Following ‘Fair or not’, The Music Master and Actual CP Experience, the following are additional thoughts about the four punishments that I received in senior school. To briefly recap, I was caned by the Headmaster, having been caught smoking, I was caned by the music master together with two others with trousers lowered, I was whacked by the PE master with his plimsoll with my shorts lowered and severely caned again by the music master on the bare bottom.
There are two additional aspects that I wanted to share.
The first is anticipation. Two of my punishments were spontaneous in that I was punished immediately or very soon after the crime; being sent by the PE master to the changing room for mucking about, and the six whacks to my bare bottom with my gym shorts lowered took place less than a minute or so after the crime. The first caning from the music master took place soon after assembly and, whilst not immediate, there was no more than a fifteen minute gap between the chairs being knocked over and the three of us being caned with our trousers lowered but underwear retained.
The other two punishments were not immediate and involved a considerable time of wait and anticipation. My house master told me the Headmaster wanted to see me at morning break the following day, so I had all night to think about what was probably going to be a painful experience. I knew it might be because I may have been spotted smoking, which would mean a mandatory six stroke caning, which indeed is what happened, albeit with trousers retained.
The Headmaster usually punished boys during morning break, and I think he liked the idea of a boy fretting overnight to add to the punishment. It was not unusual for more than one boy to be seeing the Headmaster, and in my case there was another boy in front of me, so I had the dubious pleasure of waiting in the secretaries’ office listening to the sound of six clear whacks, knowing the next bottom to be caned would be mine.
The second music master caning was also not spontaneous. He told me during the morning that I was to report to him at the end of the day, so I had lunchtime and all afternoon to think about an almost certain caning. I remember my friends teasing me that I was probably in for a bare bottom caning, with those that had had seen him at the end of the day telling me that was usual, but nobody told me about the possibility of ‘everything off below the waist’. I spent the afternoon hoping that it would be like before with only trousers lowered. The reality was a drawn-out session with everything off below the waist, and then knowing that I must stay bent over in position until the caning was over to avoid the dreadful prospect of having to return a week later for a further two strokes as punishment for not taking a caning properly.
Any pupil with the prospect of a caning will tell you that all they want is to get it over with, and if the caning is scheduled for ‘later’, the waiting and anticipation is pretty awful.
The second aspect is about watching others get caned. In prep school, hardly a week went past without someone getting two or three whacks with a slipper or plimsoll, always in front of the class. That is not to say the cane was not used in prep school, but it was in private and quite rare.
In senior school, the cane was used by three masters, normally again in private. However, there were exceptions, and I remember the first music master caning when three of us were punished in front of each other. I was caned second, so watched the first boy drop his trousers and bend over with some level of fascination, tinged with fear, knowing that I was next. Looking back, I know that something was going on in my head. It was soon my turn and it was embarrassing to drop my trousers, knowing that my friends were watching my bottom about to be caned, and I knew that I had to take it without making a fuss, which I just about did. My bottom was truly on fire as I stood and pulled up my trousers. It was then the third boy’s turn, and having already been caned, I really enjoyed watching him getting it.
I think I have already mentioned the history master, who I avoided crossing for the entire senior school, largely because I liked history and did quite well. However, his yearly trick was to cane the first deserving boy after the start of the new school year in front of the whole class, so as to set an example. We all knew this was going to happen at some stage during September and I remember looking forward and being excited about who it might be, hoping it was not one of my friends. Obviously, there was always the slight possibility it might be you, and I was certainly very careful to behave and do my homework in good time.
When eventually someone had succeeded in earning that first caning, there was a hush in the class as the boy was summoned forward and told to take off his jacket and bend across the form desk with their bottom on full view to the class. The history master would take off his own jacket, roll up his sleeve and administer the six strokes quite slowly. There was no doubt this was exciting, but at the same time put the fear of god into us all, knowing that this was to be avoided. One can only imagine what it would have been like to have been the boy suffering his caning in front of the whole class. During an average year he probably gave out no more than one or two canings a month to our class, albeit in private after the rest of us had left. I remember one of the boys who received the ‘show’ caning that later went on to be caned again telling me that the ‘show’ caning was significantly more severe than later punishments.
So, during the five years from 1st form to 5th form, I watched five canings from the history master and two from the music master when three of us were caned in front of each other, all of which had a strange effect on me, and there was no doubt that it was quite exciting to witness. There were also a few occasions when the PE master made boys that had forgotten their trunks for a swimming lesson take the lesson in the nude, and he normally found an opportunity to drag the unfortunate boy out of the pool for a few whacks with his plimsoll to their wet bare bottoms.
As said, two aspects; one, suffering the anticipation and having to wait for a caning. Second, the strange excitement of watching others being caned.