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Front Cover Photo Credit: Clive Harlow



Durham University has a remarkable record for student participation in sports and societies, and Cuth’s is no




Society News


JCR News


Research Spotlight


SCSBC: 125 Years


Alumni Association


Pearls of Wisdom


Senior Common Room


Supporting Cuth's

exception, as you will see from this issue. This year the Choir and the Big Band performed together for the first time in Duke Ellington’s ‘Sacred Concert’, with stunning results.  This was one of a number of initiatives driven by our first ever musician in residence, alumnus Matthew Thomas Morgan (Music, 2011). Visiting Fellows add so much to the community. In the Michaelmas Term we will be joined by IAS Fellow Prof David Sutton of Southern Illinois University, an anthropologist who works on food and memory in Greek culture. Andrew Tibbs was Acting Deputy Principal for just over a year, and contributed greatly to the whole community. He also stepped up as Acting Principal when I was off work this spring.  We are very grateful to him for all he has done for Cuth’s, and wish him well in his PhD research on Roman Scotland. In April we welcomed our new Vice-Principal, Dr Jon Warren, a sociologist with a strong research interest in the North-East, who has thrown himself into his new role most generously and productively. He has organised this year’s post-exam Cuth’s Week activities. The Week began with a Garden Party at which we met some alumni who had not been back for years. We hope more will come to the September Alumni Weekend. Summer is a time for goodbyes. JCR President Cat May and her Exec have been impressively energetic and enterprising this year, not least in the leadership training they have offered to our team and Society officers. I look forward to working with the President-Elect, Amy Kuner, and her Exec in the future. We are all very sad to be saying goodbye to Dr Phil Bolton, Assistant Principal (Student Support), who is moving to Bristol University as Deputy Head of Residential Life, a post for which he is eminently qualified after six years at Cuth’s. Phil started as a Resident Warden when I arrived in 2012, and has been a tower of strength ever since. We shall also miss the wise advice of Fiona Ellis, an independent to the charity sector who has been a member of University Council and Chair of our College Council since 2011, and is now retiring from both roles. We have had a lot of staff changes this year, but the strong community spirit of Cuth’s has overcome all the challenges presented by this time of change in the University. We always enjoy news and visits from alumni, individually or in groups – please let us know if you are coming to Durham. 

Professor Elizabeth Archibald Principal

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Cuthbert's Chronicle | Easter 2018 | Issue No. 8

Introducing our new Vice-Principal St Cuthbert's Society welcomed its new Vice-Principal, Dr Jon Warren, in April 2018. Here, he gives the Chronicle a brief insight into his life and work and his priorities for Cuth's.

Tell us a bit about yourself I did my first degree in Social Sciences at Sunderland starting in 1989 when it was still a Polytechnic (look it up if you are under 40!) and whilst there I was sabbatical Student Union Welfare officer. I later went on to teach at Sunderland in Sociology and Community and Youth work. I first came to Durham as a part time post graduate student in 1996 and completed my Master’s degree in the Sociology department. My dissertation supervisor was Professor Roy Boyne who would later become Principal of Cuth’s. I returned to Durham to study for my doctorate in 2005. My research on the call centre industry centred on the North East, but also took me to India for two months fieldwork. After completing my PhD, I worked in the School of Applied Social Sciences here in Durham before moving to the Geography Department where I stayed until 2017.  Since 2009 I have been a mentor at Trevs and later became Vice President of Trevs SCR. Away from Durham, I’m married to Susan and have one son, James. I am a trustee of a community group which is trying to save my village’s local library from

closure and also serve as a leader in my local Boys' Brigade. My other interests include, motorcycling (riding and rebuilding), cricket (watching and playing), music, flying, photography and cinema. Your research as a social scientist has focused on the industrial history of the North East. What motivated this interest? The North East is the perfect place to be a social scientist studying the industries that built the region - their remains, their legacies and their potential futures - as it was the first real modern industrial region in the world. This region powered the industrial revolution, producing not only huge amounts of coal, iron, steel and ships but also the technology that made this possible, such as George Stephenson’s work as a pioneer of railways and locomotives. The region changed both rapidly and radically. The North East experienced massive immigration as people came from Ireland, Scotland and all over England to work here. The amount of shipping into the Tyne, Wear and Tees made it remarkably multicultural too. The region’s issue since the end of  the nineteenth century, when it began to lose its pre-eminence as an 

industrial region, has been how to reinvent itself, something that was greatly accelerated during the latter half of the twentieth century and is still ongoing today. Your new book looks at the impact of economic, social, environmental and cultural change on communities within Teesside.  Can you tell us a bit more about it? This book tries to answer two questions. First, “What is the legacy of Teesside’s industrial past?” Second, “How do the legacies of the industrial past influence the area today and shape its possible futures?” The industrial past remains highly important to Teesside as a place and to its people. But the meaning of that past and its legacy are viewed from a number of different perspectives. On the one hand, its industries once seemed to offer well paid and secure employment. But these opportunities no longer exist on the same scale as they did for those leaving school back in 1969. On the other hand, if there is any sense of nostalgia at work here, it is nostalgia not for the type of industrial work that dominated the area, but for the type of economic security and social


cohesion that places like ICI, British Steel and Head Wrightson once offered their employees. Teesside remains an important industrial centre but one which faces a future which is uncertain due to the way in which globalization has affected it. Teesside faces the challenge in coming years of retaining and building upon its inheritance and managing to regenerate beyond its current industrial base. Whether the political and economic climate and national and local policy allow this to happen is open to question. Finally, what are your main priorities as the new Vice-Principal of Cuth's?

Cuth's Choir at Durham Prison

My aim is that every student has the opportunity to become involved with the community. First, to learn more about Cuth's and listen to what people's concerns are and second, to ensure that Cuth's has the staff, structures and procedures to support the JCR. The aim is both the development of the community and the development of the individuals that are part of it.

On Monday 4th June, Cuth's Chapel Choir sang Compline in St Cuthbert's Chapel in Durham Prison to an audience of about 50 prisoners. The Prison Governor was present and their chaplain led the prayers. The prisoners were very moved and amazed by the sound and precision of the unaccompanied voices, and applauded enthusiastically at several points. The chaplain commented that 'In this form of ministry I don't often hear

Industrial Teesside, Lives and Legacies: A PostIndustrial Geography by Jon Warren is now available from Palgrave Macmillan

Cuth's 'Cast Ons' Success Since Christmas, the Cuth’s Housekeeping Team have been knitting and crocheting items which will be sold in aid of Age UK County Durham in their new 'superstore' on Belmont industrial estate. Susan Jones, Business Development Manager for Age UK, thanked Mandy Patterson and all the housekeeping team for their hard work and the incredibly high standard of work they have produced. Congratulations to all involved for a very worthy cause!


services like that and it was a real pleasure for myself; I felt that the lads were captivated and taken out of themselves'. The event was organised by our first ever musician-inresidence, alumnus and singing coach Matthew Thomas Morgan (Music, 2011), who has been tirelessly supporting the creativity of Cuth's students. Matthew is currently in discussion with the prison about future events, and is planning an event for alumni in the near future.


Cuthbert's Chronicle | Easter 2018 | Issue No. 8

From the JCR

attendance at events and help to improve JCR engagement.

From volunteering projects to a sell-out Feast and Summer Ball, it's been a jam-packed year for the JCR. JCR President Cat May looks back on a few highlights. This year is racing past and with exams finally over, it feels very close to ending. The executive committee have triumphed throughout the year and I am excited to see such a wonderful executive committee lining up for next year. Congratulations to next year's JCR president, Amy Kuner, and the rest of her team. It was the second year of having a marquee at the Feast of St Cuthbert, increasing dinner tickets by 80 seats. With a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory theme, the JCR was transformed into the lifting room, full of bubbles and the usual selection of bubbly drinks. The dining hall and marquee were filled with sweets, chocolate and everything a child would dream of. It was a great success. We are hugely grateful to the catering staff who saved the day 

when our social chair, Dannika, and myself were still dressed in painting clothes 15 minutes before the event was due to start. A thank you to our head chef Marc Reavley who helped design a Michelin-star quality menu. The Summer Ball took place in a brand new venue, Derwent Manor, with 800 people attending. The theme was a Midsummer Night's Dream and the whole night was a great success. Now onto Cuth's Day! We've had a huge clear-out, meaning that the Exec Office can now be used for Welfare drop-ins, meetings and file storage. We are currently in the process of establishing a JCR calendar that will be embedded onto a brand new JCR website that will be easily downloadable onto smartphones if any members choose to do so. This will hopefully increase

Our new volunteering project, FRAMDA, in which Cuth's students run a weekly after school drama club at Framwellgate School, peaked in success at their showcase in March. The school children performed a variety of monologues and duologues under the theme ‘Theatre throughout the Ages’. The audience was full of parents and Elena Martin, the Outreach Chair, managed to pull off an unforgettable event. We have a brand new constitution and are excited to welcome two new trustees to the board: Ben Scanlan (Sport, 2009) and Jeremy Dodd (Natural Sciences, 1987). I would like to thank Barbara Harrison for her time as a JCR Trustee. It will be sad to lose her and we are grateful for everything she has contributed, in particular her help in establishing a smoothly functioning trustee board. We have also wished Andrew Tibbs, Acting Deputy Principal, a warm goodbye we know his cheery sense of humour will be missed by many!

Below: Open Day Reps get ready to introduce incoming students to Cuth's.




JCR President 2018-19 Introducing Amy Kuner, the new JCR President for 2018-19. The Chronicle caught up with her and her plans for the year.

Congratulations Amy on your election as the new JCR President! What are your plans for the year? I want my focus next year to be on inclusivity and participation within college. I think it is incredibly important that students find people they can identify with, so I’d like for students with disabilities, LGBTQ+ and POC reps to be present and visible in Freshers' week, and to work with them more closely throughout the year. Following this, I want to continue the training Cat set up this year, ensuring that all societies take part in unconscious bias training to ensure that all social events are open and welcoming. I’d also like to advertise the participation fund much more heavily, so all students within Cuth’s know they can take part in any activities, regardless of background. Plus, I want to set up a pen pal scheme for year abroad students so that they don’t feel disconnected from Cuth’s while they are abroad. On top of this I want to streamline some aspects of Cuth’s, by setting up an online booking system for the music room and green machine, and creating an information pack containing all the necessary (incredibly fun) documents such as health and safety forms, geared towards putting on events, such as the Fashion Show or the pantomime.

How have you been involved in Cuth's so far?

done over the year, even when there were hurdles!

I was treasurer of Bodcon, and have been coxing since my second year, as well as taking part in the pantomime. I’ve also Open Day repped three times, frepped twice, and was a member of finance comm, before becoming Cuth’s treasurer for this year.

Some quick-fire questions. What's the one thing you can't live without?

What has been your most enjoyable moment in Cuth's and what has been your most challenging?

Coventry: my home town and city of culture 2021. I will personally debate anyone who slates Coventry, as I think that although it has its flaws, its huge variety of personalities and cultures makes it unique.

My most challenging moment this year was travelling down to London for WEHORR 2018, one of the biggest boat races in the UK. I’m not the best cox out there so I was incredibly nervous, and it didn’t help that our coach broke down on the way there, leaving us with 2 hours sleep before the big race. However, this turned out to be my most enjoyable moment as being part of a competition I never thought I’d take part in, was incredible. The delirium from lack of sleep may also have played a part!   What achievement are you most proud of? Becoming treasurer this year – I had very tough competition and it was my first election. I was incredibly excited to get involved with the JCR and I've been proud of the work I’ve 

Freddos - perfectly sized, imperfectly priced. What's your favourite place in the world?

What luxury item would you take to a desert island? Definitely some kind of solar-powered music player! Your greatest vice? Can I say Freddos again? Who inspires you? This is such a cliché but it’s the only true answer: my Dad for working so incredibly hard through every misfortune he’s come across, and my Mum for being the kindest and most empathetic person I know.


Cuthbert's Chronicle | Easter 2018 | Issue No. 8

Sports and Societies Round Up by Rishi Jindal JCR Sports and Societies Chair



Left: Men's Football A Team. Right: Cuth's Rounders Team

Sports and societies have continued to flourish at Cuth’s. After the creation of Running, Gardening, CWAWAS (Wine & Whiskey Appreciation) and Debating societies last year, this year has seen the relaunch of Volleyball and the addition of a Film Society, both by enterprising freshers. Summer has also brought about a new Golf Society and a separate Women’s Darts Club. Across the University, Cuth’s has continued to compete well against other colleges, holding down 4th place in the overall college sport table at the time of writing, just trailing Hild Bede. Notable successes have included Men’s Rugby’s cup run to the semifinal of the inter-collegiate knockout competition, as heroic as it was unexpected. Meanwhile, the Men’s Football A Team made use of a strong squad to go one better by reaching the final of the Floodlit Cup. Boisterous support for both sides was present at Maiden Castle. Perhaps the greatest achievement, however, was by the Women’s Rugby team. Experienced club stalwarts and a pool of keen, talented freshers proved a potent mix. The club welcomed many players new to the game and with sharp coaching developed into the

most feared side in the league. 11 wins from 11 games tells one story. 432 points for and just 72 against stresses the scale of their victories and achievement. All this for a side in their first year as Cuth’s Women’s Rugby (previously the side had been comprised of colleges joined together). Away from the sports fields, Cuth’s Drama experienced a fruitful first year as a Durham Student Theatreaffiliated company. The annual Christmas panto proved a hit, expanding to three nights for the first time in recent years. In second term, their production of ‘The Events’ was selected to be performed at the National Student Drama Festival, one of only 16 shows nationwide to be chosen. Second-year English student Kishore Thiagarajan-Walker won the Spotlight Award for most promising actor. Cuth’s Fashion Show also returned, raising an unprecedented £7,013.49 for local charity Children North East. The money will go towards projects looking after children whose families are unable to care for them during school holidays. 


Aside from providing the entertainment at Formals, Cuth’s Choir sang a joint evensong with John’s and had the privilege of performing their own evensong in the cathedral. The Choir also joined forces with Cuth's Big Band to perform Duke Ellington's 'Sacred Concert' for the Cuth's Week concert, which was very well attended. Cuth’s Feminism Society had a renewed presence this year with topical debates, quizzes and the ever-popular ‘Feminist Anthem of the Week’ on their Instagram. Cuth’s has continued its traditional strength in badminton this year with Men’s Badminton Bs being promoted to the Premiership, their second promotion in as many years. This means we are the only college with both A and B teams in the top division. Both our men’s and women’s squash teams finished second in their respective leagues, the best finish for the club in the last 5 years and the women’s side will go on to play in the final of the cup competition after exams. Our women’s basketball team also finished second in the top division, before losing in the play-off finals with a depleted squad. Around 20 people represented Cuth’s Running Club in the Valentine's 10k in

Newcastle, seasoned DU athletes and first-timers running side by side. The friendly atmosphere and mix of abilities led to almost 30 people coming to one of the weekly Parkrun events one Saturday during the exam period. Meanwhile, Artsoc started the year by running one of the ‘quiet’ nights in Freshers’ Week and provided UV face-painting for the silent disco. Since then, they have run a glassmaking workshop and worked in collaboration with Social Committee making the masks for the Dining In The Dark Formal. They have also worked alongside Outreach, inviting people to design postcards to sell for charity, as well organised the annual art exhibition on display as part of Cuth's Week.

popularity at Cuth's with a record 76 people representing the college. We had 5 full teams as well as one team participating in the ‘friendly’ ladder. It was also a memorable year for the D team who provided the upset of the year by beating Cuth’s As in the cup to reach their divisional playoffs. I hope the accomplishments mentioned above give you a taste of what Cuth’s sports and societies have been up to in the last year; this remains just a selection of the wonderful and varied activities we have been engaged in. I continue to be surprised and delighted by all that goes on within our community and I imagine the following years will replicate this success!

This year saw the return of the everpopular Cuth’s Charity Naked Calendar with many sports & societies baring all to raise money for Gateway North East. As well as looking forward to their now annual outdoor swim, Cuth’s swimming club (Cuth’s remains the only college with such a club) participated in a swimathon, swimming a combined total of 359 lengths in 30 minutes to raise money for the Great North Air Ambulance. Pool has continued to grow in

Above: Cuth's Women's Rugby Left: Cuth's Running Club at the weekly Parkrun Right: Cuth's Drama


Cuthbert's Chronicle | Easter 2018 | Issue No. 8

Research Spotlight

Angola: A Post-Vietnam Testing Ground? Exploring the motives and practice of decisionmaking behind American covert intervention during the Angolan Civil War, 1974-1976.

The Angolan national flag, which came into use when Angola gained independence in November, 1975.

by Danny Walker As the fulcrum of my history degree, my dissertation investigated the Angolan Civil War. My research focussed on 1974-6, the first years of open post-colonial conflict. After the Portuguese Revolution in April 1974, the Lisbon government collapsed, generating instability in both the metropole and its colony, Angola, in southwest Africa. Yet the main factions competing to replace Portugal quickly transcended regional importance. In 1975 alone, intervention from the U.S.A. (through the CIA), the U.S.S.R., Cuba, China, South Africa and Zaire created a Cold War battleground. I have always

been fascinated by Cold War geopolitics and its intersection with decolonisation. This issue, alongside the recent declassification of Ford Presidency documents, presented the perfect opportunity to examine the validity of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s claimed motivations for intervening. The CIA funded and supplied its preferred factions through the IAFEATURE covert operation (a codename used by John Stockwell, head of the CIA’s Angola Task Force, in his 1978 exposé In Search of Enemies). I analysed primary and secondary

By Joaquim Coelho, author from Espaço Etéreo, a compilation of texts and pictures from people involved in the war.

materials to investigate the conduct and failure of the operation. The final chapters made comparisons with the Soviet-Cuban intervention, which proved decisive in propelling the Marxist MPLA (The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola) faction to power. The core question was why, after Vietnam, would the U.S. government risk initiating yet another covert operation? A fruitful starting point was the many statements Kissinger made, in different media, which offer contradictory answers. I evaluated his Congressional testimonies; public speeches given before and after the operation was publicly exposed; private discussions in the official documentary record, both to rivals and allies; and his comments in his subsequent – some would argue selfserving – memoirs. In comparison, there are also the views of President Gerald Ford, CIA Director William Colby, State Department ‘defector’ Nathaniel Davis, as well as Stockwell’s and journalistic accounts. The most revealing documents are available at Ford Library archives


and in the Foreign Relations of United States (FRUS) 1969-76: Volume 28. From the Soviet and Cuban perspective, it was harder to be decisive because the archives are closed, requiring me to draw upon interpretations from the few Western scholars who have been granted access (see monographs by Odd Arne Westad and Piero Gleijeses, for Russia and Cuba respectively). Nevertheless, I advanced some clear conclusions. First, the attitudes of the U.S. and U.S.S.R. were remarkably similar. Both governments had an incentive to score a prestigious ‘victory’ in Angola as a result of facing domestic criticisms of ‘setbacks’ after pursuing détente with one another. Second, however, is that neither could risk an escalating conflict and so both pursued limited objectives with quantitatively similar support for their respective factions. (For contrary views, see Ernest Harsch for the Marxist case, and Gerald Bender for the argument that Kissinger pursued an aggressively anti-Soviet agenda from the offset.) In America’s case, caution was especially important, given the excoriation of other CIA covert operations by Congressional investigations, and public disillusionment with executive overreach after the Watergate scandal and Vietnam War. The Administration was also out-of-step after having pursued a policy made infamous by the NSSM39 memo (1970), which had advocated cooperation with white minority governments in the region, not the new nationalist movements. From the Soviet perspective, anti-Chinese rhetoric reflected diplomatic competition between the two Communist powers for influence in Africa – but Washington was by far Moscow’s main competitor in determining the outcome in Angola.  

Kissinger, Ford and Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller in the White House, 1974.

Third, the crucial deciding factor in the Civil War was the intervention of Fidel Castro’s Cuba in November 1975 with massive combat support for the MPLA. Far from being a Soviet proxy, Cuba acted with ideologically-driven independence. My view, based upon the primary sources, is that Havana escalated the crisis without even consulting Moscow. Castro’s unilateralism also undermined a rapprochement with Washington, evident from National Security Archive documents that illustrate Kissinger’s promulgation of a secret back-channel to Havana and his fury at Cuba’s intervention in Angola. This intervention changed the views and representation of the crisis by both the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. Kissinger became a rhetorical critic of 'Soviet' intervention, attempting unsuccessfully to salvage the operation with Congress (which blocked further funding in December 1975) and discourage African states from endorsing the new MPLA government. The Soviets, buoyed by African resentment against Washington’s South African 'allies', and locked into supporting Cuba, engaged in more strident diplomatic defence of the MPLA and were unreceptive to Kissinger’s pleas for a political solution.   I hope I have provided some insight into the impact of Cold War 

geopolitics on decolonisation in subSaharan Africa. It has been a privilege to research such a sensitive subject – the Civil War, continuing in guerrilla fashion until 2002, has devastated Angola’s development – and to write about my findings for the Chronicle. There remain charged debates in this area, such as the extent of American collusion with apartheid South Africa in the war. I hope that further research will evaluate American and Cuban policy towards Angola during the Reagan era, in light of further declassified materials. The depth and scope of this topic called for a disciplined but evolving bibliography, which required me to undertake research at other university libraries to obtain further resources, which I greatly enjoyed. From a personal perspective, my interest in Cold War geopolitics was further enriched. I am now researching FRUS documents from the Carter Presidency (1977-81) – many of which are scheduled for release by 2020.

Danny Walker is a Cuth's third-year reading History.


Cuthbert's Chronicle | Easter 2018 | Issue No. 8

Anxiety and Depression in a Student Population by Catherine Marley As a finalist reading Pyschology, Catherine has explored the impact of various psychological traits, such as stress and positive bias, on anxiety and depression in students.

My undergraduate dissertation project focused on the effects of stress, positive bias, trait gratitude, and self-compassion on anxiety and depression, as research suggests that stress is a precipitating factor in the onset of mental health issues, and that positive bias, trait gratitude and selfcompassion are traits which may protect against anxious and depressive symptoms. I felt this was a particularly important area to study within the university environment, as up to 73% of students suffer from mental illness, with 27% of students screening positively for

depression, and 11% for anxiety. In order to reduce the resulting oversubscription to university services, it is vital to understand how depression and anxiety develop for students, and how to protect against their onset and effects. Stress is one of the main factors in the development of mental health issues, as it leads to direct physical changes to brain chemistry, and can also lead to unhealthy behaviours such as increased alcohol consumption and poor sleeping patterns, both of which are implicated in poor psychological wellbeing. Stress is particularly

apparent in first year students, due to the effects of the transition to university, and adjusting to student life. As stress was found to be a significant predictor of both anxious and depressive symptoms, it was important to investigate if individual traits could moderate the relationship that stress has with symptoms of anxiety and depression. Positive bias is an individual’s tendency to interpret ambiguous situations as positive events. This was suspected to protect against anxiety and depression, as negative bias has been associated with poor 


...73% of students suffer from mental illness, with 27% students screening positively for depression, and 11% for anxiety...

psychological health and various emotional disorders, and cognitive bias is a large factor in models concerning the development and maintenance of depression. In students, positive bias significantly predicted lower levels of anxiety and depression, and was significantly correlated with reductions in anxiety over the term, which suggests positive bias is strongly protective against anxiety and depression. Trait gratitude is the extent to which an individual is appreciative of people around them, and thankful for being alive. It was predicted that this would protect against anxiety and depression, as gratitude has previously been shown to correlate with factors associated with psychological wellbeing, such as personal growth, number of personal relationships, and sense of purpose in life. However, I found that trait gratitude did not predict depression, and actually predicted higher levels of anxiety. Although this was an unexpected result, it is possible that it is due to gratitude increasing the number of social relationships an individual has, but not moderating their quality - if this is the case, participants with high levels of gratitude may have many relationships of poor quality, which could lead to higher levels of anxiety.  Finally, self-compassion is an attitude in which an individual is emotionally 

positive towards the self, avoids selfjudgements, isolation, and rumination, and accepts that failure and inadequacies are a common human experience. Low levels of selfcompassion have been connected with vulnerability to mental illness, and higher levels of anxious and depressive symptoms, so high selfcompassion is suggested to be a protective factor. I found that high self-compassion was protective against depression, although it did not predict anxiety. This could be due to factors which I did not measure which moderate the relationship between self-compassion and mental illness, such as trait resilience. It is also possible that depression is what causes low self-compassion, rather than self-compassion leading to poor mental health. In my future postgraduate study, I hope to expand this research, in order to develop targeted self-help interventions for students, with the aim of reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. As positive bias was the strongest predictor, it is possible that an intervention focusing on increasing positive evaluations of ambiguous events could prevent the onset and maintenance of anxiety and depression in students.


Cuthbert's Chronicle | Easter 2018 | Issue No. 8

Celebrating 125 Years of St Cuthbert's Society Boat Club

With contributions from: Petrina Witt, Captain of Boats 2017-18 Alistair Stewart, Captain of Boats 2016-17 Joe Plunkett, Captain of Boats Elect

This year, St Cuthbert's Society Boat Club celebrates our 125th Anniversary. Founded in 1893, the Boat Club has been central to the Society throughout its long history. Every year, a new generation of Cuth's rowers are taught to row by fellow Cuth’s students, following in the footsteps of all those who have come before them. In this special feature, we want to let you know what we've been up to this year, our plans for the future, as well as details of our 125th Anniversary Appeal. We have also included an abridged excerpt from The History of St Cuthbert's Society Boat Club, written by former Captain Michael Foulkes. 

Top: Novice Women's 1st VIII at the Durham Regatta 2017. Photo Credit: Al Johnston Above: Men's 1st VIII Head of the River. Photo Credit: Jet Photographic

The Year So Far by Petrina Witt The 2017/18 year so far has proved to be a notable one for SCSBC. Michaelmas term saw record breaking numbers of novice sign-ups, with a total of 83 freshers giving rowing a go for the first time! These numbers have remained healthy throughout the year, with strong performances put in at the novices' inaugural event, Novice Cup. The top VIII of the novice men were ambitious enough to enter BUCS Head in February, followed by the Tideway in March. This marks the first time in several years that Cuth's has sent a novice crew down to London! The novice women haven't been slacking


either, with the top VIII entering their first regatta at York Spring in May, and thrashed Leeds University to get through to the semi-finals. We look forward to their progress and performance in the years to come! Meanwhile the senior squads have also had their share of success. Notable performances include the women coming 2nd in the team relay at NEIRC (North East Indoor Rowing Championship), 3rd fastest college at Rutherford Head, and a strong race from both the 1st and 2nd VIIIs at WEHoRR (given a nightmare coach journey and very little sleep)! The men were impressive at HoRR and placed as 3rd fastest Durham college. Both squads have high hopes for regatta season, aiming for the top place among the collegiate clubs at events such as Durham Regatta. Amid patient planning of the SCSBC's 125th Year, preparations have already begun ahead of the big anniversary alumni weekend in September. Work has been carried out on the interior of the boathouse, giving the historic building a long-awaited facelift. Further redecoration will continue after exams by student volunteers, with the aim being to improve the boathouse for the boathouse for the enjoyment of

Novice Men's IV at the Durham SBH 2016. Photo credit: Al Johnston

alumni and current members alike! On a personal note, it has been an honour to be Captain during this special year of the club's history. Getting in touch with so many previous Cuth's oarsmen and women has been such a pleasure. Hearing your stories of how this club has touched so many lives certainly has given me a great deal of perspective! Discovering a love of rowing - and indeed sport in general - in my first year was definitely the best thing that could have happened to me since coming to Durham. You couldn't have convinced me back then that in my fourth year I would be in charge! This club creates so many memories, friendships, and valuable skills, and I hope it continues to do so for generations to come.

Looking Ahead Joe Plunkett, Captain of Boats Elect As Boat Club Captain for the 2018/19 season, I’ll be looking to maintain the Cuth's rowing spirit, where students can train as seriously or non-seriously as they like, while also pushing top crews to be as competitive as possible. I’d want to see Cuth's putting in strong performances not only against the other colleges, but also on a wider club level. Racing at HoRR and WEHoRR is always a great opportunity to see where we stand against crews from all over the country. Competing at these events is a good thing for any SCSBC rower to aim for, and I’d like to see both senior and novice crews compete in the coming season. This would allow for more integration across squads, as we would have both novice and senior eights training together in the run-up to the event. This would in turn hopefully act as a motivation for novices to carry on with their rowing into later years. On a more general note, I hope to oversee a smooth running of the Boat Club, with everyone working towards common aims and most importantly, enjoying their rowing. 

Women's squad at WEHoRR 2018


Cuthbert's Chronicle | Easter 2018 | Issue No. 8

A Short History of the Boat Club Taken from A History of St Cuthbert's Society Boat Club by Michael Foulkes, edited by Alistair Stewart. Early Days Before the Society was founded, the students who were to become Cuthsmen were known as the Unattached. On the 18th February 1880, the Unattached Undergraduates held a meeting in the Union Rooms, during which they resolved to form an Association. Although there was a general disinterest among the students in sport, there was, according to Henry Tudor a ‘certain amount of interest in rowing’.    In May 1880, some of the Unattached, presumably eager to pursue their collective interest in rowing, reached an agreement with Hatfield Hall Boat Club, through which they were allowed to row for Hatfield Hall, or borrow a boat if there was sufficient interest to merit entering as a separate body.  This agreement appears to have lasted until the Michaelmas Term of 1884, when a similar agreement was reached with University College Boat

Club, and this agreement appears to have lasted until the founding of the Society in 1888, when the Unattached began to compete independently. During this time, the Club’s duck was broken in the Michaelmas Term of 1886, with C. F. A. Wimberley forming part of a pair which won the Challenge Pairs. The Trial IVs of 1888 saw the first real success for Cuth’s crews, with two crews entered, both of whom won their first race, and one of whom went on to record the first success for an all Cuth’s crew, beating University College in the final. The first mention of a separate Boat Club for members of Unattached was not until the Michaelmas term of 1893/94. The Club acquired St. Cuthbert’s Boathouse in 1894, and it remains the envy of the other college boat clubs today. Perhaps as a celebration of their new boathouse, Cuth’s crews began strongly in 1894/95, with two crews entered for the Trial IVs and a first victory at the Challenge Pairs for an all-Cuth’s pair. The University Journal noted the celebratory mood in December 1894: ‘St Cuthbert’s Boat Club is now in a very prosperous and prospering state.’ In the early years, the Club’s strength was predominately in sculling. From 1899 until 1911, not a year went by without Cuth’s claiming victory in at least one sculling event and occasionally throwing in a victory in the Challenge Pairs for a touch of variety. This dominance was the result of several outstanding individual rowers at a time where the membership of the Boat Club was dropping dramatically. Captain MacFarland-Grieve, writing in the 1920s, shows just how drastic things had become, saying that ‘at the 

Novice crew, 1952. Photo credit: Albert Hodgson

present time, with the Unattached Undergraduates reduced to less than half a dozen in number, we must regretfully consider the History of St Cuthbert’s Society Boat Club as finally closed’. Fortunately, the Boat Club recovered and is still going strongly, though it certainly looked like being touch and go between the wars.

Post Wars Following the Second World War, membership of the Society, and therefore also interest in the Boat Club, began to pick up again. The

L-R: Syd Leuillette, Keith Jones, Mel Shiels, Tom Bishop, Bernard Robertson, Phil Hardcastle (front). circa. 1966-1967. Photo credit: Keith Jones

immediate post-war period was not hugely successful for the Club, with an early attempt to enter York Regatta ending in disappointment when the two boats the Club were borrowing cracked before the race forcing a withdrawal.   In 1951 the Club found victory in the Lady Herschell Plate, the first trophy the Club had won since the glory days forty years previously. The success continued the following year with victories in the Novice Cup and the Pickard-Cambridge Cup, as well as a win against Edinburgh University in a challenge race.   During the sixties, the Club enjoyed a great deal of success, sufficiently marked that when the time came to have the team photographs taken, other Cuth's sports clubs were in the habit of borrowing the trophies won by the Boat Club to make it look as if they'd had a successful season. In the Lowe Pairs, the Senior Pairs event in Durham, Pete Brett and Anthony Wells “beat the DUBC President and his partner by not just a distance, but an embarrassing distance”.  They had already turned around by the time their opponents came over the finishing line on the long course near Prebends' Bridge, establishing them as comfortably the fastest oarsmen in Durham. 

and they were regarded as the finest Durham Club that year starting 284th and managing to move up impressively to end the race in joint 219th. This was also the year that Bernard Robertson and Stan Turner began coaching Cuth’s rowers with Stan looking after the novices and Bernard coaching the seniors. Both men had started out at the Durham Johnston school, where Bernard had been a pupil and Stan had taught physics. After taking a year out, Bernard became Captain of Boats in 1956, and then returned ten years later to coach, a position he was to occupy until he retired in 2003. Stan had left the school to join the Education Department at Durham and soon also became a crucial figure in the success the Boat Club enjoyed. 

The 1970s began with some early success, but threatened to peter out in the middle, ending with some more success and was to lead into a hugely successful period for the Club – in part due to the coaching under Bernard and Stan. The new-found strength of the Club

In 1966, the Club competed in the Head of the River for the first time Above: Men's Novice IV at Stockton Regatta, 1981. Bottom: Senior IV at Rutherford Head, 1981 Photo credits: Rob Thompson


Cuthbert's Chronicle | Easter 2018 | Issue No. 8

was shown by the men’s squad return to the Tideway in the spring of 1981. This strength continued through the mid to late 80s proving to be a tremendously successful period for the Boat Club. The boat club was relatively small at this point but grew rapidly following a strong recruitment campaign in 1985 ensuring the Club enjoyed many successes. The success was continued in 1986/87 when the new intake of novices was so successful that the Novice Cup saw all Cuth’s finals in both the men’s and women’s competitions, and unsurprisingly Cuth’s won!  This period could perhaps be regarded as the most successful in the history of the club, and the efforts of one crew in 1985/86 deserves to live on in legend.  Made up of three keen Freshers who wanted to row competitively - Henry Blackshaw, Chris Lawrence and Tim Pitt – they were joined by Daniel Tomlinson, a second year, and coxed by Patrick Hurley, and decided to “go for it properly”.  Within twelve months they went from novices to the highest possible standard and their only defeat in this time had come against the University’s First IV, whom they beat the following year - a fantastic achievement for a College Boat Club. The summer of 1987 saw an all-Cuth’s final for the novice men at Stockton, with the successful Novice Cup crew of Mike Wilkes, Stuart Wooldridge, Rob Morgan and Nick Jackson, coxed by Jane Cooke, emerging victorious by one length.  However, the crew they beat of Simon Cole, Ben Tolhurst, Ben Dunne and Steve Williamson with Simon Trustram-Eve coxing, did not have to wait much longer, gaining their success at Tyne Regatta.   

Three other crews also took the opportunity to de-novice in 1987, with the ‘Notorious’ crew of Elaine Hamilton, Vicky Foulsham, Elspeth Lindsley and Dawn Cox, with Patrick Herlihy coxing, particularly strong. In 1988, the ‘Notorious’ crew, now coxed by Jon Waugh, managed the remarkable feat of beating the University Women's Senior 1 IV on both days of Durham Regatta coming home to deafening cheers on both occasions! Buoyed by this success, they headed south to represent Cuth’s at Women's Henley for the first time ever and rowed extremely well to get to the semi-final, where they ultimately lost, but it was nevertheless an outstanding achievement.  By the time they graduated the following year, having been steered to victories at Tyne and Wansbeck in 1988/89 by Sara Wisson, they had risen from complete beginners to one win away from being Senior A, another hugely impressive performance by a Cuth’s crew during this period. In 1993, the Club entered a crew for Women’s Head for the first time and were hugely successful. The crew started in 191st and by the finish they rose to 144th. The start of the 21st century found the club in fine health 

boasting four active men’s VIIIs and two active women’s VIIIs and also looking to the future with a five-year plan. In 2002 the regatta season was extremely successful for the club.  Beginning at Durham City the men won the Senior four VIIIs and Novice IVs, before the women won the Senior three VIIIs at Tees Regatta, including a victory against a touring Dutch crew.  At Durham Regatta the men’s Senior three VIII won on Saturday, and although the women’s Senior four VIII were beaten by the DUBC freshers by the tiny margin of half a canvas on the Saturday, they returned to form on Sunday beating Newcastle University to win the Senior three VIIIs. In 2003 the Men’s squad entered BUSA with a  crew of Chris Reid, David Doran, Toby Mack, Liam Berry, Andy Ford, Tim Chapman, Matt HowardCairns, Karri Vuori, all coxed by Claire Higgins. They faced a tough initial draw against Oxford Brookes, who had won at Tideway that year. None of the Cuth’s crew was particularly confident, and the awful conditions did not help.  Both crews started well, and at the 1km mark Brookes were looking to up the pressure.  Cuth’s hung on well and with 200m to go the two crews were still level.  Seeing the finish line, Cuth’s called for a ‘bow four push’, and with Brookes unable to respond, Cuth’s edged home to win by a canvas.  This naturally sparked scenes of wild delight on the bank, and led to bow four celebrating as if they had just won the Olympics!  The Club has continued to have success over recent years, with history being made each year. 

ST. CUTHBERT'S SOCIETY BOAT CLUB 125TH ANNIVERSARY APPEAL 125th Anniversary Appeal In honour of SCSBC's 125th Anniversary, we are asking our alumni to help us ensure that the Club maintains its high standards and competitive legacy. You can help us today to continue to build upon our successes. Cuth's has fallen behind most other colleges in terms of the quality of its boat fleet: the current top VIII is over 25 years old and needed extensive structural repairs last year to keep it afloat. Without support from alumni like you we will continue to struggle against other colleges.

Solving the Problem It is essential that we invest in high quality new boats and significantly upgrade the Boat Club fleet. We are seeking to purchase (in order of priority): A new (or very high quality second-hand) VIII, which would become the new top VIII for the senior men's and women's crews.  A new racing IV, weighted for lighter men and also for women, allowing both teams to match their competitors' equipment.  A second-hand 1x, weighted for c.60-75kg, which would cater better for the women's squad and for sculling.

How You Can Help Our goal is £20,000. The students themselves have been hard at work fundraising, but we need your help. We hope that you will support our Boat Club by donating to our appeal to fund this new equipment. All gifts to SCSBC will be gratefully received and will make an immediate difference to the success of the Club. 

How to Donate Give online at

Call the Development Office on 0191 334 6298

Contact if you would like to discuss your gift in more detail.


Cuthbert's Chronicle | Easter 2018 | Issue No. 8

Norman Rawlinson (Chemistry, 1968) and co visiting Cuth's in June to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their graduation

St Cuthbert's Alumni Association The Alumni Association connects alumni to St Cuthbert's Society and the University, and offers social, professional and cultural opportunities to the alumni community. by Richard Peralta (English Literature, 2005) Association Chair


Megan Croll (Geography, 2016), Eleanor Harby (Psychology, 2015) and Harriet Rawet (Geography, 2015) at the 2017 Alumni Weekend

Let me begin by extending a huge welcome and congratulations to all Cuth's students who have just graduated. Your time with Cuth's does not stop at graduation and the friends you have made during your time in Durham are friends for life! As Cuth's alumni, we are all automatically members of the Alumni Association. Your Association offers the opportunity for you to keep in touch with other alumni and with Cuth's, and to support the activities and development of current students. We have a busy social calendar with events around the UK, including the Founders' Dinner in October and the St Cuthbert's Day Lunch in March, which I hope we'll see you at. Our biggest event of the year is the Alumni Weekend, which takes places in the summer of each year. This year we're celebrating the 125th Anniversary of St Cuthbert's Society Boat Club, but the weekend is open to all alumni. We've even helped set up events in New York and Hong Kong, so do please get in touch if you would 


like to organise something for Cuth's alumni outside of the UK. Our calendar is always available on There are plenty of opportunities for you to be involved in the alumni community. The Association has a committee of dedicated alumni, and anyone is welcome to run for a position. If you would like to volunteer or run, we are currently on the lookout for a Website Manager and Secretary, so please let us know if you're interested. We also have a newly created Events Committee to work with our Events Manager, Matt Glover (Economics, 2008), which organises and runs our events throughout the year. It's a great way to get involved. Finally, we're always looking for new ways to support the JCR and are in the process of drawing up a list of new initiatives to help. Join the conversation and let us know your thoughts through social media pages or by getting in touch by email.


Class Notes Jasper Cox (Economics, St Cuthbert's Society, 2008-11); Tom Pain (Accounting & Finance, John Snow, 2005-08 and Finance & Investment, Ustinov, 2008-09) and Peter Rawlinson (Business Finance, John Snow, 2004-08) have recently launched My Swft, a free travel concierge service over WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Check it out at Deborah Oxberry (Philosophy and Psychology, 1990) has published her first novel, Hurt and Revenge. Deborah is also the author of two non-fiction books.  Christopher Preston (Philosophy, 1990) has published his third book The Synthetic Age: Outdesigning Evolution, Resurrecting Species, and Reengineering Our World published by the MIT Press.  Kenneth F Clark (Geology and Physics, 1956) has been honoured with the establishment of the Kenneth F. and Patricia Clark Distinguished Chair at the University of Texas at El Paso.

One to watch! Recent class of 2016 graduates Harry Rice (Geography), David Torkington (Physics), John Richardson (Engineering, Hild Bede), and Thomas Kiddle (Engineering), have launched LagomMind. Inspired by the Swedish principle of lagom, meaning "Not too little, not too much", their goal is to apply the virtues of this philosophy to mental health, particularly to the wellbeing of students and young professionals. LagomMind includes an app, podcast and live events. Check it out at

Events Roundup On Saturday 24 March, Cuth’s alumni gathered at the Mall Tavern in London to enjoy the St Cuthbert’s Day Lunch. This event is held annually around the St. Cuthbert’s Feast Day on 20 March. A veritable feast of chicken, fish and aubergine bake was shared with alumni from across the generations (1950s to 2010s) and accompanied by enjoyable conversation and laughter. A new initiative took place in April, which saw the inaugural Association Pub Quiz take place at the Christopher Hatton in London. With James Smith (Environmental Geoscience, 2004) ably firing off a succession of general knowledge and not-so-general knowledge questions, it saw seven teams battle it out for the coveted prize of bragging rights. The night was not without controversy, after a bonus round saw the champions steal the win despite not getting the most correct answers. A great format by James and much fun was had by all. The event raised over £200 to enable the Association to make a donation to the JCR to support Sports and Societies.

Matt Glover (Economics, 2008) Alumni Association Events Manager

Upcoming Events 14 - 16 September 2018, Durham St Cuthbert's Society Alumni Weekend: Celebrating 125 Years of St Cuthbert's Society Boat Club The flagship event of the year! The perfect opportunity to catch up with your housemates, course mates, team mates or friends with whom you have lost touch despite best efforts. This year we celebrate the Boat Club's 125th Anniversary and is open to all alumni, rowers and non-rowers alike, so see you there! For booking and more details, head to

27 October 2018, London Founders' Dinner and 130th Anniversary Celebration Join us in London to celebrate the founding of the Society. For booking and more details, head to


Cuthbert's Chronicle | Easter 2018 | Issue No. 8


I was a British spy, really The memoirs of a reluctant army national serviceman, from basic training to becoming a 'Razvedshchik' (195961) by Derrick Phillips (Classics, 1956-59) Yes, it’s true. I was a British spy, trained by the Joint Services School for Linguists. No, I didn’t wear a Sandeman’s Port hat and cloak, nor did I carry a hidden gun or false papers or suicide tablets, but it is true that some 59 years ago I was trained to be what the Russians certainly classed as a spy; maybe low down in the hierarchical ladder of spies, but we were assured our efforts were of vital importance to the work of NATO and the safety of the West.

In fact Andrey Yanuaryevich Vyshinsky, Russian diplomat and Soviet Foreign Minister, denounced JSSL at the United Nations as ‘a school for spies’. I have written a book telling tell the tale of how a reluctant National Serviceman, just out of University, talked his way into the Intelligence Corps and made his military service worthwhile in more ways than one. I shall not recount here the horrors of

basic training. After 3 wonderful years in Durham, I declined to do a Dip. Ed. in Durham, and decided to brave National Service in the Royal Army Service Corps. After basic training I managed to transform the rest of my National Service into something enjoyable, useful and in the end wonderful. With not a little difficulty, I declined to go for a Commission and got myself transferred to JSSL in Crail, Scotland to study Russian as a member of the Intelligence Corps. At Crail we were warned never to disclose what we learned there and the work we would eventually do in the Intelligence Corps, under pain of prosecution for breaching the Official Secrets Act. In the early 1960s an unfortunate was jailed for 6 months, yet a couple of years later the prohibition to publish was lifted and 4 books were published, revealing all. I only caught on about the relaxation 40 years later.

Above: Derrick, accompanied by his parents, at his graduation in 1959.

At the start of the 'Cold War', Churchill and his cabinet, together with military authorities and the security services, decided that Britain did not have enough Russian speakers to keep tabs on the Russians. Early steps entailed sending a chosen few to universities or remote country houses but the


numbers were totally insufficient. So it was decided from on high that a linguist school should be established. First efforts included schools in Coulsdon, Surrey, and Bodmin, Cornwall. But the national need was for thousands of Russian speaking linguists. So it was decided in 1951 to set up JSSL on a former airfield in remote Crail, Scotland. Over the next nine years some 5,000 servicemen were trained there, mostly in Russian, including many future famous people like Alan Bennett, Stephen Potter, Michael Frayn and Lesley Woodley.  All our daylight hours were spent learning Russian. Our teachers were two Latvians, two Russian ladies, and an English teacher. On our very first day we were thrust into a teaching system where only Russian was first spoken. The stoutish, affable White Russian Madam Danilochkin greeted us with a phrase like ‘Меня зовут Госпада Данилочкин.’ (Pointing at herself and then at you) ‘Как тебя зовут?’   (I am Madam Danilochkin. And you are?) Next she might hold up a pencil and a pen and say ‘Вот карандаш и вот перо’. (‘This is a pencil and this a pen’.) Gradually we got used to toal immersion and quirks of grammar. We were weaned on simple and then more difficult grammar and syntax and vocabulary in lessons from the English Mr Meades, using both Anna Semenova's Russian grammar book and the specially prepared books written by JSSL staff.  One of the enjoyable parts of our training was learning to sing Russian songs and how to drink neat vodka in one gulp! Apart from grammar and syntax lessons we had to converse and take dictation in Russian – a foretaste of what we would have to do later in West Berlin. We also had to read prose and poetry aloud. I was at JSSL Crail for just three

Entrance to the hub of military intelligence in West Berlin during the Cold War.

We were taught pages of Russian technical and military vocabulary, often not knowing what the words meant in English months, from November 1959 to January 1960 before the station was closed. We were transferred to the renamed Army School of Linguists in Beaconsfield, where we continued our language studies. Then we went to the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham, where we received technical training. Confronted with rows of super radios, tape recorders and earphones, we were told to sit at the machines, put on the earphones and tune away over the radio waves to see if we could hear anyone speaking Russian, in which case we should log on and record. We were given pencils and notebooks and told to write down immediately anything we heard in Russian – even if we had not understood what had been said. This was to be the focus of our work and training at GCHQ and in the  

future at a listening outpost to which we would be assigned in West Germany or West Berlin. This listening was a difficult challenge but it had to be conquered, if one was to progress any further. The fear of being returned to our original regiments was sufficient motivation. We were taught pages of Russian technical and military vocabulary, often not knowing what the words meant in English. After three months our gang of 12 was divided up to go to varying Intelligence Corps centres in Germany. Hoping to be grouped with close colleagues, I was dismayed when I found they were assigned to an outpost in the woods in West Germany, while I was destined for West Berlin. Little did I realise at the time how lucky I was. I had been disappointed when told I was going to West Berlin, but it was in fact like winning the lottery. Instead of being holed up in a West German forest or nondescript small town I was able to explore a vibrant city, recovering from the dreadful bombing by the Allies and in many areas still showing the scars of war – bombed sites, damaged buildings and the iconic ruin of the Gedächtniskirche, which the Berliners kept as a ruin to remind future generations of the bombing of the city.


Cuthbert's Chronicle | Easter 2018 | Issue No. 8

Above: Late August 1961. An East German guard jumps to freedom in West Berlin.

But there was serious work to be done. We were attached as an Army Sigint (Signal Intelligence) unit in the British occupied zone and stationed on a RAF Aerodrome, Gatow Airport, famous for its part in the 1948 Berlin Airlift. Life in Berlin was extraordinarily pleasant, because again routine military so-called disciplines were waived in view of our intelligence duties. The work was secret and interesting, and we were again warned against revealing anything about it, being subject to the Official Secrets Act. However, not long after the collapse of the U.S.S.R and the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany, the nature of our work became well known. At the time however we were subjected to strict secrecy, prevented from going to East Berlin and not allowed to travel to any Communist country for a whole year after demob. The building in which we carried out

our secret work was a standard Gatow block (bristling with aerials, which must have made it obvious what work was being done within), but to enter it you had to step into a cage, which was opened for entry and then closed, while Military Police examined your identity card. When they were satisfied the exit gate was opened and one proceeded upstairs to a room where under the watchful eye of a senior Non-Commissioned Officer we sat in front of large Eddystone radios and Ferrograph tape recording machines, donned earphones, were given pencils and several sheets of paper and started to track Russians over the wavelengths. I was eventually promoted from Signalman (though in the Intelligence Corps, we were “disguised” as belonging to the Royal Signals) to the elevated rank of Lance Corporal. With my one stripe I was put in charge of day or night “watches”, being responsible, often alone, for the

work of the others on the watch and for security. This was quite a responsibility because the phone would often ring and everyone was warned not to blurt out some secret information, especially secret code words, as for sure as eggs are eggs, the Russians would be tapping the conversations. The Russians were often ordered to keep radio silence because they knew that we and the Americans (with their superior equipment to ours) were listening in. But they could be careless and, while chatting, reveal their co-ordinates and therefore their whereabouts, their names and ranks and regiments and tank identification. This was all grist to our intelligence mill. On one occasion (12 April 1961) on my watch we were desperately and excitedly trying to track a Russian space satellite Vostok 1 carrying astronaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man launched into space, and


attempting to beat the Yanks to it. Sadly they got there first. But we were able in the end to find him and listen in to his words emanating from outer space. It was quite an experience in the middle of the night. We often wondered how the scraps of information we recorded could be of any real use to the Cold War effort against the Russians. However our scribblings and tapes were rushed off for analysis first by the British intelligence and then ferried to Tempelhof, where the Americans carried out their own analysis. We were assured that our efforts were very important, when fitted into the overall picture of what the Russians were up to. Without doubt however, the most important and pleasant thing that happened to me at Gatow (a R.A.F. intelligence establishment on which the Intelligence Corps had a detachment) was my meeting Sheila Betts, who less than two years later was to become my lovely wife. Sheila was a teacher with the British Forces Educational Service, teaching R.A.F. children at Gatow. Though a civilian, she held the honorary rank of Captain in the Army - and the highest rank I attained was Corporal! One of the more farcical things that occured at Gatow was at this time, when the tension and fears created by the start of the Berlin Wall were at their height. Clearly there were real fears of an invasion. All British soldiers in Berlin, including us, were ordered to assemble in the Olympic Stadium. We were told we would be armed with rifles and be prepared at a moment's notice to fight our way out of Berlin and across East Germany to West Germany. In fact we were given old, obsolete .303 rifles with Russian tanks less than 5 minutes from our establishment. It seemed madness to us. As it happened, nothing happened.

Above: Derrick and Sheila Phillips at the 2017 Founders' Dinner, hosted by St Cuthbert's Alumni Association.

Towards the end of my service I was promoted for a short while to the rank of Acting Corporal but on demob reverted to Private according to the weird Army rules of rank. I was demobbed in August 1961 and persuaded Sheila to resign her post in Berlin, as I was nervous of the dangers arising from the troubles after the building of the Berlin Wall. Gatow was on the very edge of East Berlin, facing Russian tanks on the border and the British Occupying Forces were on a red alert for a possible invasion, which would have meant crossing a hundred miles through Russian held East Germany armed only with a .303 rifle. We did not earn any medals for serving in Berlin as did the Americans, who expressed their amazement that we were not similarly decorated, especially as they pointed out, we were closer to the Russian tanks and armed convoys than they were! 

This article is an edited excerpt from Derrick's memoirs. Anyone interested in reading the whole book can contact Derrick at If there are any Cuth's alumni still around who also went to JSSL, Derrick would be glad to hear from you or meet up at the Alumni Weekend in September in Durham.

SHARE YOUR STORY Contribute to the 'Pearls of Wisdom' collection: a series of new and unpublished articles written by Cuth's alumni. We're inviting all Cuth's alumni to submit an article for this collection, which will be published on Alumni Association's website and some will be printed in the Cuthbert's Chronicle. Articles can be on any subject of your choice and there is recommended length of up to 1500 words. Please email with any questions or to submit an article.



Cuthbert's Chronicle | Easter 2018 | Issue No. 8

Senior Common Room by Dr Mark Miller SCR President Issue 7 of Cuthbert's Chronicle contained warm tributes to Bernard Robertson, former Principal, in which his affection for, and dedication to the Society shone through.  I should therefore not have been surprised when we heard from Bernard's wife, Gwyneth, that Bernard had even been thoughtful enough to leave a gift in his will for the SCR to hold a party.   The party took place on 27 April and it brought together the broadest representation of our membership that I have ever seen in one place, from Bernard's own contemporaries to newcomers who had joined in the last few months. Naturally, we did not miss the opportunity to honour Bernard's memory, and there were moving speeches from Albert Hodgson (an alumnus who was pictured next to Bernard on the cover of the last issue of the Chronicle), Stephen Weatherseed (former JCR President and DU President who flew over from Hong Kong to be with us), and Dave Robson (who was Principal both before and after Bernard's tenure). We were particularly delighted to be joined at the party by Bernard's son Drew, together with his wife Fran and their son Tom.  In his tribute, Drew recalled how his father never failed to point out when anything associated with a Cuth's or Durham graduate appeared in the media, to the extent 

that Drew grew up thinking everyone on television had studied here -including Wallace and Gromit. From so many angles, the party spoke volumes for Bernard's vast contribution to Cuth's and for the fact that his legacy will be with us for a long time to come.  At the annual Gourmet Lunch in March we raised a glass and said farewell to Acting Deputy Principal Andrew Tibbs.  On behalf of the SCR, I would like to thank Andrew for his wholehearted support of our activities, both visibly at events and behind the scenes helping to make things happen.  Amongst much else, he has contributed to scholarly discourse in his own field of Roman Archaeology, helped to manage the increasingly popular SCR Performing Arts Grants, and initiated a much-needed restructuring of the web site.  In April, we welcomed our new Vice Principal, Dr Jonathan Warren, who is already energetically engaged with the SCR and has a wealth of experience to draw on from his time as SCR Vice President at Trevelyan College.  Jon is currently mustering the SCR's team for the annual SCR-JCR cricket match and looks set to give the JCR a run for their money. At the time of writing (late May), an eventful term is not yet over.  We have had some spectacular one-off events, including an evening talk


Lawrence of Arabia by the Dean of Durham (and SCR member) the Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, as well as a tour of Italian wines and their cultural context by postgraduate student Alessandro Berlè, who selected and shipped bottles directly from the wine-makers especially for us. Much more lies ahead, including the final SCR & Alumni Guest Night of the academic year.  Alumni are always welcome at SCR events and I invite you to keep an eye on our plans at the SCR website.

Recommended for you... How was Alexander the Great controversial king, conqueror, explorer, and pupil of Aristotle, the subject of histories, romances, epic poetry, satires, and sermons in most of the languages of Europe and the Middle East - read, written and rewritten during the High Middle Ages? Aiming to illuminate not only the conqueror's history but also the fastchanging and complex literary landscape that existed between 1150 and 1350, this study by new SCR member Dr Venetia Bridges from the Department of English Studies considers Alexander narratives in Latin, varieties of French and English - the Alexandreis, the Roman d'Alexandre, the Roman de toute chevalerie, and Kyng Alisaunder - to address this vast and wide-ranging question. Available from Boydell & Brewer

St Cuthbert's Society Opportunities Fund Cuth's is committed to providing the best possible student experience, producing graduates who not only achieve highly in their degrees, but who are also equipped with a diverse range of interests and skills which enable them to thrive in life after university.Â

Your support is more important than ever We believe that the best and brightest students should be able to study here, regardless of their financial capacity.

How You Can Help With your help, we can ensure that incoming students from all financial backgrounds can enjoy the same opportunities that generations of Cuthbert's students have done before them.

Supporting the next generation of Cuthbert's students

Alumni can help a new generation of Cuthbert's students by working together and supporting the Opportunities Fund. To find out how you can help Cuthbert's, head to

St Cuthbert's Society 12 South Bailey Durham DH1 3EE 0191 334 4300 Principal: Professor Elizabeth Archibald Email: Alumni and Development Officer: Harry Lewendon-Evans

St Cuthbert's Society Alumni Weekend Celebrating 125 Years of St Cuthbert's Society Boat Club 14 - 16 Sep 2018

/CuthbertsAlumni @CuthsAlumni

14.09.18 - 16.09.18 Book online today at: st-cuthberts.society/scsbc125/

Profile for Cuth's Alumni

Cuthbert's Chronicle - June 2018  

Cuthbert's Chronicle - June 2018