I believe my first memories began when I was between 3 and 4 years old. The story of my birth and my first three years is mostly a matter of speculation and what other family members have told me. My life didn’t get off to a good start, at eleven months old I lost my mother. She died on Boxing Day 1939, the second world war was just four months old. The loss of our mother created many problems, I had two brothers and three sisters. Two of the older girls were working and my eldest brother was itching to join up, he had to wait until 1942 before he could he join the Royal Air Force. My other brother and sister were still in School. Life was difficult, we had to contend with the shortages and rationing, the black out and gas masks. The latter was not something a one year old would willing allow to cover his face. My eldest sister Lily had been conscripted into the roll of housekeeper/mother/cook/baby minder and everything else that goes with the job. I suppose this worked well for my father, he had to work and needed someone to look after me full time. Things went along smoothly enough until 1941, however, a few nights after the first blitz of the Belfast , lily met a British sailor and a romance ensured. My father was concerned, once Lily married she would probably move to England. He attempted to have one of my several aunts take me on. No deal, in wartime it was hard enough feeding ones own family, but to take on an extra mouth, not too mention the responsibility of a young child. Lily married in 1942 at a registry office in Coventry and moved to Scotland to be near her husbands home port. Not sure what occurred next, but Lily came home and agreed to take me with her back to Scotland. For the moment my fathers problems were solve, but mine were just beginning? More memories to come in later blog.
The photo was our last complete family gathering in 1960 my father died shortly afterward. Back row Me,Jim,Father,Tommy. Front row Lily,Anna,May. Sadly today only Anna and myself remaining.