Blogging on- 2015
How Much is Enough?
You can say it's not in your name, you can click away, go to that facebook post that made you smile, turn the computer off even, but once you see those images, blood stained children, some with limbs missing, brains blown away, ashen faces, screaming, pleading children, wondering what they must have done wrong, "why is this happening to me?". You can't unsee it, or unhear after that, and yet from our comfortable existence, one our leaders are trying desperately to deny to the people who wish to escape this devastation, this utter carnage, from our computers, phones, T.V's, we can switch off, what can they do??
Tony Blair informed us all how terrible Saddam Hussein was to gas the Kurds in 1988, as part of his pernicious campaign to make us believe he was right to go to war. He omitted to mention how Britain and the U.S.A were funding Hussein at that time, supplying him with weapons in their bid to control the area, and turning a convenient blind eye to his brutal regime. W.M.D, weapons of mass destruction, something Hussein had long since run out of after Storming Norm led the Yanks to reclaim kuwait, we all now know what W.M.D stands for, and the outright lies that Bush and Blair spewed out to justify their illegal second war in Iraq. A war that Bush decided must happen after the World Trades Centre was hit, despite the fact that Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with it. There were plenty of voices saying then what would happen, this would breed resentment, and that resentment would turn into aggression, and that would become terrorism on our streets, but as nothing to the decimation on their streets, squares, schools, hospitals, people.
The West under U.S and British supervision has overseen the violent dismantling of these Arab lands, all in the name of oil, finance, and arms deals. This has nothing whatsoever to do with bringing peace, otherwise, why aren't they sending massed troops to all the African failed states?, perhaps because their resources aren't worth fighting over? How much money is our country making from supplying Saudi Arabia with the very latest technology in killing machines?, while this same country is brutalising its neighbour, Yemen with those weapons, and beheads more people each year than ISIS do, that advocates stoning to death women that have been accused of adultery.
Our government are complicit in the actions of the regimes they sell their arms to, and therefore responsible for the deaths of these weapons victims no less than the military that use them.
How dare anyone even think to castigate Jeremy Corbyn for caring more about the lives of the innocent than the ideas of a war hungry elite with vested interests in financial gain from the situation. 40 MP's went to an arms junket in London, just a day before they voted on whether to bomb Syria, I'd like to see their names, and how they voted, made public. We know Vince Cable was one of them, I hope he's ashamed of himself, but I strongly doubt it. Cameron made a snide comment about 'Terrorist Sympathisers' walking through the lobbies (of parliament), blatantly labelling any anti war campaigner a terrorist sympathiser, this from a man that walks comfortably down those corridors with lobbyists from arms dealers, among all the other big business filth that make a mockery of democracy in our country.
You don't vote for someone to make your decisions for you, you vote for them to represent you, although they believe it should be the other way around. I feel absolutely no pride whatsoever in being British, in fact right now the very thought of it makes me feel sick when I see what is being done in our name. Those suffering peoples, the unwilling recipients of weapons of mass destruction, sent courtesy of the British government. They won't differentiate between British, French, American, Russian, or whoever the hell else's bombs, they will just be getting blown to bits, and not understanding why. How many innocents to die is enough to for the politicians?
I Had to Turn the Radio Off
I had to turn the radio off, Jeremy Vine was discussing the vile, repellent piece of filth that is Donald Trump. I had to turn the radio off, as once again Jeremy Corbyn is demonised for sticking to his long held beliefs that war is not the answer, that adding more bombs to the Syria conflict will only make things worse. I had to turn the radio off when they suggested that terrorism is a bigger problem than climate change, conveniently overlooking the fact that mankind caused them both.
We live in a so called civilised world, yet the ideals held by our elected representatives seem to be to bow to big business, put profit before people. The resources of this planet should not be allowed to be monopolised by multi national conglomerates, who care only about their stock market share and investors returns. The world resources are like a bank of life, and as the population increases ever more, encouraged to consume ever more, while a greedy few get fat, so the bank of life is gradually emptied.
The resource most responsible for our biggest problems? Oil. Without oil, what would the middle east look like I wonder, probably a peaceful place without borders, until the Franco/British, Sykes-Picot carve up of this oil rich territory.
There are plenty that know all of this, but very few of them are in a position to do anything about it, while those that are, show no intention of trying, nor will they ever as long as big businesses are allowed to walk the corridors of power, lobbying/bribing the elected representatives to do their bidding, doubtless with the promise of a well paid consultancy job at the end of their political tenure.
I turn the radio on because I like listening to music, but sometimes, I just have to turn it off, because humanity, or the lack of it more precisely, can be so thoroughly depressing, sometimes.
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Image: Shoreham Toll Bridge memorial
Bridge Over Troubled Waters
My blogging has taken very much a back seat over the last year, turning out a paltry six blogs, three of them in the first five weeks, and the other three devoted to a historical mystery I've been researching. I could make excuses for why, but that's all they would be. Today I'm writing because I feel like this point in time should be remembered in future, I'll want to look back and see what I was thinking, in detail.
Last Saturday morning I had to go to the Shoreham Beach roundabout garage to get some oil for the car, all the signs were already up directing the airshow traffic for later that day, and marshalls at their posts to assist the visitors coming to see it, but it was still early and all was moving smoothly. I saw Jamie Benson in the garage, we chatted about the day ahead, neither of us would be watching the event, he had work in his relatively new business as an electrician, I was going to watch the Albion, and as we agreed, we'd seen it all before down the years, plus there would always be tomorrow. He shot off to work, and I back home to fill up with the newly acquired oil, and check the water, I thought I might be driving to the football, as Alfie, who usually drives to the football, had been suffering a bad back recently.
Mid morning I took our pup, Fred, out for a walk, and there was a formation of brightly coloured byplanes in the skies above the airfield, we always get a decent view of the aerobatics from Shoreham Beach, weather permitting. Beach airshow tourists were already filling up the roads around us, and hauling their picnics, rugs, and wind breaks up to the beach ready for the entertainment in the skies above. As we walked along Beach Road, I saw a flag pole proudly flying a Battle Of Britain flag from one of the houses near Widewater lagoon, and thought, "here's an enthusiast", Freddie just saw an opportunity, and did what dogs do against it. After returning, I called Alfie, and he told me he'd be ok to drive, but would be leaving early to make sure of a decent parking place at the Sussex University car park, picking me up at 1 o'clock instead of the usual, 1.15.
It was a warm day so I wore cargo shorts, and one of my Albion shirts with 'Wolf E Boy' on the back, deciding not to bother with a camera for this game. When Alfie picked me up the roads around had very few parking spaces left, and as we approached the roundabout off the beach, it was clear the sunny weather was going to ensure a big turnout for the Shoreham Airshow, the traffic was busy and slow moving as a result. The Adur recreation ground was being used as a car park for the weekend, and filling quickly, the Amsterdam and Red Lion pubs by the mini roundabout next to the Tollbridge were chocker with customers, and as we ascended the Adur Flyover bridge towards the A27, before heading east to the Amex stadium, at about 10 past 1, it looked for all the world to be the perfect start of a perfect day for the event.
It was an uneventful drive, but memorably hot when we got there. We got a reasonable car park position, and headed to the stadium. As we approached the bridge under the A27, Alf realised he'd forgotten his pain killers, so I legged it back to get them, finally catching back up with them at the ground, sweating like a pig and feeling none too healthy. As we went our seperate ways here, Alfie's last words were to leave 5 minutes early so he wouldn't struggle in the crowds afterwards, and off I went in to the North stand, grabbed a programme, burger, and beer, and after consuming them in the concourse, went to my seat, it was about 2pm by then, and I heard the first announcement about the match kick off being delayed by 15 minutes, but I didn't catch why. Thinking no more about it, I read my programme, and watched Stockdale get some goal keeping practice in right in front of me. By about 2.15, I was joined by my mate, Stv's, father in law, he had the ticket as Stv was away, and he proceeded to tell me something had happened at the airshow. There had been a crash, but no more details, then he brought up some video footage on his phone, someone had filmed the accident from the Downs overlooking the airport, it looked bad, but difficult to see exactly where it had occurred because of the trees. As kick off neared, we heard that there were no fatalities at that point, and that the pilot had been retrieved from the wreckage.
It wasn't until after I'd left, meeting up with Alfie and Den, that we started asking each other what must have gone on. I said I'd heard there were no fatalities, Den and Alf both said there must have been, they both had phones with internet, I don't possess one. A quick check by Den confirms our worst fears, 7 dead, 14 other casualties, the drive home was a chilling succession of eye witness accounts on the radio stations, a major disaster had occurred, and all traffic was ordered to avoid the A27 at Shoreham, it was closed now. As we approached the Sainsbury's turn off at Portslade, the road ahead was cordoned off, forcing all traffic towards the Old Shoreham Road, and it was eerily quiet for what would usually be a busy road. When we got back to the mini roundabout outside the Amsterdam and Red Lion pubs, there was an ITV news van parked opposite, and doubtless many others nearby, Shoreham had become the centre of attention for the worst imaginable reason. Passing the Adur rec, the cars parked there had been left, to be picked up later, many more had to be deserted in the airfield.
As the days have passed since, the internet has been swamped with emotion as people desperately try to come to terms with what had happened, wondering if anyone they knew might be involved. About town, many like myself, have a feeling of numbness, like a deathly veil has shrouded this small community, it's hard not to talk about when we stop to chat, but what do you say, other than to express a deeply felt shock, and sorrow for whoever the victims are. As I walked Fred later that Saturday, the flag I had seen earlier was now at half mast, traffic all around was gridlocked, you couldn't escape what had happened, everywhere bore a reminder. That flag is still at half mast, the traffic is still in gridlock most of the time, but it seems everyone is dealing with it without the usual annoyance that goes with traffic jams, aware of the tragedy which has caused it.
The Tollbridge has since become a shrine to the poor souls that have perished, people are coming to it like a form of mourning pilgrimage, to offer their condolences, and show it in the form of hundreds of bouquets. I haven't been past it since we came back from the football that day, but I know I will at some point, as most Shoreham drivers will, and others from surrounding towns and villages, because they have to, but many will go because they want to, I will too. I heard a song on the radio, which since I heard it, has resonated more with me now, than it ever did, and it was always one of my favourite tunes anyway, Bridge Over Troubled Water, by Simon and Garfunkel. It's a tune that makes you feel, but now it's a tune which will always bring me back to the saddest event in this town during my lifetime. Our oldest bridge, which crosses the beating heart of our beautiful town, the River Adur, this will take a long time to heal.
Image: Battle of Britain flag at half mast on Shoreham Beach
Image: Lieutenant Philip Frederick Howard Simon, circa 1918-1922
Mystery Bracelet: Part 3
C of E
After a whirlwind couple of months of research surrounding the silver identity bracelet that Gloria Wall dug up in 1988, we have finally gone full circle, and today had a chat with Lieutenant Simon’s grandson, Andy Quinan, of Cape Town, South Africa. He also filled us in on the last part of his grandfather’s military career. Philip apparently was deployed in Palestine after the war, where he suffered yet another wound, this time to the leg, and as his grandson, Andy, told me, “He was sent to Egypt to recuperate and while in Alexandria he was invited by Phylis’ aunt for a day’s outing on their houseboat on the Nile, where he met Phylis. It was love at first sight, and they decided to emigrate to South Africa. Once Philip had emigrated to South Africa and started his farming venture in Stellenbosch, Phylis sailed out to join him. The day that she arrived in Cape Town, having sailed from England on the mailship, they didn’t have a wedding picture taken as they were short of money, and thought they should start off their reunion with lunch at the Mount Nelson Hotel rather than pay for a wedding photographer. They then went to St George’s Cathedral (of Archbishop Desmond Tutu fame) for the wedding ceremony. There they found some surprise guests, as the officers and many of the passengers from the ship had come to the wedding with a fresh flower bouquet. Obviously Phyllis had made an impression on the voyage to Cape Town.”
Chatting to Andy on Skype, with Gloria, and her daughter Jo Parsons, he informed us that his family had talked together and decided that they would like the bracelet to stay in Shoreham, with the new museum at Shoreham Fort. They had all enjoyed the story of the bracelet, but believed it would be better served staying where it has been for nearly a hundred years now. Andy is also going to try to find some pictures of Philip and Phylis together.
I’ll add any new pictures as they come along now, in the meantime, look out for this story coming up in the Argus sometime soon. I would like to say here how grateful I am for the help everyone has given me, hopefully all mentioned through the piece, but especially to Andy Quinan and his family for their kindness in allowing their family story to not just be shared, but also for the flesh they then added to the bones we discovered.
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Image: Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa
Image: P.F.H.Simon at Charterhouse school 1913
Mystery Bracelet Part 2
Following on from my first write up regarding the I.D bracelet of Lieutenant Philip Frederick Howard Simon, I have since been aided by a growing band of helpers on the internet. Firstly, Hilary Greenwood, a ‘Friend of Shoreham Fort’, and very useful researcher, kindly went to the National Archives at Kew on my behalf and dug out P.F.H.Simon’s war records, then scanned and sent me copies. These records told us that he had applied for admission to the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich in October 1916, his second application apparently, the first having been in June that year.
The application form gave us his school too, Charterhouse, a very prestigious establishment, so I rattled off an e mail request to them for info on their ex pupil. The Charterhouse archivist, Catherine Smith kindly answered, granting me access to their fantastic online archive, and attached a couple of school photo’s with Philip in them, we now had a picture. Catherine informed me that in the second, later picture, taken in 1916, he was a monitor, so would be in the same row as the head master, second from right she guessed, I guessed the same.
Philip had a medical report made out at Aldershot, July 6th 1916, stating him to be, 5’10”, weighing 10 stone, with good teeth and hearing, but slight myopia, and declared fit for duty. He clearly passed through the military academy, as he was made up to 2nd Lieutenant on the 21st Jan 1918. Serving with the 50th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery, which comprised of Brigade Ammunition Column, and Royal Horse Artillery, he was back in front of a medical board on the 14th June 1918, at the, ‘Medical Board Base Depot. Havre’, stating that he had, “for the last month been in 54 French Hospital suffering from G.S.W head and gassed”, presuming G.S.W to be gun shot wound. The report signed off as ‘confirmed’. According to later reports, he had returned to duty in France on the 17th July 1918, but sent back wounded again by the 14th October that same year, leaving from Calais for Dover on the 17th October, with leave granted for the 1st to the 6th November, and ‘reason of return:- wounded’.
After the war had finished, Philip was later posted to Egypt, where it is possible he met his wife to be, Phylis Mabel Chevalier, and he asked permission to resign his commission so that he might take up farming in South Africa.
While all of this information was fascinating, giving us an insight into the life of our bracelet’s owner, it didn’t help us to know whether he and Phylis had a family or not. Kindly friends on Rootschat soon came to our aid, giving me the name and e mail address of Hendrick April of the Western Cape Archives and Records Service, where I would be able to get the estate papers of P.F.H.Simon, and find the names of any offspring. As it turned out, before this information could be posted to me, one of the Rootschat members came up with the names of two daughters, and their husbands. Bettine Mary Lucy Quinan, nee Simon, had married David Michael Quinan, and Gillian Frances Hearne, nee Simon, had married William Gordon Hearne. The very next day, I received mail from South Africa, confirming what I had just found out.
With the married names to chase down, I got to work on Ancestry.com, after all, I still couldn’t know if they had children. Within minutes though, I had found family trees with the husbands names, and contacted the tree owners, and they got back to me that day, one was a direct descendant, Simon Hearne, and the other a cousin of the Quinan’s, who gave me the name of Andy Quinan, who after googling, I found at Linkedin, he has since kindly sent me a picture of Philip in uniform.
They are all very keen to see the bracelet, and hopefully, we are going to arrange a Skype call so that we can all chat, and Gloria Wall, who found the bracelet back in 1988, will finally fulfil her wish to reunite it with living descendants.
Image: Lieutenant Philip Frederick Howard Simon's identity bracelet, circa 1918-22
Philip Frederick Howard Simon.
Born 06-05-1898 Lambeth, died 23-11-1953, Cape Town, South Africa
Shortly after Gloria Wall moved in to her converted railway carriage bungalow at 49 Old Fort Road, Shoreham Beach, in June 1988, she started work on the garden, which included digging out for a fish pond. While digging, she unearthed a couple of trinkets, a sliding watch case which wound itself up when you opened and closed it, and a silver identity bracelet with the name 'Lt P.F.H.Simon', inscribed on it, as well as, 'C of E', (Church of England), and 'R.F.A', (Royal Field Artillery). It also appears as if something has been rubbed out at the beginning, perhaps the '2nd', as in, when he was a 2nd Lieutenant? . If this is so, it would indicate that he may have lost the bracelet after his promotion.
Gloria asked me if I could trace the name and see if a living relative might be around somewehere, so I began research a few weeks back, (a long while after originally having been asked I must admit).
Philip Frederick Howard Simon was born on the 6th May 1898, to Philip Frederick William Simon, an Engineer, and his wife, Lucy Annie Chandler. Their address was 50 Romola road, Tulse Hill, London. They had a daughter too, Phylis Frances Lucy Simon, born 11th June 1900. Philip Frederick William was born in Paris, 1869, to German parents, Philip and Laura, both born in Dusseldorf, Germany, and by the 1891 England census, aged 22, living with his parents, was a 'pupil of electrical engineer', in Lambeth. By the time of his father's death two years later in 1893, mentioned in the probate record, he was now a Mechanical Engineer. Four years later, P.F.W.Simon, meets and marries Lucy Annie Chandler, in June 1897.
On the 22nd Jan 1918 in the London Gazette, a War Office post states that as of 24-01-1918:- 'Gentlemen cadets from the Royal Military Academy, to be 2nd Lt's, 25th Jan.1918:- P.F.H.Simon'. According to his WW1 record, Philip entered the French theatre of war on the 7th Feb 1918 with the Royal Field Artillery, and by the 25th July 1919, he was made up to full Lieutenant, published in the London Gazette, 19-09-1919. He resigned his commission on the 9th June 1922, and married Phylis Mabel Chevalier in Cape Town, South Africa, on the 10th November 1924.
Just when and how P.F.H.Simon lost his identity bracelet remains something of a mystery, but we know it ended up at Bungalow Town, now known as Shoreham Beach, so at least after 24th Jan 1918. So did he lose it before being deployed, or after returning?, by mislaying it, in a card game, or had it stolen?. I'm awaiting info from the National Archives regarding his war records, which hopefully may shed light on his movements before, during, and after the war, as well as his estate records from South Africa, in the hope of tracing a living descendant. Meanwhile, to widen the net for a living relative, I researched his sister, Phyllis Frances Lucy Simon, who married Robert George Daplyn, (1905-1958), and they had a son, Charles Robert Daplyn, born 1937, London. An obituary in the Times for Dr Phyllis Frances Lucy Daplyn, January 1985, gave the names of her grand children, Richard, Catriona, and Simon, so I began googling, and trying out Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and 192, to get a hit back. Last week Catriona messaged me through Facebook to confirm she was the grand daughter of Phyllis, but was embarrassed to say she didn't know she had a brother, but would ask her father about it.
It is Gloria's wish that the bracelet goes to a direct descendant, if not, she would like the bracelet to go either to Marlipins museum, or to a future museum at the Old Fort, Shoreham Beach. It'd be great to find a living descendant of Philip Frederick Howard Simon, and give them the story which we have discovered, bringing to life a character long since passed away, as well as connecting back to a time when Shoreham Beach was this bohemian village in transition, housing temporarily, so many of this country's youth on their way to war. And who knows, they might even have a picture to go with the name on the bracelet, watch this space.
Image: Henry Ramus 14-06-1872 to 20-07-1911
Good Times, Sad Times, Wild Times
For some years now I've been researching the family tree, along the way unearthing a remarkable story, with a previously unknown Jewish heritage, or more precisely, a Spanish Portuguese Jewish heritage, otherwise known as, 'Sephardim Jews'. The overall story of my research (written up so far that is), can be found at wolf-e-boy.com, at the page- 'My Ramus Family Tree'. On the off chance recently, I googled 'Hampstead Sephardim cemeteries', and sure enough a few came up, so after checking which would have been closest to my Great Grandfather's home in 1911, the Hoop Lane cemetery in Golders Green, London, I found their e mail address and rattled off a message to them, asking if they might have a record for Henry Ramus, died 20-11-1911. Imagine my good fortune to get a swift response letting me know they did indeed, and he was, they assured me, the only Ramus they had at that or their other Jewish cemetery at Edgware road, they also sent me the plot number, row, and section, where I could find him.
I set off yesterday to catch a train up and find his grave, also hoping to find the grave of his business partner and friend, William Walker Sampson, who I have found is buried at Hanwell cemetery in West Ealing, for the fascinating story of these two, (mainly Sampson, owing to the early death of Henry), check out the page at wolf-e-boy.com under 'The Ring Master and John William Godward', an insight into the art dealing world of Christie's in the early 1900's. I never tire of the trip to London, especially crossing the Thames as you approach Victoria Station, and the underground now appears to have a new celebrity, in the voice of the Victoria Underground tannoy, a lovely West Indian lilt, hammed up to the eyeballs, telling us how, "evry ting be cool runnings", among many other highly amusing pieces of useful information. All around were smiling faces at the sound of this humour filled accent, and it occurred what a great idea to amuse and raise the spirits of the passengers.
After a few changes I arrived at Golders Green underground station, and once outside, consulted my pocket A to Z, turn right into Finchley road. A news seller confirmed I was on the right path, ten minutes later I turned into Hoop Lane, a nice sounding, but unremarkable road. It wasn't long before I spotted the graveyard, and a few hundred yards later, the entrance. I had been feeling a tightness in my chest, probably wind, but it added to the experience I thought, there was a gatekeepers office, and a helpful attendant soon pointed me in the direction I needed to be heading, section A, row 10, plot 30. I felt sure I would be going back to that attendant pleading stupidity when I couldn't locate the grave, but no, it was all quite straightforward. And then there it was, a fine looking, long domed marble cask, laid out horizontally in the Sephardim tradition, in immacualte condition for 104 years old. Inscribed were the words, 'Sacred to the memory -of- Henry Ramus, who departed this life July 20th 1911 Tamuz 24th 5671 In his 39th year To the everlasting sorrow of his widow, sons, relatives, and very dear friends'. As I read the inscription, I could imagine his wife, May, aged just 29, their sons, Reginald and Neville, aged 10 and 6, William Walker Sampson, and doubtless many other family and friends, stood around this plot. The next thing that struck me was that it appeared to be a double plot, with what should have been May's plot laying empty, unfortunately she died in 1956 at Brighton, and had dementia towards the end, so I guess her space next to Henry had been forgotten by then, which was a bit sad to think of. The whole experience definitely stirred something inside me, maybe more wind, but I prefer to think not.
It was with great regret that I heard our Uncle Don had passed away last week, with the funeral at Chichester last Thursday. I couldn't go as I was going with the old man for his lung specialist check up at Worthing hospital, and Ma couldn't go as she is still recovering from deep vein thrombosis. It's been a blur of hospitals and doctors at home for some while now, I have a far better knowledge of the geography of Worthing hospital than I ever wanted, and know virtually all the doctors names at our local medical center now too. Dear old Don was our Auntie Sheila's second husband, an ex copper, and salt of the earth, an absolutely lovely bloke, full of good humour, but had come to the point where he was happy to be going. Cousin Matt told me Don had instructed him to make sure no one tried to bring him back if he were in hospital and things went wrong. I've seen this, and heard it, a few times before. Ill health and old age are difficult enough, but many times worse when they have lost the person they truly loved, and it becomes a struggle to actually want to go on, despite all the best wishes of loved ones around them. Don will live on in our memories, but right now, Sheila's children and Grand children, who adopted this lovely man as their own, will be hurting the most, so I hope their memories help them through this horrible time.
Wild Life 2015
I have to say I thought our local council showed themselves up for the waste of space most of us consider politicians to be, letting us know that the company behind this concert at Shoreham Airport had sneakily gone behind their backs and set the wheels in motion before our inept halfwits in local government could act. I couldn't really care less about the concert, despite the fact that pretty much the entire town will be hearing it whether they want to or not, but what got to me was that the idea had been mooted, and from that point our trusted representatives had put their collective blinkers on while the industrial strength machine that is SJM Concerts, got on with its business. I have to say, my age reveals itself when I admit to not having heard of 95% of the line up. I had already been told by a friend in the music industry, Dave Lamb, that if this mob were behind it, it's going to happen, but you would like to think that elected politicians, voted in to represent their constituents, would at least make sure they were in a position to say yes or no to this concert going ahead. What we got instead was, 'oh deary me, erm, it looks like these big boys have hoodwinked us by doing their job properly, if only we had been capable of doing ours'. I know the concert will obviously be popular with a great many, especially the younger fraternity, and I sincerely hope they're not disappointed, but I wonder how many of our inept councillors will be there, and in what capacity. I suspect, in a quite comfortable position, as revered guests, a reward for being crap at their jobs, or for turning a blind eye?
Shoreham Fort, Volunteers, Professionals, Babies
Researching the Fort history has been an ongoing pastime for some while, but recently I have unearthed a few gems which help explain the position regarding the status of the Fort soldiers. From the beginning I had believed the fort to be garrisonned by professionals, and indeed it was built to accommodate as such, but their is also a wealth of evidence suggesting the heavy involvement of volunteers, or militia. I have so far traced 12 children born to soldiers stationed at the 'Shoreham Redoubt, Lancing', as it was known back then, the earliest birth, that of Frederick William de Velling, born 17th Jan 1860, son of John de velling, Gunner, Royal Artillery, and Sarah de Velling, nee Langham. The latest birth I found was for John William Burrows, 10th November 1891, son of Joseph Burrows, Sergeant, Royal Artillery, and Bridget Burrows. So we know for sure there were professional soldiers stationed at the fort, it would seem, for the entire time it was manned, but it took a couple of old newspaper stories to shed new light upon this mystery.
The first story I came across, in the Brighton Gazette, dated 27 Oct 1864, told of a cracked gun at the fort needing to be changed, explaining how the guns had previously been fired, 'partly by the Coast Brigade, and partly by the late 4th Sussex Shoreham and 1st Sussex (Brighton) Volunteer Artillery.' . It states further on how, 'the gallant Major of the 1st Sussex Volunteer Artillery is always anxious for the corps to learn something about gun mounting, and to the small number of the Coast Brigade stationed at Shoreham being insufficient to perform the task, he offered to dismount the old gun, and remount the new one'. So there you have it, proof evident of professional and volunteer working side by side. I expect that day must have been one of excitement for the people of Shoreham, seeing a large detachment of soldiers alighting at Shoreham station, with a 12 foot barrelled gun to replace the condemned fort gun. With no footbridge to cross, I don't imagine they would have floated a heavy gun like that over the river, but who can say. I rather imagine they would have marched through town, across the old Norfolk Suspension Bridge, and around close to where the river footpath meets the Brighton road. Where were the photographers then??
It was an article I found in the Newcastle Journal, dated 12th Nov 1859, which finally nailed the situation, and gave a surprising addition to the story. The headline was 'The Coast Brigade of Artillery', and the column begins, "Horse Guards, S.W., Nov.1. Her Majesty having been pleased to approve of an augmentation to the Royal Artillery of one major, seven captains, eight lieutenants, one sergeant-major, one quartermaster sergeant, five staff-sergeants, 24 sergeants, six corporals and bombardiers for the purpose of forming a new brigade, to be called the 'Coast Brigade of Artlillery', the present invalid artillery being amalgamated therewith'. Further on it says, 'As its name implies, the Coast Brigade will be distributed among the forts, batteries, and towers of the United Kingdom'. Towards the end the article explains, 'The instruction of the Volunteer Artillery companies will be one of the principal duties of the brigade, and too much attention cannot be paid to uniformity in the manner of imparting instruction'
This letter was signed off, 'By command of his Royal Highness, "The General Commanding-in-Chief. "G.A.WETHERALL, Adjutant General"
So there you have it, the Coast Brigade appears to have been an early version of Dads Army, if we can't get a TV show out of this then there's something wrong! After all, Nicholas Lyndhurst's Grandfather, Francis L Lyndhurst, was making films at the fort just a few years after the last soldiers left, and with Nicholas having played the time traveller in Goodnight Sweetheart, surely a script almost writes itself.
Image: These are some of the fort babies birth certificates, and death certificate for Gunner John Bicknell
The Wednesday visit to Worthing hospital confirmed our worst fears, Deep Vein Thrombosis, but at least knowing the problem, and how to deal with it, makes life a little easier. An afternoon of scans, x rays, blood/urine tests, and counselling, left our heads filled with a load of new terms we'll have to start getting used to. The scan and x ray showed a huge blood clot running from the calf to the groin, with Ma's leg now massively swollen and ever more painful. With no family history of blood clots, and no reason that can be established for its occurrence, the consultant delivered the news that he would recommend Warfarin for the rest of her life, following up by saying there was a 9% chance of a re-occurrence if left as is, compared to a 1% chance of complications caused by the Warfarin.
From that moment, if you weren't already, you are trying to make sure you don't miss anything that's said, but it doesn't work like that, and fortunately there is plenty of follow up to take you through it all. The next step is a Warfarin clinic, where they work out Ma's INR, or International Normalized Ratio, a system whereby they test your blood regularly until they know what dose of Warfarin is required, a high INR indicates a higher risk of bleeding, while a low INR suggests a higher risk of developing a clot.
Our sailing buddy, Ann, came round to give Ma her Fragmin, (blood thinning), injection after the district nurses initial visits, and has now shown me how to do it, but we only have to do that until we have the Warfarin dosage worked out, then it's a pill a day, and clinics every few weeks to keep a check on the INR. I didn't know a thing about this until last week, but it turns out lots of people we know have their own personal experience, so we're not on our own, and that helps. Ma's leg is less swollen today, and her general health improving, next week we'll get down to the gym, and put her up for a half marathon in a few months time!
Another amusing joke to finish up:-
An old couple are at church, when the wife leans across to her husband and whispers,
"I've just let out a silent fart, what should I do?", to which he replies, "change the battery in your hearing aid".
Image: Ma's shiner
2014 wasn't the greatest year for us, with Squire contracting pneumonia back in August, and the long road to recovery which thankfully he is now on. The year was lousy for a number of other reasons, but with the advent of 2015, and a wedding for little sis on the 2nd January to her long time partner Steve, preceded by an engagement announcement by big bruv and his significant better half, it felt like a corner had been turned. Admittedly, the two of them embarking on second marriages before the other three of us managed even once between us might be considered a poor return for our Aged P's, but for the time being we could enjoy the moment, and look forward to the year ahead. This is also my first blog since last August, so please forgive a little ring rustiness.
If either of you can remember, when researching our family tree, I made contact with Squire's half brother, Ian, who turned out to be a highly accomplished surgeon, a member of the Royal College of Surgeons no less. He had no idea of any other family, believing himself to be an only son, so when I popped up and made contact it must have been quite a shock for him. Since that initial contact, we have met, got on famously, and maintained contact since. Quite unlike our mob, his family are all high flying professionals in medicine and law, they also happen to have avoided the short gene with which we are cursed, then to add insult to injury, full heads of hair. Did I mention they're talented musicians too? I told Ian his old man must have saved his best for last! It was just a shame though that we only found each other after Auntie Sheila and Uncle Mike had passed away.
We had planned to meet up again this week, booking up the Bath Spa Hotel for the visit, and then disaster, Ma goes down with Deep Vein Thrombosis. We had been getting Ma and Pa down to the swimming baths, hot pools, and physio's, in a bid to improve their overall health, then bam!, out of nowhere poor old Ma has a swollen foot, which quickly escalates to a swollen leg, doctors appointment, and diagnosis of DVT. In between all of this, she trips and smacked her noggin, incurring an impressive shiner to add to the ignominy. So Ma is now feet up, looking like a car crash victim, on blood thinner injections which district nurses come round to administer, and booked into the hospital for x rays and other tests on Wednesday. This is a good time to point out how lucky we are to have the NHS, with both Ma and Pa, from telephone contact, to the service and treatment, every step of the way our National Health Service has given them the best care we could have hoped for. If the NHS have any problems, they are caused by the interference of politicians, and especially by the Tory party, who would privatise it in a heart beat in a bid to help their big business buddies make a profit at the expense of the British people.
Work has been out of the question really, so I've been trying to farm whatever comes my way back out again. In the spare moments in between all of this, I've been researching family trees, and unveiling a story of Edwardian art dealing chicanery which involved my Great Grandfather, Henry Ramus. My research is currently being edited for an issue of The Fine Art Connoisseur magazine, due for publication in March, and there is talk of the possibility of a book if I can tie it all together, but that will require an awful lot more effort on my part, so we'll see about that.
I was a late starter at cricket, and entered the sport entirely untrained, but with a keenness and spirit which seemed to pacify any possible ill feeling towards this 'non cricketer' from all but the affected purists. Most sports have their characters, cricket is no different, but among them are the umpires that give up their own time to officiate, and these are often characters that stand out among a sea of eccentricity. In the years I played cricket, Gerald stood alone in the pantheon of eccentric umpires, first at Shoreham, and later during my ill fated comeback at Beeding and Bramber CC. If you meet anyone that played a game in which Gerald had umpired, they will like as not have a comical memory or two of the proceedings. Unfortunately he passed away late last year, but a few of us managed to get to the funeral at Findon, and afterwards shared a couple of beers as we mulled over those glory years in the Cricketers pub, Broadwater.
He wouldn't win any prizes for his umpiring, indeed some of his decisions defied belief, and if you were stood too close when engaged in conversation with him, a welders head guard might be handy. Many of his curious decisions are remembered better than the game in which they were given, but Gerald loved to be involved, and loved the game. I like many others will never forget him, and always remember with a smile. Hopefully a few of us can get together some time and get some of his finer moments down for an umpire special blog.
To finish off, I'll share with you a joke which a friend shared with me:-
An old lady was very upset as her husband Albert had just passed away. She went to the undertakers to have one last look at her
dearly departed husband. The instant she saw him she started crying. The mortician walked over to comfort her. Through her tears
she explained that she was upset because her dearest Albert was wearing a black suit, and it was his fervent wish to be buried in a
The mortician apologized and explained that traditionally they always put bodies in a black suit, but he'd see what he could arrange.
The next day she returned to the funeral parlour to have one last moment with Albert before the funeral the following day.
When the mortician pulled back the curtain, she managed a smile through her tears as Albert was resplendent in a smart blue suit.
She said to the mortician, "Wonderful, wonderful, but where did you get that beautiful suit?"
"Well, yesterday afternoon after you left, a man about your husband's size was brought in and he was wearing a blue suit,"
the mortician replied. "His wife was quite upset because she wanted him buried in the traditional black suit."
Albert's wife smiled at the undertaker.
"After that," he continued, "it was just a matter of swapping the heads."
Image: Lizbet and Steve exchange their vows. Hello Mr and Mrs Elderfield
Wolf-e-boy's Global Travel bites page-(29-09-'02 to 19-02-'04)
Travel bites from wolf-e-boy's 17 month trek around the globe, full edited version available in hardback from Amazon.com.
What's going on in my life this year.
2017/18 Random Stuff
What's going on in my life during 2017
Blogging On 2016
Whatever moves me to scribe this year.
Blogging on- 2015
What ever moves me to hit the keyboard this year, here it is
Blog on 2013/14
What's going on in my life, Shoreham, and the outside world in 2013. My thoughts, my words.
Myanmar Times 2013
My trip to Myanmar with Tim Wall, an ancestral Royal, we think!
Blog on- 2011/ 2012
What's occurring in my life in or around Shoreham by sea, this year. For 2013, please check the page above, 'Blog on 2013'
A brief maritime history of Shoreham and its Fort
A history to explain the defensive importance of Shoreham, and its need for the Shoreham Redoubt, finished in 1857
Watercraft, my part in its downfall
Continuing from 'When I left school 1979'. I spent 6 great years learning my trade at Watercraft LTD, and this is the beginning of the story of my time there
When I left school, 1979
Leaving Cardinal Newman school, 1979, 16 years old, my first job, first proper wages, wide eyed and care free, look out world, here I come.
A bygone Shoreham Beach
Short stories from a childhood spent discovering Shoreham, plus links to some of our incredible local music talent
John Jabez Edwin Mayall
This page is a brief summary of one of the early leading lights of photography, J.J.E. Mayall
Wolf E Boy's Barn and Granary conversion blog
For 7 months, back in 2007, I worked on a barn conversion as site carpenter, at the same time as my book, Bangkok to BC', was being published, this blog tells the story of both
2009/10 blog n stuff
whatever moves me to scribble this year
Don't get me started- blogging
This is about just some of the things that daily piss so many of us off
Wolf rants- Wolf E. Boy's rhyming rhetoric
some of my 'Outspoken rhyming rants'
Silly, witty one liners page
Here are some of my fave collected one liners I've been posting on Facebook and Twitter. Feel free to return any time, as I regularly update with new one liners. Enjoy the jokes folks!
Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, Gone Fishing
Some things in life are meant to be, or not, Dan finds out the hard way when a simple trip gets complicated
The Scam page
This page is devoted to stories of scams, and how they happened
2008/9, bloggin' on
What's up this year ?
The Polish 'stag' experience
The Stag tradition goes to Krakow
Lamp Bassett, the evolution of 'weedspeak'
Evolution of 'weed speak'
Random old scribes of mine
My Ramus Family tree
This page is for the continued updating of my Sephardic family tree information.
The Ring Master & John William Godward
This is the story of the late Victorian, early Edwardian world of art dealing, and the link between William Walker Sampson, leader of the biggest art cartel of the time, and a painter whose style was being eclipsed by the emergence of the likes of Picasso
William Walker Sampson's Art Auction Ring
This is just a rough out for an art ring project already going on another page of this site, working, hopefully, to a final edit.
Victorian/Edwardian art dealers directory
One at a time, I will be writing up short bio's of art dealers from the late 19th, and early 20th century, a follow up to the Art Ring story also on this site.
A Brief History of Shoreham Aviation
This is a brief history of the aviators that helped establish Shoreham Aerodrome as a part of the evolution of flight.
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