A Dunblane Housemaster’s story
The ex-housemaster Glenn Harrison's synopsis of events about physical and sexual abuse at Queen Victoria School (QVS) as related to a journalist in 2003.
Personal and in confidence to Davy R about QVS.
"I am convinced it was a Masonic conspiracy, Ministry Of Defence (MoD), Her Majesty's Schools Inspectorate (HMI), and Her Majesty's Commissioners (HMCs), military top brass and others. The matter was a cover-up to protect people in high office in Government."
I know nothing of the conditions inside the school as it is now. I can only describe to you my beliefs and feelings about the school as it was 12 years ago. I have had contact from reporters and journalists time and time again. I have had enough. All they want is a story; "here today and gone tomorrow". There is nothing new here. This is not a revelation. I do not have videos, written statements or lists of names or secret documents. Everything I know is here printed below. I cannot tell you everything. It would take too long and I am trying to forget it now.
Until Robbie [the Pict] phoned about six weeks ago and introduced me to Tom Minogue it was all gone and past. All of the letters/literature I wrote is lost now. I had to give it up; my wife pleaded with me to forget the past and just get on with life. I am lucky to have a job at all.
In order to get a true picture of QVS we need to go back to the 19th century, the old colonial days of Gordon Kitchener, Rhodes and Baden Powell. Where Eton and Harrow were templates of all good schools that bred young men fit to rule an empire. Where bullying and survival of the fittest was the order of the day - Tom Brown eat your heart out!
QVS begins in the later days of the colonisation of Africa. The year 1899 saw the Boer war and if you look on any war memorial for that war the bulk of the names are Scottish. Most of the soldiers killed were Scottish and in 1900 there were so many orphans in Scotland a petition was sent to the Queen. As a result she set up a Royal charter for the school, to care for the sons of Scottish Servicemen. It was indeed a noble cause. In 1902 the building started and the school officially opened in 1908. There is also a sister school in Dover called the Duke of York and both schools operated on the same lines.
In WW2 both schools operated together in Dunblane where it was safe from bombs. But originally QVS was not a school, it was an orphanage, and boys were taught trades and raised as prospective soldiers for future wars or military conflicts. Boys who would become men, "young men fit to rule or serve an empire". Here a young man would have a golden opportunity of being provided for by the state. Imagine a poor boy from the poor areas of Glasgow (in the Edwardian times) being financed through private military school! There were many applicants and long waiting lists. In 1990, it costs almost twice as much to send a pupil through QVS as Eton!
Each boy would have standard issue, boy-size clothes. In 1990 a single kilt alone cost over £350.00 each. From socks to vests and underpants and full military dress boy-size uniforms, English redcoat-red. They would be able to follow in the footsteps of their fathers, learn a trade, basic literacy and learn the pipes, drums or both. It was a school for the sons of squaddies, not officers, but always to strive for the same standards on the sports field and military fetes. He would learn how to lead, be tough, strong, how to use and assemble weaponry of all kinds, and most of all be trusted with secrets.
But there was something else - going to QVS meant joining a brotherhood that spans decades, and old boys association and was/is very strong. QVS was/is a regiment in its own right, with its own colours and traditions, and each boy wears his father's regimental insignia on his uniform and pipes. The sound of the pipes would send shivers down the spine, little soldiers in bright red tunics with hunting Stuart kilts would march in perfect formation, their Glenn Garry tassels blowing in the wind and their shoes so polished you could use them as a mirror.
What could be more perfect? Much of the school business was shrouded in secrecy and was protected behind the Official Secrets Act (OSA). Even the finances were often hidden and many of the traditions were unwritten and rituals were common, trials of strength and stamina run by the older boys who endured suffering themselves as young boys and felt duty bound to continue the tradition. Fagging was common, young boys treated brutally by older boys which was tolerated by the staff. Bullying is good for you! Teachers would teach boys and boys teach other boys and so ad infinitum.
The sound of boots marching and sergeant majors screaming commands and boys obeying: "Yes, Sa!" "No, Sa!". Black cars with official insignia arrived. Officers with Sam Brown and stick under their arms visited the school, saluting and almost goose stepping around the place, were held in great reverence. Boys saluted saying, "Sa!". On Parents' day, with parades, the parents were almost afraid of the staff and very submissive, especially the mothers. The children were taught not to complain, never to tell because this was weakness and who knows you might break down under interrogation by the enemy one day, so do not tell anything, "we are training you up for this". How easy it is to fool young boys.
Father: How are you son?
Son: Fine. But dad they ...
Father: Stand up straight, son.
Son: But dad they ... they ...
Father: Never complain, son. A real man doesn't complain, never complain.
Son: Yes, dad, OK.
Father: A good man doesn't complain son, right! That's life son, that's the way it goes.
Mother: And your father may be promoted to major soon and think of the pension when he retires!'
Son: ... well ... errrr ... well, I guess I must be OK then.
The parents rarely knew of the secret horrors that awaited their sons. Broken bones, which happened when they fell down the steps, or an "accident" in rugby. Rugby! Haaa! There's an excuse! A bully's paradise and the teachers just turned a blind eye - part of school tradition. We must not interfere. They have to learn to be tough.
Several staff were ex-Navy sub-mariners and commanders. Boys had no one to speak to, to pour their hearts out to. I was approached in the early hours of the morning by boys. I was horrified and afraid of what they told me. There were no guidance teachers, advisors. Matrons were just skivvies and trained to get on with their work and keep their mouths shut. It was like stepping back in time! QVS was/is an anachronism.
I was to learn that many teachers were Masons, as was the head teacher and another housemaster, and, of course, so was the man who ran the show: the Brigadier.
Boys were told that women were there to obey and you had to behave or be beaten by bigger, stronger men. Full-time women teachers only came in after 1992. Housemasters and teachers, having signed the Official Secrets Act (OSA), were loath to discuss personal problems. Pensions were at stake, promotions and futures. We had to write reports and 99 per cent of complaints were filed in the bin. Parents, usually serving military, were loath to complain lest their promotion or pension prospects were endangered. Dealings were mainly through their COs.
Housemasters used to be army majors but then they brought in civvies in the 70s, to cope with increasing academic challenges. When I was originally interviewed for the job, I told the head teacher that nothing stands still or it stagnates, that my intention was to keep abreast of modern education developments to bring the school out of the 19th Century and into the 90s and prepare for a new 21st Century. He seemed to like that and I got the job based on my experience after five years previously working in a boarding school in Shropshire.
I was in for a shock! Older boys were allowed to use younger boys as slaves. Naughty boys were given to older boys to punish (fagging). I was told this was traditional - an unwritten code and I would not understand their ways because this was Scotland and I was English. I strongly objected and started to question the older boys, to write reports objecting to these traditions.
As time went by, more and more boys opened up and told the most dreadful and appalling stories. I fell into disrepute among staff. The Brigadier and military contingencies (the real rulers of the school) wanted me out. (The head teacher gave me an excellent reference before I left, by the way!)
I was in for a shock! One of the main problems was who do you complain to? There was no clear complaints procedure. There were official looking bodies of people called HMCs - who spoke with posh, authoritative English accents - who would pretend to be considering your written complaints, in mock complaints meetings. They took months to answer a single letter with no real answer at all! They even posed as a committee representative to appear sympathetic and take notes as you spoke, then, when you had gone, tear it all up and throw it in the bin. I was told this had gone on for years! Meanwhile, I would be fooled into thinking the procedures were being followed, but never a word came back. I found out later the reports were never filed and recorded at all and the HMCs mysteriously gone, non-existent.
It all started when I refused to go to tea with a prince. "You fool," other staff said. "You have ruined a great career and a good pension!" I was alarmed at the brutality, and, if it was the last thing I did, I would stop it once and for all - job or no job. I was naive to think it would be all so easy. My wife and I refused to go to our places by the side of Prince Andrew at the mess meal table, in protest at the many unheard voices and suffering of young boys. I told the Brigadier to stop playing soldiers and "get his act together". No one had ever spoken like that to him before. Some of the stories the boys told me were horrifying and I found myself fighting for the child's right to complain and be heard, and be happy, to grow up in a caring, family atmosphere of trust.
I recalled the poet's words:
"For we can house their bodies but not their souls - for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow where you cannot come, not even in your dreams."
(Children from The Prophet by Khalil Gibran).
I said on several occasions that some day, I believe, one of these boys will pick up a machine gun, which he was trained to use at QVS, and murder innocent people in a shopping mall or public place, because he was abused and deeply disturbed as a child at QVS. "When?" they ask: I don't know! It's a time bomb, the results of when secret organisations and people are allowed to act with impunity.
We all have an accounting and a responsibility to these lads! They do not belong to the Ministry of Defence they are our responsibility, they are the seeds of tomorrow and they have a right to be happy and grow up in a disciplined and caring environment, whether its Scotland or anywhere else on earth.
I told the police, the social service, child-line, Esther Rantzen and others, NSPCC, and dozens of agencies. All of them ignored me. I eventually wrote to parents and told them that their children did not belong to the MoD, but to them, and the children's welfare was all that mattered. Their children have a right to be here and be happy. That joining the army is not the only career and that it's OK if they like poetry and literature and hate rugby, because we are all different; that there are many battles in life and not all of them are won with guns and brutality.
I told the head teacher, this was no way to run a school in the 90s and that the MoD were not genuinely concerned with the educational process or care of the young. But, alas, the powers were above him. He was more of a figurehead, a puppet ruler under command of the Brigadier.There was confusion between the culture of secrecy and genuine confidences that are in place to protect the innocent.
As housemaster, I saw myself acting in loco parentis and I wanted to know where the boys were, what they were doing and whether they were happy, or otherwise. Boys would go away on weekend military camps, and with the Brigadier to his home, or to homes of top brass or HMC or high-society Perthshire people, fiscals, sheriffs, police officials. They had to take their kilts and clean underwear and I was not given a contact address. What went on at these parties was secret but some boys were very disturbed. Older boys with younger boys. I became disturbed too, screams in the dorm at night, empty beds, rituals in dark places, and used warm, filled, condoms hurriedly abandoned. There was fear throughout every age group and the teachers knew about it.
I complained but was ignored. I was advised to get out. What was I supposed to do? I had no pastoral training, and no one to talk to. I told the police and social services but to no avail. The staff cut me off, missiles were thrown at my window, and I was warned to keep my mouth shut. I was living dangerously in a Mason stronghold. I picked the phone up one day and was growled at, as though a bear was on the other end. I was fuming mad to say the least! Eventually the police came and bashed down the door of my home and took House cash and House records, then arrested me. I was taken to Dunblane Police Station where I was interviewed for over an hour by special detectives brought from Edinburgh. Never from that day to this have I had any explanation for that action.
In 1993/94, I took the sword again and found I was totally blocked and alone. They owe me a lot more than an explanation. I wrote to Andrew Mellor in 1992/3, Scotland's guidance advisor at the time and he was appalled and showed a determination to help me. Then suddenly, out of the blue, he was promoted to Chief Bullying Officer and the communicating stopped.
Thomas Hamilton's friend, fellow housemaster and primary teacher, Ben Philip (a Mason), died aged 44 in some freak accident in the school hall in December 1993. I think Philip's death was suspicious, to say the least. I think he was a man with a conscience and about to crack. A brother Mason surgeon filled in the death certificate with an appropriate bogus cause of death. If I had stayed at QVS I would have been dead too. Jim Wallace helped me as my MP, but said he hit a brick wall.
[Jim Wallace would become Justice Minister in the newly formed Scottish Parliament - established by the Scotland Act 1998, commencing on 29 May 1999 - and, along with the Lord Advocate Colin Boyd and the First Minister Jack McConnell, would be embroiled in the criminal cover-up at the heart of the fingerprint scandal surrounding former Strathclyde detective Shirley McKie, who was awarded £750,000 of taxpayers' money following a nine-year battle to clear her name after fingerprint experts in the Scottish Criminal Records Office set her up.]
The MoD threw the Official Secrets Act at me, Her Majesty's Inspectorate virtually ignored me. Shame on them! But Wallace forced them ('94) to send me a progress report to show the details of changes that had been brought in the school since I left. A female AHT has been appointed, and the introduction of individual rooms instead of dorms, and last but not least, girl pupils!
So here we have the stage set which led to 16 children and a teacher lying needlessly dead in a Dunblane graveyard. What possible connection is there? Two dead men, a gun club, vulnerable little boys, and a nest of Masons. These deceitful men have been hiding behind a screen of apparent respectability for decades, centuries even, high-ranking respectable persons preying on young boys who were conditioned to remain silent, thinking they were heroes by not telling. Not all boys were abused and these were often the abusers and bullies themselves, and will be in a hurry to defend the honour of the school.
In the HMI's report I was accused of exaggerating, but they never interviewed me or spoke with me at all, nor did they send me a report. It was as if I did not exist.
There were serious reports of abuse in the fifties that never made it out of the QVS gates! Paedophilia is not new, it was and is today a huge problem, a cancer in society. All hidden behind the Official Secrets Act! Even Dickens tried to expose it and we can see some of the characters like Oliver Twist and the Beadle. Dickens was told that he would not have sold his books if he told too much. This is what I firmly believe but cannot prove, try as I will. QVS was a perfect cover for institutional physical and sexual abuse.
At first it was orphan boys. On and off, over decades, QVS has supplied children (with sealed lips) for abuse: "Where the carcass is, there the eagles gather." They were accessible to "eagles" like top brass military, politicians, police officials, sheriffs, fiscals and successful business people in Perthshire. And fools like me could be squashed, swallowed up or sent to some island somewhere. They all gather at the water hole.
Outrageous, you say? There are similar stories from Wellbeck college and Duke of York, where names of the famous are well known associations, including famous Statesmen. The link is Masons, masters of secrecy and deception. Which is where Hamilton comes in to the story. The weak link in the powerful chain of abusers. Here we have a perfect situation where boys, sworn to secrecy, and parents under orders to keep quiet, helpless to complain. Hamilton was unbalanced and had power by knowledge. This is why he was allowed to have guns. He was in on the secret and knew names of those other paedophilia members.
If those names get out even now after 12 years, there will be a riot and the press will have a field day! Lives and careers will be ruined! Is this why Hamilton's file went missing only hours after the killings? Is this why Lord Cullen, who I believe was a QVS Commissioner, was appointed to preside over the Hamilton investigations? This is how Masons operate. They control everything and their allegiance is to each other. No wonder they want a 100-year embargo on the Hamilton case!
HMC were invited into Office, not appointed by interview, and included head teachers, police, top military brass (retired), fiscals and generally rich, high society people. Ian Lang was chief Commissioner of QVS in 1990/91. After I complained in 1991, these HMCs suddenly disappeared into thin air. But I got nowhere. I am just a foolish teacher, Mr Nobody, who they squashed like a fly, the proverbial fool on the hill, "the man with a thousand voices talking perfectly loud, but nobody ever hears him, they know he's just a fool" (Beatles 1967). Yet I spoke out long before Hamilton committed his crime.
The Police knew this man had an unhealthy interest in little boys and guns and that he was a friend of the police, and a frequent visitor to the QVS shooting range. I saw him but I had no idea who he was at the time. I was never a member of any gun club, just a teacher doing my job caring for boys. I am most angry at the HMI. I confided in them with details. My allegations were never investigated except by the police, and their file remains closed to all, including Wallace, my MP. But the HMI betrayed a teacher. They never interviewed me - no one ever did - I did not exist! They interviewed pupils and parents, who were briefed by the MoD and known to be loyal to the QVS management. QVS was under their auspices. They failed the community and destroyed their own credibility.
The English HMI were frozen into disbelief when I copied the material to them in London in 1994, and the GTC, of which I am a registered member, were equally helpless. In 2000, at the inspection of Baltasound Junior High School, I called them to a private meeting; the HMI were positively uneasy with me and "bit my head off" when I referred to QVS.
I did some research some years ago and found that Masons are not only an anachronism but are powerfully implicated in nearly all cases of institutional abuse of orphan children going back over years in England, Wales and Scotland, Dickens' Beadle lives! Even if they are not direct perpetrators of abuse, they hide or disappear vital files that prevent the matter from going to court, appoint bogus fellow Mason investigators like Lord Cullen - and all to protect their brethren and their own reputations.
Biblical language is the only way I can think of aptly describing Masons: "this brood of serpents", "these whitewashed graves full of dead men's bones". Secret societies bring shame to Scotland. Circles and windmills! Why don't old boys, now men, complain? Because they are invited into the "care" of "the Mason-fold" with all its privileges - wheels within wheels, windmills and circles? This is the way secret societies perpetuate themselves. Would you want people to know how you were treated at QVS if you had a young wife and a family? The old boys association is very, very strong and Mason-controlled. Not all boys were abused, maybe only a relatively small percentage. Expect hundreds to rally to the defence of QVS who will say how wonderful were their days at QVS.
The most precious resource is people! How can we raise up a new nation, as part of a cancerous system based secret societies? Scotland is a new nation full of talent and tremendous natural resources. The young are the seeds of tomorrow, our scientists, lawyers, all kinds of professionals, a responsible electorate - the young people - the Scotland of tomorrow? Somebody has got to stop Masons!
My wife once described me as a general going into battle - with no army. Yes, I would like justice to be done and Masons discredited, but I have done my bit. Maybe some day someone will have the courage (and good luck) to tear down that barrier and expose secret societies who hide behind respectability and use their fellow human beings to satisfy their own gratification and desire - and then further abuse their power to cover it all over for 100 years, when they will be safe, long gone from the scene, and not accountable any more. Is it any wonder they want their membership of the lodge to be a secret! They may say: "Who is this man who says such terrible things? Let him stand in a court of law and prove it! I can't, not now. I am just an ordinary teacher, not even promoted. Who am I to stand up against the might of the MoD who have sent countless men to their deaths in war, or tell the proud Cullen that he is corrupt and shames his countrymen? If I received help all those years ago, and responsible agencies had seen the proverbial "red light for danger", AND INVESTIGATED MY ALLEGATIONS THOROUGHLY, then maybe Thomas Hamilton could have been stopped, blacklisted and disarmed by a responsible Central Police Force. And maybe, just maybe, those wee graves in a cold Dunblane graveyard would be green grass. Maybe there would be still another dedicated teacher like Gwen who died so bravely, and maybe, just maybe another 16 twelve year-olds, like the pride of Scotland's youth, paused ready to be launched into their lives as a new nation is born!
I have climbed the great mountain and crossed the wide river. I have put my job and life on the line - I can do no more. I've had enough and my family have suffered too. Now I want to go home to myself. For my sins, I have settled in my exile on this most northerly Isle; I have fought the battle and lost, and now I want to tend my oysters in peace. Let others fight the battle. I've had enough. I cannot answer any more question, give names or details, videos.
If you want answers to the Hamilton killings then QVS is the place to go and DIG. I would like to be left in peace. I can do no more now.