I’ve just come across this one off website with some powerful words about the De La Salles.

Notably from readers’ comments:

Unlike Savile, no-one can be bothered holding to account the institution that nurtured and protected these destroyers of hundreds, possibly thousands of young lives. They preyed on the most innocent, the most vulnerable, with impunity. 11 fucking years old…That school and others like it should have been razed to the ground. Instead it carries on as if nothing had happened. No acknowledgement and no consequences. The effects of those times still haunt me practically every day.

Pat’s comment: Well said! We are holding them to account – through a work in progress on Brother James. Any one who remembers anything relevant on this man, do let me know.

BROTHER SOLOMON comment on this Beulah Hill site:

Solomon was a paedo I lived in fear of him. He would order me to come to his office at lunch time in my P.E. shorts with no underwear on. He would check by fondling me under my shorts. Behind the curtain in the office he would bring out from the bottom of a wicker basket/trunk lederhosen suede shorts and order me to put them on. For what seemed an age he would be stroking my bum. He threatened me with ‘six of the best’ if I turned around. I couldn’t tell my parents as my mother would have beaten me for telling lies.
The school and their so called Christian brothers have left me with major problems in my life.

Pat’s comment: This is the same vile pattern of behaviour Brother James used on two pupils at St J’s. ‘Don’t turn around’ for reasons I don’t need to spell out.

BROTHER JAMES comment on this Beulah Hill site:

You forgot brother James aka Jimmy Tremble a teacher so nervous he used to grind chalk into the palms of his hands presumably to give himself a form of stigmata.

Brother Wilfred a complete idiot who seemed to imply he was in the French Resistance.

Pat’s comment: This suggests that, by the time Brother James left Ipswich and went to Beulah Hill in 1970 he was in a poor state mentally. He may have had a series of breakdowns, according to one source.

There’s some confusion which may just be my source’s recollections. He remembers Brother James being 5’10 whereas I’d say he was 5’8 . My source says he was wearing different square glasses, but only some of the time. In fact, I know Brother James did change his glasses in later life.

Because his behaviour was identical, a crazed psychopath, I do not think there were TWO Brother James at Beulah Hill in the 1970s. That’s too weird, even for the De La Salles.

And – just to add to the confusion – my source says his Brother James also renamed himself Brother Wilfred. He may have done this temporarily. People who are having a crisis or breakdown do sometimes rename themselves. Or to escape justice.

Yet, as you see above, there actually was a Brother Wilfred!

I think it’s all symptomatic of the madhouse that was the De La Salle schools and I believe can be ‘unpacked’ and made sense of.

Any insights you have could be invaluable.


  1. The Bro Wilfred I knew at Birkfield in late 50s was only about 5′ tall and wore glasses and use to walk very quickly. He never taught me but I believe his subject was science of some sort.

    • Two more Wilfreds; (LOL), the dark haired Latin Teacher was Bro Wilfred (later James using his baptismal name) Connolly. Had a top, top career, including directing the Bethlehem University, mainly for Christian and Muslims in that part of the world; died two or three years ago. Then we have Brother Wildred Stutt, the Science, Maths man and groundsman in later years; died in Bournemouth about fifteen years ago; a kind, humble and hard working man. (RIP)
      On the question of names, be aware, dear posters, that following the Church changes in the 1960’s many Brothers changed their names from their names given to them when they made vows, to their baptismal names, given to them by their parents.

      • Thanks, Chris. It’s slowly all starting to make sense! Especially name changes post Vatican 2. I still wonder if Brother Wilfred/James Connolly has been conflated with Brother James Ryan for one Old Boy. He described to me how a Brother James had several breakdowns, due to events at a previous school, and a violent temper, but couldn’t identify him as James Ryan from the poor photos in the Eulogy. However Brother Wilfred/James Connolly really doesn’t sound like this man, given his subsequent distinguished career. Therefore it seems likely that he is referring to Ryan, despite the photo. Thanks for all your help!

      • Hi Pat, absolutely not, they were two different people. James (Wilfred Connolly) and James Ryan were not the same people. James Connolly came from Hebden Bridge and James Ryan came from Batley. James (jim) Connolly, earlier known as Wilfred had a long career comprising two headships (Brighton/Hove; deputy at Southsea) and Southampton before Bethlehem.. James Ryan never rose in the ranks of leadership in schools.
        (very sadly, I know all the people!, and by the way there are many other men called James in the English Province)
        Oh, and while I think about it, James Caragher, who is in prison still, I believe, started his career at Southsea, but never became Head there- local press reports on that point are wrong.

        People also need to remember that Catholics of that era tended to be called by similar names. To my certain knowledge a class of boys in ‘Northern Ireland’ were almost all called Gerard (Gerry) as St Gerard is a patron saint of Mothers, and teachers allocated another name to them so that they could distinguish between, say Gerad Adams (Gerry) and Gerard McCarthy.

      • Yes, my take is that the guy with the breakdowns and the temper was Ryan. I recall when I first read about Carragher I thought it was Ryan until I saw a photo

      • Hi, finally (today) I am sure you would agree that as a public person, which you are, and for the sake of not upsetting relatives and friends, that before names are quoted in a public forum, there is no confusion about who the men are about whom comments and reflections are made. To add to the confusion for the less informed, one of the Brothers, who left the Order in 1967 from Beulah Hill was called ‘Brother Wilfred Wilfred’ (!)

        We called him ‘World Cup Willy’ not referring to the male appendage- which apparently some women aspire to have- but referring to the 1966 World Cup Mascot.

        Chris Lane

  2. Hello.
    i. There was a Brother Wilfred Moran.. who was indeed a former prisoner of war in France under Nazi Rule; he was a brilliant teacher, ecccentric of course! He pioneered self-taught learning of French and taught that method to my own french teacher (BWAM was his signature- for Brother Wilfred Moran.. a native of St Helens.
    ii. There was a Brother Wilfred James (Cuggey) a brilliant footballer, who left the Order in 1967. Fortunately for him he married.
    iii. Brother James Ryan came to St Joseph’s College circa 1969. A good man in my time, but a bad temper. (BTW he was not Irish by birth; from Batley, coal mining family)

    • Thanks, Chris. Yes, that Brother Wilfred makes sense. Sounds like a harmless and great character! So I guess he was in the French Resistance, as one Old Boy suggested. I’m shortly putting up a Eulogy to Bro. James which I thought I’d lost. (The link was broken by the DLS, but thankfully I had downloaded it after all.) It confirms James was born in Batley. Maybe his family were Irish so he had something of an Irish accent, according to some Old Boys. I can’t remember his accent myself. You’re correct about 1969. Although he was also at Beulah Hill in 1966, for one year, according to the Eulogy. There’s also a curious amount of activity between 1966 and 1969 which may well tie in with the truly shocking and violent circumstances under which he suddenly left my school, St J’s Ipswich, in 1965. After a serious sexual assault on a boy. I hadn’t thought about it before, but it’s not just the victim that is messed up by a traumatic attack, but possibly the perpetrator, too. Because one Beulah Hill Old Boy refers to James recovering from ‘nervous breakdowns’ relating to the previous school he had taught at. Certainly the DLS looked after him well- sending him to Birbeck 66 – 68. It says in 67 – 68 he was residing in the (Catholic) Highgate Community. I guess it means he was outside the DLS, but living in a Catholic environment. If the Old Boy is correct (and I’ve just written to him for confirmation details), it’s possible this period of time may be when he had a breakdown/s. In my day, in the early 60s in Ipswich, I would say his behaviour was more than bad temper, it was psychotic.

      • Hi Pat. Highgate had a De La Salle School also (District of England) St Aloysius college and James lived there when he was studying.
        I think the ‘Old Boy’ suggested the French Resistance idea was made up; this is very much not the case. He was able to come into any class in the school and share his stories and not a sound came from the boys in class; it was magical to listen to. When he died in France his body was brought back to Beulah Hill for burial; the circumstances in which he was living at the time are legendary…

  3. Thanks, Martin. There’s a lot of valuable info there to unpack. I hadn’t realised Solomon was at Oak Hill, just before he came to Birkfield. You did, indeed, have a lucky escape! I thought I did – but recovered memories have not given me the ‘all clear’. Such memories come off in layers and recent recollections are not reassuring. 1960/1961 was the danger time, just before he was packed off to Jersey and then Beulah Hill. That ‘non-Catholic’ sectarianism was something James was especially keen on. It’s possible that both the James’ were at Beulah Hill subsequently. ‘My’ Brother James Ryan certainly was. It may become clearer shortly when I post the Eulogy for Brother James Ryan. I discovered it in the depths of my computer last night and it gives a full chronology of his life.

  4. Hello Pat,
    There were two brother James’. One was the auburn haired one who abused you who was clearly a nutter. The was also another in about 1968 or so at Birkfield who was dark haired and wore glasses with black square frames he taught Latin he was not tall say about 5’8”. He seemed quite reasonable , he didn’t stay long.

    I had a lucky escape from Solomon in about 1960 at Oak Hill. He started to groom me. Some older boys said to void him as he was a bad man. I did and then he left.

    I was a ‘non-catholic day boy’ this was the lowest of the low. Every year at the start of term…’.all non catholic stand up’. Ignored after that at every level. Left there with nothing having been there for 11 years. Poor standard of teaching plus all the rest.

    No need to publish this, but thought I would clear up the confusion re the James’.

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