I also remember Ballantyne from Florida Road.He was capable & reliable.& pleasant.
He is in our 1960 & 62 Troop photos in my profile
the last time i saw balantine was after we left standard 6 at dphs. at the end of 1962
from there i never heard or saw him again. but as you say he was a larger chap than most of us then.
I remember Ballantyne De Clerk very well. A stong lad. A chest like a barrel. He had this habit of using a certain four letter word normally used to crudely refer to the female sex organs when passing me in the school grounds. Yep....you guessed right!! It worried me....I spent many hours looking in the mirror to check for any similarity, but was unsuccesful. I can only conclude that he either had a vivid imagination, or was poorly informed.
I never understood the reason for this "playground verbal abuse"....some might even use the word bullying....but I coped by staying out of his way....as I said, he was a stong lad and any physical confrontation would have been detrimental to my longevity!!
I note that Ballantyne is now deceased. I note further that his school days may have been less than normal, considering his apparent places of abode (a number of hotels, I am lead to believe). Makes me feel very priviledged to have had the home that I did during my school days.
Perhaps he matured as he grew up, as we all do, and learnt to live more peacfully with whatever it was that bothered him. I sincerely hope so. One does not normally wish any ill on the deceased.
But as you can see, I still remember him for what he did, not who he was. And I have never understood why he felt compelled to make those remarks. I guess now I never will.
Rob Wilson (Class Of 1967)
I recall waiting outside the pre's room in about !965 with Ballentyne to be interviewed by Duncan Boy in connection with some misdemeanour, and even in that hour of anguish, Ballantyne retained his sense of humour. A pity John Scotcher never knew him as well as the Blackmores boys did, as he was a very pleasant lad, and am sure John, being the man that he is, would have seen and liked the other side of him. His passing at an early age seems not fair.
Re John's comments regarding Balantyne and bullying-I never knew him but would say that the guys who bullied were the ones with the problems-not the recipients. Such behaviour is an attempt to hide a lack of confidence and build some sort of reputation as a 'tough guy' with their school mates. Many of us were bullied.Two incidents I experienced come to mind-some fellow walking past me in the corridor told me aggressively he didn't like my hairstyle?!?! Still to this day wonder what the **** he meant !
The other was more dramatic-the late Malcolm King told me to move away from"Blackmore's" chairs before assembly. I refused and he stuck his finger in my face and said I was a 'stroppy little *******" whereupon I punched him and in the ensuing mellee chairs flew and i shortly ended up stunned on the floor.
At break he came up to me and said he wanted a return match in the Gym after school!! I wasn't keen but before I had a chance to reply my friend Kelvin Hull chirped "You had your wrought in the Hall so lorss it out now". Malcolm turned and walked away much to my relief!
Reading John's candid and disturbing anecdote of the verbal slurs directed at him by Ballantyne De Clerk, was a salutary reminder of how harsh the DHS culture could be in the sixties. It takes enormous courage to share this kind of memory with old school mates - and we all are just that bit wiser for knowing the truth, and perhaps more aware of the possible impact of our words on others then, and now. I have become increasingly certain over the years that there are no winners when bullying occurs, and that there would be fewer instances of this behaviour were the bully able to grasp the extent to which he or she is diminished by a word, gesture or act which is intended to deprecate others. Though I was seldom, if at all, bullied at DHS, I still feel a measure of guilt for not having intervened when others, some in particular, were subjected to sustained bullying. And it's an unfortunate fact that there was seldom a day that I did not hear or see something of this kind. Nevertheless, my overall impression of DHS at that time, is that there was a great deal of camaraderie between the boys, and that this had a lot to do with the constraints and challenges of a spartan environment - we only enjoyed warm showers in our final year in Blackmores - but most especially it was about shared experiences. There is compelling evidence of this in the tone,language and detail of the comments we have been able to share on this website. So once again, thanks Cedric, Mike, Denzil and all those stalwarts who have made this possible.
It's been fascinating reading the comments made by you, Geoff and others about bullying at DHS. I particularly admire your objective assessment of the issue and of the culture at DHS at that time.
Fortunately I was never victimised by bullies. However, to my shame I recall that in primary school up in Underburg I myself bullied a guy who was marginalised by other boys. I never beat him - but I followed him around and intimidated him - exacerbating his misery until he reported me and I was disciplined. I agree with Geoff that bullying is often a reflection of insecurity.
From recent press reports its clear that bullying is still a problem at DHS - but my guess is that this is the case at nearly all schools. Life has taught me that we are all broken in some way - and that helps me to be a little less judgemental when I see dysfunctional behaviour in others. I believe that life is all about dealing positively with our own character defects - with God's help.
Graham Bell (Class Of 1964)
These comments have been fascinating and show what a wonderful medium this site is for expressing old memories and analysing what our lives were like 50 to 60 years ago. The various authors do show significant courage in revealing what it was like to be bullied and indeed to be a bully. I never knew Ballantyne in that way but don't doubt that the pressures on him brought out these aspects of his behaviour. I often wonder what it would be like to meet nowadays, the worst of the bullies I experienced, namely Animal Wallace and Brian Bosomworth (1961). Maybe they would be really normal, sensible and even likeable individuals by now! Sadly for them (and luckily for those that feared and loathed them) they have gone to meet their maker, who will judge them and send them to join the braaivlei detachment with Jiggs Gray and Dog Perkins, or to enjoy paradise, including music and art, with Alan Turton. Thank you for your comments, they are thought provoking and worthy of mature adult site members, who have "been there and done that."
I knew Bally from Florida Road Air Scouts days. I disliked him as he occasionally "bullied" me and I stayed clear of him. On one cycle rally our tents were pitched near each other. He made some comment or other and I made a "chirp" the next thing I felt was a kick and my tent collapsed. As I sat up in the tent I got wacked over the head with the tent pole, which broke. Contest between aluminium and wood - wood dented alumium broke. I suspected Bally but couldnt say for sure as he, Dougie McDonald and Dumpty Knoop were all laughing.
At DPHS both my brother Stuart and I were occasionally bullied by a member of the school rugby team who would commandeer our lunch from us. On plan, when he tried to take Stuarts sandwich, Stuart handed over the sandwich and made a bee-line for home, I punched "x" on the nose and high tailed it behind my brother. I think I beat Stuart to the garden gate. Thankfully that was the end of him bullying us. I am very proud to say that I have never been hit in the face in a fight........ I never look around while running away. .
My nose was broken by accident during a fun game of touch rugby on the beach, while on duty, in Durban Surf.
This "probably " explains why I dislike, racists, bigots and religious fanatics who do not respect other people.
I am amazed at the reaction of my post on Ballantyne. Amazed that there has been so much support with not one written word of criticism. Thanks so much to you all....DHS taught us well, but we also had supportive parents....never forget their role!!