Items that may have been
added since your last visit


7th December 2007 (Thursday)

Two more scans have been added to the Page 46 of the HISTORIES section which will take you back to the fifties when a term's-worth of haircuts at The Priory would set you(r parents) back a whole shilling.

Tell me, has the Railway Hotel at St Boswell's changed its name to The Railway Inn ? And did YOUR parents stay there when they visited you at St Columba's ?

6th December 2007 (Thursday)

I'm having trouble with my scanner. My wife is surprised that it has 'gone wrong' after only 4 years, when her tumbler dryer has lasted for nearly 30 . . . Explain that one, self-indulgent Gadget-Man.

As a consequence, material may appear in fits and starts until this is resolved. HOWEVER, I've managed to scan a letter that Fr Paul Moody sent out to the parents of Priorians 27th December 1955, reassuring them that although funds were tight, none of their sons were starving!

I notice that he didn't consult us before he wrote that. Go to Page 46 of the HISTORIES section to read the letter.

This is the start of some fascinating/unique material sent to me by Jim Youdale, to whom I am very grateful.

4th December 2007 (Tuesday)

1. We have news of 2 more couples who hope to meet up for the St Boswell's reunion next year : Owen & Susan Gormley and Mike & Kay Mearns (from Canada, who are giving it some serious thought).

2. Maurice Billingsley has managed to dig out a 1949 obituary from The Times for Archbishop Arthur Hughes (1901—1949). (Click here to view it).
I think that we ought to appoint Maurice as Head of Research, now that Tracey has left. Votes, please.

3. As suggested by Patricia Hawkins de Medina, I have added 'O Holy Night' to our Sounds Familiar Appendix—sung by Luciano Pavarotti. She directed me to the YOUTUBE video of this performance, so I have included this link for you. Any more Christmas requests ?

2nd December 2007 (Sunday)

You will find the final two pages of Kees Neeft's photos on Pages 297-298 in the GALLERY . Kees has not only supplied us with a wide range of photos that include a variety of nationalities but also a very detailed guide to each photo—no mean feat after so many years have past. THANK YOU, Kees.

Much more to come, but pease bear with me during the onslaught of Christmas.

27th November 2007 (Tuesday)

The second page of photos from Kees Neeft can be seen on Page 296 of the GALLERY.

This is turning out to be a superb collection from those days. Let's hope that some of Kees' contemporaries come across them.

25th November 2007 (Sunday)

Is this one of those shows that 'run and run' ? The Mousetrap of the internet ? This week I received a large package of wide-ranging memorobilia from Jim Youdale, following closely on the heels of yet more photos from Kees Neeft and Wim Hofman. And there's more material from Maurice Billingsley in the in-tray.

It never ceases to amaze me how this website never runs out of fresh material—though 'fresh' may not be the best way to describe it, given the age of some of it.

So, go to Page 295 of the GALLERY to see the latest in this never-ending story.

Interesting question : who will be the last person to click on http://www.thepelicans.org.uk only to find that the rest of us have gone and there's no more new stuff ?

20th November 2007 (Tuesday)

Peter Jennings recently travelled to Scotland as Press Secretary to the Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory for the Newman Cause. Read his report in the NEWS section (which includes some interesting photos taken at the old St Columba's site etc).

*Peter's book, entitled "Benedict XVI and Cardinal Newman" , has been re-launched this month by Family Publications. Details can be found in the PUBLICATIONS Appendix.

17th November 2007 (Saturday)

We have a request from Patricia Hawkins de Medina for Zucchero's ' Miserere ', sung by Luciano Pavarotti and Bono (of U2). This is now available in the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix and includes a video of one of their performances.

It seemed wrong not to add Allegri's Miserere at the same time—so it's also installed, along with words and an accompanying video.

Next to come : a further set of photos from Kees Neeft.

16th November 2007 (Friday)

This is the week in which I own up. If you go to the SOUND'S FAMILIAR Appendix and listen to the latest entry ( ' The Keel Row ' ') you will know what I mean.

And oh how I have avoided contacting David Walker
after I left it so long to say another thank-you and send him a cheque. Mea maxima culpa, David. Viele, viele Entschuldigungen. Beaucoup d'apologies. Muchos apologías. (e molti, molte scuse). You know what I mean.

Go to Page 89 of the GALLERY to see a great picture of John Mattock and Paul Maggiore, on their way to Roma with Fr Conway's Little Singers of the Celtic Cross.

15th November 2007 (Thursday)

An obituary for Desmond Fitzmaurice has been written by his friend Peter Finn—now displayed on Page 12 of the Obituaries section.

12th November 2007 (Monday)

I couldn't believe that I had forgotten to include John McCormack, singing "I'll Walk Beside You" in the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix. This was probably the most played record during my time at The Priory. This omission has now been rectified—so I hope that someone out there will be pleased to hear it again.

If you read yesterday's contribution from Wim Hofman, you will find a mention of music that I will include at a later date. So, have you a 'familiar sound' that should be added to this Appendix ? Let me know and I will do my best to track it down.

11th November 2007 (Sunday)

There's a rather special new entry in the REMINISCENCES Appendix by Wim Hofman, who was at Broome Hall 1961-62. He has an excellent memory for those days, and I am hoping that contemporaries such as David Airley, Fr Pat Shanahan and Paul Tait will be moved to contact us.

I most grateful to Kees Neeft for encouraging Wim to send us this substantial contribution and for the photos which I have re-used to illustrate the text.

7th November 2007 (Wednesday)

With thanks to John & Margaret Morton, good friends of Eugene and Zelda.

4th November 2007 (Sunday)

An abiding memory of my Priory days is of 'hanging out' in one of the classrooms listening to the small record collection of 78s that we played over and again on the wind-up record player.

During that period (1955-57) we were pretty much cut off from the outside world—there was no television for us in those days, of course, and what little news that did filter through came from the radio in one of the huts and the Times Sports page that was pinned to the main noticeboard near the chapel. These records, therefore, brought some colour into our lives and took the edge off what was a pretty austere lifestyle (even for those days).

It is possible that by the time my year arrived at The Priory, this record collection had been greatly diminished : I'm pretty certain that we had less than 10 records, whereas Brother Paddy's brief history of the Priory says "There was no radio, but there was a gramophone and plenty of records." (Not). The collection that we grew to know so well included Gounod's Ave Maria (sung by Gigli), a phantasmorgical piece by Yma Sumac—;whose vocal range made the nation's cats and dogs stop dead in their tracks and face Mecca—Panis Angelicus and 'A Sweet Mystery of Life' (which crackled badly just as it was about to reveal all).

Several of the tracks that feature in the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix have been chosen from that period. The latest is 'The Star of the County Down', sung by John McCormack. So, go there now : click on the title, close your eyes and drift back to the days when toad-in-the-hole and Moddy's beer were special treats. (Hot water taps and lino came later).

31st October 2007 (Thursday)

Please ignore the following if you are not interested in how our website functions.

Some 'behind the scenes' work has been carried out this week, so if you use the QUICK SEARCH facility you will find that the first 'search box' enables you to search Pages 1-249. The second box is for searching the rest of the website.

We have long been exceeding the capacity of our free/ excellent/ reliable /fast search facility from Picosearch, who provide a FREE service for searching 250 pages. They generously allowed me a further 250 pages, which is why we have the (separate) second search box. There is a chargeable service but it is way over the top for our needs, so a compromise has to be struck.

The GALLERY is already over the limit. (Currently standing at 294 Pages). The 'second box'
now covers the rest of the GALLERY (Pages 250+), as well as access to other, equally popular website pages. [completed this evening]

28th October 2007 (Sunday)

Go to the REUNIONS Appendix to see Chris Benton's summary of the arrangements for next year's reunion at St Boswell's (September 2008).

ALSO : Fr Dick Kinlen has supplied me with some useful comments regarding the photos on GALLERY Page 294.

27th October 2007 (Saturday)

Michael Creechan sent me photos of a recent trip to St Boswell's and the old St Columba's site. You can find these on Page 294 in the GALLERY.
I'd be grateful if you would email me with any answers to the questions that I pose on that page.

20th October 2007 (Tuesday)

Chris Benton has sent me a press cutting from the Scottish Catholic Observer which records the occasion when Mrs Christine Hughes was awarded her medal. (See item dated 20th October 2007, in the News section).


Does anyone else remember Christine from their time at St Columba's ? Or her husband, who helped to build the College ? Email me with your reminiscence, please.

16th October 2007 (Tuesday)

Chris Benton has supplied us with photos of Mrs Christine Hughes receiving the Bene Merenti medal from Cardinal Keith O'Brien in August 2006. Our thanks to Chris for pursuing this so patiently. More information to follow about this item—for which you need to go to the NEWS section.

10th October 2007 (Tuesday)

Please read the latest letter from Fr David Cullen, passed on to me by Robbie Dempsey. Fr Cullen gives up precious time to give a full account of what has been going on in his Zambian parish. He's forever grateful for any monies that are sent out via Pat Gibbons*—and makes sure that every penny goes towards the most needy. Read this September 2007 letter (in the Appeals section) to see the invaluable contribution that your funds make to people who are living such hard lives.

ALSO : there are 2 messages on the Messageboard today —from Tom Canning and Zelda Daws (daughter of Zelda MacBride). ZD writes to say that her brother, Alex, has done very well in the Chicago run and can still be sponsored. (Alex is ZM's son and Eugene's stepson).

9th October 2007 (Tuesday)

Some people might be discouraged from sending me their photos because they feel that the their snaps are pictures of rather insigifcant events, people or places. Hopefully, a couple of photos on Page 293 of the GALLERY might persuade them otherwise. Personally, I often find that pictures of rather mundane things (such as Maurice Billingsley's bedroom at Gap!) are really effective triggers for remembering the past.

Please note : there is a new email address in the CONTACTS section for Keith and Dorothy Lawson.

5th October 2007 (Friday)

'Lark in a Clear Air'—our recent addition to The Sounds Familiar Appendix, reminds me of Leo Smith (from Dublin) . Leo attended The Priory 1950-52 and then went on to spend one year at Broome Hall (1952-53). He had a fine tenor voice and his repertoire probably included 'The Lark' . One of his favourites was 'Did You Not Hear My Lady' by Handel—which he sang at a special concert that he held for us at The Priory in 1956 (or 1957).

Eugene once told me that Leo was no longer with us, but I am not sure that he was certain about that. Perhaps one of you would be able to let me know the truth of it.

Anyway, today's addition to the 'Familiar Sounds' Appendix is 'Did You Not Hear . . .", in memory of the pleasure that I personally experienced when he sang for us that night. An Welsh tenor, this time : Aled Jones.

Do YOU remember the occasion ?

3rd October 2007 (Wednesday)

Robbie Demspey has been working hard behind the scenes to compile the last 2 INDEXES to the GALLERY.

Not the most glamourous of jobs, of course, but one which will prove to be very useful (and time-saving) for us all. Robbie has given us the basic information that we need for searching through this ever-expanding library of photos. THANKS ROBBIE, you've done an excellent job.

To view the work that he has done, go to the GALLERY now.


Patricia Hawkins de Medina (a regular 'Blacklion' visitor to the site) wrote the following recently : "Something jogged my memory a few days back, and I remember Fr. John Conway sang "Lark in the Clear Air" on-stage at a concert in Belcoo Parish Hall, so very many years ago.?I remember being there with my parents, and I seem to recall another White Father also sang there that night."

So, in memory of Fr Conway, I've added a track to our Sounds Familiar Appendix : Peter Morrison singing "The Lark".

2nd October 2007 (Tuesday)

At last ! The website's copy of the opening of St Augustine's, Blacklion on 1st September 1955 —see the entry in the VIDEO Appendix.

Please note : we are indebted to Bernard Melling, for creating the dvd from which this video was transcribed for the internet.

23th September 2007 (Thursday)

Apologies for the time that it has taken to get the "Seven Steps to the Altar" video functioning properly. It has been a very frustrating experience, mostly because YOUTUBE kept rejecting files that were well within the limits that they specify. Even so, I am grateful to YOUTUBE for the way in which we are able to include video footage on our website.

Just a reminder : Pages 222-223 of the GALLERY include many 'screenshots' taken from the Seven Steps film. Are you able to help me identify some of the individual ordinands, please ?

23rd September 2007 (Sunday)

There is a further addition to the VIDEO Appendix : "Seven Steps to the Altar", a film that records the ordinations held at St Columba's, 3rd June 1949, conducted by Archbishop Andrew Joseph MacDonald OSB of Edinburgh.

1949 ? A bit before your time, perhaps ? 58 years ago—but still of interest, I hope, to some of us old-timers.

Some of you will recognise many faces from the past — such as Fr Paul Moody, Fr Jospeh O'Brien, Fr Christopher O'Doherty, Fr Thomas Rathe, Fr Geoffrey Riddle, Fr Angus Shelton, Fr Daniel Sherry, Fr Gerard Taylor, Fr Peter Walters and Fr Kevin Wiseman.

I've had to guess some of these names because this old 16mm film—now digitised—is also showing its age. Mostly, these are people who had their studies interrupted by WW2 and were interned at St Denis for the duration.

"Seven Steps" was included on a dvd produced by Bernard Melling and first shown at the Dryburgh reunion in 2003.

20th September 2007 (Thursday)

Please read the Message from Chris Benton regarding the reunion to be held next year at St Columba's. Chris has started preparations early for this event because he knows that accommodation at the Dryburgh Hotel needs to be booked well in advance. The Dryburgh will be the main focus for the reunion, of course, though there are other places to stay in the area—notably the excellent Greenside Farm B+B. (See the Maps and Accommodation Appendix).

Our thanks to Chris and Josie for the work that they are undertaking on our behalf.

Later today I hope to have an addition posted in the VIDEO Appendix. John and Margaret Morton went to visit Frank Copping in the summer and recorded a video interview with him. Frank is the only surviving member of the seminarians that were interned at St Denis (Paris) during WW2.

Please note : Paul Farrell has changed his email address.

13th September 2007 (Thursday)

Go to Page 292 of the GALLERY to see the second page of Mrs Pat MacGowen's record of her visit to The Priory in 1985 with her nephew, Ebbie Bolan.

Included, also, is a copy of the painting of The Priory which she completed in 1998. (For which I am particularly grateful).

30th August 2007 (Thursday)

You will find more photos on Page 291 in the GALLERY. Mike Mearns has given us a further two pictures—taken at the time of the launch of the The Boat on the lough at Blacklion—and Mrs Pat MacGowan has kindly lent us her record of the day that she visited the Priory back in 1985, accompanied by **Ebbie Bolan, her nephew.

Our thanks to Mike and Pat.

**The late Ebbie Bolan is Margaret Morton's brother—the very talented watercolourist. You will find his paintings on Pages 96, 97, 127, 128 and 129.

More photos to follow on my return from a short holiday.

(Another one ? What's happening to this website? He keeps taking time off. Is he looking for another job or something?)

27th August 2007 (Monday)

This is just to let you know that I have just returned to preparing new material for the website again, having spent the best part of last week struggling to get back on-line. I decided to change my broadband provider—to the one which devised the "Connect and Go!" slogan . . . . I spent several frustrating hours on the phone and eventually had to use the services of an (excellent) outside agency called 'The Geek Squad', who restored my system within 5 minutes. Um.

Robbie Dempsey has kindly produced another Index for the GALLERY (for Pages 151-200). I just hope that he didn't spend the bank Holiday weekend doing this! There's a lot of work involved in creating these indexes and I am very grateful to him for this level of support.

It would a great help now if others would study this section of the GALLERY to see if any more names can be added to faces.

On its way : 2 photos from the Mike Mearns' Attic and several more from a relative of John and Margaret Morton.

18th August 2007 (Saturday)

One more photo of the reunion at BW has been added to the second page of photos. Go to the REUNIONS APPENDIX for this.

Are you visiting your old haunts at St Columba's or Blacklion this summer ? If so, I'd be grateful if you would think about taking a 'moving picture' with your digital camera that I could use in the VIDEO APPENDIX.
17th August 2007 (Friday)

There are some more photos for you to see, on Page 290 of the GALLERY. Some are from Margaret & John Morton, taken at the BW reunion in May ; two others are of a visit they made to Suffolk, to meet up with Francis Copping, lone survivor of the POW Camp at St Denis.

You will also see copies taken from 5 slides of Fr John Conway—kindly sent in by Patricia Hawkins de Medina. These have yet to be labelled properly.

Our thanks to Patricia, Margaret and John for their continued support.
13th August 2007 (Monday)

Two more items have been added to the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix. A lifetime membership of The Pelicans will be awarded to the first person to identify these latest additions. (Judge's decision final).

11th August 2007 (Saturday)

Robbie Dempsey was the only brave soul who volunteered to help by creating a further INDEX for the GALLERY. He has been slaving away throughout the summer—regardless of being soaked on so many occasions—and has come up with a rock-solid Index for Pages 101-150.

Go. Test it now, at Page 1 of the GALLERY.

A thousand francs, Robbie, for yet another generous contribution to the website.

(There's more material in the pipeline, of course, but I need you to be patient. I am on my own here during the Summer Shutdown, and seem to be spending most of my time reading postcards from sunnier climes sent in by members of staff. The cleaner writes to say that she might be staying on for the second cruise and probably won't be returning in September. Ho hum!)

3rd August 2007 (Wednesday)

The VIDEO Appendix now includes the introductory (silent) movie clip, as promised. If you have visited this Appendix recently you will be surprised by this 'final' version. When it gets underway, you will be able to see all available clips AND view them on the same VIDEO webpage. (No trotting off to YOUTUBE, therefore).

ALSO, there's a new feature in the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix : I have added an MP3 'Flash' Player for you to test. Just click on the title of the piece of music and it will play immediately and stay on the SOUNDS FAMILIAR webpage. The original format of this page is retained, in case you prefer it.

PLEASE LET ME HAVE YOUR COMMENTS regarding these two innovations.

1st August 2007 (Wednesday)

Have you spotted the new Video Appendix ? This facility will be ready within the next few days. At first, you will be able to view a demonstration video clip — and this will prove how easy it is to use. In the weeks that follow, a couple of films from the fifties and sixties will be ready for viewing. These have already been transcribed from film to DVD by Bernard Melling and circulated, so far, on demand.

Ultimately, it is hoped that people will create their own (short) video clips, mostly by means of the 'movie' facility built into today's digital cameras. (One or two minutes of footage is probably ideal). The aim is to build a small library of these short clips — some of which will feature future reunions, of course.

18th July 2007 (Wednesday)

A late entry in the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix : Etudes Op. 10 No.3 in E major (Tristesse). Remember this ?

17th July 2007 (Tuesday)

You'll find an up-to-date MESSAGE BANK now which can be accessed as an Appendix (see bottom left panel), with separate access to each of the 8 years recorded so far. Only a few messages have been lost (deleted by Bravenet and not pre-saved by me).

I hope to expand the number of photos appended to messages after I have returned from my short holiday. Do have a look at this 'new' facility ; it's been a bit of a slog getting it ready but it has also been most interesting to re-read messages from way back when.

True to her word, Patricia Hawkins de Medina has sent me some slides which Fr John Conway gave to the family whilst serving in Africa. I am hoping that if I project them on to a screen I will be able to take photos of each slide with my digital camera, to an acceptable standard (I hope). It might just work—if not, I shall get them processed commercially. I mention this because some of you may have been wondering how to convert your old slides into prints—without breaking the bank.

Thank you, Patricia.

I am indebted to Chris (Benton) for taking over responsibility for handling any queries that might be raised via the Message Board. If you are still waiting for a response to an email that you sent me, I promise to deal with it on my return.

15th July 2007

The salvage work that I am currently undertaking on the Message Bank is taking a lot longer than I had hoped. I am confident, however, that when this update is completed it will prove to be a very useful enhancement of the website. Selected entries are now illustrated with photos (old and new)—and the Bank is subdivided by year, making it less unwieldy. Scrolling and searching past messages is now a greal deal faster.

I must say that it's fascinating to re-read messages spanning the past 8 years. Sadly, of course, several contributors are no longer with us ; others have made one or two appearances and have never re-surfaced. If time allowed, it would be nice to get back in touch with those who have 'disappeared'. The only feasible way of doing this is for individuals to 'adopt a year' and work slowly through the messages, contacting correspondents whom we haven't heard from since.

What do you think?

I'll re-surface myself soon—before I take some of my annual leave at the end of this coming week. Hopefully I will have completed most of the Message Bank by then.

10th July 2007

Three more photos have been added to Page 289 of the GALLERY—with thanks to Andy Smith (Eugene's lifelong friend) and Bernie & Peter Osborne.

And Robbie Dempsey alerted me to the fact that 60+ photos had not been transferred over to the new server (computer), so there have been huge gaps in the BLACKLION Appendix. I'm most grateful for this information. (Now corrected).

7th July 2007 (Friday)

A group photo from Pat Southall can be seen on Page 289 of the GALLERY and 2 photos from a recent reunion held at Rutherglen were sent to me by Mike Creechan. (See the REUNIONS Appendix for the latter).

Can you help me get the names right in both cases, please? Our thanks to Pat and Mike, again, for keeping in touch and taking time to provide us with another contribution for the website.

Robbie Dempsey has suggested that I ask for volunteers to create further indexes* for the GALLERY. You may have noticed that I created indexes for Pages 1-50 and 51-100 some time ago, but then got too busy to finish the job. Robbie has offered to produce an index for Pages 101-150, and I have asked him to copy the existing format and to send the result to me as a WORD document. I can then create the webpage, which will include the linking facility.

This would be a tremendous help and I am most grateful to Robbie for his offer. Question : Would anyone else be willing to take on the job of creating indexes for any of the remaining 'blocks', e.g. Photos 151-200 or 201-250 ?

*I am tempted to say "indices" here—but that is probably reserved for mathematicians

5th July 2007 (Friday)

That brave man Chris Cooper has sent me some letters that he wrote to his family when he was a student at The Priory (1959-62). You can read them on Page 45 of the HISTORIES section. I've included some photos taken from the GALLERY from that period.

ALSO, I've started Page 289 of the GALLERY with a contribution from Pat Gritton—for those of you who can remember the sound of trains chugging along in the distance across The Priory fields.

Thank you, Pat and Chris, for your continued interest and support for our website.

1st July 2007 (Friday)

So far, we have 3 pages of photos taken at the recent reunion. Sincere thanks to John and Bernie Osborne for their contribution and their patience while waiting for them to be published. You can view these pictures by going to the REUNIONS Appendix.

26th June 2007 (Friday)

Peter Jennings has allowed me to reproduce an article that he wrote to mark the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the monks at Quarr in 1907—where another ex-WF student, Peter Johnson, is the Abbot. Go to the NEWS section to read this.

Peter Jennings has also made a generous offer to those of you who might be in the vicinity of Dryburgh when he visits Scotland in late July. Go to the Messageboard to read his invitation.

24th June 2007 (Friday)

The Minutes of the meeting convened at Bishop's Waltham can now be read by going to the NEWS section or the REUNIONS Appendix. Our thanks are due to John and Margaret Morton for their part in producing this record.

You will need to read through these Minutes to see who has volunteered to take responsibility for the various aspects of running our Association.

22nd June 2007 (Friday)

The new batch of photos on Page 288 of the GALLERY is not fully annotated yet. I need some help in identifying people/places please. I am very grateful to Chris Cooper and Patricia Hawkins de Medina for these further contributions to the website.

Isn't it amazing how we still get new material arriving after all these years ? And we've had some real gems in recent months—such as that gallery of watercolour portraits taken from the sketchbook of Fr Theo Winkelman.

During the last month I have been very preoccupied with domestic matters and have not been able to spend much time on the website or to answer emails/phone messages promptly (or at all . . .). Apologies to any of you who might feel upset by my lack of response : it's the classic case of being even more busy since choosing to stop 'work' work. I know that many of you are in the same boat and will understand. (At this rate, I'll soon be asking for an amnesty from people who have sent me unanswered emails).

You'll be pleased to discover, therefore, that 3 weeks after we enjoyed such a successful reunion at Bishop's Waltham, we now have a report on what was discussed in the reunion meeting that we held. Our thanks to John and Margaret Morton, therefore, for staying awake and making notes. During the weekend, these Minutes will be added to both the NEWS section and the REUNIONS Appendix.

6th June 2007 (Thursday)

We have some more photos from Wilhem Winkelman* on Page 287 of the GALLERY, plus a rare picture of Criostoir O'Cleireachain sent to us by his brother, Seamus. Did YOU know Criostoir ?

*Wilhem has been a great help to us—and promises even more photos

/pictures/portraits at a later date.

31st May 2007 (Thursday)

Here's a small-but-beautiful addition to the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix.

I am indebted to Mike Mearns for this : he wrote me an email in February 2005 (!) about a website which contains audio snips of 'ancient' radio programmes—such as Journey Into Space, Dick Barton, In Town Tonight, Childrens' Hour (etc).

provides a fascinating trip down Memory Lane for any of you who, like me, came from a family of avid radio listeners*.

*My listening seemed to stop when I got to The Priory because there was little time left over for the Radio. The days were taken up with Study, Chapel, Games and Manual Work and there was little time after Supper before bed or Night Study (at 9.00pm).

28th May 2007 (Sunday)

I have just returned from a most enjoyable reunion at Bishop's Waltham but am too jet-lagged to write about it au moment. Instead, I bring you something that I prepared earlier : an offering kindly sent to me by Patricia Hawkins de Medina (from Belcoo), which included a photo of her father, Dr William Hawkins, who was Medical Officer at Blacklion for the whole duration.

THANK YOU Patricia for sending us another piece of the jigsaw — and for your promise to look for more photos from those days.

You will find Patricia's photos on Page 286 of the GALLERY.

20th May 2007

O QUAM GLORIFICA (How Glorious Thou Art) is now a part of our SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix. This might transport some of you back to 1957 (!) when The Priory boys made a recording for the BBC. To read about this, click here in the REMINISCENCES Appendix.

18th May 2007

The seventh and final page of Father Theo Winkelman's portraits can now be viewed on Pages 285 of the GALLERY.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Willem Winkelman for this superb /unique record.

Who would have thought that we would have stumbled across such a collection after all these years ? Well, it wasn't actually a 'stumble' — more like persistent searching by Pat Menzies who knew of these drawings, of course, and managed to trace them via Willem, who is writing a book about his uncle, Fr Theo Winkelman.

If you would like to thank Willem yourself, he can be contacted at wwinkelman@wanadoo.nl

17th May 2007

Two more pages of Father Theo Winkelman's portraits : Pages 283-284 of the GALLERY.

By the way, I am not deliberately releasing these photos in several stages : there are more than 60 portraits in this collection, for example, so I display them as soon as I have one or two pages ready (edited/prepared) for displaying.

I had a surprise parcel this morning : Robbie Dempsey sent me his Liber Usualis to keep! I wonder if this was because I recently wrote that my own copy 'disappeared' some years back ? I'm delighted to have this 1950 version—probably of the same print as my original. Now I will not have to search the web for plainchant music and words. (And now, on occasion, I might even choose appropriate pieces of music for the Messageboard that fit in with the liturgical calendar . . . ).

THANKS ROBBIE. That's a most welcome present.

15th May 2007

Two more pages of Father Theo Winkelman's portraits—carefully annotated by his nephew, Willem : Pages 281-282 of the GALLERY.

I am intending to display a copy of the old 'Penny Catechism' in the HISTORIES section , along with other associated material of that period. These are significant parts of our individual/ communal histories and deserve greater prominence. Agreed?

Have you read today's entry on the Messageboard ?

14th May 2007

During the recent hiatus hernia I was moved to search the internet, once again, for a copy of the old Catechism. It was issued in 1940 and became compulsory (though not compulsive) reading for us war-time babies. See how I got on by going to the REMINISCENCES Appendix or by clicking here. The item is entitled "After Q.224 I knew I was a gonner . . .".

Please check the REUNIONS APPENDIX to see the final arrangements for our reunion at Bishop's Waltham (weekend starting Friday 25th May). We cannot track down John & Sylvia Dawson. Has anyone got an email address for them ?

13th May 2007

Do you remember those excellent water-colour portraits that Father Theo Winkelman produced of his year group when he was at s'Heerenberg with Pat Menzies ? They were originally displayed on Page 270 in the GALLERY but I have removed them because I have been sent 60 more by Fr Theo's nephew—Willem Winkelman—and I felt that they ought to be displayed sequentially. So, starting from today, you will find them, in all their glory, on Page 279 onwards. (The first 2 pages are ready now).

Fr Theo was a very talented artist and I am very excited by this unique collection, as I hope you are. I cannot thank Willem enough for allowing us to exhibit them.

See if there are any portraits of people that you once knew (or still do).

12th May 2007

A 'sheet music' column has been added to the entries in the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix, specifically for those who attend the Sunday Mass at Bishop's Waltham on 27th May—but I will continue to include this feature for all items listed, as and when I get the chance.

I am hoping that people who attend the BW reunion will use this facility to make their own print-outs of 'Salve Regina', 'Adoro Te Devote' and 'Veni Creator'—just in case we are invited to sing one of these favourites.

11th May 2007

Margaret Morton works as an SEN teacher at St Joseph's Catholic Primary School in Sutton Coldfield. She kindly agreed to get her school choir to record "Sweet Saviour Bless Us Ere We Go" and "This Is The Image Of Our Queen" for our Music archive.Go to the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix to hear their charming rendition of these two classic hymns. (With a Brummie introduction as an added extra).

Thank you Margaret for organising this and many thanks to the children who took part —you did an excellent job and your recordings will be heard all around the world !

Behind the scenes : Dawn, our work experience girl left today. When she came to say goodbye she told me that she would never forget the Penguins . . . .

10th May 2007

We're back on air!

I have managed to 'upload' much of the website's text content but not all of the 'Sounds Familiar' files yet. (These are relatively large items and I need to wait until the internet traffic slows down to make successful transfers).

So, we're nearly there . . . and soon there will be time to introduce material that has been waiting in the wings AND to give you the latest information about the BW reunion.

23rd April 2007

Olivia O'Dolan's tape that she sent me recently contained a recording of a Christmas Special put out by RTE about 10 years ago,
featuring Canon Sydney McEwan.

Remember him ? He who always wanted to sing like his friend and fellow Irish tenor, Count John McCormack ? (And nearly did).

Olivia thought that some of the tracks included on the tape would be of particular interest to people who were seminarians in the fifties/sixties. I have therefore chosen two of his recordings that might be appropriate : "My Ain Folk" and "Queen of the May". You will find them in the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix.

Thank you, once again, Olivia. I was tempted to include some of the interview with Sydney McEwan, but decided against it in order to conserve /manage the space available.

21st April 2007

Pages 277 & 278 contain the final photos from Jan Spierings' collection. I have still got some names to add given to me by Michael Gallagher and others. Please rack whatever brains are left and send me your suggestions—but please be precise with regard to the photo(s) you are discussing. Just remember that I'm hanging on to half a brain at this end, too.

THANK YOU Jan for an excellent piece of work. Your annotations were most helpful, and you selected a very interesting batch of photos.

20th April 2007

Please read important news about the end-of-May reunion at Bishop's Waltham—by clicking here.

19th April 2007

The sixth page of Jan Spierings' collection contains just one photo and several 'close-ups' taken from it. I thought that it might be useful to dwell on a single group photo from that period and try to identify every individual featured. Can YOU help here ? (It's on Page 276 of the GALLERY)

John Morton has been negotiating a favourable deal with the Bank's's'ss' restaurant in Bishop's Waltham so that we enjoy a reasonably priced meal together on the Saturday evening of our reunion. Obviously, there aren't many places in that part of the world that can cater for what might be a 30-odd group of people, so John has secured an advanced booking for us. As soon as I have further details I will let you know. Other arrangements for the reunion weekend are being planned, so that people can either 'do their own thing' or join the main group for somthing that has been organised. Above all, of course, we need ample opportunity for chewing the cud and re-discovering old haunts.

18th April 2007

Would you believe it ? After all this time, David Ritson's Sancta Maria is now sitting in the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix ready to play !

So I must now offer my grovelling apologies to David and Bernard Melling for taking so long to deliver the goods.

Apologies must also go to Tom as well :
he DID get me the mp3 version ' by dawn the next day' . He meant DELIVERED by Dawn — our work experience student, who lives in the same street as Tom. She had agreed to help him by bringing it in with her today!

(Would you Adam and Eve that ?) (Just to round off things ?) (Go on).

17th April 2007

The fifth page of Jan Spierings' photos is now ready for you to see on Page 275 of the GALLERY. And we've had some help in identifying people on previous pages from Jan, Olivia O'Dolan and Maurice Billingsley—so it's worth going back to Page 271 to see these.

You won't want to hear this but remember I told you about old Tom the Music Man (whom we call 'Tom Tom' *) ? Someone must have given him the nod because he made an unexpected appearance this morning. Before I could put his cards on the table, as it were, he promised me an mp3 version of Dave Ritson's Sancta Maria 'by dawn tomorrow'. (What planet is he on?). So I had to let things stand for the moment, but I'm not letting him delay on that tape of Olivia's. Either it's done within the week or he's OUT.

*He thinks we call him Tom Tom because he told us that he was the son of a piper man (in the Argyll and Highlanders) but we call him that because he needs a satnav just to find the office. Every time he decides to show his face he has to ring up for directions.

15th April 2007

These photos that Jan has given us are wonderful glimpses of the past—and Page 274 of the GALLERY has even more scenes that you thought had gone forever. This website is gradually looking like a reasonably decent archive, thanks to people such as Jan and all the others that are listed in the CONTRIBUTORS Hall of Fame.

QUICK BITCH: Over the past 6 years the sources of new material have never completely dried up : mostly, when it slows down to a trickle, it is due to the staff taking long holidays or ringing in with a 'sickie'. The person who deals with the music for the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix is particularly bad. He doesn't know what he's doing half the time. We've been waiting an age for the much-promised Sancta Maria recording made by David Ritson, haven't we? Time for the old heave-o I think, wrapped up in a tempting early retirement package. You can't keep carrying people, can you ? (It's all right—he can't read this small type).

14th April 2007

The third page of Jan Spierling's photos is ready : Page 273 of the GALLERY
12th April 2007

Back from an unplanned visit to Metropolis, but back in time to display the second page of Jan Spierling's photos. (Page 272 of the GALLERY)
I'd be very grateful for some help in identifying people, please.

Many more photos to come, you'll be pleased to hear.

6th April 2007

Jan Spierings has sent me some superb photos from his days at s'heerenberg and Totteridge —50 pictures in all — and I have started to display these on Page 271 of the GALLERY. many more to come during this week.

Olivia O'Dolan has a surprise package for the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix, which I hope to tackle asap.

Our thanks to Jan and Olivia for their contributions and continuing support of our website.

Please read the Messageboard on your way out.

23rd March 2007

A rare find this week :

Pat Menzies writes (March 2007) : I have recently been in touch with Willem Winkelman who is the nephew of  Father Theo Winkelman who was my ordination year (1958).  I came across him while I was trying to get hold of a a book of portraits which Theo did when we were in the noviciate in s-heerenberg.
He sent me some of the copies via the computer and I think they are very good. They feature guys like Brian Garvey, Alec McGarry and Robert Clyde as 17 year olds still with the stars in their eyes . . . . I  told him about our site and he might get in contact with you. He happens to be writing a book on the Winkelman family in Holland and Theo in particular.

To see the portraits, go to Page 270 in the GALLERY or click here.

THANK YOU WILLEM AND PAT. I'm hoping that more pictures will be discovered and that we will be allowed to display them on our website.

14th March 2007

John Dawson has been in touch—and will be attending the reunion in May. (St Columba's 1955-57). His details are in the CONTACTS section. (We currently have about 2 dozen people signed up for Bishop's Waltham).

Please note : I have exorcised the demons that were bedevilling this UPDATE Page.

13th March 2007

Peter Vale-Humphreys appears in a recent entry in the NEWS section and there's a photo that needs your attention on Page 270 of the GALLERY.

Also, please find time to read the latest letter from Fr David Cullen, stationed in a remote part of Zambia. A little while ago, a visitor who stumbled on this website came across a letter from Fr Cullen and he immediately decided to send him a very generous donation. This is wonderful news—and you can just imagine how many people Fr Cullen will help because of this. You'll find the letter in the APPEALS section. (Or click here to go to it directly).

7th March 2007

I am experiencing a few difficulties at the moment but hope to return to full transmission soon. The UPDATE page seems to have been corrupted (at my end only).

In the meantime, have a look at Page 270 in the GALLERY section for a rare photo of Templeogue days from Michael Gallagher—the first piece of evidence that the house was used for Philosophy students. I am hoping that some of Michael's contemporaries will see this and think about sending me some more material from that era.

I have also added to information about the Bishop's Waltham Reunion (June), which can be accessed via the WELCOME Page. It now includes a current list of those who have notified me that they will be attending. It's going to be a big turn-out. Will YOU join us ?

24th February 2007

Francis Copping is probably the last surviving member of the group of White Father seminarians and priests who were interned for the duration of the war at St Denis, Paris. He is 87 years old and living in a block of almshouses in Bury St Edmund's. Francis rang me this week to ask if I knew how to get hold of Fr Kevin Wiseman's account of this experience. I directed him to the part of the book which has been transcribed for our website on Page 9 of the Histories section — and to John Morton who lent me the book so that this could be done.

Francis is no slouch with the modern technology, either — you'll find his email address in the the CONTACTS section — and after having a good look at the Pelicans' website he hopes to gather up some photos for us from his days with the WFs.

Sounds Familiar or Familiar Sounds ? You chose — and listen to the new entry in that Appendix. "Eternal Father Strong To Save" might be better known to you as " For those in trouble on the sea". A great favourite of mine (and of the United States Navy, I might add, who refer to it as 'Little Ducks' for some reason).

Next entry in this Appendix : "Sancta Maria" sung by David Ritson, which has been on my desk for an embarrassingly long time. With apologies to Bernard Melling, too, who sent it to me.

24th February 2007

Laszlo Clements, a parishioner from Heston, has written of his early memories of the parish when it was run by the White Fathers. Go to the 'Tributes and Reminiscences' section of the Heston Parish Appendix (left) or just click here.

23rd February 2007

Tommy Price recently emailed me an interesting set of pictures and these are now displayed on Pages 268 & 269 of the Gallery. I still have 3 photos to process but I need to check that they are not already held elsewhere on the site.

THANK YOU, Tommy — I was particularly pleased to receive the picture of the Priory Study Hall, which I have named 'most evocative photo of the year'. (Ed's prerogative, and it's still only February).

17th February 2007

The tribute to Fr John Sandom WF is now ready. (see the OBITUARIES section)

15th February 2007

Go to the OBITUARIES section to read the completed tribute to Fr Liam Ludden WF.

14th February 2007

Page 6 of the photos taken during the recent trip to Rome is ready.
(See the REUNIONS Appendix or select from the following :
Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 ).

I have decided to stop at this point, even though there are dozens more photos that I could have selected from the batches sent to me by Chris & Josie Benton, Pat & Pauline Menzies and John & Margaret Morton. We'll run out of webspace if I continue! Our thanks to them all, therefore, for an excellent set of pictures.

Yesterday, I received a telegram from the Queen informing me that my Old Age Pension was waiting at the local Post Office whenever I felt strong enough to venture out. To mark the occasion, my family have bought me a co-ordinated outfit in beige, including a powder-blue sailing cap for when the weather turns. I will try not to fall asleep at the keyboard after lunnnnchh


12th February 2007

There are 2 items on the Messageboard that you may have missed. (With thanks to Olivia and Robbie).

I have also added these to the NEWS section.

You will find entries in the OBITUARIES section for Fr John Sandom, Fr Liam Ludden and Fr Francis Ball — with more to follow in each case.

9th February 2007

Page 5 of the photos taken during the recent trip to Rome is ready. (See the REUNIONS Appendix).

7th February 2007

Page 4 of the photos taken during the recent trip to Rome is ready. (See the REUNIONS Appendix).

5th February 2007

Great excitement for some of the ex-St Columba's students : Fr Pierre Aucoin has made contact via the Messageboard.

The third page of the Rome photos can be accessed via the REUNIONS Appendix, following the "Rome trip" link.

• 2nd February 2007

Have you looked at the Messageboard during the past week ?

• 31st January 2007

Page 2 of the photos taken during the recent trip to Rome can be found by accessing the REUNIONS Appendix (see left).

• 26th January 2007

After receiving more feedback from visitors to the site, I have made another change to the layout of the Welcome Page and hope that this makes it easier to read the menus.

In case you do not make a habit of checking the (very under-used) Messageboard, here is a copy of the message I left today :

"Two people made contact today : firstly Michael Finn, onetime pupil at St John's, hoping to get back in touch with Pat McHale—one of several Priory boys who took their A Levels at his old school; secondly, Robbie Dempsey, who gave me the address of a website that will show you what any website looked like at various times in its history.

So, if you'd like to view the first edition of the Pelicans' website (or whatever) go to http://www.archive.org and choose the 'wayback machine' option.

And I don't want to hear any sniggers"

I have added this fascinating facility to our LINKS Appendix

25th January 2007

Have you noticed that :

1. There is a message from Peter Berkel on the Messageboard.

2. A REUNIONS Appendix has been started, which will act as a record of all future and past reunions, though I will need time to include those that have already taken place. At present it just contains photos and commentary on the recent trip to Rome. (More of this, soon)

3. The Welcome Page menus have been slightly re-jigged. Peter McMurray (Australia) has advised me that people using Internet Explorer have been unable to view some of the Appendices.

I am always glad to get feedback like this : as you may know, the layout of a website can vary according to the age and type of computer on which it is viewed AND the browser software. I test our site on a Macintosh and PC running the Firefox browser (and Safari on the Mac)—and checking on any other combination/machine is just not feasible UNLESS we hire a full-time webmaster. For the moment, I will ask the staff what they think. Perhaps they could take it in turns to make a daily check.

(You'll be pleased to hear that they have all crept back to work at last. I haven't said anything to them about this unofficial leave because I think that some of them were a bit upset about not receiving a Christmas bonus this year. Hey Ho).

20th January 2007

See the NEWS section for the start of the ROME TRIP photos and commentary. I wasn't present on this trip, so be ready to email me if I make any mistakes. Photos were sent to me by Margaret & John Morton, Pat & Pauline Menzies, Chris & Josie Benton and Peter Finn—so I have literally hundreds of pictures from which to select a few dozen.

This one will run and run!

18th January 2007

Just one photo for you today : Page 268 in the GALLERY, sent in by Michael Ashe. Can you help name the 2 unidentified lads please?

(Thanks Michael. I hope that you have found the other pictures of Phil Camp in the NEWS section).

17th January 2007

Yes, I've taken an extended break and have come back to work refreshed for another year. I was awoken from my stupor by reading Bill Bryson's "Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid" which had me laughing at every line—and so out of control that my wife wouldn't allow me in the same room to read it. I recommend it to anyone who gets suicidal in the merrie months of January and February. (UK and Scandinavian countries only) To get the full bi-polar experience, however, you should then read Alan Benett's "Untold Stories".

2007 will be the first year in which we will soldier on without Eugene. People have already been talking about holding a reunion in his honour at Bishop's Waltham on Pentecost Sunday (May 27th). Tom Wilkie has told Zelda that he will be pleased to accommodate as many Pelicans as he can for that weekend. So you may wish to make a note of his telephone number (01489 890188) or look at the 'Maps and Accommodation' Appendix. Terry Butler, representing the parishioners at BW, has sent his condolences and says that he hopes we will continue the traditional Pentecostal visit that was started by Eugene.

I intend to display information such as this in the NEWS section in future. No doubt you have noticed that it isn't being used to it best advantage so far. You have probably been wondering, also, why I don't delete 'old' information from the NEWS section and other parts of the website. In the first instance, I just don't have the time (and can't really delegate this to other members of staff *) ; secondly, this is a website which grows organically—according to whatever is relayed to me via the phone, email or pushed under the door—and I think that we would lose a great deal if we started pruning back the deadwood too much.

Have you noticed my tendency to be undemocratic, by the way ?

*A sincere Thank You is due to that person who sent me a Christmas card addressed to "Paul West and the staff" ; we were very touched by this, so I sent them all home early to start the festivities. (I'm actually a little worried now because none of them have returned to work yet . . . )