Remembering My Dear Mother

Looking back , my first recollection of my dear Mother was around the age of four shortly after daddy died at the age of forty in 1929 during the great depression ; leaving behind a brood of two sons: Christopher six and myself and Sister Ruth two.

After being shunted from one relative to another we finally arrived at Dr Barnardo's Homes, from where soon after Chris and I were fostered out to a family at Chalgrove in Oxfordshire, it was also the last time I would see my sister Ruth until fourteen years later.

My next contact with mother after a period of four years although not physical as the brief visitation lasted less than an hour due to the dissension between mother and foster mother, resulted in us being removed back to Barnardo's Homes, after which Chris was sent to Watts Naval College at the age of eleven and I followed him there a year later on Wed 16: Dec: 1936, aged then ten years five months; after having been fostered for a year in Cambridgeshire. Later in Jan 1941 Chris joined Royal Navy at sixteen and a half years of age.

During the summer of 1941 after another absence -this time of six years, Mother visited the naval college with her new husband ( who was indeed a saintly person whom I admired for his continuing sufferance to the end of his years in 1973).

Six months passed and I was sent to join the Royal Navy Wed: 7: Jan: 1942, I was 15 years and five months of age and my next contact with my dear mother was in 1947 long after the war had ended. So from the age of five until twenty one, my total contact with my loving mother over fifteen years had been approx Four Hours. My brother Christopher did not make contact with Mother ever again. Despite of all the past misgivings I still maintained a respect for my Mother and remained in contact over the years until coming to Australia in 1971.

However, blood being thicker than water, we paid for Mother's visits to Australia from England

In 1974, 75 and 77 when she stayed for about two months on each occasion. It was a shame she had little tact and was so intolerable.

In July 1983 we received a letter from England informing us Mother had passed away on the 20th of July, the day before her 86th birthday.

An excerpt from my memoirs follows.

My mother’s last visit was full of problems. I had picked her up at the airport in Sydney at 6:30 am on a Sunday morning. During the trip back she kept saying, “Watch this, watch that” and “How long now?” It was piddling down with rain. I thought the only people daft enough to be on the road in this weather on a Sunday would be devout Catholics on their way to mass. Then it happened. My Ford Cortina wagon was halfway through the lights on the Parramatta road at Concord near ‘Cullen Motors,’ a busy intersection, when the blessed gear lever came away in my hand.
Mother asked, “Why are we stopping? Just keep moving and stop all that swearing.” I was stuck in first gear, so I put the hazard lights on. Braking hard by the side of the road, we shuddered to a stop. I explained my problem to an enquiring police officer. I then went to find a phone that hadn’t been vandalised, which took some time. No one answered the phone at home. While trying to retrieve my money, I found far more money than I expected. A tow truck arrived within minutes of my call. Back at the car, my eighty-year-old mother was creating hell for the copper and waving her cane at him. I told the police officer she was my mother and was just starting a six-week holiday with me. He replied, “You poor blighter. You have my deepest sympathy.”
The trip home took about thirty minutes. Mother whined all the way. When we arrived home, the noise we created unshackling the tow awakened my family. Our large Bitser dog had a dissident attitude to unknown visitors. After it saw me alight from a truck dishevelled and in a long raincoat, it flew at me. Fortunately, it grabbed my shoe. My other shoe caught it in the goolies and it went off yelping. All this frightened the life out of my mother.
She said, “If my stay is going to be like this, I’m going back home.” My mother decided to put up with the pain of staying with us (or was it the other way around?) The children, who enjoy a bit of mischief now and then, were never able to get along with my mother. My Rosemary, who was painfully polite to my mother, told me, “Never again!”
My attempts at diplomacy concerning my mother failed miserably. I began to feel guilty that I couldn’t make my mother happy during her stay. My mother’s ‘holier than thou’ dogmatic attitude always won hands down.
I often wondered how the poor people sitting next to her for twenty-four hours in a plane felt. The last time my mother departed, the flight was held up for three hours. The whole family waited five hours. After she left, we all felt relieved.
Sickness and incontinence kept my mother in the UK until her passing on 20 July 1983, the day before her eighty-sixth birthday.

I shed a few private tears. After all, she was my mother.

Vest. Have a loving 'Mother's Day.'


Anonymous said…
Thanks for sharing VEST

My moms only fault was she loved me too much

and my dad too little
i adored my dad
and i disliked me mom for that reason

when my dad died
she shed crocodile tears
and I was angry

when my mom died
i did not cry

but now i know
she had her reasons
Anonymous said…
Well done for your patience Vest after what must have been an incredibly hard childhood. I used to work for Barnardos here in N.Z. for many years.
Older folk tend to lose their patience and a few marbles when it comes to long distance travelling, so it is a shame that the visits were not more healing.
My own Mum died very young at age 58 .... and that was 20+ years ago now. I still miss her.
Do you, your bro and sis still stay in touch?
Have a good day with your own dear wife and fam!
Anonymous said…
Moms are human just as u and me
we have to understand our mom

my dad was 15 years older
and my mom was beautiful and young

my dad was very rich
he cud have any girl from Goa

and he talked to my moms parents
and the deal was done

my mom had no choice
the same happened with Benny my mom in law
Vest said…
Thank you anons 1 and 2 and Aggie.
Perhaps had I stayed glued to mothers skirts my whole life would have been so different.

Aggie: Sorry to say both brother Christopher and sister Ruth have passed away. I have no known relatives other than those of Rosemary my wife and those of our own issue of eight G/Ch and two G G/Ch.
Vest said…
Another excerpt from my memoirs.

My wartime experiences, although fewer than most, were not very enjoyable. I could only imagine what was happening to others on smaller ships and the plight of the aircraft carriers who suffered a lot more than us. I also wondered about the young teenage Japanese pilots who had the unenviable task of dying for their country in a manner that was unacceptable by our standards. Those blokes never stood a chance of surviving; they only had fuel for a one-way trip. Sadly for them, it was goodbye. I expect their mothers cried for them, too. It was a good feeling knowing that my mother wasn’t going to cry for me, as she had no knowledge of my whereabouts.
Anonymous said…
I admire the Japanese
Japan was detroyed in WWII

But they never lost their pride
though they were starving and homeless

there were no beggars
not a single starving man begged for food or money

HARA KIRI and Kamikaze pilots is something only the Japanese cud do then

but now we have suicide bombers of OSAMA (jehadis) and LTTE
Vest said…
Anon: At least 80 per cent of the nippon population wouldn't have a clue about WW2, yet you and they proudly expound their proud and humane exploits. Of coourse the Nips started the sorry mess in the first place and in the end received their dues.
Vest said…
Anon continued:
Of course, I have my own opinion regarding the use of the atomic bombs that decided the end of hostilities. During operation Iceberg – a period of about ten weeks starting 1 April 1945 – over a quarter of a million civilians and Japanese, American, and British servicemen lost their lives prior to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki destruction. It was sad that the innocent had to suffer for the immoralities of war.
The millions of us who survived the war owe our lives to the clear-sighted wisdom of the allied leaders in Washington and Whitehall, who understood the jungle of problems they faced and left the moralistic chuntering to those lost in the woods.
It has been said that, the use of those two atomic bombs and the fear of more saved many allied lives, as it was the intention of the allies not to invade but bring the Nips into submission.
Then of course as I mentioned before that I was there so I wouldnt be as wise as you clever dicks who read the embellished versions.
Anonymous said…
the victor writes History
Anonymous said…
come to

Anonymous said…
the Japanese are very grateful to general Douglas MacArthur and Deming who helped in the restoration of Japan after WWII
Anonymous said…
I am OK with the British
they too suffered in WWII

but USA stayed out of the War
until Pearl Harbor was bombed

USA believes in carpet bombing the enemy with superior Air Power

they did this to Japan using nuclear power

they did this to Vietnam
and now to IRAQ

but then they u have to send the GIs in

and they come home in body bags
u cant destroy a nations pride by Air Bombing
Vest said…
Anon: Obviously your daddy didn't take up the Indian Govt offer in the 50's, Which was a free transistor radio for all men who acquired a free Vasectomy.
Anonymous said…
Battles are won by slaughter and maneuver. The greater the general, the more he contributes in maneuver, the less he demands in slaughter.

Anonymous said…
Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.

- Churchill
Anonymous said…
inaneanon - pundit castrado sterile
Anonymous said…
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.

- Churchill
Anonymous said…
I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals

Anonymous said…
In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.

-Churchill on propaganda
Anonymous said…
Anonymous - Ressurecting Winston Churchill's little ditties will not bring your dead parents back for you to make amends for your nasty remarks about them.

W Churchill spent most of his spare time preparing and writing impromptu speeches.
Vest said…
I am not sure how this post began on Mothers day and has ended up at WW2, so if that is the case the following yarn will fit in nicely and offend the US Military as well, it is true because I was there. VEST.

Surrender of Japan.
After the formal surrender documents had been signed on board the US Battleship Missouri, some young sailors and I were taken ashore. Some went to the prisoner of war camps, others to the naval dockyard at Yokosuka. We also provided a guard of honour for the ‘wash-up’ of the surrender formalities at the British embassy in Tokyo. Already present were the Japanese Emperor and his royal flag (flying with the British flag,) which meant that only royalty were to be afforded the privilege of a Royal salute, i.e., the ‘Present arms.’ All other senior officers attending this shemozzle would get a ‘butt salute.’ This welcoming slap on the rifle butt by the guard commander was acceptable by most, except for a certain top American General who was not amused and sent a message saying so. A British reply was supposedly sent explaining the British protocol, (so we were led to believe) but I cannot confirm this, another saying ‘Stick that in your corn cob pipe’.
Jim said…
LD Lawyer
who allowed u in the upper deck!
Go down where u belong

My dad tot me principles, values
accepting the truth is one of them

and he allowed criticism
I criticized him many a time when he was around

he also said
have no fear
no shame
Anonymous said…
I am impressed by military protocol and traditions

I had the good fortune to be part of Maj Gen D'Cunhas team that developed the Quality Mangement System for Naval Dockyard, Mumbai

British traditions like wetting the stripes are still being followed in The Navy Air Force and Army

God Bless Britain
God screw the Americans

all they gave us was Coke and McDonalds and KFC
Anonymous said…
advise to the Naval Cadet

if it moves
salute it
if it doesnt
polish it
Anonymous said…
Mothers day News Flash!!!

'Viagra' is now available in
powder form for your tea or coffee,
It doesn't enhance your sexual
performance but it does stop your
biscuit from going soft.
Anonymous said…
The end of tradition
When Indian naval ships haul down their old ensigns with the St George's Cross for the last time at sunset on August 14, they will also end 250 years of naval tradition.

Along with the ensigns the Navy has also decided to redesign the flag officers personal flags.

Gone are the red balls in the quadrants which used to denote either a rear admiral (two) or a vice-admiral (one). A few old-timers, especially those who had received training with the Royal Navy and who had many friends in Britain, are dismayed by the change.

The Indian Navy, in one form or another, is one of the oldest of India's armed forces. Under the name of the Bombay Marines it came into existence in the 18th century and went through many avatars. It was called the Indian Marines, the Royal Indian Marines and finally the Royal Indian Navy before India dropped the prefix Royal after becoming a Republic in 1950.
Anonymous said…
Unlike the Indian Army which grew to a strength of over two million during the Second World War, the Indian Navy was always a minuscule force. The Royal Navy underwrote the maritime defence of India, leaving the Royal Indian Navy the job of coastal defence.

Although the sailors were Indian, most of the officer corps was British and foreign.

A few Indian officers had begun to be inducted from the early 1930s. A large number of Indian officers were inducted during the war years in the volunteer reserve category.

Most of them were given permanent commissions after the war and became the backbone of the Navy after Independence.

Even so, at Independence the senior-most Indian officer had less than 20 years service and the Navy continued to rely on the Royal Navy to provide it technical expertise and its senior officers.

In fact the commander-in-chief of the Indian Navy (and later its chief of the naval staff ) continued to be Royal Navy officers until 1958.
Anonymous said…
With such long and mutually advantageous association with the Royal Navy it was but natural for the Indian Navy to imbibe and assimilate practically all the traditions of the bigger and older navy.

The rank structure, uniforms, ensigns, flags, the organisation of the Navy, the method of announcements on board ships, the way we salute, the use of the bosun's pipe etc were all very similar.

Initially the sailors wore the same 'square rig' that Royal Navy sailors wore, with the three stripes on the blue collar representing Nelson's three famous victories.

The Indian Navy used all the manuals and drill books from the Royal Navy. Life in the messes, including even the food served, were copies of the way it was in the Royal Navy.

Tradition plays an important role in the life of a service. Each of India's army regiments have their own traditions stretching back hundreds of years.

Some go into battle with the battle cry "Har Har Mahadev," others with "Ayo Gorkhali." The Gurkhas have the fearsome tradition of the khukri charge.
Anonymous said…
The Royal Navy is full of traditions which they pass on from generation to generation.

Traditions are not just flags and buntings. There are also traditions of bravery, courage and never surrendering.

At the Battle of Crete when the British Army ashore was being evacuated, Admiral Cunningham's fleet was losing many ships due to German air attacks. When one of his staff officers timidly suggested withdrawing from the scene, the admiral fixed him with a cold look.

'It takes three years to build a ship but 300 years to build a tradition.

The Navy never lets the Army down.' Of course, not many were impressed with Royal Navy traditions.

Winston Churchill was one. 'Naval tradition? I'll tell you what naval tradition is. Rum, the bum and bacci.' He was referring to the naval preference for drink, tobacco and buggery.
Anonymous said…
Being a new service with no tradition to speak of, the young Indian Navy adopted all Royal Navy traditions as their own. This rankled many young officers who saw no reason to continue the Indian Navy's ties with, what to them, was another navy from a land far far away.

With pressure from many quarters the Navy began to throw overboard many of the time honoured traditions.

New uniforms were designed. Food in the messes was 'indigenised.' Of course, the Navy was clever enough not to discard everything British.

Although India's national policy prohibits alcohol (toasts are drunk in orange juice), and even American and Russian ships are dry, the Indian Navy has managed to keep its tradition for 'rum and baccy' alive.

The new policy of replacing the ensign appears to be the Navy's efforts to get on the swadeshi bandwagon. The national paranoia about removing anything and everything which reminds us or smacks of colonial rule has finally got to India's armed forces.

Will we also now obliterate the names of the Navy's first four chiefs and remove their portraits from South Block?

The redesigning of the admiral's personal flags will put an end to the numerous jokes on admirals and their flags which permeate through the Navy. Most of them are lewd but taken in good humour. 'What is the vice of the vice-admiral?' goes one. 'The rear of the rear admiral' is the answer.

The red balls in the quadrants of flags denoted the admiral's rank. 'The admiral has lost one of his balls' was a common way of announcing a promotion.

A chief of naval staff was commonly referred to as 'the admiral with no balls.' Alas, no more. Now the balls have been replaced by stars and instead of losing them you gain them as you are promoted.

Two, three and four stars will henceforth denote a rear, vice and full admiral. And one can hardly joke about that. The new personal flags look suspiciously close to those which the US Navy flies. Perhaps it is symbolic of our newfound camaraderie with that navy.

When an admiral relinquishes a particular appointment, his flag is hauled down on the last day and handed over to him as a memento. Thank god, this tradition is still alive.

On completion of my command of the Western Fleet, my flag, the one with the two red balls, was presented to me and is encased in a glass and wooden box. It sits proudly on the mantelpiece. Let the new Navy have its new flags. I will always cherish my balls.

Admiral Nadkarni is a former chief of the Indian Navy.
Vest said…
Remember lads said my insructor on joining the RN. The Rear Admirals flag is a white oblong flag with two red balls in the left cantons of a red St Georges cross.
The Vice Admiral has the same flag with one red ball in the top left hand canton.
But the poor old Admiral with the same flag has 'No balls at all'.

Thank you anon for the lesson on Naval History. My fav subject passing H E T in R N, point six centuries in the past.
Keshi said…
awwwww Vesty this made me cry! Im so sorry that she's no more :( I cant imagine a world w.o. my mum, I really dunno how I'd do w.o. her...thats why I always pray that I die before her. I know, it's selfish but I wont be able to live w.o. her!

God bless ur mum!


btw come take part in my current post hehe.

Anonymous said…
Oh vesty, I really cried when I read your post, so sad. Luvs ya kate,xxx
Anonymous said…
women cry easy
Anonymous said…
HI grandpa and grandma.
Lovely recap of your mother. Hope you had a lovely day, and wish you two are fine.
Tell Grandma i hope she had a great day.

So how are you doing and what have you been up to? Bianca and i are good at school and mum says bianca needs a good kick up the bum. We got lots of friends and were having a great time

Bianca says she loves you. As do i.
We hope to see you soon when we go on school holidays in about 6/7 weeks
Love from ~Dylan~

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