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He was educated first at Cordwalles preparatory school near Camberley then as a scholarship pupil at Charterhouse whence he was expelled in 1945 for homosexual activities - this despite his cricketing and scholastic prowess. Amongst his school contemporaries were James Prior William Rees-Mogg Oliver Popplewell and Peter May. He was subsequently commissioned into the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry before being seconded to the 77th Heavy Ack Ack (Anti Aircraft) Regiment at Rolleston Balloon Camp where he saw out his service.
His unashamed credo was "a robust eighteenth-century paganism. allied to a deep contempt for the egalitarian code of post-war England".