David William Pavey

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David William Pavey


David William Pavey, aged 4, in 1936

By Adrian Pavey

These are the childhood memories of my late father, David William Pavey. Dad was born in St Helier on 10 November 1932, the son of Robert Charles Pavey and Winifred Ethel Phillips. Winifred was a Jersey girl but Charlie was a sailor from Weymouth. They settled in St Helier after they were married and had three children - my father David, his elder brother Dennis, born in 1927, and a young sister named Janice, born in 1937. My Dad was very proud of his birthplace and I'm certain that he would have eventually returned to Jersey at some point, but it was not to be. He contracted an aggressive lung cancer shortly after his retirement, but before he died he spent hours telling me about the places and the people he had such vivid memories of. I've also added some extra details supplied by Dad's brother Dennis and cousins John Renouf and George Phillips.

ss Roebuck

Early memories

My earliest memories are of living at 8 Belmont Gardens, a small terraced house with a little strip of garden in front and a grassed triangle opposite. I can remember the black grate where bacon pot and pigs trotters always seemed to be on hand. There was a shop nearby where my older brother Dennis was sent to fetch faggots and peas when Dad was home. I can remember Dennis getting scolded once when he dropped the jug on the pavement. Our neighbours were Mr and Mrs Dark. Mr Dark worked for the Evening Post as a typesetter and once took Dennis to work with him to show him he prepared the type on the presses.

I spent a lot of time with the horses at Anne Street Brewery, which was at the end of Belmont Road. The horses seemed massive to me then, and appeared to be even bigger when I was given a ride on the back of them. I also have memories of a tobacco factory, possibly on the corner of Belmont Road.

My Father was Charlie Pavey, known to his friends as “Skin”. He was a seaman and was away from home a lot, sometimes for weeks at a time. He rolled his own cigarettes and had mastered the art of doing it single handed. He also wore a clove of garlic around his neck when he was at sea. He reckoned that was the reason he never caught cold. Some of the ships I can remember him working on are the GWR steamboat St Julien, which served Weymouth and the Channel Islands, and the ss Melita, which did the Southampton to Canada route.

He also worked on a ship named the Roebuck, not the famous one that ran aground off the coast of Jersey, but a cargo ship with same name. He was at the wheel of the ship during a storm off Alderney when a wave crashed over the ship and broke the wheelhouse off its mountings. The windows were all broken by the force and Dad's face was cut all down the left hand side. The ship was taken into St Peter Port and Dad was taken into the hospital in Guernsey. His face was stitched up and he stayed there for a few weeks while his injuries healed. We couldn't afford to visit him very often, so a lady from Guernsey named Miss Richards used to visit him every day and wrote letters to let us know how he was. Mother and Dennis did sail over to Guernsey one weekend and met Miss Richards. After Dad was allowed home, Miss Richards kept in touch with us and sent Dennis a 2 shilling postal order every birthday up until about 1940.

Working mum

Mother had a few jobs to make us some money while Dad was away. She worked at the local shop on Belmont Road and also worked in service at Villa Millbrook, the home of Lady Florence Boot, of Boots Chemists fame. I would sometimes go to Millbrook with Mother and was allowed to play in the garden and marvel at the fancy cars but, more often than not I would spend time with my Uncle Arthur and Auntie Gertie Crossley's house at La Rocque.

Their house was right next to the Coast Road at Fauvic. There was a bus stop right outside the house, which made it easy for us to get there. The beach was nearby and I would often go there to collect seashells and watch the little boats out at sea. I can remember being told off for playing with the children from the house opposite on one occasion. I had been told not to go, but I liked them so I went anyway. They were covered in “purple stuff” and had sores on their skin. They had impetigo or something, and that was why I wasn't supposed to be playing with them that day.

Arthur Crossley

Uncle Arthur

Uncle Arthur Crossley was a builder from Rochdale, in England, and had built the house himself. It was a big house with an entrance hall that had a staircase that went up to a balcony, and a big lounge to the left. There was a huge lawn at the front of the house, which was later used as a bowling green. Arthur and Gertie both played bowls and Arthur would go on to represent Jersey at the Commonwealth games in Wales and Australia.

Through the kitchen, down some steps to the back door and turn left was where you would find the study, or “Pop's Den” as it was known. “Pops” Crossley was Uncle Arthur's father. I remember that the room had a big armchair at the back that felt massive to a small boy like me.

I have lots of happy memories of my visits to my aunt and uncle's house, but there are two occasions that I can recall being down in the dumps. The first was when Uncle Arthur was doing his books. I was about 5 or 6 at the time, just learning to read and came across a book marked "Wage Book". I read it out aloud and pronounced the word as “waggy”. Uncle was quite cross with me and said that it wasn't "waggy" and that I should know that it was "wage".

The second occasion was after Uncle Arthur had bought a little Morris pick-up with his name painted on the doors. Somebody had scratched a line through the name following the shape of the letters and I got the blame. Uncle and Auntie wouldn't believe that it wasn't me and I got terribly upset about it. Eventually “Pops” took me to his study and got me to calm down. "Pops" was a white-haired, pipe-smoking man, quietly spoken with a strong Lancashire accent. He told me that he believed me and that made me feel much better. Here was someone I could trust. I spent a lot of time with "Pops" in his study after that.

Uncle Arthur kept free-range chickens at the back of the house and I spent hours collecting their eggs, which could be found anywhere. I went to the beach whenever I was at Fauvic, but I had to cross a road. It was the main road to Gorey, but there was hardly any traffic in those days. I also used to enjoy my trips up the beach to Gorey Harbour to see the boats. My brother Dennis came with me on some of these trips to Auntie Gertie and Uncle Arthur's house, but he was over 4 years older than me and found older friends to play with, leaving me to explore the area on my own.

9 St Luke's Crescent

Moving house

The house on Belmont Road was becoming a bit small for us, so Mother and Dad moved to 24 St Luke’s Crescent, the last house on the row just before the Crescent joined Green Road. It was also near to the shops where Green Road joined the main road from St Helier to Le Hocq. Grandpa Billy (William Walter Fauvel Phillips) and Grandma Ethel (nee Ethel Maud Cornick) lived at the other end of St Luke’s Crescent at No 9, so it was a great place for me to grow up and spend time with my grandparents when Mother and Dad were both out working. One unusual memory I have of living at the Crescent was that Mother and Dad always went to bed on a Sunday afternoon after dinner was eaten and the washing up had been finished – I never did understand why!

The Crescent was also a great place for children to play as there was a large piece of open grassland opposite the houses with an old oak tree growing on it. The summers were long and hot, but I can also remember deep snow covering my favourite place to play in winter and big snowflakes floating down past the windows. One winter Mother had knitted me a brown Jersey. Dad was home on leave and had been out in the backyard painting the box where he kept his tools. I went out to have a look and got green paint on my brand new jumper; that was the signal for a good hiding!

There was also a council hut on the green which was used by Grandpa Billy. He was a plasterer who worked for the council and kept his tools and materials in there. It was around this time that I also got my first pet dog, a little terrier with a limp. I named it Trixie. I was very sad when the dog went missing, my Dad told me that it must have been stolen

Living so close to my grandparents meant that I also got to see a lot more of my other uncles, aunties and cousins, too. Uncle Charlie Phillips was a giant of a man to me in both stature and character; he was always a favourite of mine and trained to be a very well respected plumber. I can just about remember his wedding to a lady named Jessie Laycock. My Dad was best man. Auntie Daphne Phillips was considered to be a bit of a “black sheep” by my Grandpa and Grandma. She dressed far too modern for them and liked to dance to the new music when she went to St Helier. Uncle Stanley Phillips was my mother’s youngest brother. He was the “wild one” of the family and went off to join the RAF.

A young David Pavey in the grounds of Villa Millbrook

St Luke's School

Most of my memories of Grandma Ethel are of a frail old lady who was always sick. She spent a lot of time in bed and my Mother appeared to spend a lot of time looking after her. When she died I can remember being at St Luke’s School. The funeral cortège went past the school and Auntie Daphne was hysterical. She jumped out of the car screaming and crying.

The school was very close to our new house, just at the end of the track now known as Beach Road. It was very strict there, but I learned well at a young age. The class room was tiered so we were always in view of the teacher. I asked my teacher what being dead meant. I was told that it's when God wants some more of his children with him when he gets lonely. He calls to you and you go and stay with him in his Kingdom of Heaven, but you can never come back.

This frightened me. I didn't want to go away for ever, I wanted to stay right where I was with my family and my dog. I would wake up at night for many weeks after that hoping that God would never call me. I never really felt the same about God and the church after that, it was probably a defining moment in my childhood, the day I stopped believing that God was good. Grandma was buried in St Clement’s Churchyard and despite my memories of her being an old lady, she was only 55 when she died.

Auntie Daphne married a farmer named Leonard Renouf. Uncle Len used to take me out in his lorry and I can remember going to the weighbridge in St Helier to weigh his potatoes. They went into round tubs and were inspected by official looking men before they were sealed. Then the tubs were taken to the docks and put on the ships to be transported to the mainland. Len's family were all farmers and his parents and grandparents all worked the land at St John. I think their farm was called Oak Farm at Sorel.

Len and Daphne rented a farm named Argilston in St Brelade. Len worked very hard to make his farm work and for a long time they made quite a good living from it. But he suffered three bad seasons in a row, a combination of bad weather and disease, and lost everything. He joined the Merchant Navy for a while and after WW2 the family returned to Jersey to start farming again. Apart from a few years in England when he managed a herd of Jersey cows for a rich landowner, Len managed farms for rich Englishmen who had started to move to the island for tax reasons. His youngest son John later told us that money was always tight and that they had to hide under the table from time to time when people came knocking.

David Pavey on the beach

On the beach

There wasn't that much traffic around in those days and we could walk from the house across the fields and down to Le Dicq and Havre des Pas. There was a swimming pool at Havre des Pas where my treat was always a beautiful Italiano ice-cream cornet. I remember having a toy yacht with a metal keel that I would play with in the rock pools at Le Dicq. Clambering over the rocks one day I managed to drop the yacht on my foot, keel down. It made a mess of my foot and the blood spread quickly in the water. I really thought I'd cut my foot in half!

A pier or promenade was eventually built at Le Dicq with a slipway and a pumping station. The promenade had a rough rock face that I used to climb trying to emulate my big brother and his friends. Later in life I couldn't stand heights, I couldn't even look over the edge of a cliff or paint upstairs windows. I wonder when and why the change happened? Le Dicq was also the site of the new Victor Hugo Hotel. From what I can recall, it was nothing special, just a bleak looking building made of grey stone. I also have a vague memory of some tennis courts near to the hotel, although I can't be certain.

Further along the coast was Le Greve D'Azette, and the Green Island. I was told not to go there, but being a defiant young lad and always looking for the next adventure, I went anyway. There were lots of men swimming and sunbathing – naked!! No wonder I was told not to go there. There were other reasons to go to the beach at Greve D'Azette though. This was the place I first saw motor racing, it was really exciting and this was the start of my fascination with motorsport. There were lots of little sports cars, mainly MGs. Many years later I worked in the motor industry and raced rally cars. I was fortunate to meet Captain George Eyston who used to race at the Jersey beach races. He designed and drove the Land Speed Record breaking Thunderbolt, which had been built at Beans Industries in Staffordshire, the very factory I worked in for most of my adult life.

Not far away from our house was another new “playground” for me. Howard Davis Park had just been constructed behind St Lukes Church at the top of Beach Road. The colour of the soil made an impression on me, it was red, I'd never seen such colourful soil before.

Even though our address was St Clement, we were very close to St Helier. It was only a short bus ride away, or easily reached on foot if we fancied a walk through the Park and along La Colomberie. Most of our visits to St Helier were to go down to the docks to meet Dad when he came home. The pier had two levels, the top level used at high tide and the lower level used at low tide. The tide could be as much as 40 feet. The head of the harbour would be dry at low tide and I remember seeing small vessels being repainted at low tide. The tide raced in across the flat sands, especially around Le Chateau Elisabeth (Elizabeth Castle). Dad would tell us that the water came in faster than a man could run and many people had been stranded in the Castle at high tide.

David Pavey's mother Winifred

Weymouth trip

If Dad was on the ships to St Malo, he would often return at night, so we would go down to the harbour and look out for the lights on the ships. Dennis once went on a school trip to St Malo and left before sunrise. It seemed as though we could see the ships lights all the way to France. On a clear day the coast of France could be seen from Gouray (Gorey) and La Rocque. The coast of Carteret was only a few miles away after all. Dad took me for a trip on his ship once, it must have been 1937, because it was about the same time as my little sister Janice was born. We went to Weymouth to see King George VI reviewing the Fleet in the Bay. I was standing on the bridge of Dads ship when the King embarked on the launch. There appeared to be hundreds of ships in the harbour that day including a big American ship and the Graf Spee, a huge battleship from Germany.

St Helier was the busiest place that I'd ever experienced, I suppose it was like a city centre to a young Jersey boy. I always thought that the shops on King Street were really posh. The clothes shops, jewellers and cosmetics shops always had lovely window displays and flamboyant signs outside. Other streets that mother would drag me down to do our shopping were Queen Street, La Motte Street and The Parade. I can remember going to the cinema, not far from Ann Street and Belmont Road. It had beautiful draped curtains that always reminded me of piles of coins. There were other cinemas and theatres too. One of them had an organ that came up out of a pit, Was it The Forum? I can remember going to see Snow White at one of them. One of the fancy places that Auntie Daphne used to go was called The Green Room Club, a theatrical club I think.

There was a fort overlooking the harbour, it hadn't been commercialised at all, but it was very old with lookouts and thick stone walls There were walkways going from the harbour side to Havre des Pas and the open air swimming pool. Some of the walkways were quite high up and the swimming pool was always left high and dry when the tide was out, but I could still have a swim. I remember admiring all the fancy hotels along the Esplanade and around the square. One of the top hotels in St Helier was Le Pomme D'Or, which looked right out over the weighbridge and the harbour itself. I always imagined that it was the kind of place that film stars stayed in. If I remember correctly, the statue of Queen Victoria used to be in the middle of the road near to the hotel. My favourite part of any walk along the Esplanade was seeing the Ice Cream sellers with their push-carts and colourful awnings – my favourite? ... Italiano of course!

David William Pavey

Trains and planes

I can vaguely remember trains running from St Helier to St Aubin along the sea front. What I can definitely remember is Dad telling me about the big fire that destroyed all the trains and the station at St Aubin. We all took a trip over there on the bus to see what the fuss was about. I don't think the trains ran again after that. Grandpa Billy once told me that there used to be a railway line running in front of our house at St Lukes Crescent, but I never believed him. I later discovered that he was telling the truth. The old Eastern Line followed the line of Beach Crescent and St Lukes station was right in front of Grandpa's house.

When I was about 6 years old a new airport was being built out near St Ouen's Bay and I watched more and more planes coming into land. The runways were only grass I think, which caused problems when it rained or snowed. Before the airport was built, the aeroplanes used to land on the beach at Millbrook on the other side of St Helier. I would spend hours watching the De Haviland Rapides and Dragons landing at low tide when my mother was working at Lady Boots house. As well as working at Millbrook and at the local shops on Green Road, Mother and Dad took advantage of the growing influx of holidaymakers coming to Jersey on the planes and boats. They would take in boarders at our house, which could get quite crowded in the summer months - another reason why I liked to spend most of my waking hours outdoors. One of the families that I can remember coming to stay regularly were Bill and Violet Peters from Highbridge in Somerset. We remained in contact with their daughter, also named Violet, for many years after.

La Corbiere lighthouse also stands out as a favourite place of mine. I can remember walking there from Auntie Daphne's house at St Brelade and walking on a lovely sandy beach part of the way. Another place that stands out in my memory was Snow Hill Station. It was in a ravine between two high cliffs, they looked like mountains to me at the time. I can remember going to catch the bus home after shopping trips. The driver had to turn the buses around on a turntable. I remember that these buses (or charabancs as mother called them) often broke down, Dad said it was due to petrol starvation.

The horrors of Dunkirk

Our parents always made sure we had good toys. I can remember having a red trike with shiny mudguards one year. I was so proud, it was much better than any my friends bikes. The next Christmas I got a wonderful clockwork train set and in 1939 I got my first two-wheeled bike. I couldn't ride it as it was too big, but Dad promised me he would teach me to ride it during the summer. As things turned out, I never did get to ride that bike.

War had been declared at the end of the summer and the St Julien had been converted into a hospital ship. Dad was the quartermaster and was away from home more than ever. Mother had sent Dennis and I to the shops to buy vinegar, salt and sugar. Mother told us that the War might go on for some time and things like this might become harder to buy. There were a lot of aeroplanes flying over Jersey too, I'd never seen so many before.

Dad came home from his ship one day and was very quiet. He sat in his chair and he broke down and cried, He cried most days after that and I couldn't understand why. I'd never seen any man cry before, least of all my Dad. It was awful to see and I didn't know what to think. Eventually he told us that he'd been to a place called Dunkirk on the coast of France to rescue lots of injured soldiers. An aeroplane had attacked the ship and kept dropping bombs all around them. The noise was terrifying and there were splinters of wood, glass and metal everywhere. Even though the ship had a big red cross painted on top and was completely unarmed, this plane kept dropping bombs and firing it's guns at them. After half an hour the skipper ordered the ship back to England to escape the attack. Dad had been hit in the chest by some shrapnel and was also suffering from shell-shock. He'd been sent home to rest and recover from his injuries, but that aeroplane attack had reduced my Dad to tears. I'd never seen him so frightened.

He'd only been home a couple of weeks when we were in for another shock. The Germans were coming and it wasn't going to be long before they invaded the Island. Dad explained that we had to leave Jersey as quickly as possible. This didn't mean much to an eight year old boy. Who were these “Germans” that Dad was talking about and what did “invade” mean?

David and his sister Janice in 1940


Dad would go out every morning and not return until evening. He would sit down and start crying again. I really could not understand what was going on any more. Then one day he came home early, he had got us all a place on a boat to England. We had to pack quickly and go... only I wasn't there. I'd done my usual trick and gone down to the beach to watch the boats coming and going out at sea. I was down in the rock pools when Dennis eventually found me. He was upset too and shouting at me... “come on, come on, we've got to go”. When I got home Dad pushed me in the house and told me. “Your Mother's packed some clothes, we've got to go now, no time to waste. Grab some of your things and let's go right away”. We left for the harbour with very little luggage. Just the clothes we were wearing and one bag each. Dennis was going on 12, I was 8 and Janice was not yet 3.

I can remember the next few hours vividly. It was an experience that I will never forget. When we got to the harbour it felt like the whole population of Jersey was there, all trying to leave at the same time. Auntie Daphne was there with Uncle Len, Daphne was expecting their first child and looked really frightened. We smiled at each other before we were pushed along in different directions. There were thousands of people boarding all sorts of ships and boats. Steamers, cargo ships, potato boats and even the fishing boats. Eventually we managed to find our ship and hurried on board. I hugged my Dad tightly while he just looked out to sea. “Where are we going Dad?, How long are we going for?” Nobody seemed to know, but once we were on our way Dad knelt down and started to talk to me. He told me that he'd been going out every day trying to get us all a place on a boat to England. He told me that because he had been born in England and a lot of his brothers and cousins were serving in the Royal Navy or Merchant Navy we couldn't stay in Jersey, if we did Dad would have been arrested and sent away. Dad said that we were going to Weymouth where he had family we could stay with. “But Dad, this ship is going to Southampton”, I said. “Don't worry son, we just have to get to England. Once we're there we'll find our way to Weymouth. Let's just get to England first. Don't worry son, we'll be alright once we get to England, we're safe now”. I never let go of my Dad all the way to England, it was okay now, I knew he'd look after me.

Bomb damage in Weymouth


I don't really remember much about our arrival in England. I was either asleep by that point, or too tired and bewildered to realise what was happening. Dad's family nearly all lived in the old part of Weymouth, up on the Chapelhay area, with Weymouth harbour on one side and Portland Harbour and the naval base on the other. We didn't have many belongings and our temporary homes were crowded, but we were among family and we were safe now... or so we thought!

The naval base became a target for German bombers and the air-raid sirens became a familiar sound. The bombers weren't always accurate with their aim and lots of them fell on the town. One of my cousins was on board HMS Delight when it was attacked by German planes and sank out at sea, somewhere between Portland and Guernsey. This wasn't God calling him to go and keep him company, my cousin Donald Pavey was killed by a German plane and went to the bottom of the sea with his ship.

The Pavey family in Weymouth: Tyrion, Dennis, Charles, David with cousin Lindsay and Winifred

On one night in November 1940 parachute mines were dropped over the harbour, two of them strayed off target and one landed right in the middle of Chapelhay. We were all huddled in the air-raid shelter but the sound of the explosion was like nothing I'd ever heard before. It was terrible, women and children were screaming outside, and we could hears walls collapsing. Over 800 houses were damaged that night. Dad went out to see if he could help, I stayed with mother, too frightened to move. Twelve people were killed that night, including some of the children I'd been playing with earlier in the day. Some of the houses were so badly damaged they had to be knocked down. Others would need a lot of work to make them safe to live in again and the house that I'd been staying in was damaged, too. We were on the move again, first in a shelter and then we were rehoused by the council in one of their estates in Westham, a bit further out of town and away from the harbour.

In hindsight, Weymouth probably wasn't the safest place to be, but there were plenty of Dad's family around to help us out with clothes, blankets and food. The rest of Mother's family were spread far and wide now. Grandpa Billy had gone to Rochdale in Lancashire with Auntie Gertie and Uncle Arthur. Arthur was originally from Rochdale so they were staying with his family. Uncle Len and Auntie Daphne had come to Weymouth and we heard that she had given birth to a baby girl while staying in the Pavillion, which was being used as a temporary shelter for the Jersey evacuees. Uncle Len offered his services as an air-raid warden before he went off to sea on the cargo ships and Daphne and her new daughter moved to be near Len's base in Portsmouth. Stan had joined the RAF and could have been anywhere for all we knew.

Death of Uncle Tom

The bombing raids were still regular, but living a bit further out of town meant we weren't affected as much, although I do remember Dad telling me that the pub at the bottom of the hill had been bombed. The bombings got heavier in 1942, and Dad was reduced to tears again when his Uncle Tom was killed. Thomas Lanning Pavey was a merchant seaman and had sailed all through WW1 and had already seen survived the first 3 years of WW2. He was home on leave when his house took a direct hit. His name is recorded on the Weymouth war memorial as a “civilian victim”.

The bombings appeared to quieten down after that, but Dad was getting really poorly. He had contracted tuberculosis (TB) from his chest injuries at Dunkirk and was spending weeks at a time time in the Sanatorium in Dorchester, He eventually had to have one his lungs removed, but that didn't stop him going down to the garden shed and rolling himself a cigarette every now and then. He also found himself a new job after he'd fully recovered, working as a fitter and engine driver in the Royal Navy Dockyards at Portland.

During the summer of 1944, Weymouth was getting very busy and there were more ships than I'd ever seen before in the harbour at Portland. There were soldiers everywhere too, and lots of Americans with accents I'd only heard at the cinema. The oddest thing I remember seeing were large blocks of floating concrete in the harbour being towed by tug boats and smaller ships. Dennis and I would sit up on the Nothe looking out at the ships coming and going wondering what was going on. The beach at Melcombe Regis was out of bounds and covered in barbed wire and strange looking steel sculptures made out of girders... Nobody really knew what was going on although there were plenty of rumours about an invasion... there's that word again, but now I fully understood what it meant... I hoped that the Germans weren't coming again.

A family reunion in 1969 for the last visit of Uncle Charlie from New Zealand

No return to Jersey

Then, at the start of June, the soldiers all left. Huge convoys of trucks were driving out through Wyke Regis and along the causeway to Portland. The ships all sailed out in a massive flotilla and the big concrete blocks were towed out to sea. It was only when we heard the radio stories about the British and Americans landing in France that we understood what we had been watching unfold. This was the invasion force, and the concrete blocks were temporary harbours. The penny dropped and Dad started to tell us what he had seen happening in the dockyard. We just hoped that Jersey might be free soon and we could all go home again.

Mother and Dad had always intended to return to Jersey after the war was over, but it was not to be. Dad was still suffering with his chest and spent some more time in Dorchester sanatorium. Dennis had left school and got himself a job with the Admiralty at Bincleaves Torpedo works. Mother was busy making our temporary house into our new home, now named “St Clements” in honour of where we had come from. So we stayed.

Brother Dennis with his wife Tyrion

We heard from Grandpa Billy first of all. He had gone back to St Luke's and was living in his old house again. He had salvaged a few things from our house too and sent our old dining room table over on one of the ships that came into Weymouth harbour. Uncle Arthur's house had been used by German officers as their living quarters. It was a bit of a mess, but he soon got back in order again. We learnt that Uncle Stan had married a girl in Cairo Cathedral while he was flying in Egypt. He returned to Jersey with his new wife after the war and moved in with Grandpa. but he was divorced again by 1960 and eventually ended up living in Guernsey after his retirement.

Black market rumours

I don't really know what Uncle Charlie got up to during the war, but there were all sorts of family rumours about him making a bit of money out of black market supplies. His marriage also ended in divorce shortly after the war ended and he eventually worked his way to New Zealand in the 1970s.

They were the fortunate ones. Some of Mother's cousins had stayed in Jersey and suffered hardships during the occupation. Dad told me that a couple of Mother's relatives had been sent away by the Germans and were never seen again. Others were moved out of their homes and into smaller houses because the Germans wanted theirs. In that respect, I'm glad we managed to get away when we did, but I still longed for the Island I knew as a child, an Island that was changed forever and will never be the same again.

Weymouth became my new home and I made new friends at my new school and discovered a whole new family of aunts, uncles and cousins. Jersey was never too far away though, with so many family members having connections to the sea, there were always visitors going in both directions.

My childhood really came to an end when I joined Dad in the dockyards at Portland and became an apprentice shipwright working for the Admiralty. To make ends meet and help replace everything we had lost when we left Jersey, Mother started taking in boarders again when the holidaymakers started to return to Weymouth in their droves, which is how I met my wife to be and a whole new chapter of my life began.

  • This article was previously published in the Jersey Temps Passe Facebook Group
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