dick Taytoe and two young rider team golds in 2010 on Major Sweep and 2011 on Private Rudolf.Tom has also twice won the under-25 championships at Bramham, in 2013 on Diesel and in 2016 on Toledo De Kerser.

Three years later, he and Toledo took team gold and individual silver medals at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.He was selected to make his championship debut at the 2013 European Championships in Malmö, but Diesel failed the first trot-up with a sore back.Tom was also selected for the 2019 European Championships in Luhmühlen, but had to withdraw from the squad when Toledo suffered “a minor incident during routine work at home”.Tom and Toledo were also on the British team at the 2022 World Championships in Pratoni del Vivaro, Italy, where they finished 12th individually.

Tom got engaged to his girlfriend Harriet Fettes in April 2022.

Tom is based on the Princess Royal’s Gatcombe estate. He moved there in April 2016, having previously been based at Mark Todd’s yard at Badgerstown.

Fettes down under.

Ed: the reason I heard about Richard and his daughter  was from his brother Robert now residing in Scotland and who is in regular contact. Following the Cheltenham Festival Robert wrote to me about my racing interests and it was from this  he sent me this piece on his early days in the saddle:-

“I emigrated to Australia at the end of 1967, at which time the "Big Brother" scheme was still operating; the best ten pounds I ever spent! and included a six week voyage on a passenger liner. Fortuitously, passenger numbers included more than 600 migrating girls! Needless to say we male  passengers  -in the minority, had a most enjoyable trip!  Starting in Sydney, I had no luck in finding work.  I rowed for Mosman RC, situated in the harbour, until I  decided that I would prefer to be back in a saddle again; thus, by networking, I was given a job as a Jacker, firstly, on Windsor Hereford stud, which had started with aHereford bull and cow bought from the royal herd at Windsor. There being no stigma in changing jobs as a Jackeroo, I then joined a friend and his family with their own station. They were , in fact as poor as church mice; the property was situated in dreadfully hilly and unproductive terrain.

They did not want me to leave; as they were riddled with rabbits and kangeroos;  Instead of paying me, I chose to generate income from killing their rabbits and 'roos.  That did not satisfy me in the longer term. I contacted the representative of a Texan concern which had huge tracts of agricultural properties in NSW, QLD and the NT.  I was sent to their largest property in the NT; Brunette Downs.  Brunette had, at that time, an area of about 5,500 square miles!

The largest 'paddock' measured 600 square miles!  A domestic airline used the airstrip.  The heat was utterly intense - at times 130 in the shade. It was all cattle - Santa Gertrudis breed, of which there were about 100,000 and  about 1000 horses, which were regularly rested in rotation.

We each had our own string, as mounts.  Brunette was completely flat, without a hill or rise of ground anywhere, and thus an unobstructed view to a horizon. I had to act as pall bearer for one of the station team; the service held in Tennent Creek.  The person being interred, a road grader and alcoholic, had been lost in his efforts to go and find more beer for himself; over 100 miles to the nearet town.  His dreadful eyesight let him down; thus he became lost.

The station manager was also present at the funeral - the coffin stayed outside due to the frightful stench! - and took the opportunity to mention that there was a position at their headquarters near Bowral, about 80 miles from Sydney; would I be interested?  With alacrity I said yes. The job entailed being part of a small team breaking in a Group of Santa Gertrudis Bulls for their annual  stud sale.  Sadly ,there was never going to be a chance to earn a good living from Jackerooing.

I began networking again and had friends in the Sydney Stock Exchange. From their Exchange journal, I chose, at random, a broker named Carr Hordern, who had been bought a seat by his father.  I combined a visit for  an interview with a visit to the dentist  to have two wisdoms out; big mistake! Immediately afterwards I presented myself for interview at the brokers with a mouthful of cotton wads.  Carr Hordern asked 'do all poms speak like you?  We would love to have a  pom like you in the firm.  It so happened that where I was jackerooing, had been his own family's country seat!  Strange coincidence and stranger good fortune! I was at this time that my brother Richard emigrated. I helped him in acquiring a jackeroo job, which he took up. Eventually he too went to Brunette Downs; thus his horse riding work began.  The stock broking world had been overwhelmed by the "Posidon Boom"; this resulted in many of the oldest houses going into liquidation.  Carr Hordern did not, but they experienced huge financial difficulties.  On one of my trips by ferry to the office, I spied Maurice Cronly;

so I managed to catch up with his news. Incidentally, on a neighbouring cattle station to Brunette Downs, namely Victoria Downs, the horse breaker there was Shaun Murphy, in the same yea rand class as me.

The situation did not give me any hope for the future.  One of the concerns for whom I dealt on the exchange was Burns Phillip; in shipping, plantations and general trading in the West Pacific.  I went to see my contact and said I wanted a job in PNG.  A week later I was given an air ticket to PNG to manage plantations, producing copra, cocoa, cattle, pepper and coffee.  Spent ten years in PNG.

The main island is the largest of a group made up of hundreds of small islands, many of which  were uninhabited. One of the plantations on which I acted as a relief, whilst the  incumbent took his furlough, had, as it's onetime  manager, no less than Errol Flynn  before he eventually became the matinee idol he was.  He was a naughty boy; then in his late 'teens.  He left some human evidence of his involvement with the local  population!

If you ever use or visit "You Tube", and type in New Ireland, PNG, you will have some idea as to why I so enjoyed living and working there.  Sadly, for us expats, though not for the Native population, PNG gained it's independence from  the Australian administration in 1977; following which the whole social and political  climate changed.  Fortunately, there were some wise heads amid the political leadership, which enabled stability.  The writing was on the  wall; expats had  either go, or stay, forgoing all property to the traditional native population.  All the area has very much a "chocolate box" appearance.



Robert continues

Visiting the BU site has prompted me to stir my dreadful memory, and recall some of boys of my (our) time.  Possibly of no particular importance, and a fact of which you may already be aware; there was a boy by the name Summers; I do not recall his Christian name.  I became better acquainted with him whilst in the infirmary with some malady; probably faked.  Summers informed me that his mother had married again to a Richard Greene; of "Robin Hood" fame in the then 'Robin of Sherwood Forest' TV series. I promise I will not fill you e-mail in-box with a flood of drivel.


Ed: this was Charles Summers (60): he only stayed a couple of years and his information was correct. Beatriz Summers  and Richard Greene were married for 20 years. They dated for 1 year after getting together in 1959 and married in 1960. 20 years later they divorced in 1980. Greene ( brought up a Catholic) was first married to actress Patricia Medina, There followed a long affair with Nancy Oaks daughter of the wealthy entrepreneur Sir Harry Oakes Bt during the 1950s before marrying Beatrriz.


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It so often happens that a passing mention of an OB sets me off on a new research. Robert Fettes  had mentioned Shaun Murphy  (63) in recounting his time “jackerooing” in Australia. So, I thought I would try and find out what had happened to him. Needless to say, it opened up a new chapter of research.

I can  start  by saying there were 45 Murphys at Beaumont , the first arriving in 1865  coming from Cork: Some were closely related – others not. Shaun and his younger siblings Kevin and Dermot were the last Murphys to appear in the Beaumont Lists and I eventually tracked down Dermot who hadn’t got further than St John’s and was only there for a very short time.

Dermot and his wife Judy live at Kirstead Hall near Norwich.                                    

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Originally part of the Abbey lands of Bury St Edmunds, the house is basically of Tudor origins and the Artist Edward Seago used it as his studio. Dermot having spent time at Spinks and is an Antique furniture restorer: he also houses much of the family memorabilia including that appertaining to Brigadier William van Cutsem OB, a relative of his mother’s. (More on him later).

Dermot told me that a younger brother Brian was also at St John’s after Beaumont closed and that Shaun  had settled in Australia but had been killed in a helicopter accident in Western Australia: his son had gone to St Johns and lived with Dermot and his wife  following Shaun’s death. Kevin had also died in 1983. Their father was Mark  (36) who had gone up to Hertford Oxford where he had a trial for the Oxford Boat. During the War he served with the 3rd Carabiniers in Burma. He  was  the sole survivor when his tank took a direct hit. “We had reached  Pagan, city of a thousand temples,  there was a violent explosion. I was lying on the ground surrounded by the debris of a shattered tank with which were intermingled various parts of human bodies. There was a single hand and a leg quite close…..” He was later awarded an MC. He married Mary Christian van Cutsem  daughter of the Count van Cutsem at the War’s end and they settled in Barnstaple Devon.

Mark had five brothers at Beaumont. The eldest John (23) who went out to India before settling in Kenya but he died young in 1946.  His son James Kinloch Murphy ( 55)  went on to agricultural college and farms in Hampshire.

Anthony (26) went to medical school at St Mary’s  but also went out to Kenya and served with the King’s African Rifles during the War.

Peter (24) went on to Sandhurst and went to War as a Company Commander with The Irish Fusiliers.  He was awarded his MC for fighting the rearguard action at Ninove  before withdrawing to Dunkirk  despite having been shot through the lung. Once he recovered he went out to the Desert  and was killed with his piper leading an attack  in Tunisia 1943. “A fine horseman, first class shot  and we had lost one of our best wits, as well as a most colourful and endearing characters”.

Stephen (29) also  went to Sandhurst  and commissioned in the Devonshires. During the War he was MID and awarded an MBE. After the War he retired as a Lt - Colonel and inherited the small estate: Dunsland Court near Okehampton from his parents. He married Sonia Bowes-Lyon in 1948,  a grand -daughter of the Earl of Strathmore and  a cousin of the Queen Mother. Quentin (34)  also served  with the Devons during The War.

You will have noticed that the Murphys had a strong connection to Devon. This came about as their father  Major Francis Murphy ( 96) settled there after the Great War. Born in Dublin  where the family were highly successful businessmen: one of his uncles was Knighted and the other created a Baronet, He went on to TCD and served in the RFA during the Great War. His Home with his wife Marguerite was at Dunsland Court.

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Francis’s brother was Joseph (90):  he was both a politician and businessman. A partner in Palgrave, Murphy, & Co., steamship office and agents for the Liverpool underwriters' association, he also had a close association with the Bank of Ireland, serving as director, Deputy Governor  and Governor (1924–6). Among other positions, he was a commissioner of Irish lights, local director of the Guardian Insurance Co., director of Great Southern Railways, and director of the Dublin Alliance and Consumers' Gas Co.

In the September 1927 General Election, he was returned as a TD for Dublin County. Running as an independent constitutionalist, principally representing business interests, he highlighted discrimination against ex-servicemen (he had served in the British army during the first world war), who, he felt, were worthy of employment in the Irish army. He was opposed to the introduction of compulsory Irish, and in favour of trade protection only in cases where it was cheaper to produce goods in Ireland than to import them. The Irish Times described his election as ‘one of the few encouraging features’ of the election, but he lost his seat in the 1932.

He married Nora, daughter of Sir George Fottrell;  He died in 1937. Their son Owen (23) went on to Worcester Oxford  and married Rosemary FitzHerbert: His sister Sheelagh married Rosemary’s brother Henry KIA with the Irish Guards in the last month of the War.

Nora’s brother Frank was also at Beaumont leaving in 1894 and her sister Agnes married James Sweetman the parents of Government Minister Gerard  (25),  Seamus  (32) and  Denis (37) KIA.

The Murphys  main business interest was the Palgrave Murphy Shipping Line.

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This Company was formed in the 1870s and named their ships after the ports they served to continental Europe such as the City of Hamburg, Antwerp and Lisbon. They lost two ships in WW1.

In WW2 the neutral Irish State brought together the three Irish Shipping Companies including Palgrave Murphy and the IrisH Grain Importers  Company under State control to guard import needs forming the Irish Shipping Ltd. Among its Directors was Major Thomas Hallinan (12) for the Grain Company: he was also a Director of The Munster and Leinster Bank. Despite their neutrality they still lost 3 ships to U-Boats.

After the War and during the years up until 1967, Palgrave Murphy built up a large stevedoring company employing hundreds of dockers and handling thousands of tons of cargo each month .

On road transport they started a large fleet of vehicles introducing the first refrigerated container service to the continent  and acting as agents for some of the biggest of the World’s shipping lines. 

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The History of the Company is recorded in  the book “The Shipping Murphys”.

William van Cutsem OBE, MC.

As mentioned Mark Murphy  (36) was married to Mary Christian van Cutsem a niece of William OB. Another of Beaumont’s influential men in British Intelligence.

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William van Cutsem was born  in July 1891 the son of Kilian Euiler a German born national of Calcutta: his mother was a Belgian van Cutsem. He was sent to  St John’s in 1901 and left Beaumont in 1908 for University at Heidelberg. He then entered Woolwich in 2nd  competitive p[lace but was to leave at the head of his intake  in 1911 having won the Pollock Medal: he also eared the affectionate nickname of “Penjy” because of his stiff walk. in 1914 he was posted to a Field company in Cork and went with them to Salonika in 1915 to become Adjutant of the Divisional Engineers. !n 1917 he was awarded an MC  and in 1918 The Croix de Guerre avec Palme and promoted from Captain to Major in the Black Sea Army staying there till 1922.

While there he met  his future wife, Dorothy Unthank the daughter of an Officer in the 17th Lancers who was also stationed in Turkey. The Unthank family home was  historic Intwood Hall near Norwich. (not far from where Dermot Murphy lives)


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It was during his engagement that Dorothy  was unable to make  the journey to Istanbul to organise her trousseau. Harry Alexander ( later FM Earl Alexander of Tunis and William’s chum and Best Man) organised for some miniature examples of lingerie to be sent to the groom. “Alex” was commanding the Irish Guards at Constantinople at the time.

 Dorothy and William were married at The Brompton Oratory in 1922. He also changed his name to van Cutsem  the same year.

During the inter - war years, he attended the Staff College, held appointments at The War Office  with MI3 (information on Eastern Europe and the Baltic states (plus USSR, Scandinavia and Finland after summer 1941). “Alex” was also posted to command London district  and sent this sketch of William telling him to drop into Birdcage Walk if he could find the time.


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He reached the rank of Colonel in 1937 and was then was  made Deputy Director of Military intelligence as War broke out (Note General Sir George MacDonogh OB was Director in WW1). While in this post, he oversaw the re-organisation of Bletchley Park with  the incorporation of civilians into the organisation.  As a French and German interpreter, he worked with the Foreign Office  and later in Military Operations within The Cabinet Office.

He helped set up SOE from his desk at Lansdowne House, the one-time home of Jacques de Sibour’s (13)  father in law. He then moved to the Political Intelligence Department and was especially involved with political warfare and post hostilities planning. To assist him, he was joined by Leopold Clasen (23), a man that like his brother Andrew (25) the Luxemburg Ambassador had escaped occupied Europe.

With the conflict over, it was Van Cutsem who produced the equivalent of the Church’s Index of “banned German martial and patriotic music” that had a Nazi connotation. We had heard the last of Horst Wessel Leid. Van Cutsem’s experience of having been in the previous Army of Occupation was that music had been used to articulate nationalism and anti-British sentiment. Like all those involved in post-war planning, Willie worked in a situation of great uncertainty and he assumed there would be considerable resistance to the occupying forces and a possible resurgence of Nazism.  He also issued the brief to all service personnel in the Army of Occupation on the German character. In it he wrote, “The Germans are not divided into good Germans and bad ones. The sadistic trait is not peculiar to the Nazis for they exult death rather than life. Before the Germans can learn to govern themselves they must realise that it was necessary not just to defeat the Nazi regime but the people also must be defeated”. Today it might seem harsh, but in the aftermath of the atrocities committed, there had to be collective guilt for what they allowed to happen.

He eventually retired after the War having spent time with the Germany Control Commission. It could be said a remarkable career for the son of a German national.

In retirement  he and his wife lived in Montague Mansions W1 and  apart from his own cellar, William took on responsibility for the wines at  his Club “The Senior” ( United Service) in Pall Mall: the favourite of The Duke of Wellington. He built a stock of vintage port that was second to none! William and Dorothy had no children of their own but was still a family man to his wider relations and little known till after his death in 1971 spent much of his time visiting the sick in the London Hospitals.


DAILY MAIL January 2022

Dad survived the war, but was nearly done for by five days of NHS ‘care': At 97, ex-Mail City Editor Sir Patrick Sergeant  (OB 42) drank champagne every day. Then he was taken to hospital and, as his daughter describes, what he faced made him lose the will to live.

UK-author Harriet Sergeant looks at her father's experience with the NHS

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Last week, my 97-year-old father was rushed to hospital with an infection. A seven-hour wait in A&E resulted in not only a diagnosis of suspected septicaemia but also — thanks to a routine test carried out as part of the doctors’ investigations — Covid.

Despite his having barely any COVID symptoms, I had to explain to him what this meant. Isolation on an NHS Covid ward.

Strictly no visits. ‘Righty-oh,’ he said cheerfully. My father always tries to see the bright side. Then silence as the news sunk in. ‘It’s a bastard, isn’t it.’ My father never swears.

I admit I burst into tears. Some years ago, I spent nine months in five hospitals, shadowing staff and interviewing patients for a think-tank report on NHS management.

I met inspiring individuals. But I also saw indifferent nurses, hospital-acquired infection, neglected and hungry patients, waste and inferior treatment.

I feared what my father was in for. When a dear friend was dying in hospital 15 years ago, I slept three nights on the chair by his bedside, so concerned was I by the standard of nursing I had witnessed during my research.

But, of course, I could not do that on a Covid ward. I imagined my father crying out in pain and being ignored by the nurses as they had ignored my friend. It was an unbearable image.

And this time I would not be there to intervene. Communication was vital. My father has only a vague idea how his mobile works.

Even less about keeping it charged. In the brief time before he vanished into isolation in the hospital near my parents’ London home, we snatched what we both feared were final exchanges.

‘Keep smiling!’ my father urged, summing up his attitude to life. ‘Enjoy yourself and support Ga Ga,’ (my mother, aged 95, to whom he has been married for 70 years). ‘And keep your pecker up,’ he added when I started to sniff.

After a sleepless night, I called my father. His mobile whined and clicked like a bad-tempered bird waking up. I held my breath.

At least it was charged. No answer. I tried again. Suddenly my father burst on to the line, ‘Harriet!’ he boomed. ‘How good to hear a human voice,’ he added, with the desperation of a drowning man.

He could not understand the nurses and he was hungry. ‘I am looking at a bit of white toast.’ He was also missing the usual bottle of champagne he still consumes every day. ‘Even in the war you got a drink!’

My father is Sir Patrick Sergeant, former City Editor of the Daily Mail and founder of the hugely successful Euromoney magazine.

He reinvented financial journalism, determined to make it of interest to the ordinary reader, and was behind the 1966 launch of Money Mail, the Mail’s peerless financial section.

Gregarious and stylish, with a zest for life and sense of adventure, he had a huge impact on me and my younger sister, the renowned painter Emma Sergeant. He was, and is, a wonderful father.

Even at his great age, my father retains his can-do optimism, his bravery and character. That is, until he came up against the NHS.

What was to happen to him in isolation sums up the failings of our health service. It has led me to conclude that problems I identified almost two decades ago have only worsened, exacerbated by the Government’s obsession with Covid.

The lack of basic care soon became obvious. My father developed bedsores. NHS England admits pressure ulcers are a ‘mainly avoidable harm associated with healthcare delivery’.

In other words, they are caused by poor nursing and so widespread it costs the NHS more than £3.8 million daily in increased illness and late discharges.

Or as my father put it: ‘The nurses left me sitting on my bum all day. No one worried at all.’

There were other signs that my father was not getting even the basic care vital for an elderly man. He complained of being hungry.

“I’m bloody annoyed to be chained up here for another night”. 

The nurses failed to keep him clean and, when he eventually came home, he had a nasty skin rash.

After three days, a physio rang me to get ‘a benchmark’ of what my father was like before he entered hospital.

She described the man she saw in front of her: a listless fellow, slumped to one side, who failed to lift his hand when asked.

My heart sank. This was not the father I knew. For while he may not be mobile, just the previous weekend we had chatted animatedly, and he’d had no trouble raising his hand when it held a glass of champagne to toast my mother.

Imagine how I felt, knowing he was confined in such a place.

It’s all too clear to me that medics are blindly following Covid rules that demean the dignity of patients — especially the elderly.

Almost entirely alone on his Covid ward, my father rapidly deteriorated, bored and frightened, his lively joie de vivre fading until he barely had the strength to keep his head upright.

And let me be clear: such deterioration seemed more from lack of nursing than either Omicron or his original infection. It is no exaggeration to say I feared for his life.

I now firmly believe our myopic adherence to Covid ‘guidance’ is blinding us to the fundamental failings of the NHS — an inability to deliver basic patient care, as my father has sadly discovered. ‘Covid didn’t make me ill. It was the NHS,’ he says today.

It enrages me to think of the hypocrisy of a Government that saw fit to hold boozy parties at the height of the first lockdown — yet still, almost two years on, keeps vulnerable patients trapped on isolation wards with staff who are at best indifferent, at worst callous.

If Boris and his inner circle were able to ‘bring their own booze’ all those months ago, why was my father now forcibly subjected to a horrendous ordeal?

Of course, not all the nurses were uncaring. But my father’s care, as he described it himself, was ‘spasmodic’.

When one kind nurse was there, I received updates. My father was given cups of coffee, and she brought him an iPad so we could see each other, to which my father exclaimed: ‘Bless her heart!’ But in her absence nothing appeared to get done. ‘The other nurse walks past me when I call,’ my father said.

At first, I put it down to a busy Covid ward. My father snorted: ‘There’s only two of us patients here.’ Desperate to get him out, after four days, I tried to persuade the doctor to let my father come home.

My mother and their carer, had now tested positive for Covid, again virtually symptomless. If, I argued, everyone at home had coronavirus, what was the point in keeping my father in isolation?

The doctor ummed. She wanted to keep him in a few days longer for observation. But if his health failed, she promised she would make sure he died at home.

Shaken, I explained this to my father — only for the nurse to call me immediately to discuss his discharge. Did this mean he was dying? No one seemed to know and I had no way of contacting the doctor.

Death, however, was certainly not on my father’s agenda. He was overjoyed at the prospect of coming home and eating a decent meal. ‘Put the champagne on ice!’ he ordered.

The ambulance crew, needed to transport him home because of his lack of mobility, then arrived. We had been warned they were very busy and in short supply. My father’s spirits soared.

Suddenly, the nurse on duty said: ‘He’s not going home.’

‘Why not?’ demanded my father.

‘I am not ready and no one told me,’ she said, flouncing off. The ambulance men shrugged, turned around and left.

‘That was a bad moment,’ said my father later on the mobile, ‘I’m bloody annoyed to be chained up here for another night.’ His voice dropped. ‘Get me out of here,’ he begged.

The next morning, five days after he left home, ‘after a lot of faffing around with bits of paper’, the ambulance with my father in pulled up outside my parents’ house. Then disaster struck. The two-man ambulance crew suddenly realised my father was not ‘weight-bearing’.

He could not get himself up and out of the ambulance and he was too heavy to carry on a stretcher. The nurses had failed to pass on this basic information to the crew. The men called a second ambulance team to help. As my father had Covid, they had to have extra PPE.

So, again, Dad waited. My mother was too frail to go out to the ambulance, and was too confused and upset to call me.

After an emotional week, I had relaxed, believing he was now in safe hands after being discharged. Instead, my father lay alone in the ambulance. ‘It was bloody freezing. I was getting colder and colder.’

Then my father, always full of optimism and vitality, did something he has never done before, not even in wartime when he was an 18-year-old seaman on a corvette warship in the North Atlantic. He gave up. ‘I honestly thought I was going to die in that ambulance.’

After 90 minutes, the second crew arrived and carried him upstairs. A few days at home with good care and my father is now almost back to his old self.

When I visited, his carer explained she was so shocked by his condition when he returned from hospital, she had photographed his bedsores and rash in case we wanted to complain.

We decided against it. As a family, we do not have much time left together. We don’t want to spend it lost in the bureaucracy of the NHS complaints procedure.

Despite what we encountered, I do believe it is unfair to pick on the individuals responsible — the spiteful nurse, the lack of basic nursing, the incompetent discharge service or the callous ambulance men.

Set against them are the many NHS staff who work their hearts out.

No, the outstanding feature of my father’s care was its sheer randomness. In one day, often in one hour, my father experienced disorganisation and indifference side-by-side with first-class care and kindness.

‘What the ward needed was a good editor,’ said my father, as a former journalist. ‘No one appeared to be in charge. I kept asking for matron.’

But matron has long fallen out of favour in the NHS. Many nursing staff and unions are uncomfortable with the idea of an authority figure. They dismiss the old-fashioned matron as ‘sexist’.

Unfortunately, as I saw when shadowing matrons and sisters, it goes against the NHS culture to reprimand staff.

As one sister explained sadly to me then: ‘We are a caring profession who sometimes put caring for each other above caring for patients.’

I watched gobsmacked as a matron weakly admonished a nurse for a flagrant breach of infection rules, before later agonising that she had said too much. ‘I don’t like to nag.’

These incidents happened many years ago but not much appears to have changed. In the absence of authority, there is little incentive for a nurse to treat my father for bedsores except her own humanity and professionalism.

Nor is there any punishment if she forgets or does not bother. Or reward for an ambulance crew that works flat out during their shift, or consequences for those who sneak off and leave hard-pressed colleagues to pick up the slack.

As my parents’ carer had seen the week before. Without a change of culture, no amount of government money will rectify the situation or make things better for patients.

Safely back at home, my father leant back against his pillows and raised a glass of champagne. ‘It’s not a bad old life,’ he said.

But only just for my dear, old dad. My father survived septicaemia. He breezed through Covid thanks to the vaccination programme. But he was nearly done for by the NHS. Not somethin I can easily forget or forgive.  

(Ed: during my Continental travels this summer I was staying at Ch. Biac (Cadillac), home of the Asseily family; Tony used to work with Patrick Sergeant and his daughter Emma painted Youmna's stunning portrait. Another Beaumont connection was their close friendship with Ely Calil (despite his various infidelities). PS. Their Wines are highly recommended!)


David Kingsley: Cricketer

Tom Scanlan, who was in the XI from 1960 and captain in 1962, has been wondering, ‘What happened to that great big framed photograph of D.C.Kingsley?’

For many years, presumably from 1948, in the pavilion, there was a very large photographic portrait of D.C.Kingsley. In black and white, of course. There he stood, colours blazer, white trousers and boots, one hand in pocket.

It was hung in the home dressing room and hundreds of young Beaumont cricketers would have seen it.

D.C.Kingsley (David Charles Kingsley) was, perhaps, at that time, considered to be Beaumont’s greatest cricketer, notwithstanding C.E. de Trafford, who captained Leicestershire for no less than seventeen years and could be a fearsome batsman. Over the years before and after, there were others who could make a claim: one of many Beaumont de Lisles also captained Leicestershire, back in Victorian times; James Melville, perhaps, who opened the bowling for Kent in the early 60s; Adrian Naughten, who represented Ireland; David Bulfield, with his extraordinary ten wickets against The Oratory at Lord’s and who later played Minor Counties cricket; and I think that Eric Krarup played what is officially recorded as First-class cricket for Middlesex before World War 2. There may be others: fast bowler Julian Murphy was chosen to represent the Club Cricket Conference, a team  made up of the cream of club cricketers, against both the touring Australians and then the touring West Indians and took a remarkable total of ten wickets in those matches. And did his Beaumont partner Mike Hywel-Davies play Minor Counties? Paul Burden, senior, certainly did, and others whom history has forgotten.

But, with Kingsley, we are talking of his records whilst at school.

At the end of his three years (four?) in first XI out-matches (as they were called), he had created an extraordinary three records: the most runs, 2101; most wickets, 254; and (in a way, even more extraordinary) 38 catches.

In his last season, he finished with 940 runs; in all records of Public School batting, only seven players had reached 1000 runs in a season. His average in that year, 1947, was 78.33, with three centuries and a top score of 144 (out of 198). The nearest any other team batsman averaged was 15.8. His spinners took 66 wickets that year at an average of 11.95; next best 24 wickets at 17.42 (this was the late Brian Dillon, later, a Beaumont Pilgrims stalwart, whom I did ask a long time ago about Kingsley, but I don’t recall that he was able to provide much information). In that 1947 summer, Kingsley twice took eight wickets in an innings.

It might shed some light on Kingsley ad a young man that, at the end of the season, Father Rector presented the young hero with a memento…a silver cigarette case!

But what of Kingsley after Beaumont?

He’d been coached at Beaumont by D.C.F.Burton (it was all initials for amateurs in those days), a former captain of Yorkshire. Playing against him for visiting MCC or W.Bowling’s teams were such cricketing luminaries as E.W.Swanton, the cricket correspondent of the Daily Telegraph, Andy Sandham, an England Test player and another who coached at Beaumont and who had been an outstanding player for many years at Surrey. And Ronnie Aird, then assistant secretary of MCC and another former First-class cricketer..

Men such as these would no doubt have mentioned young Kingsley in the right cricketing circles. Perhaps they did, but, with respect to the county of Berkshire, a ‘minor’ county in cricketing terms, it might be possible that he was not regarded highly enough for a trial at a First-class county or, if he did actually trial, he did not impress

If so, it seems they were right.

But, before looking at his brief Berkshire career, there was his appearance in August, 1947, for the Public School against the Combined Sevices at Lord’s.

The Combined Services batted first and Kingsley got a wicket, finishing with 11 overs, 1 wicket for 32.

The Public Schools’ reply was remarkable. Their captain was no less than P.B.H.May. Peter May was soon to become an England Test captain and one of the country’s greatest batsmen. May scored 148 out of the team’s total of 239; also in the Schools order was D.S.Sheppard, later another England Test batsman (and, later still, Bishop of Liverpool), and it says something for Kingsley that he was rated good enough to bat at number 6. Sheppard and three others made only 19 runs between them and Kingsley’s 14 was at least slightly better. He improved on this with 24 in the second innings. The Schools lost.

And for Berkshire?

Sadly, again batting in the middle order, scores of 2,0,4,5,6 and finally 0 not out, were presumably the inglorious end to a dazzlingly promising career, if a career is what he had wanted; and simply incomprehensible to this historian. But he could bowl, couldn’t he? He bowled thirty overs without taking a single wicket.

David Kingsley. Was he, in the end, a sort of tragic figure?

And where is that photograph? I was in the old pavilion a few years ago. No sign of D.C.Kingsley.


PERCY CLIFFORD: Golf Champion.

If only Percy had been available for the “Hewitt” Beaumont’s record might have read differently.

Percy  was at Beaumont  1921 – 25  and was both in the Rugby XV and the Boating VIII but his real talent was at Golf.

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Percy Clifford, an established golf course architect, designed more than 40 courses during his career in Mexico. Clifford was the first Mexican citizen to be elected an ASGCA member. His design work throughout his career received international acclaim and will have a lasting impact on the game of golf in Mexico.

Before he began designing golf courses, Clifford grew up playing the game he loved the most. Clifford was considered an outstanding amateur golfer, winning six Mexican Amateurs and three Mexican Open titles. He also represented Mexico several times in The Americas Cup competition. His talent for the game of golf was passed down to his daughter, Sandra Fullmer, who is a former Women’s Amateur Champion in the nations of Mexico, Spain, and Germany.

After building an established amateur golf resume, Clifford took his talents to the professional level. As a professional, he was known for his gift of communication when teaching the game. He would also represent the nation of Mexico in two World Cups. He would eventually regain his amateur status before starting his architectural career.

Clifford was born and spent most of his life in Mexico City. Having been a golfer and having a desire to get into the golf architecture business, his first opportunity came in the late 1940’s when he was responsible for planning Club de Golf Mexico. For this project, Clifford envisioned a topflight golf course, and did much of the organizing, planning, and reviewing the golf course. After completing the project, Clifford felt confident in handling the design work on his own.

By 1980, Clifford was responsible for nearly half of the courses in his home land. Most of his courses were done on relatively modest budgets, for throughout his career Percy deplored the extravagance in both construction and maintenance of North American courses.

Percy Clifford was elected into ASGCA in 1968 and received Fellow status in 1977. During his time with ASGCA, he was heavily involved, which included arranging the 24th Annual Meeting at Pierre-Marques Hotel in Acapulco, Mexico. Clifford was a member of ASGCA until 1984, when he died at the age of 77.

As mentioned his daughter  was also a talented player:-

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One of the great amateur women golfers of our time, Sandra Fullmer is a champion in golf and in life. Sandra began playing golf at age 16 under the instruction of her father, Percy Clifford, Mexico's most famous golfer. A year later, she left home in Mexico City to play in her first USGA Junior Girls championship. Golf has taken Sandra all over the world, and she's brought home an impressive resume of championships. In addition to four Mexican Amateur titles between 1955 and 1960, she captured the Spanish and German amateur titles in 1959. In 1960, Sandra moved to Chicago and the championships continued. Included were Chicago Women's District Championship in 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1968, three Northern Illinois Women's Golf Association titles, five Illinois State Senior championships in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992 and 1993; and the 1991 National Club Championship for Women. Sandra is the current president of the Women's Western Golf Association.

Terror on London’s West End stage

John Joss (50)

Many thanks for the latest edition of your Labour of Love. I (like most other readers, I presume) scan for mention of contemporaries, and Simon Nurick stood out in your latest. I recall his mother sending tasty cake, which he shared. I can see it in my mind's eye, as I write.

Here, we're suffering a metaphor for the Great Wind that attacked the UK some years ago. Many trees down, wide flooding vs. a terrible, enduring drought, and frequent power outages that destroy refrigerated food. Sigh.


The theatre elements were intriguing. Did I ever send you my account of portraying the English colonel in the revival at The Fortune (charming little 600-seat West End house)  of Ustinov's great play "The Love of Four Colonels?" It was terrific fun. My pal David Evans (not Beaumont b/g) directed, and his wife portrayed Beauty, alluringly. I can send the account, if you wish, if I didn't send it earlier. David

urged me to press my seduction of Beauty more aggressively but I was shy (still am). My reticence vs. his kink? I'll never know. Re the choir pictures, it was good to see Mr. Clayton in the foreground. He used to play his favourite pieces after

services in the chapel and I would sneak in to listen-- what a wonderful musical talent! That organ!!!


Re William F. Buckley (I think we overlapped at St. John's but I may be mistaken), I wrote to him once and he responded immediately with a most kind and gracious letter. I don't share his political viewpoint but his manners, at least to me, were

impeccable. Those days are gone, now--answering is for the little people, apparently.

First Night 1955.

The insatiable Beast is out there: the audience. I can detect its murmurings through the curtain’s heavy velvet, whose sackcloth lining faces the two of us as we sit, waiting for the director’s curtain-up signal from the wings.

The expectant theatregoers have bought tickets; they will not brook disappointment. If we perform acceptably they will give us their approval and applause. To earn it, they demand all our skill and imagination, our very juices. We have been rehearsing for weeks—a revival of Peter Ustinov’s The Love of Four Colonels. The real test lies ahead. First night. It’s the Big Time, or more precisely Testing Time, for me and all the cast, at the exquisite little 600-seat Fortune Theatre, off The Strand in London’s West End. As the English Colonel, I must utter the first line.

Audition against a score of other aspirants, hope that I can get it right and project it credibly: look, voice, body language, style, character. Then: memorize the lines until word perfect, work like the devil for little pay. Confirm blocking and timing in concert with the other characters, nailing it every time. We are a team, a family, each of us relying on the others.

The lead female, a metaphorical Sleeping Beauty who can be awakened only by a kiss, is the director David Evans’s wife. I am required, in rehearsal and in performance, to attempt to seduce her. This is something I am not good at, in life. She is lovely and clever, a provocative combination; it is not difficult to portray the attentive suitor. My off-stage mind wonders whether the director might be jealous, yet he keeps egging me on. My reticence? His kink?

 In Ustinov’s adult fairy tale, four colonels in post-WWII Berlin—the city’s four sectors controlled by the Americans, French, Russians and English—are conveyed to a magic castle. There they discover Sleeping Beauty. Each, in the character or more correctly caricature of his national traits,  sees  her  as  his  ideal woman: the  Frenchman  as  a  girl  from  the streets, the Russian as a Chekovian or Nabokovian innocent, the Englishman as a virginal Elizabethan fair maid, the American as a gangster’s moll. Each tries to awaken and claim her. All fail. Ustinov flexed his corrosive, sardonic wit in the original, 1951 London staging at the Wyndham’s; his lines are exquisite. The director’s wife handles her multiple roles effectively. I like her gangster’s moll best. Nasty.

The Elizabethan transformation in mid play is amusing. I must exit stage left as the colonel and return seconds later as some sort of genetically-modified Hamlet. We have planned and practiced this carefully and execute it with élan. I step off stage into the wings, arms outstretched, greeted by the wardrobe mistress and the makeup artist. I literally walk into the Elizabethan costume over my army uniform as the makeup girl applies a moustache and beard, bearing the essential glue, to my upper lip and chin. The wardrobe mistress closes the rear opening. I press the beard and moustache firmly in place, turn round and five seconds later stride on as a vigorous Hamlet, or maybe a senile Polonius. This should titillate the groundlings out there, eh.

Except that I must utter the first words of the play, right after curtain-up. The director has called for a timing experiment that I must perform. It will be a miracle if I can pull it off for thirty straight nights or longer. I must obey the director. I am, frankly, terrified.

The curtain rises. I do not speak. I . . . I just sit there on the sofa, looking out blankly at the dark house in front of me, not moving a muscle, the glimmering moons of front-row faces just detectable through the footlights’ glare. I am required to taunt the Beast, to the point of rage. I remain silent. I sense that the unruly Beast is becoming impatient. I lift my head a fraction and open my mouth to speak, then close it. The prompter in his tiny box ahead of me cannot help. The next silence is tangible: the Beast is now aroused. I glance at the American Colonel, eyebrows raised, then away, and lower my chin as if confused or defeated. Softly, softly.

Now the insatiable Beast is ready to attack. The tension is almost unendurable, a cloud of angst and anger that crosses the footlights like a force field. The Beast wants to know what is happening and why we haven’t got the show on the road. Was that glance my character’s or my own uncertainty? Why the delay, the . . . the nothingness, they wonder? Who should speak? Has one or the other actor forgotten his lines? Will some other character make a dramatic entrance? What the bloody hell are we waiting for? The Beast will soon be out for blood. Ours.

    Wait, wait, wait . . . an instant longer . . . now!

I utter the opening line a fraction of a second before the string breaks. I can feel the Beast again: placated briefly, always poised to kill. The sensation of playful control is beyond description.

Acting. Joy. I wish I could go back into the Green Room at the Fortune, to see where I carved my initials, just one set, of hundreds.


In a roundabout way I heard that a Beaumont Medal came up for auction at the end of March. Stephen Garrard came across it while searching for fishing tackle !  He passed it to his brother Chris then to Simon Potter to John Flood and finely to Me.

Of some antiquity and probably awarded for academic achievement, it must be from the early years of the school judging by the extended motto “ Non ad Caduca Sed ad Aeterna”.

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I don’t know how many of you have seen the film “Victoria and Abdul” starring Judy Dench ( marvellous performance). The story based on truth concerns one of her Indian Servants who became her confidante, was decorated  but later ostracised by the King and Court after her death.

Abdul was sent from India to join the Royal Household for the Golden Jubilee and was under the tutelage of Major General Sir Thomas Dennehy who held the appointment of Groom in Waiting. Dennehy, an Irishman from Co. Cork had a daughter Elizabeth who was a God child of Queen Victoria: (The Queen was particularly fond of Dennehy). Elisabeth was to marry Edward Hallinan the father of Thomas Dennehy Hallinan (12)  who I have previously mentioned on the subject of Racing and also with Irish Shipping in the previous pages.  Thomas’s younger brothers went to Downside and Eric was knighted and a Colonial Chief Justice: his daughter has a portrait of Abdul, painted at the same time as the painting of “The Munshi” that hangs at Osborne House. 


The Js in Zimbabwe

John Wolff sent me a copy of the book  A Misson Divided” which tells the story of the Jesuit Mission to Rhodesia / Zimbabwe: it makes interesting reading.


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From the reviews I gleaned:-

The Js shared the same ignorance of Africa as their European contemporaries concerning disease, geography, culture, religion and the political rivalries of the people among whom they came. They also shared a narrow frame of reference towards the continent and the failure of imagination that went with it. Further, as people of their time, they saw - and were seen by - other denominations as rivals, and far from co-operating, the churches indulged in an unseemly competition. And yet these men were, in their own way, heroic and faced the difficulties eagerly, even joyfully.

They  never managed to decide on a coherent policy vis-a-vis the white government until it was too late. They were divided; the majority of Jesuits worked with blacks but there was a sizeable number who worked exclusively with whites. So, while we can document the enormous and fruitful work that was done over the decades after 1890, we have to acknowledge the failure to give a united witness in confronting the nakedly racialist policies of the state. If we had been able to do this in the 1920s and '30s we might have contributed to the evolution of a more harmonious society and avoided the terrible bloodshed of subsequent years.

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Two men who came out of the story particularly well were Archbishop Aston Chichester – probably Beaumont’s most loved Rector  and “Brogie” Fr Brogan who made a stance, as Rector of St George’s , against Ian Smith’s segregation policy.

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Another OB at St George’s -  Fr Hugh Ross (37) younger brother of Fr Michael (34) seen here on a camping expedition.

The latest “POTTER”


Simon writes:-  

Some of you may know that I have directed and produced plays and musicals at the Jesuit Wimbledon College for 50 years (1972-2022). Of these, 38 have been a breeze, but 28 haven't! I gave a talk in Wimbledon a couple of years ago called "Disasters in Luvviedom" and this has led to my latest book "NOT ALL RIGHT ON THE NIGHT!" about the frightful near-averted and not averted horrors of some of these shows. ("Education" review has called it 'hilarious'.)

    It is now available on-line from Witley Press Bookshop and Amazon (£6.99 book, £2.99 Kindle). All proceeds go to that splendid charity Book Aid International.


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I note that Little Malvern Court, Worcestershire is for sale. Described as having the most beautiful gardens in the Midlands it has been the home of the Berington family since the dissolution of the Monasteries. The Berrington family purchased the monastic buildings and had the manor house of Little Malvern Court created from the remains of the Prior's Hall and the cloisters. The monastic grounds became the gardens for the new Court. The Hall hosts a collection of religious vestments and relics, embroideries and paintings.

Ten acres of former monastic grounds surround the Court with a Rose Garden, terraces and garden rooms, reaching down to the lakes, which had been ancient fish ponds excavated by the monks. Spring bulbs, blossom, old fashioned roses and the topiary yew hedge bordering the garden are highlights. Much of this was laid out by William (90), Squire of Little Malvern and a JP and DL for the County. He served in both the Boer War and WW1 with the Worcestershire Regiment until invalided out. He died in 1940. His brother Charles (93) ( on whom I have written previously) was also in the same Regiment and was then involved with The Black & Tans in Ireland.


60 Years ago from the REVIEW.

Ex Cathedra.

Fr Bamber ( Ruds B, Bursar, Rugby and one of the School’s great characters) left for the Orkney Isles, Fr Lynch ( Grammar 111, Rugby, Rowing, Basket Ball)  to Stonyhurst , Fr Lawn ( Stage, Carpentry, CCF), Fr Bex ( Ruds C, Music, Junior Colts) to Rhodesia.

Arrivals: Mr Fallon, (Oxford Rugby Blue), Mr Humphries ( Biology, Physical Education).Fr Turner returning after 20 years.  Fr Smalley (having been “under the knife”)

More Books arrived donated by Mrs Malcolm Hay of Seaton ( part of her late  husband’ s Library)

Included in The Review was an article on Henry Emlyn suggested by David Drummond (27) – Solicitor and ex Irish Guards on Henry Emlyn  architect of The White House.

Speech day.

16 the June Highlights included the Choir singing two Folk songs ( One was “No John, No” made famous by Conchita Supervia – the Spanish Mezzo and mother and grandmother of OBs). Three speeches on “The other Culture” (science) by Haddon, Kelly and Robinow.

Patrick Solomon played Etude by Chopin accompanied by sparrows that had taken up residence in the Ambulacrum ( note for Fr Minister to arrange for a sparrow hawk).

This was followed by a short French Play:  ( Mainly French actors but Philip Stevens in the starring role as “The Cure de Cugugnan” . Finally, a Chamber Orchestral piece  played by what was described as a “Shepherd’s pie”   group.



Mr Clayton was ill for most of the term and Jonathan  Martin took over and managed admirably. A Solemn Requiem was sung for Pope  John XXIII  and a Te Deum for Pope Paul.

Choir Good day was spent at The Royal Tournament  ( tenors and basses had a more dignified outing at a later date).


The General Inspection was carried out by Brigadier Hodgkinson commander 33 Artillery Brigade. In his address he said “he liked what he saw of our leaders and ourselves”. He made the point nationally that there was nothing wrong with the leadership of the Country and is that we as a Nation  are becoming increasingly difficult to lead: recalcitrant, unappreciative and constantly grumbling”.

Camp was held at Yoxter, home of The Somerset light infantry : daily routine started with Reveille at 6 am, a run to the Butts Pt, Cold shower and Breakfast . 9am Colonel’s Inspection  of men, rooms ( blanket squares) and equipment.  Days were spent firing our .303 rifles and Bren guns on the ranges, marches and exercises. The Highlight being an Escape and Evasion, Cadets chose their own routes and rations were dropped off near Cheddar and made their way across Somerset ( all eventually made it to Camp despite the pursuit of the Corps Officers) . A visit to Weston – Super – Mare and the Bath Tattoo and some riotous evenings completed the fun.

Corps of Drums.

Summer being the “Full dress” term the band paraded on Speech Day, for HCPT and St John’s. The annual Inspection  and we recorded “Excellent” : though the Welsh Guards Captain did remark  that “ These buff belts are very difficult  to get really clean”.

Senior Scout Camp

Derrynane, Co. Kerry.

On the recommendation of the Stoyhurst Seniors who had been there a couple of years previously. It was also the home of the “Liberator” Daniel O’Connell though near to dereliction. The Weather ( what do you expect) some glorious days  ideal for sea bathing followed by torrential rain ( plenty of Irish moisture to bring home). Plenty to explore and trek – the Ring of Kerry, the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and climbing Carntual, the Killarney lakes and a fishing trawler  outing to Skellig some 12 miles off the coast. We also enjoyed Festival week at Cahirdaniel and so much more. Group Leader Fr Brogan, Assistant Mr Newberry, QM Mr Hughes, Chaplain Fr Kelly (OB).

Troop Camp.


Unlike the Seniors we had Glorious weather.  As on a previous visit the Troop discovered that to set up Camp in the first place required a major clearance of vegetation before tents could be pitched and Patrol areas prepared. Time spent stalking, pioneering and cooking , night patrols  on Exmoor. Sea swimming and camp fires: it was considered one of the happiest camps ever.

The Chief Scout has awarded the Medal of Merit to Fr Dumphy and the Bar to Fr Ezechiel.

Debating Society.

The Prize debate _”Education of the masses leads to disaster” Judges Fr Dooley, Fr McCluskey and Mr Merrell.  Won by the Deputy Prime Minister ( unnamed).

AOB  Christopher Kelly  has been elected National Chairman of The Schools Debating Association. ( congratulations and admiration).

Music Society

Little activity except for the weekly Tuesday Concerts: a Special thank you to Mr Allen for arranging these at Ouseley Lodge.



The record was slightly better than the last couple of seasons was still disappointing . Not only in the manner of matches lost but even more so in the manner of losing. Players with stoke-play ability  surrendered wickets repeatedly through ineptitude. The exception was the Captain  - Crompton who only on three occasions scored less than 20 . Despite the results of 3 won, 8 lost and 2 drawn  there was great team spirit. Yet again it must be recorded that we lost the Oratory match at Lords  ( Peirce of the Oratory scored 121, one rune more than the Beaumont total). The Colts beat the Oratory by 8 wickey=ts which at least bodes well for the future,

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Not a bad season considering  it was a complete new 1st VIII bar the Cox and Captain. We almost won the Eton race  being a length up into the final bend but in Eton’s favour went down by ½ length.  At Walton we beat Quintin but then lost to “Teddies”  and did so again a week later at Reading.

Henley and we recorded a victory over Abingdon  in the second fastest school time of the day  but let nerves win against Winchester and rowed disappointingly.

Encouragingly the Colts not only beat St Pauls  by 4 lengths but went on to win the Under 16 school’s IV ‘s at Pangbourne.


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B U.

Congratulations to Derek Clark (47) on his ordination

                                   Charles Russell (26) Hon Fellowship at Oriel.

                                   George Gilbert (33) promotion to Brigadier.

                                   Freddie Wolff (29) Board of The Metal Exchange.

                                   Basil Eugster  (33) to Major General and command the 4th Division.

                                   Colin Shand (32)  to Director Naval War College, Greenwich.

The Hon Secretary complained of the difficulty in recognising OBs in the press  owing to use of  a different Christin name or omission of one  and a paucity of details makes identification difficult: (ED – still the same problem).

Georges Pastre (10) from France  sent a generous donation to the Centenary Fund.  (ED: Georges died in 1972 but is remembered in the Prix Georges Pastre, one of the most important races in the calendar  at Pau.)

Michael de Wolff (62) has fully recovered from his illness on route to Australia ( The  Sydney Press recorded ( English boy’s miraculous recovery).

Fenao de Castel Branco (11) wrote to correct an error that his family did’nt present the six massive brass candlesticks in the Chapel but the two sanctuary lamps.

The Press wrote of “The Man behind Macmillan” -  Philip de Zulueta (42) : brilliant young man from the Foreign Office  who advised Eden and is now handling the Prime Minister’s work . He speaks Russian and flawless French.

The Duke of Edinburgh stayed with Frederick Krarup  (20) while visiting Peru and enjoyed riding the pacing horse. Gerard de Lisle (58) was also staying at the same time.

Freiherr Ernst von Roretz (41) wrote from Tanganyika  where he is coffee farming  - he had been over to this country and showed his six children around Beaumont. ( He was the post War CO of the Corps). Another OB Derrick O’Brien(34) left the Army after the War – didn’t enjoy peace time soldiering and now battles with crocs and hippos in the Zambesi catchment area on water conservation. Others in Africa are Alexander Hunter QC (31) President of the Kenyan law Society , Gerald Burleigh (31)  farming in the same Country and Arnold Grogan (32)  banking in South Africa and Charles Wallis (41) in Northern Rhodesia.


Sons;   Christopher Cotterell, Major Henry Kingham, Lt Col. James Creagh, Ivan Hooper.

Daughters: Ltr. Cdr. Orme, Col. Crouch, Nicholas Burgess, Edmund Smith, Anthony Russell, Derek Young, C. J Roberts, Peter Bulfield, Peter Flaherty, Anthony Edwards, Michael McDowell, Philip Collinwood, Dominic Hunt, John Rait, Sir Richard Barrow Bt, Bernard McNamee, Christopher Wheeler, Major Barry Dempsey.


Joseph Ashton, Anthony O’Connor, David Gubbins, Martin Wells.


Marc Allez, Sir Jeremy Mostyn Bt, Pierre Gilles, Andrew Clasen, Howard Lyle, Christopher Noble, Paul Bedford, Count Jean-Patrick de Leusse.


Brigadier Philip Myburgh.

In Kenya. To Woolwich, Commissioned RA . At 19 WW1,  wounded four times,  MID twice , MC, Croix de Guerre and the DSO.  WW2 Brigadier, Far East and Burma. MID and Bar to DSO and CBE.  Retired to East Africa. ( unfortunate marriage – wife ran off with Patrick Lord Derwent.

Fr William Ross SJ

Son of Colonel Ross  of the Bombay Staff Corps. Youngest of three brothers at Beaumont. Entered SJ. Taught for over 30 years at Beaumont. Tolerant almost indolent “ Now look here Boys, - this is the most awful rot,  but we have to do it, so just learn  the first twenty lines by heart and I will hear it in half an hour”. His results were fantastically good despite his unorthodox methods. A fine rich voice, an impeccable French accent  and a talented actor. During the War he did parish work at Boscombe  before retiring to Beaumont. He died peacefully aged 92 in his room beside the Infirmary Chapel: cheerful to the end. 

Ambrose Paul March Phillipps de Lisle .

One of four de Lisle boys at Beaumont leaving in 1911. He was to have a life of adventure beginning with WW1 serving with the Grenadier Guards and was twice wounded. He was then an unofficial envoy to the Baltic States helping to rescue the gold reserves form the Soviets. Between the Wars he was involved in banking and trust interests as well as estate management in France. He married Christiane daughter of the Baron de Conchy just before the outbreak of hostilities.  He remained in France when the Country was overrun as Mayor of his local town  having to deal with the Germans while involved with the Underground network.  He was eventually arrested by the Gestapo  and placed in solitary.  Eventually, he ended up in a prison camp near Paris  where his resistance work continued. He returned to England with his family in 1955 as Squire of Garendon and Gracedieu  as owner of the family Leicestershire estates. His funeral was at Mount St Bernard Abbey. The father of Gerard who succeeded him, Bertie, Hubert and Edwin.

Henry Vincent Eyre

He was one of five brothers at the school leaving just before WW1. He was commissioned in The Buffs and was wounded serving in France. After the War he worked for the Peruvian Corporation where the family had interests. He eventually retired to Devon and grew roses as a pastime. He was unmarried.

Sir William Codrington Bt:

Son of Sir William (84).Left in 1917 for the Navy . Then farming in N. Rhodesia. WW2 Lt. Cdr. RNVR.

Alfred Reginald  Kirby

Son of Colonel Kirby ( Bounder, Cad, Fraudster and embezzler). Left for the Army in 1918. Married Rosemary FitzHerbert Wright. A socialite with no money.

Archibald Reginald Primrose.

Son of  Rt. Hon Sir Henry Primrose ( Private Secretary to Gladstone, Chairman Inland Revenue. Capt Scottish Football). Archibald was also a  half -brother of Lord Denman Governor General of Australia and a nephew of The Prime Minister The Earl of Roseberry.

Left Beaumont 1906 for Balliol to read Law. Qualified 1912. Joined Scots Guards and retired as Lt- Colonel.

Simon  Graham de Burgh . Left Beaumont in ’42, yonger brother of Michael (41) . He worked in Holywood for a time but died of pneumonia in London.

Grahame Stuard Wallace. (67) elder brother of Malcolm. He suffered from physical disabilities  which only became truly apparent following his sudden death.

                                          St John’s

Celebrated its 75th Anniversary. On  Speech /Sports Day 25 June. Mass wasa celebrated by Fr Rector assisted by two OBs Fr Sass and Fr Incledon. The Preacher was Mons Alfred Gilbey OB. The Prizes were presented by Mrs de L’Hopital daughter of the architect John Bentley ( she was also present at the opening in 1888 and had given the prizes at the Golden Jubilee in 1938) .

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Chapter 12 - Que Soy l’Immaculada Conception

Basque, ‘I am the Immaculate Conception’, the words usually written around the halo on statues of the Virgin as she appeared to St Bernadette in Lourdes.

Without addressing the question of whether miracles happen, or whether the Virgin and saints do actually appear to us mortals, and influence events on earth, I have to say that Lourdes is an astonishing place. Easter 1962 saw me in my first year of sixth form, studying for the A-levels that nobody expected me to pass. One of the Jesuits at Beaumont was seeking eight or ten boys of that year to volunteer to travel to Lourdes during this break, to help a new charity the Handicapped Children’s Pilgrimage Trust, look after a number of children being taken on holiday there. My father, CP, had been to Lourdes several times as a student, and one of his old school friends, Freddie Wolff, was also involved in this new venture, bringing together the children, the money to pay for their holiday and the helpers to look after them. CP therefore volunteered my services.


Beaumont College pilgrimage to Lourdes, 1930. Day trip to Gavarnie. CP Stevens is 2nd row, nearest camera, in beret. I have been to Lourdes with children of at least two others in this picture

So it was that I found myself at Westminster Cathedral one evening during the Easter holidays, physically attending High Mass but actually wholly engrossed in discovering the group of children who were to coming with us in the group of which I was to be the newest helper. This was a very mixed bunch. Most of the children were pupils at Chailey Heritage, then and now one of the world’s leading schools for children with complex physical disabilities. A few of their care staff were there to help, but the majority of the help was untrained and had little idea of what to expect. After High Mass we walked over, in the dark, to Victoria Station and the Chatham Tea Rooms for high tea. I was about to discover the frustration and fulfilment of caring for a teenaged person who totally depended on others for every single aspect of life, feeding, hygiene, mobility and every task that I had taken for granted. We were embarking on a journey of a lifetime. Train to Dover, arriving at 9 p.m., ferry to Calais arriving at midnight, and loading into one 16-coach train, leaving at 1.30 in the morning. We travelled for the next 17 hours across France, and finally arrived in Lourdes, in the dark again, after 24 hours of non-stop travel. The children were stoical and more inclined to be excited than bored. The adults grew progressively more tired and fractious. At intervals during the journey we would suspend our excitement or boredom to recite another decade of the rosary, led by a disembodied voice coming from a public address system more commonly used to remind passengers to have their tickets ready for inspection.

Our week in Lourdes was backbreaking labour. We worked for the children under our care, and what little free time we had was spent in the service of the Hospitalité, the organisation that runs the pilgrimage activities that are the reason for our being there at all. We helped in the Baths, marshalled processions, and on one well-remembered occasion I spent the pre-dawn hours at the Sept Douleurs Hospital on my hands and knees with a scrubbing brush in the lavatory blocks. We also assisted in the hard physical slog of helping pilgrims make their way round the Stations of the Cross, a true penitential service involving fingers trapped in moving parts of wheel-chairs and climbing a rough, steep path to stop and pray before each of the fourteen tableaux that make up the story of Christ’s last journey and death.

The baths at Lourdes

The baths in Lourdes were a central part of the pilgrimage experience. Large stone tanks were filled each morning and lunchtime with water taken straight from the snow-


melt water of the mountain spring uncovered by St Bernadette during one of the apparitions that made Lourdes a place of special importance to Catholics. Throughout the morning there was a constant queue of pilgrims waiting their turn to wrap in a freezing cold and wet cloth, mumble a prayer and immerse themselves totally for one brief heart-stopping moment. It was a matter of ‘faith’, in a place where disability and disease were everywhere, to immerse oneself in a bath of freezing water that had already immersed dozens of others. Working in the baths was always a fulfilling time, helping pilgrims make this ritual a fulfilling moment of religious dedication.

And all the time it rained. That was not to stop any part of the programme, and we went on coach trips, rode horses at Gavarnie in the high Pyrenees and rode the cable car to the top of the local small mountain. In between all that activity we managed to ensure that the good Catholic girls from St Mary’s, Ascot were not left unescorted. One, in particular, became a long-distance correspondent for a year afterwards. We met up a few times, and the attraction, on my side, even survived her knitting me the most enormous sweater, knitted with the heaviest-gauge wool on needles that would have served as fencing posts. I never really found weather cold enough to justify wearing it; to have worn it in normal winter weather would have led to heat-stroke.

The return journey was almost a mirror image of the start, with the exception that everyone was exhausted, emotional and too wound up to sleep. The young student helpers had earnest discussions with each other, and in a tangle of teenage hormones, and in the exhilaration of the experience and the religious moment of it all many of us felt sure that we were in love. I had no sleep whatsoever as we journeyed through the day and early night to Calais, or on the ferry that we had caught at 3 a.m., or during the train journey that finally dropped us at Victoria again at about 9 a.m. I was certainly not alone in this; one of the girl helpers told me later that she fell asleep on the Metropolitan Line home, passed through her home station, woke at Amersham, fell asleep on the journey back and woke again at Aldgate. She finally managed to wake in time to get off at Northwood on her third visit to the station. I slept the clock round.

Freddie Wolff was the impresario of this mixture of high-octane holiday, religious pilgrimage, Catholic introductions bureau and community service. He had been a sports star at Beaumont, was an Olympic gold medalist track athlete. In this memoir, we first met him an ever-present guest and sweet-thrower at the annual St John’s Shrove Tuesday Mission Fair. My mother disapproved of Freddie and my father’s other old school friends; they had an undesirable tendency to ‘chunky’, a verb describing the gathering of old school friends who, she thought, exchanged dirty jokes, each from his own circle of professional associates. ‘Chunky’ Bohane, a school-friend of CP and Freddie, was widely considered to be the convener of these groups, and thus had his name taken for the practice.

I had missed Freddie’s team photograph in Lourdes, and had been asleep or hung- over too often to be a useful helper in his group, but despite these failings he passed on a good word to his son John, starting his own group of helpers the following year, and John invited me to go with him. The story was much the same. We stayed in a different hotel, the girls from St Mary’s, Ascot were a different group, and the weather was different too; it only rained half the time. However, the labour was the same and the emotional upheaval was certainly not dissimilar.

I had certainly enjoyed the two experiences; for most of us they had been the first time we had met face to face the practicality of being responsible for another person who depended as a matter of life and death on the help given by other people. I knew about such things in a theoretical way: my father was Director of The Spastics Society, and as a result his children had been aware of handicap from an early age. We could handle words like ataxic and athetoid, and we had enjoyed the summer nine-day wonder when my five sisters were skillfully used in a publicity coup intended to encourage parents to let their daughters catch German measles when they are young. A link between mothers having German measles whilst pregnant and their children having cerebral palsy had been established, and as cerebral palsy was the stock in trade of The Spastics Society it was an inspired piece of publicity to invite the Press to a birthday party at which my sisters would entertain a local family suffering from German measles. Pictures of father and five daughters, with local family covered in measles spots, were published throughout the national papers and extensively abroad. The campaign could be said to have been a success, the link between German measles and cerebral palsy had been made in the public mind. The campaign to ensure that my sisters would all catch German measles was less successful; none caught it, although my father succumbed to shingles, a painful and related illness. However, Lourdes was very different; spending a week with young teenagers, almost of our own age, undertaking the hard physical and emotional strain of providing for their every need.

I had no opportunity to go to Lourdes again with this small and enthusiastic group for several years. The Army, trying to build a career and other distractions all took priority. In the early years of our marriage, Nicky’s father had become friends with a local family who had become involved in this same annual pilgrimage, which had by now become a fairly large and established annual event. They needed some medical assistance and asked Michael whether he would go as one of their doctors. He in turn wanted a nurse he could work with, and asked Nicky to go with him. So they went together on what was to be an annual pilgrimage for Nicky, her father and me, with one or more of our own children, for the next twenty years. HCPT grown a long way since it early days, and was now taking about one thousand children to Lourdes each Easter, instead of the three or four dozen of my own early trips.

The secret of success was a cell structure. The pilgrimage was divided into groups, and each group was a self-contained group of adult carers, teenaged helpers and a number, usually about ten, of children with varying types and degrees of handicap. Each group stayed in its own hotel, and effectively conducted its own pilgrimage, all the groups coming together for the daily events, The Blessing of The Sick, Rosary Procession and so on that are the core of pilgrimage to Lourdes.

After Nicky and I had been a couple of times together we found ourselves agreeing to take on running our own group. We had committed to finding about a dozen people who would give up their Easter each year, and pay their own way to enjoy a week of gruelling labour and emotional and spiritual fulfilment. We had to find a priest to come with our group as its chaplain, to lead the spiritual side of our pilgrimage. The greater task was to select ten or so children to come with us. We had to balance our ability to deliver the correct level of care and safety for each of those children, matching their needs against what resources we had available. The final and hardest task was to raise the money to pay for the children to be taken without expense to their families; it was considered that such families make enough sacrifice for their children anyway.

Somehow, for many years we managed this juggling act. In some years the student exam season prevented students or teachers from taking their usual places in the team, and in most years we were desperate for money. Raising about £500 to take one child to Lourdes, and multiplying that sum by ten for all the children in the group, and then starting all over again for the next year, strained our fund-raising resources. Our saviour, and he saved us on condition of strict anonymity, undertook to write a cheque for us each year before we set off, covering any shortfall that our fund-raising had left us unable to meet. He disliked religion in that organised form, and was in no sense a believer in miracles or the other aspects of Lourdes, about which I found him rather better-informed than many regular pilgrims. However, he understood our commitment to what we were doing and concluded that it meant so much to us that there must be some point to it, even if he could not see it. I have often wished I could have thanked him more publicly, but he was pleased enough to be told each year on our return from Lourdes that we had prayed for him as our benefactor, and that each child for whom he had paid the costs of the trip had lighted a candle in front of the grotto as a token of their thanks for his kindness. For this and other reasons, this man is also another in my personal hall of fame.

In our first year as leader and group nurse respectively of Group3 of HCPT, Nicky and I were introduced to a nurse from Chailey Heritage, whose links with the trust remained as strong as in the very first year of the pilgrimage. Hilary wanted to bring to Lourdes a remarkable boy of about eleven or twelve. He would need extraordinary levels of care, which had to be delivered in very precise routines. Hilary would come too, to supervise this care process. And so, Andrew Cooper came into my life. I had never heard of Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome, which affects two or three children born in the UK each year. Like even the great majority of medical professionals, I had no experience of looking after a boy suffering from this exceptionally rare disorder. Andrew was in every respect remarkable. The syndrome is painful and frightening for the sufferer, and frightening for any observer if the child is freed to self-mutilate himself, an involuntary action that will take place if the carer is not in control of the child’s instinctive behaviour at all times. We found we were caring for a funny child, the centre of any party, always aware of the needs of others around him and never failing to say his thanks for any help given to him. Hilary stayed in the background, always alert to Andrew’s needs, but trying also to involve the whole group in looking after him, especially in the visits to the coffee shops that play a large part in the social life of any group in Lourdes. His remarkable smile ensured that as soon as he appeared in his out-sized custom-built wheel-chair waiters would spring forward, clearing tables and chairs to position Andrew right where he could see everyone and be seen. I took him to the baths, that institution of immersion in a pool of freezing cold mountain spring water taken from the stream uncovered by Bernadette during one of the apparitions of the Virgin. I was not proud that whilst Andrew went through this penitential moment with prayerful courage, I only did the same for fear of his thinking I might let him down.

As we moved around Lourdes during that week, we met other children from Chailey Heritage. Their faces would light up; they were all, always, pleased to see Andrew, and he was always equally pleased to see them. We noticed that the girls in particular were especially pleased to see him; he was a budding a ladies’ man!

The following year, as Nicky and I were getting our group together, we received a phone call from Hilary. She wanted Andrew to go to Lourdes again, but would not be able to travel herself. Would we feel able to take on the responsibility for looking after him for a week without her? We discussed his medical regime. Nicky was certainly competent to handle that. We thought about Andrew’s complex care regime that was necessary for his own peace of mind, and we were careful in our assessment of the impact that his presence would have on the other children in the group. We knew from the previous year that he was a child not shy of centre-stage. In the event we decided to accept the chance to take him with us. I would make myself responsible in particular, and other people in the group would also be involved. Andrew’s progressive syndrome had indeed progressed during the year, but we felt we could manage. We would have to be wholly attentive, his speech was declining, and he would be difficult to understand if he became frustrated or over-excited.

In this way we began a journey that was one of my life’s great fulfilling achievements. We went, as usual, by train from Victoria Station, by ferry to Boulogne, and then in two enormously long couchette trains down to Lourdes. We could not fit Andrew’s chair into the compartment, and so for the day and night of the journey we took in turns to hold him or support him on a make-shift throne of pillows and blankets. In Lourdes, as during the year before, we undertook the rituals of pilgrimage. We visited the Stations of The Cross, as usual, and carried Andrew’s chair like a papal throne for the whole steep journey. We renewed acquaintance with the waiters in our preferred bar, Le Cintra, who performed their daily miracle of always managing to fit just one more wheel-chair into an already over-crowded space.

We went to all the processions and religious occasions: during one of these we met one of his girl-friends from Chailey Heritage. She had a speech impairment at the best of times, and this certainly was not a best time. Her helpers were very aware that something was wrong, but unable to interpret her needs as her speech deteriorated in her distress. Andrew indicated that he wanted his chair placed where he and she could see each other, and once that was done they just looked at each other. We watchers saw no sign or movement that would indicate conversation, but after a few moments Andrew was able to explain exactly what was wrong, and what her helpers needed to do to rectify the situation. Her relieved expression was confirmation enough that he had read the situation right.

The self-mutilation impulse was now persistent and frightening for Andrew. Being aware that any loss of physical restraint would lead immediately to self-harm, he supervised our attention as to how we placed him in his wheel-chair, and how we strapped him in. All twelve straps must be fastened in exactly the same order each time, with the same attention to detail whenever his arm splints were fitted. These were an extra precaution to ensure that his hands could not get near his mouth. And all the time he laughed and joined in the events of the week, very demanding where his own safety and security were concerned but otherwise a loving, giving child.

One evening we let Andrew down. We had not secured him into bed adequately, and were alerted to his plight by cries from another child sharing his room. Andrew had managed to escape one leg from restraint and was lashing it back and forth along the rough-plastered wall alongside his bed. His leg was bruised and cut, the wall was liberally covered in blood, and he was in terror of his predicament. Some prompt nursing care, and lots of reassurance later, and Andrew was ready for bed again. As he settled down his last drowsy words were of thanks for looking after him, nothing about our blame for having let the situation arise.

Our train journey home was memorable for another escape from restraint. Carefully tucked into a cocoon of blankets, Andrew slept on a couchette on one side of the compartment, I slept on the other. I was woken by a bump even louder than the rattle of a railway ambulance carriage of Second World War vintage. Andrew had wriggled so successfully that he had torn a large hole in the middle of the smart French Red Cross blanket, made his way out through the hole and fallen on the floor. Amid shrieks of laughter; “Andrew, what are we going to do? They’re bound to make us pay for a new blanket, what shall we say?” A long pause to control his breathing and prepare a reply, and then one word, not an easy one for his speech difficulty; “M-m-m-moth!”

As I said goodbye to Andrew, Hilary was there at Victoria to meet him, as were his family, I bent to kiss him. Very quiet, very distinct and very matter-of-fact he said goodbye back, and added ‘I love you.’ I loved him too, and like other people who knew him, my eyes well up even forty-five years later when I think of his spirit and courage, his love of life and his ability to enjoy the life that he had and not show any regret for missing the life he might have had. He died a year afterwards.

Andrew Cooper with helpers. Lourdes

Every year we had the same sort of Easter. The details changed, and as they grew older our children in their turns came to help Nicky run her group. She had decided that I was too grumpy to be leader of a group of children on holiday, and had taken


over the reins. For a brief period I tried to stay on as a helper, but in truth I knew that I was ageing into a less than ideal person to be helping the pilgrimage in that way. A number of my friends had reached similar conclusions, and had pioneered a different way of contributing. We would go to Lourdes at Easter, as before, but would go back to the origins of the Lourdes experience and offer themselves to work for the Hospitalité of Lourdes, the organisation that provides the services that are need by visiting pilgrims. I joined this group and so found myself a trainee brancardier, or stretcher-bearer, the title of the volunteer work-force who spend their time of pilgrimage being told to come hither or go thither, or both simultaneously by two different Frenchmen, in the interests of the smooth running of the constant flow of arriving and departing pilgrims. Some millions of pilgrims visit Lourdes each year, in the season from Holy Week, before Easter, until October. Thus, this 200-day season sees 5,000 or more accredited pilgrims would arrive in trains every day, as another 5,000 departed. I found myself sent to learn the skills of unloading train-loads of pilgrims arriving from all over Europe, specialising in unloading the ambulance cars, each containing forty beds, each with an immobile pilgrim on a stretcher.

The disciplines of this unloading were well-established, and there was always only one way to handle any situation. The trick was to know which was the right way for the case at hand. Overseeing all was a widower, a retired French railwayman from the Basque region. Leon gave up long periods of his year, every year, to ensure that pilgrims being carried off the trains would be delivered safely to the waiting ambulance buses that would deliver them in turn to the hospitals where they would be staying. His first assistant was also retired; formerly President of the French Court of Appeal, and his job was to preside over the équipes, the eight-strong groups who actually went into the ambulance cars to deliver the stretchers safely to the carriage doors. The second assistant was a French special forces doctor, each year giving up a fortnight of his annual leave. He was a bull of a man, immensely strong and always able to fit himself into some small space to lift one end of a trapped stretcher or perform some other feat of strength that would otherwise have taken the efforts of two others. Intense international rivalry was part of the ritual of forming the équipes. Leon always insisted that each équipe be made up of people from one country. Most of the trains coming in and out of the station were of Italian pilgrimages, so the Italian brancardiers always felt that they should form the équipes. Lourdes is a French town, so the French brancardiers always considered it their right. Leon just wanted the job done swiftly and safely and so tended to form équipes Britanniques whenever possible. The allowed time for unloading forty stretchers from an ambulance car was forty minutes, but although there was little time for the small gestures, we always made enough time to greet every pilgrim by name - there was always a list at the end of the car - welcoming each to Lourdes and wishing them Bon Pelerinage, Buon Pelegrinaggio, or whatever we thought it should be.

After a couple of years as a member of the équipes I found myself being asked to lead my own team. This was a very satisfying moment. Leon, the judge and the doctor were passionate about the proper delivery of service to arriving and departing pilgrims, and it was a proud moment when for the first time I climbed into an ambulance car of the arriving annual Milan diocesan pilgrimage and introduced myself as Le Chef d’Equipe de Votre Service. And by great good fortune the lady there to receive me was the famous, redoubtable and demanding Carla. She was the head nurse and queen bee of one of the largest of the Italian diocesan pilgrimages, who put mere bishops and monsignori firmly in their places when the well-being of her charges was in question, and who flirted decorously with Leon, the judge and the doctor. Her good offices enabled me several times to meet Cardinal Martini, then Cardinal Archbishop of Milan and widely spoken of as the probable next Pope. She spoke few words of any language except Italian, and I spoke almost no word of Italian. We had a tiny ability to converse together in French. She was twenty-five or even thirty years older than me, and every year thereafter I made sure that my équipe was on hand to unload her train. Every year, as we awaited the signal to start unloading the pilgrims from the train, I proposed to marry her. Every year she said it was too soon and I was too young, but that next year it might be more propitious, when she’d consider the idea more seriously. We flirted and laughed until the forty stretchers were ready to stream out of the car door. Throughout the flirtation, her eyes would be fixed firmly on the movement of her pilgrims, and mine on preparation for the movement of the stretchers.

It may seem strange to have been so fulfilled in something as ordinary as unloading pilgrims from ambulance cars, and then reloading them three or four days later, asking whether they had enjoyed the pilgrimage. It was something that I could organise as efficiently and safely as anyone, and I found it the most rewarding experience. Although I was always absolutely exhausted at the end of the week I was also very happy that I had made some contribution.

As time has gone by, the number of pilgrims arriving in Lourdes by train diminished. Pilgrimage by air was supplanting the overland routes and I had no desire to spend my week in Lourdes at the local airport. Instead I found myself moved from working at the railway station to working in the Domaine, the area of land in the centre of Lourdes. It is owned by the Hospitalité and encompasses the grotto where the apparitions occurred and its surroundings. Here, every day took place the big procession of Blessing the Sick, the evening torchlight procession and various pilgrimage Masses and so on. The service here tended to involve marshalling crowds of pilgrims, ensuring that the daily crowd of pilgrims in wheelchairs and on stretchers would be best positioned to take part in the activities. All wanted to have the best spot, all wanted their particular needs addressed by anyone or indeed everyone, who looked vaguely official. A large part of the job involved dealing with the inevitable tide of pilgrims who had lost their pilgrimage, nurses who had lost their patients and clergy who had lost their sense of reality. Religious enthusiasm is a dangerous ingredient in a crowd of pilgrims!

I first approached this job with misgivings, thinking it a poor comedown from the fulfilment of the railway station, but I came to see that the bossy French way of managing the Domaine and its activities was actually essential. There were simply too many people, in unfamiliar surroundings, each with their own needs and wants, for any less arbitrary system to succeed in making anything happen. Perhaps the daily miracle of Lourdes was that every day everything did happen, calmly and with a dignity that befitted religious proceedings. It helped that everyone working for the Hospitalité in the Domaine wore bretelles, the canvas harness that had originally been designed to facilitate the carrying of stretchers, but now a badge of being part of the work force and therefore recognisable as such.

My own contribution to the dignity of the proceedings was originally the cause of much amusement amongst my fellow members of the Hospitalité, and indeed among the wider HCPT family. In wet weather I would wear my shooting breeks and bright red socks to work at the station; there was less to get wet as one moved around in the rain, and less to catch in wheel-chair wheels and so on. It was better than ending each morning and afternoon with wet trousers flapping around one’s calves. After a while people began to know that the man in the red socks spoke English and French; that he knew where things were, and how to get help. HCPT groups and group leaders, in particular knew that I had been an HCPT group leader myself and that I was generally able to help if called upon. After a while I simply got used to that outfit as my working wear, and people came to expect it of me.

In my last years of going to Lourdes, I would spend my whole week working for the Hospitalité, occasionally at the Station, but mostly in the Domaine, becoming reasonably well-able to interpret the mood swings and policy changes that went with any organisation run largely by the French, with support or passive resistance from a cocktail of other nationalities. HCPT was by now a pilgrimage of about 4,000 people, with groups coming from Jamaica, East Coast USA, Slovakia and other places. Over time, people from a variety of countries had seen HCPT in Lourdes and wanted to do something like that for their own countries. The pilgrimage was numerically by far the largest pilgrimage in Lourdes during its visit each year, and the whole town, and surrounds were affected by the sights and sounds of any one of two hundred groups


of ten children and their attendant helpers in full participation in what many had ceased to think of as pilgrimage, with its serious overtones, and called ’Our holiday with Our Lady’. The sheer size of the pilgrimage meant that working for the Hospitalité involved constantly meeting friends and fellow-pilgrims from my own times with HCPT.

In almost my last year of annual visits, in a rush of enthusiasm, the Hospitalité gave me a singular privilege. I was not French, certainly not experienced in the eyes of people who spent long periods of each year in Lourdes year after year, and in fact not even a fully-declared member of the Hospitalité. Having reported in the Domaine office as usual, on the morning after arriving in Lourdes, to be assigned my role for the week, I was led to greet the Secretary General, the man around whom all Lourdes administration revolved. He greeted me cordially, spoke amusedly about my red socks and breeks, and we shook hands. To my astonishment, instead of handing me the usual canvas bretelles, he made a little ceremony of taking up a set of leather ones, walking round his desk and placing them over my shoulders. The significance was not lost on me; I was to spend the week as one of the two Résponsables, ensuring the smooth running of all the daily activities and ceremonials of the Hospitalité’s work in the area of the grotto where Bernadette’s apparitions had occurred. I never did understand what selection process had led to my being singled out. Many friends had been regular pilgrims to Lourdes, twice and three times a year for many years, and had formally dedicated themselves to service of the sick and disabled in pilgrimage, in a way that I never had done. Many were as astonished as I was, but it was typical of the spirit of the place that whilst I endured a degree of ribbing from many, people in general wanted to tell me of their pleasure for me that I had had this experience.

Lourdes was always more than a pilgrimage centre for us. In my very first year of going Freddie Wolff had ensured that the spiritual side would never completely overshadow the spirituous, and his group started the custom that groups adopted their own particular cafes in Lourdes. Some cafes had a particularly Scottish, Liverpudlian or Welsh, or Irish patronage, because groups from different regions tended to congregate with their fellows. A large number of groups were led by old school-friends and their families, from my Beaumont days, all of us tracing our involvement back to Freddie. We were generally supporters of le Cintra, conveniently placed between the Domaine for religious activities and hotels for meals and bed. There was a steady stream of custom in and out all day, it was safe to presume that if one went in alone for a coffee at any time of the day or night one would be joined by a friend, fellow Hospitalité worker or HCPT group.

Thursday night at Le Cintra had a routine of its own. Children had to be put to bed and settled, but once that was done, leaving only the unfortunate baby-sitters in each hotel, the Beaumont-related helpers would start to arrive at about 10.30 p.m. By midnight it was standing room only, and Patrick Burgess, another Beaumont survivor of the Easter 1962 pilgrimage would strike up the Carmen Beaumontanum on air- organ, an instrument similar to air-guitar. Any number from eight to eighteen Beaumont old boys would sing their school song, cheered at the end by their spouses, children and other supporters. Some air chords later, and we would sing Pater Noster, the Lord’s Prayer in Latin, to a tune known to many more people, those who had been at Catholic boarding schools. Stray passers-by would stop to watch the sight of youths and middle-aged men singing Latin hymns in the middle of the night, in a French bar, surrounded by an assortment of much better-behaved teenagers, the whole party including large numbers in wheel-chairs, crammed in wherever they could be shoe- horned. The best was yet to come. The lights would all be turned off, and Freddie Wolff would process from the back recesses of the bar into the front. Many years before any of us were born, in Freddie’s own youth, there had been a record-breaking London musical show Chu Chin Chow, with a vaguely Chinese theme. When the eponymous Chu Chin Chow made his first entrance in the show, he strode onstage singing in a ponderous baritone “I am Chu Chin Chow from Chi – na.” at which point a great gong would be struck. Freddie would process, in the dark into the bar, sing his one line, and then in the absence of a gong drop a tray piled high with cutlery onto the stone floor. Even J Arthur Rank himself could not have made a better gong, and every year the short show received wild applause and appreciation. For his second act, Freddie had an arrangement with Jean-Pierre, the patron, that the latter would keep throughout the year all his chipped and cracked crockery. The cutlery having been cleared off the floor, Freddie would crock his elbow, place one plate on the crook of his arm and then rotate his arm until the plate slid off. A fast snatch of the hand of that arm, and the plate would be caught in mid-air. Same again, with two plates in a stack, then three, and sooner or later, usually sooner, there would be a thin carpet of broken china spread liberally around the café. Young family members, promised the treat of being allowed to stay up late for Beaumont night at the Cintra, looked forward to it for weeks ahead, and talked about it for weeks afterwards.

A few years after my week as Résponsable Nicky and I decided that we had given all we had to offer to that undertaking. We had loved the experiences, and had met some very remarkable and special people through doing it. It was demanding and frustrating, but we knew that we had helped many people, not just children we had taken there, but families of those children, to appreciate something outside the normal experience of handicap and disability. And, above all other pluses and positives there might have been, I had the privilege of knowing one of the most exceptional human beings of my experience, whose memory remains with me still; Andrew.


There was a post-script to this part of my life. A year or two after her last year of running a group for HCPT, Nicky, pregnant with her fourth child, her other three all at boarding school and much older, was nursing her father during his last illness. He died about seven weeks before Nicky’s baby was due, and the stress brought on the very premature birth of a desperately sick and very small boy. We needed all the help we could get, and that included Baptism within a couple of hours of the baby’s birth. We had chosen no name and needed to choose one in a hurry. I remembered that Freddie Wolff had died about six weeks before, and suggested to Nicky that those six weeks would have been plenty of time for Freddie to have reached Heaven and, as a consummate net-worker, make friends with everyone who mattered there. If we called this small baby after him, Freddie would certainly exert himself on the child’s behalf. We employed this spiritual blackmail, and our Freddie made remarkable progress during his month-long struggle for life, before turning the corner.



From Tom Scanlan (62)

As a retired broadcaster, I was interested to see the various BBC connections. I had twenty five years with the British Forces Broadcasting Service (which is not the BBC), joining in London in 1973. I went on tours to Germany, Hong Kong and Cyprus, where people like me were both producers and presenters of all sorts of shows and documentaries. 

I was able to add sports commentary on Army football and boxing cup finals to my CV and live commentary on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Engineers and then on the formal formation of the ACE Rapid Reaction Force, both in BAOR. 

The variety of types of work on offer seemed endless: I even had a go at being Quizmaster for a knockout Brains of BFG (British forces Germany); during one recorded round, a member of the audience whispered the answer out loud and we had to ask the question again, trusting that the relevant team member did truthfully also know the correct answer!

Another fascinating period took me for five months, unaccompanied by family, to the Falkland Islands in 1986, where I did my bit as Station Manager. Also, later, there was  a month in the former Yugoslavia, travelling around Bosnia and Croatia in various forms of military transport.

After all that, I did actually go the ‘the Beeb’ as was what was known as The Breakfast Show News Presenter, on BBC Radio Berkshire. I was up at 5 a.m. Monday to Friday for three years in the early noughties, an activity that I was not unhappy to cease after three years of it!

In all my time with BFBS, I recall coming across only three B.U. servicemen. The first was Johnny Cargin, in Berlin in 1976 and at that time a Major, as a Company Commander with the Royal Irish Rangers (I think Lt. Colonel Adrian Naughten was Johnny’s boss at that time); then, in Hong Kong, Patrick Covernton, at that time a Major in The Brigade of Gurkhas and also a Company Commander, I believe, in 1985; and lastly, Lt. Colonel James Sweetman, Royal Signals, popped up in the Falklands.

Much later, back in head office in London, I met up with John Muir, who had been the army for a time, and who had decided to start a new political party — Albion, was it? — and I interviewed him on BFBS. I don’t think it helped very much.


Emeriti CC at Stonyhurst (below) Circa 1972.

A group of men in white uniforms

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Thinking of Woody Muir (so-called because, up near the pavilion, he picked an object up from the ground and remarked that it was ‘a funny piece of wood’. It turned out actually to be a bit of cow shit!), anyway, I remember that I had this photo, taken around 1972. 

Apart from me, front row left, and Muir (second left back row), there was one other (very) old BU: second from the right wearing a hat: Eric Krarup. Eric had been a very good cricketer in his day, and hockey player. He was a lovely chap. I think he was at Beaumont in the 20s.

Most of the others are O.S. with one from Worth School and one from Downside.


From Michael Johnson (67)

Thank you once again for your extraordinary efforts to assemble such a fascinating review. I am attaching a scanned copy of the programme for the final Beaumont Oratory cricket match in which Paul Kinsella played a heroic part. I attended with my friend Jo Li, (67), who is sadly no longer with us. He then provided refreshment at his home near to Lord’s and subsequently, his parents provided lavish hospitality for my parents who were transiting through Hong Kong.


The same edition informed me that Ed Anderson, (66), was the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire and I discovered that he lived not far from me with many associations with local businesses and charities. We were in the same class at St. John’s but I then skipped a year going in to Beaumont and lost touch. He went to Stonyhurst and I stayed until Beaumont closed.  The extraordinary coincidence was that we had already been in contact with him as he had kindly arranged to interview my father-in-law who had been a Royal Naval Colour officer lining the street on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953. This interview was recorded yesterday and may perhaps come to the notice of King Charles as part of the publicity surrounding the coronation this summer. Ed told us that Philip Tolhurst, (67), was married to the Lord Lieutenant of Essex so Beaumont seems to do well providing personnel to represent the King!


From Michael Bourke (63)


 Thank you so much for sending me the BU newsletter. I have not received it previously. My fault for not keeping in touch but my brother Brian Bourke has likely contacted you to add me to your mailing list. I am most impressed with the layout and I can see how much work you have put into it.


I left Beaumont in 1963 and remember you and your twin brother who were in a more senior year than I was. I again met and talked to you at the annual war memorial mass a few years ago.


I qualified as a doctor after leaving school. I worked briefly in the NHS and then joined the RN. I had an excellent and varied series of appointments in The Navy. I was later recruited by Canada in part because of my experience in submarine and diving medicine. I continued practicing medicine after leaving the Canadian Navy both hospital medicine, general practice and caring for divers until 2019. I am single and keep in touch with family and friends. I now spend some time in England and have a house in Kent near to where I was brought up.

Robert please add my name to the list of those attending this year's BU lunch on 2nd October at the Caledonian Club.

I do remember attending a previous lunch there a few years back.


From Peter Collins (56)

I have at last completed my in depth research into Robert McIntosh. One of the amazing things, at least to me, was that he was always, in the early days of post Beaumont, known as Bob certainly in BU Squash circles. I had completely forgotten this. I think in due course he and/or his wife Sylvia decided he would be known by his correct name ! He may have had a nickname while at Beaumont,  quite a few of us did, but I don’t know if that applied to Robert. One way or another I suspect Beaumont OB’s of Robert’s fairly precise vintage would not recognize him as Robert  No doubt you can include both variations !? My research also allowed me to help pinpoint the years he spent in Singapore – quite a few, virtually as per the Eulogy. I have all the very detailed scores of nearly every BU Squash Match and subsequently after the closure of Beaumont in 1967 when 2 or 3 years thereafter we changed our name The Exiles. Robert was an absolute cornerstone of BU Squash for all the years he was able to be so!  I believe Robert retained the very strongest links with The Catholic Church even in retirement in far away Meavy, near Yelverton, Devon, but apparently not so much with his old BU connections but some of course will remember him.



John Wolff In his book on Br. Michael Strode  mentions his own computer skills with which many of us can sympathise (fortunately wifely help is to hand):-

A text on a book

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Another story from my misspent youth and this time with a canine flavour.

The Army is rather like the Jesuits in as much as they tell you to learn a subject of which you know little or nothing with the words “you will soon learn”. So, it was when in 1969 I was sent to the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare Centre as part of the instructional staff.  (I think I scrapped through my Physics & Chemistry “O” Level and certainly didn’t get further than amoebas with Mr Merrill.) Well, it so happens that rather like the Jesuits the Army got it right and some 15 years later I was considered the Army’s expert in the subject and back at the Centre,  with among other things, briefing senior officers on the Threat from the Warsaw Pact.

On this occasion my audience consisted of the newly appointed General  commanders of the 1st Division  and 4th Division and the Air Marshal commanding R A F Germany.

Beside me on the podium was Figgis. Now Figgis was a rather scruffy rough haired Jack Russell terrier with certain characteristics that  did not suit him to military life: He was with me that day as Annie was away in London.  To give you an idea  of  Figgis’s contempt for the military,  he hated marching troops and given the opportunity would make a lightening attack amongst them nipping at their heels. I was told by one R S M that he had nightmares of Figgis loose on an important parade – he was not the only one, and on such occasions Figgis was under lock and Key.

Well, the briefing was going rather well and drawing to a close when most regrettably the Air Marshal, seated in his comfy armchair, decided to cross his legs  and the lower limb started to “jog” up and down.

Thinking about it later, I’m not certain I could have prevented the attack,  not quite a  Roosevelt’s “Day of infamy”  provoked or not.  Figgis from the seated position , took a flying leap to imbed his teeth into the shiny black toe cap that was bobbing up and down  in front of him. In the circumstances it was perfectly natural for the Air Marshal  to try and kick off the appendage  but Figgis, a veteran player of “ Are you there Moriarty” was having none of it and dug deeper.

Meanwhile aid for me  came from an unexpected quarter; the two Generals  ( One Cavalry, the other Guards) thought it great sport and while I tugged at Figgis to release him from the shoe, they  burst out laughing with encouraging hunting cries of “Lu in there”. Finely, when released the Air Marshal, with the ribbing of his companions had little option but to see the funny side of the incident. I was able to then end the brief with the words of “Prepare for the unexpected”.

A year later, I was in Germany on another seminar and I was approached by the two Generals who expressed their disappointment that Figgis was not “ on the team”: I, on the other hand. breathed a sigh of relief.