The Cockleshell Heroes I

Many people will have seen the film about this daring Royal Marine Commando raid on German naval vessels in the Gironde in 1942. Of the dozen brave men who took part in Operation Frankton only two escaped with their lives (eventually making their way home via Spain and Gibraltar). It so happens that they passed…

Arriving in León

Spain in 1975 was very different from England and quite different from what it has become today. I felt it, as much as saw it, as soon as I got off the plane. Of course it was hot and dusty. Policemen carried machine-guns, and there seemed to be a lot of them about. There were…

Portuguese wrestling

I was all ready to start at Queen's College to read Modern Languages. The only problem was, I wasn't. I was to be billeted in the famous Florey Building Wasn't at all ready, that is. I'd done Spanish at A Level, but I needed a second tongue to go with it. I could not bear…

What’s for tea?

We sat at long tables, arranged by house. The housemaster sat at the head of the table, with the senior boys around him. They dished out bangers, mash and beans, or connective-tissue stew with colourless cabbage and crumbly over-boiled spuds. Or mince, or generic white fish in white gunge with tasteless white mash and cabbage…