Saturday, 6 June 2009
My Uncle Jack.
At junior school my classmates would at 4 o'clock argue as to who would become my best friend for the trip home,the reason being that I would on the short trip home visit my aunt and uncle. After the visit I was always given a shilling (sometimes 2 bob) and my accompanying friend a tanner,the nearby presence of forbouys sweetshop was our much anticipated destination. I did however love to visit anyway, as my uncle was such a pleasant man to visit with his humorous manner and his never ending supply of sweets,war stories and military books. He would occasionally embark on a long model making project for me and each night I was excited to see how my latest model had progressed (Hurry up!). As a youngster I never thought much about my uncle never being at work or never having children,he was just my uncle. Later in life I discovered why.....my uncle was a member of a family that ran a successful coal business in the knotty Ash area of Liverpool.A strapping young man who worked long hard hours he rewarded himself with a motorbike and wearing his leather jacket he cut rather a dashing figure in a rather austere era. With the coming of war in 1939 My uncle joined the Royal Engineers as a dispatch rider and off to a short and no doubt victorious war he went. Six years later he returned,a man no longer in his prime,his youth and energy gone. There was always a stillness about my uncle that even as a child I recognised as different from my other uncles,a sadness.......The tuberculosis that he contracted in a Silesian prison camp took my uncle Jack in 1971.....like many of his generation he gave and never asked....I miss him still.