Wonderful World of the
all began on January 28th, 1941, at the Jane Crookall Maternity home, Demesne Road, Douglas,
Isle of Man at
around 8.15 pm. I was two weeks overdue and weighed in
at 10lb 12oz.! Home was 9 Upper Church Street, Douglas - now demolished to make way for
a bank, but what a great neighbourhood, hardly any cars around but still
plenty of horse drawn carts delivering bread, milk and all manner of
goods. And of course, numerous street vendors with their handcarts
piled high with fresh herring and whatever the harvest of the sea
brought in that day. I was born into a world of rationing. Mum
would carefully dole out our weekly allowance of sugar into individual
jam jars which we guarded zealously.
My father's business partner, Bill Callister, was in the RAF for the duration of the war,
their house in Hutchinson Square had become part of one of the many
internment camps on the Island, as a result his wife Nell, her
sister Jessie and their father, Pop Quirk, came to live with us.
'Aunty' Nell, having no children of her own, would spoil me rotten and
she, along with Jessie and Pop, soon became my second family.
Most of my playtime
in those days was spent with the neighbourhood gang, hanging around in Hope Street
and the grounds of St. George's church. - here are a few of them in 1942.
row L-R: Grandfather, E.C. Quayle, the artist,
Grandma, Margaret Quayle: Me in the arms of
Aunty Kathleen Turnbull (Mum's sister) Anne Lahmers, Uncle George
Turnbull, cousin Brenda Quayle.
Front row: L-R John Clucas holding his brother Jeffrey. My
brother, who I still call Teddy but is now
known as Terry.
Bernard Taylor, Jim McLinden, Bobby Moore ? then my eldest cousin
Below, a group of baby
pictures taken by my father - pre:1945. note how I
was prepared to my bit for the war effort in a uniform made by my Aunty
Dad was a great photographer and did all his own developing. You
can see more of my father's great collection of old photographs by clicking
I was so lucky to have such loving parents,
Minnie & Ed to their friends and there was quite an extended family of
aunts, uncles, cousins. Sundays
were always special, after 9.30 mass at St Mary's in Hill street, Dad
would take us for long walks in the country - he was a true nature
lover and could name all the plants and trees we enquired about.
||When the summer season was over (Mum ran the boarding house) we'd all
get on our bikes and head out for a picnic. At first, I had a
little saddle on the cross-bar of dad's bike, as seen in the picture
on the left, note Mum's bike parked against the hedge. Cycling has
played a major role in
our family., Dad was a founder member of the Manx Viking Wheelers and
took part in the very first cycle race around the TT course in
1924. You'll see more on that story if you click
here. My brother Terry is still very active, his son Gavin is a
partner in the Bikestyle cycle business and both
help out at the kids cycling events at the NSC where Mark Cavendish
got started on the road to world championship status. I was so
impressed by the way Dot Tilbury and all the other volunteers organise
these events, I
had to make a video of them, it's just 8 minutes:
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In the pictures below, Mum was wearing her "land-girl"
outfit which was frowned on by father - "women should wear
skirts. Injebreck was the location of
the picnic and dad encouraged Teddy & me to strike a boxing pose.
From a very early age, I loved listening to the big fights
on radio. I followed the careers of heavy weight Bruce Woodcock
and flyweight Rinty Monaghan in particular.
In 1947 on a visit to grandma's in Newry, dad and I were walking along
the beach at Warrenpoint and who should come jogging along but Rinty
Monaghan. Dad stopped him and asked for his autograph for his
biggest fan - me! I can remember saying that it was
actually for my
mother because she loved the way he entered the boxing ring singing "When Irish Eyes are Smiling." The following year,
Rinty won the world flyweight title and I listened to the commentary
on an extension speaker
dad had fixed up in my bedroom.
summer holidays were spent at grandma's in Newry, I loved it so
much I even went to school there. I did two terms at the
school just before starting at Ballakermeen in
Douglas. Pictured left, my
sister Pauline and I at Dublin zoo having caught the train there from
I was 12 and Pauline just 7. Can you imagine children of that
such journeys on their own these days. Below is the only picture taken during my high school days at St
Ninian's, it was in 1956. This is unfortunately taken from a photocopy, so the
isn't too good. It was taken by teacher Mr. Jones,
as Taffy, on Malcolm Curphey's camera.
L-R back row: Ewan Leeming, Robert
Clague, Guy Redmayne, Colin Shaw, Garth Cheffins , Lawrence Kennedy
Front: Halsall, Syd Smith, Malcom Convery, Heifer, Malcolm Curphey,
John Harrison, Christopher Graves, Me.
I'm embarrassed to
say I'd forgotten some of the names, but thanks to Robert Clague, I
have at least got all the last names.
If you happen to know the missing first names, Email
me Robert e-mailed me from Honolulu where he has lived since
He was in hydraulic sales and even coached football.
I worked with Malcolm Curphey in the early 60s when we were both
employed by Bear Brand Hosiery, he
at head office while I was on the road as a salesman
in the heart of London. Wow, that was
quite a time to be working
in swinging London. The whole pop
explosion was happening all around me
and I had the pleasure of calling on
of the boutiques that were
springing up all over. I also enjoyed
a long working relationship with another of my classmates, Ewan Leeming,
he became Manx Radio's
chief engineer in the
mid sixties right up to his retirement, his
son Darren, now holds that post. It seems, Manx Radio is very
much a family business. My father and brother worked
out the Douglas Head studios when the
station moved from the promenade in 1969, Teddy refurbished the
studios 30 years later! Click to Continue