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Digital copy of Witness 421's witness statement to the Inquiry providing an account of his experiences in Care at Haut de la Garenne, and in Education at Victoria College and Hautlieu School. [Some details redacted].
October 23rd 2015 - October 23rd 2015
|Scope and Content|
Background and Home Life Refers to birth, mother’s alcoholism, and abandonment by father. Describes being raised by his grandmother, and refers to two siblings also raised by his grandmother. Institutions Recalls winning a scholarship to Victoria College, which operated both as a boarding school and as a day school. Discusses financial implications of his scholarship on his grandmother, mentioning uniform and sports kits. Started at Victoria College at the age of 11 or 12 in September 1959 or 1960. Describes strict and regimented atmosphere at Victoria College, noting the attendance at school for five and a half days a week and free time spent on activities organised by Victoria College. Refers to corporal punishment as a consequence for misbehaviour, and compares the severity of corporal punishment at Victoria College to that of corporal punishment at Witness 421’s previous school. Comments on many of the teaching staff at Victoria College having previously served in the Army, and the impact of their previous career on their teaching techniques. Describes Colonel or Major Stewart, Headmaster [Ronald] Ronnie Postill, and Mr Green who had previously been a prisoner of war. Refers to the PE [Physical Education teacher] Reg Nicolle. Describes system of prefects, referring to the head prefect rather than the head boy. Recalls attendance at clubs such as the chess club, and Scouts and the Cadets on Saturday mornings. Started truanting from school due to unhappiness at Victoria College, and appeared before the Education Committee in 1963 due to truancy. Recalls attending a meeting with the Education Committee alone at the Children’s Office at Library Place, mentioning Boutins travel agent. Does not recall the presence of a Children’s Officer, but names Senator J J [John] Le Marquand. Refers to discussion regarding Witness 421’s transfer to Hautlieu School. Explains difficulties upon transfer to Hautlieu, mentioning education missed whilst at Victoria College. Comments on lack of assistance offered to Witness 421, and his general enjoyment of Hautlieu compared to Victoria College. Describes the lifting of pressure regarding his attendance at school. Refers to transfer to Haut de la Garenne as a result of the meeting with the Education Committee, and Witness 421’s separation from his grandmother. Remained at Haut de la Garenne for around nine months. Describes the property at Haut de la Garenne, reflecting on the daunting atmosphere. Provides details of other children at Haut de la Garenne, naming a resident who later became a social worker, a girl from Guernsey, and a Hautlieu pupil, amongst others. Refers to a resident who regularly absconded from Haut de la Garenne but was not physically punished for his actions. Recalls seeing the resident’s name in the paper [Jersey Evening Post] after Witness 421 and others had left Haut de la Garenne. Describes positive experiences with Haut de la Garenne staff, mentioning Colin Tilbrook and a black Mercedes 220. Refers to the Matron, and Witness 421’s houseparent. Recalls staff encouraging Witness 421 to engage with activities at Haut de la Garenne, and Witness 421 sustaining sun burn during the summer. Describes friendly and familial atmosphere at Haut de la Garenne, and privacy available to residents. Comments on difficulty visiting grandmother whilst at Haut de la Garenne due to fear of the distress caused by such a visit. Attended the Gorey Youth Club whilst resident at Haut de la Garenne, and was present at the Youth Club to hear the news that [United States President John F] Kennedy had been shot. Abuse and Consequences Describes corporal punishment administered by prefects. Disputes allegations of abuse at Haut de la Garenne, basing his comments upon his own experiences. Events since leaving Care Left Haut de la Garenne in November or December , returning to the Care of his grandmother. Left [Hautlieu] in 1964 and began employment. Comments on the lack of support offered to children through the education system, noting that decisions should have been made after consultation with pupils and their families. Suggests that some individuals are attempting to claim compensation by falsifying accounts of their experiences at Haut de la Garenne, or being influenced by reports in the media.
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