This is a photo of my mum and dad the week they got married, in October 1942. Not a bad looking couple, eh?

Mum’s name is Cecilia but she has been known as “Cis” since she was a child. I spoke to her on the phone yesterday and told her how I like to see pics of my family when they were young. As adults, we become simply “mum”, “dad”, “nan”, “grandad”, etc. Our children and grandchildren see us as “old” and it doesn’t seems to occur to them that we were young once and had hopes, dreams and plans like they do. There is a callousness to youth and I’m sure I was same.

By late 1942, the British people had already been at war for three years and everything hung in the balance. My great-uncle Harry (Bladon), a strong influence in my childhood, had been captured at Tobruk and spent the rest of the War in a German stalag. Dad had been called up (to the army) and he and Mum married before he left. I’m sure it was a story that was repeated countless times the world over.

Dad’s family seems to have lived mostly in the Wandsworth – Lambeth – Kennington area. He was the oldest of seven brothers and sisters. The last time I visited we went to the Imperial War Museum. On the way, he showed me the basement flat where his family had lived for some time in very cramped conditions.

On my last visit to London I was also surprised to learn that on the night of 30 November 1936 Dad and his pals had cycled down to watch the Crystal Palace burn to the ground. In Britain, it was a historic event.

This drawing from Wiki shows how the Crystal Palace looked originally (before it was dismantled and moved south of the river).

And this photo was taken the morning after the fire, in South London.