William McGrath

Savile, Dublin & Belfast: Time to re-evaluate his role in The Troubles?

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 19.59.13

Savile on a motorbike with Agnes his mother, aged 13, This is Your Life Michael Aspel, 1990

He said: “All I have to do is call my friends in the IRA. They’ll have someone waking up in hospital the next morning eating their breakfast through a f***ing straw.

“I know the IRA, men from the IRA, and you don’t need to ask these guys twice. I’m serious. Don’t f***ing think I’m not serious. I can get them done – just with a phone call. That’s all it takes, young man.”

“Savile, a Roman Catholic who was once blessed by The Pope, was a regular visitor to Ireland using his charity work as a cloak. He made IRA threats during a meeting 12 years ago when our ­journalist was a local ­reporter on the Bucks Herald.” (Jimmy Savile and the IRA: Predator boasted terrorist friends could have enemies hospitalised, by James Saville, The Mirror, 20 October 2012)


“On one occasion, in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, we had three people from Northern Ireland. They were in different wards. In one ward was a soldier who had been caught in gunfire and the bullet had chipped the top of his spine and rendered him paraplegic. In another ward, we had a girl of thirteen – a very pretty girl – who just happened to be standing on a street corner. She took a bullet through the throat and that rendered her paraplegic. In yet another ward, we had one of the militant bodies. He was actually doing the firing at the time. He was in a wheelchair. If anyone wanted to look at the futility of that particular course of action, they had only to look at these three people. Three lives were completely ruined. After a while, when they all started to recover, they all trundled their wheelchairs down to the hospital canteen. The four of us used to talk, and we had a lot to talk about. I wish you could have seen the four of us talking together. And three of them were all suffering from the same thing. Yet, would you believe it, they were the best of friends. So I was right in the first place. There is another way of doing things. What had happened in their situation was a mental abuse and that put these people into wheelchairs. They have learned to live with their afflictions and we all had some good laughs and a good time; they’re all back now in their various homes. Personally, I would much prefer that they were all walking about, digging in fields, going on holidays, and generally being of more use to other people. Somewhere along the line, there was an abuse of the mind. ” [God’ll Fix It, Savile, 1978, p.28]

While the three housefathers at Newtownards Road, Kincora Boys’ Home in East Belfast were raping and otherwise abusing children (Sex Racket at Children’s Home,The Irish Independent, 24 January 1980) with McGrath espousing his own virulent and predatory version of the British Israelite Celtic-Druidic-Hebraic-Ulster-Loyalist myth-loving theology in his bible classes attended by Hellfire Jack, John Bryans JP, local Grandmaster of the Orange Heritage Lodge (1970), one wonders how any national security service thought they were going to lure a few key members of the IRA or Provisional IRA for blackmail over child abuse?

Police believe Savile may have boasted of underworld links in a bid to silence victims (Daily Record (Daily Record, 21 October 2012)

In 2009 it was revealed that Gerry Adams Sr had abused some of his own children and that this abuse had been known about by others before he had died, buried wrapped in the Irish flag which his son is now concerned he might have ‘besmirched’. Gerry Adams reveals family’s abuse by his father (The Guardian 20 December 2009)

How the sins of the father came back to haunt Adams: The Sinn Fein leader’s revelation that Gerry Adams snr sexually abused members of his family could mean a re-evaluation of his own role during the Troubles, argues Malachi O’Doherty (The Belfast Telegraph, 22 December 2009)

A few years after Gerry Adams Sr’s demise it was revealed Liam Adams, a son of Gerry Sr and Gerry Jr’s brother, had been alleged as a child rapist and  was finally put on trial 4 years later Gerry Adams’ niece reveals: ‘The Beard tried to get me to gag press over abuse’ (Belfast Telegraph 7 October 2013): Aine refers to her Uncle Gerry as ‘The Beard’. It is alleged that Liam’s main period of abuse of his daughter Aine was 1977 – 1983 from the age of four.

During Liam’s trial Gerry Adams was questioned over whether he had reported his brother’s family to the Health Visitor  in 1987 for issues of hygiene and lice the day after he had been told his brother had abused Aine. Mick Fealty’s Sluggerotoole.com reports on the court transcript here and also a very useful timeline of Liam Adam’s locations from the point at which Gerry Adams was aware of the abuse from 1987.

Adams’ plea for privacy and space over Aine is just a self-serving ploy (Irish Independent, 6 October 2013)

Gerry Adams brother jailed for 16 years for raping his own daughter as a child  (Daily Mail 27 November 2013) :

“Mrs Dahlstrom first brought the matter to police in 1987. This was in the midst of the Northern Ireland Troubles and a time when many people in republican communities distrusted and refused to co-operate with the security forces.

She did not pursue the matter at that stage, claiming that detectives were more interested to hear information about her famous uncle than about the allegations she was levelling against her father.

It would not be for another 20 years before she went to police again, after finding out that her father was working in a west Belfast youth club that her children attended.”


Tom Griffin is one to watch in terms of following up research into Kincora  –  Colin Wallace has already said he would be willing to testify at the CSA Inquiry but has warned it will need access to Intelligence documents if it is to succeed:

From 1968: Savile in Ireland, Pop Jamborees & Annual Fundraising weeks

Is it time yet to evaluate Savile’s links to The Troubles?

Billboard 16 March 1968 At the end of April Savile was arriving in Dublin for “a week of ballroom dancing and wrestling dates, the proceeds of which will go to the Central Remedial Clinic.”

In August 1969 the Northern Ireland riots take place and the British Army is deployed

BillBoard 16 March 1968

BillBoard 16 March 1968

Back again in 1969 for his second annual fund-raising week for the Central Remedial Clinic with a 10 mile walk from the centre of Dublin to Baldoyle

BillBoard 7 June 1969

BillBoard 7 June 1969

By 1973 Savile was involved on the order side of the border with the Northern Ireland Association of Youth Clubs, as reported by Billboard 15 September 1973, just as he was connected with Angus Ogilvy and Princess Alexandra (patron of Duncrofts School) and the National Association of Youth Clubs in at their HQ in London.

Billboard Sep 15, 1973: A pop festival and peace rally will be held at Nutts Corner airport near Belfast on Sept. 23. Jimmy Savile will lead a walk to the rally which is being organised by the Northern Ireland Association of Youth Clubs . . .

 “With Angus Ogilvy and his super missus Princess Alexandra one feels a great friendship from the off. I am the vice-president to his Presidency of the National Association of Youth Clubs and he is often down with us at headquarters in Devonshire Street, wanting to know what’s happening. Princess Alex is a patron of a hostel for girls in care. At this place I’m a cross between a termtime boyfriend and a fixer of special trips out. The Princess is a natural for such a place. Girls in care don’t take kindly to royal rules, protocol and the like, but Alex just steams in, captures them and anyone else that’s around, and steams out.” [As it Happens, Jimmy Savile, 1974, p.150]

This “hostel for girls in care” was actually Duncroft Approved School for Girls Police cover up Savile’s claims to be friends with Queen’s cousin: Paedophile ‘visited school at centre of abuse allegations with Princess Alexandra’ (Daily mail, Sam Webb, 2 February 2014) following the Daily Star’s 7 month battle to get redactions on the 200 police interview transcript lifted Royal cover up: Police censor Jimmy Savile interview Transcript (Daily Star, Jonathan Corke, 20th October 2013)

BillBoard, 1973

 For Dan Davies on Savile in Northern Ireland see In Plain Sight in particular his Chapter 39. entitled Pied Piper [Loc 4490] which gives good detail on Savile’s documented ‘escapade’ on leading an 8-mile march to raise money for a new youth centre in Belfast, in particular,
‘It was moving to see women weeping as we passed, ‘ recalled Savile, who explained his grandparents had been born in Belfast, so this was like ‘coming home’.” [In Plain Sight, above]
Agnes Monica Kelly, aka The Duchess, whose parents sound like they have the more Irish sounding surname appear to have both been born in North Shields so Vincent Savile being born in Salford with parents unknown is potentially Savile’s claim to some form of Ulster heritage? Davies also notes
“There were no more IRA bombs in 1973.”

1976: A Very Merry Corrigan Christmas – Scarborough Corrigans meet a Nobel Peace Prize Winning Corrigan for the first time?

“Another girlfriend was Nobel Peace Prize Winner Mairead Corrigan Maguire. They met in Northern Ireland when Jimmy went over to help with a peace march in the 1970s. The crowds loved him and went wild, said news reports. He brought Mairead home to Leeds and they went to Scarborough one Christmas. Mairead founded the Community of the Peace People in 1976 along with Betty Williams and Ciaran McKeown. Mairead was the aunt of the three Maguire children who were hit by a getaway car after its driver was shot by a solider. The deaths prompted a series of marches throughout Northern Ireland and further afield, all demanding an end to the violence. Mairead and Betty went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976.” {How’s About That Then? Alison Bellamy, Loc 2353]

In November 1976 Savile returned for more peace marching, this time alongside Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan which would see “Jimmy Savile lead more than 10,000 teenagers from both sides of the sectarian divide from Ormeau Embankment in east Belfast to Crawfordsburn County Park in County Down.” [Dan Davies, In Plain Sight, Loc 4932]. Sometime soon after is Savile’s visit to the Holy Land during December 1976, with his ‘moment of enquiry’ at Qumran/Dead Sea Scrolls, and then at some point, unclear as to whether Christmas 1976 or Christmas 1977, Savile goes to Scarborough taking his new peace-marching girlfriend for his regular Corrigan family Christmas. This is all post his 1974 ‘As it Happens’ autobiography so doesn’t feature yet except for Savile to note:

“A lot of my things turn into yearly events. The taxi outings to Blackpool, Worthing and Southend I’ve been on from five to ten years and it would come hard to break the habit. Nine years I’ve done the big Dublin walk for the Central Remedial Clinic. Who would not want to walk with 35,000 great Irish teentypes?” [As it Happens, Savile, 1974, p.148]

Mairead and Betty weren’t Nobel Peace Prize winners until the award ceremony of 10 December 1977 because in 1976 it wasn’t awarded due to none of the nominations being felt to correspond with the terms of Nobel’s will – see the full presentation speech here.

“Scarborough businessman James Corrigan, whose late father had owned an amusement arcade on the seafront and accompanied Savile on midnight runs along the seafront and to the Otley Civic Ball, told his local paper how he’d grown up knowing Savile as a close family friend. ‘He’d come to our house from before I was born until last year,’ he explained, ‘with the exception of three times when he got a better offer. One of those was when Margaret Thatcher invited him to go to Chequers.’

Corrigan added that Savile regularly brought guests to these family get-togethers, including on one occasion Mairead Corrigan who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her efforts to end the violence in Northern Ireland. ‘Savile was the strangest thing anyone could inherit,’ he said, ‘and I inherited him from my father.’ [In Plain Sight, Dan Davies, 2014, Loc 7583]

Three better offers? One – Thatcher at Chequers; Two – Possibly in the Holy Land December 1976?; Three: Who/where else?


 Real Whitby: Savile, Jaconelli & Corrigan in Scarborough

Real Whitby, a citizen investigative journalism site (and local community hub) have been investigating Savile’s links to Peter Jacconnelli and Jimmy Corrigan, campaigning successfully to have Jaconelli’s civic honours stripped despite opposition.

“We are all supposed to be equal under the law.  Savile and Jaconelli were put above the law by North Yorkshire Police because of the charitable and civic work they performed.

Between Savile, Jaconelli and the other nine plus people we believe operated in the ring with them in Scarborough, we suspect that their victims ran into their thousands over the period 1947 – 2007.  This must override any of the good that Savile and Jaconelli undoubtedly did.  Otherwise they are permanently elevated to being above the law, because of their status, as they were in life.”

As it happens, Ernesto Jaconelli, here seen as a 15 year old ‘Boy Wonder’ Accordionaist in 1933 (British Pathe) who recorded with Decca before serving during WWII as a Stars in Battledress champion and was like another musician to find the war most agreeable who knew Savile, bandleader Bert Ambrose (who I write more about Savile’s relationship with from their time at Ilford Palais de Danse, Savile’s driot de seigneur rape of Kathy Kirby and  Ambrose ending up in Leeds General Informary at the morgue, potentially on a night when Savile would have been on duty).

Ernesto, finally settled in Scarborough to have two children according to his wikipedia profile. It’s unclear whether Peter is a relation of Ernesto as either his son or nephew although they bear a marked physical resemblance facially to one another – but what is interesting is that on Ernesto’s wikipedia entry it states he toured Ireland between the wars and there taught Shaun Bolger, how to play the accordion. S

“Following on from these successes he went on the road and travelled to Ireland to perform and teach, sending the money he earned back home to his family. Whilst in Dublin he taught Shaun Bolger, who he later became a crack shot in the IRA.”

I had no idea who Sean or Shaun Bolger was until I came across this mention of him as being called ‘Flash’ at the Bureau of Military History website for Defence Forces in Ireland. This is a strange and remarkable claim to make without giving a source, but unfortunately the wikipedia biography entry doesn’t give any reference. Perhaps the links between Savile and specifically Scarborough and Ireland warrant a closer look, but this time a generation further back to a man with ‘lightening fingers’?

Corrigan has been robustly defended as not being involved in the abuse by his son in this Daily Express article of 28 October 2012. Interestingly in the comments section on a Real Whitby post here is suggested as a council corruption buster himself having personally paid for Scarborough Council’s accounts to be audited each year to the extent that Scarborough Evening News ran an expose based on Corrigan’s information and the Council were deemed to be in fear of him.

Dublin CRC 27 May 1980

Dublin CRC 27 May 1980

1980: Lady Goulding introduces Savile to Charles Haughey, Taoiseach

CHARLES HAUGHEY BELIEVED BBC presenter Jimmy Savile would make a good mediator for meetings between the British and Irish governments. (The Journal, 28 December 2013)

“Following a meeting in 1980 at the Central Remedial Clinic, founder Lady Valerie Goulding, wrote to the Taoiseach to thank him for seeing Savile, one of the charity’s most important patrons.The document, released under the 30 Year Rule today, repeats a suggestion by the Fianna Fáil leader that the Top of the Pops front man “could be a good mediator as he really is very well in with Mrs. Thatcher and members of the Opposition as well”. Haughey and Savile sat down for tea at the CRC on 26 May 1980. The DJ became a regular visitor at Abbeville when he visited Dublin to organise sponsored walks as part of his charity work for the CRC.” For further study, see National Archives Ref 2013/100/768

In 1979 Savile’s medal from the Friends of Israel was insinuated to be an award for his service during christmas 1976 which resulted somehow in the Egyptian peace offer by Anwar Sadat due to Savile being friends with his mother-in-law. Can only imagine the horrors of Savile being chummy with your MiL?!

The very next year he is being touted as a global peace envoy closer to home.

The Moriarty Tribunal established in 1997 eventually found that Charles Haughey had stolen money raised for a colleague’s liver transplant.

Haughey took £250,000 from his sick friend’s lifeline fund (Irish Independent, 20 December 2006)

CHARLES Haughey stole £250,000 from the money raised for the late Brian Lenihan’s liver transplant.

Mr Justice Moriarty found that Haughey “personally misappropriated” a large amount of the funds raised for the transplant in the United States for the man he described as his “closest political friend”.


In blunt terms, the tribunal chairman said it gave him “no satisfaction” to find that Mr Haughey deliberately encouraged fundraising on a scale beyond what was needed and that he used the surplus money for himself.

A total of £336,000 was raised for the operation, but just ?88,000 was actually required. This allowed Haughey to misappropriate almost £250,000.

“No other conclusion can be reached by the tribunal in the light of the evidence heard,” his report states.

The tribunal report is scathing of Haughey, stating it was “reprehensible” of him to try to blame others.

The evidence on the fundraising for Mr Lenihan’s life-saving operation arose in the context of the tribunal’s investigations into the publicly funded party leader’s account.


Monies raised for the transplant were lodged into that account and the tribunal found that Haughey had misused money from this account for his own personal benefit.

In 1989, fundraising for Mr Lenihan’s operation was underway and the tribunal said the method of recording these funds was “haphazard”.

This facilitated the misappropriation of funds raised for Mr Lenihan by Haughey, as did his determination that they be lodged in the party leader’s account.

The fundraising campaign started in May 1989, although at that time Haughey already knew the VHI was prepared to make an “ex-gratia” payment of ?63,490 towards the cost of the operation.

At the time Haughey was also aware that additional funds of ?127,000 would be required, but he urged a target of up to ?250,000 to be raised.

The tribunal report outlines several donations to the fund that were “personally misappropriated” by Haughey.


 1966 1936: Lady Penelope Valerie in a pink car on urgent messenger missions

My meeting with Savile – Haughey Girl (Irish Herald, 31 October 2012) Lady Valerie’s son Hamilton now runs CRC

Savile, Lady G and Haughey (Irish Independent, 7 December 2013)

“It was an unlikely destiny for an Englishwoman, the daughter of a royal adviser, who had a cameo role in the abdication of King Edward VIII in the 1930s.

As an 18-year-old, she had acted as a courier carrying messages between the king and the British prime minister.

She travelled in a pink Morris Minor between Downing Street and Fort Belvedere, where the king was staying with Wallis Simpson. The young aristocrat later met the Irish fertiliser mogul Basil Goulding after coming over for the Fairyhouse Races, and she eventually moved to Ireland.

Lady Valerie’s two unlikely friendships, firstly with Jimmy Savile and then Haughey, played a crucial role in fundraising for the clinic. She persuaded Savile to come over after meeting him in an Italian restaurant in London. Through the late 1960s and 1970s, up to 40,000 people joined the broadcaster on sponsored walks through Dublin to raise money for the clinic.”


Fort Belvedere in Surrey, nearest village was Sunningdale in Berkshire was home to Prince Edward from 1929 – Extracts from wikipedia

“In 1929, the building became vacant, and was given to Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, by his father, King George V.[3] The king had originally expressed surprise at Edward’s request asking him “What could you possibly want that queer old place for? Those damn weekends I suppose”, but then smiled and gave his permission.”

The prince initially renovated the house with the assistance of his then mistress Freda Dudley Ward.[5][6]

The relationship between Edward and Wallis Simpson blossomed at Fort Belvedere; the couple spent their first weekend at the fort at the end of January 1932, and by early 1935 two rooms had been combined at the fort for her use.[5][8] Notable interior decorators to work on the fort included Sybil Colefax, Lady Mendl, Maison Jansen, and Herman Schrijver.[9][10]Edward and Wallis entertained most weekends at the house; guests present included ‘courtiers and diplomats, American men of affairs and English Society, garnished with a sprinkling of statesmen, soldiers and sailors’.[5]Giles Gilbert Scott added a guest wing to the fort after Edward’s ascension as king in 1936.[9] In 1936 Wallis moved permanently to the fort after receiving threatening anonymous letters, and left Fort Belvedere for a final time on 3 December 1936, a week before Edward’s abdication.[5]

Cabinet Office files released in 2013 revealed that during December 1936, the Home Secretary, Sir John Simon, had ordered the General Post Office to intercept Edward’s telephone communications between the fort and the European continent.[11] Government officials were caused further alarm by Edward’s habit of leaving his official ‘red boxes‘ unguarded around the fort.[12]

Following his abdication at the fort, Edward described himself as feeling ‘like a swimmer surfacing from a great depth…I left the room and stepped outside, inhaling the fresh morning air.’[5] Edward retained the visitor’s book from the fort, and it would grace all their subsequent homes.[9]

It was in November 1936, a month prior to King Edward VIII’s abdication that it sounds as if the most messages would have been flying around and orders to the GPO to spy on the King, would have meant comms between Walter Monckton, Edward’s old Oxford pal and legal adviser to the Duchy of Cornwall and various important people like the King’s brother and his wife (the soon to be come Queen Mother) would have made communications even trickier. In 2000 the BBC reported almost all of the eleven Monckton files were released into the National Archives bar one box closed until 2037 and another until 2017 here.

Walter Monckton (b. 1891 – d.1965) had been at Balliol and taken the position of Attorney-General to the duchy of Cornwall in 1932, the year after turning 30. (b. 1891 – d.1965)

“In 1942 Monckton was Director-General of British Propaganda and Information Services in Egypt under Oliver Lyttelton, Minister of State Resident in Cairo….

Anthony Eden appointed Monckton as his Minister of Defence in 1955. However, he was the only cabinet minister who disagreed with Eden’s policy during the Suez Crisis. Eden believed that if this dispute became common knowledge it would bring his government down. Therefore he managed to persuade Monckton not to resign and instead he became Paymaster General.”

Only the other day I was wondering if Gladys Cotterill (the President of Egypt’s mother in law and friend of Jimmy Savile) had returned home to Sheffield from Egypt for the first time in or around the time of the Suez Canal Crisis and it appears that Walter Monckton, Lady G’s dad and ex-King Edward’s abdication adviser (he drafted the legal document of abdication) was a key agitator in bringing the Crisis to a head within Eden’s government.

During the early 1950s Peter Rawlinson joined Walter Monckton’s chambers (Guardian Obituary, 30 June 2006) and during 1962, a decade later, would be instructed as defence counsel for Sir Ian Horobin MP – the Conservative MP whose brief trial for the sexual assault of boys at his charitable youth club ‘Fairbairn’ on the Barking Road in the East End was scheduled to start just after Macmillan appointed Rawlinson as Attorney-General after his Night of the Long Knives – on which I explore more here [52 years on: The forgotten fly in the reshuffle]


Who was Sir Walter Monckton? BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/662150.stm

Who was Sir Walter Monckton? BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/662150.stm

Savile’s ‘Magical Passport’ to Le Touquet

Royal Picardie Hotel, Le Touquet, France

Royal Picardie Hotel, Le Touquet, France

Valerie Monckton, as her father’s emissary, must have been able to access buildings and places not usually accessible to 18 year old debutantes in overtly conspicuous pink Morris Minors. Savile’s ‘Magical Passport’ he acquired at some point in 1945 has often returned to my mind when reading about emergency post-war trips to the mainland to retrieve incriminating papers or valuable artwork to consider if Savile’s cycling trips while young (Scottish highlands when he spots Glencoe circa 1944 and his trip to Le Touquet circa 1945) represented boasts about personal triumphs – getting a message through for his master as a dogged little envoy against all the odds perhaps?

“After labouring for two years at Waterloo colliery, and actually quite enjoying the life, I read one day that the cross-Channel ferries had started, with much celebration, the post war trips from Dover to Calais. The war was only just over and there was a great air of excitement about. We Bevin boys were to be demobbed just like the armed forces and I had two years to go. Freedom was too tempting, and mounting my bike, armed with a magical passport and £15 I cycled 300 miles to Dover.

There was considerable magic in this brave battered port, the English Channel and that mysterious land, low on the horizon, that only weeks before harboured hostile hordes.

My arrival on the recently raped shores of France was a pantomime. Speaking not a word of the language and having truly the first bicycle to cross into France since the war, the red tape was unbelievable. For three hours I stood on the dockside while officials harangued me, the bike and each other. Finally, because it was getting dark they produced that now familiar French way of life ‘the papers of permission to have a bicycle of foreign origin in France’. The papers came in the form of an indelible ledger that weighed all of three pounds that I had to tie across my saddlebag with rope!”

He sleeps overnight with 300 homeless in the roofless railway station at Calais Ville and nearing Le Touquet the next day witnesses a lorry get blown up by a mine. I wonder whether the ‘bicycle of foreign origin’ was yet his much beloved Oscar Egg bike? By 1945 Savile is 18, due to turn 19, so not a small child anymore.

“Le Touquet at its best is a fairytale place. Villas of the wealthy in colours and fancy dotted in clearings on the superb forest backcloth. Grotesque damage made them look like children’s toys smashed by some madman. The centre piece of all this was surely the most beautiful hotel ever built at that time, the Picardy. Perfect in proportion like the Taj Mahal, and built in stone of warm colours to blend with the sun’s rays and wooded

Le Touquet, September 1945

Le Touquet, September 1945

surrounds, it was for those who saw it a breathtaking building with an incredible atmosphere. I first saw it in the early evening light and thought it was a mirage. It looked immaculate and untouched, but as I freewheeled towards it and came out of the evening sun into its shadow it suddenly changed like in a Htichcock movie. Empty sightless windows peered down. The whole of the inside was shattered. No birds flew about it and the feeling of unreal macabre was overwhelming, like some gigantic tombstone.

That was all I needed and I turned and started slowly off for home pondering on the quite insoluble problem of how people can build things up then knock them down.” [As it Happens, Savile, 1974, pp.21 – 23]


Gone were the flower carnivals of the 1930s at Le Touquet

Something Savile would have to rely on Jersey for to in his later role as Mr Battle of the Flowers of the island.

From Anthony Blunt’s wikipedia entry:

According to the memoir of MI5 officer Peter Wright, Wright had regular interviews with Blunt from 1964 onwards for six years. Prior to that, he had a briefing with Michael Adeane, the Queen’s private secretary, who told Wright: “From time to time you may find Blunt referring to an assignment he undertook on behalf of the Palace – a visit to Germany at the end of the war. Please do not pursue this matter. Strictly speaking, it is not relevant to considerations of national security.”[26]

Everyone’s Mascot: Savile(s): Be Fast! Signallers: Swift and Sure

Elland Arms, Be Fast

Elland Arms, Be Fast

The Savile family motto is ‘Be Fast’ as carved on the side of the Elland Arms, an old coaching inn in Halifax not far from Cragg vale and Savile’s many connections to there and Hebden Bridge, preaching in St John’s in the Wilderness there which I have already blogged about.

Hermes, as the wing-footed Messenger of the Gods and emblem for the The Royal Corps of Signals has long been known as Jimmy so when you want to ensure your lines of communication during war remain intact or Comms are down and they need to be back up…well, call on the Signallers, Jimmies, and Jimmy’ll Fix It. Their motto was Certo Cito – Swift and Sure.

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 16.06.49

Jimmy Statues available to pay from Royal Signals shop online

“To be eleven years old and have the complete free run of the main dance hall of a wartime city that was headlined by one Sunday paper as ‘The City of Sin’ gave me an education that qualified me for every A Level that ever existed in Hell.

Not yet five feet in height, as thin as a drumstick, with big eyes, ears and nose, I was everyone’s mascot, pet, runner, holder of mysterious parcels and secrets. Because I didn’t understand the first thing about anything I was the confidant of murderers, whores, black marketeers, crooks of every trade – and often of the innocent victims they preyed on. I also played the drums.” [As it Happens, Savile, 1974, p.4]

I suspect Savile’s love of radio was never on the entertainment side, it had begun as a purely technical affair, as a fascination with the ability to eavesdrop.

“Quite honestly, I don’t think that my likes and dislikes are at all important, but when you are well-known (I don’t dig the word famous) I suppose people – in their time of – would be mildly interested in us types. If ever I get a crossed line on the phone I will listen right to the end of the other parties’ chat. I was once totally concerned about a shipment of ballbearings between two gentlemen and felt much refreshed after they had sorted it out. Analysing it later – a favourite hobby of mine, analysing –  I worked it out that because I had, for a while, been pulled out of my own life into someone else’s I got back into my own skin a little richer, and rested, by the sharing. If you are reading these lines and I have caused you to slow the pace of your life, then that will suit me.” [God’ll Fix It, Savile, 1978/79 ‘Epilogue – Sort Of’, pp 62 – 63]

Being able to read messages others are unable to read or being able to read when others don’t think you capable of reading (Savile’s last interview with Alex Belfield talks of him reading telegrams to people aloud in the war who couldn’t read) gives both power to the messenger immediately in conveying the message accurately but also a longer-term value in keeping the secret. Why were Savile and Agnes ‘The Duchess’ on a motorbike in 1939? (incidentally Dan Davies notes that after Savile’s funeral it is a pub called The Duchess near Woodfield Cemetery, Scarborough calling drinkers in for their memories of Savile, the cemetery itself near Irton Moor, also known as a ‘Yorkshire spy base’ a long established comms point of national importance with GCHQ underground bases in the hill)

In 1965 the Prime Minister Harold Wilson opened the Butlin Tower (now called the British Telecommunications Tower, formerly the General Post Office Tower)


Although Savile liked to talk as if there was confusion over this in his autobiography of 1974Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 17.25.54

“Sitting in our super seafront flat one day she was holding forth to some of her lady pals. I was reading. One of the ladies had mentioned the Post Office Tower in London. ‘Oh yes,’ said the Duchess, ‘Jimmy opened that.’

Now it’s a known fact that the Queen took that particular job on. ‘No sweetheart,’ said I, ‘the Queen opened it. I just hold the record for running up the steps.’

(Some time previously I’d mentioned this particular feat to which the Duchess had replied at the time, over her eternal knitting, ‘You’ll hurt yourself doing silly things like that.’)

‘Nonsense,’ says she at this correction, ‘you told me you opened it.’ And then to explain to her friends my interruption she said, ‘He did really, ‘ adding the silencer of all time, ‘he forgets things you know.’

What could you do with an impossible girl like that other than lover her more than your own life?” [As it Happens, Savile, 1974, p.60]

It’s all about the Azimuths

Bizarrely in 1999 there has been some interesting work done by a chap called Richard Lamont here looking at whether there is sufficient circumstantial evidence to suggest a government building which came onto the market for sale (and was therefore examined by buyers’ and their surveyors) was actually a secret radio tower built at Capenhurst, Cheshire and used by the government to intercept 1000s of trunk land lines running through Britain to Northern Ireland.

If you had a number of those structures dotted around performing those kind of functions (or dual functions, one being interception of comms) you’d need someone to be some kind of building caretaker presumably, fix them up or get maintenance in if something went wrong, do a big audit from Land’s End to John O’Groats when you can. It would have to be a job for someone who liked to travel, non-stop though and who’d want a job like that?

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Kincora, TARA, Robin Bryans & the British Israelites

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The Kincora Scandal: Political Cover-Up and Intrigue in Northern Ireland, Chris Moore, 1996

“The key to the activities of this particular group lies with Robin Bryans, a Northern Ireland born author who wrote prolifically under the pseudonym Robin Harbinson. He is a cousin of John Bryans, the leading figure in the Orange Order who became the Grand Master of Ireland, who was McGrath’s bible study teacher at the North Belfast Mission in the York Street area and who later attended prayer meetings and British Israelite meetings in McGrath’s home.”

Chris Moore, p.88

Chris Moore, p.88

The role of John Bryans Justice of the Peace, Grand Master of Ireland’s Heritage Lodge of the Orangemen 1970 is  key to explaining why William McGrath, a sadistic abuser at Kincora chooses the name TARA for his paramilitary Loyalist organisation in 1966.

Paul Foot, Who Framed Colin Wallace? p.117





As noted by Paul Foot in his 1989 book ‘Who framed Colin Wallace?’ TARA was “an unusual choice of title for a Loyalist paramilitary group.” Unusual because the Hill of Tara was a symbol traditionally associated with Celtic pre-Christian Ireland and the Kings of Ireland, not for example, King William of Orange as inspiration to the loyalty of the Orangemen.

The choice of name becomes even more strange when you learn the Hill of Tara had traditionally been a symbol and place of protest and rebellion AGAINST British rule:

“In more recent history, Tara has been the site of important political events, indicating its continuing significance for the Irish people. In 1798, rebels of the Irish revolution fought British troops on the Hill of Tara, and in 1843, a peaceful demonstration of some 750,000 people protested against Ireland’s union with Britain.” [http://www.sacred-destinations.com/ireland/hill-of-tara]

However, Chris Moore identified 18 years ago this was actually a very apposite name in the context of a deep heritage provided by the British Israelite belief system/myth McGrath which subscribed to with a specific twist for Protestant Evangelism that had grown up in the Orange Lodges of the time. This is just one of the many subjects Robin Bryans/Harbinson tries to address in The Dust Has Never Settled as relevant to understanding some of the reasons for why the abuse and prostitution of boys at Kincora and Lisburn locations was taking place. Chris Moore interviewed Robin Bryans in 1990 to discover Anthony Blunt’s association with the man he called ‘Hellfire Jack’  –  the same Rev. John Bryans Justice of the Peace, who later became International Head of the Orangemen and someone who could be said to be one of McGrath’s mentors.

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Chris Moore, Kincora Scandal, p47

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British Israelite meetings at McGrath’s Wellington Park address were attended by John Bryans, p. ?


On 28 June 1970 Ireland’s Heritage Orange Lodge was formed.

“The Grand Master of the Orange Order, the Rev. John Bryans, who was also a British Israelite…helped to inaugurate the lodge.” (Paul Foot, p.121)

Four years previously McGrath had siezed control of a group and renamed it ‘Tara’ with the slogan “We hold Ulster that Ireland might be saved and Britain reborn.” He’d been holding British Israelite meetings at his house at Wellington Park where Rev. John Bryans would attend.

 “Tara was to be the vehicle by which the undercover elements of the British establishment would lift McGrath’s star into the political ascendancy.” (Chris Moore)

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Paul Foot, Who Framed Colin Wallace? (1989) p.121

Past Grand Master John Bryans, 1974 http://www.sneps.net/research-interests/orangeism/orange-photos

Past Grand Master John Bryans, 1974

Bryans relates that John Bryans turned 100 in 1985 and there was a little ceremony with the Superintendent of the North Belfast Mission and appears to wish to draw attention to the fact that John Bryans had taken his mother’s surname and the fact that John Bryans fiery dedication to the British Israelite cause had in part crystallised when he said as a 12 year old he made 2,000 bricks a day. This enabled Bryans to preach with conviction when comparing himself with the Children of Israel in Egyptian bondage.

“I’m sure that as your knowledge of the Old Testament grew it must have struck a chord with you to note that the Israelites for whom you have a special admiration had to make bricks when they were under the heel of the Pharoah, and yet they came through.” (Robin Bryans, p.139)

Robin Bryans, p.139

Robin Bryans, p.139


Robin Bryans, The Dust Has Never Settled  (1992) p.55

Robin Bryans, The Dust Has Never Settled (1992) p.55


In 1992 Robin Bryans (1928 – 2005) published his autobiography The Dust Has Never Settled. The excerpt to the left details the history of the Belfast Central Mission (1889-1989) a Methodist Church founded in 1889 by Rev Crawford Johnson.

He wrote : “Others have linked my name with the cover-up of sex scandals at Kincora Boys’ Home and my appeals for action about the abuses which were ignored by Cabinet Ministers.”

From robinbryans.net a biography:

“Robin Bryans was born on 24 April 1928, into a Protestant working-class family in the east of Belfast, Northern Ireland. He had an adventurous and colourful life which included working as a cabin boy on a Belfast Lough dredger, shepherding in the Western Highlands of Scotland, studying at Barry Religious College in South Wales, teaching in north Devon, working as a missionary in Canada, diamond prospecting in Canada and South America, hunting and trapping with the Blackfoot and Stony tribes in Canada, working in the theatre, lecturing in Venezuela, travelling to the Windward Islands, Copenhagen, Zurich and Asia, and being chased from Grenada by a hurricane.

As explained in Bryans’ fourth autobiography, The Protégé, the aristocracy took him under their wing. This new role suited him admirably, transforming him from a Belfast backstreet boy into a ‘lifelike toff’.

His twelve travel books included Gateway to the Khyber and Summer Saga: A Journey In Iceland, works full of detail, humour and fascinating anecdotes. For his later travel writing, he specialised in destinations influenced by Portuguese culture, as in Madeira, Pearl of the Atlantic, The Azores and Fanfare for Brazil.

In the sixties his attention turned to his native Northern Ireland and Ulster: A Journey Through The Six Counties revels in the local art and architecture, great country houses with their landscaped gardens, all of which he also pursued in many television programmes, for instance with Ulster Television, which became very popular.

Bryans’ view on life was refreshingly different from that of any other author, and, combined with his wide-ranging geographic knowledge, and skill at drawing out the characters of the people he met, made his work a treasure trove of human documentary.

Classical musicians featured in Bryans’ later life – he worked as an opera librettist and created a music school to encourage the work of composers, conductors and instrumentalists.

Bryans died on 11 June 2005, after a long illness, but in 2006, his writing was celebrated by no less than seventeen entries in The Ulster Anthology (Blackstaff Press, Belfast).”

Robin Harbinson, The Dust Has Never Settled, p.21

Robin Harbinson, The Dust Has Never Settled, p.21

Bryans grew up  at 130, Donegall Avenue (“the house was an evangelical stronghold” until his family had moved in), in 1930s Belfast from a family of well-connected staunch Orangemen.  From his grandfather Dick Bryans who was a staunch Orangeman to his father Richard, a committed bandsman for the parades to  father’s cousin John Bryans, or ‘Hellfire Jack’ as he became known, (later reaching the heights of Head of the International Order of Orangemen before his death in 1988), Robin was always keenly aware of his heritage rich in British Israelite infused evangelical protestanism.

Robin called himself Harbinson as a nom de plume due to his closeness to the Harbinson family whose place backed onto his father’s window cleaning business on the Lisburn Road.

At the North Belfast Mission on York Road John Bryans or ‘Hellfire Jack’ (Blunt’s nickname according to Robin Bryans as reported by Chris Moore) had managed to carve himself a niche as a powerful fire and brimstone style proselytiser by taking his place outside the old Custom House in Belfast every Sunday afternoon and letting rip.

20 – 30 years prior to Robin Bryans’ recollections of growing up knowing his father’s cousin Hellfire Jack as a rising force in Belfast’s Orange Ulster community and a rousing example of evaangelical British Israelism to be reckoned with, a 1908 translation of Geoffrey Keating’s account of the History of Ireland (c. 1570-1644) tracing the lineage of the Irish as a lost tribe of Israel via Scythia had added further fuel to the maturing British-israelite theory and a fervent interest in tracing Irish genealogies, specifically of those who could show they had “colonised Ulster”:

“By the nineteenth century, with the development of British-Israel theory, Ireland came to have a significant role. According to some, the royal house of Ireland could be traced back to King David. One British-Israel writer opined, ‘There is evidence that the tribe of Dan fled by the sea from their captors and colonised Ulster in Ireland and Denmark…'” (Parfitt, The Lost Tribes of Israel: The History of the Myth, 2002, p. 43-44)

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Paul Foot, Who framed Colin Wallace? (1989) p. 117

The Hill of Tara in Northern Ireland is currently being threatened by an extension of the M3 running close by here, possibly requiring some excavations nearby – see http://www.sacred-sites.org for further info on the sacredness of the site and protests about the M3 extension.  The last time any digging took place on or near this ancient ceremonial mound in  Northern Ireland was during a period of four years at the end of the previous century, 2-3 years before Queen Victoria’s death and slightly into the reign of Edward VII and reading the book review for sounds like a very bizarre episode indeed. Presumably this time around any excavations will involve planning permission as opposed to a lone man wielding a rifle.

In 2002 Tudor Parfitt published his Lost Tribes of Israel: the History of a Myth, more on which here. His theme is that the creation of Israelite and Jewish identities throughout the world, from the Americas to Papua New Guinea, was an innate feature of colonial discourse. At a public lecture at Harvard in 2011, he modified this perspective, suggesting that the creation of such identities was also the result of what he called racialised religious manifestations. These were based on nineteenth-century racial theory.

The frenzy of speculation amongst the British-Israelites (Parfitt gives a figure of 2 million strong in 1900) by the end of the century may have been fuelled by millennial prophecies attached to various interpretations of the myth. By this point in time those British Israelites of the Celtic-Druidic-Hebraic strand are convinced Tara Hill as the pre-Celtic coronation spot of the old Kings of Ireland held the Ark of the Covenant and so they started digging despite protests by WB Yeats, George Moore and interestingly Douglas Hyde (not the author, an Irish scholar of the Irish language who later became the first President of Ireland and a leader of the Gaelic revival in Ireland).

In 2003, Mairead Carew wrote a book on ‘Tara and the  Ark of the Covenant’    describing the dig:

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“This book covers a search for the Ark of the Covenant by British-Israelites on the Hill of Tara (1899-1902). A group known as the British-Israelites dug the Hill of Tara in their quest to find the Ark of the Covenant between the years 1899 and 1902. What were their reasons for doing so, and were they successful? And what was the “Great Irish-Hebraic-cryptogramic hieroglyph” and the Freemason connection?

Arthur Griffith campaigned against the British-Israelite explorations and what he saw as the destruction of a national monument (the first of its kind). He protested on Tara in the company of William Butler Yeats, George Moore and Douglas Hyde, despite being ordered off the site by a man wielding a rifle. Maud Gonne made her colourful protest against the explorations by lighting a bonfire on Tara and singing “A nation once again”, much to the consternation of the landlord and the police.

This book describes the story of the British-Israelite excavations on Tara and places them in their archaelogical, historical, cultural and political context.”

For more on the Savile family’s preoccupation with Egyptian mythology, (Savile being persuaded to buy his elder sister Marjorie a house in Cairo) and Robin Bryan’s description of the Belfast Mission’s expansion sending British Israelite missionaries to Egypt to establish Shebeen Hospital at the turn of the 20th century.