Dad comes home.
my father came back from his war service, I do remember going
with my mother and Michael and Sheila to meet him at Leicester's
London Road railway station. When the train arrived and he got
out I didn't recognise him at first. I was 8 years old and had
been 4 when I last saw him.
all went on holiday to Llandudno and he bought me a wooden sailing
boat which I kept for many years. We sailed it on a small boating
lake which had a statue of Lewis Carroll nearby. I ate one of
my first ice creams there, a very yellow product which I suspect
now was frozen custard.
think the gap of four years was too long and the bond between
father and son was broken. I never did live up to his expectations.
He took me to one football match but I just was not interested.
I loved using a simple 9.5mm movie projector I received as a birthday
present. I made a screen with curtains and lights and held film
shows for my friends.
wanted a sporty 'lad' and he didn't get one. One of the sad things
is that I always had the feeling that nothing I ever did ever
am aware that I do share many of his characteristics and it was
very difficult reading his wartime letters after he died. I'm
not sure if he ever understood how hard it was for families left
without a man in the house during the war years.
hope that by making these letters available years after the events,
the modern generation will have some understanding of what life
was really like in those days.
and Eric in their later years
their later years Olive and Eric continued to live at the
same house in Leicester. The three children eventually married
and left home and they had five grandchildren.
retired from Faire Brothers at the age of 60 having been
with them for some 44 years. He enjoyed working an allotment
with his lifelong friend Harry Quinn. He was also an active
member of the Royce Institute and St.Augustine's Church.
concerned herself mostly with family matters having a
very large extended family in the Leicester area, the
Benifers, the Johnsons, the Hardings, the Gills among
passed away at the age of 72 and Eric just after his 80th
birthday. They enjoyed their retirement travelling to
Italy and Austria including visiting some of the places
mentioned in these letters.
the war I was at school at he Alderman Richard Hallam school in
Anstey lane. At eleven, I moved to the Wyggeston School. The photograph
below was taken in about 1947 at Alderman Richard Hallam's. I
have tried to put names to some of the faces but cannot remember
them all. Can anyone help ?
row. Christpher,Trevor,Clive Offley, Alan Garbett, Keith Mason.
2nd row. ?,?,Diana,?,?,?,?,?,?,?
3rd row ?'?,Anne,?,?,Sadie,?,?,?,Rita
Bottom row ?,?,?,?,?,?,?,Terry,?
on the image above will access a larger version.
Be patient it may be slow to load.
Top of page.
THE "CHILDREN" TODAY
July 2004. Michael, Sheila and Keith.
Photographed outside Michaels home in Melton Mowbray
Top of page.
In Germany 1999
the war I continued at the Alderman Richard Hallam school until
I was 11 and then, after passing the notorious eleven plus exam,
gained admission to the Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys.
being somewhere near the top of the class at the primary school,
I dropped quickly to the bottom of the heap at a school which
pretended it was a 'public school and where learning by rote was
the basic teaching method. Half the 'masters' were mad and strutted
about in torn gowns and mortar boards.
were quickly streamed into 5 channels with only the top few getting
real attention as on them lay the hope of later admission to a
top university. Looking back, I wish comprehensive schools had
been around but instead I was just made to feel stupid and therefore
acted out the part allocated.
16 I wanted to be a photographer, something which the autocratic
headmaster considered a line of work totally unsuited to a boy
from his school and he advised my father that there was nothing
more the school could do for me. I therefore left and found a
job with a local photographic firm, Leicester Photographic Services,
where I spent two reasonably happy years.
18, it was into the Air Force for National Service and being unable
to manage on £1.40 a week, signed on for an extra 18 months
to increase my pay to £2.80. Being trained as a photographer,
The Air Force decided I should work on Radar and I spent my time
in Germany sampling the local beer in copious quantities.
is another web site www.RAFWinterberg.co.uk
which covers this part of my life)
returned to another Photographic firm in Leicester, Leicester
Photographic Company and ended up photographing weddings, houses
and machines.I moved on to PERA, a scientific research organisation
in Melton Mowbray. Eventually I left to work for Bennetts Cameras
in Leicester and a few months later Dixons.
were exciting to work forat the time. They were growing fast and
I spent seventeen years with them managing stores in Cambridge,
where I met my wife, Wolverhampton, where we produced two children,
Birmingham and then on to promotion as Area Manager in Southern
struck in the form of Thatcher whose policies devastated Dixon's
profits ( although the owner Mr Stanley Kalms was later to give
the Conservatives a million pounds and was rewarded with a knighthood)
400 staff were made redundant overnight in 1980 with no discussion
and no consideration for the effect on their lives. I was offered
managership of a shop but was disgusted with their behaviour and
was the trigger to a marriage breakdown and the loss of everything
icluding, house, car and eventually contact with my children. I took a job with Superdrug which lasted four years and later
with ladbrookes. This led to work with Oxfam running ten of their
shops in London, work I really enjoyed. Eventually however, Oxfam
itself showed signs of becoming less of a volunteer orientated
organisation and more influenced by all the latest American business
jargon and I left earlier than I would have wished.
leaving Dixons, and then becoming divorced after 13 years marriage
, I had to rebuild a life from nothing and today would rate life
as being very satisfactory. For this I do not thank any politician
or employer but perhaps thanks are due to my parents, Olive and
Eric, who did instill in me and my brother and sister a sense
of what is right, fair and decent and an attitude of not giving
up when faced with problems.. While there were always arguments
with my father, some very bitter, mainly over his blind support
for the Conservative Party even when then were creating havoc
with people's lives, I think on the whole the pair of them did
do a good job raising their three children..
future ? Well I have a partner of thirty years standing I live
in a place which has everything I need on the doorstep, I enjoy
reasonable health and have been able to travel around the world
and enjoy my forced 'retirement' Producing this site has brought
me closer to my brother and sister. . I still wonder what my mother
and father would think of the fact that their memory is preserved
in a form which spans the world. The same as my Aunt Mabel, probably,
when she saw the first television commercial for toilet paper,
' Bloody Hell, whatever next !'
in November 2010 I found my son Paul was the father of a 3 year
old girl Kaitlin so I am now a grandfather. Last month my Brother's
son Johnathon became a father of a boy Luke so my brother is also
a grandfather !