I remember my years at primary school in Devon in the 70s and listening to fellow pupils talking about the cane. Both boys and girls were subject to it and on more than one occasion I witnessed a teacher thrash both girls and boys on the bottom in front of the class with a slipper, ruler and a cane. This was done over trousers and skirts but bending over touching toes. There would usually be 4 or 5 strokes at most with the cane or ruler, and possibly double that with a slipper.

The sense of fascination and excitement as the whole class fell silent was amazing. I loved the meaty thwack when the slipper landed or the muffled gun shot sound the cane produced on a jutting bottom. Mostly I remember all pupils taking their punishment fairly stoically, with only the occasionally yelp or grunt, girls especially.

After witnessing all this, I was desperate to try for myself. Being fairly wilful and naughty, it wasn’t long before my bottom was given attention. Over the next few years, I received a bare bottom spanking over a female teacher’s knee after a swimming lesson (this was done in private), several slipperings in front of the class and two final canings before moving up to the local comprehensive.

I was quite amazed at how well I took my punishment. I think it was the sheer embarrassment that prevented one from kicking and screaming. The caning was a different matter. Not many of my friends had been caned by the Headmistress, but one older girl I knew had proudly claimed to have had her bum caned several times. I think I remember her saying 4 times, each caning being six of the best. She also spoke of seeing her red striped bottom in the mirror. I felt tremendous affection for her and probably had my first crush. I remember her as being blonde, very pretty and extremely confident, which was probably perceived as being precocious by her elders.

I think I well deserved my first caning, awarded for urinating out of the boys toilets window above the urinals into the play ground outside. All the older boys did it as soon as they started getting taller. The playground monitor came marching into the toilets after witnessing my successful attempt, and after administering a sharp slap to my bottom she proceeded to march me to the Headmistress’s office.

Whilst waiting outside, my fate was being sealed behind the closed dark Victorian door. I knew I would be caned.

The eventual ritual was surprising to me then. The monitor opened the door after what I remember seemed like ages. She must have been quite a young woman at the time, maybe in her teens. It must have been summer because she had bare legs in a short skirt. I do remember her looking sympathetic with quite a warm smile. I also remember being frightened yet excited and trying to prevent myself from crying.

The ritual was having to stand in front of the Headmistress’s desk whilst being told off. I don’t recall what was said, just being very ashamed and scared. Next I was told I would be caned and would receive six strokes. Then I was told to ask the secretary for the cane.

The Headmistress’s secretary had a desk to the right of the door as you entered the long office. I did as I was told. The secretary stood up and went to a cupboard to her left and opened the door. Inside, I saw several canes, all crook handled, hanging from a rail next to some coats and jackets. I was presented with this very long yellow cane. I couldn’t believe I was actually holding or seeing the thing I had heard and talked about for so long. I remember saying thank you to her. She was an older woman with a large chest that we often joked about as boys. She smiled as I was given the cane.

Next, I had to present the cane to the Headmistress, a tall red-headed lady. She always wore very tight skirts with her long hair up in a bun. She was well respected and commanded affection for her morning assembly speeches. I knew she was a fan of the cane because she would often mention using it as a threat for various offences committed around the school during her speeches. Next I was told to bend over the desk. Fighting back tears, I did so. I remember her being very fussy about my position, telling me to bend further over and to get my bottom higher. I did as I was told.

She put her hands down my trousers to check for padding. The thought had crossed my mind but I had no time or place to do this. I remember her finger nails on my bottom. The main thing I was aware off as I looked over my shoulder was of the three women looking at my bottom. The Headmistress swished the cane and then told the secretary to give her another! Eventually, after practice swinging that one, it proved satisfactory.

Wanting to get it over with I was almost relieved when she stood to my side and tapped the cane across my trousers. As I looked back, I remember her arm going back and back and seeing the cane appear over her head before it swished down onto my bottom. I yelped involuntarily but managed to hold position as my older girl friend had claimed to do. I think I heard the playground monitor gasp or laugh or make some kind of noise.

The next five strokes were given rapidly and although I lifted my head and body after every stroke I kept my bottom still. The pain was excruciating. After my thrashing I was crying, although not loudly. The cane was given back to the Secretary and I was told to leave.

The monitor said: “well done,” as I walked past her rubbing my bum. I did feel very, very proud. At last I’d been caned, and commended at the same time!

It was also amazing to check my bum and see the incredibly well placed red welts in the cloak room mirrors. How many pupils of both sexes had done that over the years?

MW