Monday, 11 April 2016
'That's my cousin,' Mum told me as the man on the radio began singing.
'Who is he?'
'Sid Buckman. My cousin.'
This conversation, if it could be called that, took place some time in the late 1940s and was the first time I had heard of Mum's cousin. As you will realise, they weren't good at keeping in touch.
Over the years I garnered various bits and pieces of information which, as it was before the computer age, was word of mouth - from Mum.
What I gathered of Sid's childhood was that his father died young, his mother couldn't afford to keep him so he became a Barnado's Boy. Which is where he learned to play the trumpet and, I presume, to sing.
In the 1920s he was playing with a small group until spotted by Billy Cotton (Mr. Wakey-Wakey). Sid stayed with the Cotton band until Billy was taken ill and the musicians dispersed. Then Sid's expertise and talent were fully recognised by the American bandleader Roy Fox. As well as being lead trumpeter and vocalist Sid was Fox's right hand man. With this band he made numerous recordings, some of which are now available on CD.
Unfortunately at the end of the 1930s due to Roy Fox's ill health, this band also 'dis-banded'.
I believe that during the war years Sid played with various bands and, by the time Mum brought him to my attention, he was with the Charlie Shadwell Band which was a part of the BBCs 'backbone' of bands.
It also toured the country and in 1953 was doing a summer season in a huge tent on the green in Paignton, Devon. Which is when I met him.
We went to a matinee and in the interval went to the stage door. One of the musicians came out, took a look at Mum and said, 'You must be Sid's sister.' Both with prematurely white hair and the same blue eyes.
Sid eventually retired and died in 1981.
Does musicianship run in the family? I play piano, have played guitar and done my share of singing.
Sid's Mum was my grand-dad's sister bearing the name Linley. If you know your musical history.....
Soprano Elizabeth Linley married Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Her composer brother was a friend of Mozart and her father founded the Bath Opera and helped fund the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane (before it burned down!).
No, I'm not sure whether we are direct descendants but you never know what you might find in your history.