Through Life in Faith - Journey to Faith - Page 1
I was born in the year 1919, which was the baby boom year after the 1914-1918 war. I was the sixth child of nine; the other eight were girls. My father was a builder and often unemployed. My mother made sure I attended Sunday School. I was also in the Boys Brigade and my mother also enrolled me in the Tee-Total Society.
I was educated in Davis Lane School in a class of about fifty pupils. When I was about eleven years of age two of my younger sisters contracted measles and I was kept away from school for about six weeks. When I returned to school nobody attempted to help me catch up with the other pupils, which meant I was always behind some of the pupils.
At fourteen years of age I left school poorly educated and with an inferiority complex.
My first job was delivering milk, starting at 5am and finishing about 3pm, seven days a week. For this I was paid fifteen shillings a week. I gave my mum ten shillings for my keep. I held this job for about a year.
I then got a job with electricians. One day we worked in the loft of a cinema when I fell through the ceiling and landed in a seat on the ground floor. I seemed uninjured, but I was given the sack. I then got a job with builders.
At the age of nineteen I was married with a son. I was advised to attend the UAB (Unemployed Assistance Board, along with hundreds of others. I was interviewed, giving details of my circumstances and then given five shillings.
In April 1940 I joined the Army, being paid four shillings a week and three meals a day – something I had not enjoyed for a long time.
Through Life in Faith - Journey to Faith - Page 2
A little after I enrolled in the Army, my wife had a baby girl. Some months later my wife sent me a telegram informing me that my daughter was in hospital seriously ill with pneumonia. I applied to my company commander for leave, which was refused. I deserted and travelled from Yorkshire by train, without a ticket and dodging ticket collectors.
My wife and I visited our daughter and were allowed to stay in the hospital until she was out of danger. Meanwhile the police visited my mum to confirm the situation and I was granted five days leave.
Upon my return to the unit I was taken in front of the colonel, who told me the Army must come first. I told him my family came first; so he took my lance corporal stripe from me, demoting me to private.
In 1941 I applied to the padre to become confirmed. Unfortunately, when it came for me to go through the ceremony I refused, explaining to the padre that I could not find it compatible that on the one hand I was being taught to love and on the other being taught to kill. The padre was sympathetic and could understand my reasoning.
In 1942 my wife gave birth to a boy. I now had a family of two sons and a daughter, for which I thank God.
In 1944 I was selected to join General Montgomery’s Defence Company as a despatch rider. This was a very responsible job and some of the journeys were a bit dodgy. But thank God I was not called upon to kill.
In 1946 I was demobbed and returned to my family. I returned to the building trade as a bricklayer. I bought a motorcycle and sidecar and took my family to Cornwall for the first holiday of my life.
Through Life in Faith - Journey to Faith - Page 3
The happiest day of my life was when I escorted my daughter down the aisle of St John’s church for her wedding. My two sons eventually got married and between them my sons and daughter presented my wife and I with eight grandchildren.
In 1977 I suffered the worst day of my life. My daughter died of liver cancer. She had never smoked or drank. She left three children, two girls and a boy. It was then that I lost all faith in God. How could he possibly take the life of an innocent person and leave three children motherless? Their father deserted them. I am proud to say they coped wonderfully and grew into lovely adults with children of their own. The only sad thing was the eldest daughter became diabetic at sixteen years of age. Is there a God?
I continued with loss of faith. Then on 6th December 1987 I said to my wife Frances that I must go to church to renew my faith, to which Frances enthusiastically agreed.
I was greeted by Revd. Dick Field. I enjoyed a lovely service and prayed that I should be forgiven. I attended the next service the following Sunday and then on 16th December my dear wife Frances died suddenly with a brain haemorrhage. Where am I going wrong?
My Frances is buried with my daughter Pauline in the City of London Cemetery.
Revd. Dick Field was very kind and sympathetic and encouraged me to believe in God. He baptised me and I was later confirmed.
I have committed many sins in my life; am I being punished? I pray daily for forgiveness so that I can live in his house with Frances and Pauline and my family.
Through Life in Faith - Journey to Faith - Page 4
Through Life in Faith - Journey to Faith - Page 5