E VERY year university rags across the country raise a great deal of cash for charities. Southampton University’s Rag Week is a whacky but important part of the fundraising effort, full of tomfoolery and jolly japes. The event in 1964 was no exception to this rule.

To start the week, three Southampton University students broke into Parkhurst Prison, on the Isle of Wight, stayed for about an hour, painted the words “Soton Rag” on a wall and then left.

Three students, all aged 18, went to the prison site in the early hours of November 16 and used ropes to climb the outside wall.

They then climbed over three ditches surmounted by barbed wire.

After that, they had to scale a second 15ft wall into a floodlit compound where they painted the words “Soton Rag” on a wall. The group, made up of Les Brown, John Palmer and Phil Joslin, said breaking into the prison was so easy they even took flashlight pictures to prove it.

One of the students said: “The fact that we got as far as we did proves that Britain’s top security prison is inadequately guarded at night. We want to emphasise that our main objective was to gain publicity for our rag.”

A rag stunt the next day in London’s Buckingham Palace didn’t go quite so well.

A group of students dressed in Norman chainmail and visors had planned to march up and down the outside of the palace selling copies of Goblio , the rag magazine. The students were stopped by police before they’d managed to sell a single copy of Goblio .

On November 17, 1964, Southampton University staged its Rag Revue, which saw a mixture of both good and bad comedy sketches along a performance of original music by The Jug Band.

Paul Kibbey was judged the best of the actors on the evening and the corner- stone of the revue. David Dawson ably assisted him and was very funny in the Sunday Palladium sketch.

The next morning shoppers in Above Bar Street were given a chance to bag themselves a bargain from the Rag Week auction held by Bill Rose, Adam Cooney and John Brown.

That night, though, was the big one – The Rag Ball. Crowds of people packed Southampton Guildhall where, Janet Jones was crowned University Rag Queen and revellers danced into the night.

On the same night Radio Goblio began broadcasting, but was soon shut down by GPO officials, who raided one of the halls of residence and removed the offending equipment.

A separate group of students claimed that they had managed to break into Beaulieu Palace House, home of Lord Montagu, and take a waxwork monk from a trunk. The practical jokers then replaced the monk with a note clearly dis- playing its whereabouts.

In the Daily Echo car park the next day, a police car arrived transporting officers responding to a case of indecent exposure. The unclad female turned out to be a mannequin.

The Saturday night saw the procession that marked the end of the week’s shenanigans. Onlookers lined the streets all the way from the university to the Bargate.

The floats went separate ways – one half travelling through Shirley, and the other through Portswood – but with all 24 of them meeting back up at the Bargate afterwards.