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Wednesday, 9 January 2008

ABC Wednesday "Y" For Young At Heart

James Henry Miller was born in Sunderland on the 23rd of October 1910. He did not know it then but he would eventually be the oldest of ten, with four brothers and five sisters. He was born into relative poverty.

Above is a photo of him when he was about 2 or 3 months old.

I have restored the above photo from a very poor original (Click here to see what I mean). As you may be able to imagine life was very tough during the years he was growing up into a young man in the East End of Sunderland. During and up until he left school he had several part time jobs in various trades.

In 1926 at the age of sixteen he decided to emigrate to Canada where he worked on farms for five years. (His sister emigrated to Australia at the same time).

The above photo shows him on board a ship taking him to Canada.

On his return he found there was not much to do and not much work about so in 1931 he decided to join the army, he joined the Durham Light Infantry.

He can be seen here on the left during army training at Fenham Barracks in 1931

With the DLI he served in India (travelling much of this area) for five years and came home with many wonderful memories and photographs.

Here he can be seen in an army portrait taken in Calcutta in 1933.

After his stint in India, he came home on army reserve, he met my mother and then married and had a son in 1939. In 1939, you can all make a good guess what happened, yes of course the start of WWII. He was called up from army reserve and went to serve again for his country.

As part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) he fought under the command of Captain R Annand who became the first WWII army VC on a mission James Miller fought in. Unfortunately James was injured, captured and spent the next five years courtesy of the Germans in Stalag VIIIB in what was then Sedetenland

Here he is (circled) with a bunch of POW's at Stalag VIIIB

In 1945 he managed to escape back to England, he went to the home of his wife who he had not seen for five years, she was still there.

Again, he had several jobs, when in 1963 and 1964 he became a father again. This was at the age of 53 and 54 respectively. Obviously this must of been a big shock for both him and of course his wife. Now he had to endure (if that is the right word) family life once more when he was entering his autumn years.

In 1982, he went to Australia to meet his sister whome he had not seen for 56 yaers, this was filmed for Australian Televison, a sort of Aussie Surprise Surprise (you remember the one with Cilla Black).

In the past few years he has endured a few health problems but still managed to make pilgrimages to Belgium and France with the Dunkirk Veterans Association.

In January 2008 at the grand old age of 98 (no, wait a minute, he is still with us) he is two and a half years away from his one hundredth birthday and much looking forward to it.

Below, he is pictured last year pictured sitting in his back garden. Not the house he is currently at because at the age of ninety seven he had to move home, still, he is (they are) settling in ok now.

As you may imagine I did not take the photographs above but I did take the one below (hopefully this will keep me within ABC rules).

Who is this guy you may ask, why, he is my dad, bless him. Still YOUNG at heart.

The story above is as you can imagine very abridged.

20 comments:

RUTH said...

What a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing it with us. My best to your Dad.

Ackworth Born said...

great work restoring that old photograph.

Mike said...

It's great to have a load of old family photos. Most of ours have vanished. Great salvage job on the photo.

mrsnesbitt said...

Wonderfully heart warming.
D

hpy said...

What a lovely post about your Dad. Take care of him! It's so good to have one.

RuneE said...

A touching and very interesting story. Y at its best. The title is perfect.

From one who probably has a heart younger than himself ;-)

Oswegan said...

Great story and photos. I love the infantry training photo, fantastic.

~Oswegan

kml said...

A beautiful tribute! Well done!

dot said...

Really nice post! I got the red X on his photo tho. I'll try to check back later.

Andrea said...

Great post and a wonderful tribute.

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Best thing I have read today. Thanks for posting. I love vintage pictures and enjoyed these.

Annie said...

What a wonderful storyline he has lived and what a fine son to present his story to us out here. For some reason the last two photos aren't showing so I shall just have to imagine him as he is now, still young at heart.

Max-e said...

Great post Peter.
You and your dad obviously have a wonderful relationship, which is nice to see.

KaiBlueCreations said...

Clap,clap..bravo on a lovely story and a fond remembrance of a great and wonderful person..
Peace, Kai

Neva said...

I couldn't see the restored one but all the others were great...a sweet blog.

Peter M said...

Thanks for comments have now sorted out photo problems, Neva you can click on the click here link in post

Alex said...

Très joli blog. De belles illustrations. Des textes personnels et souvent pertinents. Que demander de plus ?
Je reviendrai te lire avec plaisir !
Alex

NYCindividual said...

Great Y topic!

Peter M said...

Thanks nycindividual and thank you Alex for your comments.

Alex I have managed to translate your comment (I think).

Very nice blog. Beautiful illustrations. Texts often personal and relevant. Who could ask for more?
I will return and read with pleasure!

flowers said...

great and interesting life story