Comboni Missionaries | Bungalow Bill

Bungalow Bill

We used to get visits from someone in the Verona Fathers who was a Monsignor Monsignor Cave I think his name was. He had been quite a catch for them as he was a convert and had had a reasonably high position in the Church of England. He was getting on a bit but I was never quite sure what he did.

Whenever he came he always had a slide show and it was always about one thing – him shooting tigers from the back of an elephant. He tried to give a sense of the danger that he was in when out in the jungle looking for tigers with his native helpers. However, even at the age of eleven I couldn’t see where the bravery came from in shooting at tigers from up top a huge elephant.

Slide Shows

The Boys loved to go and see his slide shows. In fact they loved to go and see anything that was in the TV room that would add a little fizz to their day. I wonder how many of them were thinking the same as I was and were sympathetic to the tiger and hoping it would get away. I couldn’t see the point of them shooting it and what the pleasure was in it.

The highlight for the Monsignor was the slide showing his native helpers carrying the tiger away upside down hanging limply from a pole. What were the Verona Fathers doing encouraging him to do this?

He looked more like a great imperialist rather than a priest sent out to help those in need. I think the order looked at him as a great capture who reinforced their own beliefs about the superiority of the Catholic faith to all others and so didn’t want to do anything that might upset this apple cart.

It seems he used to take the slide show around places. It seems if he wasn’t shooting tigers he was showing people slides of him shooting tigers.

I wonder if he had ever taken the slide show to a school in Liverpool. When I first heard the lyrics of the Beatles song Bungalow Bill, released in 1968, it was the Monsignor I immediately thought of. It seemed to have been written for him.

“The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill”

Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?
Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?

He went out tiger hunting with his elephant and gun
In case of accidents he always took his mom
He’s the all American bullet-headed Saxon mother’s son
All the children sing

Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?
Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?

Deep in the jungle where the mighty tiger lies
Bill and his elephants were taken by surprise
So Captain Marvel zapped in right between the eyes, zap!
All the children sing

Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?
Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?

The children asked him if to kill was not a sin
“Not when he looked so fierce”, his mummy butted in
If looks could kill it would have been us instead of him
All the children sing

Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?
Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?

[Eh up!]

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9 responses to “Comboni Missionaries | Bungalow Bill

  1. Mgr Cave was not a member if the Vetona Fathers. He was a retired cleric who lived at Sunningdale – possibly because it was near Sandhurst -and I think he had friends there and was a member of their Officers Mess. At Sunnigdale we only saw him at mealtimes as a general rule. He was out and about a lot. Actually he was quite good fun in an old colonial sort of way. He told the same stories over and over again and on feast days would often do a party piece from Gilbert and Sullivan. I always remember him faultlessly singing “I am the very model of a modern Major General” from beginning to end. He was good fun – and very British -and brought light relief into our clostrophobic world. I remember once getting a book from the local library about great master painters and I was caught one day with a page open of a Rubens painting with a gross half naked Lady in the picture. I had to do public penance before lunch for that – kneeling before the whole community with arms outstretched – and I started to giggle because Mgr Cave could not contain himself and burst out laughing. I was in real trouble for that – had to kiss the feet of everyone in the community!

  2. He was a lovely old man. He lived in Sunningdale when I was there in 1970-71.
    His party piece for any concerts we arranged was ‘Home James And Don’t Spare The Horses’. I loved our conversations as he was such a learned man. I remember discussing the feminist movement with him and he said that it had come a long way and it would continue until both sexes were equal in society. Quite progressive thinking then.
    he used to take his newspaper into the toilet with him! What a star!

  3. Question:
    I don’t appear to be getting any answers with this one, can anybody out there help me?
    There was an article published in the Liverpool Echo (26/10/14) exposing Pinkie as a paedophile. It states that a Liverpool lad ” a former Catholic school pupil from Merseyside” was among one of the 11 claimants

    Does anybody know who this is?

    Martin Leo Murphy (winonpens)

    • He wouldn’t let the Liverpool Echo use his name so he would have to contact you himself if he wants you to know his name. He will have seen this article and will reply if he wants to let you know.

      He wasn’t there in your time so it’s not one of the ones that you knew.

      • He wasn’t there in my time Gerry?

        I’d be very surprised if I didn’t know him. In fact I knew all the lads from Merseyside, even those who were older than me.

        I thought all the claimants had waived their right of anonymity? Aren’t the Mirfield 11 all named in the Observer/Guardian article? I didn’t see any lads from Merseyside there.

        Who is he?

  4. For the ‘Merseyside’ boy:
    ‘winonpens’ is my moniker. I’m Martin Leo Murphy. Everybody called me Muff.
    In the photograph with Pinkie in his bobble hat, which was published nationally with the sexual abuse article, I’m in the front row of the football team, arms folded, blonde hair. My private email is marmir_sa@yahoo.co.uk

  5. yes I remember Monsignor Cave well in Sunningdale. We were told he was the retired chief of Police in the Sudan. In Lent we had to do small penances. One penance was to say the grace before meals kneeling in the middle of the floor with hands outstretched. Another was to kiss the feet of a member of the community before meals. I purposely kissed the feet of Monsgnor Cave because I knew he hated it!
    Tony (Kennedy)

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