Friday, 11 September 2015

A family album

Well, why not? Inspired by the Imperial War Museum exhibition and Twitter hashtag #WhatMyFamilyWore

My grandfather, called up into the Navy in 1918. Since he was an electrical apprentice in civvy street, they made him a hydrophone operator. He trained at HMS Victory II (Crystal Palace, London), was posted to the depot ship HMS Research at Portland, and served on the anti-submarine trawler David Buchan in the Western Approaches out of what was then Queenstown (and is now Cobh). One picture taken in the studio, another of him (bottom right) and the rest of the ship's company (mostly RNR ratings from the Aberdeen fishing industry) after coaling ship.

After the Great War, both my grandparents did a lot with St John's Ambulance. This is him with St John's Cadets at camp on Barton Moss (I think), just to the west of Manchester. What a uniform!

And my grandmother, on the right. It looks as it might be a cadet camp as well (though since the trees are in leaf here, not the same one).
My father, called up in 1942. He was bike-mad as a teenager, and so leapt at the chance to ride bikes in the Army, as a despatch rider with 56th Divisional Signals (and as a Mancunian, suffered severely in what was a London territorial unit!). The division served in Iraq, Tunisia, Salerno, Anzio, the Monte Cassino campaign, and the Gothic Line.

The first picture is him (second left) and his mates preferring comfort to smartness, outside their billet in Forli, Italy in 1944.

The City of London Signals had formed a motorcycle display team before the War, and reformed it for a display at a tattoo at Trieste in 1945. The team was the ancestor of the present-day White Helmets team. My father is standing second from the right.

My mother, likewise called up in 1942. She had worked in an advocate's office in Edinburgh, and so was posted to the Judge Advocate's section at 12 (Fighter) Group headquarters, Watnall, Nottinghamshire.

This is her and her friend Hazel, somwhere in the Nottinghamshire countryside.

And another of her and friends

St Mary Magdalen's, Winton, Eccles, 1948. That hat!! Those suits!

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