The cartoonist’s painful memory

I sat at my workspace, a large sheet of blank paper staring at me, accusingly. I had less than two hours to turn this into a satirical cartoon for the next day’s newspaper. My editor wanted something about the new law that had just been passed in Parliament abolishing corporal punishment in schools. It had passed by one vote only. It would have been defeated if the Prime Minister had not been late to the House of Commons. He was against abolition and it was his tardiness that allowed the Act to go through. I had an idea of a cartoon showing the man bent across a school desk, his trousers down and someone (who though?) lashing a cane into his buttocks.

I reached for my coffee mug, sat in my comfortable armchair, closed my eyes and …

I was transported back forty years to my grammar school. It was a fine afternoon in early spring, the final class of the afternoon was just coming to an end when Posner, one of the House junior boys, entered with a message. I was to report immediately after the class ended to Mr Standford, my housemaster.

“What’s it about?” I inquired innocently.

Posner claimed not to know; actually, he hadn’t been told the reason, but from experience we both knew that a summons like that usually meant a boy was to get a thrashing.

I had no idea of the fate that awaited me, but we all knew Standford was very strict and a boy could expect to get a throbbing backside if he broke one of the many rules at the school.

In my mind’s eye, I saw myself dressed in my magenta-and-white blazer and dark grey baggy trousers. I thought I looked very dapper in my grey V-neck jumper with a magenta edging, a magenta tie with a silver stripe and a magenta-and-white-hooped school cap. I was dawdling through the quadrangle, past the mullioned-windows of the library.

What was up? I couldn’t be certain which of my latest misdeeds had been uncovered, but I knew I should certainly be in for a bowing. I’d been whopped many a time, so I was fairly tough, but Mr Stanford was a tyrant, a renowned flogger who believed he had his duty to do, and he did it: even to eighteen-year-old sixth-formers like me.

I entered the building, took the stairs at a pace slower than a snail’s, and reached the study door. Here I paused, took a deep breath and tapped my knuckles softly against an oak panel, hoping he wouldn’t hear me.


What bad luck, he had.

I whipped off my cap, fumbled with the knob, and meekly pushed open the door.

“You sent for me Sir,” my voice faltered a little.

“Yes, Watson, I most certainly did.”

Mr Stanford’s study was huge. I’d been here many times before, of course. I took up position six feet in front of Mr Stanford’s desk. It was a modest size, but expensively made, with a dark green leather top. It was almost completely empty, except for a large ink blotter and a couple of Latin grammar textbooks on one side. Did he keep his desk constantly clean at the ready just in case he had to instruct an errant schoolboy to stretch across it and hold his bum high in the air for his whippy cane to whop it?

Mr Stanford had a separate writing table with a small wooden chair with a red-and-white-patterned seat cushion where he sat to prepare his Latin classes. It rested beneath a stained glass widow alongside a fireplace, still unlit for today but with the traces of burnt wood from the night before. A dark wooden bookcase with open shelves stacked high with musty volumes in Latin and Greek ran alongside it.

The other wall had a number of cupboards, one of which was rather taller and narrower than the others: I knew from experience what was contained within.

The room was large enough to house a number of chairs: two of them modest wooden numbers with curved backs and armrests, just the right height for junior boys in need of correction.

But, I was certain I was soon to be more acquainted with one of the two expensively upholstered ‘comfortable’ armchairs that faced each other in front of a small table close to the bookcase.

Mr Stanford had a red face with a heavy frown on his brow and his thin lips were set tightly. I could never be sure of Mr Stanford’s age; he probably looked older than he actually was. He was an angular man with grey hair, balding on top with great tufts sticking out to left and right from his temples. He wore a traditional academic gown on top of a very heavy tweed jacket and a dark brown cardigan. His trousers were shiny, with black and grey stripes, and exceedingly crumpled.

He read out the case for the prosecution.

“I have here,” he waved a piece of paper torn from a school notebook, “a drawing.”

Oh, heck! I didn’t need to be told, I knew exactly what it was: a figure in a cap and gown brandishing a cane and another figure bending bare-bottomed over a desk. I knew, because I had drawn it. And, I knew also it had the words OLD DONKEY STANFORD GOES ABOUT HIS WORK written in my hand upon it.

“What have you to say?” he demanded sternly. There was nothing for me to say really, except to cough to it. I had drawn it. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now it did not. In honesty, the fellows in the class had appreciated it highly, but I don’t think Mr Stanford was in the mood to hear that.

Mr Stanford’s voice was not loud, but it was deep. His face was inflamed with rage. I stood in front of him staring resolutely at the rug beneath my feet as he catalogued the many different ways in which I was “insolent,” “wretched,” and a “cad.”

I took two minutes of this and allowed my mind to wander a little so that I almost missed him say, “Bend over that chair.”

I hesitated, not sure I had heard what he had said.

“Bend over that chair!” Mr Stanford rapped out the words. Oh lor! There was no mistaking his intentions. He pointed to the armchairs. He hadn’t yet selected the cane he was going to use to whop me, but waited to see that I had indeed taken up position before approaching the tall cupboard.

The armchairs had high backs, far too high for even the tallest, lankiest, schoolboy to put himself over and stretch out his arms to clutch the seat cushion for dear life.

I knew the routine was for a boy to drape himself over one of the upholstered arms, tuck his knees into the side of the chair and thereby raise his bottom high to meet the thwack of the rattan cane.

I took several deep breaths and then after one continuing movement I had my face in the seat cushion. It was dusty with a faint smell of sweat where visitors had previously sat in comfort to enjoy conversation, and who knows, tea, with Mr Stanford.

I could be assured that after what I was about to receive I would not be able to enjoy a comfortable sit-down for some time to come.

With my face in the cushion I couldn’t be sure of Mr Stanford’s movements, but I heard the cupboard door open and the shuffle of canes being sorted as he selected the weapon to attack me with today.

Evidently he had a prospect. I heard the sound of a cane being swished through the air. Was he testing it out? I moved my back slightly, intending to look round to see what was going on.

“Keep perfectly still.”

That’s all he said, but it was enough. I burrowed my head in the cushion.

Up went the cane with a whiz and down it came with a fearful slash.


Swipe! YOW!

Mr Stanford’s cane came down across my trousers as if he were beating a carpet. He knew how to lay it on when he thought that serious punishment was called for.


This time the savage cane rang across my backside like a crack from a pistol. I compressed my lips to keep back a cry of pain.

Swipe! YOW-OW-OW!

I wriggled. I squirmed. Mr Stanford didn’t care; he had a cruel streak and would have gladly cut me to pieces.


The cane bounced across my seat and dust blew off my trousers.


I was breathing heavily. The execution was over, I hoped so at least. Nobody I knew had ever got more than six cuts from Mr Stanford.

Then, Mr Stanford delivered two more fearful slashes.

Swipe! Swipe! OOOOOH! Double crikey.

Mr Stanford knuckles grew white with the hard grip he was putting on the cane.

Swipe! Swipe!

I let out howls of pain as the cane rose and fell without mercy.

Swipe! Swipe!

They were blows such as no master ought to ever have dealt, but Mr Stanford was too furious to care how much he hurt me.

That was a dozen cuts. I lay limp and suffering trying my best not to blub, waiting for him to give the command to get up. He seemed to be taking an eternity.

“You may remove yourself.”

I rose a little unsteadily; face pale and breathless, rubbing my bottom furiously. I just couldn’t help it, my bum was in shreds.

Mr Stanford averted his eyes so as not to notice me as I did this, but he could not suppress a smile.

He was a very satisfied man.

Mr Standford had not liked my satirical drawing all those years ago and I doubted very much that the Prime Minister would be pleased with tomorrow’s newspaper. One thing would be certain however, my buttocks would remain unbruised this time.

Other school stories you might like.

 Six of the best caning stories 1. The sixth-formers

The padded armchair

Murph in the headmaster’s study


More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

A memorable night at the theatre

It had not been planned, but it turned out to be one of my most memorable nights in the theatre.

I had a leading role in the rival of The Schoolboys that was touring some of the smaller towns in England and Wales. The play was a revival of a dreary play that had not seen the light of day in 75 years. The director said it was rediscovered classic; being as it was an exploration of English upper class life in the 1930s and showed how the degrading treatment of privileged boys by their public school masters turned them into communists. Hogwash!

But, as I had missed out on Pantomime this year (I usually was cast as a wicked step-father), the offer of ‘a tour’ was most welcomed, even though it was the middle of one of the worst winters in the nation’s history.

I played the ‘Housemaster’ (the character had no name which according to the director represented the anonymity of oppression).

As it was a play set in a school, a number of the characters were boys aged sixteen and seventeen. This is always a difficult age to cast, since directors prefer to work with adults (for reasons of employment law) and with actors with at least some experience. Many of the ‘boys’ in The Schoolboys were, not to be too unkind about it, a little too old for the part.

However, once the director dressed them up in their school uniforms and used creative make-up and lighting, they looked the part. The theatre is, after all, the art of illusion; and thankfully, in the theatre one does not have to be concerned with the close-up.

The lead boy was what we in the business call a ‘new-comer.’ He had not toured a production before and his only experience to date was in small walk-on parts. He was called Hugo Ponsonby-Smythe. Now, what kind of name is that? Obviously, his father was not a dockworker. He does not use the name professionally: he calls himself Hugo Smith, which, I suppose might serve to identify him as a member of any number of classes in the prevailing English social system. The name Hugo might put him among the emerging knowledge-creating class and the Smith making him appear to be an ‘everyman.’

Hugo was aged about twenty and with his fresh face and lithe body he could easily pass as a senior schoolboy, especially over the distance between the stage and audience.

There was a very tricky scene near the start of the final act that caused us many difficulties in rehearsal. It was a caning scene, where I as his housemaster had to deliver six-of-the-best with a rattan cane to Hugo’s character, across his bare bottom.

I would have thought it impossible to find a school cane today, corporal punishment had been abolished in schools a generation past. But, by the time we were ready for rehearsal a number of fine school canes had been acquired. The prop master was rather coy when we asked where he obtained them. He told us he found them on e-bay, but really we suspected they were from his own personal collection.

When the play was originally run the theatre censor would not allow the caning scene to be shown on stage. Instead, the boys talked about it to one another and the injured party, as it were, described being caned on the bare bottom and how this made him feel.

But, today we have modern theatre and nothing must be hidden from the audience.

So how would we do it? To begin with two wooden chairs were placed back-to-back so that the boy could kneel on the seat of one and bend his body over the two backs before gripping the seat of the other. If the chairs were positioned correctly it would be possible for the audience to only see the boy’s front and the reactions on his face and not his rear end.

A major problem was the bare bottom. Understandably, Hugo was unhappy since it meant that each night and twice on Wednesdays and Saturdays he would have to bend over and show me his bare arse. I was not too excited by the prospect either. I am not in the least interested in boys’ arses. Which I think was more than might be said for some of the people round the production. The director had been buzzing around Hugo like a bee around jam ever since he met him

Hugo asked if would be possible to play the scene with his trousers up, but the director said this was the most pivotal scene in the whole play. This was the provocation that turned the boy irreversibly against his own social class (do not for heaven’s sake expect me to explain why).

There were issues of modesty to be considered. We could not have a member of cast exposing his genitals on stage and we supposed that audiences would not want to see a bare bottom either. At rehearsal we experimented with ways of getting his trousers and pants down while he was kneeling on the chair. We found that if I unbuckled his belt and buttons I could get the trousers and pants down over his thighs and expose enough buttock to then administer the cane to the housemaster’s satisfaction.

This, the director thought, was “marvellous,” apparently the taking down of the trousers by the housemaster was deeply symbolic of class oppression.

But, how would we deal with the actual caning? The whole point was that the boy was thrashed, not that he got a smack on the bot.

The director told us that in movies when they show someone being whipped, in a ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ or a slave picture, say, they stick padding on the back of the person being whipped and with a camera at the correct angle, the audience does not realise.

With the victim suitable protected, the whipmaster can flog as hard as he wants into the padding. Later the sound of the lash is edited on and makeup puts the whip marks into his back.

But, it is not so easy on stage, where everything is live. We experimented with padding which might have worked if Hugo were to be allowed to keep his trousers – wardrobe could make a pair of underpants from leather and he would not feel a thing. But, if he had to take it on the bare, where would the padding go?

I had to admire the props and wardrobe people who tried everything. One idea was that Hugo would have his trousers and pants taken down, but there would be some padding strapped to the bum as happened with the backs of whipped slaves.

But, for it to work, the padding would have to be under Hugo’s trousers for the whole scene and would be noticed by the audience, especially since many girls in the audience believed Hugo’s bottom was his prize asset.

So padding was not going to work. Eventually, we turned to sound effects. A recording of a cane whacking into a bare arse was made. (I do not know how it was done and the sound engineer was not about to say.)

The scene then went like this: Hugo bends over the two chairs, I take down his trousers and pants. Then I have some lines of dialogue (revealing myself to be an oppressor, the director says) and then I raise the cane and bring it down on his bare bottom. The timing has to be perfect so that my swishes into the bared flesh coincided exactly with the sound effect.

It took a lot of rehearsal and eventually we achieved it, although I still thought the audience knew I was not really cutting into Hugo’s bum, despite his grimaces and attempts to portray agony.

So, the play fully rehearsed, we took it on the road. We had toured for three weeks, when we arrived at a small town in the industrial North of England, where we were to play for three nights. That was where the trouble started.

Before the tour set off, Hugo had been granted a role in a television drama series called North of the Line! that enjoyed much popularity among the viewing public when televised. He had recorded his part before we began to tread the boards in The Schoolboys. None of us among his fellow actors were aware of this until the episodes began to be televised. Suddenly, we had a ‘star’ in the company. It does not matter how good an actor is, if one is on television, then one is a ‘star’. So it was with Hugo.

In North of the Line! Hugo played a rogue who was disrespectful of his parents and of his schoolteachers and who had an eye for the girls, who were only too willing to accept it. Girls, and also young women, of a certain disposition, took to the character immediately and Hugo began to get noticed by the newspapers.

Our theatre management was not about to look a gift horse in the mouth and capitalised. Posters for The Schoolboys were re-done and Hugo’s name replaced mine above the title. A photograph of Hugo, sporting a nauseatingly cheeky grin, stared out under the words Star of North of the Line!

The result was a sold-out box office, but alas the theatre was full of adolescent girls. They were what I believe are these days called ‘chavs:’ they cheered and called out his TV name when Hugo first appeared on stage; that was how crass they were.

The sudden popularity of a junior member of the cast caused some anxiety back stage, where it is considered important to keep up traditions. Senior members of the cast are deferred to in all matters, by other cast members and by those working back stage. This deference extends even to the director himself, who would never consider calling me by my Christian name.

Hugo came from a different stock. He had no experience in the theatre worth the mention and had not learned the importance of tradition and ‘knowing your place.’ As a television ‘star’ he believed himself to be the most important person in the cast. But, we older hands believed he knew nothing and should be treated as the junior cast member that he assuredly was.

This inevitably led to arguments back stage. A colleague berated Hugo for his unprofessionalism and complained bitterly about the screaming girls in the audience. Perhaps, it was as well that at this point none of us knew about the girls who waited for Hugo at the stage door after a show, willing to offer him a performance of their own.

Hugo exhibited an arrogance that took my breath away. Quite calmly he told those within hearing distance that he considered himself to be the star of this show and that he was the one the audience were coming to see. “Not you,” he said, pointing at me, or the other “dreary dinosaurs” in the cast.

I was livid with anger but controlled myself. He was a guttersnipe, a whippersnapper and I would not rise to his bait. I was more of a star than this pretty boy would ever be. I have worked with the best: Larry, Dickie, Bertie, Johnny, and, of course, dear old Hammy.

It happened in the very next performance after the row with Hugo. I had not planned it. The final act was underway and the housemaster and Hugo were in the study. Hugo placed himself across the two chairs and I took down his trousers and underpants.

I collected the cane from the cupboard, swished it about a couple of times and then lined it up across Hugo’s bared cheeks. We had performed this scene many times before and I had perfected the timing of my cane strokes to coincide with the swishes in the sound effects.

I lined up the cane and saw Hugo’s buttocks, raised submissively to receive his punishment. I say ‘submissively’ but that night I saw defiance. He was pointing his cheeks at me as if to say, “Go on old man, do your worst, there’s nothing you can do to me. Your time has passed. I am the future.”

I hated him. The cane rose and instead of brushing it against his cheeks, I let fly with a real whopper. A thick red stripe appeared across both cheeks. As it bit home, Hugo let out a roar of agony. There was a collective intake of breath among the audience.

I hated him for his youth. Number two came down swiftly, and Hugo gripped onto the chair for dear life. The torture was searing through his bum and legs. He wanted to get up and shout “What the Hell’s going on?” but he was in the middle of a live performance.

By now he realised what was happening and he braced himself for what he knew would be four more searing, painful stingers.

I hated him for his good looks. Slash number three drew gasps from Hugo and from the audience, but Hugo was the only one in the theatre with tears streaming down his face.

I hated him for his fame. Number four sliced open a wound across the top of his buttocks and the shock and pain was so much his body bucked and he lifted the front legs of the front chair off the ground.

I hated him for the money he would earn. Slash number five replicated number four, but this time it whipped across the bottom of his globes, at the point where the buttocks meet the thighs.

I hated him because I hated myself. Number six went across the middle of both buttocks, accidently (honestly!) crossing two or three of the welts that were already standing up from Hugo’s flesh. He was choking for breath and in genuine distress.

I was sweating and breathing very hard. I must give up smoking cigars. I replaced the cane in the cupboard.

Only now did the enormity of my crime hit home. Yes, I had thrashed Hugo, and yes, it gave me tremendous pleasure to do so, but I am a professional actor and it is a sin to deviate from the script and place your fellow actors in jeopardy.

I walked upstage (this was not in the script) to give myself thinking time and turned to face Hugo. He was still breathing heavily, but he was gaining control of his sobbing.

“All right. That’s over, you may remove yourself,” I said. I was back on the script. I did not know how Hugo would react.

Clearly, still in agony, Hugo pulled up his trousers and pants, while still kneeling on the chair, as was required by the script. He stood and buttoned himself up. Then, he shook my hand and I dismissed him from my study and he exited stage left.

Hugo completed the play tormented by pain. His next scene was where he talked with this study mates about his caning ordeal and was required to wince a little as he sat down, but he was to remain seated. This time, he sat on the chair and jumped straight up in pain; the audience loved it, unaware that he was not acting.

Hugo finished the play word perfect. We all received curtain calls and standing ovations and Hugo was cheered. The cast members knew this was because he was a famous face ‘off the telly,’ and not because of his acting abilities.

I still think he is a poor actor, but after the caning ordeal I cannot say he is not a true professional.

Other stories you might like.

The housebreaker

Found out on Facebook

The pub visit


More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

A new story every other weekday

Hi Guys

I recently posted my 50th story on this site, so I thought I’d use that as an opportunity to say a big “Thank You” to all of you for reading them.

I’ve been writing stories for years, but it was only in June 2015 that I plucked up the courage to post one to the MMSA story archive. It was well-received so I posted another. I soon realised that even if I posted one story a week it would take several years to upload them all.

So, I started the Male on Male Spanking Stories blogsite. From now on I’ll be putting up a new story every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The stories cover many topics; including domestic situations (dads, uncles, grandpas), school, university / college, the workplace, vicars / preachers, the occasional judicial beating and pals and partners doing it for fun.

Some of them take place in the past, others in the present day and one or two in the near future.

If you are new to this site, please take time to look through the archives or search through the ‘categories’ and ‘tags’ to find stories you may have missed.

If you like the stories please come back and visit regularly and tell your friends.

I also write stories on the MMSA site (here) under two names: Charles Hamilton II and Scholastic. They include stories that will not appear on this WordPress site.

Thanks for reading and I hope to will come back here soon.

Charles Hamilton the Second

The television repairman

Gerald, a gorgeous repairman, turns up late to fix the television set of aging bachelor Mr Sanderson. What happens next is not quite what you expect, but Gerald will never be the same again.

The TV Repairman is a Charles Hamilton II story posted exclusively on The Canery website. Read it here

The Gaffer of The Academy 3. Caned-off

A sixth-former facing a detention asks The Gaffer to cane him instead … and gets much more than he bargained for

Part one of The Gaffer of The Academy is here.

Part two of The Gaffer of The Academy is here.

A Gaffer of the Academy story. For more click here
A Gaffer of the Academy story. For more click here

“What do you mean boy, you want your detention next Saturday to be ‘caned off’?” The Gaffer was genuinely baffled. What nonsense was the boy talking?

Harry Parker of the Upper Sixth stood up straight in front of the desk; hands behind his back, a bright smile on his face. The Gaffer believed in the cane; he’d understand; he knew that.

“Well boy!” The Gaffer’s patience was thin.

The eighteen-year-old had rehearsed a little speech. All the fellows agreed; it made perfect sense.

Harry took a deep breath and launched into it. Last Saturday he had been caught breaking bounds; he went to the nearby town without permission. His punishment was to be ‘gated’ and put in detention on the coming Saturday. But, that was the day of the Inter School Football semi-finals. His school The Academy was in with a chance of winning the match and going on to the final for the first time in its history.

Harry Parker was The Academy’s star winger; he could run rings around any schoolboy defence. Some people reckoned he could be a professional player if he chose to. But Parker in detention meant no Parker on the wing and with that bang went the school’s chance of cup tie glory.

“So you see sir, if you could see your way to dropping the detention and caning me instead, I could play in the match.”

Harry Parker was an honourable chap; he had broken the rules and he must be punished. He accepted that, but it was so dashed unfair to himself and all the other chaps to gate him and not let him play in the match.

The Gaffer’s jaw actually dropped slightly; in his twenty or more years as a schoolmaster he had never heard of such an idea.

“No!” His reply was as stern as it was emphatic. “You must take your gating and detention.”

Parker’s mouth opened to groan a response, but The Gaffer got there first.

“That is my final word. No. You are dismissed Parker.”

“But sir,” the football star wailed.

“Enough. Leave my study this instance.”

It was a crest-fallen boy who shuffled through the door.

The Gaffer sat back in his chair. Well, well, he had thought he had seen it all before. Obviously, a detention was much more of a deterrent to rule-breaking than a thrashing. The Gaffer’s cane had met with Parker’s backside on more than one occasion since the new Head of Sixth Form had joined the exclusive school. Perhaps The Gaffer’s thrashings were not quite as awesome as he had imagined. In future he would have to lay on the rod with extra vim.

The news was received badly in study number five.

Parker’s fellow players had expected to see their star chum limping down the passageway; his arse throbbing like mad. They were ready with their sympathies and gratitude: Parker had taken six for the team, good man!

They heard Harry’s tale with shock and grief. Bob Alberston spoke first, “Well that’s it I suppose. We’re out of the cup for sure.”

“Is there nothing we can do?” piped up Jim Brandhurst; a singularly dull boy who always asked questions but provided none of the answers.

“We could go to the headmaster and ask that he whop you!” Anthony Briggs, the team’s goalie, who at six-feet-four towered over his study companions, piped up.

No, they all agreed. The Gaffer had been their one and only hope. He was as keen on association football as anyone else in the school; they were sure he would help out the team.

The boys lapsed into silence as Jim filled a teapot with boiling water to make what the boys fondly called ‘a brew.’

Then Bob had an idea. “What do you think would happen if you simply missed the detention and played in the match?”

“It would mean a swishing for sure,” Anthony exclaimed.

“Well,” Harry was annoyed that his plan with The Gaffer had not worked, “So what. I offered to get the detention ‘caned off’, what’s the difference if I get the whacking before or after the match.” It was a statement, not a question, and gratefully the boys left it at that.

The less said about the match the better. A four-nil drubbing. Harry Parker and his footballing chums did not get a look in. Overwhelmed by superior strength and footballing ability, they were out of the cup.

It was eleven disappointed footballers who returned to The Academy. It was late and time for bed. In dormitory number two a dejected Harry Parker stepped into his pyjamas. As he was tugging at the drawstring, a fresh young junior called Ratkinson poked his head around the door.

“Message from Mr Robinson; Parker you are to attend at his study,” he reported breathlessly. And as if it were not obviously the case, he added quickly, “At once. Immediately.”

“Oh dashed back luck,” Bob patted his friend on the back. “Still, it’s best to get it over with quickly.”

It had been expected, of course. Without muttering a word, Harry Parker reached for his dressing gown and slippers, put them on and exited the dorm, leaving his chums to contemplate the star winger’s fate in silence.

It was a slow, long walk to The Gaffer’s study. Bob was right, Harry thought, it was best to get it over with now. It would be a caning for sure. After all, he had been over the back of The Gaffer’s armchair before and survived: what was the worst that could happen?

He reached the study, took a deep breath and with more swagger than he really felt, he rapped his knuckles heavily on the heavy oak door.


Harry could not keep his hand from trembling as he turned the handle and inched opened the door. He was astonished at what he saw.

In the centre of the room was a heavy wooden contraption that Harry did not recognise. It looked like a large step; something that you might use in a library to reach the top most shelves. Standing next to it was a huge enamel bucket and soaking inside it were two enormous birches.

“Come, stand in front of my desk,” The Gaffer was as furious as Harry had ever seen him before. The Head of the Sixth Form had a reputation among his boys as a stern man; he was not much of a humourist.

“Parker!” he launched into a prepared speech. He ripped the boy to shreds. He had skipped detention, he had absented himself from the school and most of all had deliberately and wilfully disobeyed The Gaffer. Never had a boy at this school behaved in such a disgraceful manner.

Harry heard none of it. He could not take his eyes off the enamel bucket and the birches. They were made from about eight or nine long twigs bound together with twine. The twigs ended in a spray wide enough to cover the whole area of Harry’s buttocks. He didn’t know this but they had been soaking in brine for most of the day to make them supple to deliver the maximum sting.

“So, I am going to give you a terrible punishment.” Harry woke up at this. “I telephoned your father this afternoon and gave him a choice. Either you should be expelled from this school or you should receive twelve strokes of the birch rod. He consented to the birching.”

A shudder ran through Harry’s body and wind rushed from his stomach. Just in time he sucked down a stream of vomit from his throat. The birch. No boy that he knew had ever been birched at this school.

Harry’s deathly pale face betrayed his fear.

“You should think yourself lucky boy that we are not in main hall for a public thrashing.”

If the Gaffer had meant this as a word of comfort, he failed. Blood was speeding through Harry’s veins and his blood pressure was sky high. Any moment now he might drop to the floor in a dead faint.

“Let us get on with this. Please take off your dressing gown and put it on my desk.” Harry had no idea how he managed to control his fingers sufficiently to untie the knot in the cord and do as instructed.

“Now kick off your slippers and remove your pyjama bottoms.”

Soon Harry was naked from the waist down. The boy did not feel the least self-conscious in his nudity. At this school a boy was often partly or fully naked in front of his school chums. Only minutes earlier he and the others in dormitory number two had undressed in front of each other.

“Now, mount the block.”

Harry’s puzzled expression betrayed him. Mount the block; what did that mean?

“You kneel on the lower step and bend across the top. Place the palms of your hands on the floor.”

In something of a trance, Harry approached the wooden contraption and hesitantly placed his knees on the step. Then he reached forward and laid his stomach across the top. He was a small boy and could not quite reach to the floor so his fingertips hovered an inch or so above the carpet. In this position his bare bottom was raised at a convenient angle for The Gaffer to lash.

Harry wriggled a little as the heavy wooden block dug into his knees and stomach. Absurdly, since in a moment any thought of this discomfort would pale as the birch rods tore him to pieces, he wished he had a cushion to kneel on.

The Gaffer took hold of the boy’s wrists and secured them tightly in leather cuffs especially designed for the purpose. Then his pyjama jacket was roughly pushed up his back away from the target area. Then The Gaffer reached into the bucket and extracted a birch, he swished it through the air to dry it and Harry felt droplets of water sprinkle the back of his legs.

There was a long pause and then a gigantic swish and the first stroke fell. It landed with a resounding crack. Harry felt the wet branches across his naked rear, but to his tremendous shock, not much pain. There was a tingling sensation and it felt like an egg whisk had been smacked into his bottom.

The second swipe landed right on target and again Harry hardly felt a thing. The boy couldn’t work it out. Was The Gaffer deliberately going soft on him? If so, why? Why go to all this trouble of preparing the birch twigs and then not whip him thoroughly?

What Harry did not know, at least not yet, was that it took a few strokes for the effects of the birch to penetrate.

There was another long pause, before swish! Crack! down came the birch rod again with tremendous force. Jeeezzz! Harry felt that one alright. He let out a yelp and wriggled. He had been beaten with a cane many times in the past, but nothing had felt quite like this. He lost control of his hands and they flailed around. He wished he had been bent over the chair or The Gaffer’s desk; at least then he would have something to grab hold of.

There was another lengthy delay and once more the birch came down hard to deliver the worst stroke yet. By now Harry’s bum was raw; he was very frightened, uncertain that he could take twelve full strokes of this birch.

There was a terrifying hiss, then those whippy twigs hit the target area again. Harry felt a very severe sting which steadily spread across his bottom. It hurt so much that it drove all the breath out of him and he lay across the block panting and squirming. This was a whipping of a lifetime; each stroke was hurting more than the one before and Harry dreaded the next one.

The next stroke was timed perfectly and the sting was so intense it made Harry scream and he started to rise from his prostrate position only to feel the strong hand of The Gaffer pushing him back down.

“If you move, you will receive extra stokes,” The Gaffer exclaimed sternly, and then in a more gentle tone he added, “It is best if you take your punishment like a man.”

Tears flooded down Harry’s cheeks and gulping and coughing for air, the boy resumed his position, head low, arms stretched out front and naked buttocks high.

The pause between strokes was the longest so far. Harry clenched and unclenched his cheeks in anticipation of the next lash. Why wasn’t it coming? Then the boy realised, his tormentor was over at the bucket withdrawing a fresh birch rod.

The seventh stroke landed viciously. It hurt atrociously, the most painful one yet. The Gaffer applied the next stroke to Harry’s bare and still writhing backside will all his weight. The wretched boy howled as the ferocious bite of the wet twigs penetrated his flesh, sending him into violent contortions.

Harry was not sure what happened next. Later running the events over in his mind, he could not be sure that he hadn’t fainted. He vaguely remembered howling and pleading for it to stop, but the scolding birch continued to hiss and lash, flogging him unmercifully. This was not punishment, this was torture.

Harry woke up. It was the middle of the night. He was face down on the bed; his head in his arms. His pyjama bottoms had been removed and his jacket was scrunched around his shoulders. A thick bandage was wrapped around his bottom to hold in place a dressing that was easily half-an-inch thick.

He was alone in the room. Where was he? It took some moments to place it. Of course, this was the school’s sanatorium; the sick room. How had he gotten here? He could remember nothing except the searing agony in his arse. Cautiously, he moved his arms from beneath his head and with the tips of his middle and index fingers he gently touched the dressing on his bottom.

Jesus H Christ! That hurt! Just a slightest movement against the burnt flesh was enough to send paroxysms of pain shooting through his entire body. Copious tears fell into the boy’s pillow and once again he buried his head in his arms, not knowing that he would lay face down on the bed for three full days before the agony eased sufficiently for him risk putting pressure on his buttocks.

Other school stories you might like.

The padded armchair

Pyjama bottoms down. Bend over

The run


More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second

Footballer’s judicial caning

“One hundred dollar fine; two hundred and fifty dollars to be paid in damages and four strokes of the cane on the bare buttocks. Take him away. Next case.”

The twenty-eight-year-old footballer bitterly resented being in this God-forsaken African country. Tony Jeffries was an important name in European soccer and starred in a top club, but he was still forced to tour the world to these backwaters, just because the club wanted to extend its brand across the globe.

Now, he was to get a different kind of brand across his own globes.

It had all happened so quickly. Last night he and some of the backroom boys at the club escaped their hotel to see a bit of night life. That was a big mistake, the town was a dump and there was nothing to do. They did find a rundown bar and had a few drinks, but nothing too much. Then some locals recognised who he was and muscled in. They would not leave him alone, words were exchanged, punches flew, tables got overturned, glasses were smashed, the police were called, and he ended up in the magistrates’ court.

The charges were violent conduct, criminal damage and causing a disturbance. And, for that, in this country you got your arse caned. Judicial corporal punishment was normal here, the law said men up to the age of forty could be lashed and courts routinely sentenced criminals to the cane.

Jeffries had to sit through two others cases before his own was heard. In the first a twenty-eight-year-old man got a fine and three lashes on the bare buttocks for stealing peanuts from a store. In the second, a man got five cuts for trying to snog a woman who did not welcome his advances.

Corporal punishment was a relic from colonial days when the ruling power used the cane liberally against the natives. They treated the locals as if they were children, no matter how old they really were, and believed that administering ‘spankings’ was the way to get them to do as they were told.

Today, people believed corporal punishment was a good method of controlling the population and a sentence of lashing was cheaper than sending people to prison.

So, that’s how Jeffries came to be waiting his turn for a visit to the flogging room at the court. He had spent the night in a police cell, but he couldn’t complain. He was given a chance to call his club who contacted a lawyer and his country’s embassy and got the same response: Jeffries was guilty (he admitted that) and he had to take a whipping. It was the law and that was all that could be said about it.

A doctor had examined Jeffries to ensure he was fit to be whipped. All he did was to put a stethoscope to his chest to test his heart and, of course, Jeffries was fit; he was a world-class athlete, after all.

At one time the beatings were held in the police station’s examination room, but they were later transferred to the present room when it was found that the police station ceiling was too low to permit a full swing of the cane.

In the flogging room there were five adults. Two policemen held Jeffries bent over a table, and his trousers were pulled down.

A third policeman flogged him on his naked buttocks.

So great was the pain caused by the chastisement that a handkerchief was stuffed into his mouth to prevent those present hearing his piteous cries. It might also stop him biting off his tongue.

The policeman threw himself into a striking attitude. This was to be no child’s play.

The chief officer called “One!” His colleague raised the cane and smashed it down on the bare buttocks of the prisoner.

The first stroke had been a sort of overhead and downward cut.

The policeman was in no hurry. The second hand of the chief officer’s watch crawled. The punishment must not be hurried. After five seconds that seem like an age, he called, “Two!”

This second one – whew! – swish! It came underhand and upwards, shattering the bruised flesh.

The doctor took note of Jeffries’s face. It was grey. But the doctor was not concerned. His function was not to stop the infliction of pain but to save the authorities the embarrassment of a man dying under punishment.

Jeffries’s entire consciousness was dominated by the thought of the next stroke – until his torture came to an end or the doctor called a halt.

“Three!” As the third stroke swished home, the footballer lost all sense of his surroundings. A symphony of pain engulfed his whole being. By now, he could no longer keep track of time.

“Four!” Whizz! — slosh! A straight forearm cut fair across the other three lines.

The men let his hands and feet go, he sprang erect with flushed face and suspiciously brilliant eyes. His arse burned as though he’d sat his bare bottom on a hot griddle.

A policeman ushered Jeffries from the room, to ready it for the next customer.

Jeffries could not sit down and was forced to lie on his stomach in the back of a people carrier for the journey back to his hotel. In the privacy of his room he gently eased down his trousers and underpants and examined the four distinct burning lines of pain that adorned his buttocks, it would be a full day before his backside became less painful to touch.

The following day he had to work hard not to fidget sitting in the plane as the team flew home and it took another two days before he could sit without being reminded of that God-forsaken country.

Other stories you might like.

Footballer’s ‘hairbrush treatment’

The military camp

A punch in the face


More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website

Charles Hamilton the Second