Saturday, 25 March 2017

War Baby ......... stories by Eddy Newport no 25 ....

Another in the series by Eddy Newport taken from his book, History of a War Baby.

Edie and Ted
What was I doing when all this was going, well I getting myself ready to make an entry into a war-torn world of uncertainty and confusion? Edie was expecting her first child.

Later, Hitler’s  planes started bombing London and things became very unhealthy indeed. Ted had by now moved with his regiment to Yorkshire so the army could get ready for the expected invasion of England.

Summer 1940 turned to autumn and then winter, and by this time the bombs were dropping on London in a greater intensity.

The evacuation of children and expectant mothers was underway. Grandmother Sara and her son Jim stayed in London as he was doing important factory work for the war effort.

It was decided to send Edie to Yorkshire for her confinement and to be closer to Ted.

It was November 1940. Edie 21 years old, and on her own travelled to Doncaster, hopefully, to meet Ted who would deliver her to a house in Rossington to stay with a friend’s dad he had made since he had been posted there. Ted in the meantime was out with the army on a training excise and he ask his C.O. if he could get away to meet his wife.

Unfortunately, he could not get permission, and poor Edie just had to wait at Doncaster station for over three hours before she was picked up.  She, at last, got to her destination and Ted got a telling off from the host family for not letting them know that he was unable to pick her up, as they could have made some arrangements of their own.

Eddy aged 1
On the 15th December 1940, a London boy was born a Yorkshire lad at 60 Holmes Carr Road New Rossington in the parish of Bawtry and Tickhill. I have no memory of this place. I did go back and had a look at the house many years later.

 Rossington is a mining village and just about everybody who lived there worked at the mine. Outside the village stands a beautiful church St Michaels. There I was christened Edward James Newport. Edie had a traumatic time with me. I would not stop crying and drove everybody mad. I was told I was nearly smothered to shut me up.

Edie was in a strange house with people she did not know. She had never been away from her mum and brother in all her life before and with a new baby.

It’s no wonder she was in a stressful state. The baby was reflecting his mother stress. However the bombing subsided in London and Sara was missing her daughter and grandson and wanted them to come back to London.

Eddie at 16
It worked out fine as dad was posted to Dartford and they found a maisonette in Burnham Close Dartford and moved there.  Dad was stationed there with access to his married quarters.

 Edie and Ted made friends with a man called Sid Goff and he had a son and daughter Wally and Celia.

Celia would push me around in my pram.

Wally was 14 and lodged with Ted and Edie until he was 16 then he went into the merchant navy.

The sergeant’s mess in Dartford had many social occasions and at times, he would get on the piano and play for the evening.

One night a soldier came over and said he could play the saxophone and he sent him home on leave to get it.

Also, a drummer and trumpet player joined the embryo band.  Very soon they were booked to play at functions making music for dances. I asked dad if he was earning any money doing this he said they did it for fun; and free drinks.

Ted, as I have said before was never a reader of music and his limitations were felt by the band in reading arrangements and introducing new tunes.

Then one night after new recruits arrived. A private said to Ted could he have a go at the piano. Ted said, “If you can play it better than me you can have the job”.

It turned out that the private was a professional musician and played with a named London big band.  The relief from the rest of the other musicians must have been fantastic. From then on Ted just fronted the band singing songs announcing the dances and managing the bookings. His star performances of “Old Farther Thames” and “The Fishermen of England” were a hit.

© Eddy Newport 2017

Pictures; from the collection of Eddy Newport

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