26th April 2020

26th April 2020 

My cousin Julie Levy recently sent me some old family photos and one of these was of my Grandad Gordon in his First World War army uniform. I can always remember my Dad telling me about the brother of my Grandad Gordon who was killed at the battle of Jutland on a battle cruiser that was hit by a shell from a German warship. I think the shell hit one of the main gun turrets and exploded the magazine and blew the ship in half. I believe he was a stoker on the ship. His name is on the war memorials in Plymouth and Newton Abbot. When I was a child we frequently visited my Grandmother Claria Causley and Grandad Gordon Churchward who both lived in Exeter. We would have driven passed the Newton Abbot war memorial and I had a spell in my teens of visiting the orthodontist which was directly opposite the memorial. When I used to visit Grandad Gordon I always enjoyed looking at his War medals which must have been from WWI. He must have served in somewhere like Palestine because of the style of his uniform.

My Grandmother Claria Causley lived in Abbots Road in Exeter and Grandad Gordon lived with my Uncle Eric in a flat which is very close to my office in Southernhay in Exeter. I drive passed it when I go to work in Exeter in the morning and again when I drive home from my office back to Torquay.

I have just started reading a new book by David Scott about Torquay in WW2 called the Funk Hole Myth. This has given me the inspiration for a song about Torquay WW1 which mentions Arnold Ridley ( Godfrey in Dad's Army ). He had been wounded three times in 1916 and was then discharged from the army. In 1917 he was a teacher at Torquay Boys Grammar School and a suffragette gave him a white feather. Men that were not eligible for service were given silver war badges so that they could avoid being vilified but Arnold Ridley kept his badge in his pocket rather than wearing it. A Torquay musical director had the surname Hindenburg and had to change his name to Basil Cameron to avoid coming under suspicion because anti German sentiment was rife and lots of English people were paranoid about German spies.

If anyone wants to buy David's book then they should send him an email DScottTorq@aol.com

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