Prince Philip

With the sad news today that Prince Philip has died I wrote this poem as a tribute to him

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, has now sadly passed away

The nation mourns a man, who supported the Queen in every way

Aged ninety-nine, he’s led a long and interesting life

Throughout it all he’s helped the Queen, through good times and through strife

As a young man he served in the Navy, he’s a veteran of the war

And upon joining the Royal Family, he served his country even more

In 1947, he made the Queen his wife

And for seventy-three years, they’ve shared a happy and loving life

A love story that’s spanned decades, it’s stood the test of time

The Queen’s companion and rock, he’s been there to help her shine

A stalwart of the Royal Family, a source of strength to the Queen during her reign

Proud of his children and grandchildren, without him their lives won’t be the same

A lifetime of duty and service, of which he didn’t seem to mind

Setting up the Duke of Edinburgh award and supporting charities, a wonderful legacy he’ll leave behind

As the world mourns a man, who was born the Prince of Greece

We thank him for his service and may he rest in peace


Thanks for reading 🙂

Ww1 mystery

At the moment I have a bit of mystery on my hands regarding my great grandfathers and their war service and any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Joseph Read was born in March 1893 in Warrington Lancashire, parents Joseph Read and Hannah Holmes. He married my great grandma Hilda Seed in July 1917 stating he was a soldier on active service but does not state regiment. Unfortunately I have no documents, medals or anything relating to his war service other than this copy of his wedding photo below. After the war he worked as an engineer so I wondering whether he served with the engineers during the war but so far haven’t found much to help me

My other great grandfather Edward Bishop was born in 1883 in Ealing, parents John Edward Bishop and Eliza Walford. He married my great grandma Ellen Frost in 1905 and they went on to have around 12 children from 1905 to 1928. Whilst there has never been a mention in the family about his war service and again I have no medals or documents there is a gap in the births of children around the war years with one being born in 1913 and the next one in 1918 which makes me wonder if he served in the war and this would account for the gap between children’s births

I am also trying to find out whether someone who served time for murder and released prior to ww1 would have been able to serve in the war

Any ideas or suggestions are welcomed and thanks in advance

Thanks for reading 🙂

Boldre war graves

As soon as the restrictions on staying at home were lifted the other day, the first place I went to were the war graves at Boldre which is my favourite war grave cemetery. It has been several months since I last visited there and it was so lovely to finally visit and check on the boys buried there and see them all neat and tidy. It is such a beautiful setting and I would definitely recommend visiting if you are ever in the area

Thanks for reading 🙂

SOE Beaulieu

In my local paper, the Lymington Times, this week there was an interesting article about special operations executives and their training at Beaulieu and particular mention of Noor Inayat Khan who trained there. I was particularly interested to read about the training that went on there as my relative Diana Rowden was an SOE who trained at Beaulieu and is listed on the same panel at Runnymede as Noor. I have previously contacted the man who wrote the article and it turns out that he gives talks at Beaulieu about the role of SOE

Thanks for reading 🙂

War poem of the month

March’s war poem of the month is taken from my book At The Going Down of the Sun and was written as a tribute to all those who served as land girls

Let’s all dig for victory, we’ll show hitler how it’s done,

Let’s all dig for victory, this war soon we’ll have won

Let’s all dig for victory, we’ll toil and plant the land,

Let’s all dig for victory, we have to lend a helping hand

Let’s all dig for victory, us women are just as good,

Let’s all dig for victory, for the country we’ll provide food

Let’s all dig for victory, and when the war is done,

Let’s all dig for victory, we’ll show Hitler that we’ve won!


Thanks for reading 🙂

National Day of Reflection

Today marks a year since we entered the first lockdown. Thinking of all the families who have lost loved ones during the pandemic as well as anyone who has suffered from covid, worked on the front line, suffered with their mental health and who has had their business affected

Here is a poem I wrote especially for today

365 days since the first lockdown, today we reflect on the past year
A time full of uncertainty and hardship, sacrifice, loss and fear
A year when so many people, were working on the front line
A year when communities came together and people volunteered their time
A year when the NHS, played a vital role
Up and down the country, the covid pandemic took its toll
Families were kept apart, people had to shield and isolate alone
Restrictions were in place and we all had to stay at home
Covid affected everyone, from peoples businesses and wealth
To having an impact on personal lives and peoples mental health
But the biggest cost of all, has been the loss of lives
As well as those suffering covid and struggling to survive
We think of all the families, who during the pandemic have been bereaved
Their loved ones gone too soon, all they can do is mourn and grieve
Whilst hope is on the horizon, may we pause and reflect today
For all the loved ones lost, let’s remember them and pray

Thanks for reading 🙂

A tale of two brothers

I thought I would tell the story of two brothers that I have been researching recently who both served in the navy and by stroke of coincidence at one point served on the same ship for 15 days.

Joseph Hatley (or Atlee as some records have him down as) was born in Ealing in 1884 although his navy record give his birth year as 1888. His father died in 1887 and his mother remarried in 1894 and his half brother John William Woodward was born in 1895.

Joseph began his naval career as a Stoker in October 1912 on board the ship Pembroke and initially served on this ship until February 1913. In the meantime his brother John started his naval career as a boy bugler in April 1912 on board the ship Ganges where he served until October 1912 when he transferred to the Berwick where he served until January 1913 when he served on the Pembroke for 15 days at the same time his brother was also serving on this ship. I wonder if they were aware they were serving on the same ship?

Joseph spent the following months/year serving on the Pembroke and Africa whilst John served on the Berwick, Pembroke, Falmouth and Monmouth.

Both brothers took part in the war although sadly both their service was cut short. John was tragically killed in action on 1st November 1914 while his ship the Monmouth was sunk off the Chilean coast. Joseph served until August 1915 when he was invalided out due to Fibroid Phthisis. Although he survived the war he sadly died two years after the war ended. i have sent off for Joseph’s death certificate to see if his death was related in any way to the fibroid phthisis

Thanks for reading 🙂

Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, grandmas and anyone who takes on a mother’s role and thinking of anyone who has lost their mother or child or who can’t have children.

Particularly thinking of all my female relatives who were mothers, those who lost their mothers at a young age and those whose lives were cut short and never got the chance to be mothers

A poem I wrote especially for Mother’s Day

Thanks for reading 🙂

International Women’s Day

Today marks International Women’s Day and I shall be thinking of all my amazing female relatives, from those who were homemakers and looked after their husbands and children, those who survived hardship and poverty, those who suffered tragedy to those who served in the wars and those who campaigned for a cause and made a name for themselves. No matter what they did all are remarkable in their own way and I am equally proud of each one

A poem I wrote to mark the day

Here’s to all the women, showing the world that they are strong

Here’s to all the women breaking boundaries and proving stereotypes wrong

Here’s to all the women, fighting for a cause

Here’s to all the women working hard, often without praise or applause

Here’s to all the women, against discrimination they fight

Here’s to all the women, believing in fairness and equal rights

Here’s to all the women, who face prejudice and abuse

Here’s to all the women, who aren’t afraid to express their opinions and views

Here’s to all the women, who suffer anxiety and low self esteem

Here’s to all the women, trying hard to achieve their dreams

Here’s to all the women, who are judged on their gender, race, age and body size

Here’s to all the women, from the rich and privileged to those struggling to survive

Here’s to all the strong women, who we know and meet every day

All are role models in their own way and should be celebrated in every way


Thanks for reading 🙂