2. John Robinson CHAPMAN
My father was a highly intelligent man who had a varied career.
He left school at age 14 and served an apprentiship as a refrigeration engineer working for Trohldal Ltd..
Three Generations of John Robinson Chapman Left- John Robinson Chapman (b 1920), Center- Matthew John Robinson Chapman (b 1980), Right - John Robinson Chapman (b 1949) Picture taken in 1980.
He joined the Royal Engineers at the outbreak of World War 2 and saw a full range of the war.
He was in the British expeditionary force and was evacuated from Dunkirk beach.
He went to North Africa and was at Tobruck. He had photographs taken at the pyramids in Egypt. He was not impressed with the Egyptians he met, describing them as "dirty, smelly, dishonest perverts". He was at one time in Israel having photographs of Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. He was at Malta and Crete, Greece and Italy. He took part in the Normandy landings on D Day and made his way with the army to Germany. At the end of the war he was in Palestine. He seldom talked about his war experiences other than saying "I didn't like the war - People kept trying to kill me"
On his return he worked for Parsons Engineering in Newcastle on Tyne at Sheilds Road.
The family home was at 18 Jullian Avenue, Walker Gate, Newcastle on Tyne. A two bedroom semi-detached house. The next door neighbour was George Ellis, a banker.
My father did not try to keep up with the Joneses - for our street he was the Joneses. We had the first car, the first electric gramophone and the first television.
In June 1958 (when I was 8) my father followed his brother, Jim's example and purchased a hill farm. We moved to 'Thrush Hall Farm, Carrshield, Hexham, Northumberland, an 18 acre farm in the Pennines at Limestone Brae in the West Allen Valley. (It's now a Buddhist monastery 'Throstle Hole Priory').
When we first moved our farm had no electricity and an earth closet (no flush toilet) We did have indoor hot and cold water and could take a bath by lifting a worktop in the kitchen revealing a bath underneath. Our water supply came to the house via a ditch running down one of our fields. In wet weather the water turned brown with mud and when filling the bath occasionally it would gurgle and out would drop a large worm.
It was about two years before electricity was installed and at the same time we extended the house to make an additional bedroom and a bathroom.
My father tired of travelling 40 miles to work and got a new job working on the Blue Streak Ballistic rocket at Spadeadam near Haltwhistle. He worked for Rolls Royce who were developing the rocket engine. When the rocket project was cancelled by the government he got a job as works engineer at Cascelloid, Haltwhistle, A firm which produced plastic bottles for detergent manufacturers. I remember being shown round the plant and having the drying ovens and conveyors which my father had designed and had built shown to me.
He then worked for a laundry firm in Hexham. There he met Doreen and the relationship which developed lead to my mother divorcing him in 1968.
My father married Doreen and had a son, Ian, by her. He lived at 2 Eilensville, Hexham, Northumberland.
He next became a window cleaner until his retirement.
He died of cancer on 25 March 1997. A notice of his death appeared in the local newspaper, the Hexham Courant. He had refused to allow anyone to tell either my sisters or I of his illness.
3. Eleanor Vera MARR
My mother left school at age 14 and went to work in a shoe shop.
During world War II she joined the Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) and drove lorries.
When our family moved out to the farm at Carrshield, my mother largely managed it on her own, I was away at a boarding school for most of the year and my elder sister married early and moved to the village two miles away.
My mother earned extra money by delivering children to the local school in Carrshield and by delivering mail to Carrshield and the surrounding area. When I was at home in my holidays I helped out in this.
The farm was fairly remote - almost two miles from the village. At first my mother got a lot of advice from our neighbour Sarah Clark who ran the farm near ours. We bought milk from her.
We had no tractor and most of the tractor work necessary was done by Dick Phillipson of Nenthead. Dick also helped out a lot on the farm and was a regular visitor.
After divorcing my father my mother sold the farm - and bought Catton Post Office and general store.
In 1975 she remarried John (Jack) Henderson. Jack was a builder, at first working for John Armstrong and then on his retirement working for himself. Jack also had a half share of a farm just outside Catton village.
When my mother retired Jack converted the shop into an extra living room. Their address became 'Greenview', Catton.
At this time my Aunt Dora - Dorathy Nettleton and her husband Arthur Nettleton came to live with with my mother. Dora was suffering from Altzeimer's disease and Arthur had Parkinsons disease. Eventually their condition became so severe that they had to relocate to a rest home in Newcastle.
After his retirement Jack suffered from a combination of arthritis, silicosis and asbestosis, conditions he acquired from his work as a 'Beeves boy' in W.W.II and from his work as a builder.
After Jack's death in 1999 my mother moved house in 2001 to Allendale.
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