A Grammar school boy’s first experience of being caned
I was over thirteen years of age and in the third year at Rochester Grammar School when I felt the cane for the first time.
I was one of those in between boys as far as behavior was concerned; not bad, though far from being a goodie-goodie. I’d racked up a fair few detentions, a number of lines, and had felt hand, board ruler and slipper across my bottom, but until that day never the cane. At my junior school all teachers were allowed to cane, but I managed to avoid it, albeit by the skin of my teeth, on several occasions.
Having reached thirteen and as only the headmaster was allowed to cane, and also because on average only about 15% of the school’s pupils ever felt it, I’d begun to think I’d never experience it.
However during the first term of my third year I was progressing so badly in mathematics that the headmaster, Mr. Wadhams, at the request of my mother offered me additional tuition. From the start he stressed to me that whilst he accepted that mathematics was a subject in which I struggled he felt that to a degree I was making little effort and that if he was to assist me slacking would not be tolerated.
The tuition took place twice a week but I made little progress and if truth be known I was making little more effort than I had been previously. After several weeks, and minimal improvement I was given a token hand spanking with a warning that I could expect worse if I did not shape up over the next two sessions. Thus it came to pass that one Friday in November 1969 I finally lost my caning virginity.
Reporting each Friday was part of the tuition so it was not a case of my being summoned for punishment. Indeed I still wasn’t expecting to be caned though as one stood before the head’s desk dressed in the traditional blue blazer, grey trousers, white shirt and dark blue and yellow tie, one always felt in awe of him and somewhat uncomfortable.
As the interview wore on the head was stressing more and more how little effort he felt I was making, and I began to feel more uncomfortable than normal, and to worry that perhaps now I really was in line for it. The lecture continued for several more minutes and then the head asked if he’d ever spanked me, a rhetorical question as he would have known that he had done so the week before, but I’m sure it was part of the punishment drawing out the inevitable. I replied “yes he had the week before”, but decided not to remind him that he’d spanked me on the bare bottom in the second year for disobeying him during a swimming lesson.
He asked if the spanking had hurt. In truth, it had not been more than slightly uncomfortable. I’d experienced far more painful spankings from my parents and other teachers, including the previous one from the headmaster to my bare bottom l, but I thought it diplomatic to answer “yes”.
He clearly knew he had only spanked gently as he remarked “I wonder”, before adding “when I spank somebody properly I use a cane”. So it was finally going to happen, and oddly I felt more excited than nervous, at least initially, because as I prepared myself to receive punishment, I started to feel very nervous.
I was instructed to remove my blazer and hang it on the chair facing his desk. I then had to walk to the far end of the room, face the wall, take down my trousers, and in time honoured fashion bend over and touch my toes. I was also told for some unknown reason not to look back.
I removed my blazer as instructed and as I crossed the room to face the wall, I remember being relieved that at least I was being able to keep my pants up, and that they would offer a little protection. However there was embarrassment in this. I was wearing white Y fronts, which at that time, were still the vogue in male underwear, (I longed to wear coloured mini briefs) and which though rare for me were marked. My hands were shaking as I unzipped my trousers and then bent over. Moreover the headmaster’s study was on the ground floor with curtain-less windows on two sides, which were open to public view and my plight was visible to any passers-by, and as I was small in height for my age I could have been mistaken for a naughty first or second year.
Despite being instructed to the contrary I could not resist looking back. The head was kneeling by a corner cupboard choosing his weapon from what appeared to be about twenty canes. As he sorted through his arsenal they made a clicking sound which I can still remember vividly to this day. He finally chose a long thin cane which he was flexing and which appeared to be very whippy. I knew this would sting! I averted my eyes and pledged to myself that how ever much it hurt I would be brave.
I can still picture myself in those final few seconds before I finally learnt what a caning felt like. All I could see was my shoes, trousers bunched round my ankles and my fingers touching my toes. The head was standing to the side of me out of vision, any second now I was going to feel it. But not before he delivered one final frightening instruction, to lift my shirt up.
I obeyed, relieved that he’d not also made me lower my pants. The cane was placed against my bottom as aim was taken, drawn back, and then the swishing sound that I’d heard before when I’d witnessed others being caned, though now it was reserved for me, announced its descent. My first ever stroke landed at the top of my bottom, I sucked in my breath and made no other sound. Initially I thought it none too painful but after a second or so the pain kicked in. An experienced caner, the head left a good interval between each stroke, and delivered each one harder than the previous.
I gritted my teeth as the second met the centre of my bottom, which now felt like it was on fire. I tightened the clenching of my teeth and shut my eyes as the third descended, striking the base of my bottom and then continuing on so that the tip of the cane made contact with my right thigh.
I was then told to pull up my trousers and then stand to attention before the head. I did so with my bottom seeming to hurt more and more all the time. In the end I could not resist any longer and rubbed my bum. This was viewed by the head as disobedience as by doing so I was not standing to attention. So once more I had to lower my trousers and bend. God that fourth one hurt!
Finally I was dismissed. I inspected my bum in the toilet mirror, my bottom covered by angry red tramlines, which I showed to friends at lunchtime, and which provoked a few comments when I showered after football on the Sunday. The marks faded from view after about a week.
Though I’d been dreading telling my parents what happened, I did so although I was too embarrassed to say I’d had it with my trousers down. Though I’d been fearful of further retribution there was none. My Father, who said he’d been caned many times at school himself, made just one comment that he was surprised I’d never felt it before. My mother wasn’t sure that it was an appropriate punishment for not doing well, but then added that she hoped I’d taken it like a man and not cried the way I tended to do when she spanked me. At least I passed on that score.
That was forty-two years ago but I still remember the incident as if it was yesterday. In today’s society such punishment would be considered extreme but I felt no resentment to the head whatsoever. Indeed in some ways I felt almost proud in that I’d passed into the ranks of the many English Schoolboys who’d received the cane.