Thursday, June 25, 2009

In memory of my father


My father, Bill, died yesterday. He was 89 years old, going on 90.

Dad was a pretty good example of how one can make a success of life, no matter what obstacles are in the way. He and his younger brother were brought up in a divided household, and 'dumped' in a workhouse at a frighteningly young age. He never spoke much of his memories of the place, but I know they were very bad.

Dad escaped from the workhouse in the depths of the Great Depression by joining the Royal Air Force at the age of 15 as an Aircraft Apprentice. He was sent to the innovative No. 1 School of Technical Training at RAF Halton, which numbers some of the best-known names in aviation history among its graduates (including Sir Frank Whittle, one of the inventors of the jet engine). He also applied for student and/or junior memberships of various prestigious British air organizations. In due course, these memberships were to be a contributing factor to his commissioning as an officer.

At the outbreak of World War II, Dad was the equivalent of a Lance-Corporal. I've described his wartime service and experiences in Weekend Wings #9, so I won't repeat them here. He finished the war as a substantive Flight-Lieutenant (equivalent to the US rank of Captain), and an acting Squadron-Leader (equivalent to the US rank of Major).

After World War II, Dad and Mom emigrated, first to South Africa, then (briefly) to Canada, then back to South Africa. They built a new life for themselves, including a doctorate apiece (not bad for two people who began without even the equivalent of a Grade 12 certificate between them!) They did their best, according to their lights, to raise their four children well. Some of their attitudes and actions were not very helpful, in retrospect, but they were the heritage of their being raised in the society they knew, during the stresses and strains of the Great Depression. Much can be forgiven them for that.

Mom died in 2005, and Dad's been waiting to join her. He told me many times that he didn't want to hang around any more: he was tired, and ready to go. His body began to slow down, but was in no hurry to 'shuffle off this mortal coil'. He was a tough old bird. If the Germans couldn't kill him in six years of world war, a mere trifle like old age would have to wait its turn!

Dad's long life came to an end yesterday. May Almighty God receive his soul into His mercy, and reunite him with Mom, and his wartime comrades.

I'll be suspending posts on this blog for a few days. I'll try to resume posting on Monday evening, 29th June.

Peter

46 comments:

Shell said...

My sincere condolences, Peter. May your father enjoy eternity with your Mom.

Anonymous said...

Peter, I am so sorry for your loss. Our heartfelt prayers are for you and your family during these difficult days. Thaks you so much for sharing your life, thoughts, ideas, and laughs with us. My day typically begins checking in on you.

Kindest regards.

mostly cajun said...

I am profoundly sorry to hear about your loss. Past that, prayers, not words for you and your family.

MC

Betty said...

Peter, you have my condolences. :(

Anonymous said...

Your father was a tremendous man, the kind that we have too few of these days.

May he spend a joyous eternity with all of his loved ones.

Old Squid

Anonymous said...

My sincere condolences, Peter.
My prayers and a wish of peace for you and yours.


NML

Becky said...

May you find comfort in memories - much sympathy.

Old NFO said...

My condolences Peter, know that your Father has gone to a better place. Thoughts and prayers for you and yours.

Jenny said...

Amen. I'm sorry to hear he passed... but glad to hear he had someone waiting for him.

Ambulance Driver said...

Prayers to you and yours, Peter.

reflectoscope said...

I'm sorry, Peter. I will hope that you can find peace in the support from those you know, and those who know you.

Jim

smartdogs said...

A long life, lived well. Remember him with a tear and, most importaly, a smile.

Owen said...

your father is now at rest, god bless him and hold him. Take all the time you need. You are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

My condolences - and sincere hope that some small comfort is given to you knowing that those who enjoy your writings; both share your zest, and hopefully infrequent sorrows.

Doc said...

Peter, I am sorry for your loss. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Doc

Dante said...

I'm sorry for your loss.

My thoughts and prays are with both you and him.

God Bless.

Dante

Ed Hamilton said...

My condolences and sympathies to you and yours, Peter.

...Clear skies, Squadron-Leader....

Bill said...

My prayers for you and your father.

leadchucker said...

Peter,
I'm sorry to hear of your father's passing.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you

And don't worry about your blog, we'll all be here waiting when you return.

Take care.

Sean said...

My condolences on your loss sir, and prayers for the next few days.

Bob said...

My condolences on your loss.

Christina LMT said...

I'm very sorry for your loss, Peter. Please accept my heart-felt condolences.

Strings said...

Spoon and I send our heartfelt condolences, Peter.

Jay G said...

Peter,

My condolences on your loss. You and yours will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers for you and your family, sir, and may the peace of G-d, which passeth all understanding, be with you in your time of need.
very sincerely,
LittleRed1

Noons said...

Condolences, Peter.
Same with mine: they both were gone in less than 5 years from each other.
Hang in there, dude: they're in a better place and enjoying each other's company, for sure.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Peter. Your Dad sounds like someone I would have enjoyed knowing. God bless his soul.

Leatherneck

Aggie said...

You have our condolences, Peter.

God Bless Ya'll!

Aggie, Class of '70
An Anglican Firearms "Enthusiast" (ie: Gun Nut)
www.ananglicangn.blogspot.com/

Crucis said...

Very sorry to read the news, Peter. I lost both of my parents several decades ago, but I think of them almost daily.

The good part is that you forget the bad memories and keep the good ones.

Get better. It will come.

Rova said...

Peace be with you. You are a good man.

Anonymous said...

My condolences to you.

Your father left quite the legacy from what you've said. May he live in your memories, and all of those whom he's met.

Roger said...

My condolences, Peter. It sounds like your father had a life well lived.

Miz Minka said...

So very sorry for your loss, Peter. What a beautiful tribute to your Dad's memory. May he rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

My condolences for your loss and may he rest in peace. Sounds like he was quite the man.

Ted

fuzzys dad said...

I am sorry to hear of the loss of your father.

JPG said...

Holly and I extend our deepest sympathy for your loss, Peter. I hope you can take comfort at the thought of your Dad's reunion with your Mom and his friends who have gone before. Know that our prayers are with you.

Best regards,
JPG

David said...

Peter,

Just saw your post about your dad. Please accept my deepest condolences, and thank you for sharing via your writing a small piece of what an amazing and accomplished man your dad (and mom) were.

My prayers are with you and your loved ones.

Abby said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Peter.

Brigid said...

I'm so very sorry Peter, I've been doing a lot of travel and by the time I get in, I read few blogs at night. So I just now saw this.

Prayers are with you and your loved ones.

phlegmfatale said...

My deepest condolences, Peter. Blessings to you and all yours.

Brandon said...

Peter, I'm very sorry for your loss.

I will be thinking of your parents during the General Intercessions next Mass. God bless you, and may He keep your parents until you are reunited with them.

I was going to put this in English, but, since the word verification was "latin" (no kidding), so be it.

Réquiem ætérnam dona eis, Dómine,
et lux perpétua lúceat eis.
Requiéscant in pace. Amen.

PA State Cop said...

My He hold your Father in the Palm of His Hands. Blessings on Him.

B&D said...

Our sympathies and condolences to you, and to all affected by this loss.
Bryn & Diane, North Wales, UK

Sebastian said...

My condolences.

Don Gwinn said...

Peter, I guess this is pretty late, since you're back to posting now, but I want to offer my condolences, too. Your father's life reads like a novel.

SpeakerTweaker said...

Forgive my late-comings as well.

I wish you comfort. Your father was clearly a good man.



tweaker