Profile Remembrances

Rev. Martin Preston

As Remembered by Olwen Morgan (formerly David Blyth)

Martin took me for Divinity and Russian at St. Dunstan's. He never knew I was gender dysphoric and I never knew he was gay, although it would never have bothered me even as a teenager. St. Dunstan's went through some very dark times in the late 1960s and early 1970's. From 1969 to 1971 there was a communist cell in the school whose actions finally  destroyed the reputation of the then particularly vile headmaster. Martin knew of our left-wing sympathies but nobody knew how extensive, devious (and sometimes downright illegal) the clandestine operation was. I think it put him in a difficult position as he found it difficult to sympathise with communists, however much he might have shared our views of the head. My most abiding memory is of Martin asking me to lay off the head as he was under a lot of pressure after a spectacular demonstration staged in the Great Hall during the 1970 Speech Day ceremonies. On reflection it was quite extraordinary for a school chaplain to ask (not "tell" - he knew that wouldn't work) a pupil to lay off the headmaster. It was typical of him that he counselled moderation but I think that subsequent events proved that the communist cell understood the head rather better than he did. That was not surprising given the then unknown effectiveness of our espionage. He probably thought we were young and hot-headed, having no idea of how coldly ruthless a campaign we had undertaken. Dark days but I always remember Martin as one of the good guys.

March 23, 2012