The Wallis's ~ The Complete Story
cycled about together and became friends. John lived in Uxbridge Road, Stanmore, after a few meeting he invited me to his house. There I met his mother a really lovely Lady Doctor and his fours sisters. We spent a lot of our free time in his father’s workshop where he had a lovely model speed boat driven with a steam boiler and twin cylinder steam engine to drive it. We used to take the boat to a nearby “Boot pond” where we had hours of pleasure running it.
Once we took the boat to a special boating pond. While sailing our boat across the pond it ploughed straight through a fellow “modeller’s” yacht. Our boat was like a Dreadnott, very heavy and very fast it tore the poor chap’s hand built yacht to pieces. The owner was an elderly man, he just broke down and cried!
John and I were also interested in electrical circuits, telephones high on the list. We managed to get an old pair of phones from the Junk shop. We spent hours trying to get them to work John upstairs in his bedroom with wires leading down into the shed were I would be connected up, calling out “Can you hear me John? Can you hear me?.
In John’s garden they had a large concrete air raid shelter which after the war John and I found very useful to use as a Dark Room when we became interested in photography, it was ideal for developing and enlarging photographs a hobby that has stayed with me ever since. We also used the shelter for kids “Feasts” with the girls we got to know in Uxbridge road and from the Stanmore Institute. I have many happy memories and can remember the smell of Fried Onions and Potatoes which were always in great demand.
John’s father used to give him pocket money for mowing the lawn, they had a Petrol mower which for me was something really special, for my parents had only an old push type. Once I talked John into letting me borrow his father’s machine to cut the grass at my house.
But we were worried that if we ran the mower along the path we might get charged by the police, for using an unlicensed vehicle. So I brought my parents large wheel barrow from home, loaded the mower on it and pushed that load 2 miles back to our house. It was a real weight and I was exhausted afterwards but we did the my lawn cut. Petrol was still rationed in those days so we used Parafin with some lighter fuel to get the machine started. True it gave out clouds of black smelly exhaust but no one seemed to complain.
My elder brothers also attended the Salvatorian school but at this time brother John had already left and was attending a course of Surveying at the Polytechnic, Regent Street, upon completion he obtained a contract with the Admiralty for work which later involved him being sent to Malta and after completion of his contract in 1950 he was transferred to Hong Kong where he worked until 1954. When John came back to the U.K. he worked with the Admiralty in Stanmore and Ruislip.
My brother Joseph was with me during most of my Salvatorian days. The school was within easy walking distance of home but when I had a bicycle I would us it shortened my travelling time considerably. With the air raids and bombing the classes were disrupted a great deal. This suited me for I was not a keen scholar! However, my parents could see I was falling behind in my studies and decided to send me to boarding school. Jo obtained a place at Reading University in 1942. He wanted to learn about Agriculture for his hope was to become a farmer. At the same time my parents decided to send me to the Salesian College, in Farnborough and I was there during 1942/1943.
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