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Ice Flotilla

Ice Flotilla

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Ice Flotilla

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May 31, 2011


It was a time of war.

It was a time of sacrifice.

It was a time of brave deeds, death, and destruction.

Yet it was also a magical time of love and romance.

Will those traits ever fade?

Ice Flotilla is a story about ordinary people caught up in the extraordinary horrors and challenges of World War Two. In the midst of this terrible conflict, human beings were also faced with many of life's seemingly mundane choices too. How they handled the pressures of war, the loss of loved ones, and still managed to discover their dignity during those tumultuous times, is what this book is all about. With a world at war, love still made a difference in so many ways.

Once again Iceland was a major locale for one of Derek Hart's novels. Intrigued by the culture, the people, the landscape, and the history, the author felt motivated to write another book expounding the virtues and complexities of this fascinating nation. Ice Flotilla compliments Crooked Cross Factor, Hart's other Icelandic-based adventure.

May 31, 2011

Über den Autor

Derek Hart loves to write novels with plenty of action, adventure and romance. This is his 9th novel published by iUniverse.

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Ice Flotilla - Derek Hart

Ice Flotilla

by Derek Hart


Smashwords Edition

Published by

Derek Hart on Smashwords

Ice Flotilla

Copyright - 2006 Derek Hart

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the permission in writing from the publisher.

Smashwords Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author's work.

This book is also available as print


This book is dedicated to Jessica Newman.

Sometimes we get to meet people who are truly special.

She is beautiful, creative, confident, and full of energy.

May these simple words motivate her to take a few risks,

Maintain the courage to chase her dreams,

Never forget that mistakes teach vital lessons.

And the journey through life will be wondrous indeed.


Table of Contents





Chapter 1 - One Cold and Snowy Night

Chapter 2 - School Days

Chapter 3 - Operation Ice Floe

Chapter 4 - A Great Deliverance or a Great Disaster?

Chapter 5 - Things Yet to Come

Chapter 6 - A Woman Named Falda

Chapter 7 - The Affair

Chapter 8 - The War Hits Home

Chapter 9 - Ashes to Ashes

Chapter 10 - A Cat Named Solomon

Chapter 11 - The Shetland Bus

Chapter 12 - Falling in Love Again

Chapter 13 - Disaster Strikes

Chapter 14 - More Nasty Pinpricks

Chapter 15 - Behind His Back

Chapter 16 - Increased Presence

Chapter 17 - Another Mission Gone Awry

Chapter 18 - A Long Road

Chapter 19 - A Question of Custody

Chapter 20 - A Day in Court

Chapter 21 - A Constant Reminder



About the Author


Critical Acclaim



The high sky separates the planets.

The blade separates the hilt from the point.

But spirits who love,

eternity can never separate.

- Jonas Hallgrimsson

(Icelandic Poet)



Sure I am this day we are masters of our fate, that the task which has been set before us is not above our strength; that its pangs and toils are not beyond our endurance.As long as we have faith in our own cause and an unconquerable will to win, victory will not be denied us.

Sir Winston Churchill



Especially to Gudmundur Helgason, who once again provided vital research material, this time specifically regarding British military operations during WWII from his beloved Iceland, as well as cultural and social accuracy.

To Director Lydur Palsson, of the Eyrarbakki Maritime Museum, for his fantastic help researching the impact WWII had on Iceland’s ports, harbors, and fishing industry.

To Development Manager Julian Thomas, of the Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth, England for vital assistance with research into covert MTB operations during WWII.

To Director Rannveig Þórhallsdóttir, of the East Iceland Heritage Museum, Egilsstaðir, Iceland, for her incredible vitality assisting the author research life in Iceland during WWII.

Cover art by David M. Burke



Following Winston Churchill’s instructions to form a butcher and bolt raiding force as a means of continuing the war against Nazi Germany following the evacuation of most of the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk, a format for the new force was put forward by Lieutenant Colonel Dudley Clarke.Clarke penned his proposals on June 5, 1940, just two days after the evacuation, which was approved after a meeting between Churchill and the Royal Navy’s Coastal Command.

Initially volunteers were called for from serving Army soldiers still in Britain and men of the Independent Companies which were being disbanded. Some later recruiting was conducted in the various theatres and among foreign nationals joining the Allies. Colonel Clarke proposed the name Commando after the raiding and assault style of Boer Commando units of the Second Boer War.Despite Churchill’s liking for the name, some senior officers preferred the term Special Service and both terms coexisted until the latter part of the war.


Chapters or other Divisions

Chapter 1

London, England

January 1940

One Cold and Snowy Night

With snow flurries swirling about him, the naval officer lifted up the collar of his overcoat to protect the back of his neck.Lieutenant Commander Richard C. Hathaway (RNSR) was greeted at the front door by two security guards, who politely requested identification.Once he had been checked and cleared for admittance, the officer stepped inside.Hathaway was reporting for duty on this cold winter night, only slightly aware of how recent events might be changing his life forever.As the Lt. Commander walked down the second floor hallway of British Naval Intelligence Headquarters, he checked his appearance in the reflection of each glass doorway he passed.Hathaway stood a little over six feet tall, broad-shouldered and always a little heavier than he should be, especially around the beltline.His strawberry-blonde hair was close-cropped on the sides, but much longer on top, so the ladies will always be tempted to run their fingers through it.Hathaway’s eyes changed colors with his moods, from sky blue to battleship gray, but he was actually a fairly even-tempered man.

The echoes of his footfalls resounded up and down the empty corridor, as he continued on towards the doorway at the far end of the hall.Hathaway could see a sliver of light peeking out from under the door as he drew nearer.Painted on the frosted glass was the name C-in-C Admiral Rayne Gretton.

Hathaway rapped on the door.

I’ll be right there, spoke out a deep bass voice from the other side.

The door opened and a pleasant face greeted Hathaway, as well as an outstretched hand.Lieutenant Commander Hathaway, I presume?

Hathaway came to attention and shook hands with the admiral, while replying, Yes, sir.

The older gentleman, perhaps in his late-50’s, beckoned him in.No need for such protocol at this late hour, eh?After all, it’s almost midnight.Please, come in and share a sip of scotch with me.

Hathaway obediently followed the senior officer inside, where it was obvious Admiral Gretton had been working on some unidentified project.There were charts and maps scattered all about the carpeted floor, with stacks of communiqués nearby and several volumes of naval histories piled high, pages bookmarked for important passages.Even though a hearty fire burned in the fireplace, the room was still a bit chilly.

Find a seat, Richard, while I pour us some refreshments, the admiral suggested.Did you know that all weather reports are being censored for fifteen days, even while Britain is shivering from the coldest spell since 1895?

No sir, I wasn’t aware of that, Hathaway replied, somewhat uncomfortable with the uncustomary casual air.The wind is quite nippy, though, sir.

He watched Admiral Gretton stop before the side-cabinet, lifting out a bottle of fine scotch and pouring two healthy measures into cut-glass tumblers.The man had aged nicely, if such a thing was possible, looking quite distinguished, and he was still in good physical condition.In fact, Hathaway was convinced the officer was someone to be reckoned with.

Here you go, my lad, Gretton said, handing over the glass.

Thank you, sir, Hathaway said.

They tinked glasses and the admiral said, Here’s to someone shooting that ridiculous Austrian paper-hanger before it’s too late.

Hathaway grinned and sipped a little.The scotch was especially smooth, with less peat flavor than he expected.Richard enjoyed the aroma and his expression must have shown it.

Ah, so you have a taste for Bowmore? the admiral commented with delight.Their distillery grinds the peat and they use fire to produce the necessary smoke with less peat flavor.I’m impressed you recognized the difference.

It’s quite delicious, Admiral, Hathaway said.Thank you.

Gretton pointed at the Lt. Commander’s heavy overcoat and said, You’re making me uncomfortable wearing that, son, so please take it off and sit here by my charts.

Hathaway knew better than to argue.He unbuttoned his coat and draped it over a nearby chair, then took a seat before the huge conference table.

I summoned you here on the advice of the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, Sir Roger John Brownlow Keyes, Admiral Gretton began, as he sat down next to Hathaway.Now that’s a mouthful, eh?

Hathaway only nodded, still uncertain as to why he was there in the first place.

Gretton went on.Anyway, Sir Keyes is a close friend of Winston Churchill, who many think will be our next Prime Minister, if things keep developing so poorly.Well, as men in government are often apt to do, Sir Keyes and Mr. Churchill have been discussing a great many things.It turns out that Winston read your little essay on small boat tactics and was duly impressed.

Hathaway’s eyebrows went up.

The admiral picked up and handed a pamphlet to the Lt. Commander.Recognize that?

The Tactics of Small Boats, by Lieutenant Richard Hathaway, stared up at him.He returned it to the admiral.I didn’t know anybody actually read it, much less purchased a copy?

Admiral Gretton disagreed, Actually, it’s a shame it’s out of print.I’ve read that copy at least a hundred times over the last six months.

Well, thank you, sir, Richard replied, still amazed.I’m flattered.

I also went over your service record, Lieutenant Commander, Gretton added.You seem to have been regarded as unorthodox.

Hathaway grimaced.I do believe that’s the term commonly associated with my time in uniform.

The admiral chuckled, took another swig of scotch and said, The Royal Navy has never been much for innovation, Richard.However, I’m also aware that you have built quite a successful international shipping company since leaving active service.If becoming wealthy is any indication of your unorthodox methods, then I’m all for them!

Several years before the Great Depression, Hathaway took over the reins of the floundering British and Western Shipping Company.Even during those tumultuous times he had turned it into one of the foremost British merchant enterprises in history.His success was somewhat legendary and certainly newsworthy, capturing headlines around the world for innovative pricing, wage scales higher than any sensible company would have allowed, and employee loyalty in an era when such a thing was unheard of.

What was the end result?

Dramatic profits, increased market share, and impressive wealth for both the owner and stock holders.In fact, Hathaway was considered by many to be a genius, especially in certain affluent financial circles in London.Investment in his company had been at an all-time high, even with the uncertainty of war.

Of course, that all came to an end with Hitler’s invasion of Poland.Revenue was halved and operations had become something of a challenge, especially since Hathaway maintained his workforce at the same pay scales.

I’m not sure my wife would agree with your assessment, Admiral, Richard replied.

That comment made Gretton laugh out loud.Indeed.I shouldn’t wonder that the former Miss Caroline Forbes would be a wonderful motivation for you.She is perhaps the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my life, if you don’t mind an old man voicing his admiration?

Not at all, sir, Hathaway replied.Richard had grown quite accustomed to all the men in England casting an appraising eye in his wife’s direction.

Caroline Forbes had been born into one of the wealthiest and well-connected families in all of England, with royal blood to boot.The Forbes were vast land holders throughout the Isles, as well as procreating generations of banking barons.Caroline was indeed an incredibly beautiful woman, with perfectly unblemished pale skin and bright emerald eyes.Her hair was a striking combination of natural browns and reds, but she never allowed it to grow long anymore, thereby denying anyone a chance to appreciate the luxurious locks of her youth.However, most men were actually attracted to her lips, which always seemed perfect for kissing.

Caroline had first met Richard Hathaway at a black-tie social function and became enamored with his gentle laugh, intoxicating charm, and dynamic confidence.He was spoken of as an up-and-coming leader of intercontinental shipping, already living quite handsomely, but still a bachelor.Caroline was quite surprised when Hathaway suddenly called upon her for dinner a week later, but found his company both entertaining and intriguing.He was very interesting and had a keen business sense, which even impressed her father, Sir William Forbes, the senior partner of London’s Merchant Bank.Besides, Richard was quite handsome, with a rugged sexuality that swept her into his arms.

As it turned out, Caroline later discovered that one fabulous evening of indiscretion had led to her unplanned and socially-unacceptable pregnancy.However, acting as only a proper gentleman would, Hathaway insisted on marrying her.The rushed wedding ceremony was still very lavish and even the Duke and Duchess of York were honored guests.

Eight months later, Ian Bentley Hathaway was born and Richard spent every possible moment with his newborn son, while balancing the demands of his expanding business concerns.Hathaway senior put in long work hours, for he was dedicated to keeping Caroline in the style she had been accustomed to before they were married.

The admiral interrupted Hathaway’s reflections.And your son?How old is he now?

Ian will soon be thirteen, Admiral, Richard replied, surprised the senior officer would even know about his son, much less care.He’s heading off to Eton in a few weeks.

Bravo, Gretton reacted.He must be a very bright boy.

I believe he got both his brains and his looks from his mother, Richard said.

Quite unexpectedly, the admiral’s eyebrows furled.He leaned forward and said, I hope you will refrain from uttering such carefully rehearsed diplomacy with your detractors in the future, Lieutenant Commander.

Hathaway truly had not expected that response.Sir?

The admiral stood up and retrieved the bottle of scotch, but this time brought it back with him.He splashed some more into his glass, but Richard reluctantly passed on a refill.Gretton sat back down, sipped for awhile, and then set the tumbler on the desktop.

You are here tonight, Mr. Hathaway, because there are some of us that think we are about to lose the war, before it even gets started, the admiral said in one breath.

Hathaway didn’t get a chance to comment.

I, for one, refuse to let that happen, Gretton interrupted.So, I’m planning ahead.I requested your presence and there will be some old fools who will scoff at a Reservist taking charge of the operation I have in mind.So, young man, I need to be certain you can withstand the heat.

Hathaway was well aware of certain immovable minds residing within the Royal Navy.In fact, he had run headlong into some of them while serving in the peacetime navy.There was no room for his ideas, so Richard got out of uniform and took his unorthodox plans to the British and Western Shipping Company.The rest was history.

Thinking about just how he was going to phrase his reply, Hathaway snatched up his tumbler and downed the remaining scotch in one hearty gulp.He smacked his lips and stood up, taking a position of both sheer confidence and utter defiance.

It will be my pleasure to undertake any mission you devise, Admiral Gretton, Richard said.But just let someone get in my way, for it will be the last thing they ever do.For God, King, and Country, sir, I am your loyal servant.

Gretton sprung to his feet and enthusiastically shook Hathaway’s hand.Bloody marvelous!That’s the spirit, my boy.

Richard was relieved by the admiral’s reaction.Even after recently turning 32, Hathaway wondered if the Royal Navy would only be interested in younger blood, regarding the older reservists as nothing more than pencil pushers.It appeared as if Richard would be involved in a special mission right from the outset, which pleased him even more.

At first, you will take command of one of the available MTB’s, the admiral went on.It will do the younger chaps good to learn tactics from you.

Yes, sir, Richard replied.

Then, after awhile, you’ll be promoted to head up to a special unit being formed, Gretton described, with a gleam in his eye.I can’t give you many details right now, but it’ll be your cup of tea, that’s for certain.

Then I look forward to the time when you think I’m ready for such an undertaking, sir, Hathaway said.

The officers respectfully shook hands.

You will report to Dartmouth on the first of the month, Lieutenant Commander, Gretton explained.He handed him an envelope.Your temporary orders are inside.After that, it will be just a matter of training and deployment.I must warn you, Mr. Hathaway, that your status and posting may be changed without a moment’s notice, so stay sharp.Understand?

Richard grinned.Yes, sir, Admiral.

Now be on your way, Richard, Gretton closed the meeting warmly.I look forward to working with you and perhaps we can give the Nazis a few surprises.

Hathaway retrieved his coat, came to attention, and then let himself out.He walked down the hallway again, but this time there was a noticeable change in his strides.Richard felt needed and that was something he hadn’t experienced in a very long time.

As Hathaway stepped outside, it was still snowing and when he looked at his watch, Richard was stunned to discover in was almost 3 o’clock in the morning.After a bus ride and a brisk walk, he took the train from Waterloo Station to Millbay Docks in Plymouth, and then walked home.The precipitation had changed to rain, just as he stepped through the front door.Hathaway looked at his watch again and couldn’t believe it was after 6 o’clock in the morning.

Is that you, Dad? came his son’s excited call from the library.

It is indeed, Ian, Richard replied.

The boy ran into the foyer, where he stopped suddenly, his mouth open and eyes wide.Simply smashing!I’ve never seen you in your uniform before.

Richard stood up straight and posed in an exaggerated profile stance.You never realized your father could look this good, did you?

Ian laughed and hugged his father.You’re so silly, Dad.

Richard picked the boy up and groaned.Oh, you’re getting much too big for this old man to pick up anymore.

Still, Ian loved it anyway, for his father had been carrying him over his shoulder for more than twelve years now.It was a tradition he hoped would never end, even though he suspected it would soon.

Richard put him back down and fluffed his son’s hair.So where’s your Mum?

Right here, Richard, Caroline replied coolly as she came down the staircase.

Hello, dear, her husband said cautiously.

Caroline didn’t say anything more, but her disapproving scowl spoke volumes.

Richard could tell she was not exactly in a good mood, so he slipped by her and continued up the stairs.In the master bedroom, he carefully took off his uniform.Now that Hathaway had officially been called up, he would take all his uniforms to the tailors that afternoon, for some minor alterations and pressing.

Caroline followed Ian into the library, where the boy returned to studying a huge globe suspended from an ancient mariner’s stand near his father’s roll-top desk.

What place has caught your attention this time? she asked.

Some place warm, Ian replied.Any place warm, for that matter.

His mother chuckled.Yes, I could do with a bit of sunshine myself.

Mummy, in England the clouds sit on your head all the time, Ian lamented as he stared out the window.The snow flurries had turned to rain, which was coming down in sheets, obscuring his view of the street.

His mother put her arms around her son and gave him a big hug.Well, at least it isn’t snowing any more.

But I liked the snow, Ian reminded her.

Oh, that’s right, she remembered.

Ian pouted even more.

Now what’s wrong, honey? his mother asked.

I don’t want to go away to school, Mum, he said.

She kissed his forehead.I know you don’t, dearest, but Eton is the finest school in all of England and you are a very smart boy.It’s the best place for you right now, what with your father forced to put on a uniform again.Who knows where this war might take him and for how long?

Ian sighed and said, I shall miss you both terribly.

As we shall miss you too, silly boy, she said, cuddling with him.Caroline was suddenly quite sad, for her Ian was growing up very fast and soon he wouldn’t want to snuggle with his dear old mum, but would be courting pretty girls his own age.

It was smashing to be with both you and dad over the holidays, though, wasn’t it? Ian said with a huge smile.

Yes, his mother replied.It was a nice change for your father to actually be home for awhile.

Now, Mum, don’t say it like that, Ian gently scolded her.Father is the head of a rather important company, you know, and he does have a lot of responsibilities, especially with this war and all.You mustn’t add to his worries.

Her son imitated her trademark scowl, which sent Caroline into fits of laughter.She chased him around the desk, out of the library and through the study, before Ian dodged to his left into the kitchen.His mother thought he would continue into the dining room, but instead the boy headed straight for the cookie jar.By the time she doubled back, Ian was sitting at the breakfast table enjoying his pilfered treat.

You are too smart and too fast for me, young man, Caroline said while wagging her finger at him.

He flicked some crumbs away from his lips and said, Yes, I know.

A little conceited too, I think, she added.

Ian exaggerated his smile, showing teeth.

Are you all packed, young man? his father inquired as he joined them in the kitchen, no longer in uniform.

The smile vanished.Yes, Father, all packed.

Caroline was standing with her hands on her hips, the scowl having returned.

Richard sighed and said, I’m sorry I got home so late, dearest.Admiral Gretton didn’t see me until midnight and by the time the meeting was over, it was way past two in the morning.You know the trains are staggering their schedules now, so it took forever to reach Plymouth.

I waited up for you, you know? she said.

Richard gave her a peck on the cheek.You shouldn’t have, dearest.Things are so uncertain with this war.

Ian scooted past his mother and hugged his father.Well, at least you’re home now.I hope we can do all those things we talked about?

Richard smiled.Indeed we can, son.Where would you like to start?

But what about sleep, Richard, his wife protested.You must be exhausted.

Her husband nodded, but said, Ian will be off to school soon, sweetheart.I can catch up on sleep when he’s gone.There’s man’s work to be done.

Ian started pulling his father towards the cellar stairs.Come on, Dad.Let’s start with a good old fashioned battle.My soldiers are all positioned.

Richard waved to his wife and they hurried downstairs.Within minutes the sounds of mock battles were echoing upstairs, intermingled with raucous laughter.

Caroline smiled and went to the study to read the government rules on rationing.The very thought of going without certain items was abhorrent to her, but according to her father, there was no choice.Besides, Sir William had assured her, the Forbes would make certain that their daughter would not go without any basic supplies.

What do you think of my defense? Ian asked, as he moved several figures on a flanking maneuver.

Quite brilliant, actually, his father replied.The woods give your rifles ample cover and your cavalry is out of sight behind that hill.How do you plan to stop Napoleon if he brings his weight against the chateau?

Ian shrugged.I’m stumped, actually.I know that the ground is still wet on portions of the field, so the French will have difficulty using their cavalry effectively, but the road is in the clear.Any suggestions?

Richard looked over the terrain.I’m at a bit of a handicap, of course, being a naval type, but the unexpected always worked for Wellington.What do you have at your disposal that you might use to convince old Napoleon to attack?

Ian moved around the giant table, eyeing his deployments.I could send some cavalry to draw them out after me?

Would that be enough? Richard quizzed Ian.I’m Napoleon, remember.I’m a bit arrogant, but with good reason.If I beat you here, then all of Europe will join me.

The Prussians, Ian blurted.I will commit my Prussians to move against Napoleon’s left flank.

Richard smiled.Indeed.Those feared black shirts will force the French to protect their flank.Then what?

Ian pointed to his regular British infantry and Highlanders.I will remain below these heights and wait.The French must move me off this ground, or they will not be able to turn my flank.

His father was impressed.Remember to keep your Green Jackets in the woods, where they can cut down the advancing Old Guard.

Ian pointed to the farm house.It still must be decided there.

Richard folded his arms and said, Aye, my son, aye.Tis on those ramparts and behind that gate that history turned.You must be willing to sacrifice brave men to hold the chateau, perhaps at all cost.

Ian set one of his toy soldiers down and came to his father.Will you be faced with such decisions, Father, in this war?

Richard leaned back against the table and ran his fingers through his son’s hair, fluffing it.Yes, I imagine so, Ian.Such are the demands of leadership and command.I only pray that I am as wise as Wellington, when the time comes.

Ian looked up at his father and said, Wiser still, Lieutenant Commander Hathaway.

They hugged.

We shall see, my son, we shall see, Richard said.Now, is it my turn?

Ian broke away and ran around to the other side of the gaming table.Give it your best shot, Dad.Wellington awaits!

Chapters or other Divisions

Chapter 2

Eton, Windsor, Berkshire, England

February 1940

School Days

British public schools like Eton, which were actually private institutions, had remained exclusive to a large degree, for admission was based on one’s family background and wealth, but also by tradition.Eton recently had expanded their ranks to include 1,280 boys, ages 12 to 18, who were admitted by competitive examination, continuing the history of one of the most exclusive schools in the world.

Ian Hathaway was about to turn thirteen and in spite of his objections, was still ushered off to Eton.His mother had insisted on his attending the prestigious school, especially after her son had scored so impressively on all the entrance exams.His reading and comprehension marks were very high, enough so to bring the attention of the Eton headmaster.Sir Robert Birley had a keen interest in young Ian, for the headmaster prided himself with recognizing the future talents of great statesmen and scholars.After all, Eton had produced more prime ministers, generals, wealthy businessmen, writers, and scholars, than any other institution of learning in England.

While still at the train depot, Richard and Caroline Hathaway said their goodbyes to Ian.Father and son shared big hugs and a firm manly handshake, but mother and son parted much more emotionally.Caroline was crying openly and Richard put his arm around her shoulder.

There, there, old girl, he said affectionately.He’s just off to school.You can come visit him anytime you like.

I know, she whimpered a little.It’s just that he’s growing up so fast.

They waved, as Ian trundled off with a private escort Mr. Hathaway had hired to transport his son’s steamer trunk to school.The boy had controlled his tears, but was sad just the same.This adventure was very big and more than a bit scary.

After a short walk from the crowded station, Eton came into view, as did the students in their easily distinguishable uniforms, with tailcoats, winged collars, and pinstriped pants.Some wore black robes and others did not, but Ian soon discovered why.Almost immediately, he was guided into College Hall, where young boys of various ages were standing behind their chairs, waiting to be seated.Ian walked through to a rear table, where older boys wearing robes intermingled and sat with him.He was informed that the robes they wore symbolized they were King’s Scholars, who were honored with scholarships on the basis of merit.Ian was suddenly very impressed at the maturity and intelligence of these boys and vowed to earn a black robe as quickly as possible.

Ian was expected to learn very quickly about the way of life at a boarding school. What intrigued him the most was the number of extra-curricular activities available to the boys.Many were involved in sports activities or participated in art, music, and plays. They were very well cultured!Regardless of Eton’s being a boarding school and having rather strict rules, the students had means of recreation and having fun. Their free time was another thing which they obviously liked a lot.It gave the boys a chance to get out and into the town a little. The older boys had more privileges, of course. They had first choice of the bigger bedrooms and could go about more freely, and more often. They also had more weekends to go home.So, Ian soon discovered, privilege came with age.

A few days after arriving at Eton, Ian was assigned a tutor by his house master. The tutor’s principal function was to assist the house master monitor academic performance.He also fostered his pupils’ personal, cultural, and social development.His pupils came to him in small groups once a week for a tutorial, in which they followed a program of study skills, personal/social/ethical behavior, and special topics chosen by the tutor.

Ian had been assigned to Durnford House, which had only about 50 boys, very much smaller therefore than a typical preparatory school.Ian soon got to know the ten or so other new boys and learn his way around the House.It took a bit longer to find his way around the whole school, although most new boys were astonished how quickly they did in fact learn the ropes.

Each House was under the care of a House Master, who looked after the boys, supported them in all of their endeavors, punished them if they deserved it, and dealt with the boy’s parents.

The second-in-command was the Dame.She looked after their health, and she also ran the domestic side of the House.

The third-in-command was the House Captain.He did his best to make sure the boys enjoyed their time in the House and behaved themselves!

The fourth-in-command was the Captain of Games.He encouraged them to play a range of games, and expected Ian to actively participate on house teams.

Ian was also warned about the fifth-in-command, who was his Maid, and could be a great friend and ally, if he played his cards right.She would not take too kindly to his room being in a perpetual tip, or mess, so he made his bed every morning and tidied up a bit, which pleased Maid immensely.

Every boy at Eton had his own study-bedroom. This would be Ian’s private zone, which he could decorate as he pleased, within the limits set by his House Master, of course. This place was also where he could entertain his friends, or exclude them if he wanted a bit of peace and quiet, which was highly unlikely at his age.

All the houses ate breakfast, lunch, and supper provided by their own chefs and served in their own house dining-rooms.Every house offered a mid-morning Chambers Snack and also a mid-afternoon Boys’ Tea, a relatively informal affair where the boys made themselves toast and tea.

All boys were allowed to go home for Long Leave every semester break, and for Short Leave scheduled three times around certain special holidays and Lent.Ian was also allowed to go home or go out with his parents, with his House Master’s permission, whenever he was free from school or house commitments.

Ian quickly learned to wake up at about 7:00 every weekday morning to give himself time to wash and dress before breakfast.He was very relieved that his father had insisted he bring a reliable alarm clock.

After breakfast, Ian had about twenty minutes before chapel, which was enough time to make his bed and clean his room, see if he had received any letters, talk to the House Master or Dame if necessary, and organize himself for the first three classes of the morning.Ian always went back to Durnford House after the first three classes, to organize himself for the final two courses of the morning.At the end of every day, supper was served at about 7:40 PM, followed by House Prayers at 8:20 PM.

Between House Prayers and Lights Out, which was at 9:30 PM, Ian had time to finish off his studying for the following day, take a bath, and goof off a little. This was also when the Dame was likely to drop in to have a chat and the House Master too.

Have a good night, young Ian! Master Milne said.You’ll find life at Eton is very exhausting, and a good night’s rest is absolutely essential.

Yes, sir, Ian replied, climbing into bed.Good night, sir.

Durnford House was like any other location in England each night, with all the windows protected by shutters and black-out curtains draped inside to prevent even a sliver of light shining out.Blackout curtains were made out of thick cotton and were used to prevent any light escaping from the house at night. This was because enemy bombers relied on finding their way by searching the country for signs of habitation.

Even radio transmitters were closed down, as they could be used to navigate over enemy territory.Peter Trent, the House Captain, made the shutters they put up each night.Walking around the outside of the house, he made certain there were no gaps.

The next morning, Ian made it to his first English class in plenty of time.This division was administered in the Upper School, with the busts of famous Etonians and initials of alumni carved in the walls, including the poet Shelley. Ian’s first-day guide, an

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