ST PANCRAS CHURCH, IPSWICH, REMEMBERED

I have many happy memories of Saint Pancras (the patron saint of children). It was my local church until I was ten (1959) when we moved to Chantry Estate and Saint Marks.

I was an altar boy, a proud member of the Guild of St Stephen and was thrilled  when my red lanyard was replaced with a black one. And my red cassock replaced with a black cassock. Even if older altar boys called themselves ‘The Rhubarb Club’ (after the Goon Show), I had no such cynicism, nothing could match the excitement of carrying a lit torch or the incense ‘boat’ or swinging the thurifer.

The old Georgian presbytery next to the church was a most enthralling building. In the cellars it had a smuggler’s tunnel leading to the nearby River Orwell. The first tunnel section could still be explored, but then it was blocked off, to my great disappointment. It was such a shame the presbytery was knocked down and replaced with a faux Georgian building.

The priests Canon Burrows and his curate Father Wace were very warm and friendly. Canon Burrows was always round our house in Stoke, dressed in his boiler suit, doing handyman jobs for my mother.  Father Wace presented me with a copy of ‘A Little Hero’ by Mrs Musgrave which had a cover of a boy wearing a school uniform remarkably like a St Joseph’s College blazer. He told me I would go there one day and he was right.

Father Wace was the Akela in charge of the cubs and I was always baffled why I was a cub for just one week. Then I stopped going and no-one would talk about the reason why. It seemed to be because I had told a friend of my mother’s about ‘something that happened at cubs’ and this friend had stern words with Father Wace.

The Catholic laity – the Legion of Mary; the Knights of St Columba and the Catholic Women’s League – were also an important part of my life. My mother was a vulnerable, devout Irish Catholic widow and these organisations did their best to help her. They introduced her to another Catholic widow, Mrs Czech, and her two daughters and we went on a pilgrimage to Walsingham together.

But writing about the laity at St Pancras is still difficult for me and this short article below by Doctor Philippa Martyr for The Catholic Weekly explains the reason why.

Doctor Martyr concludes:

‘This is the ugly underside of our local vibrant Catholic community. Covering-up goes on all the time, for all sorts of things – and yes, lay people enable it. We just haven’t been brave enough to face this about ourselves yet.’

But before coming back to the laity, I have to say there was also another side to both Canon Burrows and Father Wace which was a real shock to me when the memories came flooding back to me in mid-life.

THE PRIESTS

My mother worked as a housekeeper at St Pancras presbytery. Her vulnerability meant her children were prime targets for clerical abusers.  

Canon Burrows – a listed Knight of St Columba – was a sexual abuser. It took a lot of therapy for me to get my recollections of his behaviour out of my system. His particular technique was magic and conjuring tricks. ‘Now you see it, now you don’t.’ At age six, I wanted to be a magician like the Canon and spent all my pocket money on jokes.

Father Wace is not listed as a Knight, but, given his wealthy background, it seems likely he, too, was a member.

He also was a sexual abuser. My mother smiled at my thrilled expression when I saw Wace’s pyjamas casually thrown across his bed. Because his pyjama jacket was weighed down with maybe twenty fantastic metal collectors’ badges – which would make it impossible for him to sleep in. But they were really cool badges that any eight-year-old boy would do anything for.

And did.

MALE CATHOLIC LAITY AT ST PANCRAS

I’ve previously covered the Knights of St Columba on this site. There are statements from myself and other survivors  that prove there was a ring of sexual abusers in the Ipswich Knights.

The Knights were also the Eminence Gris for the Church, which meant they controlled my school fees and they exacted a price in return. The similar Knights of Columbus describe themselves as ‘The strong right arm of the Catholic Church.’

The only thing relevant here is their use of psycho-coercive ‘double bind’ techniques. These are recorded in their theatrical ceremonies which I have previously featured on this site. Such ceremonies stopped – supposedly – in the late 60’s. Too late for me, unfortunately.

 It’s relevant because female laity abusers used similar ‘double binds’.

double bind is a dilemma in communication in which an individual receives two or more reciprocally conflicting messages. It’s a mind-twister and shows a deep knowledge of psychology and how to manipulate people.

Especially children.

When – or if – the Knights stopped abusing children I have no way of knowing and no one today cares. Catholic Safeguarding ignored a recent newspaper report of a Knight of St. Columba sentenced to a long prison sentence for child abuse. The Knight was provably not given a police check, which would have shown he had a previous conviction for child abuse.

FEMALE CATHOLIC LAITY AT ST PANCRAS

When I looked at all my bills for therapy, I was startled to see that a good 50% of my recent therapy – over the last three years – related to female Catholic laity at St Pancras.

And that it took emotional priority over male clerical abuse. You might conclude it’s because female abuse is a far greater betrayal to a child, but, actually, I think it’s because of the bizarre but very effective nature of the abuse.

I believe the women were members of the Catholic Women’s League: the female equivalent of the Knights of St Columba, and it’s acknowledged they work closely together to this day.

The CWL doesn’t list deceased members, but I’ll happily supply the five names of the female parishioners concerned for the CWL to check against their records. I would, of course, also need sight of those records. I’d say ‘Deceased Ipswich members 1956 through to the millennium.’

If I’m wrong, I will write a retraction.

If I’m correct, their names will be listed here as child abusers, alongside Burrows and Wace.

Some may have also been members of the Legion of Mary at St Pancras. My eight-year-old self didn’t fully understand the difference between the two organisations.

But I have focused on the CWL because the five women concerned were all middle-class high achievers, which seems to be the hallmark of this organisation. Two of them were spinsters. There is also the CWL’s close connection to the Knights who were provably abusers. But principally because one of the key female abusers was a close friend of the famous Barbara Ward, Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth – Wikipedia.

Barbara Ward went to St Mary’s Convent Grammar school in Ipswich (I went to the adjacent St Mary’s primary school). She then went on to be President of the Catholic Women’s League in the 1940s and introduced my abuser to her husband who was almost certainly a Knight. This was long before my time. And I’ve absolutely no reason to think Ward was an abuser. 

But Ward shows just how intellectual, well-connected and powerful the Catholic Women’s League were when I had the misfortune to come across some of their members, including her close friend.

Exactly like the powerful Catholic laity described in the link above.

Although their abuse was as perverted as any abuse, it had a certain ‘logic’, which perhaps helped them with their justification for their obscene gratification.

I won’t go into graphic details here, but it was a physical form of aversion therapy (not like today’s conversion therapy as fair as I know), an attempt to thwart puberty using psycho-coercive double binds.

It would have had different names in the past, but various forms of aversion therapy – some quite barbaric – were commonplace from Victorian times through to the 1950s. It was still very scary.

Why did they do it?

Because of the abuse I suffered at the hands of Burrows and Wace, I was definitely ‘acting out’ as so many children do.  For instance, I recall drawing and talking openly about what the priests did to me. So it may have been an attempt to physically put a stop to a child’s ‘play’.

But it actually feels rather more ambitious and organised. There were several of them involved, for instance. Even though I was earmarked for the priesthood from an early age (I was signed up for the seminary at age thirteen) I don’t believe that fully explains their behaviour.

It was certainly a ‘procedure’ they were used to.

However, it’s not my responsibility to understand their sick mindset. Or explain how it all worked in detail. I bear the psychological scars and that’s enough.

If your cognitive dissonance is kicking in at this point, and you find it hard to believe that respectable, middle-class Catholic women could behave in such a manner, let me tell you that in the same decade, a number of Dutch boys were castrated on the orders of the Catholic Church because they had shown gay tendencies. In the 1970s, on the orders of his British Catholic school, a young teenager was given hospital electric-shock treatment to similarly erase his gay character. There are other examples.

Aversion therapy seems designed to suppress, reduce or redirect a child’s sexuality. In practical terms, it limits your power over your own body. Instead, these women had control over my body. I’m pretty certain they saw their abuse as ‘holy work’. I’d love to tell you they failed miserably, but, annoyingly, its effects actually lasted until I was aged sixteen.

These fanatical women knew what they were doing.

If you’re a Catholic Safeguarder, or a member of the priesthood, the Knights or the CWL, you may well be thinking, with some relief, as you read this, ‘Ah. But it’s impossible for him to prove.’

Well, it’s true it’s hard to prove. Most survivors must have either accepted their programming, maybe they even thought it was good for them, or are too embarrassed or ashamed to talk about it.   

I’m not.

The best proof I have is the fortune I spent on recent weekly therapy, over the last three years, deprogramming the abusive program these women had instilled into my psyche.

And also the evidence of my therapist who has previously given evidence to the Ipswich police. This resulted in an abusive Ipswich Catholic teacher recently being arrested.

So I wouldn’t be too relieved if I were you.

Needless to say, I would be delighted if the CWL decide to challenge my account.

I know Catholics practice secrecy from the Pope downwards, but this really needs to be brought out into the open.

SAFEGUARDING

You might suggest that Catholic Safeguarding could help me with this matter.

Not a chance, I’m afraid, so I should explain why.

You may believe Catholic Safeguarding are there to help past survivors and investigate past clerical and laity abuse

They’re not.

Catholic Safeguarding is actually in a terrible state today, the worst it’s ever been. And, in case you think that’s just my negative opinion, there is already media concern and research on this aspect.

Furthermore.

The CEO of the CSSA (Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency) admitted the following to me:

‘IICSA was obviously put in place with the intention of dealing with this but quite honestly I think they were overwhelmed and in the end they presented their final report and it is difficult to know what it all achieved.’

All IICSA’S recommendations (The Elliott report etc) have been ignored by the Church, even though the Bishops claimed otherwise.

As the Daily Telegraph reported: ‘Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse had previously concluded Cardinal Nichols was more concerned with protecting Church’s reputation.’

Today, the CSSA only deals with current issues up to two years old.

‘This of course leaves those that have been subject of abuse over two years ago have very little redress.’

The CEO confirmed my own experience that the police (Operation Hydrant) will only deal with cases where the abusers are still alive.

And:

‘Our remit does not include an investigative branch. The process is that the diocese or religious life group (through the Religious Life Safeguarding Service (RLSS) investigate concerns when raised.’

So where St Pancras is concerned this means that the diocese will investigate.

I’ve been here before during Eileen Shearer’s COPCA era when I first raised Canon Burrows with the diocese. I learnt that Catholic Safeguarding diocese members are unpaid, they do nothing (e.g. they didn’t even look up records) they simply dump complaints onto the police, who can do nothing (see above). The diocese Safeguarders know this and – under the  convenient excuse of ‘we have a mandatory reporting duty’ – they are wilfully and knowingly wasting valuable police time.

The diocese Safeguarding officer also reassured me personally everything would be ‘so much better’ with Shearer’s recent appointment because she was a protestant. So nothing would be covered up anymore.

I was briefly impressed.

Shearer resigned shortly afterwards.

But it’s worse. The investigating officer is from the diocese where the crime took place, so he or she is still part of that Catholic community: they will certainly know the organisations concerned at the very least, they may even be members of it, and they are thus not independent.

This has put off many survivors from reporting abuse and that’s no accident. It’s exactly what the Church intended.

Returning to the laity.

The CEO of the CSSA said to me:

‘I agree with you over this issue around abuse by the laity does seem to be largely ignored and certainly has given me some pause for thought.’

Most of my claims against the Catholic laity can be deemed historic (over two years old) and therefore will be ignored, which is, of course, outrageous as we survivors have to live our entire lives with the results of their crimes committed against us in childhood. But two cases are actually current and one relates to the East Anglian diocese. The other to an adjoining diocese.

In both cases there was a lack of police checks and thus vulnerable people and children may be in danger.

Today.

There was no response from the CSSA and Police Operation Hydrant when I raised this with them both.

THE LIKELY RESPONSE FROM ST PANCRAS, THE CWL AND THE KNIGHTS OF ST COLUMBA

From past experience with the Knights and the evidence presented about them on this site, I fully expect the parish priest of St Pancras today, the Catholic Women’s League and the Knights of St Columba to do nothing.

They don’t seem to see it as their duty to children past and present to look into this most serious matter.

They will prefer to keep their heads down and hope it will all go away.

Or at best, to write back to me with some dismissive hand-wringing, ‘We’re sorry what happened to you, but there’s nothing we can do. We have no records and thus no way of looking at your allegations.’

But in 2023 silence – or such a dismissive lack of interest – is not a good look.

Even if the Catholic insurance company has advised or even ordered them, ‘Say nothing. Admit nothing.’  

(It’s sad when a Christian religion is controlled by an insurance company.)

Today, not responding to hard evidence of abuse means only one thing.

Collusion.

If you have been made aware of crimes past and current, and you choose to respond with silence or in some Pontius Pilate manner, it means you are colluding with the original child abusers to keep these crimes hidden from public view.

SO WHAT CAN BE DONE?

If you’re a Survivor you might feel nothing can be done. That – post IICSA – the Church has managed, with its own admitted poor Safeguarding (see above) to still successfully silence its critics. 

That’s not the case.

‘Naming and Shaming’ abusers at my Catholic school on this site has worked very well in the past and has led to positive results which I’ve described in previous posts. With both local media (EADT) and national media (Sunday Times and the Tablet) covering and investigating the accounts I have brought to light.

It’s only now that I’ve been able to focus on the parish I grew up in, and the clerical and laity abusers, male and female, who harmed me as a child.

So I would hope for similar results here. I’m sure it will be of equal interest to the media.

Particularly local media.

And if you are a survivor of abuse by any of these people I’ve described here, and would like to share your experience, please get in touch. As always, your anonymity is guaranteed.

However, if you are a member of the congregation at St Pancras and are rightly shocked by what you have read, I would appeal to you to raise some or all of these issues with your parish priest.

It is clearly his personal duty to act.

Diocesan Safeguarding is not an alternative. It is provably flawed for the reasons I’ve given and I strongly believe is deliberately designed to waste everyone’s time.

Even if you discount some of the allegations I’ve made, there is still a great deal left that should be looked at, discussed, and which you would hope would be of great concern to your parish priest.

Based on the past, I fear your parish priest will not take responsibility, but I would love to be proved wrong.

Furthermore, my experience is that – even today, despite the Church being called out for its crimes at IICSA – Catholic congregations will not respond to allegations of child abuse within the Church. They will look the other way at clerical and laity crimes.

This is because of the Oath of Allegiance they took and similar ties that bind.

However, I would hope that there are some exceptions who are not sheep and have the courage to challenge their shepherds.

In any event, at some point in the near future, there will be further investigations into the Catholic Church and this post and others will be useful in providing evidence.

Meantime, no one in the parish of St. Pancras can now say ‘We didn’t know. We had absolutely no idea these terrible things went on.’

You’ve been told.

And anyone curiously searching the web for nostalgic memories of St Pancras will come across this post.

They will be appalled to see the Church’s dark history in which the crimes of priests such as Canon Burrows and Father Wace and Ipswich female and male Catholic laity are laid bare for all to read.   

That is the legacy of shame for all the world to now see that St Pancras, its current parish priest, as the representative of the Church, the CWL and the Knights of St Columba will have to live with from now on.

Unless they choose to take a path of light and look at the truth.

Otherwise, it’s a dark cross all of them rightly have to bear.

TRIGGERS

Often on this site, there are graphic accounts of abuse by lay teachers, priests, monks and De La Salle  brothers.

What is more rare, though, is the psychological abuse that often goes with it.  And how it can be triggered today by relatively minor incidents. 

Catholics, abusers or not, always seem to seek control over children. Maybe it’s the same with other religions.

But it is especially heinous in Catholic communities because they are so authoritarian, so convinced of their rightness and even holiness, they cannot and will not be challenged.   

Their role model, of course, starts with the Vatican and the Pope when he speaks ex-cathedra.

Thus, as I’ve related some time ago,  a staunch Catholic doctor (a functioning alcoholic) and his hospital matron wife needed to bring their typically rebellious sixteen year old daughter ‘to her senses’. This involved her being drugged and incarcerated in the general ward of a mental hospital over Christmas.

Her rebellion was the usual thing – staying out late, bad company, surly attitude, punk clothes and so on. I don’t recall anything unusual or horrendous. But in any event, if every rebellious teenager was sectioned to bring them to their senses, the mental hospitals would be filled to overflowing.  What I do recall that was horrendous was her parents’ close examination of her clothing which, in my view, crossed boundaries.

Undoubtedly they used their connections to get the necessary two Doctors (IIRC) to have her sectioned.  When my daughters told me this, I was so appalled, I contacted the hospital and said the girl could stay at our house with her friends, my daughters, over Christmas. The hospital agreed.  I just had to ask her parents’ permission.

This I duly did. Their response I believe is so typically Catholic, it’s worth writing about again. They told me they were bluffing when they intended to keep her in a mental ward over Christmas, alone with seriously disturbed teenagers. They were going to have her released on Christmas Eve when she’d learnt her lesson and promised to behave herself in future. I told them I was delighted that the family would be united. ‘No, you’ve spoilt it now,’ the matron mum glared at me. ‘So we don’t want her back.’ The girl duly spent a happy Christmas with our family and IIRC now has a couple of university degrees and a successful career. But I happen to know she still bears the scars of her ghastly Catholic family.

Similarly I bear the scars of my ghastly Catholic family.  And that’s probably why I chose to intervene. It was triggering me.

My Catholic family circumstances were different, yet ultimately the same. My mother was mentally ill, so she had delegated her authority  to a group of  four or five Catholic worthies to similarly ‘bring her rebellious teenage son to his senses’. Some, but probably not all, were Knights of St Columba.  All were sexual abusers of children.  And they controlled the financial purse string to my fee-paying education at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, and thus my destiny.

If you look at photos or film of the Knights today, they’re still puffed up with their own arrogance and so were these gentlemen. They saw no contradiction between sexually abusing children and their own self-proclaimed  ‘holiness’. I have no idea how that works. I suspect they compartmentalised their lives and didn’t make any  connection  between their conscience and their vile crimes. Or they think if it’s good enough for bishops, priests and De La Salle brothers to sodomise and sexually molest children, so it’s good enough for them. Or they see it as an initiation rite, like a frat club.  

If anyone has any insights, knowledge or theories, I’d love to hear from them. I think my theories above are correct, but Catholics are hardly going to explain their crimes today.

What is truly remarkable is how I fought back and how they wouldn’t give up. They were determined to impose their will on me.  I’ve no real idea how I survived and eventually won, albeit at a price. They stopped paying my school fees and so I left at age fifteen and became a messenger boy for R and W Paul in Ipswich.   Even then, they still tried to impose their will on me, which I find astonishing. If I was them, I think I’d  be pragmatic and say, ‘We’re not going to win with this annoying little shit. Let him go. There’s plenty more where he came from.’ 

But Catholics simply don’t think that way. They have to win. Maybe the challenge of  ‘breaking in a wild horse’ appealed to them.

It was only when I was sixteen and left home that I was finally free of them.

In my healing work in recent years, I realised I was dealing with at least four sexual abusers, and it was necessary to understand each one’s style, as I was being psychologically assaulted from four different directions.  Sometimes separately. Sometimes in unison. That takes some unpacking. Thus one, a violent thug teacher, used the heavy-handed, boot camp disciplinarian approach. A second, a barrister, used legal threats combined with suggesting I’d be better off moving to an Ipswich hostel where he’d have me all to himself. A third, an English teacher, appealed to my writing ambitions before ultimately turning on me. A fourth, seemed to be the treasurer of the Knights and I can only remember two things about him. First, his impressive marbled Parker pen with its gold nib, ready to write out a much needed cheque for my school fees. ‘On certain conditions, young man…’And second, the terror his two sons – who  also went to St J’s – regarded him with. Let’s not talk about the fifth man. Too big a subject other than to note he was always whining, Uriah Heep style, ‘I always tried to do the best for you boys.’

I clearly won my battle against these five Catholic heavies, although I still find that remarkable. But I didn’t get off Scot-free, it left a scar and that’s where the Triggers come in.

Some months ago, I was triggered when some of my readers said I shouldn’t even be researching Web3 ‘because it was evil’. They were outraged!  It triggered memories of the Catholic Index and reading Heaven and Hell by Swedenborg. When the teacher thug I’ve described found out, he was outraged! He went nuts.  I’d completely forgotten it, but now the memories came rushing back.(More in an earlier blog)

Naturally, I ignored the Triggers.  After all, if I could stand up to a thug when I was 14, I wasn’t going to let anyone today dictate what I should or should not read.

Recently, the same thing occurred when I brought out my Web3 book, a minor project, ecologically and ethically valid. The complexities and rights and wrongs of Web3 needn’t concern us here, only the attempt by a small group of readers to stop my project, to mould me into someone I’m not, to insist I behave differently, to impose their will on me, without any debate,  adopting a ‘holier than thou’, finger-wagging, moral standpoint just like those awful Catholic worthies I’ve described when I was a kid.

They weren’t interested in polite discussion, only in reacting emotionally and dumping their emotions on me. Angry, sad, reproachful, etc.  Doubtless triggered by something in their own pasts that makes them act disproportionately. Maybe they needed an outlet, a scapegoat, for whatever is wrong in their lives.

As you might expect, it, once again, triggered emotions in me from long ago.

But it also reminded me of one way I defeated the finger-waggers as a boy.  

Music. There were so many battle hymns against authoritarian bullies and I still sing them in my head to this day.

The words of Lesley Gore were a life-saver.

You don’t own me
You don’t tell me what to do
Don’t tell me what to say

Don’t try to change me in any way
You don’t own me

I don’t tell you what to say
I don’t tell you what to do
So just let me be myself
That’s all I ask of you
I’m free and I love to be free
To live my life the way I want
To say and do whatever I please

Such music helped me survive as a kid and those words are particularly relevant today and I shall direct them at today’s Triggers if necessary.

If you’re wondering why I’m fairly  relaxed about it, then I should let you into my secret. Over the years I regularly use such Triggers in my stories and they make for excellent negative characters. I’ve written them into two of my current published series. For example, a science fantasy series where the High Priest of the Archeologists, who bury all forms of progress, has banned technology, and has an especial hatred for Web3. Needless to say, he comes to a bad end which I found most cathartic to write. I’m now thinking of a third way I can use them.  

It’s a great way to deal with the finger-waggers and turn their lead into gold.  

I hope others have found similarly constructive ways of dealing with Triggers.

THE KNIGHTS OF SAINT COLUMBANUS IRELAND 1967

Similar to the Knights of Saint Columba – closely connected with St Joseph’s College Ipswich and the De La Salles – who I had a horrible encounter with in the early 1960s.

There’s a lot of coded language from the Knights in this short film – ‘throwing out babies with dirty bathwater’ – and being heavily conservative and using their hidden influence.

I still need to study it carefully.

It gives a hint of how inner circle Catholics really operate. They would be rather more careful speaking in public today.

But it gets close to and validates the truth of my experience.

ST JOSEPH’S IPSWICH TEACHER REMEMBERED & THE OPUS DEI CONNECTION

Francis Carolan has died just before facing four charges of abuse in April.

Below are some recollections from one Old Boy about this teacher from the early 1990s.

The Opus Dei recollection I find interesting.  So a few thoughts on that organisation first.

In my own and other’s experience, St Joseph’s teachers had (have?) connections with neo-masonic Catholic organisations. In my era, the St Joseph’s teacher abusers  I encountered were members of, or connected with, the Knights of St Columba whose crimes I have featured on this site and are currently being looked at by Operation Hydrant. In another notorious case (late 1950s), an ex-St Joseph’s teacher, known from his violence, ran away with a young boy, promising that he would become the youthful leader of an exciting new order of Catholic Knights.

It would be almost reassuring if one was to conclude they’re just patriarchal organisations and Catholic women were never involved. But, of course, it’s well known that women can be members of Opus Dei, too. There was Ruth Kelly who was a practising member of Opus Dei and a minister for education. Given their warped ‘mortification of the flesh’ practises, I find that singularly unhealthy. In my era, leading Catholic women in Ipswich were members of or connected with the Catholic Women’s League, which is closely associated with the Knights of St Columba.  My experience of these ladies and their practises was very unpleasant.

Beyond St Joseph’s, there are other unhealthy stories of Catholic Knights that I’ve come across: Papal Knight, and probable member of the Knights of St Columba, Jimmy Savile being the prime example which no one has ever investigated.  I doubt it will be featured in the forthcoming Netflix drama.

The inescapable conclusion is that if you’re a member of these various secretive Catholic organisations, there’s a good chance you’ll get away with your abusive crimes. As an academic study has shown (previously featured on this site), there is a strong transgenerational element which suggests it’s still going on today. 

 RECOLLECTIONS OF CAROLAN

Carolan boasted to us that he’d sign off letters to parents with the letters FOAD. If questioned he would say it was “for our almighty deity”, but it was actually fuck off and die. He was apparently a member of Opus Dei, and had met the Pope.

Frank Carolan was a scary man. Hitting us on the back of the head with bibles, but mostly he was a psychological bully. Incredibly nice on one hand (I had a band in the 4th/5th year and he allowed us to rehearse in his classroom after school, and store our instruments), and then he’d turn on you and reduce you to nothing. 

He was my housemaster in birkfield before he disappeared one night in spring 1993. Never did anything physical to me, but we were all terrified of him and there were allegations at the time. 

THE CATHOLIC INDEX

Yesterday, I had an unpleasant but cathartic flashback experience involving the Catholic Index, so I wondered if anyone else had come across this ludicrous but lethal and fascistic form of mind control? Do let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

I know it was dissolved in 1966, but too late for me – the Knights of St Columba were still using it up to that date and almost certainly beyond.

Anyway, what triggered it was some of my (comic) readers recently started sending me angry, finger-wagging and moralizing tweets about my interest in the block chain (an irrelevant subject for this blog).  Whatever its rights or wrongs, they were in essence saying I shouldn’t even think about cryptocurrency and NFTs, they were intrinsically evil etc. They were acting as self-appointed spiritual advisers.

I just shrugged it off as part of my job. They’re entitled to their opinion and I am to mine and it’s hardly a big deal. My readers often feel passionately about any changes in publishing and good luck to them.  My wife Lisa – who knows more about NFTS than I do – wrote a very calm and reasoned reply and I really thought that was the end of it. https://www.millsverse.com/response-to-our-little-twitter-storm-about-nfts/

But my psyche felt very differently and you will see how it triggered my childhood recollections of the Catholic Index.

Before I knew it, I had the most powerful ptsd flashback I’ve had in years.

I was around 14, very much under the control of the Knights, still lined up for the seminary, and as rebellious then as I am today, when I was discovered reading a forbidden book. It would be fair enough it was Lady Chatterley – although I doubt it’s on the index – and it would be far too readable anyway.  No, it’s dreary and boring books that challenge the Church’s core teaching that were on the Index – although I know there are some novels, too, like Dumas and Hugo. Anyway, it was one of those books I’d gotten hold of.  

As a form of resistance, I was hanging out with an esoteric group opposed to Catholics. Pretty stupid, and going out of the frying pan into the fire, but when you’re 14, you do what you have to do to survive. I needed some artillery on my side against the Knights, otherwise they might have crushed my spirit. This was the Knights’ clear intention, although they would have used more flattering words to describe their form of mind control.

As far as I can recall, the group, who called themselves the Cathars (‘Pure Ones’), gave me a book by Swedenborg: History of the Devil aka Heaven and Hell. In their own way they were grooming me, too, just like the Knights. I found it a bit tedious to read today, but I bet I loved it as a kid because – apart from its click-bait title –  I knew it was against the Catholic Church. It was a symbol of defiance. Being on the Index, Swedenborg’s tome was regarded as a work of evil and anyone who read it would be excommunicated and go to Hell. The usual Catholic attempt to bully their followers into submission.

The Catholic Knight in charge of my spiritual welfare – and my fake stepdad –  absolutely freaked!  He went totally nuts!  (Just like my comic readers did when I talked about NFTs). I don’t know exactly how I responded, but it was definitely with the kind of defiance that any 14 year old kid does up when they come up against a bullying and violent ‘stepdad’.  I probably didn’t swear like I do today, but the gist of my response was undoubtedly ‘fuck off’.

He wouldn’t calm down or back down and neither would I, but  there was a limit to how violent he could be in front of my mum. In any event, I was probably egging him on– the way kids do. ‘Go on. Hit me. Let’s see what a bastard you really are.’ Controlling himself with some difficulty, he found another punishment for my dreadful crime: He locked me out in the garden so I had to spend the night in the coal shed.

Hence the flashback. Although my office is warm, and I live in Spain, yesterday I suddenly found myself wearing three heavy jumpers, gloves, hugging an electric fire and a hot water bottle with a thick blanket thrown over me.   And I still couldn’t get warm!

Only when I relived the original event did my temperature return to normal.

So what happened at the end of my punishment? The next morning, when this typically noble Catholic Knight let me in from the garden? Was I suitably subdued? Did I say, ‘I’m sorry, sir. I won’t do it again. I’ve learnt my lesson.’

I think you know the answer.  

It’s a useful reminder to me that the Knights of St Columba are currently under investigation by Operation Hydrant – two prime examples of their crimes against children have been forwarded to the police by Catholic Safeguarding. And, I’m pleased to say, it is regularly being progressed. So, whatever the final outcome, it’s being taken very seriously. And let’s bear in mind that the Knights’ corruption of children didn’t stop in my era. As is well documented, there are current Knights that need further investigation.

This organization really needs thorough investigation, not just by the police but by investigative reporters. It has a lot to answer for and to explain.

And the Knights also need to pay compound interest on their organisation’s crimes from the time of the Catholic Index.

Perhaps a night in the coal shed might do them some good.

KNIGHTS OF ST COLUMBA CURRENT CONCERNS

Some serious allegations against the Ipswich Knights I have already forwarded to Catholic Safeguarding who have forwarded them to the police at Operation Hydrant.

Some of these allegations are historic, relating to the close relationship of the Knights and St Joseph’s College, Ipswich. But I realize that current safeguarding issues naturally take priority.

So I have taken another look at an account about the Colchester Knights. The newspaper accounts below took a little ‘unpacking’ to realize the full seriousness of what was involved.

And its current implications. This is happening in OUR era, after all.

In 2016, in Colchester, a half hour drive from Ipswich, Ronald Smith, a Knight of St Columba,whose sexual abuse crimes on eight children, some under ten years old, carried out while he taking advantage of his position as a Knight, ‘organizing parish family events’, was given a 19 – 25 years prison sentence: https://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/14650497.churchgoer-finally-jailed-after-40-years-of-child-abuse/  

The account related that Smith and his fellow Knights had sworn an oath to “develop young people in their journey of faith” and “help the development of young people”.

Just as the Ipswich Knights did in my childhood with injurious results.

When Ronald Smith was sentenced, all references to the Knights were removed.  https://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/14723144.prolific-paedophile-who-abused-eight-young-boys-jailed-for-19-years/

The case never made the national press.

It’s an example of how the Knights would seem able to successfully ‘kill’ a news story. 

By comparison, when Laurence Soper, Abbot of Ealing Abbey, was given an 18 year prison sentence for child abuse, his case was reported by the BBC, The Guardian,The Tablet, The Times, The Sun,  Express, numerous websites and also covered by IICSA. 

And yet Ronald Smith’s case was an equally big news story.

He had spent more than 40 years abusing young boys between 1972 and 2014.

There were three reports to the police about him during those years which were never prosecuted! 

The account relates that:

‘Despite already being a convicted sex offender (in1973), allegations against the Catholic member of Colchester’s St James the Less and St Helen Catholic Church in Priory Street in 1994, 2000 and 2011 did not end in prosecution.’

Why not?

And was a DBS check run on Smith? It would also seem not.

In summary, why was a convicted sex offender, an uneducated, semi-unemployed man, with no DBS check, organizing children’s events – associated with or run by the Knights –  at a Catholic church up to 2014?

And why was the story minimized with no further reference to the  Knights connection to the crimes?

Are all today’s UK Knights who deal with children or parishioners  given a DBS check?  Given that Smith was probably not DBS checked and another source tells me that current Knights of St Columba – in a different diocese – aren’t DBS checked, it seems unlikely.

I’ve raised these concerns with Catholic Safeguarding who have passed this post onto Operation Hydrant. Personally, I think, with today’s children possibly at risk, as I’ve exampled, that the Knights should set up an Independent Investigator to look into this and other allegations about them on this site. Just as the De La Salles have done. If the Knights are as concerned about child safety, past and present, as they claim, It should be a priority.

It concerns me that the response of all Catholic Safeguarding agencies to any allegations is to just pass them onto Hydrant or the regular police without comment or interaction. It does feel to me that they’re dumping everything onto Hydrant but without the intermediary which Hydrant tell me they require. And that they are not looking at important issues that this and previous examples on this site raise. For instance – do the Knights of St Columba have DBS checks? NOT according to my source. That’s not so relevant to Hydrant who are primarily concerned with actual offences, but has everything to do with Catholic Safeguarding and protecting children and preventing offences ever taking place. Thus far, I’ve had no response to this issue by Catholic Safeguarding.

So I have to assume they’re ignoring it.

THE DE LA SALLES – WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP?

I’ve just sent SCOE and DLS Safeguarding – the two relevant Catholic Safeguarding organizations –  the summaries of evidence on Brothers Kevin, James, Solomon, Father Jolly the DLS school chaplain, and a summary of other DLS abusers.

These summaries will greatly facilitate the work of the investigations detailed below. It’s hard trawling through the numerous testimonies posted on this site over several years and my summaries are designed to make life easy for DLS Safeguarding and SCOE.

Here’s my understanding of what is currently happening:  There are THREE strands of investigation into the DLS which is encouraging.   However, they appear to overlap which – hopefully – won’t be a problem.

The three strands are:

1.The DLS Safeguarding Inquiry. 

Here’s the newspaper account revealing the inquiry.

https://www.ipswichstar.co.uk/news/st-josephs-ipswich-abuse-monks-ask-police-8553626

But to quote from it:

Barry Hudd, head of safeguarding at the De La Salle Brothers, said the order wanted to “clear the whole thing up”. 

He added that while there have been more than 200 abuse claims made against the order from across the UK, until now only a handful have come from St Joseph’s. 

One of these, he said, was settled recently outside of court, but most of the accusations made on Mr Mills blog were “completely unheard of”, he said.

“With regards to St Joseph’s, we’ve put the ball in Suffolk Constabulary’s court”, Mr Hudd said. “It’s up to them to work out what happened and if the abuse truly was systemic. 

“We’ve also hired our own independent and experienced child abuse investigator to assist the police. 

Previously, DLS Safeguarding had set up an Independent Investigator to look at De La Salle Brother ‘A’  which may still be ongoing, so I won’t comment on that matter. Other than to say their Investigator was Jo Norman whom I found tremendously helpful to talk to. Other Survivors have said the same thing.

However, no one from DLS Safeguarding has been in touch with me thus far regarding this new investigation, even though I understand it’s based entirely on the testimonies on this site.

And one survivor  recently wrote direct to DLS Safeguarding with his well documented account of abuse and was disappointed by their brief response.

So I have a question for the DLS:

Has the DLS independent Investigator been appointed? 

Because we were told by SCOE when Jo Norman was appointed. I think we should be similarly told by DLS Safeguarding what is going on and who the Investigator is.

2. The SCOE. Safeguarding Commission for Orders in Education (SCOE). 

Its Independent Chair is Rev Dcn  Des Bill.   He informed me:

“De La Salle have now written to the police asking them to investigate all allegations and concerns made about the order and any members of it.”

The SCOE themselves have also already been dealing with complaints of DLS abuse. Des Bill has  been forwarding the testimonies on this site to the police of Operation Hydrant (see below).

Possibly DLS Safeguarding will do the same separately via their Investigator or will co-ordinate with SCOE?

Des Bill was also involved in the investigation into De La Salle Brother ‘A’.  In fact, I thought it was SCOE who had initiated it.  But a reporter told me that De La Salle Safeguarding had advised her that they initiated it not SCOE. 

So I assume that SCOE acted at the original  ‘front person’  for DLS Safeguarding and that they liaised behind the scenes.

However, here’s what Jo Norman said herself:

I am an Independent safeguarding consultant who has been commissioned to provide management of all complaints against  Brother ‘A’ and to support the SCOE (Safeguarding Commission for Orders in Education) in making decisions regarding these complaints. 

Catholic Safeguarding (Chair: Nazir Afzal ) are NOT involved.  Their full name is Catholic Standards Agency: CSSA. They are a completely new and separate organization.  They deal with abuser priests and are not involved with religious orders like the DLS.

3. Ipswich police

If an abuser is still alive, it’s relatively simple for a Survivor of the abuse to get a response without going through this complex system.  Ipswich police will  deal with you direct. I found them helpful and pro-active.

But if the abuser is dead, the complaint goes to Operation Hydrant. This is an umbrella police organization dealing with historic and systemic abuse.

It is still handled from Ipswich, but the police tell me they require an authorised intermediary   – like Jo Norman – to  present the information to Hydrant.

That sounds simple enough, but there are inconsistencies. Thus Des Bill has been sending testimonies from my site to Hydrant without such an intermediary.

Maybe this happened because the information was already summarized which would usually be the job of an intermediary.

And at least two DLS Survivors have reported historic abuse – where the DLS abuser is dead – to Ipswich police who have responded direct to them.  Maybe they didn’t need an intermediary because they were ‘one off’ cases.

                                                         ……………………..

The three strands are confusing, a little contradictory, and there is a noticeable lack of detail.   

But I’m hoping these two Catholic Safeguarding organizations will make things clearer for us all in the future.

We need full transparency to avoid going round in circles and in line with the recent Elliott Report which said Safeguarding Officers should adopt a more compassionate, communicative and respectful attitude to Survivors.

The lack of communication I’ve described is certainly not in line with the Elliott Report.

WHAT DOES A SURVIVOR OF DLS ABUSE DO NEXT?

I’m asking both DLS Safeguarding and the SCOE for some guidance here and I think we all need some answers from them to the questions and my suggestions below.

Here is an example of a key case.

Survivor Z has written a detailed and important testimony about a  dead DLS sexual and physical abuser. It’s been backed up by supporting evidence by other Survivors.  It’s in the evidence posts I’ve sent the Safeguarding agencies.

And it should be backed up by further evidence in the DLS files. There is no way this DLS abuser’s sexual and physical abuse crimes could have been unknown by Oxford (The DLS HQ). There would be many complaints about him.

As with all the evidence I have presented, I strongly dispute that they are ‘completely unheard of’ as the cases themselves make clear.

So what happens next? 

1)Does Z wait until Hydrant gets in touch with him ?

Or will the DLS Safeguarding independent Investigator seek to also get in touch with him before passing the same evidence to Hydrant?

2)The Investigator  or Hydrant can get in touch with Z by contacting me and I will pass on their request.

And the Investigator can ask me – from looking at the evidence summaries I’ve provided – who else they would particularly like to get in touch with. I will happily act as facilitator for them.

 If that is not acceptable, we need to know why. 

 3) An alternative would be for the Investigator to place a request for information on my blog, asking survivors to come forward.  This has been done before and I believe it worked well. 

But a few important testimonies will need addressing separately. For example, if a Survivor who made a key testimony rarely reads my blog, so he’s not going to know about the Investigator’s request.  Then I would need to contact them.

4) Or should Z write to the DLS Investigator or DLS Safeguarding?  Bearing in mind his testimony has already gone to SCOE and thus onto Hydrant.

5)Can SCOE and DLS Safeguarding tell us how they avoid this possible duplication and a Survivor like Z telling his story twice to two overlapping organizations?

6) The DLS files in Oxford will be bulging with information on the most notorious DLS abusers:  Solomon, Kevin and James.  If an Investigator goes to those files FIRST, it should confirm many of their crimes.

So how necessary is it for all Survivors to be contacted and repeat their allegations which are painful to recount?

Bearing in mind the Elliott Report asks Catholic Safeguarding agencies to have a more compassionate and kindly approach in future.  

For example, the DLS Investigator should be able to confirm from the DLS  files alone that Brother James was a violent abuser who had psychotic episodes.

There must also be a dozen accounts of  Brother James’ violence on my blog which bear this out. Contacting all survivors would be laborious and may be unnecessary when the DLS already know he is guilty.

In my opinion, the DLS  acknowledging that James was guilty of psychotic  violence should be a relatively simple matter, irrespective of Hydrant. Then it’s up to individual Survivors to decide what to do with that DLS acknowledgement next.

In fact, it hardly needs to go through Hydrant, taking up valuable police time, especially when they seem overloaded with work which may mean it could take some considerable time before they respond – this is according to Barry Hudd, the DLS Safeguarding Officer.

If that proves to be the case, I will have to look at the implications. Namely : are the DLS being obstructive and against the recommendations of the Elliott Report?

There is a simpler solution if the DLS genuinely want to get to the bottom of all this.

 A simple but specific admission of James’ guilt by the DLS would suffice.

The position is similar where Brothers Solomon and Kevin are concerned.

Their cases are provably and emphatically NOT ‘completely unheard of ‘.

7) DLS lay teachers are the responsibility of the DLS, as confirmed by DLS Safeguarding saying that they are looking into Mike Mercado. But I think we want to be sure.

So here’s another key question to DLS Safeguarding:

Will you please confirm that DLS lay teachers detailed in the relevant evidence summary are included in your investigation?

8)DLS Safeguarding started off on ‘the wrong foot’ with Survivors as I’ve previously exampled. (e.g their not-so-public ‘public’ apology). It would be good if we can put that behind us now. 

I’m prepared to do so, if I see there’s a change of attitude from now on.

Bearing in mind  the sensitivity of the issues, the opening of old wounds, the huge emotional toll to Survivors of DLS crimes, and the recommendations of the Elliott Report for Catholic Safeguarding agencies to do much better:

Is there anything DLS Safeguarding and/or the Investigator would like to say to help Survivors just now?  I will happily post it on my blog without comment.

9) Finally, there’s the whole issue of proper DLS apologies and proper DLS acknowledgement of crimes, but I think that’s worth addressing in a later, separate post, possibly as the investigation proceeds.

 WORLD WAR TWO ‘HEROES’

This is really a memorandum to myself, so I don’t forget, but it may strike a chord with other Old Boys who grew up in the 1960s.  And there’s also a strong St Joseph’s College and Knights of St Columba connection so bear with me as I explain.

My recollection is that  in the 1960s there were endless characters – in their forties – who claimed to us admiring baby boomers that  they were World War Two ‘heroes’; whereas, in fact, they were complete phonies and absolute tossers.

There was my Anglo-Indian boss Jimmy James – splendid in his military blazer –   who claimed he was a Desert Rat at Tobruk  in c 1942, but also seemed to have been in the Burma campaign c1942.  He didn’t appreciate it when I said it was impossible for him to have been in both campaigns and, soon after, sacked me for insubordination.

Then there was Neville who was a dashing, handsome, romantic character who seemed like an archetypal Spitfire pilot to us teenage boys and confirmed he was in the RAF, without going into details.  Maybe he was a Spitfire pilot, but he also was in the antique furniture trade and would revel in telling us how he’d cheat old ladies by using a dart to stab the underside of their tables and claim it had wood worm. Hardly the behaviour of a Douglas Bader.

Or  there was  motorcyle cop ‘Fiddy’ who anyone from Ipswich who liked speeding might just remember. He drove a Judge Dredd bike, had a magnificent handlebar moustache and was renowned for his high speed chases.  We Mods were all convinced he had been in the Battle of Britain , but I remember a rumour he had actually been in the catering corps.

Of course we all know that real WW2 heroes rarely, if ever, talked about their experiences. Like ‘little’  Len who was a Canadian paratrooper.  Or equally ‘little’ Jack who was a glider red beret and had fought at Arnhem. He never talked about what happened, although he did once admit – when he was very drunk – that he’d machine-gunned a field of cattle.

But over the years I’ve always written about characters who were the comic book equivalent of Flashman. Readers of my Charley’s War anti-war long running comic book saga may remember my character Captain Snell who was an absolute shit, a  cad, a liar and a cheat. He was a villain the readers loved to hate but I could never figure out where I got the idea for him from.  I had wondered if he was inspired by Roger Ditchley, the caddish villain in Bill Tidy’s Fosdyke Saga, but no, that wasn’t it. I knew it was something deeper.

Then, researching a real life character for a current writing project  – World War One ‘hero’  Captain Hugh Pollard – something finally fell into place.  Pollard is another absolute lying shit (he’s on Wikipedia) he thought the Irish were a criminal race, started the Spanish Civil War and made up the story that the Germans used their corpses for soap. I suddenly realized that the powerful surge of emotion I felt – anger, excitement and a flood of  tears  were  because Pollard, especially, and  also Snell, reminded me of a Catholic lawyer I encountered (one of three, actually) when I was 14.

To identify the lawyer here, I’ll call him ‘The Cad’. He left a profound impression on me. I hated ‘The Cad’ but I was fascinated by him at the same time. Especially just how evil he seemed to me. We all love villains like Voldemort and Darth Vader and I had a similar twisted ‘love’ for ‘The Cad’. That’s why I kept writing about him. Maybe like the way kids play with toy soldiers because they have power over them. My wife Lisa tells me I lit up like a Christmas tree when I talked about him.

It was a real Road to Damascus moment – I hadn’t got my memory back – but I finally made sense of my feelings and my obsession with writing Flashman-style characters. My psyche only allows me limited access to the past, probably because it was so awful, but it was a rush nevertheless.

When I was 14, I was as much of a whistleblower as I am now and you can imagine how that went down with the Catholic authorities and their foot soldiers  in the Knights of St Columba.  Especially their lawyers.. So they tried shutting my obnoxious 14 year old self up using Darvo techniques (see an earlier blog) . And they were about as successful as Catholic Safeguarding is in shutting me up today. Not a hope.

I mention this, because I think I may just have come across ‘The Cad’ in another St Jo’s Old Boy’s account.  It may be coincidence, but see what you think.

The Survivor described to me how a lawyer Knight came to a financial arrangement with him for the De La Salle abuse he had experienced  at St Jo’s in the same time period – mid 1960s –  as me. He goes on to say:

This fantastic Frog eyed Austin Healey painted British racing green drove up and a man in his mid sixties got out wearing a battered old leather helmet and a very old pilots sheepskin coat. I thought he was the reincarnation of “Biggles”. I complimented on his car it was stunning and ever school boys dream. I asked if I could carry anything and he said just a minute he took off that fantastic sheepskin coat and his brown leather helmet and threw them in the car then opened the boot and handed me a strange rectangular leather briefcase to carry. It was very light and obviously empty.

I just had to ask are you a pilot, sir? – he grinned, well, I was a pilot and even a Squadron Leader back in the day. Now I’m just a lawyer. I followed him into the bursar’s office (at St Jo’s)

It also emerged that this lawyer’s chambers were in town. It sounds like he was a barrister, which would explain his flamboyance. (Barristers all seem like actors to me, and two I know personally are complete phonies.) My guess is his chambers were in Museum Street where the other two lawyers I encountered were based. But, visually, those two were very boring – they were Dunn and co. men, if you remember that High Street store. The sight of anyone in cavalry twill trousers, sports jackets and brown brogues still brings me out in a rash.

So this feels like ‘the Cad’  to me, because you’ve doubtless noticed the glaring error in the above.  He’s in his mid sixties and it’s the 1960s. So  were there squadron leaders in their 40s in WW2? Not impossible, I suppose, but unlikely. They were often in their 20s.  But maybe he really was the dashing hero he was claiming to be – rather than a con man, like the prats I’ve described above.

However, anyone who goes around in that Biggles outfit is a prick who is looking for impressionable fans, more suited to my comic conventions. Of course I’d have been taken in by him, too, as a teenager. And those cars were cool! That Billy Liar complex extended to my generation. A colleague, my age, would drag himself into the office every morning wearing a flying jacket and boots like he was one of ‘The Few’, whereas in fact he’d been in the TA.

Of course the Survivor could have got his age wrong, but I doubt it. His recollections are usually pinpoint accurate. So I’m pretty certain it’s ‘The Cad’. It’s probably academic, but you never know. As the investigation into the Ipswich Knights develops (now with Operation Hydrant), and the truth about their crimes comes out, it may just be possible to identify him which would be great, because I could go and spit on his grave. And I’m not kidding. Some years ago I  hired a private detective to track down the grave where an evil paedophile Catholic priest  ( Canon Burrows – another Knight of St Columba) was buried. It was great therapy.

Meanwhile, it will certainly enhance my fictional story of Captain Pollard which I really must write soon! Pollard was such a bastard (and – by coincidence? – a devout Catholic)  and it’s valuable to finally understand why I’m so obsessed with him and similar Flashman scumbags.

Every cloud.

FATHER JOLLY & THE KNIGHTS OF ST COLUMBA – THE EVIDENCE

First up, I’m ONLY relating the evidence here in the context of systemic De La Salle abuse.

Because I’ve seen too many accounts of Catholic religious orders thwarting  accusations with  ‘No. That’s not our responsibility. It’s the diocese/ the school/ the individual.  It is nothing to do with us.’

But this is very much to do with the De La Salles.

It demonstrates the organised nature of cover-ups within the order.

FATHER JOLLY – CHAPLAIN OF ST JOSEPH’S COLLEGE, BIRKFIELD.

Central to this De La Salle systemic abuse cover-up is Father Bill Jolly, St Joseph’s College chaplain, parish priest for Chantry council estate, and a Knight of St Columba.

Jolly’s father, a passionate religious zealot, was the founder of the Ipswich Knights of St Columba province before the war.  This is not an irrelevant footnote. The Jollies had wealth and status in the Catholic community and Father Jolly – the owner of a yacht moored at Pin Mill –  was no ordinary Knight. He was de-facto ‘the Crown Prince’, the heir to his father’s organization. This helps explain why he took such a central role in the events below.

Jolly was also a sexual abuser himself. But only, AFAIK, as parish priest of Chantry Estate where he exercised a ‘droit de seigneur’  on selected poor and vulnerable children on the council estate like myself. But this was outside the remit of the DLS so I have not related it here.

However, I still think it’s useful to briefly describe the man. He was a calm, aloof,  detached, ascetic man with an upper class accent. The actor Charles Dance always reminds me of Jolly.  Jolly’s cold, laconic and remote character contrasted with his occasional nervous and high-pitched giggle. He was a diabetic who had several coma episodes in the time I knew him. I’m told he was also a heavy drinker. He gabbled his way through the Mass, without any feeling and at high speed and – as a devout Catholic altar boy – this troubled me greatly. I was reassured by my mother that did not detract from his holiness but I was never convinced. Especially when he abused me. He lived in a cottage on the edge of or inside the DLS school grounds. He had a housekeeper there: Mrs Head, a Catholic widow.

Whatever his terms of employment with the diocese or the DLS, he was facilitating systemic DLS abuse at the school.

This included using his role as school chaplain: taping pupils’ sexual confessions in the DLS school chapel. This means he was abusing pupils of St Joseph’s College who were the responsibility of and in the care of the DLS.

Therefore Jolly is very much the concern of the DLS.

In fact, he is as much the concern of the DLS as lay teacher Mike Mercado whom the DLS are currently (December 2021) ‘looking into.’

EVIDENCE OF JOLLY’S INVOLVEMENT WITH SYSTEMIC DLS SEXUAL ABUSE AT ST JOSEPH’S, IPSWICH.

1)

https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/1029

In this account – in 1964  – St Joseph’s pupil ‘X’ was violently sexually assaulted by Brother James. He was sent to a private hospital in London to recover. This hospital seems to have been arranged by and under the control of the Knights of St Columba.

Jolly visited  X there to discover just how much this victim of DLS sexual abuse remembered. So Jolly was acting as a Knight and the DLS liaison person.  X relates:

 The left hand side of my head had been shaved and I was wearing some sort of white netting over my head. A couple of days went by and I was asked if I was well enough to see a Priest. I said I didn’t feel up to it but Father Jolly just seemed to barge his way into the room and greet me like a lifelong friend. I did not want to speak to that man so when he asked me by my name how I was feeling I had a brilliant idea I said “what did you call me, is that my name who are you.” I started shouting Nurse Nurse – I do not know this man please ask him to leave. He kept insisting I knew him very well and kept asking if I remembered how I got here. I told him I could not remember him or anything else and I wanted him to leave.

The Nurse came back and was very professional indeed and told Father Jolly he must leave because he was upsetting me and she would not take no for an answer. He waited outside the door to my room and asked the Nurse what is going on with that boy quick as a flash she said someone had given him a massive overdose of anesthetic and he is lucky to be alive. Father Jolly said surely he will recover his memory in time she said there was not much hope less than a 10% chance I’m afraid he was left too long before he got proper treatment. Father Jolly left after that.

The Nurse came back in the room and gave me a huge smile and said that sorted him out. I asked her why she had lied and helped me – she smiled and said I went to a Convent boarding school and I recognize his kind a mile off and besides I have seen all the welts on your hands arms and back and I’m pretty sure I know how you got them.

2)

This next  account happened approximately a year after the assault on X.  He had now returned to St Joseph’s and normal school life. After a transgression involving the track run, he was sent to clean the school chapel as a punishment.

https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/1040

Unlike my own memories which are ‘patchy’, Old Boy ‘X’ has an impressive photographic memory. You will see it in this account : his enviable detail about even small things like the track run.  As he explains:

I go into great detail because it may jog someone’s memory to confirm my account. I was both cursed and blessed with a photographic memory that is a great asset for examination purposes but a nightmare for the rest of your life when you simply cannot forget the things you desperately want to get out of your head.

X  now tells how he overheard Jolly in the confessional talking to a school boy penitent:

“Impure deeds what do you mean, boy? Impure deeds? You can’t lie to God, you know, if you want my absolution” and “do you mean you’ve been playing with yourself – well do you, if so you must tell me” “and how many times” and “have you been playing with any other boy” and “what is this other boys name”.’

Later,  X cleans out the confessional and:

I was absolutely flabbergasted to find one of those old cassette tape recorders the ones with the four or five piano keys on the front lying on the floor. It was open and the tape cassette had been removed but the machine was still very warm. I simply could not believe that a priest would record the confessions of children.

X later concludes:

The recording of those boys confessions could be of no other use than to alert the Brother Director of the College – in case a victim of sexual abuse wanted desperately to be in a state of grace and obtain absolution and ease his tormented soul.

If X is correct, then this is evidence of systemic DLS  abuse.

It’s possible it was also for Jolly’s own gratification.  

This evidence cross-references with my own experience of Jolly as a sexual abuser and an organizer of  paedophile events with the Knights outside the school.

Once again, a personal abuser and also involved with systemic abuse.

 As Jolly’s assaults on me didn’t happen on DLS property, I have not detailed them here, but they are available to an investigator.

THE KNIGHTS OF ST COLUMBA

The Knights describe themselves today as “A lay Order of Catholic men, pledged to support the Church and clergy.”

As I’ve shown, that support is regardless of the cost to children.  Children are expendable in order to protect the good name and reputation of the Church and its religious orders.

Once again, I need to stress that I am only concerned here with how the Knights worked in partnership with the DLS. Or were the Eminence Gris behind the DLS.

And how they facilitated DLS systemic abuse.

Then and now the Knights are a secretive order so my assessment of the relationship between the Knights and the DLS has to be confirmed but the events speak for themselves.

If any Knight would like to explain things further, their views would be most welcome on this site. If required, their anonymity will be respected.

Criminal matters relating to the Knights – and not directly involving the DLS –   have already been forwarded by Catholic Safeguarding to the police’s Operation Hydrant.

Catholic Herald and other accounts confirm that the Knights were responsible for the setting up of the school before the war. Either as financiers or brokers, it’s never made clear. But it’s obvious from the evidence that the Knights and the DLS are closely intertwined and this helps explain the background to X’s account and the way the Knights got involved.

EVIDENCE OF THE KNIGHTS OF ST COLUMBA’S INVOLVEMENT IN DLS SYSTEMIC ABUSE AT ST JOSEPH’S

1)

https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/1029

This is once again X’s account of Brother James sexual assault on him.

In further private correspondence with X he has related to me MORE aspects of Knights/DLS systemic abuse.  Thus a Knight later arrives at the hospital, sees X’s wounds, and exclaims, ‘Oxford shall hear of this!’  Oxford is the DLS HQ.

X describes the Knights in further comprehensive detail. As this was in private correspondence with me, I haven’t featured it here.

But I can provide an investigator with the relevant information if necessary.

But, frankly, I think the above account tells an investigator everything they need to know.

There are many revealing aspects of systemic abuse here alone which an investigator would need to unpack and shouldn’t require further analysis by me.

But to emphasise just four elements:

*A boy nearly died and this crime was covered up by the DLS and the Knights.

If he had died it would have been manslaughter.

*This private hospital had been used before and probably since to deal with victims of Catholic child abuse. This has profound implications that are surely relevant to a police investigation. That hospital needs identifying and when (or if)  it was no longer used. We can’t just take the word of involved organisations – the DLS and the Knights – that it stopped.

* X’s school fees were paid for by the Knights and/or the DLS.  The Knights acted as an arbitration service providing compensation for X’s injuries.

To quote X:

“Well I cannot tell you the details of the deal I got but I was most insistent on one thing I was not going to be expelled from St Josephs. They agreed to everything but insisted I must never return to St Joseph’s again, guess who won the argument but with a lot of conditions attached.”

*Brother James carried on teaching at St J’s, despite his evil crimes.

2)

Neither my older brother nor I passed the eleven plus, our widowed mother had no job and we were poor.  Yet, astonishingly, our school fees  to go to St Joseph’s  – approximately for 4 years each – were paid by the Knights.  Why?  We all know there is no such thing as a free lunch – especially where the Catholic Church is concerned.

Unravelling the reason is still a work in progress, which is outside the terms of this inquiry.  Thus far.

But I mention it because it is further evidence that the Knights paid school fees under dubious circumstances.

3)

I envy X’s  photographic memory. By comparison, mine is patchy. Thus after Brother James assault on me at age 12, I remember exploding with anger to my mother and refusing to be silenced. Then suddenly I was presented with a brand new, top of the range bike, with twist gear grips, no less! But how? We were poverty-stricken.  I have dim memories of the Knights providing this luxury gift and being told some nonsense about joining their ranks as a Squire when I was older. I lack X’s  detail, but I remember that bike and how it shut me up.

Just as X was silenced.

The Knights seem to be the troubleshooters whom the DLS call in when their crimes are likely to be reported – which I most certainly intended to do. 

3)

The DLS  and the Ipswich Knights of St Columba have known about X’s account for over a year.

I know this is correct from insider sources. And it is a most serious allegation. It should have been acted upon immediately.

According to Catholic Safeguarding, if they become aware of any abuse, historic or current, it is, as a matter of procedure, reported immediately to the police.

So the DLS and the Knights will have similar Safeguarding procedures. Yet they did nothing.

Not enough evidence? How much more evidence would you need than the testimony of a man with a photographic memory?  

Anyone who is innocent, or believes their organisation was innocent, would have also responded with an inquiry, an explanation or a rebuttal. Or an acknowledgement that is was, alas, true.

Instead, both organisations have kept silent, until social media and newspaper pressure have forced the DLS to appoint an investigator.

Without that pressure, the DLS would have remained silent, hoping the allegations would just ‘fade away’.

Even now, the DLS response  is impersonal (no communication with this site), guarded, minimal, mildly sceptical, mildly hostile and guided not by their consciences, but by their Suits.

A pathetic DLS apology derided by all Survivors was written by their Suits.

The Knights also have nothing to say except to flippantly invite me along to their ceremonies.

My understanding of ‘systemic’ includes where there is an organised cover-up, a silencing (e.g. through an NDA), or an investigation is thwarted by being ignored by an organization, obscured or not reported to the police.

 This is therefore a form of systemic abuse by both organisations today.

After Christmas I’ll write a final summary of other evidence of systemic abuse by the DLS, featuring lay teachers, other DLS teachers and other DLS schools.

Then I will forward the evidence files to the relevant organizations for the independent investigator.

Thanks to everyone for your valuable input and testimonies. You’ve made a huge difference already. And there is more to come.

This is never going to go away and they know it.

Have a great Xmas and I’ll do my best to forget this horrid business during the festive season. Hope you can, too.   All the best Pat

KNIGHTS OF ST COLUMBA, IPSWICH

THE PROFILES

The De La Salle Safeguarding issues are now in hand; they are being looked at by Operation Hydrant and at the order’s request, too. As I reported Safeguarding’s update:
“De La Salle have now written to the police asking them to investigate all allegations and concerns made about the order and any members of it.”

The Knights of St Columba, Ipswich, are very much part of these historic allegations so they will be investigated, too.

Here’s what the CEO of Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency had to say:

‘The KSC is a lay organisation and isn’t therefore aligned to a diocese or a body such as SCOE for safeguarding services.  The police can liaise directly with me as necessary.’ 

 So it’s now time for me to turn my main attention to them.

Firstly, I would say to the Knights: ‘There’s still time, gentlemen, for you to respond like the De La Salles and ask the police to investigate the allegations and concerns made about your historic organisation. And to carry out your own internal investigation because I am well aware you keep records back to this era.’

‘For example, publish a full list of past members, which could save everyone a great deal of time. That would be extremely helpful and be evidence of your cooperation.’

After all, today’s Knights must share everyone’s concern at the shocking events related concerning their organisation, which are confirmed by more than one witness and have been on my site since March 2020!

However, they show no sign of responding, which I find disturbing.  

Their silence speaks volumes.

In fact, on two occasions two leading Knights from Glasgow, the organization’s city of origin, and possibly its HQ, rather flippantly I felt, asked if I’d like to come along to one of their meetings, presumably to see all the good work I’m sure they do today.

Here’s what one Grand Knight had to say to me:

  My name is Dominic I’m the grand Knight of Co 22 Partick wee meet every 2nd Wednesday of the month please come and join us I will show you how the council works.

These leading Knights had no comment on all the serious allegations made on this site.

I declined, not least because I was present at meetings of the Knights as a child and it was a dark experience.  An experience that has cost me a considerable amount of time and money and is emotionally draining to this day.

I’ve found the best palliative is to pursue this matter to a satisfactory conclusion.

To that end, I’ve summarised key individuals and information as an aide memoir in preparation for Hydrant and to pass onto them.

If you’re wondering why religious orders throughout the UK are now firmly in the investigative spotlight but never  – until now – the Knights when they are intimately connected with the Church and its wrong-doings, I believe there are two reasons. 

Firstly it’s down to the proven neo-masonic, ritualistic, coercive and secretive nature of the Knights in the 1960s which continues to some extent to this day, with media control and black-outs of negative news about them as I’ve previously exampled.

And secondly because the Ipswich province, historically, was made up of upwardly mobile blue collar workers and professionals, like the profiles below.  So lawyers, accountants, doctors, coroners, special constabulary etc, are in a better position to cover their tracks than the DLS whose crimes all of us school children were often aware of. The Knights were – and perhaps still are – powerful and important pillars of the community. As I’ve previously related, the parents of some St Jo’s Old Boys saw them as weird and dangerous characters, ‘not to be messed with’.

The list of deceased Knights of St Columba I am referring to below is their official list, but it is by no means complete.

I have not named all the Knights while I look for further evidence.

My key source for several of my Profiles is ‘The Shocking Truth About St Joseph’s – my old school.’

https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/1029

 This is backed up by other survivors including myself.  In particular the sexual violence of Brother James is confirmed. I also have further accounts about the Knights activities in this historical era, sent to me personally. These expand on the details in this public account.

Then and now the Knights have an acknowledged interventionist role in the Church helping parishioners in trouble. Even today, I have been told they are seen in some quarters at least as the priest’s ‘assistants’ and this helps explain how their organised historic abuse occurred: ‘Helping’ became a cover for their criminal activities.

PROFILES

1.Canon Burrows. St Pancras. Listed as a Knight of St Columba. Abuser. The abuse took place in the 1950s, my primary school years. When I talked about it, I was physically silenced by the nun headmistress. There’s some indirect corroboration from a fellow pupil.  The Canon was always visiting our home, helping my widowed mother, doing repair jobs and bought my brother and I expensive presents.  I ran away from his car parked at Browns timber yard at age 8 and found my way to the police station and reported him. To no avail, but it was a positive experience because the police were sympathetic. It left me with a life-long impression of the value of ‘whistle-blowing’.

2. Father Wace. St Pancras. Not listed as a Knight, but likely to be one, coming from an upper class Catholic family. Abuser. 1950s. His pyjama jacket was covered in metal collectors’ badges, completely impractical to sleep in.  When, as a child, I saw it casually laid out on his bed in the presbytery, I was in awe which was, of course, the intention. One assault took place when I was a cub and he was the cub master. My time in the cubs then came to an abrupt halt following a confrontation between Wace and a family friend I complained to.

3. Father William Jolly. St Joseph’s College chaplain. Parish priest St Marks. Abuser. Late 1950s to 1960s. His father, also William Jolly, is listed as a Knight and  played a key role in the Church at that time.

I’ve been told by an insider that Knights were transgenerational, so some of today’s Ipswich Knights may have fathers or grandfathers who were Knights in the historic era in question. This has some relevance in an investigation.

Father Jolly drove me to Knights’ events in his Hillman Minx car. He took me out on his yacht and I recall some fairly obvious grooming. Another event at a Knights ‘event’ was more fearful and graphic. He was a heavy drinker and I believe supplied my widowed mother with tranquilizers, probably valium.

A St Joseph’s Old Boy has related how Jolly was taping boys confessions on their ‘impure’ experiences, either for his own gratification or to alert the DLS if boys were complaining about abuse. Possibly both.

That same Old Boy has related how Jolly paid a key role in the Knights cover-up of Brother James’s extremely violent sexual assault on him.  Namely, Jolly visited the private London clinic where the boy was recovering to see how much he remembered of his traumatic experience.

4. Un-named Knights. The individuals who arranged the London clinic. This was an ongoing facility indicating that abuse was endemic and London Knights were involved as well as Ipswich Knights, suggesting wider UK organised crime.

The boy’s school fees were paid as compensation, further validating my own experience. See below.

Knight A, a lawyer, seems to have been in charge of the transaction. Although un-named, he was a ‘sporty’ character who I have been given a vivid description of, and I’m sure could be identified by anyone from that era.

5. Knight B. Listed as a Knight. Abuser. 1950s – 60s. Born in Glasgow. He was an upwardly mobile blue collar worker. Although not married to my mother, he was probably my biological father. This is born out by a recent DNA test which shows my biological father had a strong Scottish/Glasgow connection. My legal father’s family has no Scottish connection.

This would partly explain why my own and my brother’s expensive school fees to St Joseph’s College were paid for.  But I believe it was to also indenture me to the Knights and their organised abuse, rather than because of his supposed paternalism. It’s a kind of trafficking, to use a modern term.

Knight B also seems to have been a ‘fixer’, like Jimmy Saville who was a Papal Knight and probably a Knight of St Columba as they were in charge of his funeral.

Like Savile, Knight B ‘made things happen.’

6. Knight C. Lawyer. Early 1960s. Abuser. A highly respected, wealthy ‘traditionalist’  and pillar of the local Ipswich community, his sons went to St Joseph’s College.  I believe he was a Knight, but as I’m not certain I haven’t named him here, although I have a detailed description of him.

He exercised coercive control over me at age 12 and everything that went with the Knights’ abuse (1961).

7. Further Knights.  There was a later similar pattern of organised abuse and coercive control by Knights 1962 – 1964 which continued briefly after I left school at 15. Some may have been just wealthy members of the congregation or even secular individuals who interacted with the Knights. Locations and names I cannot always be certain are correct because there was a number of individuals involved with similar professions, which runs the risk of conflating two people. And there is more than one overlapping narrative. These Knights included lawyers, teachers and doctors.

Their coercive control related to school fees being paid (My mother had zero funds) and also to my remaining silent.  I was, unusually, assigned to a junior seminary at age 15. At age 14 (1963) I had the medical and filled in the forms. I believe this unusual move was to ensure my silence. When I refused to go, my fees were no longer paid and I left school at 15.

CONCLUSION

There is a strong connection between St Joseph’s and the Knights as is evidenced above.  The Knights are credited with financing the school; whether as brokers or financiers is not clear.  Subsequently they have disappeared from the school’s history, but it is possible that Knights remain as governors of the school to this day.  Their financial commitment to the school is relevant because it could explain why they acted as trouble-shooters in the Brother James cover-up.  

Later events,1962 – 1964, are complex and may be hard to unravel in their entirety, but it is still a work in progress for me and I welcome anyone’s recollections of the Knights, positive or negative.

But the Brother James cover-up alone is hard evidence of organised abuse by the Ipswich Knights of St Columba and that alone requires a response from today’s Knights.

Not least because the Knights are still involved with children.

We need not only an acknowledgement of their criminal past, but when it stopped and why it stopped. And why they have ignored these most serious allegations for over a year.

On a personal level, even allowing for the truly ‘industrial’ level of their crimes, their multiple and varied attempts to silence a rebellious, ‘trouble-making’ kid seems disproportionate. We’re talking threats, bribes, guilt-tripping, violent physical intimidation, drugs and more.

And even today, an insider warned me, ‘If you piss the Knights off enough, they will bring you much pain.’ He went on to describe how.

 But, where a kid is concerned, why would they bother? Who is going to listen to a child?  In the 1960s, at least, the Knights held all the cards. Surely it was best to just ignore the ‘annoying brat’?  

But it has to be seen in the context of Father Jolly and that clinic where clerical crimes were covered up on an organized basis. So we were far from the only resisters. Jolly certainly sounded very worried.

And my relentless whistle-blowing, the origins of my activism today, must have seemed peculiar, even pathological to the Knights, I wasn’t to be silenced as easily as other kids. My on-going resistance and ongoing disclosures to authority, family or police, clearly disturbed them, even though they were unlikely to be challenged by anyone in the 1960s. Something had to be done about this kid and so they tried a variety of methods to silence me.

So for these Knights, the great and the good of Catholic Ipswich, behind all their power, their contacts, their networking,their professional expertise, there was yet… real fear.