This is another account of abuse at St Joseph’s sent to me by someone who would prefer to remain anonymous so that the survivor’s identity is protected. I’m so glad he wrote in. The more we can share our experiences, the more the truth can come out. About the true nature of so many De La Salle brothers and their College in Ipswich.
Two things I should note: Firstly it concerns Brother Kevin. Again! I think there’s about five survivors stories about Brother Kevin on my site now. I know one such survivor did take police action and another is considering it where Kevin is concerned. So it’s relevant and important to put up this post because Kevin is probably still alive, although in his mid to late 80s. It challenges the view of the lady who wrote in and said that she knew Brother Kevin and, in her opinion, he was a wonderful man, safe to leave with children, and who could not possibly do the awful things that were alleged.
Secondly, I find when I write about the past, my writing style varies considerably. Usually I write in summary when I’m posting here. When I’m exchanging email accounts with other survivors I tend to expand. And I sometimes keep a personal journal, writing everything down, in considerable detail, so I can get in touch with the feelings and make sense of often confusing events.
It’s possible that the author has done the same thing here and also to pay tribute to the courage of the survivor concerned. He is indeed a hero.
So here is yet another account of Brother Kevin’s abuse.
The bravest little boy I have ever known Aged only 11 1/2 years old.
He attended St Josephs College Birkfield, Ipswich and was a second former in 1965.
This little boy was born 6 weeks premature and barely survived childbirth. He was the youngest in a very large family therefore his elder sisters and brother were already married and in their 30’s. Due to his birth problems he was very small for his age and had to wear glasses with incredibly thick lenses. He could only see with his glasses on and only half the colour spectrum. Not your average superhero material for sure.
Just before Easter 1965 it was a Friday night he was fast asleep in his dormitory when he woke up and found his dorm master Brother Kevin performing oral sex on his little immature penis. He yelled and screamed at the top of his voice and Brother Kevin had to make a quick retreat to his own bedroom which was at the end of the dorm. He turned all the lights on in his dorm and Brother Kevin emerged from his bedroom and pretended that he had been asleep. It’s alright boys settle down and go to sleep this young lad is just having a nightmare.
Eventually everyone settled down the lights were turned off and they all went back to sleep thinking someone had had the most terrible nightmare – well that was true – but what happened next is beyond belief.
The following morning this little boy calmly got out of bed got dressed in his little grey suit with his tiny little grey short trousers said nothing to anyone. After breakfast without a single penny in his pocket he casually walked through the side gate on Belstead Road and walked into Ipswich Town. He walked for almost two miles to the A12 (the main London Road) and then began hitchhiking. It was not long before some kindly Lady gave him a lift to Colchester. When he asked where the London Road was she told him to get back in the car and she drove through town and dropped him off at the A12 intersection.
God alone knows how he got to London and started walking anti clockwise all along the A4 the North Circular ring road. He found the sign he was looking for the A1 / M1 motorway and followed it. You cannot hitchhike in the middle of a City so he walked for miles following the road signs. He eventually found the last sign and stopped at the beginning of the access to the main North Road. There was a big sign there prohibiting pedestrians, tractors or cycles etc. Here he found two or three students also looking for a lift North.
He was such a tiny little tyke with his enormous glasses he soon got a lift and announced he was going to Coventry. He was dropped off at a service station on the M1 and the car was about to drive off when the drivers wife made her husband stop and reversed back and they asked the little boy if he was hungry. He though they might be going to give him a sandwich instead the husband parked the car and the wife lead him into the cafe. They gave him a slap-up meal and a cup of tea and were so impressed that he eat everything on his plate and politely thanked them for it they bought him a desert and a second cup of tea.
It was early evening and it was beginning to get dark. The wife took him to the second exit of the service station which was reserved for heavy good vehicles and asked two or three drivers if they were going to Coventry. Eventually a man said yes I can drop him off for you.
Having just eaten and walked god knows how many miles that day the little boy soon fell asleep. The driver woke him up a couple of hours later and asked if he would like some of the coffee from his thermos flask. He said here we are young sir this is Coventry. The little boy thanked him very politely and was helped down just outside Pool Meadow the main bus terminal. It was 8 or 9 o clock at night now.
The little boy walked around the bus station and asked where the busses for Kenilworth departed from. A kindly bus inspector told him the last bus had gone. He had intended to say he had lost his money but could supply his address. (Coventry bus drivers and conductors had been instructed never to refuse to pick up a child for any reason) so he asked the inspector where is the Kenilworth Road I can find my way from there.
Well the roads in Coventry are a bit like a bowl of spaghetti. With loads of flyovers and underpasses. The little boy soon got lost and sat down on a bench and began crying with frustration he had got so far he was almost there but now he was lost and bewildered. For Coventry 1960’s think of Glasgow 1960’s not a nice place to be in after dark. Eventually a Taxi driver stopped and said what’s up little man are you lost. The boy said yes sir I am, I am trying to get to the Kenilworth Road. Why do want to go there the taxi driver asked because I need to get to Kenilworth Sir the little boy replied thinking the question rather silly. Jump in the cab and I take you to the Kenilworth Road. But sir I don’t have any money. No worries said the man it’s not far. The taxi driver took him all the way to Kenilworth and asked him where about’s he wanted to go. The little boy repeated the address including the post code like a robot the Taxi driver said don’t you know where that is. No sir replied the little boy I never been here before but I always write to my sister every week so I know the address.
The taxi driver took out his A-Z (they didn’t have sat-navs. back in those days) and found where it was and took him the house. The taxi driver said I’m going to wait here until someone answers. If no one answers the door come back to the car I will take you home and my wife will make you a bed up on the sofa. The little boy rang the doorbell and waited – nothing – after two or three attempts a light came on upstairs. A huge ex Navy man came down in his dressing gown and opened the door. The little boy grabbed hold of him for dear life sobbing his eyes out. Right stop all those tears and come inside said the man who made John Wayne look like a dwarf. He was just about to go inside when he remembered something very important Wait Wait he shouted. He ran across the lawn to the Taxi driver and said thank you so much sir you have been so wonderfully kind if you give me your name and address I will send you my pocket money to pay you what I owe you. The taxi driver said hurry along now someone is waiting for you.
Everyone was in tears when he told his story even the big “I never cry” – me.
Several weeks later I asked why on Earth did he go to London instead of the much shorter route cross country via St Neots. He said just a minute he disappeared into his bedroom and came back with one of those small pocket books. He showed me a miniature map of Great Britain’s road network that only showed the main roads and said “this is all I had to go on.”
This story is absolutely true without any embellishment whatsoever and is burned deep in my memory forever and still makes me cry with pride over 55 years later.
I am still to this day amassed that this tiny shy little boy by far the smallest in his class partially sighted and not a penny in his pocket would undertake such an incredible 240 mile journey into the complete unknown to reach a place of safety trusting in the absolute goodness of strangers rather than stay one more night in his dorm at St Joseph’s College.