Br H D O'Neill

You can see him in the Abu Orioles of 1964-68.
  • Teacher whose Senior Cambridge/ISC classes graduated with superior results.
  • Field hockey and football/soccer coach and player for the school team against the town team, Government High School, CPTC (later NPA) and Gurkha regiment teams.
  • Managed the operas and choir for all school functions and parents week. Always had me in his operas as a female and in his choirs as a soprano !! (even when my voice went haywire trying the scales for the choir one year!!)
  • Impressed us with his multi-instrument (piano, guitar) playing skills. Played finger-picking folk, cowboy and Irish tunes on his guitar, with Deasy accompanying him.
  • Woke with bad earache late one nite and knocked on his room (later Br. Foran's) door at the end of the small dorm. He gave me a chocolate, read me an article about Roy Roger's horse Trigger and told me a few stories about them till I was ready to go to bed again.
  • When dorm sas complained to him about me one Saturday evening after dinner, he made me "face north", whacked me across the behind with a hockey stick and let me go to the Saturday night movie in the gym, instead of holing up in the dorm, with only dorm sas for company. (I still say thanks for the whack—couldn't miss "Flipper, the Dolphin"!).  He operated the movie projector for the weekly movies.
  • Spiritual director of the Crusaders (Classes IV-VII) and supervisor of some great annual picnics for the group.
  • Took me on my first conquest of Plummy when I was in Class III.
  • Graduated me into the big leagues by making me swim the School Lake channel non-stop. (But he had to play life-guard for a bit on the way back). Shallow Bay was for the "smallies" after that!
  • Never taught me any classroom subjects since he taught the senior classes, but was a big part of making my life in SMS a happy and learning one.

—Ashley D'Souza (1972)

Here he is, perched on a classroom bench, strumming on his guitar and singing Little Green Jug and I Was Born Ten-Thousand Years Ago with inimitable Irish brio ­ while we pre-teen country hicks marvel at his genius and watch his Adam’s Apple bob up and down to the riffs coming off his strings.

And here he is again, striding down a moonlit road with us tripping over his heels trying to stay as close as possible to avoid being abducted by the demons he conjures from tales spun from his fertile imagination.

Every time someone from the cherished past passes away, a little something in us also dies.

God Bless you, Br O’Neill.

—Pierre Francis (1973)

He was our class teacher in my final year. His attitude was endearing and there was always a boyish energy about him which rubbed off on us. A talented human being. He inspired us to produce results in our Senior Cambridge which SMS is still proud of. God bless his soul

—Ranajit Sen (1968)

Br O'Neill was in some respects the Christian Brothers' answer to the Singing Nun. And our very own Bob Dylan. He was almost always to be found with his guitar or a keyboard, whether it was drilling the boys through chromatic arpeggios to Bella Senora, pumping the squeaky pedals on the chapel organ, entertaining the Crusaders with Marty Robbins' and Faron Young's country & western hits (Big Iron on His Hip, El Paso, Yellow Bandana), or something more age-appropriate like Mummy's Taking Us to the Zoo Tomorrow. He carried Ireland on his sleeve: created a school anthem out of an IRA pub song, The Merry Ploughboy, and always had a good banshee tale for a dark night. He should also be remembered as the master of perhaps the most successful ISC class, a batch of 18 that finished in 1968 with 15 First Divisions and 3 Second Divisions.

“O the sea, o the sea, the grá geal mo chroí (the love of my heart)
Long may she flow between England and me
It's a sure guarantee that one day we'll be free/God bless the poor Scotsmen, they'll never be free
Thank God we're surrounded by water”

—Val Noronha (1973)