By Staff Writer –
Last year we were witness to celebrations around the world marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of Father Trevor Huddleston. He will be remembered as one of the Anglicans’ heroes of the 20th Century for his fight against racism and apartheid and his mentoring of many of Africa’s most prominent political and spiritual leaders.
Huddleston was born in Chaucer Road, Bedford, on 15th June 1913. He was educated at Oxford and ordained in 1939. Four years later he was posted to South Africa. Afrikaner nationalism was on the rise and he worked in the black township of Sophiatown near Johannesburg.
There he fought stridently for black rights and railed against the rise of Afrikaner power and forced segregation. When Sophiatown was demolished to make way for new development, he focussed world attention on the ‘monstrous violation of black civil rights’. Becoming the white face of the ‘struggle’ he cemented friendships with leading black leaders like Mandela and Oliver Tambo.
On his return to England in 1956 he wrote “Naught for Your Comfort” about the injustices of ‘apartheid’ and shocked his readership. Restless, and hankering to return to Africa he was appointed Bishop of Masasi in Tanganyika in 1960 where he befriended future Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere.
Eight years later he moved back to England when he was appointed Bishop of Stepney. He championed Indian immigrants, seeking to protect them from ‘conservative elements’. In 1972 he founded ‘Fair Play for Children’ when two eight year old boys drowned in a canal in Stepney. He blamed their deaths on the lack of adequate leisure facilities. In 1978, he was appointed Bishop of Mauritius and Primate of the Indian Ocean. He retired in 1983 having devoted his life to anti-apartheid activities, being president of the Anti-Apartheid Movement from 1981until the ANC came to power in 1994. In 1998 he received a knighthood for his work in ending white rule in South Africa.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “If you could say that anyone single-handedly made apartheid a world issue, then that person was Trevor Huddleston.”
“No white man has done more than Father Trevor Huddleston in the fight against apartheid,” Nelson Mandela said soon after his release from prison in February 1990.
But in the hubris of Huddleston’s birth-centenary, a dirty secret trickled out. In probing the Jimmy Saville affair, ‘Private Eye’ Magazine also requested information regarding allegations against Huddleston. They unearthed a report meant to be frozen until 2069 revealing Huddleston as a child molester.
It reveals that in 1974 when Huddleston was under consideration for the post of Archbishop of Canterbury, a mother of two underprivileged boys in the East End complained to the authorities they had been indecently assaulted at the Bishop’s home. Huddleston did not deny the allegations but suffered a mental breakdown and went into seclusion.
A police investigation followed and a report was sent by the then Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Robert Mark to the Director of Public Prosecutions recommending prosecution on four counts of gross indecency. The report stated the charges ‘can be supported by the evidence obtained’. Sir Norman Skelhorn, the DPP decided not to prosecute.
Years later Sam Silkin a former Labour Attorney General stated the prosecution was suppressed because it “… would have ruined his career and influence”. Clearly the lives and welfare of underprivileged children were of secondary importance when it came to protecting the public persona of an important man who happened to be a paedophile.
This selective justice was consistent in British public life. One of Huddleston’s ideological soul-mates, Liberal peer Sir Cyril Smith MP also admitted molesting boys in a hostel he co-founded. He also escaped prosecution. After his death, Greater Manchester Police Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood said in a statement: “Although Smith cannot be charged or convicted posthumously, from the overwhelming evidence we have, it is right and proper we should publicly recognize that young boys were sexually and physically abused.”
Another Huddleston ‘bum-chum’ was Liberal leader Jeremy ‘Bomber’ Thorpe. The ‘Bomber’ sobriquet was earned by his famous call in the Commons for the RAF to bomb Ian Smith’s white Rhodesia into submission. Thorpe, who was known to be leading a rather sordid lifestyle was also engaged in illegal sexual activity (homosexuality was illegal at this time). His tempestuous relationship with his lover Norman Scott was carefully ignored by the press. Only when Thorpe was charged in 1979 with trying to murder Scott did the seedy story appear in detail. Thorpe was acquitted but his political career was finally over.
It seems that when it came to those figures in British public life who were building careers and reputations on the back of bashing the beastly whites in Africa who were being horrible to the ‘natives’ none of the usual rules applied. No matter how evil their actions and no matter how defenceless these ‘Struggle Icons’ were able to misbehave with impunity. We will never know the exact number, but there is little doubt hundreds of British kids and God alone knows how many black kids, were sacrificed on the altar of anti-white zealotry. And no-one was brought to justice.
Maybe those who attended Huddleston’s commemoration found time to spare a prayer for those children defiled in his groping clutches…………..