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Boys Behaving Badly. Scenes from Life as a Boy Soldier by Mudsailor

Boys Behaving Badly. Scenes from Life as a Boy Soldier by Mudsailor

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Published by Tony
An account of life as a boy soldier at a UK military school in the 1950's
An account of life as a boy soldier at a UK military school in the 1950's

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Published by: Tony on Apr 19, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/08/2014

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Boys Behaving
 
Badly
Scenes from Life as a BoySoldierMudsailor
 
Boys Behaving Badly
Scenes from Life as a Boy Soldier
This is an account of life at the Duke of York’s Royal Military School in Englandwhich I attended between 1951 and 1957. The school was for sons of men who hadentered the Army as private soldiers. Many of the boys’ fathers had been killed onactive service, had fallen on hard times, or just gone AWOL. On Sundays, we woreour father’s regimental badges in the lapels of our khaki uniforms. I wore the pickand shovel of the Pioneers, a labour corps which had employed men and women fromevery corner of the globe including two thousand Germans. The memories arepresented as a compilation of separate tales with no specific or chronological order.
Mudsailor
 
Victor Ludorum RIP
Within a few days of my arrival at the militaryinstitution that was to be my home for six years, thenew boys were given a conducted tour of the schoolbuildings and grounds. I should add that it was thekind of place that if you absconded, you were severelybeaten so we were quite apprehensive of the rather tallhead boy who was our tour guide. In the dining hall,he paused under an imposing painting of orphansmarching through the main gates and delivered a shorthistory of the school. Invariably our attention began towander and several of us noticed a panel on whichwere listed winners of the Victor Ludorum Trophy.
Who was Victor Ludorum?
’ piped up a small voicefrom the restless throng. The head boy stared coldly atthe youngster for several seconds and then replied, ‘
Victor was a boy at this school who passed away under tragic circumstances. He was very popular and hisheartbroken mother donated this trophy which is awarded each year in his memory.
!
 Try to remember him in your prayers.
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We gazed in awe at the trophy before beingushered away to view the toilet block and the chapel.
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As the days passed, however,some of us recalled the tour, and, needing to satisfy our curiosity, enquired about poorVictor and his untimely ending.
 
Though memory fades, I think I was told that Victor had been searching for amaster’s favourite dog on the cliffs overlooking the bay.
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Stumbling around in thedarkness on a wild, wintery night, Victor had fallen several hundred feet down thecliffs onto the shingle beach below.
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His last resting place was in a nearby village.
The dog?
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Sound asleep in its kennel the whole time
.’
!
I had made friends with Joe, aboy who was later sent to work on a farm in Australia. Oh, how we envied him!When I
!
told him about Victor, he looked puzzled and said that there was no grave.During a particularly violent gale, Victor, with no thought for his own safety, had jumped fully clothed into the local harbour to rescue another boy who had fallen fromthe pier. Though the rescue was successful, poor Victor himself had been swept awayand was never seen again. Some onlookers were sure they heard him singing thechorus of the school song until it faded away, drowned out by the howling wind.
Play the Game, Play the Game, Play the Game.’
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