Saturday, 9 November 2013

In Memory of Wartime Fathers

William Bothwell (RAF) off duty in Italy
On Monday the Eleventh day of the Eleventh Month at Eleven Hundred Hours I will, like thousands of others, congregate at the local War Memorial to remember those who lost their lives in War.  As well as those whose lives changed due to their injuries.

But during that minute’s silence I will also remember my darling father.  He wasn’t killed or injured but he (like other fathers) did miss my early years – those important bonding years.

My memories of the war include seeing him occasionally when he was home on leave, especially one day standing in the garden with him watching a Dog Fight in the sky above.  I wasn’t scared – he was my Daddy and he was invincible.  Then he was sent to Italy.  By the time he was demobbed I was nearly seven years old.  Yes, I was excited that he was coming home but, as he was a comparative stranger I was shy with him.

It wasn’t until the 1960s when my marriage broke up that the glass wall finally broke.

Dad was terrific with children, including me – except on the occasions when we were alone together.  Then we barely spoke as we didn’t know what to say.  He was an artist and I so longed to emulate him.  Nope, I can’t paint for toffee.  My sister can but doesn’t very often do so – no self discipline!

My sister?  She was the post war baby – my real live baby doll.  I remember during the early 1950s that on Saturday mornings Mum often wanted to go to the shops and always took me with her.  My sister had to stay at home with Dad.  Ironically she wanted to go to the shops and I wanted to stay home with Dad.

I often wonder whether my dislike of shopping and my sister being a bit of a shopaholic has anything to do with that!

I’m sure that those of us who lived through the war years look back and regret not having had the opportunity to bond with our fathers.

Here’s looking at ya, Dad!