Letter to the Head Master

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yamaha
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by yamaha » Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:09 pm

If any one is interested Amazon has a copy of their correspondence that Blunden donated to the Bodleian.

More Than a Brother: Correspondence Between Edmund Blunden and Hector Buck, 1917-1967 (Hardcover)
by Edmund Blunden (Author), et al. https://www.amazon.co.uk/More-Than-Brot ... 0952859807
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by richardb » Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:15 pm

Richard wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:47 pm
There are two important differences between abusers’ departures from CH described in this thread and that of AH Buck.

(1) As soon as possible after Buck’s last improper approach to a boy in a dormitory a monitor reported the event to the HM (Seaman).
(2) Within a few hours Buck left CH.

Whether he was summarily dismissed, was invited to resign, or spontaneously resigned I do not know. Certainly for his departure there was no waiting till the end of term. His totally inappropriate activity was well known by boys and there had been previous similar incidents, which I believe were never reported to anyone in authority.

I must add that he was pitied by many. In fact a few years later we were approaching each other on a pavement in Oxford. He recognised me and tactfully crossed the street, his usual manoeuvre in those circumstances. I then also crossed the road and, as we came closer to each other, spoke to him. In our short conversation he emphasised how most grateful he was for the interaction. That was my only contact with him after he left CH.
Burr, Webb and Karim all left the school because of criminal conduct. They were however allowed to resign.

Husband left for what was an inappropriate relationship, albeit it wasn't then a crime. From what was said at his sentence hearing he may have been allowed to resign too.

If Buck was allowed to resign then there wasn't a great deal of difference.

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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by jtaylor » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:22 am

yamaha wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:00 pm
A.H. BUCK
Unread post by J.R. » Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:37 am

IN VIEW OF CERTAIN INFORMATION RECEIVED BY ME THIS MORNING, I AM DELETING THE A.H. BUCK THREAD.
Perhaps in the present mood/public interest it will be reinstated. - wonder what the info. was?
I’m not sure, but was this around the time when we were mid-trials?
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by Richard » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:33 am

As for the different explanations for the immediate cause for Buck’s departure, I can add the following comments.

I was not in Col B

I knew both the monitor whom I mentioned and also another member of Col B, a personal and close friend of Buck’s, with a totally ‘normal’ relationship. The latter was appalled at the reporting and consequent sudden departure. Both told me what I posted above.

rockfreak wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 10:01 pm
Suffice to say that the monitors knew about this for terms beforehand. It was a kind of standing joke. As far as these things can be a joke. They use to balance the metal lav end mugs on the inside door handles from the emergency stairs so that when he came in p*ssed as a rat at night they would fall off with a great clatter.
I agree with this and of course the whole house knew, not only the monitors. It was common knowledge in other houses too.


6 May 1956, Buck’s departure date as Michael Scuffil noted, was a Sunday, so the reporting to Seaman could have been made by a visiting mother, resulting in his departure that day. I don’t have inside information, but I believed my two friends’ comments. They were at loggerheads, did not speak to each other for a while yet each effectively confirmed the other’s account.

So the incident occurred one Saturday night when Buck was under the influence. The report to Seaman was made first thing next morning and Buck left that same day. There was no delay, in contrast to Rockfreak’s comment,
rockfreak wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 10:01 pm
Within a few days Buck was out

As for RichardB’s comment,
richardb wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:15 pm

If Buck was allowed to resign then there wasn't a great deal of difference.

I most respectfully disagree, for there was reporting of an incident to HM by a boy and then a very rapid departure. I am not aware of similar circumstances for other abusers.

Finally I must express my extreme admiration of all RichardB’s hard work for the ultimate benefit of CH, his personal sacrifices, dispensing of knowledge and especially the time he has devoted to clarifying and dealing with this terrible sequence of events.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by Martin » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:52 am

For those who do not have access to the Blunden/Buck book listing their correspondence (1917-67), the following extracts may be of interest.

A letter dated 7 May 1956

My dear Edmund,
I have resigned from CH, ie from all that means anything to me. Drunkenness was the least of my offences, and a long tale of sordid depravity has come out. Thank you for all your loving friendship which, if no other, influence should have kept me from whatsoever things are impure, unjust, dishonourable and of ill report. Your last letter, so full of tenderness and anxiety, arrived before the crisis and moved me deeply: all the more for the knowledge of my unworthiness that you should thus waste your time and thought on me.

You need not draw deep on your well of imagination to picture the utter misery and purposelessness of my life – a curious term to use, but I mean the thing doctors pronounce extinct. It is too late and I am far too exhausted to make any fresh start to build anything. I have friends who are kindness itself and try to help and bid me be of good courage but they can’t stop my mind from crazing itself at every thought, allusion, reminder. Nothing distracts from the tortures. Conscience is too noble a word to use; I have deadened any I had years ago and gone my own way of sham and wilfulness like any child. I can’t believe in any of the creeds sincerely. Perhaps it is as well I don’t. Hell and damnation would be the uttermost farthing.

I can’t and mustn’t ramble further. I grieve to bring such distress to you, dear Edmund, who have so many problems of your own. My love, if acceptable to Claire and yourself and to Eric Saville and John Turner if you see them. You must tell them the thing that has happened. I should like any measure of forgiveness all Old Blues can feel.

Don’t charge yourself with an answer.
Hector

From Buck’s next letter, dated 14 July 1956 and very long

My dear Edmund,
God bless you for your sympathetic and charitable letter. It would have grieved me beyond measure if our friendship had ended now: but it could not continue under false pretences, and I had to offer you, and many others of my dearest, a release from it. I am proud, and I know you will be glad to know, that not one of those who had this opportunity used it. CH has taken away, but it has given.

................................................ etc, etc

A footnote (by the editor) gives a quotation from Buck

“I was fortunate enough, thanks to CME Seaman, Old Blue, headmaster of CH, who was a contemporary at St John’s, Oxford in the late 1920s of CH Roberts, Secretary to the Delegates of the Clarendon Press, to get a job in January 1957 as a specialist (in classics) reader at the Oxford University Press.”
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by richardb » Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:01 am

So he resigned with references ?

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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by richardb » Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:02 am

Richard wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:33 am
Finally I must express my extreme admiration of all RichardB’s hard work for the ultimate benefit of CH, his personal sacrifices, dispensing of knowledge and especially the time he has devoted to clarifying and dealing with this terrible sequence of events.
Thank you for your kind words Richard. Very much appreciated.

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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by postwarblue » Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:43 am

rockfreak wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 10:01 pm
I had a different version Richard, having been in Col B at the time. A 13-year-old friend of mine told me that he had been reticent about going back for the start of the summer term in 1956 and his mother dragged out of him why this was the case. He was one of those to whom Buck paid particular attention. His mother took him back to school and I imagine then went straight in to see Seaman. Within a few days Buck was out and Seaman came in to house prayers that evening to tell us that Buck had been dismissed for reasons of sexual misconduct. Not "overfamiliarity with one boy" as has been mooted, nor even for peeing over the headmaster's front door (as was at one time alleged). No one in the house was remotely surprised.
As for monitors blowing the whistle, well I can't say about that. I can only tell you my own information as I recall it after all these years. Suffice to say that the monitors knew about this for terms beforehand. It was a kind of standing joke. As far as these things can be a joke. They use to balance the metal lav end mugs on the inside door handles from the emergency stairs so that when he came in p*ssed as a rat at night they would fall off with a great clatter.
Post War Blue has mentioned the laissez faire atmosphere of the house at that time where bullying was rife, and I've no doubt that Buck's own loucheness encouraged the same atmosphere in the house. A pity because he had his good points but just another example of how long this sort of thing can be treated as normal in a closed institution.
So I've blown the whistle now on a thread that was otherwise locked. Will this post go the same way as my limerick?
I left Col B (as 3rd monitor) in December 1954 (before Rockfreak arrived?). Apart from one remark overheard that term which I shrugged off as a joke, I had no idea about Buck's proclivity, I do not recall it ever being the subject of house gossip. After time abroad I went back to CH in 1957 as OBs did, and met the reigning monitors who would have been a year or two behind me in the house. I was told that a boy had reported Buck's behaviour (no details, nor did I ask) to the house captain who had then gone to the Head and Buck was kicked out immediately. My reflection today is that was a pretty enormous burden for a 17 r 18 y o house captain. Buck's employment by the OUP was as a proofreader. He had two big hates, Flecker who had come in 1930, the same year as Buck went to Col B as senior housemaster (he was a Col A OB and had been a Maths Grecian but had switched to classics at Oxford; the son of his one-time swob was in Col B with me) whom he hated I believe for changing the classics teaching from Latin to Greek, and CS Lang the one-time Director of Music (no idea why), and one love, cricket (I believe he had been offered a professional job with Yorkshire before going into teaching instead). HIs memorial service was heavily attended - one has to remember that most of his OBs would have had no idea of what had gone on; plus it was a clan gathering for us. The reader of the eulogy said Buck had left because of the drink-driving conviction and HE must have known the truth as his brother was in the house when it all happened.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by yamaha » Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:54 am

by jtaylor » Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:22 am
A.H. BUCK
Post by J.R. » Mon Apr 28, 2014

IN VIEW OF CERTAIN INFORMATION RECEIVED BY ME THIS MORNING, I AM DELETING THE A.H. BUCK THREAD.
I’m not sure, but was this around the time when we were mid-trials?
http://www.chforum.info/php/viewtopic.php?t=4733

April 2014. Looks like it was a couple of years before the recent trails.

Perhaps JR will enlighten re. the "certain information" and reinstate the thread.

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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by yamaha » Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:59 am

I was fortunate enough, thanks to CME Seaman, Old Blue, headmaster of CH, ... to get a job
St. Clarence? Surely not?
I wonder what he did for Buck's victims?

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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by ZeroDeConduite » Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:03 am

Martin wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:52 am
...whatsoever things are impure, unjust...
HLO Flecker's resonant oration of Philippians 4:8 from the HM's stall at the other end of the chapel still rings out clear in my memory - as it must have done for Buck - so I can still spot the misquote even at a distance of over 60 years.
PrepA 1951-2 Peele A 1953-60

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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by J.R. » Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:30 am

yamaha wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:54 am
by jtaylor » Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:22 am
A.H. BUCK
Post by J.R. » Mon Apr 28, 2014

IN VIEW OF CERTAIN INFORMATION RECEIVED BY ME THIS MORNING, I AM DELETING THE A.H. BUCK THREAD.
I’m not sure, but was this around the time when we were mid-trials?
http://www.chforum.info/php/viewtopic.php?t=4733

April 2014. Looks like it was a couple of years before the recent trails.

Perhaps JR will enlighten re. the "certain information" and reinstate the thread.
To be quite honest, I cannot remember (a) who forwarded me the information, or (b) what the specific 'information' was. It was four years ago ! Though I do suspect it was a complaint about 'defamation of the deceased'.

As far as reviving the post on here, this, if appropriate would have to be done by Julian as it is beyond my expertise. Sorry !!
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by richardb » Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:39 am

You can't defame the deceased. Your reputation dies with you.

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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by jtaylor » Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:41 am

I've had a look and I can't find the original content, so not able to recover it.

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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by blueeyedboy » Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:41 am

Just seen the CHOBA News which arrived overnight; no mention of any convictions, presumably as the trials and sentencing are still ongoing. Once we get to a point when the legal processes are all completed, or at least an appropriate pause, I would very much hope that, for the benefit of the majority of OBs who do not read the Forum it will contain a report on what has happened. (I hope the School read this, reflect, and conclude it would be the right thing to do).

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