School Canings – Institutionalised Discipline and Corporal Punishment Part 3

Some more from HH...

Thursday Night Hit Parade – Four or More Marks

Thursday nights were not the favourite time of the week in our Boarding House. In fact, we dreaded them! It was the time when all accounts were settled!

I described last week how if you received four or fewer Marks in a week, you were required to attend the Head of Houses’ Hit Parade. This week I will tell you about what happened when you got five or six Marks for bad behaviour in a week. To be awarded four or more Marks in a week was not terribly difficult to achieve. The process was pretty much the same as I described in last week’s posting. The only difference was that you had to report to the House Master.

However, I have to add that the Prefects were often reluctant to diminish their pleasure by giving us more than four marks. We found that if you had four marks and were going to be given four hard “flaps” by the Head of House you could then get away with murder! There were occasions where they had little option but to add a fifth or sixth Mark.

Say, you were sitting on four Marks and were in a group who were late for assembly; you would all be given Marks. It was the individual offences that there was a degree of latitude given once you had achieved the maximum sentence from the Head of House. A visit to the House Master was an event that would certainly provoke feelings of anxiety. We were all shit-scared of him. He was a fearsome looking man, who stood at least 6 foot 2 inches tall. He had played competitive rugby and was as strong as an ox. Six of the Best from him was something to be avoided – especially when your bottom was clad only in thin cotton pyjamas.

He was also not averse to having a couple of Brandies after a long day. I have no doubt that these dulled his senses somewhat. I am sure that most times he had no idea how hard he was hitting us!  The queue outside his office was seldom more than three or four boys – more often than not, the same faces would appear on a regular basis. We were all dressed in our pyjamas– long in winter and short in summer - and dressing gowns and all of regulation style. 

The tension outside his office as we waited for him to answer our knock was far greater than outside the Prefect’s Room. We knew that we were going to be whacked seriously hard. We would usually play “Ching Chong Cha”, while waiting outside, to see who would go first. There was nothing worse - especially on a cold winter’s night - having to wait your turn and listen to your mates getting butts caned. At the same time, you would hear the impacts from the Prefect’s room, which was not more than 20 metres away. You could also see the caning of your mate through the frosted glass of his office door. Unnerving I can tell you.

When your turn came, you would mount the steps to his smallish study. You were advised that you had received five or six Marks and that the punishment was six of the Best. It did not matter that you may have only received five marks, you still got six strokes!

You were instructed after a bit of a lecture to bend over, lift your gown and touch your toes. We all knew exactly where to stand. There were no further preliminaries and the next thing you heard was the “whoosh, thwack” of the cane on your near bare backside. Other than the impact, there was no immediate sensation of pain. This started to develop – and then develop rather quickly into a white-hot streak across your bum and right hip. He was very keen on “wrapping” and the spots where the tips landed stung unbearably! The next stroke landed with exquisite timing just as the first stroke exploded into agony. And the next and the next …

t was a matter of honour to remain stationary and to not give him any indication of how much it was hurting – although we both knew, it was hurting like hell. When he had finished with us, we would stand up, look him in the eye, and say “Thank you Sir”. Then with as much dignity as we could muster, walk out of his office, down the stairs and head to the bathroom to inspect our marks!

In recent years, I have given many canings – and some hard ones at that. I know I use a thinner and lighter cane than was used on us at School, but I have never seen marks left on anyone’s bottom that equated with those we had at School. After a mere six, we would be left with welts that were half an inch wide and at least a quarter inch high. The colour ranged from scarlet to deep red to blue. If any of the strokes had overlapped, there was certain to be blood. The marks would last anything up to 10 days and the bruising often three to four weeks.

The problem arose when fresh marks were laid down on top of existing marks or bruises. So often were we beaten that it was seldom that our butts had time to heal properly. A flogging by the Head of House on a Thursday, with the dreaded Army Boot, would invariably overlay any existing marks. That was when you could spring a serious leak! It also needs to be noted that my Housemaster was feared, but by no means the most feared caner in the School. That honour was reserved for the Deputy Head of which I shall tell you more of next week.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic series. Can we have the last chapter some time soon.

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