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Old 19-08-20, 03:28 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default Dr.Hayman (1929-1963)


Distinguished old boys, members and friends of the Old Thomian Swimming Club, gathered on
the evening of Wednesday, the 20th to perpetuate the memory of Dr. R L Hayman - truly a great
and noble man, by unveiling is portrait.

Befitting the man, who in life was not given to any form of ostentation, the ceremony though
simple was a meaningful and purposeful one. Mrs. Mary Hayman wife of Dr.R L Hayman, who is
presently here in connection with the Golden Jubilee celebrations of S.Thomas' Gurutalawa, of
which her husband was the headmaster in 1942, was at hand to lend patronage to an important
event in her life as well. She was met on arrival by the president of the club, N T Perera, and
other officials, whilst little Adriana Achilles presented her with a bouquet.

Mr. Bradman Weerakoon an illustrious old boy of STCMTL and STC Gurutalawa, speaking on the
occasion said that it was a pleasure and a privilege, to be associated at a ceremony such as this,
which was a mark of respect to this devout man, who did so much and played a leading role in
the life of S. Thomas'. There was, he said, two significant phases to Dr. Haymans' life at
S. Thomas'. He began in 1929 at S. Thomas' Mt.Lavinia went over to S.Thomas' Gurutalawa in
1942 and came back again to serve at Mt.Lavinia.

He was verily a courageous man, who through his dedication, unflagging zeal and sacrificial
nature did much to mould the lives of young men in the years gone by. The other part of his life
was so rich and varied covering every aspect of sport. He donated a swimming pool to S.Thomas'
in 1934 and later on gifted one to S.Thomas' Gurutalawa.
He observed it was a time when swimming pools were unheard of, it was a novelty then. He
reminded the gathering that Dr.Hayman personally coached Allan Smith the Olympic Diver, and
the Arndt brothers who excelled in the annual two-mile swim. He did not confine himself to
swimming alone but had a tremendous love for all forms of sports and humorously jibed that
Dr.Hayman displayed a preference being a leg umpire at cricket and a linesman at soccer
matches. Mr.Weerakoon stressed that their evinced from Dr.Hayman the four salient qualities of a
Thomian that of simplicity, a sense of justice and fair play, a practical caring love and generosity
and above all a spirit of tolerance.
There was no intellectual arrogance in the man, who at all times championed the cause of the
underdog. Yes, he was an affable mild mannered man, who carried with him all the virtuous
qualities with stoic calmness??????????????. Hayman in all what he laboured for
in love.
Mr.Clifford Ratwatte, a senior vice president of the club, yet another distinguished old boy,
opened up by saying that he was ordered (summarily) by Justice Douglas Wijaratne the donor of
Dr.R L Hayman's portrait, not only to speak of his confidante, mentor and friend, but also to
perform the act of unveiling. With a touch of nostalgia Mr.Ratwatte spoke endearingly of this
teacher of mathematics, physics, love of sports who did his best to promote swimming in this land
of ours. He was a firm and kindly man, who instilled discipline in the boys by involving them in
scouting, hiking and shramadana. It could be rightly said, that it was he who first got students to
clean building sites, roads and the playground and more often than not, he acted as a building
supervisor. Dr.Hayman he said had a special concern for the domestic staff, who help him to
build S.Thomas' Gurutalawa.
There were no statues for him, but what he left behind were the buildings, which bear eloquent
testimony to all what he said and did. To a man who gave of his time, energy and money, he was
much more than the first Headmaster, more even than a founder, for with all his goodness and
expertise he was verily a servant of God. So saying, he unveiled the portrait of that much- loved
highly -esteemed Dr.R L Hayman of S.Thomas. Mr.Amita Abeysekera, a committee member of
the club, delivered the vote of thanks at the close.
We reminisced as we sat for a fellowship get together where we recalled of what was said of
Canon R S De Saram, the warden, when he got together with Dr.R L Hayman as sub warden. "A
combination was established at the helm of Thomian affairs, engendering one of the vintage
periods of the school, spanning a little over thirty years. It was the rarest blends Homer and
Einstein". On the commemorative tablet in the Dr.R L Hayman's science laboratory are inscribed
the words which epitomizes the man "to spend and be spent in the service of others". But we
could never forget the poignant words he uttered with so much feeling when he some years ago
said "You belong to one of the best schools in the world a school with splendid traditions and a
most honourable name and I charge you to try and hand down those traditions and that name to
those who come after you untarnished and unimpaired. Be proud being Thomians and make the
College proud of remembering you among its sons".
It is fitting that his portrait found a place in the Old Thomian Swimming Club of which he was a
founder member way back in 1956 and for the reason that he did so much for swimming.

By Richard Dwight
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Old 19-08-20, 03:33 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default Appreciation - a tribute to dr.r l hayman


Tall, well built and powerful. Dr.Hayman strode the Thomian scene as a giant during all his many
years of service in Sri Lanka.
He spent much of his time at St.Thomas' College, Mt.Lavinia, as Sub-Warden, and as Acting
Warden in the absence of Canon R S de Saram. They were both Oxford men. Dr.Hayman then
served as Headmaster of St.Thomas' College at Gurutalawa. He met and married his wife during
the war years. She too became active in college life since her arrival in 1944, and has been his
supporter and co-worker ever since. We share with her the thanks-giving and joy of a life well
lived, dedicated humbly to the cause of education in Ceylon. We are aware of the Christian
inspiration that motivated R L Hayman into selfless service. We thank God as each of us recall
our special yesterdays when Dr.Hayman had some part that he played in our college life.
Fraser, Senior and Hayman were all in the line of dedicated educationalists sent by the Anglican
Church in Britain to serve in Ceylon. They were all giants in their day and dwarfs like us were able
to see far as we stood on their giant shoulders. Dr.Hayman also lavished financial generosity on
STC. The swimming pool at Mt.Lavinia remains as a lasting memorial to his love for the college. If
we want a true memorial to R L Hayman we must as to Mt.Lavinia and look around. The Old Boys
in London are already thinking in terms of a Hayman Memorial Scholarship/Foundation which is
an indication of the love and respect they have for one of their old chiefs.
Two extracts from the Old Testament many not be out of place here. The first comes from
Ecclesiasticus -Chapter.44-
"Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers who begot us??. Giving counsel by their
understanding?.. men of learning for the people. Wise were their words in their instructions. Rich
men furnished with ability. Living peaceably in their habitations. All these were honoured in their
generations. There be of them, that have left a name behind them to declare their praises. Their
bodies were buried in peace and their name liveth to all generations. Peoples will declare their
wisdom and the congregation tells out their praise."
The second quotation comes from Proverbs- Chapter 1-
" That men may know wisdom and instruction, understand words of insight, receive instruction in
wise dealing, righteousness, justice and equity; that prudence may be given to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth; the wise man also may hear and increase in learning, and
the man of understanding acquire skill."
In ecclisiasticus we pay our homage to the memory of the late Dr.R L Hayman. In the Proverbs
passage we may detect the high ideals that motivated this gentle giant. The last word comes from
the world of cricket, so familiar to Thomians near and far.
Learie Constantine, that great West Indian test player once said:-
"Stick to it in Cricket as in life. God Bless You. And, when you have played your innings out and
returned to the pavilion, as we all must do, to meet the Skipper of us all, may you and I be
welcomed with those words that always warm the heart- Well played Sir."
R L Hayman, Master of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy, educationalist, teacher, friend and guide, may
you rest in peace. Esto Perpetua.

Rev. Dr.Charles Karunaratna
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Old 19-08-20, 03:40 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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The upper most thought of all Thomians with the sad announcement of the death of Dr.Hayman
on May 7 at Bournemouth would have been the imperishable memory of a dedicated giant,
whose remarkable qualities of head and heart, whose lovable personal qualities so endeared him
to the men who sat at his feet, that their entire future lives were influenced by their beloved school
Scorning the prospect of a Research Fellowship in Oxford University, and the rewards and
glamour of ascending to the top most height of the academic world well within his grasp he
desired no audience more selected than his own students, and the tinsel glitter of public
acceptance left him cold.
Dr.R L Hayman, M A D Phil, Oxon. M B E, came to Sri Lanka in 1928 as a school master to
St.Thomas College, Mount Lavinia, with his colleagues, Mr.Keble and Mr.Wheat and it was the
first time that a man with a doctorate came as an Assistant School Master to any school in Sri
He was in fact a true craftsman deeply skilled in that most exacting and delicate of skills - the
fashioning of character and personality of the boys he taught- at times transmitting base metal
into gold. He moulded gentlemen whose guiding spirit in life was loyalty to the school and
He was a fine synthesis of culture, spirituality and childlike simplicity. His modest and unassuming
nature cloaked both his profound learning and the grandeur of his soul.
Those of us who were privileged to see this all giant of a man- impeccably dressed in white and
always a plain blue tie, courteously saluting in response to the greetings of little smiling school
boys- heard the quiet courtesy and dignity of speech, whether in assembly or personal
conversation, could not be otherwise impressed with his deep sincerity.
At Mt.Lavinia he encouraged an out door training course with the sea as a setting and up in the
hills of Gurutalawa, he organized the "Outdoor Training School", a vacation course (open to
students of other schools as well) designed to give the participants instructions against an
adventurous background of scouting, hiking, boxing, swimming, life saving and first aid. This idea
was itself inspired by the famous "Outward Bound Training School" at Gordonstown, Scotland.
He believed that.
" Two voices are there - one is of the sea,
One of the mountains -each a mighty voice."
We cannot help but enumerate-much against his will the gifts to St.Thomas college.
About 50 years ago, he gifted to St.Thomas' College, Mt.Lavinia a fine swimming pool.
He methodically, day after day, instructed the boys in the principles of scientific swimming, which
is difficult to do in the sea with the rough currents during the monsoon. Later he presented the
Gurutalawa Branch with another swimming pool.
The Fives Courts at Mt.Lavinia and at Gurutalawa the Chapel, the Science Laboratory and the
swimming pools are standing monuments of his unlimited generosity. But the help and the many
scholarships he has given to poor students at College and the University to enable them to
continue their higher studies remain unknown.
This is best expressed in the words of Rudyard Kipling.
"Not as a ladder from earth to Heaven
Not as a witness to any creed, But single service simply given
To his own kind in their common need."
Had he made no benefactions to the schools, yet he left his stamp on St.Thomas' College as a
first class dedicated teacher. With an M A Phd of Oxford. Physics and Mathermatics were his
forte. He had the ability to impart to his pupils the desire to apply their own knowledge to practical
purposes and think on original lines.
Dr.Hayman returned to England in 1963, after 34 years of teaching at St.Thomas' College.
Though he was Sub Warden at Mt.Lavinia and Head Master at Gurutalawa, he considered
himself a teacher. It was only two months ago that he and his wife visited us and stayed at
Gurutalawa and Mt.Lavinia being the last of his four visits after he left. It was indeed a joy to meet
Dr.Hayman exerted to us, Thomians, an influence far greater than we realized, great Head
Master a learned teacher but specially as a man of character, steadfast faith and simple
kindness, he will live long in the thoughts of all who had the previlege of knowing him.

Dr.Hayman, is survived by his wife Mary, who shared his total commitment to the College and the
students, and when they were in England, Thomians and friends never failed to call on them, and
even stay there a few days.

It was always an experience to partake of their quiet but bounteous hospitality - Truly an upright
honest man - if ever there was.

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Old 19-08-20, 03:46 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default Tribute to a head master-hayman of gurutalawa

To pay tribute to one whose sense of sacrifice and generosity was endless is no easy task The
depth or reach of the pockets in his khaki shorts was proverbial. So was his commitment to
Gurutalawa and the hundreds of students he moulded and nurtured to be responsible citizens in
Society. He did reach deep in to his pockets in order to give us all he had. He took away nothing
when he left Sri Lanka. The standards and traditions created, maintained and handed down live
on. Truly he lives in the hearts and minds of all who passed through him. No Tribute can therefore
do justice to the greatest of Head Masters who created at one time the best boarding school not
only in all Sri Lanka but in the whole of Asia.
Dr. Hayman thought teaching was his vocation. He was sent by the Society for the Propagation
of the Gospel to Sri Lanka. His services were first sought by Trinity College, Kandy. He had
however joined the staff of S.Thomas College, Mt. Lavinia in 1929. He was a fine Maths and
Physics Teacher. He involved himself fully in the life of the College. He became a great House
Master. He was reputed for his generosity.He took a keen interest in Scouting and was the
Master in Charge. It was however in Swimming that he made his special contribution to sports in
Sri Lanka. In the early thirties there weren't many swimming pools. Dr. Hayman stepped in and
gifted the school with a superb Swimming Pool, the first of its kind in a school. He pioneered
Swimming and Life Saving in Sri Lanka. Generations of Thomians and others owe him an
immense debt of gratitude for having learned to swim. He went further. The Fives Courts, towards
the Library, the prizes, the dormitories etc. nobody knows the exact amount. "Thalassa" belonged
to him. He gave it to College in 1963 for a price paid by him 30 years before.
He was appointed Sub Warden in 1935. In 1942, when the College split up, he was appointed
Head Master at Gurutalawa. He pioneered the foundation of an independent school belonging to
the Thomian Family with 56 boys. Gurutalawa also benefited from his generosity. The Swimming
Pool and the Dormitories are some. Keble House and the land attached to it were his parting
gifts. Dr. Hayman is supposed to have opined that the value of a gift lay in how the recipient
made use of it. One wonders what Dr. Hayman's thoughts would be if he saw the campus today.
According to Professor C C De Silva, a one-time member of the College Board of Governors,
"No single man has done so much or given so generously both materially and intellectually to
S.Thomas' College or to any other school for that matter in Ceylon at any time of her long history.
I think I can pronounce that as an indisputable, incontrovertible statement of fact." On the
memorial tablet of the Science Laboratory which was named after him are inscribed the following
words " to spend and be spent in the service of others is his greatest privilege."
In 1964, the M B E was conferred on Dr. R L Hayman by the Queen. His name appeared in the
New Year Honours list. Truly Dr. Hayman, Tea & Cricket may be considered Britain's greatest
gifts to Sri Lanka.
In 1945, when food shortages were the order of the day and there was much dissatisfaction,
he had lunch with the boys seated on a bench in an open shed, which passed as a Dining Room.
It is said that in a short time, he underwent a marked reduction in weight.
In 1948 the number of Boarders increased to 134 and 04 Day Boys. Now, Gurutalawa was
attracting boys on its own merits.
Although, Gurutalawa may in a sense be described as an "accident" or a place that had to be
improvised during a time of crisis and one would have expected it to have wrapped up once the
crisis was over it so happened that from the late 1940's right up to the 1960's, parents clamoured
to send their sons to Gurutalawa in preference even to Mt. Lavinia. Thus almost all students left
S. Thomas' Prep School, Bandarawela for Gurutalawa, whilst some discerning parents of
students of S.Thomas Prep School Kollupitiya too sent their sons after Standard 5 direct to
Gurutalawa in preference to Mt. Lavinia. Gurutalawa was also the recipient of students from
schools all over the Island. Word had spread of that wonderful school in the Hills superbly
administered with the discipline necessary for the times by Dr. Hayman. By 1962, it can truly be
said that there was no School like Gurutalawa, anywhere in Sri Lanka.
He was a great lover of wild life and nature. The scouts looked forward to their camps at
Wilpattu and Yala. His photographs and films of wild life and Sri Lanka were proverbial. There
was little he did not know about the country. He was the operator of his Projector through which
he gave the students that little entertainment Gurutalawa had on Friday evenings of movies
preceded generally by his feats of filming of the Jungles and the Wild Life of Sri Lanka and other
interesting events which had taken place in College.
He used to be in the Sick Room helping Mrs. Hayman. He also taught the Lower 6th and
Upper 6th Students, Physics and Mathematics apart from handling the Administration of the
school. After tea, he could be seen daily at the Swimming Pool till late evening coaching
Swimming and Life Saving. With his "On your marks, get set, go !!" ringing out like a Pistol Shot in
the revered environment of the Pool and Chapel. He supervised the boys as they served dinner
at the hatches.
Mrs. Hayman assisted him in his noble endeavours. She devoted herself to the Sick Room,
the cleanliness of the Dining Hall and Kitchen, the animals and the fauna and flora of College.
This was a man of whom it is said that those who had the good fortune to come under his
influence never ever forgot him. The impact he had on their lives has been lasting.
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Old 19-08-20, 03:50 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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My own memories of Dr. Hayman commenced even before I became a student at
Gurutalawa. My elder brothers preceded me at Gurutalwa from S.Thomas Prep School at
Bandarawela. Dr. Hayman utilizing his personal relationship with the school authorities at St.
Michael's - Batticaloa had established an annual event of several teams proceeding to that school
for various sports activities. He never failed to drop in at our home on his way to Batticaloa. I have
vivid memories of my parents entertaining Dr. Hayman to tea in the garden and he made a note
of the 3rd brother who would follow suit at Gurutalawa. Years later I was my self to scoot off on
the way to Batticaloa and have a good meal at home with friends and collect some pocket money.
Dr. Hayman conducted school assembly on one day of the week making all important
announcements, appointments of Prefects, as well as games captains etc. He was very fond of
comparing shortcomings in our Society with the position in U K. and was wont to say "When I was
in England????.." This would raise a loud hum from the assembly of 300 odd students which
of course Dr. Hayman was quite used to and he would carry on regardless.
Another stormy entrance he would make would be a short while after the commencement of
evening prep when he would make a sudden appearance and announce, "someone has
interfered with the lighting and bulbs in the verandah. This is too bad. There will be school on
Saturday." This would again raise the proverbial loud hum from the gathered 300 students and
Dr. Hayman would turn on his heels utterly unconcerned, march out of the hall visibly angered by
the mischief to the electrical circuit, but ignoring the hum.
He had his Lunch and his Dinner without fail, every single day in the Staff Dining Room,
which was a part of the Students' Dining Hall . We had no doubt that the masters' behaviour was
more curtailed during meal times than that of the students by Dr. Hayman sitting at the head of
their Table. My recollection is that he would not sit at the Staff Dinner Table and start eating until
the last student had been served at the hatches and taken his seat.
As Head Master, he together with Rev. Foster made it a daily part of their routine to visit each
Dormitory after dinner during Room Time and thereby got to know each boy individually.
He would visit us in our Dorms at least 3 days of the week. He made these visits after Dinner
and during room time. Of course, all the students were in any event well disciplined and there
was no loud noise at that time. The Prefects who were given a separate cubicle were much
respected and entitled to enforce strict discipline. In fact, there was no need for a Supervisor or
Master to enforce discipline in the dorms. Dr. Hayman used to come to the bedside of almost
every student. He would talk to almost everyone.
His visiting the dormitories after dinner during room-time was a very regular occurance and so
he would in fact meet each student at least thrice a week in the dormitory. Behind him would
come Father Foster also more or less to fool around with boys whilst Dr Hayman's visit was more
of a serious nature. Following Fr Foster would be Ariyadasa the sick-room attendant. They would
all generally be armed with torches.
Sometimes, there was some delay on the part of parents to remit School Fees. These
occasions were very rare, few and far between. I have heard it said that Dr. Hayman used to wait
sometime and thereafter, write a personal letter to the parent concerned saying that the parent
may have by an oversight forgotten to settle the fees and requesting to make payment. He would
never make this an issue. In fact, we understand that he was generous enough to pay out of his
pocket, the School Fees due from several students whose parents had some difficulties.
The End of Term Reports had a separate section for the comments of the Head Master. As
he knew each and everyone of the 300 Students in his care, his comments were short, terse, to
the point and very appropriate. I have with me all my Reports from 1958 - 1962 and in each one
of these he has highlighted the core-issues, relevant for that period of that time spent in College,
whether it was in relation to Studies in each subject, Sports or Health.
The way he inter-acted with the Minor Staff, the Tutorial Staff and Staff handling
Administration and Accounts coupled with the care of the Students, made the entire population of
the campus one big family. The Students who were generally of the ages 12 -16 or so all had
regard and affection even for those on the Minor Staff with whom they came into contact. This
could be said of the Ground Boy - Gunadasa; the Sick Room Boy - Ariyadasa; the Chef - Manis;
the Driver of the School Van - Van Simon; the Ringer of the School Bell - Bell Simon; the Driver of
Dr Hayman's car - Piyasena. These were all institutions, no less. Apart from the Minor Staff, all
the members of the Staff with whom Students came into contact were also treated with that much
more respect. The entire Tutorial Staff lived on the Campus. They all partook of the same food
and had meals at the same time in the same Dining Hall. Only the married members of the Staff
who had their own separate quarters within the Campus had their meals in their own quarters. I
attribute this sense of closeness and affinity to the overall influence Dr Hayman had on
everybody. It would be true to say, he held the entire network together and he was the Cog
around which everybody else gathered.
To us, life at Gurutalawa meant firstly Dr Hayman and secondly, Father Foster and thereafter
the rest of the staff and minor staff at Gurutalawa who were also important factors.
Dr Hayman traversed different areas of the campus from time to time. Going through the
Junior Dormitory Complex,or along the corridors,used to be a common sight. Nobody, not even
he, would walk across the quadrangle where the grass grown with care was held sacred. In fact,
any student bold enough to walk across would find himself summarily punished by the Prefects or
a Master. When Dr Hayman was sighted, students on the opposite side of the quadrangle would
stand up with respect until he passed that area. Such was the regard and respect he
His attire would normally consist of a short sleeved shirt with small checks, a pair of baggy
khaki shorts with 2 side pockets more akin to two kit bags, for those pockets would hold
innumerable articles apart from 2 handkerchiefs, one in each pocket. The articles and tools in his
pockets composed a utility travel kit from which he would draw out and utilize various implements
which became useful as he trudged along the Campus. He would wear brown shoes with brown
stockings. It would be a rare sight indeed to see Dr Hayman in full suit. That would be on very
special occasions like the Prize Giving.
He would encourage and ensure that the band of his favourite students particularly those in
his Physics Class arranged to have the Science Exhibition in the old laboratory adjoining the
canal on the day of the Prize Giving. Each exhibit would be explained by either one or two
students who were responsible for it, under the patronizing eye and care of Dr Hayman. This
would be an annual feature looked forward to by all.
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Old 19-08-20, 03:51 PM
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On one occasion, a new entrant who was in the Lower 4th and the Winchester Dorm had
turned up for swimming during games, i.e. 4.30 to 6 p.m. This boy, short of build and without
realizing that the swimming pool had some gradient, ventured to an area which was beyond his
height, without realizing his folly. Seeing this boy in some difficulty, I waded across, stretched out
and took him to firmer ground where the level of water was manageable for him. Dr Hayman who
was standing by the side of the pool towards the deep end had witnessed this insignificant
incident and walking up to the other end of the pool, called out my name, nodded when he got my
attention, mouthed the words "Thank You" and went away. That night during room-time, on his
visit to De Saram Junior he came up to my bed and thanked me once again saying that he had
seen what I had done. That was the nature of the man.
I occupied the upper bunk at the extreme end of De Saram Junior whilst the lower bunk was
occupied by my friend the Neuro Surgeon now in U.K. On my bunk between the side fender and
the mattress, I would always have stacked 5 or 6 books mostly novels which I would read during
room time etc. when not having a chat. Each time Dr.Hayman visited us, in the dorm, he would
make it a point to closely examine the books tacked up, make a few comments and move on. He
never failed to mention in his remarks under Head Master's Report at the end of term, the reading
habit. But always added that I needed to work at my Maths or that I was very weak in Maths, and
perhaps the elder brother could help me.
29) Another regular feature was the payment of pocket money. The amount was 0.50 cents per
week. Each class and there were 5, i.e. Lower 4th, Upper 4th ,5th Form, Lower 6th and Upper
6th, received pocket money on one day of the week, so that each month one would receive
generally Rs.2/-. We were expected to queue up in the corridor outside Dr.Hayman's office and
walk in and receive the -/50 cts. The coins were kept in a box and the pocket money was handed
over by Dr.Hayman himself to each student across his table after making an entry in his Register.
Father Foster used to stand at the doorway with his hands out-stretched. Being quite an imposing
figure, it was not easy to be an "artful dodger". This meant that one had to forego a part of the
pocket money to the Lord. That part would be 50% of the receipt. In effect one would drop the -
/50 cts in to his hand and pick up a -/25 cts coin from him unless of course Dr.Hayman had given
two -/25 cts coins. The wiser of the boys opted to take the pocket money once in 4 weeks which
meant you got off with doling out to Fr.Foster only -/25 cts for the whole month. I do not think he
ever got wise to that one. If one were to avoid Fr.Foster at the doorway by crouching or creeping,
he would let out his customary growl and make a pretence of trying to grab you. The return match
would be in the night after dinner during room-time when on his visit to the dorm, Fr.Foster would
engage in a mock attack while the boy would be pretending to be asleep or even if awake, trying
to grab him around his bed. All this was part of life and Dr.Hayman would quietly smile at the
antics of Father Foster whether it was outside his office or in the dormitory.
In September 1958, the Prime Minister of the Country Mr. S.W R D Bandaranayake was
assassinated at his residence in Rosmead Place by a Buddhist monk. School was in session
during that time. Dr. Hayman made a sudden appearance in the dining hall at a time when the
entire school was assembled, may be at lunch, and in a voice choked with emotion, broke the
news and walked out as it was too much for him. It did surprise us how this event could have
moved him so much.
I also remember in the earlier part of 1958, when also the school was in session, communal
riots broke out on a fairly large scale across the island. Sinhala people living in the North were
harassed and were evacuated. Tamil people living in the South were the target of mob violence.
The barber of the area where my parents lived and who happened to be the only Tamil resident
was out-numbered. He was assaulted, tied on to a small cart used to transport water in half
barrels and taken along the highway by a gang of hooligans who were mouthing obscenities
whilst mercilessly assaulting the hapless man who could not budge an inch. The procession
came to a halt opposite the gate of our garden. The assaulting continued. The poor man was
screaming in pain. My eldest brother who happened to be at home rushed up to the gate
wondering what the commotion was. Seeing the predicament of the poor man he rushed down
once again to alert my parents. My father who was having a bath stopped mid way and together
with my brother rushed upto the gate to prevent further mischief. However, by that time, kerosene
oil had been poured on the man and the mob had set fire to him. Nothing could be done to
prevent further harm. The man died there. Dr.Hayman who had heard of this incident, in his Prize
Day Report and Speech paid a glowing tribute to my parents and my elder brother for the valiant
efforts made in trying to save the life of the man. So also during this period saw the foul murder of
a Master of our time at S.Thomas' Preparatory School, Bandarawela who was travelling by bus
with his father to visit his relative who was a P W D Overseer in the area. They were dragged out
of the bus and murdered in cold blood. None of these culprits were brought to justice and they
continued to live among the community to which they brought so much disgrace.
We were in school during those troubled times but as far as I recollect, the external mayhem
and ugly incidents had no bearing on our life in school. We were untouched by the events
happening outside and indeed one of the foremost lessons we learnt was that all of us were equal
members of the same human race. There was no distinction between different ethnic groups and
some of the most enduring and sincere friendships between boys of different ethnic groups were
born whilst we were students at College.
We have heard so much of Dr.Rollo Hayman. We have personally experienced various
aspects of his life with us; what he has taught us not by preaching but by being a living example
of all that is good, right, clean, courageous and fair. Thomians who have made their homes in far
off places all over the Globe will never forget this great Head Master. They all feel the debt of
gratitude they owe to him. We will continue to sing his praises and feel the loss to College and the
country due to his early departure.
In this Diamond Jubilee Year of the College we look back with a sense of pride, that we had
the privilege and good fortune of having as the head of our school forty years ago a giant in every
sense of the word, to whom we owe so much; from whom we gained so much; who moulded our
characters, our very lives and the immense loss to our country by the exodus of such persons
whose absence is felt so very much in these days when student indiscipline seems to be the
order of the L.J. June 2002
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