Influential officer in the prison service, especially with young offenders. He was born in Derby to a Methodist mother and an Anglican father who worked as an engineer at HM prison, When he was 11 his family moved to Feltham. Here he became associated with the local WM church, including the Sunday School. he began preaching at 16 and had thoughts of entering the ministry. Instead, he trained as a teacher and obtained a BSc.
From 1923 he had a distinguished career in HM Prison Service, especially among young offenders in the Borstal institution. After military service in World War I he became Housemaster at Wakefieldprison, Deputy Governor briefly at Durham prison, and Governor of HM Boys' prison, Wormwood Scrubs in 1930. In 1932 he was given the task of turning Camp Hill prison on the Isle of Wight into a Borstal Institution. In 1938 he became the first Governor of HM Hollesley Bay Colony, an 'open Borstal' in Suffolk, to which Brendan Behan was sent in 1939. Finally, in 1941 he was appointed headmaster of The Cotswold School. He wrote and edited several books, including an atobiographical Thoughts of a Lifetime (1971) and became well known as a lecturer and broadcaster.
'By the time I was sixteen I wanted to become a parson in the Wesleyan Church. I began to study theology and actually did some preaching... I was disappointed by the coolness with which my sermons were received. I had hoped for results similar to those of John Wesley, but far from masses of people coming forward to find the blessings of conversion at my youthful hands, my hearers were either somnolent or else highly critical of my exposition of the Divinity, which had been culled very largely from the writings of Agar Beet.' (Thoughts of a Lifetime, 1971, pp.18-19)