I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned before that my lovely Grandfather Roy Williams [ Australian-born son of a Shetland Islander father ] was badly wounded while serving with the AIF in France and Belgium during WWI. While he was recuperating back in Blighty, he met, and fell in love, with Sybil Miriam Bowden and married her in the Summer of 1918.
He returned to Australia in April of 1919 [ it’s a bit unclear as to whether they came together, or whether he was on a troup ship ] but in any case, in February of 1920, they welcomed my mother, Noreen Elsie, born at the home of her paternal grandparents in East Camberwell. Mildred Bowden Williams joined them 2-and-a-half years later.
And here I need to digress. Mildred was known by all and sundry, from the day of her birth to the day of her death and beyond, as Billee. This was all down to my mum who was convinced that she was getting a brother William, and was most insistant that the new baby’s name was Billy.
Marnie [Sybil] left her father and sister behind to start a new life on the other side of the world, and my grandfather promised Great Grandfather Bowden that, if it was within his power, he would bring the family back to England for a visit.
That was how Marnie, Mum and Auntie Billee found themselves on the deck of an ocean-going liner in 1925
on a beach in Durban, South Africa during a stopover [ small boy identified as family friend Leo Perry ]
and enjoying a local form of transport [ Durban again ]
These next ones are identified simply as London 1925, and would have most likely been taken at the family home in Fulham
Until a week ago, when I was given a parcel of bits and bobs, that Auntie Billee’s sons had decided should be mine, I’d never seen any of these … and I’m pretty sure most of my Williams cousins haven’t either. So no gold, or pearls, or precious jewels, but to me, these fragile scraps of paper have a worth that is incalculable.