12 Sept. 2010 Ben Childs writes:
I'm saddened that compatriots of my own [day] will not provide evidence of the bullying they received from Messrs Salisbury and English. I was bullied a couple of times by each man: my response was to bully them back, especially when they repeatedly and severely bullied my friends. This led to both men themselves crying. The worst, Salisbury, whose awful reputation was known by everyone in the school - even the cleaning ladies and cooks - blubbered like a baby and claimed he couldn't help bullying us. Both men are utter cowards for whom I feel nothing but con- tempt. That they were tolerated - and still are - yes, sadly both are still there; English even being a deputy head - by the school's leadership team, staff and most parents is testament to a severe cultural problem at the school.
For my part I consider that a symptom of the armed forces: most parents and staff would in private express deep rooted dislike of the Salisbury/English bullies but thought that as the headmaster was a higher rank nothing could be done. I suspect that had these parents and staff commissioned a lawyer or gone to the press then the MOD would have stomped on many people's careers. This I suspect will in part explain why many ex-Dukies fail to realise that moral and ethical conduct is their first priority - particularly as commissioned officers - beyond loyalty to rank structure. Moreover and of far greater importance is the question of one's duty to society and the laws of the land.
Michael, I am absolutely in support of you in what you have written. I note that you represent Aboriginal people, and that this includes education and children, so I can see how important the bigger picture is to you. I also see beyond the regimental-blimp style of so many Dukies, for after leaving a career in Whitehall (this being the place where I first heard of Art, courtesy his bio- graphy of former MI5 Director General Sir Percy Sillitoe) I went to work in politics at Westminster and became well researched on UK education. The process was informative, though my esteem of the DYRMS lessened considerably as a direct result of seeing how much better other boarding schools are. I am impressed that your work is bringing people into the social contract, delivering and protecting their rights, and building a better future. It's something very few people can claim to have achieved, despite most wanting to do similarly decent and moral things; and I certainly can't claim to have had anything like such an impact. Only my mother comes close: she worked in UK Government and on Parliamentary committees protecting and enhancing the rights of children, gypsies and ethnic minorities. So my admiration and respect for you!
Naturally many Dukies and perhaps the school's Governors will be worried about the exposition of bad staff and the failure to punish these people. However, many far greater schools such as Ampleforth and Moreton Hall have suffered by the deeds of school teacher bullies and paedophiles. That these schools exposed their demons and saw them convicted and sentenced is an important reason as to why the reputations of Ampleforth and Moreton Hall are held in the highest esteem. Remembering that in recent years you have received no support or consolation from the school with regard to your own experiences, I would ask the school's leadership team to realise the importance of transparency. None other than the blinkered and stupid believe that an institution cannot be infiltrated by deviant criminals.
I support you without question and hope, too, that the school realises the important lessons to be learned from admitting that the cradle fell long ago and has not been raised for a consider- able time, that felons need to be named and cast aside and that only then can the good name and reputation of the Duke of York's be re-established. This is, after all, the children of British soldiers who are at stake.
13 Sept. 2010 Michael Duffy writes:
Many many thanks for the support piece. Now I am blushing! I take up your point about the armed forces syndrome and more particularly the inevitable kowtowing to rank. Think back to the 1950s when England's class system (should be caste really) was in declining glory, but still hanging on. Most of our parents were rankers and the deference to the officer class (at least in public) was probably more pronounced. My sergeant father adopted a rigid pose of attention when talking to the commandant on the one trip he made to the school and only spoke when he was spoken to. I think that did keep the lid on. Duty to the Army unfortunately overcame duty to society, in short ethical conduct, as you aptly write.
I am under no illusions as to how I may be perceived by the blimps and I understand that many otherwise decent people may be swayed to believe that I am doing wrong by bringing into the light a truly unpleasant experience, which I believe many Dukies share. Misguided loyalty may lead them to condemn the exposure and blithely ignore the acts themselves; a tortuous exercise in morality, I know, but it's the likely course of action for many. I am fortunate to have close and supportive friendships both here and among some of my contemporaries (and bear in mind we are not now without our blimps). I have the unqualified support of you and Art - new friendships founded on deep common ethical and moral principles - and the same support from my wife. I believe in the rightness of what we have set out to do. I don't feel brave; I simply feel outraged that those who purport to represent the alumni are trying to force their squeamishness in the face of unpalatable facts on the rest of us. In short, I think I'm equipped to weather the storm. Reaction from one old friend from school, still in England, is simply: Wow. Well done! That, and the unqualified friendship you and Art you have offered, is fortifying. After years in the wilderness, I think I'm strong enough.
17 Sept. 2010 Alan Vickers writes:
I was a contemporary of Mike Duffy's of the Duke of York School, and had a similar though perhaps not quite so traumatic experience.
I was given one of Boz Handford's detentions. I must have been about 13 or 14, in the early stages of puberty. I was instructed to go to the school swimming pool, probably at the weekend but anyway at a time when there was no one else about. I was instructed to go to the balcony that overlooked the pool, get changed into my swimming trunks and stand there, whilst Handford watched. He then vanished through the doors leading to the ground floor changing rooms between the pool and gym. From time to time I would see his outline through the obscure glazed door that led on to the pool, watching me. This bizarre voyeuristic behaviour continued off and on for the full period of the detention. I can't recall much else.
He also used to take it upon himself when he was assistant housemaster to be present whenever we were taking showers after sport or whenever, ensuring that we were all efficiently lathering ourselves. Mmmm....
What is ironic, is that this is the man who took it upon himself to conduct purges whenever there was any episode of homoerotic behaviour discovered. Clearly a perverted man, but to give him credit, he must surely have been struggling to control his perversion as it never actually expressed itself in any physical contact with any of the boys, unless someone else has got a story to tell?
What is puzzling is that such activity and behaviour was able to continue unabated for years and the man was even given the post of housemaster!
23 Sept. 2010: The Rev Christopher Morgan writes:
As an ex Dukie, today I was talking reminiscing to my wife about my time at DYRMS, with some great affection, particularly about Jack Clark. I loved History, but refused to take it as an O Level option due to the fact that the man terrified me. I decided to google him, as in this day and age you can find out all sorts of info, and as a result came across your website, http://www.achart.ca/york/index.html
I have read , particularly the staff biogs with interest, but most of all I am particularly relieved that you have highlighted the abuse that was still rampant in the late 70s, early 80s. I had the misfortune of being a junior boy under Frank Andrews (Haig) in the late 70s and then onto Major Lee (Marlborough) until 1982. I do remember being caned by Lee for laughing one Sunday morn-ing when I heard that his dog (a thin, tiny thing) had been run over the night before...still we are a nation of animal lovers!
What has dogged me for years is the behaviour of Frank Andrews, who I believe was guilty of paedophilic acts. I was “Gym-ed” on Tuesday for “Not going on report”. During lunch someone at the other side of the dining table was ”taking the micky” and I responded by shoving my choc ice into his face. I was told, by the dorm leader to “go on report” and was terrified of what Frank would do. The Dorm leader agreed to come with me, and as a result Frank decided that I hadn’t gone “on Report” myself. I was ordered to be in gym kit at around 2-ish in his corridor. Gym Kit was shorts with no underpants. Frank took me into his study, told me what my offence was, not going on report, bent me over his chair and then took my shorts down, presumably I thought to check that I didn’t have a Beano annual down my shorts. He then thrashed me with the sole of a size 11 dunlop shoe, so severely that I had black horseshoe marks on my buttocks for three weeks. He afterwards fondled my buttocks with a smile saying that if I had “just gone on report, this would never have happened.
I don’t know whether this has any relevance at all to your site, but this is the first time I have shared this info with a complete stranger.
I am sure that Frank is now well and truly RIP, and pray that God may have mercy on his soul. He took away my childhood ... my parents didn’t believe in using anything other than their hands for punishment (smacks were though the ultimate punishment).
Thankyou for highlighting these issues.
And going back to Jack Clark, an abusive pillock, BUT, I never write, GET, GOT or GETTING even now.
23 Sept. Art C responds:
Thanks for your candid and sensitive e-mail. It is not the first nor do I suppose it will be the last message I'll receive from Dukies on the subject of child abuse and pedophilia at the School. You will see from the Staff Bio section (which is long due for updating) that many people have written to me on the subject. It is the only avenue I have for such information. Having no personal knowledge of the School beyond my own era from 1939 to 1943 I rely entirely on what others write to me. One of our number, also a first-time writer on the topic, has given a compelling account of his experience. This is followed by a couple of comments from others worth publishing. It is high time this subject be brought into the open, for it's not only the Catholic and some Protestant churches have much to answer for, but institutions such as the Duke of York's.
Some old boys have winced at the idea of publishing what other Dukies have shared, they being concerned that the School's good name is being tarnished by such disclosures. I can understand and sympathise with their concern, which is genuine and, in a sense, laudable. Nevertheless, I believe it is right to expose the appalling behaviour of some members of the staff and many support my action.
Interestingly, only one Dukie has written in a snide, malicious and sarcastic manner on the subject, not to me directly, but to one of his era, accusing me of rhapsodizing on the total absence of such behaviour during my time at the School. Having researched the entire record of the utterly candid Board of Commissioners' minutes from 1803 to the eve of WWII, I did not some across a single instance of staff brutality or pedophilia to the children under the Institution's care. Only with the introduction of Housemasters under the RAEC does an oral record of such practices begin to appear - and I write of staff-pupil relations, not pupil-to-pupil interactions.
24 Sept Ben Burd writes;
Thanks for the email it is most revealing, I sent a private message to Mike D after he published his report. I too was affected, but have never thought myself as a victim. Unfortunately in my years there were far more sufferers than Mike, if that was his only encounter, and I. The question for Mike was that if the Seniors were doing to the Juniors how did they learn the practises? This type of behaviour was systemic but probably not widespread when I was there. Little pockets so to speak. The other point I made to mike was that I hope we don't turn the subject into a "group-shrink" testimonial collection. Can you handle that? Anyway, courage for opening the topic but be prepared for some revealing letters.
24 Sept in response:
You miss the point - and miss it entirely. I am not concerned and never have been with the relations between the boys of the School, only the relations of the staff towards the children under their care. I am well aware of the shenanigans that have gone on between boys from the beginning when they slept as many as three in a bed. And in my own time that practice between boys was still going on. Whereas in your day boys were merely expelled for homosexual behaviour they were, at least until 1939, drummed out in a ceremony that involved the entire school. I witnessed the last drumming out in June 1939, watching boys stripped of their regalia, chevrons, gc stripes, buttons, and forced to walk to the Deal gate holding up the trousers between two rows of drums, which drummed them to the gate, so please don't distract the argument with reference to behaviour among boys. My concern centres solely on the brutal, cruel, viscous, disgusting and revolting behaviour of members of staff such as Sherry, Andrews, Hanford, English and the school authorities, who like the bishops of Rome, protected the criminals in a conspiracy of silence and were (or are) as culpable as those they sought to protect. That said, I shall continue publishing the testimonies of those who were traumatized by the experience. There will be more. I have no doubt of that.
24 Sept. Ben Burd replies:
I understand your point, but in making it you run the risk of being the recipient of "victims" tales, in this age of retrospection and internal self analysis. I hated the activity of Hanford and Clark too and couldn't understand their veneration by some boys. I also understand your stand against the 'closing of the ranks' to protect the reputation of the school. Good work on this and I support you. But if we only concentrate on the conduct of the staff toward the boys in sexual terms we should also look at the abysmal relations between the housemasters and their charges. As role-models and guidance people they failed miserably, as I mentioned to Mike, I can recollect only a handful of interviews, conversations or even meetings with any of the house masters we had. We raised ourselves on the Island. Lord of the Flies had nothing on us. I wonder how any of us survived the bloody place.
24 Mike Duffy to Christopher Morgan:
Thanks for joining Art, me and Alan Vickers and others to come in exposing the darker corners of the school's history. I might have kept the whole story to myself for more years, but for the crass response Art got from a blimpish old boy that exposure of paedophile teachers left a bad smell and would only tarnish the 'good name' of the school. Having attempted unsuccessfully to get the school to respond in 2004, I lost my patience and decided it was important to back up Art by telling my story. It has brought out a piece by a dear friend of mine, Alan Vickers. I resumed commun- ication with Alan in 2001 after losing contact on sailing for Australia in 1964, but this was the first I'd heard of his particular story. He was with me when I went to the school to deliver a message to the then Head, Cummings, and the Board of Commissioners, and was a great support to me.
Sadly your story could have been written by countless numbers of children. There was simply no control over these brutes, no duty of care exercised. You have captured the magnitude of the crime in one poignant sentence: 'He took my childhood away from me...'. It is phrasing I have used myself. I remember well the intense feeling of being alone, with no-one to turn to and the fixed idea I had that, however inexplicable adult actions were, somehow it was us children who were at fault.
24 Sept Ben Childs to Ben Burd:
Art is right about most staff at DYRMS. In my time at the school (the nineteen-nineties) there were a fair number of staff who contributed to the happiness of pupils and gave of their time to our interests. In most boarding houses the staff kept more distance between themselves and the pupils than in my own house, which was Wolseley. Although Clive and Wellington were particularly renowned as good house masters: men called Max Brown and "Big Al". (Major Alexander, CCF rank mind - he was a lieutenant in the REME, appears to be the man at the head of the DYRMS ceremonial parades nowadays). However, Wolseley was blessed with a predominantly large number of considerate and giving staff. This no doubt helped Wolseley achieve the greatest status for combined success in music, academia, sport and social popularity - in fact most nights after prep and before bed Wolseley was crammed with boys and girls from other houses, sometimes as much as half the school. Wolseley also had a significant orgy-style thing taking place at weekend evenings after lights out (with girls not other boys!) as well as rampant breeching of school grounds after bed time (in order to go shopping at the petrol station outside the school grounds), regular use of the tunnels beneath the school, breaking into the chapel, climbing the clock tower and roof of the dining hall; and to deal with an especially bad house master, repeated methods to barricade the man inside his part of Wolseley House.
Teenage boys are troublesome things. I expect that those with greater intellectual and social esteem often make the most troublesome sorts, hence the activities prevalent in Wolseley during the 1990s. However, that bad housemaster - a man called John English - was an utter bully and that no doubt influenced our behaviour. His own children were terrified of him and the children of other teachers were told to avoid him. English bullied boys daily to the point of crying and continued to bully them thereafter by refusing them permission to have meals, leave outside of school or pocket money. English's own brother, a major in the Royal Marines, met us once on a CCF exercise and told us his brother John was hated by the rest of the English family. John English was a deeply unsettled and unsettling bully. I sometimes wonder if his having been locked-up over night by the police in some banana republic (I forget the name of the country) was what tipped the balance of his mind, for he was clearly unbalanced. He is now a deputy headmaster at the school. In 1997 we boys (and our parents) in Wolseley were assured by the then deputy headmaster (called Davey) that English would be sacked for extreme bullying and multiple theft. My parents still have the letter stating this! How English comes to still be at the school amazes me and surely tells the tale on the management culture at the DYRMS.
Anyway, as a leading figure in Wolseley - a ring leader as English termed it - I was given the punishment of cleaning out English's rain water drains. To do this I had to climb up a ladder and fetch out the filth in the drains near his upper floor windows. While doing this English's wife appeared in their bedroom and smiled at me. Like I said, there was utter filth up there! After my punishment - or rather sheer joy at seeing a pretty, fully grown woman smile in sympathy - John English came to gloat at me. He asked with the intent of sardonic cruelty whether I had enjoyed my punishment. I said it was a filthy job and a dirty business, but something only a real man could handle. From then onward whenever I was in his office being lambasted his wife would appear in the doorway behind him and smile at me.
So far as the achart exposition of predators and bullies among DYRMS staff goes: I fully support the whole affair. The DYRMS is notable, though not exceptional, for not sacking, exposing or seeking prosecution against its bad staff. Publishing accounts now, in many cases a substantial period after the offences, is still a necessary process. Let us remember that criminals must not be tolerated merely for reasons of convenience. I'm sure most Dukies, loop members and people at large understand this. Also we have to bear in mind that schools such as Ampleforth and Moreton Hall have had dreadful sexual abuse of pupils - especially at Moreton Hall (a leading girls' school in Shropshire) - but that consequent of those schools exposing their predator staff those schools continue to engender the highest possible esteem. It should also be noted that at Sherborne School the first ever published writings of Auberon Waugh (later of The Spectator, where one of my own writings has been published) testify to rampant boyhood homosexuality, the sacrificing of rodents in pseudo religious ceremony, the perversions of some deviant teachers (~ Auberon Waugh maintained a critique of one master for the rest of his life, referencing him frequently, often suggesting the man molested dogs; and this infamy caused considerable embarrassment for the master and is thought to have led to his early death) and the general fracas of teenage boys. (For that matter it applies just as aptly to girls). These exposes of school life - the good, the bad and the ugly - obviously do a school a considerable favour for Sherborne is famous as the alma mater of English literature's greatest family.
So in the long and the short of it I am very happy to see more Dukies put pen to paper, whether about the noble or profane of Dukie history, for it is a process that improves the school quantifiably. That it helps put demons to rest for many Dukies and warns any other deviants that justice may yet catch up with them is also a considerable benefit. I think Dukies should be encouraged to do write ups for achart by remembering the motto "Play up Dukies".
Art is always careful to check the stories he publishes so I don't think any "weirdos" as you seem, Ben, to be describing them will have articles published. For my own part I don't consider them to be weirdos guilty of "retrospection or internal self-analysis" as you put it. Isn't retrospec- tion the process of reviewing past experiences? I can't see any harm in that. As for internal self-analysis, that's something all sane people do, like thinking whether to pick up a bit of broken glass or not, or whether one's other half actually said not to wash white linens with coloureds. If you mean that the achart expositions are not necessary or may be hijacked by weirdos then I disagree entirely. As I've written, such accounts improve a school. The evidence is over whelming. Of course some people may worry at what may be written of themselves by former fellows at DYRMS: I can't say that bothers me in the slightest.
24 Sept Michael Duffy writes;
I don't quite see Art in the role of agony aunt: what has emerged has come about as a result of his very careful cross-checking of allegations made by a number of people. I may well have been the first to write to Art about making the staff bios real, instead of vapid encomia; but I somehow doubt it. He made the running and then there was the piddlingly irrelevant and squeamish response from some of our more blimpish brethren. 'Play Up Dukies' has hitherto obscured a multitude of sins and I think we should all welcome the fact that a little sunlight - feeble at first but growing in strength - is penetrating the darker corners of our shared history. As I have written elsewhere in response to those who would bury all of this to protect the good name of the school, that good name does not exist unless and until the school, its Board and the MoD acknowledge the fact that paedophilia and staff-pupil bullying was an obstacle generations of Dukies faced during their adolescence. To paraphrase one of Art's correspondents, they took our childhood away. And that's a crime whichever way you look at it.
25 Sept. Gus Bainger, a former public school Bursar writes:
We have previously spoken of this subject which is now being openly exposed to the great credit of those concerned. What I cannot understand is that in my 8 years at the school graduating through all the ranks to CSP [Chief School Prefect], I never once heard of any staff activity of this kind. I was never taught by Handford but all my History education was through Clarke. I went through the period in 1946/47 when many boys were expelled, but there was never mention of a teacher's name. I am mystified how this awful activity could have affected so many boys without any rumours resulting! Why were these people not exposed at the time? Was it fear? Was it threats? Was it reported but not investigated? I have been shocked at these exposures, which makes me wonder about other Boarding Schools at that time or even today!
25 Sept. Art C's response:
I count you in the same rank and stature as all Chief School Prefects, who reached that position by reason of demonstrated leadership, authority and achievement through merit. That gives gravitas and extra meaning to the opinion you express. I, too, am stunned by the revelations coming in, more I might add than those appearing on the achart.ca website. Furthermore, I would hope that by osmosis these disclosures will percolate through to those who manage the School and compel them to institute policies that will put an end to pernicious behaviour once and for all.
THIS CORRESPONDENCE IS NOW CLOSED