From the Summer 1957 edition of The Pelican

Choose the article you wish to read:

  1. Cardinal's Day
  2. The May Day Pilgrimage
  3. Wembley
  4. Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
  5. St Columba's Notes
  6. Old Boys' Corner

Author Unknown

from The Pelican, Summer 1957, lent to us by Anthony McCaffrey

(Each year a day is set aside to commemorate in a special way the work and spirit of the founder of the White Fathers, Cardinal Lavigerie; normally it is held on March 27th, the anniversary of his episcopal consecration).

MOST of the inhabitants of Southampton must be familiar with the ugly black and orange funnels of the Queen
Elizabeth yet few of them have the opportunity of seeing the many hundreds who arrive or leave for America each fortnight in this great liner. Now and again, however, the photograph of some important passenger appears in the pages, of the local paper. We were delighted that the arrival of Bishop Rugambwa from America made headlines in the Southern Daily Echo on May 21st.

When His Lordship left for the States in October last year he promised to visit the Priory on his return if it were at all possible. How pleased we were when we knew that the promise could be kept! It was agreed that the visit should not pass without some special celebration and as it had been impossible to celebrate Cardinal's Day at the end of last term it was agreed that the two events might be celebrated together.

Father Superior was at the Ocean Terminal to meet His Lordship and escort him back to the Priory where a noisy and hearty welcome was given him by the boys.

On the following morning the Bishop said the community Mass and later assisted at the High Mass celebrated by Father Superior.

Before lunch Bishop Rugambwa spoke to all of us for three quarters of an hour, giving us information about his diocese of Rutabo and outlining his visit to America. His Lordship told us that in America he had asked for help; he asked for our help too, especially in the form of prayer.

Two of the Fathers from the Montfort College, Romsey, accepted our invitation to lunch. The Salesians were represented by two of the staff from the Salesian Senior Seminary. The chaplain of Wickham Convent was the only other guest.

In the afternoon after the entire school had been photographed with the bishop, a short concert was presented. This consisted of a one act play about an episode in the life of the Cardinal, a piano recital and—what has become traditional on Cardinal's Day—a missionary quiz.

A miniature photographic exhibition depicting various events in a student's life from his entry into the Junior Seminary until Ordination and arrival in Africa, was artistically prepared by one of the Fathers: it proved to be great attraction.

Unfortunately Bishop Rugambwa had to leave for London early that same evening. Although his visit was brief, we were once more impressed by the dignity and gentleness of this African prelate whose presence among us made this year's Cardinal's Day a truly memorable occasion,

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by Patrick Burns, Form IV

from The Pelican, Summer 1957, lent to us by Anthony McCaffrey

It has become a tradition at the Priory that we take part in the world-wide May Day celebrations. What could be more fitting for us than a pilgrimage to some shrine of the Queen of the May ? The nearest shrine is that of Our Lady of Winton and as in past years our pilgrimage took us once again to the Lady Chapel in the Church at Winchester.

Everyone felt very enthusiastic about the idea—even when it was announced that rising would be an hour earlier than usual! All were ready for the road at eight o'clock, except the Fifth and Sixth who, much to the delight of the lower forms, were commissioned to do the breakfast washing-up. As the weather was fine there was no delay in departing.

Winchester is some ten miles from our village and as the Solemn High Mass was timed for half-past eleven there was no necessity to race. But a team of Clydesdales could not have held some of the Third and Fourth formers to a walking pace and,the first two groups were in Winchester by a quarter to ten, having politely refused innumerable lifts.

Inhabitants of the one-time English capital must have been puzzled at the sight of sweating, limping boys making for the bus station buffet where a very high percentage of Winchester's tea, coffee and orange squash supply was disposed of. Before Mass there was still time for the inevitable visit to Smith's and the public library.

Well before the appointed hour things were a-bustle in the small side chapel of St Peter's but there was absolute stillness as the procession of celebrant and ministers made its way slowly to the Lady Altar. As the Sacred Drama proceeded and the plainchant echoed down the empty nave I realised how vain was the splendid pageantry of other May Day celebrations compared with the simplicity and sublimity of this Eternal Act.

After a picnic lunch, most of the City's parks, churches, museums. libraries, cafés and cinemas (outside only) were inspected. Although there were the undaunted few who made the ten mile return journey on foot most boys showed their appreciation of thoughtfulness of the directors of the Hants and Dorset Omnibus Company who had planned a bus service from Winchester to Bishop's Waltham.

A wonderful day was brought to a close by Fr. Burton showing some excellent slides of "his" mission and we went to bed that night happy in our hearts—though less so in our "soles."

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by James Quinn, Form III

from The Pelican, Summer 1957, lent to us by Anthony McCaffrey

To most schoolboys, a visit to Wembley Stadium is a dream never to be realised. This "Mecca of Football" is as impregnable as it is wonderful and lucky indeed are those who are privileged to enter it.

That is why Saturday, March 30th, was a red-letter day for all Priorians. The English Schoolboys were playing the Welsh boys and we were going to the match. We were visiting London Airport en route and this added attraction lent glamour to the already splendid outing.

The day dawned bright and clear—as it always does—and some forty boys gathered impatiently round the coach and talked loudly of last year's match and the merciless hiding which the Welsh boys would receive.
At last we started off and soon the beautiful Hampshire and Surrey countryside was behind us as we sped on towards London.

In what seemed a very short time we were at the main entrance to London Airport and already the plane-spotters were showing signs of feverish excitement as planes of many types could be seen landing and taking-off.

As we emerged from the half-mile tunnel which links the centre of the airport with the main road and drew up in front of the Queen's Building, we were joined by a cheerful faced guide who boarded our coach with a microphone and amplifier.

After giving us a brief account of the history of the aerodrome and the workings of the control tower, he directed our driver to drive right round the airfield while he kept up a running commentary on its working and answered the numerous questions fired at him by the eager Priorians. He was greeted with gasps of amazement when he told us how many times our coach would fit into one of the huge freight planes. Cameras were hastily focused as we passed under the nose of a Britannia and past a Skymaster undergoing engine tests.

Our tour carried us round the repair sheds and hangars of all the different air companies. It felt good to ignore all "Private" notices as our guide was determined to show us everything.

Lunch followed on the roof of the Queen's Building, from where we could see all the activities of the passenger staff and the refuelling and repair crews.

Then on to Wembley for the match! While still a long way from the stadium the roads began to teem with coaches filled with noisy cheerful schoolchildren, all converging on the great stadium.

Tension mounted as we caught our first glimpse of the famous towers, only to ease again as we dipped behind a hill, topped by towering blocks of flats.

Programme vendors loudly advertised their wares as we joined the bustling, chattering crowd of boys on the way up to the entrance. There was a strange scarcity of red rosettes in the crowd so a small band of Priorians remembered obscure Welsh ancestry and swelled the ranks of the Welsh supporters.

We passed the time before the kick-off by watching the inevitable brass band and joining in the high pitched screaming that was community singing. This noise, however, was nothing to that which greeted the teams as they marched out side by side on to the lush Wembley turf .

As the teams were presented to Viscount Montgomery the crowd was hushed as if saving its acclaim for the play itself. It didn't have to wait long! The match was only seven seconds old when the English were one up. Without a Welsh boy having touched it, the ball found its way into the net through the quick accurate passing of the English forwards. The English boys continued to press home their advantage while the Welsh lads were still fumbling around in the nervous stage.

The game developed into a ding-dong struggle but it was obvious that the bigger, stronger English boys would last the pace better. The Welsh goal had a few narrow escapes before the interval but the Welsh forwards also had their moments and impressed with direct purposeful attacks.

Play was much the same after the interval but the Welsh boys were weakened by the loss of their centre-forward through injury. The remaining ten held out gallantly, however, and it was not until near the end that England increased its lead with a well-taken goal.

England were still two goals ahead when the final whistle blew and as the tired players lined up to receive their medals, they received a tumultuous ovation from the delighted crowd.

In a very short time the game was being replayed—on the coach as it sped towards the Priory—and long and many were the arguments. But soon the great day would be only a happy memory to look back on or be recounted to admiring friends for just as we look back happily on this great day, we will, just as surely, look forward to next year's Wembley Day.

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by Patrick Shanahan, Form IV

from The Pelican, Summer 1957, lent to us by Anthony McCaffrey

The title immediately sets one thinking of dimly lit streets with sly Arabs conversing in whispers and fingering ugly looking knives! Shortly before Christmas last year it would not have been necessary to go to Arabia to find such a setting for the Priory gym was transformed into a miniature Arabia for the staging of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, the third annual pantomime.

One Sunday evening after supper Fr. Thompson called out a list of names. Everyone knew that from that list the characters for the 1956 pantomime would be chosen. Scripts were handed out and rehearsals started almost immediately.

Anyone who has ever had a part in a play or pantomime will know that the beginning is always painful. It is here that, more than anywhere else, the skill, encouragement and patience of the producer must be exercised. However, no matter how much the producer does the success or failure of a show depends very much on the enthusiasm and devotedness of the actor himself.

On this occasion besides all the preparations made by the cast, vast changes were being made on the stage: width and depth were increased, back cloths were fitted and new lighting installed. Stage and play took shape together; Fr. Thompson playing the dual rôle of producer and carpenter—the one by day, the other by night.
Time did not stand still and before we knew where we were the first night had arrived, and all was ready; backcloths and scenery painted by Fr. Lynch were completed; sets of fine costumes made thanks mainly to the patience and kindness of mothers of the actors were fitted. So with make-up radiant and a last word of encouragement from the producer the curtains went up.

The audience enjoyed it all—the wretched state of Ali Baba so changed by the discovery of the cave; the thrill of the magic words "Open Sesame"; the rage and roguery of Al Roschoun, the leader of the brigands ; the clowning of Smashem, and Grabbem, the bravery of Kemal, Ali's son, and the love of Morgiana, the slave girl, for him; the hilarious crowd scenes and the rousing choruses.

The actors enjoyed it too and as the curtains dropped for the last time they concealed a cast sorry that it was over for living in Arabia had been rather fun.

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Author Unknown

from The Pelican, Summer 1957, lent to us by Anthony McCaffrey

No major developments here since Christmas appear to call for mention. Some minor improvements have been effected such as the renovation of the boys' showers. But what does leap to mind, for it is still fresh in the memory and unlikely ever to be effaced, is the burning of the boys' recreation hut.

One of the college outhouses, it had watched over the birth and steady growth of the main building. Tradition informs us that it housed the first workmen that laboured on the College. Subsequently it served as chapel and classroom. The writer first remembers it as a recreation room for the students of Philosophy, when it shook under such fierce games as "Hunch, Cuddy, Hunch."

Without, over the years, there was little change to be seen, but within alterations of various kinds had taken place: the sports room moved from one end to the other; a new tuck shop constructed. Yet, though useful, it had always been somewhat bare inside until shortly after Christmas the Superior set about making it more homely. With help of the fathers it took on a most attractive appearance and a place of which the boys were truly proud. Not least among its amenities were two fluorescent lights—a thing of which even the main house could not boast.

But . . . barely three weeks of pleasant use had elapsed when the tragedy occurred. A few minutes before nine in the morning of the 10th April a boy rushed into the house with the cry that the hut was on fire. Though we set to work immediately and two of the local fire engines were on the scene within minutes, by eleven it was a heap of smouldering timbers.

Of the movables within we had been able to rescue little, but from the storeroom beneath most was pulled out before the final collapse. What caused the fire we still do not know: that it was not due to any carelessness we are, however, certain. Now one of our two classrooms is being used as a recreation room and classes are being given in the study hall. We are grateful for the many expressions of sympathy and for the gifts of money and kind which began to flow in. It remains now to decide where and when a new and we trust more solid recreation room is to be built.

The house gardens begun by the boys during the first term and so unpromising during the long winter months are now a pleasant sight with their neat rows of turnip, lettuce, leek, etc. A local horticultural adviser has already passed a preliminary judgment on them and they are to be assessed against that at the end of June when prizes will go to the first and second houses.

Once again we have pleasure in presenting some of the students' literary efforts and anticipate your agreement that when compared with the Christmas selection, at least as far as the verse is concerned, they show some progress towards a surer footing on the steeps of Helicon.

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Author Unknown

from The Pelican, Summer 1957, lent to us by Anthony McCaffrey

Since the last issue of The Pelican, many old boys have made contact with us and with each other: which seems to indicate that the Corner is serving its purpose. The following message from Kevin Hynes at Blacklion may give to our readers the same pleasure and satisfaction that it gave me:

A.M.D.G. June, 1957 .
No doubt, Fr. Editor, you have received many appreciations from ex-students on the brilliant idea of an "Old Boys' Corner" in the Pelican: well, here are a few you should have received, but didn't!

". . . received the magazine, and I haven't thanked you yet, better late than never! Thanks a lot. I meant to write to the editor but I never really got down to it . . . (he continues) ... I don't suppose you have ever had any of this German Beer, but you can have it for me. It's a chemical sort of stuff. The effects stays with you for days. Horrible stuff!"
—Sg/mn. Preston, Dusseldorf, Germany.

" . . . Many thanks for the Pelican magazine. I enjoyed it very much. I'm much interested in the 'Old Boys' Corner'... one of these days after much thought I will send along some small article ... I'm O.K. and still going strong at work (apprentice mechanic, the best paid job too). (This was found out later)."

H. O'Donnell, Coventry

" . . . Those Pelicans were almost a gift from heaven. It's surprising how much one gets out of touch with the Priory. At the mere mentioning of some of the Old Priorians I immediately remembered them. The 'Old Boys' Comer' is a smashing plan, especially the Association part and the reunions."

Cpl. Smith, Singapore.

" . . . I did get to Africa before you, and what I have seen of the dark Continent I must say I like: so I have arrived at last in Africa, the land of the lion and the leopard, to stay for the remainder of my Army service. We did have visions of lions, etc, trying to tear down doors but the wildest animal I have seen so far is the gazelle; mind you, there are plenty of lizards. However, I have plenty of time to see the wild game of Africa at Her Malesty's expense!

. . . A week ago on Saturday we went out to Nakuru. We just looked around the town, and then went for a tea which consisted of real fish and chips—our first fish and chip supper since leaving the U.K., and they were terrific . . . I hope to be present at one of the 'Old Boys' Ass.' meetings, but of course that is in the distant future."

L/Cpl. Kavanagh, Kenya.

We have had some visitors since Christmas and thereabouts. Paul McGarraghy, who is now in the Marines and looking very smart and healthy, spent a day or two with us. We also had Peter Machin on leave from his R.A.F. Station in Norfolk for Easter week. He is apparently like so many Old Boys in the services engaged in the pay-office. What special training in the handling of money do our students receive to fit them for these financial positions . . . ?

Then there was Ernest White who is a male nurse at Farnborough Hospital in Kent and who rides a very nice little motor-cycle. He called on his way to the West Country with camping gear on the back of his machine. Lastly we had a pleasant visit on two occasions from Joe McCall (1937-39) who promised to send us copy for the Corner. He is teaching French in a Hertfordshire preparatory school and seems very happy.
Joe was particularly glad to hear about a contemporary of his who is now almost a neighbour, Paddy McNamara, who had written enquiring about another erstwhile Priorian.

Paddy now uses quite striking notepaper which gives one the impression that he is prosperous. He had a bad spell after the war, with T.B., and now is an L.G. of S., whatever that may be ... his title is Certified Building Surveyor, and he asks whether at any time he might be of use to The Priory. It is badly in need of rebuilding !

Many other letters have come with greetings and goodwill messages and for them we are grateful. All have been answered—that is something we promise to do. Normally we will not report on movements and progress of students who have left us for other schools. When they go out to make their mark in or on the world they will qualify for honourable mention.

We want to hear from them all however.


JOE BATTY (Big Joe) is now an assistant cook in the Merchant Navy and doing extremely well for himself. At present aboard the M.V. Elpenar of the Blue Funnel line, he relates how while proceeding at 12 knots during the night, the vessel struck a whale that had surfaced ; after spending threequarters of an hour trying to free itself, the ship made for port where extensive repairs were carried out. Good old Joe.

GERALD ROBINSON (Bouncer) is also in the Merchant Navy and has already reached the height of assistant purser. In league with Elder Dempster Co., Gerry is on the regular run to and from West Africa and enjoys the job very much in spite of the great heat which plays havoc with folk of rotund figure.

Both are very grateful for the "Pelican" and promise an article.

Regarding the reunion of Old Boys which we suggested in the last issue for August 4th, we would like to know at once how many would attend. Once we know that we might arrange a rendezvous more accessible than The Priory. It is understood that families will be welcome and catered for. So do not forget to write if you would like a meeting with former school friends. If there are not sufficient replies by July 20th we will postpone the meeting to a more favourable time.

Stop Press: Leo Smith, who is making a name for himself in Dublin as a baritone, was able to take part in the end of term concert at the Priory where he impressed everyone not only by his delightful singing but by his happy manner. All power to his voice!

From Blacklion we received the following communications (sample only) :

The advent of Brother Patrick to the banks of McNean has had profound repercussions in the depths of the lough. For not only does he take a fiendish delight in ploughing the waters
in a bedridden old boat, which has for years scorned its assigned place on the ocean bed, but he insists, to the amusement of the community, on trawling a line of spoon-bait that exhibits (among other things) a sawn off toothbrush and a sparking plug which in its hey day hauled the Fordson Chariot around Galleydown.

That the community is not alone in its astonishment at Brother Patrick's delightful Sunday evening entertainment has become obvious from the increasing number of roach and pike that dance and leap in the wake of the "Maggie."

Flat out at 2.5 knots and bent on her dark deeds, her position, amid the shoals of delighted fish, is only apparent to the watchful eye on shore by the constant glint of the bailing can and the puffs of smoke and steam from her protesting engines.

Seriously, though, to say that these many expeditions have never produced a solitary fish would be wrong—they have: it was a roach.

Undaunted and stimulated by the tales of the Witan ranged about the lough shores, Brother Paddy awaits the day when the 40-pounder which has just slipped the line at the last moment will attest his prowess and the community will have gone under to him, hook, line and sinker.


P. D. McNamara, L.G. of S., 10 Newlands Lane, Hitchin, Herts

4194354 A.C.2 Cassidy, R.A.F., Compton & Bassett, Calne, Wilts

4188415 L.A.C. Machin, Pay Accounts, R.A.F., Swanton Morley, Norfolk

Ernest White, Farnborough Hospital, Farnborough, Kent.

WEDDING BELLS (by way of postscript)
Returning from a preaching jaunt in the North the editor was accosted by a striking young man who boarded the train at Rugby . . . who turned out to be John Gately (1953-54), now a tea-broker with Military Service behind him. He carried a British Railways guide to British Hotels, and it turned out that he was getting married . . . "awful fag," he thought!

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