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NAME: Martyn Day  Martyn DayThen & Now

DATE: 04 June 2014

CONNECTION WITH QE: Inmate 1956-1963

Two men once came to Q.E. The first was Miles Tripp. He lived at Ganwick Corner near Potters Bar and was a pupil during the 1930s. After the war he wrote The Eighth Passenger - a personal account of his experiences as a bomber aimer in Lancaster 'A-Able' in the night skies over Germany. In the book he details his attempt to locate his fellow crew members after the war and find out in retrospect what they thought about what they done. Although sometimes appalled by the destruction they had brought about the crew's general feeling was that at the time the bombing campaign was the only way of striking back at the enemy and it had to be done even though 55,000 young men died doing it.

The other man who visited Q.E came only once. He was neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic and Holocaust denier David Irving, who visited the school in the early '60s to promote his dubious book The Destruction of Dresden and to harangue the 6th form about the morality of the bombing of the city - an event that he described as "indefensible and criminal".

It is easy in hindsight to look back in judgement on the morality of war. Certainly after the bombing of London, Coventry, Manchester and a dozen other cities the British were happy to see Germany getting a dose of the same medicine -! even though after it was all over and they saw just how badly Germany had been bombed they turned their backs on Bomber Command. All I know is that the young men who flew those planes were brave and determined to destroy Hitler and everything he stood for. Miles Tripp was one of those men and he went to our school and I wish that he could have been in the school hall the day that the fascist Irving visited!
This story of a bomber crew flying through darkness and flak over Hamburg, Essen, Cologne, Dresden and Berlin, and always accompanied by an eighth passenger - fear - makes compulsive reading.

(From a review of The Eighth Passenger}

These photographs show Miles Tripp and his crew on completion of operations, 11th March 1945.


NAME: Nick Dean  Nick Dean Nick Dean gallery

DATE: 05 June 2014


It's presumably already been mentioned on this site that Miles Tripp was the son of Cecil Tripp [see Thread 149/15], historian of the school and a favoured Governor in Jenkins' time. I hadn't been aware of this relationship until I met his daughter (Cecil's granddaughter) at a dinner-debate c1972.

No, it doesn't seem to have been mentioned elsewhere, Nick, and I was hoping someone would explain any relationship there might be, so thanks!


NAME: Alan Pyle  Alan Pyle

DATE: 07 June 2014

CONNECTION WITH QE: Pupil 1948-1953

I was at primary school, Furzehill, and clearly remember the squadrons of bombers heading south east in the early evening over Borehamwood towards the end of that war. I recall it as a stirring sight not thinking of the people below who were to be killed and maimed. In earlier years the sky was lit to the south as London burned. The odd bomb fell quite near. There was no question of the rightness of our war and we children acted out the effort in the school playground. It is a madness though to kill and destroy so. And I look to see what we have really learned which leads to these awful periods in our history. Is this not the proper way to to respect and value the sacrifice all those men and women made?


NAME: Vic Coughtrey (webmaster)  Vic CoughtreyThen & Now

DATE: 07 June 2014


I note you say our history, Alan. But who are 'we'? Britain? Europe? the world? If the world, the word 'period' is hardly appropriate, since I doubt there has been a single day since the end of the Second World War free of the slaughter and destruction of war somewhere or other on the planet. The superficial motive keeps changing - nationalism, ideogy, religion, but the underlyng driving force is always Man's addiction to tribalism. In saner parts of the world such as (dare I say it?) ours, where the tribal instinct is mostly diverted into sport, we still have no alternative but to remain permanently ready to defend that sanity - with the insanity of war, when all else fails. But the great doubt that plagues us in every case, after the event, is whether in fact all else was honestly tried.

Whether or not we should be equally prepared to use the last resort of war in the defence of civilised values and innocent people elsewhere in the world is a very complex and thorny issue. And there again, who are 'we'? In reality, these days, those within the American 'sphere of influence' (or the American Empire as the late Tony Benn rather more forthrightly used to put it).


NAME: Alan Pyle  Alan Pyle

DATE: 09 June 2014

CONNECTION WITH QE: Pupil 1948-1953

Who are 'we' Vic? Reading over my reply 2, I think Naom Chomsky puts it very well. The Golden Rule of State Violence:
In discussion of international relations the fundamental principle is that 'we are good' - 'we' being the government, on the totalitarian principle that state and people are one. 'We' are benevolent, seeking justice, though there may be errors in practice. 'We' are foiled by villains who can't rise to our exalted level.
And I see clearly there is very little chance that any of the formal remembering will allow a real appreciation of these ever present conflicts.


NAME: James (Jas) Cowen  James & Ayleen Cowen James Cowen galleryThen & Now

DATE: 11 June 2014


I do remember the visit of David Irving and his talk on the destruction of Dresden as related by Martyn [see original message]. I do not recall any neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic or holocaust denying talk, although that was displayed elsewhere. I found it valuable in emphasising that the British were not the only ones to suffer from bombing in the Second World War. It is good that there have been real efforts at reconciliation in Britain and Germany since for the trouble caused ultimately by that maniac Adolf Hitler, albeit supported by much of the German population. As for other points perhaps I will join in the discussions later. It was a talk remarkable in that I do not recall others being given a platform to speak.


NAME: Stephen Giles  Stephen Giles

DATE: 14 June 2014

CONNECTION WITH QE: inmate 1957-64

Sadly, the German population behaved like sheep when voting for Hitler - now does this ring any bells about the recent Council/MEP elections???

It doesn't ring them quite so loudly in Wales, Stephen - and they're out of earshot in London!


NAME: Martyn Day  Martyn DayThen & Now

DATE: 10 January 2017

CONNECTION WITH QE: Inmate 1956-63

In June 2014 I sent in a piece [see original message] about a visit made to the school in 1962 by Holocaust denier and racist David Irving. He was there to promote his new book The Destruction of Dresden and to harangue the 6th form about the morality of the bombing of the city - an event that he described as "indefensible and criminal". The article contrasted his visit with the life of O.E Miles Tripp, a former member of Bomber Command who had actually taken part in the bombing of Dresden and what he thought of it. Later this month a film Denial is on general release which tells the story of how David Irving accused U.S academic Prof. Deborah Lipstadt of libel and took her to court. Irving is played by Timothy Spall who gives a frightening taste of what anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial look like.


NAME: Alan Pyle  Alan Pyle

DATE: 15 January 2017

CONNECTION WITH QE: Pupil 1948-1953

I noticed that Denial is to be released here later this month and took up a chance to reading the Expert Report by Professor Richard Evans {2000) in the case of Irving vs (1) Lipstadt and (2) Penguin Books. It is full and very detailed, showing how Irving went about his research and selective writing to support the assertions he makes. I intend to see the film but would recommend this item as very illuminating background.


NAME: James (Jas) Cowen  James & Ayleen Cowen James Cowen galleryThen & Now

DATE: 15 January 2017


I see from the recent 2017 BAFTA film nominations that Denial is nominated in the category of Outstanding British Film, though I suspect that it will not win in that category. In connection with Timothy Spall I did enjoy his portrayal of JM Turner, the famous artist, in the film Turner which was shown on TV recently. It was quite a long film and slow moving generally but still I enjoyed it. Much of it was about Turner's private life rather than his paintings and I hope that it was accurate as to the facts, which I expect it probably was. Timothy Spall was gruff and somewhat grumpy and my wife said "It takes one to know one." I have rally tried to be less grumpy over the years. When first married we had a grumble box rather than a swear box. I had to contribute some money for charity when grumbling too much over something or other. I did improve my ways after this I believe. Others may of course comment about this.

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