Baron Bradwell (Tom Driberg MP)

1994: ‘The Queen Behind the Throne’, Backstairs Billy, David Bowes-Lyon & a ‘bouquet of clergy’

photo-26 In 1994 Michael De La Noy, former employee of Lord Beaumont (1962 – Prism Press), Robert Maxwell (1966 – Pergamon Press), the Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey (1967-1970), and who had threatened the Albany Trust with his research for a book on the sexual education of ordinands shortly before being offered the position of Director, wrote a biography of the Queen Mother.

De La Noy had been sacked by the Archbishop’s press office for writing an article exposing a then current-serving civil servant’s indulgence of his sexual peccadilloes in his bedsit in Earl’s Court.

June 1970: Michael De La Noy writes about ‘Leslie’ former MoD employee indiscreet improper letter writer

He had been appointed as the Director of the Albany Trust during Grey’s brief absence in 1971 during which Peter Righton and Doreen Cordell attempted to wrest the Trust’s psychosexual counselling files from De La Noy’s grip and potential use of them for blackmail purposes.

Further blog posts on De La Noy’s involvement with Albany Trust here:

May 1971: Peter Righton establishes ACCESS with Dr Robert Chartham / Ronald Seth as trustee – watched by MI5?

July 1971: Peter Righton at the House of Lords – Lord Beaumont calls an Emergency Meeting of the Albany Trust

September 1971: Lord Beaumon’ts letters and Peter Righton meets Jack Profumo at Toynbee Hall

Christmas 1971/January 1972: Bishop of Stepney and Jack Profumo give Peter Righton their patronage

But before turning to De La Noy’s 1994 biography (which must have caused some trepidation in view of his previous writings), Nicky Haslam’s Spectator review of a more recent and Official biography of the Queen Mother by William Shawcross contains an interesting reference:

“The king’s early death robbed her of the apogee of queenship, but, as her daughter captivated the world with her seriousness and beauty, she herself wisely forged a new role, with her own totally uncompetitive court, surrounded by intelligent, mostly gay male friends and grandchildren, and devotedly served for 50 years by her incomparable page, William Tallon, rumoured to have been a boyfriend of her brother, David Bowes-Lyon, and who, strangely, rates but a few late and very brief sentences in this book.” [All the Queen’s Men, The Spectator, 30 September 2009]

Marvellously, only a fortnight ago a new biography dedicated entirely to William Tallon provides more information (Backstairs Billy: The Life of William Tallon the Queen Mother’s most devoted servant, March 2015 by Tom Quinn) beginning:

“At the time of his death in 2007, William John Stephenson Tallon, or ‘Backstairs Billy’ as he was known, was familiar to a relatively small circle that included the members of the royal family, but especially Prince Charles and Lord Snowden, and a long list of former homosexual lovers, many of whom had also been in royal service. Outside that circle Billy was not at that time widely known, but in the years since his death a picture has emerged of a man whose life was extraordinary by any standards.”

For an overview by Tom Quinn, the author, see further Outrageous Secrets of Backstairs Billy [Daily Mail 14 March 2015]

David Bowes-Lyon – the Queen Mother’s brother

Growing up the Queen Mother and her brother were always close, he being her junior by 2 years and the pair of them together separated by a few years from their eight elder siblings. When his sister married the second in line to the throne David was just 21, and when she became Queen in 1936, he was 34.

“For secretaries, comptrollers and treasurers it has been almost a sine qua non that they be the non-marrying sort, for hours are long and unsociable, and duty may call them to Windsor or Scotland as well as Clarence House, and, in the past, they had to be available to accompany the Queen Mother on her world-wide peregrinations. But another explanation for the Queen Mother’s preference for employing homosexuals, and her partiality for their company generally, may be discerned in the perceptive diaries of James Lees-Milne. After staying at Bury Farm, in June 1948, adjacent to the Queen Mother’s childhood home in Hertfordshire, he drove the brother of whom she was so fond, David Bowes-Lyon, to London the following day and noted, ‘His conversation very strange. Did I think women’s thighs ugly? Men’s figures more aesthetic? Did I like wearing shorts? He did not disapprove of any sexual practices – and so on. Trying not to be too distant, I did not commit myself to any opinions. He must have found me either a dolt or a prude.” [Michael De La Noy, The Queen Behind the Throne, p176]

Jim Lees-Milne was 40 at the time, so certainly no young boy: Independent obituary

“The Windsors’ most astonishing claim concerned their visit to the United States in 1941.

The Queen Mother, they alleged, enlisted the help of Special Branch in London; of her brother, David (later Sir David) Bowes Lyon, who was posted to the British Embassy in Washington; of the British Ambassador, Lord Halifax; and of her friends, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor, to have them followed and spied on 24 hours a day by FBI agents.

Yet Shawcross, in his determination to present the Queen Mother in a posthumous golden glow, makes claims which verge on the ludicrous.” [From a 1971 interview Michael Thornton with Duke & Duchess of Windsor, Daily Mail 19 September 2009 – as above]

David Bowes-Lyon & Psychological Warfare

David was turning 40 by the time WWII started. He wasn’t merely posted to Washington in the British Embassy – from October 1941 he was a member of the Political Warfare Executive, a collaborative effort between the Foreign Office, the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Economic Warfare and the European Section of the BBC. The PWE broadcast to enemy countries and occupied territories

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Psychological Warfare and India By Dr Arunkumar Bhat p.134

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David Bowes-Lyon had inherited the Bury at St Paul’s Walden, Hitchin Hertfordshire: “With its formal French gardens and statuary it would have supplied a sense of elegance.”


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In 1950 David became High Sheriff of Hertfordshire where he lived and then in 1952 he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire until his death in 1961.

Residents of Hertfordshire and in particular constituents of Grant Shapps MP (Con: Welwyn Garden City) now have former running partner of Jimmy Savile and General Manager of Broadmoor hospital, Alan Franey, as their Deputy Council Leader, overseeing policing

[Tories back man who ‘gave Savile unrestricted access’ to hospital , Political Scrapbook 30 September 2014]

Not far from the Bury at St Paul’s Walden was Henlow Grange, where Savile had began to ingratiate himself with the Costigans’ second beauty spa from 1961 onwards

and conveniently close to David’s house was also the new Political Warfare Executive studio for broadcasting propaganda from Church End, Milton Bryan, close to Bletchley Park

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A Most Remarkable Family: A History of the Lyon Family from 1066 to 2014 By Michael Hewit


“Lees-Milne met David Bowes-Lyon again at a dinner party early in 1949, and recorded that he had been ‘insinuating all sorts of forbidden things in veiled terms and proposing a trip with me in the spring. He is an extraordinary, complicated, buttoned, perhaps not so buttoned-up man who cannot call a spade a spade and is a walking riddle.” At the Chelsea Flower Show that year, Bowes-Lyon ‘seemed keen that we should go on a motor tour in August. A curious man that he is.’The clear implication from these diary entries is that while David Bowes-Lyon may indeed have been curious, he was almost certainly bisexual, a fact which could well have become a commonplace to his sister, colouring for life her own laissez-faire attitude to personal sexual morals, which very much reflects the dictum of her near contemporary, Mrs Patrick Campbell: don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses.” [p.176]


1951: Enter Billy Tallon from Birtley

Billy Tallon was born in Birtley, Durham, 12 November 1935 and entered into royal service aged 15 in 1951 when the Queen Mother had become a grandmother for the first time and Prince Charles was turning three. David Bowes-Lyon was born in 1902 and died in 1961 so would have been 49 – 59 and Billy would have been 15 – 25 when there would have been any opportunity for a relationship.

“Johnny Hewitt who knew Billy well at this time, explains: “Many people have claimed that Reg and Billy worked as a sort of team – a team of sexual predators. I don’t think that was true at all. It was part of Reg’s character to be intensely loyal both in terms of his job and his personal relationships. Billy was always intensely loyal to his employer, the Queen Mother, but he was not so loyal in his personal relationships.”

From Billy’s point of view, his depending relationship with the Queen Mother made him increasingly aware of his own power. And if power corrupts, it certainly began to corrupt Billy, who felt to some extent that he was invulnerable, especially when it came to the rent boys and other young men he met on his late night forays to Soho and elsewhere. As one colleague put it, ‘Billy began to think he could do as he pleased.

Almost from the time he moved to Clarence House, Billy spent his free time actively pursuing his fellow male servants and bringing back casual pick-ups he met during his free hours late in the evenings and at weekends.

One or two of those who worked with Billy at this time describe him as a sexual predator, but others say that many if not most of the young male servants were happy to take part in what can only be desired as orgies.

Brian Wilson (not his real name) describes how he met Billy in a bar in Soho and was dazzled to hear that he worked for the royals. Along with two friends, he was invited back to Clarence House. During the group sex session that followed Billy suggested Brian should sit on the Queen Mother’s favourite sofa and there Billy had sex with him. Brian was convinced that taking risks was part of the sexual thrill for Billy. Another former lover who knew Billy well in the mid-1960s remembered the royal servant’s remarkable lack of caution.” [Loc 1279/2853]

“The Queen Mother was always renowned for her alleged tolerance of homosexuals – perhaps not surprising considering the notorious and flagrantly homosexual adventures of her own brother, Sir David Bowes Lyon, who, though married with children, was addicted to all-male orgies at which young men were bidden to wear football shorts.” [Daily Mail, That spiteful old soak dedicated to making lives hell, 19 September 2009]

Dr Venetia Newall, renowned folklorist, fellow of the Royal Society of Literature  and former joint secretary of the Albany Trust until Antony Grey took over in 1962 [see blog post here: 1962: Antony Grey’s interview panel ] wrote about the Queen Mother “that much loved figure” in 1986:

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Venetia Newall, Presidental Address to the Folklorist Society AGM 15 March 1986, ‘ Folklore and Male Homosexuality’


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As above, footnotes 65 & 66


“Roger Booth is certain that the Queen Mother knew Billy was gay and din’t mind in the least.

‘I would say she positively welcomed the fact, as there had been a long tradition of homosexual servants at Buckingham Palace and Clarence House. Some commentators have said this was partly because the royals felt that their female children would be safer if the male servants were homosexual, but it almost certainly had far more to do with the fact that homosexual servants were perceived – rightly or wrongly – as having less need for a life outside the palace.

And even though homosexuality was illegal until the mid-1960s, the royals took a very lordly view of that kind of illegality. They had always know homosexual men – in service and in their families – and couldn’t really understand what all the fuss was about. It’s also nonsense, I think to say that Queen Elizabeth didn’t mind so long as her gay servants were discreet in their affairs. I’d say the opposite was true and she liked the fact that her gay servants were often very indiscreet in indeed, but just so long as they didn’t go too far. It provided a bit of excitement for her and at no risk to herself or her reputation. She famously said that without gay servants the royal family would be reduced to ‘self-service.’ ‘ ” [Backstairs Billy, Loc 926]

In 1992 Liam Cullen-Brooks started work at Clarence House aged 19.

“According to Cullen-Brooks, Billy wasn’t just fond of a drink. He was habitually drunk and when drunk he couldn’t control himself. He was, according to Liam, a vicious and vindictive and very much a sexual predator.

Other former male servants have confirmed the general picture of Billy as occasionally lecherous. One said:

Billy offered young men jobs if he fancied them and no sooner had they started work than he turned his often unwanted sexual attentions on them. If they failed to respond he could make life very difficult indeed. To be fair he could be very charming if he liked you – even if you gave him the brush-off when he made it clear that he was sexually interested in you – but sometimes the devil got into him and he simply would not take no for an answer.” [Backstairs Billy, Loc 1935]

Perhaps the best example of the Queen Mother’s tolerance of her wayward servant occurred win the News of the World reported that a ‘rent boy’ had been invited back to Clarence House by Billy. The paper made a huge fuss, but the Queen Mother simply responded by saying, “How kind of William to invite the poor boy in out of the rain.” [loc 1300/2853]

I wasn’t aware of this News of the World report or when it was published – to be found.

“Like the Labour peer Lord Bradwell (better known as Tom Driberg, 1905-1976), with whom he may well have had a brief affair, Billy was far keener on oral rather than other kind of sex – according to one of his chance enouncters, Billy seemed to think that swallowing large quantities of semen was the secret of eternal youth.”[Loc 1820/ Backstairs Billy]

“Don Jones, who knew Billy well around this time said:

Billy was one of a number of queens who didn’t really like having sex done to him if you see what I mean – he liked doing it to others. Partly because of the idea that sperm – especially from young men – would keep him young but also because he always wanted to be in charge….

When homosexuality between consenting adults was legalised in the mid-1960s I think Billy, like a lot of gay men, was a little disappointed. Without the danger some of the fun had gone.” [Loc 1837, Backstairs Billy: The Life of William Tallon]

In 2008 one of the Queen Mother’s butler’s pleaded guilty at the last minute to sexual offences against children – thus preventing a four week trial. By the time Paul Kidd arrived, Billy Tallon had been the Queen Mother’s confidante for almost 17 years.

“Former Royal Butler Admits Child Abuse” 02/10/2008

Paul Kidd, a former Royal Butler to the Queen and the Queen Mother, has pleaded guilty to committing sexual offences against children.

Paul Kidd of Grasscroft Road, Stalybridge, Greater Manchester worked as a butler between 1977 and 1979 at Buckingham Palace and was the Senior Footman to the Queen Mother, at Clarence House, between 1979 and 1984.

Kidd had been charged with a number of sexual offences against children. He initially pleaded not guilty but changed his pleas last Wednesday before he was due to face a four week trial.

Paul Kidd pleaded guilty on nine counts of indecent assault, six counts of sexual activity with a child and one count of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

The offences were committed between 1974 – 1977, 1981 – 1983 when he was employed by the Queen Mother and between 2005 and 2008. His victims were all under the age of 16 when the offences were committed. Kidd also admitted counts of making indecent images of a child and possessing indecent images of children. He admitted possessing more than 18,000 indecent images of children. The charges of rape were dropped.

Paul Kidd was born in Lancashire in 1953, upon leaving school he was employed in the Royal Navy as a silver service waiter. He was appointed butler to the Queen in 1976 at Buckingham Palace were he served for six years before being transferred to Clarence House. In 1979 he was awarded the Most Noble Order of Merit by the West German President whilst on a state visit with the Queen. In 1985 due to illness he left the Royal Service.

He later became an after dinner speaker travelling the world with his stories of Royal Service. His fee band was between £2,000 to £4,000. However, behind his amusing stories of Royal Service led a dark secret of child abuse.

What was so impressive about Paul Kidd’s conduct on a royal state visit 1978/79 that the West German President Walter Scheel (now in his 96th year) awarded him the Most Noble Order of Merit?

The Queen Mother’s penchant for ‘a bouquet of clergy’

Something Michael De La Noy was particular interested in and aware of was the relationship between his previous employer the Archbishop of Canterbury, Canon Eric James (patron of Peter Righton in 1971, biographer of Albany Trustee Dr John Robinson, and biographer of Father Trevor Huddleston who hunted for his BOSS files and found nothing and was later appointed Chaplain Extraordinary to the Queen in 1984) and the Queen Mother.

Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother loved to lunch and be hosted by Lady Diana Cooper at her home in Maida Vale, 10, Warwick Avenue in Maida Vale,W9 and were often guests there from 1960s – 1980s. From 1975 Maida Vale would also host the Paedophile Information Exchange ℅ Release at 1, Elgin Avenue and in May 1973 Lord Lambton would be caught minutes from his house at 58 Hamilton Terrace on camera in bed with two prostitutes


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“The Queen Mother has a penchant for clergymen, preferably High Church and slightly camp. Lady Diana Cooper was a great procurer of such. On 23 June 1979 the Queen Mother told Lady Diana, ‘I loved those two dear little clergyman. What luck to have them, & how it must help them to be encouraged by you.’

On 28 March 1981 she was writing to say, ‘Once again I am writing to thank you for a perfect lunch party, and a most enjoyable noon cocktail party – your neighbours are so delightful and amusing and varied, and it is great fun to watch the famous HOUSE POISON doing it’s [sic] work, voices rising, conversation becoming more & more sparkling, & even the dear faces of the clergy becoming a tiny bit roseate – Oh it is such fun, and I adore coming to see you & I enjoy myself madly in the lovely relaxed atmosphere you create round you, & I am deeply grateful to you for giving me such a heavenly treat.” [p.182]

“On 4 April 1982 the Queen Mother told Lady Diana that her own dear clergy, by which presumably she meant the canons at Windsor, ‘seem quite boorish & tweedy’ in comparison to the ‘exquisite clergy in Little Venice’. It was following a visit to Diana Cooper, when three clergymen had come in for drinks before lunch, that as she was leaving the Queen Mother said to Lady Diana, ‘I did enjoy meeting your bouquet of clergy.’ [fn. 22 Retailed to the author by the Hon. David Herbert]. Among those invited in 1980 for a drink was a guest whose name, Sir Martin Gilliat assured Lady Diana Cooper, met with the Queen Mother’s approval – Edward Fox. He had recently played the role of Edward VIII in a television series called Edward and Mrs Simpson.” [De La Noy, The Queen Behind the Throne, p.182]


52 years on: The Forgotten Fly in the Reshuffle

1962: An MP on trial, the Solicitor-General his Defence Counsel and Macmillan’s timely Night of the Long Knives (13th July)

Horobin in 1934, National Portrait Gallery,

Horobin in 1934, National Portrait Gallery, fly in the reshuffle

Sir Ian Horobin MP, Laurens Van Der Post Will Black’s recent article for his Huffington Post blog here asks whether Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle wasn’t more window dressing designed to distract from the ongoing pressure on the Palace of Westminster to take itself seriously as just another institution under investigation for child abuse allegations? 52 years earlier on the same date, 13th July, Harold Macmillan, Conservative Prime Minister, culled one third of his Cabinet. Remarkably, at the time of the reshuffle, a resolutely unremorseful Sir Ian Horobin MP (Con. Oldham East) was due to stand trial five days later  for a number of indecent assaults on teenage boys during 1958-1961 as reported in The Times on 16 May 1962. Horobin, aged 31 had briefly been Conservative MP for Southwark for a term between the wars (1931 – 1934) and didn’t return to politics until 6 years after the war in 1951 as MP for greater Manchester constituency Oldham East. We get a taste for Horobin’s enthusiasm in a letter to the Editor of The Times written 10 years before his conviction: Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 14.36.30

 “May I intervene in the correspondence about research into youth work? My only qualification is 30 years’ slogging hard work in one small corner of that field. I do so to say heaven preserve us from any more inquiries…”

Somewhat ironic in the context of Theresa May’s recent capitulation to calls for an overarching inquiry. Three years after this letter Horobin received a knighthood for his good works with East End boys. Five days after the reshuffle, on  17 July 1962 Sir Ian Horobin pleaded guilty to a number of indecent assaults on boys at the Fairbairn Boys’ Club in Plaistow. Here he had lived in a bedsit above the dining room on the premises, despite being an MP in a Greater Manchester constituency for ten years. Someone who did rather well out of Macmillan’s reshuffle was Peter Rawlinson, a QC and Conservative MP for Epsom in Surrey, and at the time engaged as Horobin’s defence counsel, against Mervyn Griffiths for the Crown.

Sir Peter Rawlinson (Solicitor General under Macmillan 1962-1964; Attorney General under Ted Heath 1970-74; Attorney General for Northern Ireland 1972-1974) photo 1 (7)

In his autobiography, A price too high, published in 1989, Rawlinson’s Prologue details how the day before Horobin was due in court to, Rawlinson was summoned by Macmillan to be offered the position of Solicitor General. Rawlinson asks 48 hours grace to undertake an ‘unusually distasteful’ task of completing Horobin’s defence. Supermac, appearing to have forgotten any headlines reporting the case, asks why Horobin hadn’t the decency to do a runner like Willie Beauchamp, presumably referring to William Lygone, 7th Earl of Beauchamp, former leader of the Liberals in the House of Lords and Governor General of New South Wales (supposedly the model for Lord Marchmain in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited).

“The following day I performed my ‘unusually distasteful’, and extremely difficult, task. My client had at one time wanted me in my speech in mitigation of his offences to impress upon the judge that in the East, when a city had been stormed and sacked, it was not only the girls who were raped. Then he wanted me to say that often the boys he had seduced in their youth had later brought their own sons to join the club, so where was the harm? Again I suggested that this line might not altogether appeal to the sentencing judge. In the event the trial lasted only a few hours. Sir Ian pleaded guilty and was sentenced, as he had been warned, to a substantial term of imprisonment.” (A Price Too High, Peter Rawlinson, p.5)

Daily Express, 14 April 1962

Daily Express, 14 April 1962

Daily Mirror 4 June 1962

Daily Mirror 4 June 1962

“A 15-year old boy told the court that after he joined the boys’ club at the age of 11, Sir Ian asked if he collected foreign stamps and invited him to his room to get some.

While there, the boy added, Sir Ian committed an offence. He was given his stamps and afterwards he attended chapel – and so did Sir Ian.” [Daily Mirror, 4 June 1962]

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Daily Mirror, 19 June 1962

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contd. from above, Daily Mirror, 19 June 1962

Mirror, 18 July 1962

Mirror, 18 July 1962

Horobin was sentenced to four years in prison and moved to Tangiers on his release, where boys were in more plentiful supply with less fear of criminal repercussions.

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Daily Express, Wednesday 18 July 1962

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contd., Daily Express, 18 July 1962

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‘He referred to homosexuals as “us poor devils who are born like this; nothing can change me. It is natural for some people to love boys in this way.” Subsequently at a party Horobin said the touch of a woman sickened him and the law on homosexuality was silly.’

Obituary of Edward Larkin - Woodrow, David. British Medical Journal, International edition325.7371 (Nov 2, 2002): 1041

Obituary of Edward Larkin – Woodrow, David. British Medical Journal, International edition325.7371 (Nov 2, 2002): 1041

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A War Hero, Fallen…

In 1923, having already fought in the Great War serving in the RNVR and at the youthful age of 24, Horobin had become Warden of Mansfield House University Settlement including Fairbairn Hall, Plaistow in East London. His father had been Principal of Homerton College, Cambridge. Here at No. 310, Barking Road not too far from the Mile End Road’s Regal Billiard Hall in Eric Road where by the mid-fifties a twenty year old Ronnie Kray was also admiring the view of boys taking their shots at the snooker tables, Horobin could be found patting boys on the rear as they took their shot,

“Fairbairn Boys Club was founded in the late 1800’s by Lady Trowe in the Leas Hall, Canning Town, for the underpriviledged children of the East End. Fairbairn is actually a Scottish word meaning ‘good child’. The Club moved to Fairbairn hall in Barking Road, Plaistow in 1923 where it flourished in all sports including Boxing, Rugby, Cricket and Football. Famous sports personalities to emerge through the Club are Billy Walker, Terry Spinks, Graham Gooch, Alan Sealey and Alan Curbishley …”

“Decline followed the First World War of 1914-18. In1920 residents returned to Mansfield House. 1921 saw the setting up of teacher training courses. In 1923 the Men’s club premises were sold. However Ian (later Sir Ian) Horobin, honorary warden 1923-61 revived and expanded the local work. In 1926 the Lady Trower Trust was formed to administer East Ham playing fields (between present day Burgess Road and the A40) and camp-sites at Lambourne End and Sandwich. 1928, and social work training courses were set up; 1931 Fairbairn Hall was re-designed and extended and opened by Duke and Duchess of York (later King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth); 1935: new residences built in Avenons Road; 1938: chapel added with 100 Anglican and Non-Conformist ordination candidates a year. By 1938 Fairbairn Boys and Men’s Clubs had a membership of 5000.” “Fairbairn House, originally opened in 1900, was greatly enlarged during the 1930s incorporating a beautiful Art Deco interior designed by the architect Grey Wornum, who was also responsible for the interiors of the Cunard ocean liner Queen Elizabeth. New sports facilities at Burges Road, in East Ham (1925), and a sixty acre farm on the outskirts of London at Lambourne End (1935) – used for camping and other outdoor activities – were presented to the Settlement by the Lady Trower Trust.”

As Matthew Parris and Kevin Maguire also point out, it was for Horobin’s charitable work in the East End, including prodigious fund-raising, Macmillan was to offer him a peerage in 1962.

“In 1923 he had practically re-founded the Mansfield House University Settlement, a young men’s and boy’s club, raising over half a million pounds for its upkeep. He was its warden, living in a small bedsit above the dining room.” (Great Parliamentary Scandals,  2004 edition, p.144 below)

So far, so very Smith & Savile…like Smith’s control over Knowl View in Rochdale, trumpeting his own ‘social work’ skills and sacrifices in letters to Social Work Today and Savile’s propensity to secure himself living quarters at various institutions across the British Isles and raise vast sums of money, Horobin’s charitable and philanthropic front also gave him access and opportunity to abuse. Parris and Maguire relay Terence Stamp’s memories of Horobin from his autobiography:

“After boxing bouts the boys would occasionally find Horobin supervising proceedings in the communal bath area, perched on a shooting stick. They called him ‘Spike’. One old boy, the actor Terence Stamp, recalls how ‘there was all kinds of gossip about Sir Ian, the strongest being that he was a bit of a “ginger beer”.’ Despite the rumours, Stamp’s autobiography describes how, aged fourteen, he was ‘chuffed’ to receive an invitation to Horobin’s flat one Saturday afternoon to show off some paintings he had entered in a competition.” (Great Parliamentary Scandals, p.144)

The facilities were a vast draw to the 1950s East-End/Essex teenaged boy and many a friendship and sporting careers were begun at Fairbairn House. Billy Walker, an amateur boxer while working as a doorman for Savile at the Ilford Palais, aged 16, trained at Fairbairn Amateur Boxing Club on Barking Road

“The Second World War of 1939-45 brought disruption. Post war developments saw Joan Littlewoods’ Acting School accommodated (1961). By 1962 membership had dropped to one third after Ian Horobins’ departure.”

Perhaps coincidentally it was through Joan Littlewood that Tom Driberg MP would come to know the Krays who were part of the milieu celebrating ‘Sparrers can’t Sing’ although already wary of being seen with the Krays: “Tom Driberg didn’t turn up.  He’d already been photographed with the Krays and didn’t like it.” It was during Joan Littlewood’s use of Horobin’s Fairbairn facilities, also used by The Mansfield Players, that reports of Horobin’s behaviour with boys had finally been reported to the Deputy Warden in 1961.

“Ian Horobin (1899 – 1976), a war hero who had shown exemplary courage as a prisoner of the Japanese, sat as Conservative MP for Oldham East from 1951 to 1959, serving as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Power during his last year in the House of Commons. In 1962 Macmillan recommended him for a life peerage, and his elevation had been gazetted when Horobin suddenly withdrew his acceptance of it owing to the fact that, in the interim, he had been charged with indecent assault. For almost forty years, he had served as Warden of Mansfield House University Settlement, a club for boys and young men in the East End, where he lived in a small flat: his work there was recognised with a knighthood in 1955, but his homosexual tastes were common knowledge among the boys, who were well rewarded if they agreed to satisfy his fairly innocent desires, and with some of whom he formed affectionate relationships. However, in 1961 his activities were denounced to the authorities by a clergyman, and after a trial at which he was defended by a former parliamentary colleague, the future Attorney-General Peter Rawlinson QC, he was sent to prison for four years. Horobin, who spent his last years in Tangier, remained unrepentant about his way of life, telling his friend the poet John Betjeman” “I broke the law with my eyes open all my life until I went to prison. I broke it in prison. I broke it immediately I came out of prison, and I have not the slightest intention of ever paying any attention to it.’

[Closet Queens, Michael Bloch, 2015 Loc 2886/5565]

10 shillings in today’s money is just under £10; £2 in 1962 is worth just under £40 today.

I can’t really work out why there’s still such an indulgent attitude to this very day regarding Sir Ian Horobin’s abuse of underage boys, or why he is considered to be gay when his sexual preferences were quite clearly for boys under the age of 16 and his development of Fairbairn Hall was driven by the same desires as Sir Cyril Smith – to provide him with a selection of children from which to choose. Perhaps Parris, Maguire and Bloch have either not read the newspaper reports of his offences at the time (or Rawlinson’s autobiography) or they have done their research and instead wish to gloss over sexual assaults of 11 year olds as if they’re a quaint peccadillo and synonymous with being gay which sadly is exactly the kind of conflation PIE and PIE’s Peter Righton capitalised on.

Enter Horobin’s faithful defender: Laurens Van Der Post…Another Knight with a tarnished reputation (The Oxford Times, 18/10/2012, Chris Gray) 

In his early forties by the time  the Second World War broke out, Horobin served in the RAF as a squadron leader and became  a Japanese Prisoner of War with Laurens Van Der Post in Soekaboemi in Java. Van Der Post who died in December 1996 became spiritual guru to first the Prince of Wales during the 70s through his wife Ingaret becoming Charles’ Jungian psychoanlsyst , and then as an informal adviser to Margaret Thatcher, his Chelsea neighbour, during the Falklands War. Van Der Post considered he owed his life to Horobin (The night of the new moon, 1970) and  wrote in 1989 to the Times saying:

” Ian Horobin , a minister-to-be in Macmillan’s government, frail and badly tortured at the outset, was one of the few I could trust with the knowledge of our secret radio. He came to me the day after the news of Hiroshima to say: “At prayers this morning I watched our hosts as usual bowing to the rising sun. Poor devils. Bloody poor devils!” and he burst into tears.”

Prior to the WWII Laurens Van Der Post had come to Britain from South Africa, the Woolfs publishing his first book  In a Province (1934) via William Plomer’s contacts and having struck up a relationship with the Queen Mum’s poetry writing cousin Lilian Bowes-Lyon, he settled his wife and son in a farm in Tetbury for a bit before sending them back to South Africa during the war where he didn’t see them for ten years. Following the War, he claimed to have become an aide to Lord Mountbatten in Indonesia where his Dutch language skills were in demand.

Five years following the war saw Lord Reith (the first and former head of the BBC in the 1920s recently noted for his interest in a 14 year old boys and a 12 year old girl) as head of the Colonial Development Centre asking Van Der Post to investigate the Kalahari Bushmen and during the 1950s Van Der Post’s reputation as an ‘explorer’ became settled. In 1982 Laurens Van Der Post’s position as a close friend of Prince Charles was cemented when he was appointed as godfather to Prince William at the same time he was bending Thatcher’s grateful ear on the Falklands. In 1983 two books of his,  The Seed and the Sower (1963) and The Night of the New Moon (1970) were to form the basis of the 1983 film Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence starring David Bowie. However, in the early 1950s, while his friend Horobin was preying on teen boys, Van De Post was also known to have impregnated a 14 year old daughter of a family friend he’d been entrusted to look after on a sea voyage when he was 46, just before his second marriage to Jungian analyst, Ingaret. Apparently he sent money although never properly acknowledging the daughter he’d left the child with or how she’d had to return home alone from her place at the Royal Ballet School, a fact confirmed by one of Van Der Post’s daughters 11 years ago, Lucia – now a Times beauty and luxe spending journalist:

“As for Mr. Jones’s allegations about her father’s relationship with a 14-year-old girl, ”I’m afraid I think that’s true,” Ms. Crichton-Miller said. ”He was not a saint. He hurt people. He hurt me. But by God, he was fascinating.” Master StoryTeller or Master DeceiverNew York Times, 03/08/2003

New York Times, 03/08/2003

New York Times, 03/08/2003

“In the 1970’s van der Post met Prince Charles through mutual friends. In 1987 he took Charles on a four-day trip to the Kalahari, telling the prince, ”This is the real Africa.” Mr. Jones states that sometime in the mid-70’s, Charles began having psychoanalytic treatment with Ingaret, who was a Jungian analyst, and then with van der Post’s friend Dr. Alan McGlashan. Diana, Princess of Wales, was also treated by Dr. McGlashan during the troubles in her marriage, Mr. Jones writes. Christian Science Monitor Charles told van der Post his dreams, and van der Post drafted some of his speeches. When van der Post died, Charles set up an annual lecture in his honor. But van der Post’s most significant influence occurred during the South African struggle over apartheid, Mr. Jones says. Van der Post hated Nelson Mandela and championed the Zulu chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, whom he saw as a foil for the African National Congress’s Communist beliefs. He arranged meetings between Chief Buthelezi, Charles and Mrs. Thatcher. Mr. Jones argues that van der Post had helped convince Mrs. Thatcher to oppose sanctions against the South African government and not to embrace Mr. Mandela. As van der Post lay dying, Mr. Jones says, Charles visited him. At his memorial service, Lady Thatcher read the lesson and Chief Buthelezi spoke. Nonetheless, Mr. Jones writes, there were apparently some who doubted van der Post even when he was alive. Mr. Jones says that when a doctor who knew him was asked the cause of his death, the doctor replied, ”He was weary of sustaining so many lies.”

Supermac: From one scandal to another to another to resignation

In 1958 Macmillan had raised one ‘rogue’ to the House of Lords, his nemesis in love, Lord Bob Boothby who was having an affair with his wife Lady Dorothy Cavendish. On 22 August 1958, 4 years earlier, Macmillan had already offered Boothby a peerage under pressure of Boothby’s continued affair with his wife Dorothy. Lord Robert or ‘Bob’ Boothby was a cad (not a bounder as the Queen Mother would have it apparently). Within 6 years Boothby was to feature in the headline the Peer and the Gangster, see John Pearson’s article in The Sunday Independent (15th June 1996) for further details. In the meantime Macmillan’s position became increasingly unstable under the pressure of other burgeoning scandals. In December 1961 Mariella Novotny was holding her ‘sexy parties’ at 13, Hyde Park Square to which Stephen Ward was inviting Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice Davies so the long fuse of the Profumo Affair had been lit well before the fateful weekend at Cliveden. In 1962, as above, Sir Ian Horobin MP’s predatory activities on East End boys were revealed while late that year the activities of John Vassall became known, of whom Macmillan had said “You know, you should never catch a spy. Discover him and then control him but never catch him. A spy causes far more trouble once he’s caught’ (as quoted by Parris & Maguire p.147). In 1963 Lord Boothby and Tom Driberg MP social activities with the Kray’s increase in boldness with Boothby inviting Ron to the House of Lords. By October 1963 Macmillan had resigned, 18 months after he had first nominated and offered Horobin his position as a life peer.

1973: The Guardian’s Sir Ian Horobin post-script…”Even the Elms are dead.”

Sir Ian Horobin however appears to have bounced back with a poetry publication from new publishers Jameson Press at 160, Albion Road, N16 and a foreword written by John Betjeman – after having laid low in Tangiers for just over a decade. Mentions of his court case and conviction are as if it were for purely homosexual offences as opposed to sexually assaulting boys of 13 and 14, getting his ‘sweetheart’ when he reached 17 to recruit other, younger ‘sweethearts’ for him (the emotional callousness of which always belies the ‘paedophiles’ argument of love, when really they’re in love with the bloom and fade of youth at their fixated preference age) and therefore his claims to be indestructible appear to apply not just to surviving a Japanese Prisoner of War camp but  in also minimising the stigma of a reputation marred by child sexual abuse despite convictions. And what difference does it make if “Even the Elms are dead”? The Guardian Thursday 16 February Arts Section