Breakfast in the Park

A few times in 1960/1961 Alec and June took the children to have breakfast in Pinner Memorial Park and feed the ducks – at a distance of just over three miles from home. Although described by Alec in his letters as ‘spontaneous’ or ‘spur of the moment’ these jaunts required a considerable amount of planning, in which he of course did not participate. The food had to be prepared and packed – without the use of plastic containers, which were not especially common then – and the children had to be dressed up smartly as if they were going to church. The following picture is from 1961, but will give a fairly clear idea of what was involved.


Monday 21 September 1959

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thank you both for your letter duly received. We are still having trouble with your grandchildren. Since writing last we have not had a clear night’s sleep. To-night for variation June put them in the same room. Carol is in a single bed. This changed the tune. Since she has been in there she has been laughing and crowing and playing games with Susan. This lasted about half an hour and then she started climbing out of hers and into Susan’s bed. I looked in once to find her sitting on Susan’s head. We eventually put them back in their proper beds and put the light out. We had not been downstairs five minutes when Carol fell out of bed. Of course she bawled and that meant hot milk each. We put them back, Carol still bawling, and waited outside. Two seconds later Carol was seen sliding gratefully out of Susan’s bed on her head. Carol was taken back to her old room and the cot. That produced the greatest sounds yet. They both contributed to it. As I write June is up in the large back room and both the girls are in the single beds. How long the silence will last is anybody’s guess.

Your trip to Swanage and the surrounding area seems to have been a good one. Of course I have heard a lot about that country. We had dealings with a lot of the stations when I was in the Bristol Passenger Train Office. No news about the applications for jobs. I think that the announcements for the interviews for the D.O.S.O. job may come out soon. Pauline flew to Jersey yesterday for her holidays. A bit late I fear but it is still dry anyway. We still have had no rain. Yesterday two of June’s old friends came to tea and brought there 8 year old daughter. We had not seen them for two years and we all notice a difference in all three children. They had of course not seen Carol before. Over the weekend I cleared the remains of the wine you brought up. It is very clear now and free from sediment. I have also got a gallon of apple fermenting away in the shed. I made it from a recipe not in H.B.B.** The formula involves the use of Barley which is supposed to mature the wine quicker. Carol woke again a few minutes ago and has had a bawl. It is difficult to concentrate with that noise going on. Cleared some of the rubbish etc. from the front garden on Saturday but otherwise this week-end has been quiet from the gardening point of view. Hope you did not bother with the plays on T.V. on Sunday* they were both awful. The set is switched on now but no-one is looking in. I am afraid we have become quite disjointed over this bedtime lark. June has just come down now so that means they are both off at last. This I am afraid is only the first stage. We usually get about four sessions during the night and finish up by putting Carol in the big bed with June.

Sorry this letter will be a little late this week. Have not felt up to writing any more due to lack of sleep.Have resumed after a two-day interval. June took Carol to see the Doctor yesterday to see if he could suggest some way of getting over difficulty. He says she has got catarrah and is teething. We can expect her to wake up in the night. Last night we put her cot in with us and she was not too bad, only woke up about four times. June is up now trying to settle her off for to-night. I have just read Susan a couple of stories and she seems to have quietened down. Still no news of applications. The L.D.C.s have been given copies of the Old Oak Common Carriage Cleaning Report and are now reading it. A special saloon has been provided at 0.0.C. and they have been given two days off to read it. Budworth, and Welchman are there to answer any questions they may ask. Wilkinson told me today that he may want me to go down and help put the scheme in if they accept it. Of course Barnes will do his best to stop it. We had some rain here on Tuesday night. It was just about enough to lay the dust and the effects soon wore off. Had a look at my apple wine this morning only to find that about fifty small flies were flying about under the polythene. There must have been a hole in it. I had to dig out all the pulp (which was on the surface) and throw it away. I hope that the pulp has soaked for a long enough time to get all the goodness out. June tells me that there has been a lot of wasps round the pulp where I threw it on the garden. She had to get spade and bury it. Must be good stuff. Carol bawling again – sounds like Eddyson Bell Record. Well I hope you are both in good health as we are (except Carols Catarrah). Love from June, Susan, Carol and Alec

*The TV schedule for Sunday 20 September is online. The BBC play would have been Sartre’s Crime Passionel which sounds really good and has a stellar cast, but probably wasn’t the light entertainment Alec was hoping for. ATV had ‘Sunday Night at the London Palladium’, presented by Val Parnell, featuring Jane Russell and Jewell and Warriss***, and there was also a play called ‘After the Show’ which starred Hermione Baddeley. This, however, was on at the same time as the Sartre, and it would have been impossible to watch both. However, Alec lived in the London Weekend TV region and there’s no telling how the schedule may have varied where he was. Of course it’s quite possible he tried the Sartre, gave up on it, tried ‘After the Show’ and gave up on that, too.

**I’ve been unable to identify ‘the H.B.B.’ but I’d be willing to bet it was something along the lines of The Home Brewer’s Bulletin.

***Apropos of not very much, except that for the last several years I have been involved in LGBT publishing, Jimmy Jewell’s ‘This is Your Life’, aired on 30 January 1974, was the first time I ever saw two men kiss each other on the mouth.

Monday 29th June 1959

Alec to his parents

Dear Mum and Dad

Just a brief note to thank Dad very much for the brace and bits, it is a first class implement and much superior to others I have seen. The parcel duly arrived on the 9-0 a.m. Bristol and I had the train met. Thank Mother for letter dated 27th which arrived to-day. Susan was pleased with her letter, but I am afraid she has been a naughty girl again to-day. She was taken out for a walk despite the fact that she had been naughty and when she came home apparently she played up again and was sent to bed at 4.10 p.m. Of course she promptly went to sleep and has been awake most of the evening so far. Good idea to fix hair appointments early, the kids should be less trouble that way. You don’t want to overdo the path making or by time we get down you will not have any energy left and by gum you will need some. We had lots of rain in the night and again to-day so garden is very wet. Grass and weeds again shooting up. Note operations on the cake taking place but don’t slip up and think you are still path making. I am not surprised the house next door is in a poor condition, Mrs C did not look particularly bright to me. I know a Spencer in Knowles Rd, if it is the same one he is fellow I used to Home Guard with at the West End Post. Note also that Mother has been doing a little Duck shooting, you should save these Bonfire Night tricks until the 5th. Well that’s all for now, no further office news.


Sunday 28th June 1959

Alec to his parents

Dear Mum and Dad

Thank you very much Mother for the Shirt and enclosed letter. Also thank Dad in advance for mysterious parcel to come. I am afraid that I no longer have any blue shirts or suits and have been collecting white ones so that they go with anything. It may be possible to change the colour at the shop where it was bought so I will bring it down with me. If they will not do it, it will not matter as can wear it with my sports coat. Susan presented me with a box of chocs from herself and Carol and I have received a few cards. Thanks also for Dads long letter and Birthday wishes. Latest about the children – I took Carol down garden path a couple of times to-day holding one hand only. She was keen to hold two hands at first, but would not let her so she is putting up with it and making the best of one. She walks quite nicely this way but have to watch and move quickly in the event of capsize. There are ten days to go before we come down so should hardly think she will be walking freely by then. Anyway it will be touch and go. Susan has had a few smacks to-day for disobedience. There have been too many incidents to relate them but they all add up to the fact that she has a will of her own. The Grays returned from Broadstairs yesterday after a good holiday and brought Carol a pink squeaky dog and Susan a cloth doll in Hungarian Costume. We were given a 10” vase in two shades of grey, just right for a few red roses with which in fact it is now filled. This afternoon took Susan for ride on her tricycle. Intended to take her down to swings in park, but weather put that out of question. She rode down Queens Walk in direction of Whitby Rd, turned right by Doctors house into Mount Pleasant which veers right again at 90 degrees and joins East Mead almost out by Field End Rd. She rode all the way except for crossing other roads. June will no doubt write in due course, but confirm that she has been feeling better at least as regards pain in back. Although it has occurred before it seems to be temporary and is probably due to picking up the children who are no light weights. Sorry to say that garden is not looking very nice. It is the same old story that there is plenty in it but when you look out of window you can’t see any flowers. They are always about to come out or have just finished. The nasturtiums are badly affected by black fly. This has passed onto Dahlias and they are really covered with them. I poured plenty of cold water on them on Friday in the hopes that it would aggravate the fly but to little effect. To-day I scraped the plants with a twig and removed most of the fly but expect them to be back by morning. The correct treatment is to mix soft soap and water with “Quassia Solution” whatever that might be. This should be syringed on but am afraid the Dahlias will have to make there own arrangements. I asked Geoff if his Dahlias were Australian ones but he thinks I should give them more water. They have had about six buckets full at a sitting so it can’t be that. Out of some fourteen or fifteen tubers, three have actually come up. I have not disturbed the others so perhaps they may yet come through as rain has been quite heavy although still insufficient. The five remaining Mesembryanthemums down in the bottom plot have become quite large ( say four inches across ) but as yet there is no sign of flower. The others in the bed outside the French windows are not nearly so large ( say average 1.25 inches across ) Clematis is in flower if you can call it that. The blooms ? are about [half an inch] across and are blue and bell shaped. There are going to be a lot of them but they seem washed out somehow. The pinks are over of course but the carnations will be out shortly. I pricked out some of the Petunias from the seedling box to two others about thirty-six plants and there are quite a number left in box to sort out. Apart from two other boxes, have reduced the activities in shed to pots only. Note Sweet Peas and Sweet Williams doing well. Have none this year. Do not forget that Cherries make a very excellent wine. If your variety are no good for table try them in the cellar. I am surprised the Elderflower ceased to ferment after so short a period. Perhaps it is an idiosyncrasy of the type. One stock reason for so short a fermentation period is low sugar content. How many pounds per Gall. did you put? If you have not had the full staff changes from Geoff I set out below the latest that I am aware of at time of going to press.

1. The new organisation provides for Divisional Traffic Managers at Paddington, Bristol, Birmingham and Cardiff. Under these men will be their own personal staffs, (Assistants etc.) also District Traffic Managers at Bristol, Exeter and Plymouth — Newport , Cardiff and Swansea — Birmingham, Gloucester and Shrewsbury.

2. The London Divisional man, combines the function of Divisional and District, and will have a larger staff than the others but no Districts under his control.

3. London Appointments

Divl. Traffic Manager – Paddy Phillips

Asst. Divl. Tfc. Manager – C.P.E. Harvey

Goods Commercial Asst – ? Seymour

Passr. Commercial Asst. – R.J. Hill

Running & Maintenance – W. Sidwell

Staff. Asst. – H.S. Atkins*

Operating Officer – N.H. Briant

(No other appointments known in this area)

4. Bristol Appointments

Divl. Traffic Manager – Leslie Edwards

Development Asst. – Gerry Burt

Staff Asst. – C.L. Newbury ????

Operating Officer – Grannie Hallett

Running & Maintenance Officer – ? Reynolds

District Traffic Manager (Bristol) – ? Bastin

District Traffic Manager (Exeter) – ? Hartnell

District Traffic Manager (Plymouth) – ? Dean

(No other appointments known in this area)

((Re.: Bristol. Understand John Allen formerly of the Paddington D.O.S.O. Staff section has got Staff Asst. to Bastin.))

5. Birmingham Appointments

Divl. Traffic Manager – ? Hilton

Development Asst. – H.L. Wilkinson

Staff Asst. – Jack Donovan

Operating Asst. (? Officer) – C. Galley

Running & Maintenance – A.N. Other

Commercial – A.N. Other

District Traffic Manager (Gloucester) – J. Powell

District Traffic Manager (Salop.) – O. Veltom

District Traffic Manager (Birmingham) – A.N. Other

(Staff. Asst. Geiger)

6. Cardiff Appointments

Divisional Traffic Manager – ? Stevens

Development Assistant – A.N. Other

Operating Officer – L. Morgan

Staff Assistant. – L.C. Barron

Commercial Officer – ? Jenkins

Running & Maintenance – A.N. Other

District Traffic Manager (Newport) – W.J. Morris

(Operating Assistant or Officer J. Pallett)

District traffic Manager (Cardiff) – ? Page

(Staff Asst. C.L. Moore our Head of Section)

District Traffic Manager Swansea – ? Taylor

Staff Asst. – Geo. Nicholas

Dist. Commercial – W. Griffiths

Well that is all I know at present. The list is out and it has been seen. I have it on very good authority that Bill Bryer has not got anything out of it. As you see I am quite a bit short on info re the Assistants to assistants but no doubt will get them in due course. I suppose Gerry Burt’s appointment has caused a bit of heart burn. At this point your call came through. Yes I had a copy of the Lyng letter. I expect I precipitated it as I wrote confirming that I wanted them to be Godparents, they were somewhat doubtful of the office due to advancing years. I am not surprised that you have large cracks in pond as I do not suppose it has been full since the war. The work done on It will be all to the good however. Clock gained eight minutes this week so shall have to let out pendulum a bit more. I can hear Susan talking to herself upstairs, shall have to go up if this continues.

Well sorry to fill up letter with staff matters but it is a bit longer to compensate. Carol now tuning in so June to rescue. Will write again after Mother’s letter to hand.


*no relation

Sunday 14 June 1959

Alec to his parents

Dear Mum and Dad

Herewith letter in answer to both of yours and items in June’s Birthday letter. We are all well and hope you are. It has been very fine here these last few days and have made the most of the sunshine. Looking forward to our visit, please say if all arrangements now confirmed.

Office Barnes now on leave will return on 29th June, shall not have very much of him before go on leave myself. More than a strong rumour that L.W.I. has got Hammond’s job no doubt Geoff has same info. Yes I know all about new S.M. Clevedon. If you remember, I told you. Re L.W.I., a probable candidate for his job is G.E.R.P. Quite a number of high powered vacancies brewing up so await the future with interest (not personal).

Children Had some trouble with Carol yesterday, she has cut another tooth and she let the road know about it. The pantomime started at about 6.0 p.m. and she was still howling at 11.30 at which time I nursed her off to sleep. She was awake at 2.30 again and June had her in with her while I went in Susan’s room. All was then quiet until 5.45 a.m. To-day she has not been herself but this evening seemed much more normal although we did have about twenty minutes of ructions before she dropped off. At the moment all is quiet. Susan has been the same as usual, very good and very naughty. She pulled all the blossom off the Double Orange you brought up some time ago, and she persists in digging in the wrong places. I took her for a walk this afternoon soon after dinner and we went to the park. She tried all the swings, roundabouts and see-saw and was quite tired when we got home.

Garden Since you were up have completed the path to the bottom of the garden. I dug out all the loose top soil from the part to be cemented and transferred it elsewhere, the filled in the vacant space with all the old rubble and brickbats I could find. When this was completed, I took all the best of the broken paving stones and used them for the two outside edges of the path and put cement down the middle. (Carol now awake and bawling.) After two days this had hardened into quite a good path. Have taken out all the Spring stuff from the front and removed all the London Pride. This has left a big hole as you may imagine but I transferred about eight barrows of top soil from the back levelled the bed up and planted Scabious down the middle. So far have not put anything else in. Have had to carry bags of water all over the place as still no rain. Your Dahlias making good progress but those from Geoff that we planted have not yet hit the surface. (Four weeks) The pinks have been quite a good show but they are a bit thin on the ground. The rose hedge is magnificent but all petals dropping now. Carol tried to eat one for her elevenses. Geoff’s mesembryanthemums are now sturdy plants and we await the first flowers. My third lot seem to be more of a success than the first two tries but still only about 1/2 inch tall in the box. Cut all the lawns to-day but the earth is badly cracked. (Carol quiet again.) Susan rolled the top lawn this morning. Rolling pin tied on behind tricycle. Planted out a number of asters outside dining room and a couple of Perennial Daisies the rest are in pots waiting to go out in the front. Note you have been busy shall expect to see results when we arrive.

Wine Note the Elderflower and hope it is a success. I have not made any for some time but have been watching the price of fruit. All the items seem to be listed at 1/6, Gooseberries, Apples, Strawberries, although doubt whether the latter are at the pound rate. Some of the Grapes too are at 1/6. Have finished your Elderberry and have some in more bottles. I shall have to have a sort out before long.

General Very sorry to hear that Mother had fallen down, it is usually quite a shake up when you don’t expect it. Hope all effects now over. You have probably heard from June that Susan has damaged our T.V. She amused herself by banging rolling pin along the top. The woodwork is quite dented on the top forward edge and will take a French Polisher to put right. It is not too terrible in appearance if you do not know it is there but will not have it done yet awhile in case we get further trouble. June liked her new blouse and looks quite smart in it. Have not seen our Vicar about Christening and have no intention of making any sort of contact with him over our arrangements. Have you heard from Don and Joan in this connection. They mentioned that they would be willing to come and stand as Godparents but pointed out that they were getting on a little and the job was that for a young person. Have not replied to this as take it as acceptance. Donald Campbell and Bluebird at the Lido yesterday. Some crowd there by all accounts. Clock still gaining as a result of my alterations but have again lengthened the pendulum a shade and hope for improved timekeeping. Well that is all for the present except to wish you all the best until next time.

Love, Alec

NB: Posting dates got away from me briefly due to a holiday and an unexpectedly heavy workload, plus having the PC completely decoked and having to find everything again afterwards. Normal service has now been resumed!

Sunday 31st May, 1959

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad.

Just a letter to tell you arrived back safely and Mum’s letter since received. We agree that the best date to come down will be on Thursday July 9th for the ceremony to be performed on Sunday July 12th, Perhaps you will be good enough to fix it up with the Vicar. We have asked Don and Joan but as yet have not heard from them. I expect they are waiting to hear the date. This week-end, I have fitted glass to the frame brought from Clevedon and have built staging immediately below the windows to hold seed boxes and pots. This will now hold eight seed boxes in a row and with the other shelf on the other side of the shed I can now house about sixteen boxes at once. Have patched the roof by inserting below the tarred felt the old lino we took up from our bedroom. A couple of roses have come out but the others are not far behind now. One of the Pinks is out, it is a pink one, and Allwoodi. with a ringed centre. No sign of any of the Dahlias Geoff gave me but I expect they will be through any day now. The Spirea you brought up and the two we transplanted are all alive but the latter suffered a severe check. Mother’s Dahlias are healthy but not growing very fast I expect they need some genuine rain. We have Eileen with us for this week-end and Susan of course has been quite excited. I am afraid Carol played up a bit to-day but as she did not get a sleep this morning I expect that was the cause. Grandma’s clock gaining now since I shortened the swing of the pendulum. If I release it a half turn I shall be about right. Carol not walking or even standing on her own yet apart from holding on to a chair or something. She is now walking along by hoisting herself onto hands and feet and going along with arched back. Have not replied to Don yet but must do so to-day or he will be wondering what has happened. There does not seem to be anything to beat the National Savings Certs for simplicity so will plump for that although I see today’s paper warns of a possible reduction in the rate of interest. It seems that Pauline* quite likes the idea of coming down to Clevedon for the week-end that the Christening is held and returning on the Monday morning. Have nearly drunk all the Elderberry Wine. You will have to make some more when the elderberries are next available, I don’t suppose there will be any about at this end. I have not made any more since I saw you last but have been accumulating empty bottles, I have so many now that I shall have to take the board up again and put some out of sight under the floor. Our neighbours just returned from a week’s holiday at the Isle of Wight. They say it is very nice there and nearly all of them are very sunburned. Well hope you are still as well as when I saw you last and not overdoing the gardening. Will close for now.


*June’s younger sister, at this time working in the shoe department of Peter Jones in Sloane Square and living in Battersea.

Dear Don and Joan

Thanks for circular letter of 25th May. Having ascertained that GWR Savings Bank however attractive is a “no go”, we are faced with the problem of finding an investment that is reasonably safe, reasonably simple in its operation ( from the point of view of the person making the investment,- presumably the Trustee) and having a reasonable rate of interest. The National Savings Certificates would seem to meet these requirements except in regard to simplicity of operation as when the period of the issue expires it will then be necessary to reinvest in the next or subsequent issues. From my point of view this method of investment is satisfactory but I am prepared to accept the decision of the Trustee as he has to carry the can back if things go awry. Nothing much to report from gardening front this end. Everything retarded by lack of rain. Grass which was in good condition early in year has withered already and there are many bare patches and cracks about 2 inches across. Have done a number of “Hatchet Carpentry” jobs lately and you may be interested to know that the spare window frame left over after Clevedon shed was built has this week been incorporated in the South Ruislip shed and glass fitted**. I have practically completely rebuilt shed since arriving here. No new timber has been used. There was quite a lot of poor quality second hand wood on hand when we got here but most of it was only suitable for the fire. However I was able to sort out enough to use. Apart from raising the level of one lawn about 9 inches to the level of the path thereby making the whole garden level, I have no major works to carry out now.

Susan and Carol still thriving, latter almost at walking stage. We have heard from Clevedon that Vicar is prepared to perform ceremony at Parish Church and we are going to ask him for Sunday 12th July.

Perhaps you will let us know if this date is convenient please. Grandma’s clock working well but gaining slightly, I hope to make the necessary adjustment this week-end when winding. Well hope you are both keeping as well as may be expected.


**One may ask how a window-frame (with or without glass) was transported from Clevedon to Ruislip. Two options occur: 1) it went by train as with all other parcels – entrusted to someone who passed it on to someone else etc. etc. etc. and then presumably brought home by Alec on the Tube, but I think this is unlikely. 2) Geoff – or someone else with a car – was able to deliver it. Other candidates are a) Peter, June’s brother – he was at the time working for a removal firm and may have been in the West Country on business; b) Doug Gray and c) Eric Benn, the other neighbour, who was employed by the BBC and ended up moving to Weston-super-Mare. This is the sort of extremely trivial question to which I would very much like to have an answer.

Monday 25th May, 1959

From Don. Emily had died at Heavitree on 16 March – presumably at Fort Villa – and Don was clearly acting as her executor.


Monday 24th May, 1959 [sic]

Dear All,

A copy of this letter has gone to ‘Devonia’*, Headstone Lane** and Queen’s Walk***. It replies to Geoff’s letter, no date but postmarked 10/5/59 and two ex Leon – one dated 9/5/59 and the other 22/2/59.

Nothing has been decided to date regarding the investments ( in trust ) for Rebecca, Sara, Susan and Carol. The best effort forthcoming so far is National Savings Certificates which would be registered under the Holders Card Nos. already advised.

The certificates, if and when purchased, would be the 10th issue and held for 7 years when every 15/- would be worth £1 – not bad for a start – the snag being that a reinvestment would then have to be found by the trustee – the best available at the time – either say a 11th issue Trustee Savings Bank. If the trustee made a bad investment he would have to make good the loss. Now the point you all appear to emphasise is put the money in GWR Savings Bank @ 4.5% until they are 21. Good show, but tell me please under what rule a separate trustee account may be so opened for the persons concerned when as each becomes 21 the book may be given her on the day. You will appreciate, no-one, except the trustee may have access thereto during the intervening years. However. assuming such accounts may be opened, these would have to be closed by the trustee if either father passed away and the widow remarried outside British Railways. I hate to touch upon such a morbid subject but life is so uncertain apart from the age factor that some of us may not be around to see all the legacies paid out. If your replies on the GWR Savings Bank are negative ones have you any other ideas please on how the various sums may be invested to give the best return during the waiting period and at the same time protect the trustee from any loss. The question is on the table.

Headstone Lane: I note Geoff bought 500 bricks and hopes to brick edge some flower borders. Unless a low wall is required I prefer whole sleepers. Much quicker and a good one lasts about 15 years. Also not subject to frost eating bricks away.

Clevedon: Thanks for news re: S/M****s at Yatton and Highbridge. Both having a pretty rough time. Always someone worse than yourself. (I expect you know the Chinese story – the beggar grumbling because he had no boots until he met a man who had no feet.) However I should like to know how both are getting on now if not back to work yet. Am not too bad myself. Am please to say all your onions have taken root here. A lot of my similar ones keep throwing seed heads. Glad you and Geoff were able to have a look together at some of Mother’s treasures – also very pleased you were able to satisfactorily sort them out between you and that Alec came into the picture. Talking about pictures, the one I would like to have had was an oval one showing trees in a glade. It had no frame or glass. Strange no-one can say where it went. Like the jewellery must take it as read I suppose. No more for now.


*i.e. Leonard and Eva **i.e. Geoff and Stella ***i.e. Alec and June ****Station Masters

Sunday 24th May, 1959

And here we go with the major part of the archive – ten years’ worth of letters, written sixty years ago!

So, when we last saw Alec he was nearly 21 and living in lodgings with a Mrs Stone in Hanwell. Fifteen years have passed since then, at some point during which he moved from Hanwell to Ealing to lodge with a Miss Eda Baker. (Mrs Stone may have ceased having lodgers when her husband came home after the war.) Miss Baker started life with seven brothers; one of them died in the Great War and one of them – Frank – had lost an eye in a childhood accident and was ineligible for military service. It also ruled him out of employment with the GWR, which was the course his five surviving brothers took.

Alec married Frank Baker’s elder daughter, June (Eda’s niece), in December 1954, and they bought a house in Ruislip and had two children. Now read on!


Sunday 24th May, 1959

Dear Don and Joan

Just a letter to thank you very much for Susan’s present duly received and appreciated. As you may know Dad and Mum came down for the week and they were present for her Birthday. We invited the two little girls from either side and of course Carol was there. She had a very good time as the weather was fine and they were all able to go out on the lawn. I am afraid that when bedtime came she was reluctant to go but as she was very tired the ructions did not last long. The following day ( Sunday ) we all went to Headstone Lane and she had a fine game with the girls there. I asked Sara if she would like to have Carol to live with them. She did not think much of the idea but said she would like to have Susan. On Tuesday we went to West Drayton to see the other Grandma and Grandad so have had quite a number of outings as a result of car and driver being available.* To-day I removed the whole of one side of shed and rebuilt to accommodate two windows. Had the assistance of next door neighbour this morning and this afternoon he took June and the girls out to a picnic tea in Kenton Park in his car. It was very hot work as sun shining strongly and the bitter wind of yesterday has gone. I hope Don’s Bronchitis is easier and that he is better condition than when we last met. We have asked Dad to contact Vicar of Clevedon with a view to getting Carol Baptised at Parish Church there when we are down there early in July. If Vicar agrees to do the job ( which is by no means certain apparently) we shall go down that week-end that he nominates. You were unable to come to Susan’s Christening because of the distance but if you can, we would like you both to come to Carol’s and stand as God-Parents. Well back to work to-morrow, got to do enough to keep the Governor’s pension going I suppose. Hope to hear from you through Clevedon that subject to date etc., being convenient, that we shall all see you in July.


*The car belonged to our very accommodating neighbour, Doug Gray, who seems to have chauffeured us around a considerable amount at this time.