George Wood joined up at the same time as my father at the start of World War II.
“They both came around to see us in their uniforms,” my cousin Margaret recalled at a family get-together in Sheffield yesterday, “George was a gunner in the RAF but just a few weeks later he was killed.”
As it’s Remembrance Day, one hundred years since the Armistice that ended World War I, I’m doing a little research into a friend of my father’s who I never got to meet.
George and his brother Ernest played alongside my father, Doug Bell, in Woodseats Albion Football Club in 1935/6. One of the Wood brothers had made a name for himself playing inside-left in the previous season.
Party Time at Syd Hayman’s
And, I’m afraid that’s all that I’ve been able to find out about George so far, but to end on a bright note, here’s a party invitation.
I’m always intrigued by the information lurking on the back of old photographs and on the back of a postcard photograph (above) of the Wood brothers, Dennis Theaker, my father and Alf Deacon, on holiday in the Isle of Man in 1937 there’s the following note in pencil:
Syd A Hayman,
119, The Highway,
Madge, Molly, Alice (?)
if absent the Boswell sisters
& any body else who cares to come.
Sydney Hayman, born 11 April, 1913, was a hairdresser. Number 119 stood near St George-in-the-East, Stepney, a Hawksmoor church which a took a hit during the bombing of nearby docks during the war, which was probably the fate of number 119 too.
Also at that address was a Henry Hayman, born 1911, a ‘Motor Driver’ and presumably Sydney’s elder brother. In the war, Henry served as a stretcher bearer and Sydney became a War Reserve Constable. It seems that Sydney worked alongside Solomon Groginsky, hairdresser, born 1881, who lived there with, Rosa (his wife?) and Maisie (daughter?) born in 1916, a typist and book-keeper.
I wonder if my father and the Wood brothers were there on the night? Were Madge, Molly and Alice available, or did the Boswell sisters step in in their absence? Was the party really in the East End of London, or is it just a coincidence that the address and list of names are together?
The list is in a different hand, but I think the address and the name ‘Hibberd’ upside down below, could be my father’s.
My father’s sister, Norah, headed for London at some stage but I’ve no idea whether my father ever visited her there.