Monday, 11 February 2008

Daddy Part I.

My father was born on 23rd November 1916 in Catford, South London and baptized Allan James.



This is the earliest photo I have of him. They moved about a bit, to Birmingham, to Llanelli, to Burry Port and ended up in Cardiff.



Here he is on holiday somewhere or other, but it would be in South Wales. He came from a very devout Catholic family and was an alter boy at Mass. Unfortunately he got drummed out as he and his friend were found pissed on alter wine. He always was a disrespectful little bugger. He enrolled at the Nautical College at Cardiff University as a Cadet and learned to be a sailor.



This is him in his Cadet costume. He hadn't been at the college long when his loving and much loved father, James Allan died.



Photographs of Grandpa Jimmy are rare, but this is one with my father and my wonderful and naughty Grandma Gladys. Grandpa Jimmy was on leave from the First World War at the time. He had been somewhere in the desert and suffering great thirst. My grandmother sent him some Andrew's Liver Salts as she thought it would be 'refreshing'. It gave all the soldiers diarrhoea.

Money was a bit tight when Grandpa died, so my father offered to leave the college and become a postmaster, something he had secretely wanted since being a little boy. My grandma wouldn't hear of it and promptly married George who had had his eye on her for years!



This is their wedding day. Grandma grew to love George and they had a very happy and loving marriage. I remember him as one of the kindest men I have every met. One day little Maalie in a fit of hyper-activity, knocked the heads off the beloved peonies that George had cultivated from seeds. His reaction was to bite his lips together, then hiss: "the little devil", stomp off to his potting shed to recover, come out again, pick up young Maalie and kiss him!

However, I digress. War came and Daddy went to sea.




On one of his leaves he met Hilda Gertrude, fell in love and they became engaged. On another leave, she was waiting at the quayside to greet him as his boat came in, and he shoved a brown paper parcel in her hands. She opened it. It was a length of white silk he had bought in the Far East. He asked whether she could get it made up into a wedding dress, as he had a week's leave. They got married by special licence and had a two-day honeymoon in Porth Cawl. When he returned to Cardiff, he found his ship had suffered damage in a bombing raid and it was six weeks before it was fit to leave again, so they had six wonderful weeks living on board.




This is their honeymoon photo!

My father had many adventures during the war, which are for another post. But the greatest one was when he was torpedoed off the coast of Africa. When they were in the lifeboat the U-boat surfaced and came along side them. The Master offered to take them back to Germany as prisoners of war, or to let them take their chances in the lifeboat. By mutual consent they decided to stay in the lifeboat. The German Master then offered them food, water and first aid which was gratefully accepted. The U-boat submerged and buggered off.

To be continued.......

53 comments:

The Lone Beader said...

Oh, the honeymoon photo is cute! :D

Angela said...

Wonderful photo's! Thanks for sharing with us! *HUGS*

Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

Lorenzo... that was told so beautifully.... brought tears to my eyes! I love how your father brought back silk for your mother's wedding gown. And then to get six weeks together as it happened was remarkable.
That maalie though with the peonies.... what a lad!

tut-tut said...

How unusual, to think of bringing back the silk. Most men wouldn't have done so! Did she manage to have a dress made up?

lorenzothellama said...

Oh yes, she got the dress made up. The next door neighbour cut his prized Arum lillies for her bouquet and her friend Joan already had a bridesmaid dress so she was all set for the honour! As it was war time, they couldn't get the ingredients for a proper cake, but they had this little chocolate thing.

Martin Stickland said...

A very enjoyable read young lady and in many years to come your great great great grand children will be able to dust off these old web pages and see what a great line of people they came from.

Well done Lorenzybum and some nice piccies to treasure here.

bye bye apple pie!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mum,

Really enjoyed reading about my grandfather, but don't you think that your grandfather George has at least a passing resemblance to the Duke of Edinburgh in that photo?

Jack

Maalie said...

A very nice accout.

lorenzothellama said...

Mmm. Hadn't thought of that Jack. Maybe, but he had a totally different personality from the nasty old Duke though.

Maalie said...

I've never really like peonies.

lorenzothellama said...

Don't blame you really! I think they are too luxurious, over-blown and only last a couple of day, and then only if there is no wind and rain.

Father Ann said...

My Dear Llama - I think this must be the best posting I have ever read ever. The photographic images, the eloquence, the presentation, the sheer weight of contribution to the world of geneology!!!

Is that enough creeping after my unloading of both barrels in the deli yesterday? Thought not.

Grovel, grovel etc etc..

Magdalene said...

Wonderful! '...pissed on altar wine.' I love it. So that's where you get it from? :-)

Raelha said...

Mags beat me to the obvious remark about the alter wine.

A wonderful story about the U-Boat. Makes you wonder what would happen in a similar situation today

Ju's little sister said...

I like the pissed on alter wine. I like the white silk. I got the impression he had to stay on the boat for those six weeks - not spend it with his new wife.

I like the pictures and the story. I like the naughty Grandmother.

I especially like to hear not all German's were evil, as they are often painted to the rest of us. They were human beings too - some good, some bad, most somewhere in between.

Carry on Llama.

lorenzothellama said...

Everybody seems to like the pissed on alter wine! I thought it would appeal to you all! It is also absolutely true. My wicked grandmother told me, and when I asked my father, he just grinned and nodded!

Father Ann said...

And did I mention, that (as I was reloading) I noticed how lovely your hair looked?

Plumpy said...

Wicked Grandmother, runcible son, - there is a pattern forming here!!

Craver Vii said...

This was such a heartwarming account. You're really blessed to have that knowledge of your family. My parents may as well have been adopted. I have no pictures of my grandparents, and there was a language barrier, as they spoke only Spanish, and I was too lazy to put forth much effort.

After reading your story, I know I must pass on more to my own children.

Craver Vii said...

"Runcible." Isn't that a kind of fork? What does that word mean when you use it? I think that word is probably only used on that side of the pond.

Ju's little sister said...

Naughty, in a mischievious and cheeky sort of way.

Maalie is the epitomy of runcibility.

(spelling?)

Ju's little sister said...

Lorenzo, do you really want a comprehensive break-down of the contents of my locker?

Mostly stuff, it's quite boring.

NaNcY said...

wonderful post!

Maalie said...

You won't find runcible in the dictionary. Like a point in geometry (which also has no formal definition) it is defined axiomatically. You have to pick up it's meaning from the context. The best example I heard was when my three-year old son chucked some food out of his high chair and I said "That was a bit naughty" and he said: "No, not naughty, just runcible".

Ted M. Gossard said...

Very nice and quite well done, Lorenzo! Great pics. Great story. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing that. Kind of brings a tear to my eyes.

Father Ann said...

runcible spoon, noun - Kind of fork with three broad prongs, one with a cutting edge, and hollowed out like a spoon. (runcible, nonsense word of Edward Lear (d 1988).

The Concise Oxfor Dictionary - 1964

Father Ann said...

Sorry 'Oxford' not 'Oxfor'.

Maalie said...

Ann, yes, I guessed you would enjoy correcting me, as usual.

Ann said...

I do confess, it is fun

Martin Stickland said...

Hey Lorenzybum, hows it hanging man?

I hope you dudes are just fine and enjoying the sunshine.

It is sunny here today, on with the cosie!

bye bye

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

wonderful story Lorenzo - and as usual, you've left us with a cliffhanger! I will look fowward to the next chapter! It did so make me laught to think of naughty Maalie - but perhaps he was just beating the bush to death to get to the birds that were hiding there!

Happy Valentine's Day dear Llama!

Craver Vii said...

I found it funny that Ju's Lil Sis called Maalie the epitome of runcible, because if you pronounce the name a little differently, it becomes "Malo," which can mean naughty in Spanish.

Sorry Maalie; I didn't mean to gang up on you. :-)

Ex-Shammickite said...

A true adventure story with an ending yet to come... sorta like those saturday morning serial movies at the local cinema... the hero is hanging to a fragile twig at the top of a high cliff, about to lose his grip.... the girl is tied to the train tracks... the 10:45 is rumblig down the track....
But what do I know about saturday morning movies, where I lived was too far away from a cinema for me to go... in fact I didn't even have electricity, but that's another blog.... and I seem to have changed the topic here... but Great Family Pics Lorenzo, loved the theme and the continuity of the story and where can I get some of that altar wine???

Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

Yesterday evening when we had the very good Queen's Navy band here in the Square, giving us a wonderful concert, the leader talked about wine. He talked about how he could see someone with a lovely glass of the red stuff, and how he was coming to help them enjoy it at the end of the concert. The whole crowd went "Oooohhhhhhh!" cos he had inadvertently dobbed someone in: the Square is supposed to be an alcohol free area;-)

Rob Hopcott said...

What a wonderful post, Lorenzo.

We are so lucky not to have lived through the war years.

I wonder how our children will tell our stories.

Thesaurus Rex said...

I left a comment yesterday, but it appears to have disappeared. In essence, nice photos and can't wait for the rest of the story now I'm on tenterhooks. It's better than Corrie, though that's not difficult.

lorenzothellama said...

Rexy, nothing is better than Corrie, except perhaps Eastenders. Do you think Stacey and Bradley will get back together. And that Bad Max!! What a man!! You all know Ozzy Simon is the image of Bad Max, and I suspect, just as wicked!

Rob Hopcott said...

Lorenzo, thanks for your visit to my retirement activities blog and your fascinating comment - the one about wars not my ****** multiple blogs :-)

Always seeking to please, I've now got another blog. Yes one more! Knew you'd be pleased!

This blog is for people who just want to chat and don't need a themed blog.

It's called cafehopcott.com and is a blogger blog so you'll feel at home.

See you there for hugs and chocky cake

Rob

Magdalene said...

Erm..sorry everyone. Rob appears to have forgotten that I ate all the chocky cake yesterday.

lorenzothellama said...

BITCH!

Magdalene said...

Oh stop overreacting Lorenzo. It was only an entire Mocha Rum Death by Endorphin rush Fudge cake with extra chocolate. I saved you a couple of nice Rich Tea biscuits.

I expect if you ask Rob nicely he'll make you another one.

Ex-Shammickite said...

Oh yeah.... they still talk about the Toronto Lorenzo years, but nothing I could repeat. Same on you, LtL!

Maalie said...

Hello from Burry Port!

simon said...

Bad Max? who IS Bad Max?? we had a film with Mel Gibson in it called Mad Max!!

RUNCIBLE girl!

lorenzothellama said...

I think I have mentioned Bad Max before Simon and your amazing similarity to him in the looks department!
He had an affair with his son's fiancee while his own wife was pregnant and now he is seducing his wife's solicitor's assistant during the ensuing divorce case!
His son Bradley has left his wife Stacey and she is doing her best to get back together again. Hence my comments to Rexy about whether they will make it.
If you are all yawning now, I do understand, as everytime I put it on, Peter picks up his paper and doesn't put it down again until it's over!
And Simon, you can always google Eastenders and get all the lowdown on Big Mo, Little Mo, Medium Mo, Peggy, Grant (phrwar)Bad Phil, Stupid Ian, Obnoxious Lucy etc.

Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

Burry Port maalie? I thought you only just got home!!!!!

Magdalene said...

You're winning on Wordimperfect Lorenzo!

Ex-Shammickite said...

Bad Phil is STILL in Eastenders? He must be pretty ancient by now, yes?

Ju's little sister said...

I helped save the world on saturday night!! And then helped pick up the pieces on Sunday morning...

There was a mayday call from a boat in the pacific and when the call came through my boss Polly stood up on a nearby wagon, puffed his chest out and said in a dramatic and charasmatic voice:
"Ready the Orion!"
And we all hastened to obey, only just preparing it in time. But the boat ended up being boarded by some pirates from a nearby container ship who took the women as slaves, the men as cabin-boys (thereby brainwashing them into becoming pirates themselves) and the luggage for themselves.

The Orion looked really good though.

lorenzothellama said...

Hey you JLS, a story like that is worthy of a Martin blog.

Maalie said...

You mean that Polly is a BLOKE?

Rob Hopcott said...

Er, any chance of an action replay?

I, sort of, er, wasn't concentrating ...

(shuffle, shuffle)

And, er, a bit more detail on what happened to the slaves ...

(drools)

Well, maybe ... a lot more ...

John-Michael said...

We do not yet know each other ... yet your posted stories are so alive and vibrant that I have spent a quarter hour going one to another ... enthralled with your spirit's loving and caring regard radiating through each page.

I am glad that you fond my blog ( had best get back there and answer your comment ... which is where I began this escapade)