James Hanning Esq
2 Derry Street, W8 5EE
23 July 1990
LORD MOUNTBATTEN & KINCORA
Many thanks for your letter of 9 July, with the enclosure about my relationship with my previous publisher, Faber & Faber. In order to avoid misunderstanding of myself vis-à-vis Fabers, I will quote your synopsis for my book COVER UP which our editorial director at Random Century, Mark Booth, was so enthusiastic about.
‘In February 1974 , with an election imminent, Shackleton (Labour Leader in the Lords) gratefully accepted Lord Carrington’s invitation to join the board of Rio Tinto Zinc. Now, suddenly, the risk of exposure of a long-standing affair and his frequent use of prostitutes seemed less menacing. But Robin Bryans remained a thorn in Shackleton’s flesh. He was involved in a lengthy dispute with publishers Faber & Faber, whose chairman is Charles Monteith, a Fellow of All Souls. The rights and wrongs of the case were superceded by the need to keep Bryans, who knew too much, quiet. To this end, Lord Chancellor Hailsham, a friend and All Soul’s colleague of Monteith, and no stranger to political interference in the judiciary, was called upon to rig the trial. A second line of defence, and one which shows Shackleton and Hailsham to have had more in common than their mutual animosity at the time would have suggested, was for Shackleton to act as an honest broker between Bryans and Faber. Better to keep Bryans out of court entirely than to risk him blurting out countless uncomfortable truths.’
A woman lawyer friend of Lord Hailsham who gave him briefs in his unknown years, was a Mrs Carver, wife of the Rev A B Carver, a leading Freemason whom I took to task in PRIVATE EYE when Carver and his wife attacked the morals of Sir John Betjeman and his old boyfriend, Rev Colin Gill. At Oxford, the young Colin Gill loved to send up the pompous by writing doggerel verse as we can see from page 97 of Betjeman’s SUMMONED BY BELLS. The Carvers’ malicious gossip put the Bishop of Chichester, Eric Kemp, in a great fix, for not only was he High Church himself and wanted to keep women out of the priesthood and vestry where so much of the buggery takes place, but his friendship for the gay pair Betjeman and Gill extended to their ‘sister in the Lord’, the Rev Gareth Bennett, a prebendary of Kemp’s cathedral, who killed his cat and committed suicide after being identified in the press as the writer who delighted in sending out his anonymous views about other clergy who did not share his perverted tastes. Bishop Kemp not only celebrated a High Mass for Bennett’s low tastes, but declared to the TV cameras that the media had driven Bennett to suicide. When the true state of Bennett’s perversion was revealed in the Coroner’s Court, dear Bishop Kemp at last shut up.
At the Betjeman memorial service Kemp was also in evidence along with the Prince of Wales, Princess Margaret and Charles Monteith, the poet who writes about having ‘sexual intercourse with the Pope’ and whose firm of Fabers published WHO’S HAD WHO. But Monteith was not telling who was having who at Kincora Boys Home in his native Belfast, where his barrister ‘sister’, Sir Knox Cunningham QC MP, was preventing those buggering boys from going to trial before Judge Topping who had appointed himself Recorder of Belfast. On 30 March 1989 you wrote to me about your position as the editor of my book COVER UP and that the publishers, Century, expected you to compete with Paul Foot’s book WHO FRAMED COLIN WALLACE published by Macmillan.
Since then John Juror has written about Prime Minister Macmillan having had an affair with Father Ronnie Knox in youth. But it was the notorious old queen, Knox Cunningham, who Macmillan made his PPS. As you know from Mac’s letters to myself, he was ‘very fond’ of Cunningham to the last, even after it became known that Cunningham knew who was having who at the Kincora Boys Home. Naturally, as Mac’s grandson, the present Lord Stockton, published Foot’s book, the friendship between Cunningham and Mac was not mentioned. But before Foot wrote his book he had telephoned me about Cunningham and in PRIVATE EYE described Cunningham as ‘the muscle queen’ who had been at Cambridge with Anthony Blunt.
In WHO FRAMED COLIN WALLACE Foot states that there was no inquest on the young boy, Stephen Waring, who ran away from the buggering sessions at Kincora, and committed suicide rather than be returned by the police to Kincora. But in my long correspondence with Lord Shackleton I ask if Stephen Waring would have killed himself, if Shackleton had heeded my advice and stopped the Kincora abuse in 1974. I had not named Shackleton in the first draft of COVER UP, but when our editorial director, Mark Booth, heard the taped conversation I had with Roz Uranga about other girlfriends killing themselves under pressure from Shackleton, I agreed to you coming here for the tapes and introducing Shackleton’s name.
Thank you for telling me how Knox Cunningham’s former agent, the Rt Hon James Molyneaux, Leader of the Ulster Unionists, is involved with the gay scene. This interestingly confirms Colin Wallace’s claim that Molyneaux, like Cunningham, knew all about the buggering of boys at Kincora. How very different the Canadians are about this sort of thing. I see in your EVENING STANDARD this week that the Archbishop of St John’s, Newfoundland, says he presides over a ‘sinful church’ because so many of his clergy are gay and have been before the police courts.
A far larger percentage of gay priests serve Eric Kemp in the Chichester See, but woe betide anybody who criticises their black masses and other black deeds. It was of course John Betjeman and Colin Gill who arranged the black mass at an Oxford college when their beloved Maurice Bowra was made Warden of Wadham College. And it was, of course, dear Sir Maurice, who published anonymously, the bitter attack on Prime Minister Macmillan’s private life.
In your letter to me of 6 March 1989 you said that Philip Zeigler, the chairman of my trade union, the Society of Authors, would deny that Lords Mountbatten was gay ‘till the cows come home,’ and I fully agreed. Why then did Century go ahead and state on the jacket of THE GREATEST TREASON, ‘Mountbatten was a homosexual and as a result the Americans always believed him to be a security risk.’. Mountbatten was dead and could not sue Century, but not so Lady Avon. Century blatantly ignored my advice to the contrary and published their allegations that Lady Avon was the lesbian who tipped-off Guy Burgess. I was consequently delighted to help Clarissa Avon win her High Court action against Century and withdrew my own book COVER UP which you had been editing into several volumes.
In your letter to me of 9 July 1990 you say ‘I am glad we spoke the other day and hope we meet again soon.’ When I withdrew my book from Century and you then joined the Evening Standard’s permanent staff and got an expense account, you repeatedly asked me out to lunch but I have so far refrained from accepting because it might appear that I approve of you using your present employer’s money to pay for Century’s troubles over their outrageous attack on Lady Avon. I note that it cost the Evening Standard no less than £14 for the delivery of your last letter to me about the Century business. However, you and I have discussed another attack in the Standard on Lady Avon after she served writ on Century, and I presume from what you say that your Standard Editor, Stewart Steven, agrees with the printed allegation that Lady Avon is the lesbian involved with Guy Burgess.
On the other hand, Century’s much acclaimed biography of Tom Driberg was hailed by Stewart Steven, under the headline, THE RIGHT TO KNOW ABOUT THIS EVIL MAN. To your editor, Driberg might be, ‘the most disgusting Englishman of his age who was a member of the Central Board of Finance of the Church of England.’ Lord Shackleton and I knew Driberg well and certainly would not describe him as more disgusting or evil than other High Church figures who used Central Board Finance to cover-up murders. For example, was Hugh Benham, the Church Commissioners’ lawyer and Cambridge lover to both Anthony Blunt and Peter Montgomery, murdered because he knew too much about Lord Mountbatten’s schemings? And please don’t forget that not all clergy delight in buggering choirboys, because the last bishop to be caught by the police with his trousers down loved being buggered by ‘rough trade.’
Father John Milburn of St Paul’s, Brighton, was the great authority on who had had who in that town, and the Daily Telegraph wrote of him, ‘He had a multitude of friends and admirers – as well as some enemies who found his rigidity and sharp tongue less than attractive. No one was surprised when he assumed a leading role in opposing the ordination of women.’ Bishop Kemp must greatly miss this violent opposer of women to the priesthood, but fortunately the dear bishop still has the support of Father John’s great friend, the pillar of St Pauls’s Church, Tom Skeffington-Lodge, the former labour MP and chairman of the Fabian Society. Father John, like me, was deeply upset when Lord Richard Cecil came back from army service in Belfast in 1972 and so strongly attacked the role of the army that he had to be shot dead to shut him up. Tom S-Lodge was also an expert on Ulster and in 1947 had joined me in the Irish Political Prisoners’ Association. At the 1974 General Election Tom S-Lodge returned to Brighton after helping old pal Tony Benn in Bristol. Dear Tom had almost lost his voice from screaming into a loudspeaker, ‘Its not the Reds under the beds, but the Blues in them’ – typical of Tom’s style.
On 24 April 1975, Tom wrote to me, ‘I have tried to phone you today but have stupidly lost your number. What I have in mind is to try and get Eddie to be the chief guest at one of our Fabian Summer Garden Parties. And you may be able to help me persuade him to say “Yes.”’ ‘Eddie’ was of course Lord Shackleton who apart from being a Labour minister, before as you claim, being blackmailed to join Mrs Thatcher as an adviser, was chairman of Political Honours and, as Auberon Waugh has pointed out in Private Eye, dear Tom dearly wanted a title. On 23 April 1975 I wrote to Shackelton, ‘I have been replaying the tape-recording of your last telephone conversation, and on the same spool find two calls from Tom S-Lodge about Labour Party matters he has asked me to take up with you. This is, as you doubtless expect, the question of what he terms his “elevation.”
I did not mention the matter to you in my last letter as I wanted to check up on the record exactly what you and your girlfriend Roz Uranga have said on the subject. I find that what you stated on the 12 April, namely ‘Tom has the highest principles but the lowest morals’ and this indicates your position about Tom’s peerage…In my letter of 8th April 1975 I mentioned my recent long conversation with Harold Macmillan on the subject of Maurice Bowra who wrote some very wicked things about Lady Dorothy’s private life. I only wish you could adopt Mac’s generous spirit in respect of Tom and his peerage, or rather change your attitude to what you term his “lowest morals!. Because I am one of the three still-living people who were called in by Prime Minister Attlee’s official solicitors in 1949 when Maurice Bowra was trying to discredit one of the most distinguished of Labour Cabinet Ministers, I am well conversant with these intrigues.
Perhaps I might be permitted to express the opinion that you are doing neither yourself nor the Labour Party any good by victimising your old colleague Tom by listening to Roz Uranga’s arguments. People might be tempted to examine your own affair with the wife of Raul Uranga.’
Tom’s ‘highest principles but the lowest morals’ were not unknown to Francis King, author of THE BRIGHTON BELLE and other books. After quarrelling with Tom, Francis went to live in London and dear Father John Milburn threatened to castrate the novelist for daring to expose High Church and Low Camp in a book. But dear Tom, the great chairman of the Fabian Society did not go for advice to our Brighton neighbour and friend Elwyn Jones, a former Attorney General and future Lord Chancellor, but to the despised Tory Lord Hailsham, and the book was withdrawn according to publisher John Guest at Longmans whose own boyfriend had walked out on him. But Francis King had the last laugh, for if Tom is to this day still without a title, dear Francis is a Companion of the British Empire and a much-appreciated Council member with the Society of Authors.
Francis King is not only authorative on Brighton’s belles, but also on those of Belfast, not to mention Blunt’s lover, Peter Montgomery. King likes to regard himself as especially knowledgeable on the world of E M Forster who so admired the friendship between the Belfast novelist Forrest Reid and the ten-year old Kenneth Hamilton, a friendship which became famous in English Literature. Reid picked Kenneth up in a public park along with my cousin Frank Campbell.
In the 1989 edition of my book ULSTER, I refer to my association with Kenneth’s still-living sister Grace who writes letters to me not only about Forrest Reid holding her ten-year old brother on his knee in front of the family, but also about another member of her family taking a three-year old child to bed for full sexual intercourse. This was part of a widespread scandal of sex abuse amongst children which escaped public notice because two royal uncles, Lord Granville, then Governor of Northern Ireland, and Lord Mountbatten protected the adults involved.
In 1959 Charles Monteith, who handled my 12 books at Fabers, most of which he commissioned, wrote about Forrest Reid and me. In 1969 students marched on All Souls where John Sparrow presided as Warden and Monteith as Sub-Warden, and Lord Hailsham as close friend to both. The students were protesting against the squandering of All Souls’s considerable wealth on ‘weekenders’ such as Monteith and Hailsham. Monteith went to supervise the ‘All Souls Studies’ published by Fabers. In one such study Sparrow proclaimed that great men in the arts such as Michaelangelo and Oscar Wilde were geniuses because they were male homosexuals. To support the Oxford students I wrote pouring scorn on Sparrow’s specious equation of genius with homosexuality. For my pains I got no less then three High Court writs, which were of course only gagging ones, and after fighting them in person I was granted an Order-for-Trial before Mr Justice Swanwick where I cross-examined Monteith as follows:
Bryans: Mr Monteith, you have got a very great interest in Forest Reid.
Monteith: To this extent. I have two links in common with him. He was an old boy at my school in Belfast – I never met him in my life, but I read his books with pleasure. Yes I had a special interest.
Bryans: Am I right in thinking that Forrest Reid has got a following amongst the dons at Oxford – John Sparrow, for instance?
Monteith: Yes, I believe you are quite right. John Sparrow is the Warden of All Souls, and admires Forrest Reid’s writings.
Bryans: Did Forrest Reid ever send an unpublished manuscript to Henry James?
Monteith: Long before my time. I believe he dedicated an early book to Henry James without the prior permission of Henry James, and Henry James was upset about it.
Bryans: Very upset indeed because of the homosexual nature.
It was at this stage that Lord Chancellor Hailsham came to the defence of his friend and former pupil-in-chambers Monteith, and started interfering as you claim in you synopsis for Century. It is interesting to note that Hailsham has sued neither you nor Century for your widely published allegations, because, of course, as you and Lord Shackleton agree ‘Too much would come out.’ I certainly was not allowed to call Sir Knox Cunningham as a witness for him to describe how he recited Monteith’s ‘disgusting Orangeman’s doggerel’ (Lord Justice Phillimore’s remark) about buggery at political meetings, and how Cunningham himself and his fellow-pederasts in Belfast set up the Forrest Reid Memorial Scheme to further gay cause which Reid spent his life promoting. Many people thought Cunningham went too far in getting the Queen’s Uncle, Earl Granville, to be Patron of this homosexual outfit. But it was Lord Mountbattten who outlived Granville to promote Forrest Reid’s adoration of YOUNG TOM, the story based on Kenneth Hamilton, whose three-year old relation, still alive today, was raped by Mountbatten’s friend.
In March 1990 Frank Doherty, editor of NOW magazine flew to London to do the next month’s edition about Mountbatten and myself. After getting material from Mr Ken Livingstone MP and yourself he wrote under the headline, ‘MOUNTBATTEN WAS PART OF A GAY RING WHICH WAS LINKED WITH KINCORA.’
In one letter, of which ‘Now’ has obtained a copy from another source, there is a reference to an alleged incident at Birr, Co Offaly. It refers to ‘the old snapshots at Birr Castle showing the late Lord Rosse getting Alan Price to flash his prize codpiece for Lord Mountbatten and Anthony Blunt.’ If the judicial inquiry for which some MPs have been calling is set up, inspection of Bryans’ letters and cross-examination of those who received them would open a huge can of worms…’
The present Earl of Rosse wrote to me in my capacity as a family executor on 17 February 1986, ‘I have the archivist from the Public Records Office back here for a week when I hope to get these and other additions inserted into our archival system. Meanwhile I hope you may be hearing from my niece Sarah how thrilled she was with the picture.’ The niece being Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones, daughter of Princess Margaret, and the picture being a famous study of Sarah’s grandfather, King George VI which I brought from Windsor in 1956 after the Duchess of Newcastle died and Forest Farm was pulled down.
Since neither you nor Ken Livingstone know the part Lord Mountbatten played behind the scene in Ulster politics and since neither of you has interviewed those still-alive who were hosts to Mountbatten and me when the acrimonious disputes erupted, I must divorce myself from many of your published views which are mere speculations, as were those of Monteith who, when cornered in the High Court witness-box, was forced to admit that he had never met Forest Reid. When the full story is told you will realise why I refused to go along with your synopsis which Century so wanted to publish in my name.
You will find that Lord Shackleton and members of the Royal household, who were witnesses of certain incidents in my book, were not the only people to whom I wrote concerning the allegations in your synopsis, and which resulted in Lady Avon serving a writ on Century. Mountbatten was certainly a devious character, but a most interesting one none the less, and perhaps not the sex monster you imagine without producing evidence to support your claims. He certainly knew Tom Driberg well and got him to show his nephew Prince Philip around the Houses of Parliament. But that hardly makes Mountbatten the friend you like to think him, just as Princess Margaret is not a lesbian simply because she is closely involved with some gays.
On the other hand, after Mountbatten’s murder, Princess Margaret hardly improved matters by calling the Irish ‘such pigs’. After all, it was not in the privacy of Birr Castle that Princess Margaret’s boyfriend was displaying his ‘prize cod-piece’ but on a West Indian beach for a Sunday newspaper to photograph, as you rightly pointed out to me. In due course I shall answer some more of your many questions.
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