Sadism, homosexuality and other abuses in English Society
There are also all the independent boarding schools as well. I suspect it is from these latter that the culture of secrecy and sadism is first developed and has been allowed to fester for decades, more accurately probably even centuries atthe upper and senior levels of the British Establishment!
I moved on from my own boarding school experiences, leaving at the earliest opportunity to go to sea with the Mercant Navy at the age of sixteen. I thus was able to put what I will now describe behind me, with the only lasting affect of which I am aware being a hearty loathing for a certain type of my fellow countrymen.
The photograph above which I lifted from the web, is of Winterstoke House of Taunton School in 1962. The perpetrators of the events I describe here are seated either side of the Matron, they are to her left, Housemaster "Jock" Hansom and to her right his Assistant "Spud" Murphy. None of the boys pictured were involved, as what occurred took place during the mid nineteen-fifties. Here is a photoshop of these adults (the Matron was in no way involved and was new):
Hansom liked to beat with a cane as often as he could and twice to my own experience and knowledge, the entire house of some sixty boys, one after another, bare bums, with an almost ritual spread-eagling over a chair.
One such was undertaken on the eve of an inter-house diving contest, which Winterstoke boys were all compelled to compete in, without swimming trunks, he could thus admire his handiwork of purple wheals before each would stand, full frontal as modern parlance has it, to raise arms in the required pre-dive stance.
The Assistant Housemaster once assisted with such beatings in his own room, because of the numbers involved.
Mental torment was also employed by Hansom with particular relish. One incident I particulalrly recall was when my French Master said he would report me to my housemaster for misbehaviour in class. This would always incur 6 strokes of the cane with pyjamas down after evening prayers. Hansom liked to extend the waiting period for such punishments as long as possible. Before announcing the victims for a particular evening he would run his eyes over the assembled boys, relishing the fear of those knowing they were awaiting such punishment. In the case of the French master's report, a man whom I had once liked, respected and whose subject I had previously enjoyed, this nightly torment of anticipation continued for several weeks.
To bring it to an end, I finally requested an interview with this teacher, and queried whether he had indeed reported my misbehaviour to the brutish Scot, Hansom. He confirmed that he had and seemed amazed that punishment had been delayed so long. It was finally delivered shortly after that interview.
Eventually the boys of Winterstoke rebelled. We burnt or cut up our brown house ties and demanded change. All house prefects were sacked, a new house captain appointed and otherwise no changes were made. Several years later Hansom and Murphy were still in control and for all I know probably both retired with honour and fat pensions. More amazingly of the sixty odd boys I seem to be the first to have publicly raised this kind of systematic masochism. Search the web and among pictures of billiard rooms and rugby fields all appears as if sweetness and light prevailed in Winterstoke in the mid to late nineteen-fifties rather than the reality of brutishness and fear.
Are some of those boys still, as nigh on old men, yet living in such establishment induced fear to this very day? Is that what all this is about?
How much else is similarly kept hidden across British society, the present scandals again frantically being covered up indicates it is likely common and pernicious.
The sixties film "If" touched on the symptoms, but left unanswered the question as to why would exposure to such nastiness in one' s own youth then lead to an urge to inflict the same on a new generation?
Perhaps if more people were prepared to be open about such things, at least those responsible might be held to account in their lifetimes, Hansom, Murphy and others who maybe were watching such ritual punishments, by now must all be dead - burning merrily I trust!