Donald Stevens

Name ID 1597

See also

Read, David Beating about the Bush
Page Number: 020
Extract Date: 1938

corporal punishment

I had company on the journey, a German boy by the name of Kurt Hunke, who was a few months older then me and had been to school in Europe. He was tall, fair, good looking and quite an athlete and was also very advanced scholastically, speaking excellent English. We got to know and like each other on the four-day trip to school, and my own standing at school was much improved by his friendship.

The older boys were divided into the bullies and the others and, although I was still a target for the former, they did not try anything when my friends were about. In the carpentry shop one day I saw one of the day-boys removing some tools and as only a handful of us were allowed in the workshop without a master, I told him to put the tools back, otherwise the privileged few would be blamed. His reply was to let me know that he did not take orders from "white kaffirs", which inevitably led to a fight. Others came running to watch but when I began to bleed furiously from a wound behind my ear the fight was stopped.

The boy ran away and was not seen for the rest of the week but when Donald and Charlie Stevens reported to the headmaster that they had seen him use a nail in the fight, the boy was sent for and given corporal punishment. The boy was Greek, and the punishment was given in the presence of his father, who waved his arms about dramatically and gave loudly his low opinion of the British. Mr. Wynne-Jones, the headmaster, understood no Greek and carried on regardless with the caning of the Hellenic backside. The boy was made to apologise to me afterwards, and in the perverse way of youth we later became quite good friends.

Extract ID: 4181