Dr Calum Bartlett OB (Abbey School 1937-1942)

Born: 17 August 1925
Died: 18 July 2014

Dr Calum Bartlett send some emails regarding his time at the Abbey and extracts from these are shown here;

He attended the Abbey School from 1937 to 1942 – “Very happy days and well worth my journey from Barra with change of boats at Loch Boisdale and train from Mallaig and bus from Speanbridge.” He ended up as House and School captain. “I was sixteenth man in the rugby team and twelfth man in the hockey and cricket teams. Positions granted so that I could have the doubtful pleasure of travelling with the team – in early days in the Albion lorry driven by Brother Magnus. Having been declared by who knows whom (not by the Fort) as too young for University I spent my last year collecting a couple more “highers”. The science master, Spud Murphy, despite being a citizen of the Irish Republic, had joined the Air Force. Not being able to find a new teacher, they offered me the job. Being, relatively, unemployed I accepted – despite the absence of salary!”

Calum remembers visits by Abbot Hunter Blair in the 30s (Sir David Oswald Hunter Blair was a convert, old Etonian, scholar and Baronet who was a monk at the Fort who became the second Abbot of FA in 1912 resigning in 1917) – Calum recalls him being nicknamed Hunter Bunter.

Calum gave me a rundown of some of the staff in the 30s and 40s (Fr Anselm Richardson , Abbot Wulstan Knowles – “The information that trickled down to us was that his reign was considered too slack so Anselm Richardson, a sterner character, was sent up from England to take over”, Wilfrid Worden, Jim Douglas, Miss Noonan, Mr Scholes – “A prim little man who taught history. Clearly did not like calling boys by their surname but did not wish to seem too familiar. So – he invented names for us. I was James”, Matrons Cussack and Hughes and others.)

Calum writes “Every third Monday was a holiday. Outings, supervised for the under-fourteens. Their elders were free to do what they wished or join an arranged expedition. This Monday there was an optional trip for them – up to the top of Corrieyairack pass by General Wade’s road. Dilworth (a contemporary of Calum’s) and I, though both fourteen, were judged too puny to survive such an expedition. To Hell with that! Accompanied by a couple of more aged friends we set off ten minutes before the official group carrying with us a six foot pole which we planted at the top of the Pass with a suitable note attached. About one third of the way down we passed the official group on the way up led by DLK  I have a vague memory of him wiping the rain off his specs as he scrutinised us. Not quite Scott and Amundsen. We were later called to his office and simply told “If you’d been found dead in a ditch what could I have said to your parents?” Not quite his words but essentially the same – and appropriate.

In my second year at the Fort there was a Pots’ strike (monitors). They were objecting to Fr.Maurus, the Prefect of Discipline. I never knew why but he may have been restricting privileges enjoyed by the upper school. Fr. Maurus lost his job and took over care of the grounds from Fr.Luke Cary-Elwes a slightly aristocratic old man whose voice used to be heard crying out “Get orf my bally Graass” when he saw anyone trespassing on the  square of the cricket pitch.”

Calum went to Glasgow University to study Medicine and eventually spent his life as a GP in Surrey.

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