My name is Seán Michael Lea – I was a Border at SJC Oakhill – then at Birkfield from 1975 to 1980. I left at the end of the 5th Year – and went to my local Grammar School then onto Surrey University.Most of my career was in Retail Leisure and Hotel Management. I retired in 2021.
I’ve got to say Pat that during my years at SJC I never experienced any abuse or ill treatment from any of the Brothers. I was also never aware of any of the guys in my year being subject of any form of sexual abuse. There was also to my knowledge no innuendo of any form of sexual abuse by either the Brothers or Lay Teachers.
Maybe my circumstances were somewhat different from the average pupil at SJC. I was the College Head Sacristan and Master of Ceremonies. I served Morning Mass every day and as therefore got certain extra privileges eg on Liturgical Feast Days eating with the Brothers in their Ref etc. I was also President of the SJC Railway Society and the Brothers in particular Bro Damian (Director) allowed me to organise regular weekend trips to eg National Railway Museum York or Bressingham etc. Also at the time I intended to become a Jesuit Priest so maybe that protected me from abuse.
As I had a lot of day to day contact with the DLS Community in Ipswich I thought it would be helpful to supply you with a full list of names and dates that the various Brothers were at Ipswich from 1974 to 1980.
Oak Hill 1974 – 1980
Headmaster Bro Mark. After Oak Hill Closed Mark went on to teach at the DLS University in Bethlehem. He later returned to the UK to join the DLS Community in Bournemouth. I visited him several times between 2003-04 when I was General Manager of The Carlton Hotel in Bournemouth.
The House Masters were Bro Bede & Bro Charles. I know that Bro Bede later went onto work at St William’s Reform School at Market Weighton East Yorkshire which closed in March 1994. I believe that Bro Bede left the DLS Order around that time.
Also in residence at Oakhill was Bro Osmund. He was Retired and had no Teaching or House Master Duties.
Birkfield 1975 to 1980
Headmaster Bro Lawrence Anthony aka Squealer taught several subjects including History & RE He left Ipswich in 1978. He had replaced Bro Edwin Gerald (who had left the Ipswich Community in 1974 but was the Chair of Governors so regular returned for meetings) Bro Lawrence Anthony was replaced in 1978 by Bro Damian who had previously been at Beulah Hill.
Bro Owen 1st Year House Master still at SJC in the mid 1980’s
Bro Benet 2nd Year House Master until 1978 but remained in Ipswich. He later went onto become Bro Provincial at the Provincialate at Half Moon Lane Herne Hill London. He assisted Mr Michael Thuell aka WallEye who was the 3rd Year House Master during my entire time at Birkfield. Mr Thuell taught History and British Constitution. As of 1978 Bro Benet was replaced as 2nd Year House Master by Bro Laurence Hughes who joined the Ipswich Community in 1978. Bro Laurence Hughes later become Bro Visitor of the DLS Order in Great Britain.
Bro Paul RE Teacher – he assisted Bro Owen and took us on numerous weekend camping trips around Dunwich etc. He left the Ipswich Community in 1978. In the mid 90’s he left the DLS Order and went to work in Peru and was tragically murdered there in 2019.
Bro Aidan taught French and lived in the cottage by the tennis courts with Bro Cuthman. Aidan didn’t have any House Master Duties.
Bro Cuthman aka Fluff taught Classics and Latin. He didn’t have any House Master Duties whilst I was at Birkfield.
Bro Ives – 6th Form House Master left Ipswich in 1977. He was assisted by Mr Rose who taught History.
Bro Laurence Treanor aka Lispboo (due to his lisp) joined the Ipswich Community in 1978 and was the House Master at Goldrood as of 1979.
Brother Richard Allen aka Egg Head a previous Assistant General of the DLS Order based at The Generalate in Rome. Richard arrived at Ipswich in late 1977. He was House Master at Goldrood (4th and 5th Years) in 1977 but was only in post until 1979. He remained at the Ipswich Community for a few years. I met him several times in the late 80’s whilst on visits to Rome. He had returned to work at The Generalate.
Bro Terence – taught various Science subjects – he had no House Master Duties and lived alone in The Lodge at the entrance to SJC off Belstead Road. He was the College Rev Bro Sacristan with myself as Head Sacristan and MC.
Bro Lawrence taught several subjects including English & RE he didn’t have any House Master Duties. He left SJC Ipswich in 1978 when Bro Laurence Hughes arrived.
There were several Brothers at SJC called Lawrence and Laurence. So there were 3 in total during my era
Bro Lawrence Anthony – Bro Laurence Hughes and Bro Lawrence Treanor.
Bro Peter was Deputy Head and Sub Director of the Community and lived in the House by the entrance by the Art Block / TD & Woodwork. He later joined the Community at St Peter’s Bournemouth. I attended his Funeral in Bournemouth in 2004.
Regarding their various ages – the only ones I’d assume could still be alive in addition to Bro Laurence Hughes would be Bro Aidan Bro Owen Bro Charles Bro Lawrence Francis and possibly Bro Bede.
I do know that Bro Benet died of cancer in April 2009.