It was in the fourth year at grammar school that I got my only Headmaster’s caning. I was 15 at the time. I had managed to avoid a visit to him more by luck than judgement. I had already got a couple of detentions earlier in the term and was late for school one morning. I was caught by one of the teachers who awarded me my third detention of the term. I knew this was going to result in a caning under the ‘three detentions in a term’ rule.

Sure enough, the next morning at assembly, my name was read out. I was told to report to the school secretary. She took my details and told me to stand outside the Headmaster’s office. I was very nervous and felt sick in my stomach as I waited. Finally the Headmaster approached. He walked in and told me to follow him.

Shortly after, the secretary walked in. She was an elderly lady and due to retire at the end of the year. The Headmaster wasted no time and told me that he had seen my record and he felt it was about time I got acquainted with his cane.

He placed a chair in the middle of the office and then walked to a cupboard. He removed a long crook handled cane and walked back. He ordered me to remove my blazer and then stand at the back of the chair. While I was doing this he started writing in a book and on my personal record, which the secretary gave him.

He then stood up and picked up the cane. He told me to drop my trousers and bend over the back of the chair. I was also told to grip the seat of the chair. He explained that he was going to give me six strokes of the cane on my bare bottom and that the secretary was going to be a witness. I was not surprised as I had heard stories from other boys who had been caned by the Headmaster. The secretary tucked my shirt up and carefully pulled my pants down, letting them drop to my ankles. She then stood in the corner and the Headmaster stepped alongside me.

Soon I felt the cane tap. A swish followed and it hit extremely hard. A burning line of fire followed rapidly. The cane tapped again and a second stroke followed. The pain was awful and I grunted loudly. Soon the third stroke hit and I started to cry. The Headmaster hesitated before the cane tapped again. The fourth stroke was even harder and I yelped as the pain burnt. The fifth stroke was another hard stroke and I yelped again. The cane tapped again and soon it hit very hard and low, just above my thighs. I yelped again and the tears rolled.

The Headmaster then walked away and told me to stand up. I was ordered to get dressed, which was painful. Finally I was told to leave and warned that any future visits would be the same. The secretary showed me out and suggested I went to the toilets to freshen up before going to my form room. I did this and then went to registration in my form room.

Everyone looked as I entered and my form mistress told me to sit down quickly. I recall wincing as I sat and some girls giggled. I never got a repeat caning from the Headmaster, thankfully. One bare bottom caning was more than enough. I did get more canings from other teachers but they did not compare to a Headmaster’s caning. What was most surprising is that the secretary, who was such a lovely gentle lady, could stand and witness his canings.

PL