Wallis's ~ The Complete Story
Isle of Man
birth of Austin Wallis in the summer of 1928 completed my parent’s family. I
was the fourth child, having two older brothers and a sister. Traditionally
the Wallis’s would pass on family surnames as Christian names of their
children and in my case I was given the name Austin as my grandmother’s name
was “Amey Austin”
Joseph my brother had been born three years earlier and
had got used to being referred to as “baby” he now found I was being called
baby too!! When Jo heard someone call me “baby” he went into a tantrum
screaming “Bob”…”Bob”…which was a name he had heard somewhere! Jo insisted
everyone call me Bob and that name stuck. Actually he had done everyone a
favour for my father had also been christened “Austin” with two of us being
called Austin it did muddle and mix people up. As I grew older I soon learnt
that there was an “Austin 7” motor car coming on the market and when my
school friends learnt my real name was Austin they would start to tease.
With Honks and other noises. So ever since it has suited me to be known as
My father was a professional Surveyor and saw to it that we were all brought
up in comfortable middle class area with open country not far away yet
within easy reach of central London.
When I arrived on the scene, the family lived in a
detached house in Elms Road Harrow Weald, which in those days was in the
county of Middlesex. My father worked for the council in the Valuation
department at St Marylebone Town Hall, which was opposite, and within easy
reach of St Marylebone main line railway station with a direct connection to
Harrow on the Hill, and Aylesbury. This station was later enlarged to take
the Metropolitan Line.
The family had moved up from Kensington where they had lived since my
parents where married in 1919.. In Sept 1920 John my elder brother was born
and this proved to be a time of great crisis to our parents. It would seem
that due to an oversight, the surgical instruments used at the birth of John
had not been sterolised properly and our mother became seriously infected.
Her whole body became poisoned. And she lost the use of her legs soon a
paralysis began to creep over her whole lower body.
Mother’s doctor could not help though Dad went spare trying to get him to
find a cure for her condition. But he could give no help at all nor hope
though he did suggest he took her to Belgium to die among her family. The
paralysis was travelling up her legs and the flesh was turning black! Dad
tried everywhere and everyone visiting all the specialises he could find but
those he did contact gave the same answer there was No Cure.
However one doctor did make a suggestion to Dad saying he should give her a
last happiness: “Take her back to Belgium to say good bye to her family! Dad
did as this doctor had suggested and at once arranged for the journey.
Mother could not walk so Dad used a wheel chair to move her.
They took the train to Dover and sailed to Ostend from there the train to
Brussels and on to Malines where they stayed with her parents. After seeing
mother’s immediate family they all went to visit the Gielis side of her
family in Liege. At the time Dr Maurice Gielis had just completed his
studies in College, he had just qualified as a doctor of Medicine. Naturally
my father asked him for his advise just what was he to do. The conversation
must have been strange for my father could not speak French and Maurice did
not know how to speak English. Somehow Dad got Maurice to understand
but Maurice too could give no hope for mother who by now was extremely
ill. Dad asked if Maurice knew of anyone at his Medical College who
could help or if there was a new cure he had read about but the answer
was the same.
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