PREVIOUS OLD BOYS' ASSOCIATIONS
to forget that before The Pelicans were formed by Eugene and Jarlath, several
attempts were made to help 'Old Boys' to keep in touch. The following extracts are taken from The Pelican magazine
written proof of just some of the work done byex-colleagues of ours whose work should be remembered.
If anyone knows of the whereabouts of these people, please let us know so that we can show them that their efforts were not in vain, and that people still want to contact old friends and also pay tribute to the people who helped them whilst they were with the White Fathers.
Click on the item you wish to view:
A' THE AIRTS
by "The Editors"
Taken from The Pelican - Christmas 1955, lent by Anthony McCaffrey
Old Boys of ours find their way into many professions and some few find their way back to the old haunts when they can. We hope that providing space for them to find their way into print will encourage them to correspond with us and with each other. Who knows when we and they may be able to help each other ? One can envisage a monster dinner at the Troc or the Ritz, specially for Old Boys of St Columba's and The Priory. . . and what a variety would there be of ages and dress.
This summer, The Priory was surprised to flnd an Old Boy camping on the lawns with his own troop of scouts.. . very portly and efficient he looked. The weather changed and we were able to do him a good turn. For the next night he and his young men were glad to use one of the deserted idormitories. And we did not wake him at the "usual hour" either. Mr Collett of Southend it was, who was here in the mid-thirties.(Bernard Collett, Priory 1931 - 37)
Then we have as almost a neighbour an Old Boy who is making his mark in the photographic worldup-to-date pictures in old-worlde Winchester. Christie White and his family would be more frequent visitors if he and his entire family could be'cycle-motorised as he is himself.(Christopher White, Priory 1935 - 39)
During the autumn term we have received visits from Pte. William Tonner who is now serving with the Pay Corps in Germany andsuspicious circumstancehe shortly expects an increase of pay with his first rise in rank. Strange if it could not be managed in that job! Pte. Hennessy also came to spend one of. his long week-ends with us. He is in the Royal Artillery near Salisbury and looks fitter than ever. Pte. Walter Perry also came for a week-end. Like Willy, Wally disports himself on the soccer field. It appears that a footballer in the Services has a fine time. He has found his way into the Intelligence Corps and is, he tells us, keeping up his studies.
Lower down we give the addresses of these Old Boys. In the next, the July issue of The Pelican we hope to have some contributions from these and other erstwhile students and friends. And if the Old Boys' Corner can increase our circulation, it will help us. We trust thit it will also give pleasure to you, the readers.
A Merry Christmas and New Year Blessings to you all.
277278 A.C.2 MACKLE, T.A., New B Sqdn., Flight 10, Hut 151, 11 S of R.T., Royal Air Force, Hednesford, Staffs.
4169980 AC.2 McMANUS, J., Hut x37, 2 Wing, No. S. of T.T., R.A.F., Weeton, Lanes.
Pte. W. M. PERRY 23236721, Intelligence Corps Centre, Maresfield, ne~r Uckfieid, Sussex.
23177682 Gnr. HENNESSY , 181 Squad, 192 Indp. Survey Trg. Battery, 'Home Barracks, Larkhill, Wilts.
Pte. W. M. TONNER, R.A.P.C., 107 Area Cash Office, Osnabruck, B.A.O.R. 10.
ROBERT TAYLOR, now a clerk in an export office, 4 Epping Place, Highfield Site, Chorley, Lanes.
PETER JACKSON, now on 12-year contract with the Navy, 3 Lupton Street, Chorley, Lanes.
EDWARD HESKIN, now farming with his father, Cross Swords Farm,. off Moor Road, Chorley, Lanes.
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Taken from The Pelican, Christmas 1956
THIS issue of the Pelican marks
a further transition in the development of the Old Boys' Corner. We are not
devoting a special section to the students who go on to study at St Augustine's
College as they too from our point of view are all Old Boys and will be welcome
to contribute their section as they wish to the Corner which will now come as
a whole frae a' the airts. That too will allow us to spread our net further
afield and include departed friends in the Noviciate, in the Scholasticate,
and even, we hope, in the mission field. To one and all we extend a cordial
invitation to swell our pages and give us their news.
We would particularly welcome this time any suggestions that may be forthcoming about the possibility of a re-union once a year, perhaps at St Columba's for the Northerners and at The Priory for the Southerners. The first meeting could well be a merely convivial affair with the usual Spartan accommodation available for those who would wish to stay overnight. And ideas might be aired about the agenda of the next re-union. For 1957 we suggest as a possible date the Sunday before August Bank Holiday the day when most of us have little to do which would be the 4th of August.
There is in the country an Association for Old Boys by which the old boys of most Catholic Colleges are united and exchange ideas. It might not be beyond the bounds of possibility that we should affiliate with it.
This year The Priory saw ten boys leave for Blacklion of whom nine are still there. Four boys returned to secular life. Brian Foley is now working with the Civil Service; Peter Machin is with the Air Force. Of Donald Johnstone and Patrick MacDonald we have no news; we suspect that they will have gone underground with the Scottish Army of Liberation.
The letter which gave the greatest fillip to the morale of the Corner came from Peter Finn, now soldiering in Germany, whose address is given below.
"Dear EditorThe last place I ever expected to come across news of the Priory and of the . . . Friends (modesty forbids us to print the omitted words.-Ed.) I made there while a student, was here in a garrison town in Germany.
"I have just finished reading a copy of your magazine, The Pelican, which I must say I have found most inspiring and a noble successor to the Priorian, including as it does news of all the houses of study and in particular of some of the old boys, which I and, I am sure, many other ex-White Father students, found to be the most interesting part.
"In one paragraph of the Corner you exhort us to 'avail ourselves of your columns,' but although many of the old boys are longing to make contact with the Priory and with each other again, they do not know that such a colurnn exists. Possibly you could advertise the fact in the White Fathers Magazine which most of us receive. I already know the addresses of some of them; perhaps you would like me to write and ask them to contribute to the Pelican. (Good man!-Ed.)..."
In a later letter Lieut. Finn describes some of his more interesting experiences:
"I have, in fact, just returned from Berlin, having taken a British army freight train up there and back again. Being in command of the trains and of the guards on them I had several dealings with the Russians their soldiers and their red tape. Every Soviet office I entered was just as I expected it to be: dimly lit and the only attempt at decoration being a snap on one wall and a huge portrait of Lenin on another behind the Commandant's desk. On the other hand the Russian soldiers were quite different to what I imagined. They were, of course, dressed in their fur hats and anklelength overcoats, and carried powerful-looking automatic rifles, but their talk betrayed their ferocious appearance. I several times spoke with their guards beside the dark, wet railway track, and found them to be quite friendly. We exchanged grouses in garbled German, and I found to my surprise that they were tired of army life, wanted to return home, preferred English cigarettes, and thought that British guns were no good.
"Besides being in Berlin and the Soviet zone, I have also been away with my company in a place called Sennelager to do some training. It was there that Rommel trained his famous Afrika Korps. While there I mixed with the biggest crowd of brass hats I am ever likely to see. They were all United Nations observers, none of them below the rank of Colonel, who were there to watch demonstrations in atomic warfare being given by the British army.
After being approached on the subject by a Lieutenant-General and a Coldstream Guards Colonel, I faded way for a time.
"After that I took the anti-tank platoon up to the Baltic coast for more training. On my return I found myself faced with having to write a military paper on guerilla warfare 'quoting from my own experience and knowledge.' Having absolutely no experience and just about an equal amount of knowledge on the subject I was at first pretty well overwhelmed, But once I got down to it and looked up a few things I became very interested. I haven't heard anything since handing it in, but no doubt something will be thrown back at me before it reaches the Brigadier.
"I have been pretty busy in the sporting sphere as well. Believe it or not, I now even play rugby and hockey for the Regiment and hope to be in the boxing team for the next round of the B.A.O.R. championships. As regards soccer I haven't yet got beyond company level. The regiment has a first class soccer team, which won the cup last year. Four of the team are professionals. By the way, as at the Priory I still do a weekly cross-country run. Everybody here, officers and men, under the age of thirty-five have to go on the cross-country every Monday afternoon.
"To get away from myself for a while and turn to better things. As you asked me in your letter I have tried to contact some Old Priorians. I have written to Paul Farrell in Japan and also to Leo Smith, but I have had no reply from either of them. Perhaps they have written directly to you. The only ex-Priorian whose existence I am at all sure of is Willie Tonner, who is still here in Osnabruck . . ."
Michael Ryan, who has been accepted by the Institute of Quantity Surveyors and is studying one day a week at the Liverpool College of Building, writes:
"The course seems fairly difficult but I hope with the grace of God and hard work to get through. I will send on my subscription for the Pelican as soon as possible, that is when I have paid my fees and bought the necessary books and instruments. (Stout fellow!-Ed.)
"I keep in touch with some of the boys. Walter Perry and Robert Cowell are both in Cyprus. Walter is in the Intelligence Corps and is now a lance-corporal. Bobby is in the Royal Signals. Both have signed on for three years. John Hodson is now in a brass foundry; he failed his medical and will not have to go into the army. John Phillips is in the Liverpool Police Cadets. He seems to like it."
Gunner Hennessy, who when he wrote was still in Bulford Camp and is now very probably in the Middle East, told us among other things that James Johnstone was working in a mental home . . . no address given.
Perhaps one of the most interesting letters came from Father Joseph Stoker, now in St Charles, Attercliffe, Sheffield.
He writes: "In those distant but happiest days of my life a very unique book was being read in the refectory. It made a lasting impression on my mind and I have tried without success to get it, If still in your library would you be gracious
enough to loan it to me... Some Secrets of Success and Power or Masters of the Situation by someone of the name of Tilley . . .
We could not find the book but perhaps it was lost in the reorganisation of the bookshelves after the central heating was installed after the war. Father Stoker seems to be still filled with the Priory spirit anyway!
At the last moment before the Comer was sent to the printer we received a very welcome letter from Anthony Innocent, now serving in Germany. He wrote: "I am sorry that this letter has been delayed several times. In fact it got half written once and then abandoned. First let me thank you for sending me the two copies of the Pelican. I meant to write as soon as I received the first copy but never did. The second pricked me into the unfinished attempt. Let us hope I do not leave this unfinished to-night.
"First let me say that BAOR 23 stands for Cellea pleasant old town north of Hanover just below Luneburg Heath. I am as I expect you know, an army instructor attached at the moment to Devon Regiment, though in the New Year I expect to go to Aden.
"I have now been in the Army for eight years during which I have acquired a wife and four children, Dominic, Elizabeth, Josephine and Frances. My stay in Germany has included two years in Mindena bourgeois town of Seven Years War fameand this year I have spent in this delightful market town where many of the houses reach back six hundred years and are still lived in and look sound enough.
"Perhaps you are more interested in my stay in West Africa . . . of course I saw it through very different eyes than Fr. McNulty whom I met out there when I was on a tour in Tamale. I enjoyed it up there despite the lack of waternot so difficult to overcome in a Sgts.' Mess. I had breakfast at the mission on Sunday morningmammies and maple syrup. The mammies were pancakes made from Guinea cornno cannibalism! I also met there the only black priest I saw out there. Particularly surprising was the fact that he was, a Dagarti, a Northern Tribesman.
"In the army we saw rather the variety of the races that the British Colonial policy has lumped together under the name of the Gold Coast. The bulk and back-bone of the Army out there is formed of the Northern Tribesman. We all liked them and they liked the Army; to say they are like children is one of the half-truths that emphasised only their irresponsibility. Many of them are Moslems and all feel the influence of Islam.
"Of the real Ashanti we saw less although the recruiting centre was at their capital-Kumasi. They are the most interesting and I had some opportunity of hearing about them from themselves. One of my duties was to test the Africans in their command of English, and they were only too willing to talk about their history and their customs. The professors of Achimota College maintained that they left Egypt before the com,ing of the Shepherd Kings; anyway they are all that it left of the once mighty Empire of Guana.
I heard many times the story of the Golden Stool and the sword of Osetutu, but the most astounding thing of the lot was their system of heredity whereby property goes to the son of a man's sisters and not to his own sons. It causes some complications, especially where a woman who is of Ashanti family marries into another nation who follow normal laws of inheritance.
The reason for this custom is that (as I was told by many Africans) that while a man can never be certain that his sons are his flesh he is certain that his nephews are his blood relationsmaternity being more certain than paternity. (They tell the tale of a king whose wife's adulterous child succeeded him to the detriment of the state).
The economists say that the reason is an economic onethey always do. Nevertheless polygamy is so fundamental a part of their life because it is so difficult to farm five scattered pocket-handkerchief farms without five wives. Many of the Protestant churches have given up the unequal struggle to eradicate polygamy, merely discourage it, and inevitably some of the best Catholics lapse into it.
I am not sure that all the wives object to sharing a husband. I think some of the older ones welcome a young girl to do some of the hard work; but when my boy told his wife that he was about to purchase another, she packed her bags and went home to her motherfour hundred miles awaytaking one child and leaving the other. One hulking African received a black eye from his very diminutive wife for smiling at another girl . . . but I suppose that is to be expected.
"This letter seems to be running away with me. Sorry! " (We are very glad.-Ed.)
It will be nice for most of our Old Boys to know that Father Monaghan, who among the Fathers at The Priory now knows most of them, will be delighted to have letters from them . . . and assures them of a reply. He will also as far as that is possible keep them in touch with one another. We might well dub him O.B.C.the Old Boys' Chaplain.
Finally we would just ask all old students to remember that if they are ever in the locality they will be most welcome, and that if we can be of help to them at any time they have only to tell us what we might do . . . apart from our essential business here, we do devote our surplus energy to lending a hand elsewhere.
So write your news for us and for each other. Give us your addresses and if you want to receive The Pelican regularly send your contribution at Christmas and at Midsummer1/6d, which includes postage.
Peter Barry, 174 Ballards Lane, Finchley, N.3.
Edward Creaney, 48 Derwent Drive, Coatbridge, Lanarkshire.
Lieut. Peter Finn, Officers' Mess, TheKing's Regiment, Belfast Bks., Osnabruck, B.A.O.R. 10.
Michael Ryan, 8 Swiss Road, Elm Park, Fairfield, Liverpool 6.
Brian Foley, 62 Mount Pleasant, Armadale, West Lothian.
23177682 Gnr. Hennessy T., A Troop, 82 Loc. Bty., R.A., Wing Bks., Bulford, Wilts.
23320959 Rec. Kavanagh, Graham Squad, D/Cameronians (S.R.) Winston Bks., Lanark.
4188415 Peter A. Machin, Hut 28, Flight 19, D Sq., R.A.F., Padgate, Warrington.
22264750 S/Sgt. A. T. Innocent, R.A.E.C., L. Devons Regt., B.A.O.R. 23.
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|Charles Mansfield||18 Colenso Road, Seven Kings, Ilford|
|Peter Ford||8 Sherwood Close, Salford 5|
|Michael Ryan||8 Swiss Road, Elm Park, Liverpool 6|
|Martin Hickey||Culban, Millstreet, Co. Cork|
|Patrick O'Neill||52 West Glebe Road, Corby, Northants|
|Martin Hickey||Culban, Millstreet, Co. Cork|
Taken from The Pelican - Christmas 1957, lent by Anthony McCaffrey
OLD BOYS' CORNER
We belong to a community which numbers over a hundred and counts members of twelve nationalities including one African. He is from Nyasaland. Beards are still quite the fashion here . . . I suppose life out here is not really very different from that led in any of the other scholasticates, at least in the essential points of prayer, study, community life etc. There are, of course, accidental differences. We found it rather hot when we arrived in September, but now the mornings are quite chilly, F.50 degrees. We've had more rain than I expected. . nearly always thunder rain accompanying violent storms. But the oranges and tangerines are slowly ripening. . . indeed we have had the first fruits already.
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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 chipsour 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 answeredthat 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.
OLD BOYS TO BE REMEMBERED:
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) :
MAN 0 MAN
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 wrongthey 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.
THE STARBOARD ENGINE (Blacklion) .
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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WHY NOT JOIN US?
by James O'Toole
"Reading back numbers of the Pelican in our vaulted haunts on the rocky lands, of N. Ireland, or tucked away in the rolling woodlands of Gelderland's majestic beauty, I was wont to turn green, not at the prospect of eight glorious days driven helplessly on the high seas (for such things seldom happen these days, we trust) but at the thought of hordes of Priorians receiving the liberty of Southampton docks, and tearing Atlantic liners apart in their anxiety to miss nothing of interest in their conducted tours around a world of makebelieve.
"Such days are now only memories, and such dreams I leave to my successors, for when the Aroza Sun weighs anchor on the afternoon of August 19th, and the green and white of Hampshire's coastline starts to sink below the starboard rail, three of the figures crowding her decks will be prepared to believe that a dream has given way to reality, and that ahead lies a whole new life. An adventure, that is as yet below the horizon, is surely waiting.
"Past months have been crammed. with preparation and expectationespecially preparation. There were visits to oculists and dentists, letters to information centres, shipping companies and passport authorities; then there were the injections, x-rays, medicals and so forth. There was even tea with the Canadian Consul in the Hague. And all the while our confreres gazed and wondered, and we just wondered.
"On August 27th we shall be in Quebec City, from whence a drive of 500 kijometres will bring us a few days at Lac Ver, the modest Holiday House of the Canadian Scholasticate nestling among the mountains in genuine Apache country. Then we shall press on to Ottawa for our retreat, which preludes our four years Theology. Anybody want to come? Who wouldn't be a Priorian?"
And that brings us to the end of
this issue of Old Boys' Comer. Don't forget that it is only your letter that
can make it interesting. You will find that we are anxious to recall to you
the memory of Father Bouniol and we would ask that those of you who have
memories of him, however slight and trivial they may seem to you, send them
to us so that we may group them and eventually send you a suitable tribute in
print to this very fine and lovable missionary who for so long made The Priory,his
home and made it also a home for the Priorians.
Stop Press: A last minute letter from Peter Finn who was our sporting Lieutenant in Germany some two issues ago gives us this further copy:
63 Methuen St., Wavertree,
"A rather belated note of thanks for sending me the last copy of The Pelican. I am afraid it travelled rather a long way before I received it for I did not inform you that I had changed units or that I had finished my national service. Anyway, my address for the time being at least, is as above.
". . . I have come across no ex-White Father students since I last wrote to you, but no doubt I will bump into one or two before very long, for they do appear in the most unlikely places.
"I myself am jogging along happily enough. At the moment I am working at and attempting to study tele-communications and electrical engineering. I also spend some of my time leaping out of aeroplanes for I am now an officer reserve of the 4th Parachute Brigade. Very shortly I have to spend two weeks parachute jumping in Berkshire, and later, another two weeks, in North Wales.
I also intend spending a fortnight in Ireland, so if this hectic summer I do not meet an ex-Priorian on the end of a parachute, I am sure I will meet one in Eire ... I still remember you all in my prayers."
Thank you, Peter, and thanks too to. all correspondents.
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FROM OLD BOYS
Taken from the Pelican, Summer 1959 - lent by Eugene MacBride
Jim O'Toole sends us the following letter from the White Fathers, East View, Ottawa, Canada, where he is now studying theology.
'In my Priory days one of our most memorable occupations was the committing to memory of certain choice pieces of English Literature. Of all such pieces, none was more popular than Gray's 'Elegy in a Country Churchyard'. We learned how and where it had been written (Stoke Poges, was it not ?), and we were also told that while General Wolfe was sailing up the St Lawrence before storming the Heights of Abraham, he solemnly declared that he would sooner have written Gray's poem than take Quebec. Last August the Arosa Suit pushed its way up that same river; I stood on the deck and thought of Wolfe and Gray's Elegy and the Priory ; but I disagreed with Wolfe. Philosophy was behind me, and Novitiate also ; before me was the sombre mass of Canada's rugged coastline. You could keep the old Country Churchyard : my mind was set on the conquest of Canada.
That was almost a year ago, and the intervening months have increased rather than diminished my interest in Canada. As far as our daily life is concerned, of course, and the curriculum of studies, the Canadian Scholasticate has nothing to distinguish it from those of Europe and North Africa. We have no 'Theology without tears', no machines for solving knotty points of doctrine ; De Deo Tyino remains just as much a mystery for us as for our colleagues at home. Still, being in Canada does make some difference. There is always a suggestion of the Wild West, about it, and no British boy ever quite grows out of his affection for that part of the globe. The house here is situated very snugly on the outskirts of Ottawa, with a pleasant view over that young city with its towering imitation of the Mother of Parliaments. Our community is large and international, and a truly rich life is there for the taking. Languages are English and French, exams are twice a year, and we live with the pleasantest young men from many countries. What more could a man ask for ?
Canada really comes into her own in the field of sport. Here we have everything from soft-ball and table tennis, down through football and tennis to ice hockey and ski-ing. The only thing which Priorians could teach us is cricket. Ski-ing is perhaps the most popular of all sports. Life really gets going when Father Superior climbs behind the wheel of our big 'Apache Chev', with a whole circus of the Brethren stacked in behind, and goes bouncing off into the hills, out into the cold-crisp, biting coldto the clear blue sky and burning sun, to the green forests and mountains of immaculately white snow.
For the present, however, that is of the past ; at the moment we are thinking rather of the summer holidays and our summer-house at Lac Vert, tucked sixty-five miles away in the depths of the forest. There, many hours will be devoted to swimming and boating and fishing, and the thought of theology classes will fade ever more into the background. We look forward to being joined by more Priorians in the fullness of time. We would love to have you, and I am sure you would love it here . . .
The other day I was called to the phone, to my great surprise; I picked up the receiver to hear a broad Scottish accent-owned by Willy Tonner, who was in our year at the Priory. He had drifted over to Canada, had married three weeks previously, and was phoning from Hamilton, a hundred miles away, to ask if I could spend Christmas with him. That could not be, so we had to be content with the telephone. The last thing I heard was that he was in the army in Germany.
I hope that you will be receiving some news from John Lynch in North Africa, where the Priory and St Columba's now have a force of threeall growing long beards and learning dirty Arab habits.
James Lee of our year at the Priory is now a Corporal in Singapore.
Kind wishes to all the Fathers, Brothers and boys of the Priory.'
MICHAEL FITZGERALD writes from Carthage. He is one of the bearded ones referred to by Jim O'Toole. His companion, JOHN LYNCH gives us a personal experience which he calls A NIGHTMARE WHICH WAS A REALITY:
'Watch out for scorpions' was a phrase I had heard frequently before my departure for Carthage. I laughed at it, and when I arrived here felt that my scorn was justified, for I saw nothing but dried-up ground, baked by the African sun. Someone managed to catch a couple of chameleons certainly, and I found their rapid change of costume intriguing ; but of scorpions there was no sign. At first.
One night, shortly after my arrival, I was just dropping off to sleep amid the soothing noises of my slumbering companions, when, horror of horrors ! I felt something crawl along my foot. A scorpion ! The horrible notion was born at once. I knew of their deadly sting, and was afraid to move. Everything around was pitch black, the only noises were those of the sleeping men about me. I feared to disturb them by switching on the light. So I just lay, as quiet and still as possible. All was still again at my feet. Then suddenly I felt a horrible tickling sensation on the inside of my foot. I banged the other foot against it with the intention of crushing my tormentor.
All was still again. I began to breathe more freely. Then it came again, much worse. I experienced one of the very worst moments of my life as I felt what seemed to be a cold, slimy creature crawling up my leg. I lay like a corpse. I began to wonder if scorpion's stings were ever deadly, and if perhaps I should be a real corpse before long. I wondered how long it was going to wait before it struck. Up and up it crawled, and still I lay there petrified. It must have been several minutes before it reached the middle of my back, and I could bear it no longer. Gripping the sides of my bed, I pressed down against the mattress as hard as I could, hoping to crush my enemy.
This time I was successful. The crawling stopped. Gradually my terror subsided ; I became conscious again of the breathing of my sleeping companions ; soon I heard nothing.
In the morning I had no difficulty in finding the corpse of my nocturnal foe. It was not a scorpion after all, but only a harmless back moth. But I did not forget the experience, and have taken care ever since to sleep under the protection of a mosquito net.
is still in the Navy, but hopes to return to the Priory soon to resume his studies
JOHN SMALL, now Brother Duncan, o.p., writes from Hawkesyard Priory, Rugeley, Staffs, where he is teaching novices to cook. He asks for the address of PAUL FARRELL. If any of our readers know it, Brother Duncan would be grateful if it could be sent to him.
JOHN MARTIN paid us a visit in army uniform. He was in an O.C.T.U., and we now hear that he has been commissioned. After leaving the army he will study for the priesthood, for the diocese of St Andrew's and Edinburgh.
Nimmo SCOTT is still living at his home at Bitterne, and we see him from time to time.
MICHAEL NERTNEY is with the Benedictines at Ramsgate.
We saw TERENCE PETTIT for a week-end. He is working in the City.
JOHN LYDEN is in the Sixth Form at St John Fisher School, Purley.
GORDON RUTLEDGE represents Smith's clocks in London.
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NEWS FROM OLD BOYS
Taken from The Pelican, Summer 1960 lent by Eugene MacBride
Among former Priorians who will be taking the oath to the Society this year are Eugene McBride at Totteridge, and Michael Fitzgerald and Gerard Wynne at Carthage.
Still at various stages of the scholasticate are J. Lynch and A. Visocchi at Carthage, P. Harrity, S. Browne, F. Fahy, B. Shannon at Totteridge, and James O'Toole in Canada. George Smith is still a novice, and Brother Albert Gardner finishes his scholasticate as a Brother at Marienthal this year.
The following are studying philosophy at Blacklion: H. Concagh, A. McCaffrey, P. Ashby, J. Foley, G. Hoxley, D. Airley, C. Bingham, P. Creaney, N. Kendellen, M. Mearns, P. Shanahan, D. O'Hagan, P. Tait and J. McDermott. Michael Kelly is in the Brothers' Novitiate at Dorking, and Kevin Hines is studying for the priesthood in the diocese of Middlesbrough at Wexford in Ireland.
Priorians of days gone by will be interested to hear that Mr Anthony Innocent, who was here before the war, has finished 12 years of service in the Education Corps, and has been accepted as a student at Strawberry Hill Training College for the next session. He is married and has three children, and the whole family delighted us with a visit in May.
Some news of more recent students:
Terence Pettit has gained a Major County Award to an Art School.
Edward Bleasdale is training to be a teacher at Strawberry Hill.
Nicholas Muller intends to join the Army.
Desmond Smith is training to be a surveyor.
Francis Murphy is at the Brothers' Novitiate of the Montfort Fathers quite near us, and he paid us a visit during the second term.
Andrew Cowe intends to join the Navy.
Brendan Carvill is at school in Buxton, Philip Holcroft is at Preston Catholic College, and Christopher John is at school in Wales.
Finbarre Fitzpatrick hopes to enter the Civil Service
Michael Goodstadt has been offered a place at Manchester University, and Patrick Gibbons hopes to enter Glasgow University next year.
We had a visit from Gerard Short at Faster. He is working with the I.C.I., and seems very prosperous.
Anthony Quinn is in a shipping office in the City, and came to see us at Whitsuntide.
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ASSOCIATION OF FORMER WHITE FATHERS' STUDENTS
by John Baker
Taken from The Pelican magazine, Summer 1963 lent to us by Mike Byrne
The Association of Former White Fathers' Students began its life in February 1961. Those old boys who were still in touch with the White Fathers were invited to spend the day at St Edward's College, Totteridge, to hear about the A.A.E.P,B. Association des Anciens Etudiants Pêre Blanc. This is the organisation founded some years ago in France by Pierre Lesbros, a Frenchman of quite extraordinary dynamism and zeal, who explained how in France through reunions former students were able to keep in touch and help each other. He also explained, "Fratres". This is the quarterly newspaper published by the Association, in which news from each country is printed, each country having more or, less a page.
An international conference is held each year,,and this year Brussels was chosen as the place for it. George Penistone, John Teague and Hugh Tapping represented the British Isles, and George Penistone's impressions will be given on the English page in the next issue of "Fratres".
Since we began in this country we have heard from many old boys, the doyen of whom so far is Leo Gill. He wrote to us to say that he was the Leo Gill mentioned in Fr. Howell's reminiscences of the Priory 1912-22, printed in last year's Jubilee number of "The Pelican." He joined the White Fathers after serving as an R.A.F. officer in the First World War; the fact that over forty years later he should be in touch with the Association shows the impression the Society makes on its students.
Whatever impression the White Fathers makes on its students, it does not seem to result in a particularly unique product, for the Association finds old boys in every possible walk of life in every possible part of the world. Paul Wiseman's choice of life is perhaps. the least conformist. Fr. Brankin met him in Central Africa prospecting. Paul, it appears, has an inherent gift for discovering mineral deposits which he has been able, most profitably of course, to employ. I think this may be one of the few gifts the White Fathers would not claim to have discovered!
May I make an appeal through "The Pelican"? Since we began over here our greatest difficulty has been communication. We have some addresses but many of these are out of date, sometimes by many years. In'France they have a printed directory of members circulated to all. George Penistone is hoping to compile one over here, but badly needs up to date addresses. If any readers know of former students could they pass on the addresses to George Penistone? His address is: Challoner House, Challoner School, Woodside Avenue, Finchley, London N.12.
News of Former Students
Christopher McGuire (1950-57) completed his M.A. degree at Edinburgh in 1961.
Joe McDermott (1952-57) and Desmond Boyle (1952-57) graduated (presumably from Edinburgh) in June 1962, and Eric McCormack (1958-57) passed Honours English at Glasgow in July 1962. All four graduates were successful A. Level candidates at the Priory "under Fr. Monaghan in 1957.
Edward Harvey (1953-59) has completed two years of English and History at Edinburgh.
Brian Foley (1953-56) from Armadale has also been at University.
Terence Pettit ((1953-58) is at the Ravensbourne College of Art and Design in Kent doing his final year in graphic design.
Gerry Cannon (RIP) now has his own Radio and T-V. business complete with workshop, twoemployees and a van. He is also doing quite well as a Cadet Warrant Officer in the local branch of the A.T.C.
Kevin Johnson has just completed his final year at St Mary's Training College, Twickenham.
Edward Creaney (1950-56) is now in Australia.
Peter O'Brien (1946-52) is happily married and has two daughters. He is working as a, Psychiatric Nurse at Our Lady's Hospital, Ennis, Co. Clare.
Finbarre Fitzpatrick (1955-59) has now spent two years at Leeds Training College. He says that he doesn't mind being credited with admission to Leeds University, but he cannot admit that this is true.
Jim O'Hagan (1939) still lives at Kingsbury in North London.
John G. Kelly is in his final year as a Chartered Accountant.
L. Unsworth (1920) has retired from banking. (William Unsworth?)
Geoff Bickers (1955-57) is with the British Forces in Cyprus. He spent six months in the former British Cameroons and some time in Nigeria, but was disapopinted not to meet any White Fathers.
Peter Jackson (1954-55) is studying as an architect. He took his intermediate exam last autumn.
GFJ (John) West (1954-57) was in the Forces for two years. He had just come out when he wrote to us from Heston.
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In writing about the Old Boys, one
finds it sometimes rather difficult. This, I think, is on account of the lack
of information available when one needs it. Since its foundation in this country,
the association has had its "teething problems", which are still with
us. Unlike our confreres abroad, we tend to hide ourselves and not bother about
talking about our work and activities.
At the moment I am trying to compile an Annuaire of addresses which we hope to publish in "Fratres", the international newspaper. This work is taking longer than I expected because many Old Boys have changed their addresses.
Thye result of our visit last July to the Priory has been that we are going to make it an annual event. We certainly enjoyed ourselves. I should like to take this opportunity of thanking Fr. Superior and the Fathers for their kindness in allowing us to come back after so many years to a warm welcome, which is one of the outstanding features of the White Fathers.
As regards home news there is, at this stage, not much to relate. We are still young in our foundation but our hopes are great. I received a letter the other day from Pierre Lesbros, the international President, telling me about the "Valley of Friendship." This is a holiday camp in France where Old Boys and their families and friends can go for a holiday cheaply. It happens that this year in July and August more than a thousand people will visit the camp, coming from seven different countries in Europe. I am glad to see that Pierre says that a half dozen English families are going to the camp. If any of the present students at the Priory would like to go, would they contact me at once at 45 Woodside Avenue, London N.12.
In order to help the funds for this holiday camp, there is a concert being given in the Salle Pleyel in Paris on June 5th, where several well known artists will appear, amongst them being the famous choir "Les Petits Chanteurs A la Croix de Bois."
Just recently I received a letter from Berlin from P. McConniry who is stationed there and who is studying languages. He has sent me a very interesting article on the "Divided City." The first instalment will appear in the July number of "Fratres."
Last May I had the pleasure of representing Great Britain at the Jubilee Congress in Brussels. The friendliness and welcome from the other delegates made the visit a memorable one. Our chief guest of honour was his Lordship Bishop Mercier of the Sahara who said Mass for us and spoke to us. We were honoured also by the presence of His Excellency the Papal Nuncio to Belgium, at the concert organised by our hosts, the Belgium Old Boys. The next Congress will be in Germany at which we hope to have a much larger contingent of British Old Boys present. Unfortunately, work and time factors are at the moment our chief worries. Many ideas and projects have been brought up but have not materialised on account of these two factors. At the moment we are waiting to know when it will be convenient, to meet the Old Boys of the Midlands.
In the meantime we extend a warm welcome to any Old Boy to join us, the more the merrier. For further information contact me at the address above. We would be grateful for the address and occupation of any Old Priorian who would like to join us. The annual subscription is 10/6 and should -be forwarded to L. Fitzmaurice, 10 Church Lane, Uondon N.8, or to myself. Added to this we should like any article sent to us which you feel might, be of interest.
News of Former Students
P. Vale-Humphreys (1959-62) is a Cost and Works clerk with the Midlands Electricity Board at Stratford; he is just beginning studies in accountancy.
P. Byrne is at St Mary's Training College, Strawberry Hill, where E. Bleasdale (195257) is also studying.
Mannus McGuire (1950-57) has taken up Probationary work and has been enrolled on the Central Probation Register. He has had to take a year's leave of absence from the Ministry of Labour in order to go on a special course.
During the Whitsun holidays we had visits from several Old Boys including Fr. J. Wallace (arrived 1946) who is now a priest in the Northampton diocese, and A. Quinn, at present living at Ilford in London. Michael Bolan also came down for Whitsun accompanied by another former student, both of whom are at present living near Birmingham.
A fair number of Old Boys helped us to sell tickets for our Annual Christmas Draw. It is to be hoped that they will continue to do this and that next time they return the counterfoils they will also send us some news of themselves.
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B. G. Short 1956-59 is now married and lives in Rugeley.
James Lomas 1954-56 is at present teaching civics, history and R.I. When he completes his training, he hopes to take up work in the Liverpool slums.
Paddy Byrne 1959-62, contrary to reports in last year's "Pelican", is not teaching but is following a career in accountancy.
Nick Kendellen 1956-59 has been in Chicago for the past two years. He has lately been working in the analysis department in the La Salle National Bank, but is now studying for a degree.
Michael Donovan 1957-60 is a mechanic in the Fleet Air Arm. He sailed on the Ark Royal last January. His brother Francis is in the Australian army.
Denis Shields 1949-53 is planning to study for his Tutor's diploma in psychiatric nursing at university.
Peter Johnson 1961-64 is now Brother Cuthbert., a Benedictine novice at Quarr Abbey.
Paul Maggiore 1961-64 is at present a lay student studying at Ushaw College, Durham.
Desmond Grimley 1947-49 turned up at a very opportune moment and drove a boy with a broken wrist (sustained in a rugby accident) to hospital.
Bernard Aherne 1956-57 visited us with his wife during the lent term. He is now a P.E. instructor in London.
Joseph MacDermott 1952-57 who is now with the Milk Marketing Board made a short visit in January.
Tom Kelly 1952-58 now at the Board of Trade was able to visit us at the Priory as he was attending court in this area as a prosecution witness in a fraud case.
Father Keane, W F has made a few visits during the year.
We are always pleased to see old boys who are always welcome to drop in for a meal or a night's lodging.
On the last Sunday in June (the 27th), the Old Boys will be meeting at the Priory and we look forward to meeting as many as can possibly come.
Note:Mike Mearns, Paul Tait, Charlie Bingham, John Healy and I attended that reunion in June '65.
It was organised by Terry Petit and I have been trying to track him down. He would surely be delighted to know how many people are now in contact. Does anyone know of his whereabouts?
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(source: Peter Finn)
The Pelicans' reunion at Templeogue, Dublin, 1997.
Des Fitzmaurice, Peter Finn, Tommy Price.