Items that may have been
added since your last visit


29th December 2006

Please note that Fr Pat Fitzgerald's address has changed.

Have you survived the Christmas celebrations ? Looking in the mirror this morning I am reminded of the quote "I am too young to be this old."

What was in your cracker ?

23rd December 2006

Zelda has asked me to thank you for all the Christmas cards and messages of goodwill that you have sent her. She hopes that you will understand that she is not able to send a personal reply to everyone at the moment. In the first week of January she plans to visit her daughter ZeeCee who lives in France. She will stay there until April, doing part-time voluntary teaching at the local Primary school. If you wish to contact her by email, use ZeeCee's address : zeecee(at)wanadoo(dot)fr

May I, too, take this opportunity to thank all the people who have visited the site over the past year, in particular those who have provided me with material or lent support in other ways. You have all been very patient with me during the past few months whilst I have been dealing with difficult matters on the home front. I am expecting to take up the baton again early in the new year. In the meantime, very best wishes for the Christmas period.

10th December 2006

To the astonishment of some mourners, the music that accompanied us as we made our way out of the crematorium on 17th November was "I belong To Glasgow" — Eugene's final request. I'd forgotten to include it, so it's now added to his obituary. Click here to go there.

Whilst making good this omission, I updated the Sounds Familiar Appendix : Blessed Be Thy Name has been added, along with an mp3 version of "O Sacrum Convivium". The latter was taken from the 1960 recording made by the St Columba's choir in Rome, so cleverly tracked down and reproduced by David Walker.

Yes, photos of the trip to Rome are coming shortly.

7th December 2006

On BBC Radio 4 today, 'Open Country' visited the Scottish Borders and spent some time in St Boswell's. Those of you who spent a year or more at St Columba's might be interested in listening to this broadcast. Open Country goes out on Saturdays and is repeated on Thursdays at 1.30pm—so you've missed the live broadcast.

If you hurry, you can still listen to it via the BBC website at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/opencountry.shtml. (For which you need their ' Real Player' ).

Alternatively I could email it to you in either mp3 or aiff format — though it's a sizeable file (25mb+) and might involve an overnight download / upload. My contact details can be seen by clicking here.

5th December 2006

Have you made our WELCOME Page your Home Page yet ? If you haven't, please think about it. Michael Gallagher has already done so and the number of 'hits' is gradually starting to increase.

According to a survey taken last year, men rarely look at more than 2 or 3 pages of results from a Google search. Our aim, therefore, is to get on to Page 1 of any search that might relate in some way to the content of this site—thereby increasing our chances of being spotted by a friend from the past.

For my part, I try to ensure that certain 'keywords' such as "Priory", "Blacklion", "Missionaries" etc are liberally used on various pages throughout the website. You may not have noticed this before, unless by chance you came across my use of 'invisible ink'. The next few lines that you see may look blank, but in fact contain various keywords that will be detected by search engines such as Google.
White Fathers St Columba's St Boswells Bishop's Waltham Blacklion St Augustine's Broome Hall Dorking s'Heerenberg Rutherglen Sutton Coldfield Palace Court St Edward's Totteridge Father Superior Priest Ordination Philosophy Theology Novitiate Roman Catholic Liber Carthage Africa Zambia Ghana Kenya Nigeria Lesotho White Fathers St Columba's St Boswells Bishop's Waltham Blacklion St Augustine's Broome Hall Dorking s'Heerenberg Rutherglen Sutton Coldfield Palace Court St Edward's Totteridge Father Superior Priest Ordination Philosophy Theology Novitiate Roman Catholic Liber Carthage Africa Zambia Ghana Kenya Nigeria Lesotho White Fathers St Columba's St Boswells Bishop's Waltham Blacklion St Augustine's Broome Hall Dorking s'Heerenberg Rutherglen Sutton Coldfield Palace Court St Edward's Totteridge Father Superior Priest Ordination Philosophy Theology Novitiate Roman Catholic Liber Carthage Africa Zambia Ghana Kenya Nigeria Lesotho

See what I mean ?
Next : the recent trip to Rome.

4th December 2006

There are some new items in the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix which I hope you will want to play—the latest, taken from Eugene's funeral Mass. Margaret Morton has kindly promised to get her choir to record that old favourite "Sweet Saviour Bless us ere we go" and this should be ready in the New Year.

Has anyone got a recording of "This Is The Image Of The Queen" (previously number 118 in the old Westminster Hymnal) ? This particular hymn evokes for me May processions around the grounds of the White Fathers' parish at Heston. There's something special about hymns sung in the open air, isn't there ?

Have you any favourites that I can include for you ?

2nd December 2006

A copy of the Requiem Mass that John and Margaret Morton planned for Eugene is now ready—complete with music* and Peter Finn's eulogy. I hope that we have done Eugene proud—he certainly deserves it. I have kept strictly to the Order of Service, of course. Go to Page 11 of the OBITUARIES section to see this.

Apologies if you haven't had any response to a recent email : the above has been my sole preoccupation recently.

*One exception: I can't find a copy of Sweet Saviour Bless Us ere we go. Any offers?

28th November 2006

Peter Finn's tribute to Eugene is displayed on Page 11of the OBITUARIES section. (I can't believe that I just wrote that). As you read it, you may think that there is nothing more to add. Even so, I'd love to include tributes from any of you who feel that they would like to add some comment—however small (or repetitive, even).

Please would you think about making this website your 'home page' ?
In other words, would you get your browser (such as Internet Explorer) to go to the Pelicans' website as soon as it starts up ? (To do this, you go to the browser's Preferences option).

I ask this because it would mean that the site would get even more 'hits' (number of visits). As you may know, popular websites get preferential treatment from search engines, e.g. when you ask Google to search for sites that contains such-and-such, it will go to the oft-visited sites first and display these on its first/second page of results. If we improve our (apparent) popularity, the more likely it is that we will catch the eye of people who don't yet know that the 'Pelicans' website exists.

Thank you for any help you can give me with this. And apologies for telling you things that you already know . . . .

26th November 2006

•The final set of photos that Fr Frank Nolan sent me are displayed on Page 267 of the GALLERY. I am very grateful to him for contributing a substantial number of photos that have not been seen before—and for identifying most of the people that are featured. Page 267 contains several pictures of the fire at St Columba's. You may wish to view other pictures and articles relating to this event : see Page 53 of the GALLERY section, for example, and Page 14 of the HISTORY section (which is solely devoted to the fire and its aftermath).

THANK YOU FRANK. Let's hope that others will identify some of the 'missing faces' that you were not able to name.

(Frank's contact details are now in the CONTACTS section, by the way).

•I am about to start work on the recent trip to Rome and the completion of the tribute to Eugene, whose funeral took place just over a week ago.

•By the way, if you feel that you'd like to write something to Zelda—at this particularly difficult time when friends and family have returned home—don't try to email her at Eugene's old email address. I am not sure that she will want to use his computer at the moment, so a letter or card would be preferable.


25th November 2006

Even more photos from Fr Nolan's collection can be seen on Page 266 of the GALLERY

24th November 2006

More photos from Fr Nolan's collection can be seen on Page 265 of the GALLERY—including some rare pictures of Monteviot.

23rd November 2006

You'll be pleased to hear that we managed to fill the church for Eugene's funeral Mass. We had four White Fathers concelebrating with the parish priest, Canon Dolan : Fr George Smith, Fr Francis Carey, Fr Chris Wallbank and Fr Frank Nolan—plus friends from all over and a solid contingent of Pelicans—all lending support for Zelda and Zelda & Eugene's children. John and Margaret Morton designed the service, which could not have been better planned, and Peter Finn delivered a stunning eulogy to the great man on our behalf.

Within the next few days I will be preparing Eugene's tribute, which will include further detail of the service for those of you who were not able to attend.

Appropriately, the website has lain dormant for the past month or so, but a trickle of new material will gradually be released. Catch the start of this by going to Page 264 of the GALLERY section to see a few of the photos which Fr Frank Nolan has sent me.

16th November 2006
NEW Street Map of Grantham (updated twice since 7th November)

This is a very sad day for all of us who knew Eugene.

Just for once, I am stuck for words, so let me pass on some important information given to me by John Morton, who has been in close touch throughout with Zelda (Eugene's wife) and the family.

Eugene's funeral will be held at 12.30 pm on Friday 17th November, at St Mary The Immaculate Church, 1 North Parade, Grantham NG31 8AT (tel: 01476-563 935).

Eugene's body will be brought into the church at 6.00 pm on Thursday 16th.

Canon Anthony Dolan will officiate at the funeral service and two or more White Fathers will concelebrate. This will be followed by a cremation service at 2.00 pm. Later,you are welcome to join the reception to be held at The Angel and Royal Hotel (in Grantham).

Zelda would like it to be known that however much we mourn his passing, the day will be a celebration of Eugene's life. She therefore hopes that people will avoid the usual black dress code.

DONATIONS in lieu of flowers would be preferred, please ; all monies will be distributed equally towards the Missionaries of Africa (The White Fathers), Marie Curie and MacMillan Nurses.


A large turn-out is expected, so you may wish to book overnight accommodation in good time.


I include the following maps, hoping that they will be of use to some of you.

I will keep you informed when/if further news occurs. Do you know of anyone else who would want to know of Eugene's passing ?

Please attend if you can : we all owe Eugene a huge debt of gratitude for everything he has done for the Pelicans over the years. It would be a fitting tribute, therefore, if were able to fill the church at his funeral.

4th November 2006

I visited Eugene in Grantham a fornight ago but only spent a half hour or so with him because he tires very quickly. Not surprisingly, he was rather subdued. As you will know, he has a wicked sense of humour and in the past I have always spent my time with him laughing uproariously. The medication that he takes to alleviate his condition makes him sleepy and less able to concentrate. It was good to see Zelda, as well, of course. It's a very stressful time for her but she tells me that she is being well supported by her family—and friends such as John and Margaret Morton visit and keep in regular touch.

John tells me that the trip to Rome went very well and that various people are about to send me photos and stories for the website.

As you can imagine, I haven't felt like doing much towards the site of late : the news of our old comrade is not good and a temporary moratorium somehow seems appropriate. Please don't let this stop you from sending me material, though ; your contributions are what this website is all about. You stop and I'll stop.

13th October 2006

You'll be sad to hear that our good friend Eugene has suffered a setback and is far too poorly to travel to Rome, as planned for 21st October. He took a turn for the worse when in the middle of organising this trip, so Pat Menzies, John Morton and Chris Benton have kindly taken over the arrangements.

The following is a checklist of the 23 participants :

Zelda Dawes (Zelda's daughter) and her two children (Matthew and Anna), flying from Charles de Gaulle Airport
Chris and Josie Benton
Mr & Mrs Carey
Les & Joyce Croughan, flying from Albuquerque
Chris & Mary Cooper
Peter Finn
Martin Hickey, flying in from New York
Tommy & Margaret Kelly
Pat & Pauline Menzies
Frank & Pat Murphy
Bernie Osborne and her husband (Eugene's sister and brother-in-law)
John & Margaret Morton

PLEASE LET PAT MENZIES know if you have any problems relating to travel, accommodation etc
tel : +441925-222309
email : patmen3(at)talktalk(dot)net

(Look in the CONTACTS section for other telephone and email details).

More information below.


Further Information About The Trip To Rome (added 17th October 2006)
from Zelda Daws (Zelda's daughter)

(Some of which is 'translated' from the original by Paul West and only available in English)

Please forgive me if you already have this information, but here is the latest e-mail sent from the hotel.

Those who know they will arrive after 11pm, please ring on Friday 20th to get the code. As you will see,one payment is needed as we are booked as a group so please have cash to reimburse the lucky volunteer! If anyone knows how to contact

Matthew, Anna and I look forward to meeting you all next weekend; I have heard so much about you all. Have a safe trip.

Regards from Zelda Daws (Zelda's daughter)


from Chiara Cingolani

Via Aurelia,218
00165 - Roma
tel 06.393659
fax 06.39376480

Check-in time at the hotel :

  • Rooms are usually ready from 15 o'clock. If you arrive before this, it is possible to leave the luggage at the hotel.

  • Reception is open from 7.00 hrs until 23.00 hrs

  • After 23.00 hrs, it is possible to enter the Hotel with a code. So whoever expects to arrive after 22.30 hrs should call the hotel (0039 06 393659) the day before, giving their name, and asking for the updated code

  • To get into the hotel when Reception is closed:

    1. At the green gate there a display.
    2. Dial the code, push the door and enter.
    3. Go up the main stairs — just a few steps ; at the end of these steps, turn left and after this, turn right.
    4. You will see a wooden door. Your door is the one on the right.
    5. At the wooden door there is another display
    6. Dial the same code, push the door and there, on your right, is the Hall.
    7. You will find a message with your key on the desk.

      Each room has a private bathroom; towels and sheets are provided by the hotel. Although Breakfast is not included, you can easily have breakfast in our hotel because there is a coffee bar near the reception area—and is available from 7.00 hrs.

      It appears that only Mr Peter Finn will arrive after 23.00 hrs. Please ask him to call us the day before his arrival. Also, Mr & Mrs Morton will arrive on the 22nd when Reception is open. (Their room is booked for the 21st).

  • Bar Prices
      • Cappuccino 1.10
        Cioccolato 1.60
        Caffè 0.80
        Cornetto 0.60
        Succo di frutta 1.00
        Yogurt 1.00
        Cola 160ml 1.60
        Fanta 160ml 1.60
        Sprite 160ml 1.60
        Birra 160ml 1.60

  • As for the balance:
      • Triple room: euro 84.00 per night (7 nights)
      • Double rooms: euro 64.00 per night per room (7 nights)
      • Double rooms: euro 64.00 per night per room (9 nights)
      • Double room for single occupancy: euro 52.00 per night per room (7nights)
      • Single room: euro 42.00 per night per room (7nights)
      • Free double room for every 20 people. (I think this is what is meant —Paul)

        These rates don't include breakfast.

        The total amount is euro 5.182,00 calculated as follows :
        Deposit 30%= euro 1.450,00 (by bank transfer from Mons Fitzgerald) + euro 130.00 (Mrs Carey has sent)
        Balance= euro 3.602,00
        You can pay by credit card or bank transfer as you prefer.
        Sorry to inform that we don't accept American Express.
        The balance is required to be paid by credit card or cash at the check-out—or by bank transfer a week before of your arrival.
        Regarding the balance: as you are a group and you have been offered a special price, it is required an unique payment. (Note sure about this —Paul)

  • The best way to get us from Fiumicino Airport :

      1. Get a train called the 'Leonardo Express' direct to Rome Termini; the journey lasts about 30 minutes and the train leaves every half hour. Tickets should cost around euro 9.50 per person—but you can check this on the web site: http://www.trenitalia.it

      2. Get off atRome Termini. Once here, get Bus 64 or Bus 40 express and get off in Largo Argentina.
        There please wait for the 46. That bus will bring you just near Domus Aurelia. You are to get off in Pio VIII's bus stop. (It should be the 11th stop after Largo Argentina but please ask the driver).

      3. Domus Aurelia is on the same pavement, just 150 mt. before.

      4. When you get to Termini you have to buy the ticket (for bus and metro) —costing euro 1.00 per person and lasts 75 minutes

        Alternatively, book a transfer service from Airports to here.

      5. Rate for 01 car: euro 50.00 from Fiumicino Airport (one car - one way) euro 55.00 from Ciampino Airport (one car - one way).

        Rate for 01 minivan for 5 people: euro 60.00 from Fiumicino Airport (one minivan - one way) euro 65.00 from Ciampino Airport (one minivan - one way).

        If you are interested in this service, please let us know your flight details and we will be glad to arrange it and our driver will be waiting for you in the Airport hall with a noticeboard with your name written on.
        If you need more information, don't hesitate to contact us!

I hope that everything is clear to you even though my english!

Once again thank your help!

Looking forward to hearing from you asap!

Best regards
Chiara Cingolani

P.S. As for guided tours, there are many companies (Appianline - Greenline - Carrani tours). Iit shouldn't be difficul to find their web site.

Via Aurelia,218
00165 - Roma
tel 06.393659
fax 06.39376480

Located in Vatican area. (20 min walking distance from S.Peter, near the subway and bus stops).

Nothing lost in translation, I hope.

3rd October 2006

Our thanks to Robbie Dempsey, whose "Philosophy at Blacklion" can now be found in the REMINISCENCES Appendix.

25th September 2006

I am grateful to Maurice Billingsley who has forwarded an email announcing the untimely death of
Fr Ghislain Mulumbu M.Afr RIP.

Go to "Other News" (in the NEWS section) or just click here.

20th September 2006

You'll be pleased to hear that I am gradually easing myself back into the job : I needed to attend to some pressing domestic matters and they took longer than I had expected.

Thanks to a reminder by Robbie Dempsey I have now included a picture of the WF's memorial headstone at Bohernabrena cemetery—on the front page of the OBITUARIES section. This is a photo that was sent to us by John Byrne. (This also appears on Page 228 of the GALLERY).

14th September 2006

An email from Chris Benton :

Just been to St Boswells for my annual visit. My PC crashed some weeks ago and I lost everything- silly boy did not back anything up- it'll never happen to me!!!!!!! I have now started a new collection of St Boswells photo's. Most will have been seen already but I've never seen (on the site up to yet ) the exterior of (old) Melrose Railway station with its unique chimney pots. The railway line itself was closed in the 60's courtesy of Dr Beeching. However, the station building (now an Italian Restaurant) and the exterior (presumably listed buildings) including adverts for (Woodbine, Frys Chocolate Brooke Bond Tea etc) remain the same save for a lick of paint as they were in the 50s.

As usual I called on Mrs Christine Hughes now in her 98th year. She remains as bright as a button and has just returned from her 3rd pilgrimage (by bus) to Lourdes having made her first when she was 94. I spoke to her daughter Marie yesterday. Although the whole parish knows, Christine thinks she is attending a mass at 7:30pm tonight in Our Lady & St Andrew Galashiels, for a reuinon of past Lourdes pilgrims. In reality she is to be presented with the medal Bene Merenti by Cardinal Keith O'Brien for her renowned service to the Church. It is a great pity that Josie and I could not stay but we had to be home today. I have asked Marie to ensure that someone with a digital camera records the ceremony for us and will arrange as soon as poss to get pictures and a report for the Pelican website.

Hope all is well with you and yours,

Regards & Godbless, Chris

To view a selection of the photos that Chris kindly sent us, go to Page 263 of the GALLERY section or just click here.

2nd September 2006

I was very pleased to receive another story from Peter Briody in the Heston Parish Appendix : see the Tributes and Reminiscences option in the main menu.

Peter's reminiscence goes back to the late forties/early fifties and includes memories of Fr Francis Walsh, Fr Anthony Hames and Fr Prentice. Thank you, Peter. Any more where that came from, please ?

The Annual Shutdown comes to an end on Sunday next — after my coach trip to Glencoe and The Trossachs which starts tomorrow. (These coach trips are wonderful value for money, by the way, but mostly cater for the 'elderly citizen'. Invariably my wife and I are the youngest on board ; when she and I disembark at the end of the trip the average age zips back to 102).

25th August 2006

PLEASE READ Fr David Cullen's August letter, which can be found in the APPEALS section ("Thank you for your donation"). Once again, Fr Cullen gives us heart-rending insights into the lives of the people that he is trying to help — and, as always, demonstrates how relatively small amounts of money are providing a lifeline for people who badly need our help.

There remains great poverty all around. I often have to help orphans especially for school needs — and as the news spreads, so the needy surface."

22nd August 2006

Have you seen Pages 259 in the GALLERY section — the second page of Frank Murphy's photos of St Columba's and Monteviot ?
There are pictures of several priests and Brothers which have not been featured before.
Our thanks to Frank for these. A couple of his photos have already been displayed in the GALLERY, in fact, because copies must have given to Bernard Melling. (see GALLERY Page 12, for example).

Which reminds me : when I was on my way down to 'London' to see Fr Patrick Fitzgerald I stopped off at a motorway service station and bumped into Bernard. This happened once before, on my way to a reunion at Dryburgh. What are the chances of that ? I'm still puzzling about the eternal significance of this 'coincidence', as we speak.

Meeting up with Fr Fitzgerald was a real treat. For those of you who haven't seen him for 40+ years, let me tell you that he is just as passionate and committed as ever. It's ironic that he is still 'working' full-time whilst many of his old students (like me) will soon be eligible for a free bus pass. (Or have you got one already ?)

5th August 2006

A last minute job : some of Frank Murphy's photos are now displayed on Page 258 of the GALLERY.

A Bientot.

4th August 2006

1. Maurice Billingsley has sent me more of his GAP correspondence (4th Dcember 1969) which can be read on 'Page 4' of the GAP Appendix. (Thank you Maurice).

2. If you have read the Messageboard of late, you will have heard that Eugene is back at home, recuperating after the operation on his liver. May I suggest that if you wish to write to him, it might be better to send a get-well card instead of an email ? He needs a lot of rest at the moment and might feel obliged to reply to emails.

3. I am pleased to report that Pat Menzies has come across more copies of the WF / WS magazine for me and Frank Murphy (St Boswell's and The Priory 1955—1959) has sent me a great batch of photos from that period. (Thank you, Pat and Frank). Material from these two sources will soon appear on the website.

As this is the holiday period, I will be absent from time to time over the next month or so. During the coming week I will be in Ashford, near Heathrow, hoping to catch up with Fr Pat Fitzgerald, who has come over from the US for a short vacation (until next Thursday, 10th August). If you have any messages for him, please email them to me by tomorrow evening (Saturday 5th August) or write to him directly at patfitz(at)hotmail(dot)com

5. The staff and I have agreed that we will start our 'annual shutdown' as from this weekend. Eileen, our Receptionist, has already switched over to 'AnsaPhone', so if you need to make an urgent call to the office you should dial my home number (+44978 263 085). And now that the new email address* is web-based, I will be able to keep an eye on the most pressing of messages from anywhere in the world that I happen to be (such as The Trossachs** in early September).

* The new email address is webteam@thepelicans.org.uk
** This had better be good : I'm only going there to see whether it is as wonderful as the Scots' boys at The Priory so often told me.

24th July 2006

Can you add anything to the story-line of "Broadcasting To The World"—which can be found in the Reminiscences Appendix ?

22nd July 2006

A tribute to Mrs June Briveau, "friend to generations of White Fathers" has been placed on Page 10 of the OBITUARIES section. Please let me know if you would like to make your own contribution to this item.

(Don't forget, the new email address is webteam@thepelicans.org.uk)

21st July 2006

More photos : Eric Creaney's recent trip to Accra on behalf of Street Child Africa is captured in the APPEALS section. But did he enjoy himself ?— see what you think.

And there's a 'Friends of St Edward's' picture added to Fr Pat Fitzgerald's article on the closure of St Edward's. (See the Totteridge
Appendix for this).

20th July 2006

There are 3 more photos displayed on Page 259 of the GALLERY.

19th July 2006

You may have noticed that I have started the s'Heerenberg Appendix. I badly need some help with this one because I cannot find any writtten history that I can draw upon. Were you there at the time ? Were you that soldier ? If so, I'd love to hear from you.

Peter Briody, one time parishioner at Heston, has kindly added to the reminiscences we are accumulating. His article is entitled "From Heretic to Altar Boy" and you will find it under "Tributes and Reminiscences" of the Heston Parish Appendix. (Thank you Peter).

18th July 2006

The list of people who attended St Bonafatius', s'Heerenberg, is now available in the Student Listings Appendix. This is in preparation for the separate Appendix that I promised recently.

15th July 2006

You will now find two separate accounts of the White Fathers' Centenary (1968) in the HISTORIES Section (Page 44)—incorporating the material sent to me by Keith Lawson, which recently was displayed on Page 258 of the GALLERY (now deleted).

The second report — taken from a copy of the White Fathers/White Sisters No. 163 — provided by Pat Menzies.

A propos of nothing : I note that according to a recent newspaper article I have now moved into that stage in life where people just 'listen to the radio and mooch about.' Sounds cool, but to qualify you have to be 64 or over. . . And it's Radio 4 (I hope).

13th July 2006

I have been 're-decorating' some of the early GALLERY photos and would be grateful if you would look again
at Pages 31 to 34. Now that you have been reminded of so many faces from your past, would you have a fresh look at these pages to see if you can recognise any of those who haven't been identified, please ?

And tell me whether I should have included that final photo (on Page 34). I think that I have made a good link here but I could be way orf the mark. Let me know.

11th July 2006

Have you seen the 2 photos on Page 259 of the GALLERY section ? (More to come)

And there's a new record of Thibar & Carthage Theology students in the STUDENT LISTINGS Appendix.

9th July 2006

If you have had difficulty in learning a new language—particularly one which has no connection with your native tongue—you will find that the new item displayed on Page 43 of the HISTORIES section covers familiar territory. (The late) Fr Chris O'Doherty WF describes the daunting task of newcomers to a mission who are expected to be reasonably fluent within weeks of their arrival.

Remember how many years we spent just learning French and Latin ? And even after all that time how many of us would have liked to have had our skills put to the test in front of a large congregation of native speakers ?

This article also includes photographs of people whom you may recognise. Can you give me some help here with identifying these people, please ?

8th July 2006

There's a further addition to the St Edward's, Totteridge Appendix : an account of the opening / blessing by Archbishop Godfrey in 1958.

This has already appeared in the HISTORIES section, of course, but I am drawing together a variety of items for this Appendix. At some time soon I hope to create an Appendix for s'Heerenberg, too, if I can get some more material from the Dutch 'old boys' association—
"Vereniging Oud-studenten Witte Paters" (VOWP)—who may be able to help.

If you have been trying to contact Dutch students from yesteryear the following might be useful :
Kees (C.H.N.) Veenhof
Herenweg 83 A
2105 MD Heemstede
tel : 023 - 5281101

e-mail: veenhofc@worldonline.nl

And in the LINKS Appendix there's a new website listed in the 'WF' section : the centre for 'young Pelicans' that Robbie Dempsey discovered recently. (Thanks, Robbie)

7th July 2006

Maurice Billingsley attended the celebratory service to mark the closure of St Edward's (Totteridge) on 14th June and has provided us with both photos and commentary on the day's event. You can reach this by going to the appropriate APPENDIX or (if you're really that tired) by clicking here.

—for the umpteenth time, but sincerely.

If you have anything to add to Maurice's contribution OR to the Appendix itself, please let me know asap.

3rd July 2006

Rather belatedly, you can now read Eugene's newsletter covering the recent reunion at Bishop's Waltham. This includes the accompanying photos that were kindly supplied by Peter Finn and Peter Vale-Humphreys.

You can go to the NEWS section (Newsletter 50) for this or to Pages 260-261 of the GALLERY.

26th June 2006

Keith Lawson's collection of 50 photos (!) are now displayed in the GALLERY on Pages 252-258. Apologies for the delay in completing this batch. At the end of the week I should be able to return to a more regular service. In the meantime, sincere thanks to Keith for this generous contribution—and for keeping the faith while I disappeared.

Right — who's next ?

14th June 2006

Have you seen the entry on the Messageboard today from Robbie Dempsey ? Once again, Fr David Cullen has taken (precious) time to let us know how things are at the Mphangwe Prayer Centre in Chipata, Zambia. I have copied his letter for display in the APPEALS Section.

Words fail me.

7th June 2006

The fourth page of Keith's collection is now displayed on 255 of the GALLERY .

2nd June 2006

The third page of Keith (Lawson's) collection is now displayed on 254 of the GALLERY .

People will be making their way to the reunion at Bishop's Waltham today. Let's hope that it's a good turn-out, if only for Eugene's sake. I very much regret that I can't make it for the second year running. Why does Eugene always chose my wife's birthday and important appointments at the hospital ?

1st June 2006

Keith (Lawson's) collection included a photo/newspaper cutting which relates to an item on Page 243 of the GALLERY — where it is now on display.

31st May 2006

The second page of Keith Lawson's photos can be seen on Page 253 of the GALLERY.

Please would you also look again at Page 252 and see if you can identify any faces that are not yet named.

26th May 2006

The first page of Keith Lawson's photo collection starts on Page 252 of the GALLERY — with plenty of new faces for you to identify. Keith also sent me three photos from his White father missionary days in Zambia, for which I am most grateful. Thank you, Keith.

16th May 2006

This has been an encouraging week so far :

a) Maurice Billingsley
has already supplied me with some new names and dates for the student listing in the new TOTTERIDGE Appendix. He suggests that several more individuals are not accounted for, as yet. Thanks Maurice, once again, for keeping a watchful eye.

b) John Strain has found time within his busy schedule to help me identify the people who feature in the 'Farewell from St Albans' item.

b) Keith Lawson has sent me his collection of photos from his days at Blacklion, Totteridge etc

And this is only Tuesday.

13th May 2006

More has been added to the Totteridge Appendix. (And further work is in progress)

10th May 2006

A further Appendix has been added, which will eventually include further articles and photos relating to St Edward's College, Totteridge. We start with a recent article by Fr Patrick Fitzgerald which appeared in the WF / WS magazine. Many of you may have memories of St Edward's which you might like to share—so email them to me asap.

Does anyone know of an email address fro Chris Cooper, please ?

4th May 2006

Another long gap between 'updates', I'm sorry to say. (Pressing domestic/ family things to attend to, again).

I must apologise to all of you who are still waiting for a reply to emails. Please bear with me : there has been quite a deluge lately — but this time I am trying to answer them in chronological order.

Thanks, in particular, for the correspondence about the radio broadcast made by The Priory choir in 1957. I have sifted through your recollections and will be writing a summary of this event for the HISTORIES section— taking account of all your comments. I am grateful to Chris Maguire for getting this one started.

Don't forget to let me know immediately if you think any item has been incorrectly recorded.

26th April 2006

Take a moment to look at the latest entry in the Pass-It-On Appendix : "Creating Your Own Search Engine".

Don't be put off by the nerdy title : this is something that might be useful to many of you.

Also, go to the APPEALS section to find the latest Street Child Africa photos kindly sent to me by Eric Creaney.

21st April 2006 (or is it still the 20th ?)

The GALLERY section has been re-started, after quite a long hiatus. The first 4 pictures are displayed on Page 251.

Have you looked at the CONTRIBUTORS Appendix lately ? Is your name on the list? If not, and it should be, please let me know immediately and accept my sincere apologies in advance.

20th April 2006

Two more pictures have been added to the "Annual Trip To Lourdes" part of the HESTON Parish Appendix. To get there, choose the "Tributes and Reminiscences option" . Our thanks, again, to David Rose.

19th April 2006

Sorry about the long delay. We have had a lot of visitors over the Easter period and there has been no time to attend to the website.

HOWEVER, I have now managed to add some interesting items to the HESTON PARISH Appendix. David Rose sent me the 4 photos of the annual parish trip to Lourdes and Mike Frost supplied the photos of Fr Anthony Hames WF who was parish priest in the 50's. "Some Personalities Remembered" was contributed by Andrew Rampling.

You will find these displayed in the HESTON Appendix if you select the
Tributes and Reminiscences option.

Andrew and David are actively promoting this part of our website and I am most grateful to them for the progress that they have made so far. At times, of course, the material that comes from this source might seem to be a bit too 'parochial' (!) for many of you. Even so, be patient and you will no doubt find that it yields a significant increase in the number of photos of White Fathers (and Sisters) that we have known.

1st April 2006 I kid you not

Catching up : last Saturday I found time to visit St Mary's Catholic Cemetery at Kensal Rise (London), where many White Fathers have been buried. The WFs have thir own plot, next to one that is reserved for "Dicalced Carmelites" (ouch).

The cemetery is so large that you need help in finding individual graves. The enquiry office was closed for the weekend, so I asked a man who was passing for assistance. I was rather taken aback when he said that he knew where the WF plot was located and that he would take me there. Sure enough, we criss-crossed through the pathways and soon came to the plot.

Without his help I would never have found it. He told me that he once lived near to the WFs at Holland Park and that he regularly received the WF / WS magazine.

He also knew of The Pelicans.

When he left me ("to my own thoughts", as he put it) I half expected him to rise up and disappear into the clouds. (Too much chapel at an impressionable age, perhaps). Anyway, if he ever finds this paragraph : THANKEE, Stranger.

If you'd like to see the photos that I took, go to the OBITUARIES SECTION and click on the last entry in the list.

31st March 2006

Unable to add anything from the backlog today, except this :


28th March 2006

I have just returned from the "Farewell to Totteridge" event and will report on that once I've recovered from the jet lag. While I was in the London area I took the opportunity to meet up with Andrew Rampling—the person who recently supplied us with a group photo taken in the days when the WFs ran his local parish in Heston (near London Airport). He has since worked very hard to identify the 40+ faces that were present when that picture was taken. The results can be seen in the "Tributes and Reminiscences" option of the HESTON Appendix. (Click here to go directly to it).

for this and for all the other leads that you are pursuing on our behalf.

20th March 2006

Chapter 5 of "Destined for a Mission" is now ready. This completes PART 1 of Fr Wiseman's autobiography, and we leave it there, after thanking his three sisters (Marie, Celia and Bernie) for allowing me to transcribe this extract for the website. (I am indebted, also, to John and Margaret Morton for entrusting me with their pristine copy of the book).

(Go to Page 9 of the HISTORIES section or just click here to go directly to Chapter 5).

Autopilot will kick in soon because I am off to Ashford, in good time for the service that will be held at St Albans Church on Sunday 26th, to say farewell to Totteridge. Will I see you there ?

17th March 2006

My trip to London was cancelled at the last minute, so I have been able to prepare Chapter 4 of "Destined for a Mission" , which is now ready. Fr Wiseman is taken from St Denis to the prison at Fresnes, awaiting execution.

(Go to Page 9 of the HISTORIES section or just click here to go directly to Chapter 4).

Will I see you at
Hindhead on 26th March ?

13th March 2006

Chapter 3 of "Destined for a Mission" is ready. We are now getting to the harrowing part of Fr Kevin Wiseman's autobiography, where the unfortunate WF novices land up in the p.o.w. camp at St Denis, on the outskirts of Paris.

(Go to Page 9 of the HISTORIES section or just click here to go directly to Chapter 3).

12th March 2006

Andrew Rampling, a life-time parishioner at Heston, also sent me a photo and newspaper cutting about Bishop Owen McCoy — filling a much-needed gap in our record of the time when that parish was run by the White Fathers. You will find this entry in two places : in the Heston Appendix (under "White Fathers and Sisters You May Have Known") and on Page 10 of the OBITUARIES section.

Andrew only discovered our website 2 days ago and he has already given us substantial help. Thank you, Andrew, the cheque is in the post.

Tomorrow I will be meeting up with another contemporary from my days at The Priory, and hope to be reporting on that before I take (yet another) trip down Memory Lane, Ashford, West London, to get my father-in-laws' house ready for sale. The website will be on auto pilot until next week, therefore, when I will return with some more of "Destined for a Mission".

Do we really need all this domestic stuff ?

11th March 2006

Following the recent death of Canon Peter Moore, the priest who took over the reins from the White Fathers when they left the parish at Heston (Middlesex), I have created a further option entitled "Tributes and Reminiscences" on the Heston Parish 'mini website' (Appendix).

Several parishioners have been in touch this week, pleased to find out about the website, so it looks as if we will get further contributions of photos etc over the coming months. Andrew Rampling has already sent me a large group photo of about 40 parishioners from the days in which the WFs ran the parish — and David Rose made sure that I had an early copy of the euology to Canon Moore delivered at his funeral Mass on Thursday.

Click here to view these items — or just go to the HESTON Appendix.

I was very taken with a passage
from The Mystery of the Cross by Cardinal George Basil Hume that was read out at Canon Moore's funeral. I thought that some of you might also like a copy of it. It is therefore included in the PASS-IT-ON Appendix, as part of the section entitled "Births, Deaths and Marriages". Click here to go straight to the relevant section.

6th March 2006

Chapter 2 of "Destined for a Mission" is ready. Go to Page 9 of the HISTORIES section to find it or just click here.

Are you coming on the 26th ? (Details later)

6th March 2006

Celia Bermingham and her sister Marie have kindly given me permission to make an electonic version of Part 1 of Fr Kevin Wiseman's autobiography "Destined For A Mission". You will find the Foreword, Prologue and Chapter 1 on Page 9 of the HISTORIES section (or just click here).

I hope that you will be patient while I disappear to get another chapter ready, in between further work to rejuvenate / renovate this neglected house of ours.

25th February 2006

Please take time to read the excellent letter recently sent by Fr David Cullen. As always, he has taken a great deal of trouble to specify exactly where your donations went in helping the poor people in his parish. In this he does a magnificent job and I am sure that you will be moved to send him some more money to help with these individual cases of real need.

Go the the APPEALS section to read his letter or just click here.

25th February 2006

You will find two new entries in the PUBLICATIONS Appendix today : a belated link to "Mud and Mosaics" and news of a forthcoming extract from the late Fr Kevin Wiseman's "Destiny for a Mission". I have been in touch with Mrs Celia Bermingham— Fr Wiseman's sister—to ask permission to 'computerise' a large extract from her brother's book. She has agreed to confer with her sisters before (hopefully) giving the go-ahead. You may have already read the couple of chapters presented in Page 9 of the HISTORIES section. I would like to extend this and draw together the various photos that we have since received that relate to that frightening period of his life (and those of the rest of 'The Saint Denis Boys').

A tip for the start of Lent ?
If you are still undecided about what to give up for Lent, what about SUGAR ? It's not too hard a sacrifice—you even get used to drinking sugar-free tea and coffee after a couple of weeks. And there's an added bonus : you start to lose weight ! After just one month I have lost 8 lb, he said proudly. (Of course my wife suggests that my weight loss is probably more to do with hair loss than giving up sugar).

22nd February 2006

There has been little time to update the site lately but judging by the way in which the visitor-counter has been whizzing round, nobody seems to have noticed that the site has been on auto pilot for the past 12 days.

You know what it's like : you tell the carpet people that you will be ready by Wednesday of next week (for certain) and you find yourself painting walls through the night to meet the deadline.

Since my last UPDATE I have had the pleasure of meeting up with Maurice Billingsley, whom you will know as one of our regular contributors. I hadn't seen Maurice before but I knew from a recent photo that he had a long beard, left over from several Christmases ago. However, I didn't realise how tall he was (all of 6'6" I guess) so, unusually for me, I spent the time craning my neck to talk to him.

I did my usual thing of firing questions, one after the other —and then released him to his family two hours later, thoroughly exhausted and wondering whether it had been a wise decision to tell me that he sometimes visits Chester to see his daughter.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Maurice and experienced, once again, the way in which two 'ex-WF people' can fall into deep conversation within minutes of meeting up as complete strangers. Have you noticed this yourself ?

If you click here you'll go straight to the "Other News" section, where you'll find an article from The Tablet about the recent promotion of our Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald (kindly sent to me by Maurice).

(I'll try not to let things lapse too long this time).

10th February 2006

Thank you for those dozens of emails regarding the book that I was hoping to borrow for the site ("Destined for a Mission" by Fr Kevin Wiseman WF). John Morton came to the rescue once again and sent a copy the next day!

Peter Finn suffered a catastrophe with his hard disk recently and lost everything. Consequently he has had to adopt a new email address—which is now posted in the CONTACTS section.

I have been asked by the Samaritans to urge you to make a back-up of your hard disk EACH DAY (before you say your night prayers).

8th February 2006

Have you looked at the GAP Appendix yet ? I've just added another contribution from Maurice Billingsley who is transcribing the letters that he sent to his family when he was there. It's an interesting insight into the life of one British seminarian in 1969-70. This week's letter, dated 4th June 1970, mentions the possible safe/closure of Blacklion and Broome Hall.

Go to the GAP Appendix to read it or click here to go straight to its Page 4.

(Thanks Maurice)

7th February 2006

I've compiled a list of people who lived at Broome Hall during the period 1945-69 — from Peter Finn's database of British and Irish former students of the White Fathers. So if you go to the LISTINGS Appendix you can access this file by 'student' name or by year.

2nd February 2006

Spring is in the air — or maybe I'm just hoping to hit the ground running for when Lent starts: lots of tidying up is being done on the website before proceeding with new material.

There have been several reorganisinging jobs that I've been meaning to do for some time. One of these is to make sure that we have a link to Mud and Mosaics in our PUBLICATIONS Appendix. Another is to transcribe more of the Newsletters that Eugene published in the early days when 'The Pelicans' was formed. I've been re-reading some of those that are already included in the NEWS section and found them very interesting. Sadly, though, we have lost quite a few of our friends during this relatively short period.

New item : Eugene's latest Newletter (No. 49) with relevant photos can be found in the re-vamped NEWS sectiom.

I hope that you have checked the Message Board today and have noticed my appeal for Fr Kevin Wiseman's book "Destined for a Mission".

And the optimistic note about Eugene, of course.

26th January 2006

There's a new Appendix dedicated to Le Grande Seminaire, Gap — as promised recently — where I have drawn together all material about Gap from around the site. If you have more to add I'd be delighted to hear from you. You will notice that Paul Tait and Charles Bingham were the first to attend this seminary :

GAP students
Maurice Billingsley 1969-70
Charles Bingham 1962
Robert Dempsey 1969-70
John Halloran 1969-70
Peter J Hurrell 1969-70
Hugh McCaffrey  
Paul Tait 1962-63

25th January 2006

GALLERY Page 250 is now complete, with contributions from Mike Ellis and Maurice Billingsley. (Thank you both). There is also a new list of GAP novices/ Theology students in the LISTINGS Appendix, as a run up to a separate GAP Appendix that is getting underway. I have asked Maurice to let me have as many slide conversions that he is currently producing of his GAP year, so that I have a large selection from which to choose.

Has anyone been in touch with Paul Tait yet ? (He was living in Hilltop, New South Wales, Australia). I am sure that he would like to see the GAP photos that we have accumulated so far.

24th January 2006

The tribute to Fr Hugh Regan that appeared in this month's WF / WS magazine is now displayed on Page 10 of the OBITUARIES section. It is worth reading a second time to pick up on the deep respect and affection felt by his bereaved colleagues.

20th January 2006

During the past couple of months, Pat Menzies and Maurice Billingsley have lent me copies of the WF / WS magazine — and have therefore provided me with a substantial amount of previously unseen material for the site.

I have drawn up a chronological list of all the issues that 'we' now hold and I would be grateful if you would click here and see if you can provide me with any copy which is missing.

This is an urgent appeal : none of us is getting any younger and we have much catching up to do before this material disappears for good. PLEASE get up there in the attic and check whether you have any of these magazines that you could lend me for a while.

17th January 2006

The final chapters of "Mud and Mosaics" are now ready (nos. 22 and 23) and it is time to express our gratitude to Robbie Dempsey for the work that went into carefully transcribing this publication for us.

In reality, he sent me the material several months ago
and it has taken me this time to do my part. Thank you, Robbie, for not complaining about this.

Part of the delay occurred while I was searching for extra illustrations / photos, hoping that I'd be able to get some pictures of most of the missionaries that are featured. I had litle success with this, alas, and wonder whether any of you might be able to help. I couldn't even find a decent photo of Fr Gerard Rathe, the author.

Click here to go straight to Chapter 23.

15th January 2006

Chapters 21 and 22 of "Mud and Mosaics" are now ready. Click here to open the book and start reading again.

I have said before that the White Fathers' base at Heston (near London Airport) also acted as a place where priests returning from the Missions could take a short, well-earned rest. When you read Chapter 22 you will understand, once again, why many of them returned with in such poor health.

11th January 2006

Fr Peter Smith WF, UK Provincial, sent me a full tribute to the late (and multi-talented) Fr Joseph Brankin WF. I am grateful to Fr Smith, once again, for making sure that we received a copy of this so quickly.

Click here to go straight to this new entry.

10th January 2006

Do you remember Fr Francis Dickson — perhaps as your Maths teacher at The Priory, where he held the post for 8 years ? Rather belatedly, we now have a tribute to him on Page 10 of the OBITUARIES section.

Late addition :
You will also find an entry for Fr Joseph Brankin WF on Page 10. He died on 31st December (2005) and although Maurice sent me the details in good time, regrettably I was unable to real his email properly until this morning — the very day of his funeral. Apologies to all of you who knew Fr Joe and especially to those who might have wanted to attend his funeral in London.

8th January 2006

A long-awaited tribute to Bishop Holmes-Siedle has now been posted on Page 10 of the OBITUARIES section. (The original photo-only entry on Page 4 has therefore been transferred).

For those of you who are waiting for certain items to appear, please be patient as I (and the rest of the world) attempt to return to post-Christmas normality !

6th January 2006, on the twelfth day of Christmas

You may recall that Maurice (Billingsley) sent me several 'older' copies of the WF/WS magazine some time ago. I have therefore been able to reproduce umpteen items that are of real interest. I start today with a wonderful tribute that Fr Pat Shanahan delivered at the funeral of his colleague Fr Thomas Tryers, back in April 1966.

Click here to go straight to it or find it for yourself in the OBITUARIES section.

(I won't thank Maurice at this stage because there's a lot more to come).

3rd January 2006

HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all

Maurice Billingsley found time just before Christmas to send me a couple more of his letters from GAP (1969-70) which are added to those already displayed in the GALLERY. ( Click here ).

This 'letters page' is appended to his August 2004 photos of GAP (GALLERY, Page 179).

Other GAP photos from Robbie Dempsey are on Page 130 of the GALLERY.

Soon, you'll be able to go straight to the APPENDICES and just select "GAP" for these photos and letters — in the same way that you will be able to select "BLACKLION" or the name of any other WF house.

This is an 'organic' website which grows in any direction that your contributions take it.
At a certain point, though, its structure has to be tidied up in order to simplify access to evolving areas of interest.

PS Even if you didn't experience the delights of GAP, you will find that Maurice's letters are well written and of real interest. (And illustrated throughout)

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