Here are my grandparents Mona and Jack Morrison on the porch of their weatherboard home at 2 Aylmer St Somerfield, with their two oldest children Patricia and Kenneth, in about 1925. My mother Jean was the next child to arrive, being born the following year.
Kenneth Forbes Morrison, the baby in the photograph above, enlisted and became a pilot in the Royal New Zealand Air Force. Aged only 19, he was a Flight Sergeant in the 78th Squadron RAF, but tragically Ken and all his crew were killed when the Halifax he was flying was shot down over Wuppertal Germany on 25 June 1943. Sister Jean was sixteen, and has told me she remembers the day they received news of his death as if it were yesterday. The crew members' names appear in one of a large number of books of remembrance maintained for all those RAF members who have died in conflicts worldwide. These books line the walls of the RAF Church of St Clement Danes, London, and are well worth a visit.
The second photo was taken just in front of the Aylmer St porch, and shows Jack with his father Daniel and brother Arnold, who must both have come down to Christchurch for some occasion. Daniel and his wife Mary Bridget Morrissey emigrated from Cork in 1875 with their first baby daughter,changed their surname to Morrison, and had another fourteen children in the district of Canvastown, Marlborough NZ. Daniel began his working life as a messenger boy in Cork, and retired as a much respected company secretary of a local cheese factory. A large brood indeed, but in those days babies just happened, and four of the Morrison children died in infancy. Of the remaining sons, Bill, the eldest, was a farmer, and three of his brothers became lawyers, including the two above, but missing from any future family gatherings would be their brother Austin Lindsay, who was killed in the Battle of the Somme. On Sept 9th 1916 he wrote his last letter home: 'If anything should happen to me try and bear it Mother, as cheerfully as possible, just for my sake. I can't write any more, there is a great deal I would like to say but don't know how to; I send my fondest love to all and hope to meet you all again. Farewell now Mother mine, with fondest love from your son Austin.xxxxxxxx. '
|Lest We Forget|
|A couple of charmers: Jack, right, with his older brother Doug, still in the doorway|
On a happier note, here are my paternal grandparents Oliver and Myrtle Cruickshank, standing in the alcove of their home in Rangiora NZ, in 1949, and then no doubt one of them has taken a shot of their son Ian and his fiancee Jean in the same setting. Jean has captioned the photos accordingly.
|Mr and Mrs Cruickshank|
|'A future Mr and Mrs'|
|The Cruickshank family home in Park St Rangiora. Granddad Oliver was a keen gardener.|
Back in the Aylmer St porch a few months later, we see Mona and Jack again, all dressed and ready for the wedding of their daughter Jean to Ian Cruickshank on 22 April 1950.
|Here too are Aunties Bess and Flo, two more sisters of Mona, also set to go to their niece Jean's wedding.|
Finally, here's a doorway photograph taken in far off Turriff Aberdeenshire, ancestral home of my Cruickshank ancestors. During the year spent in the UK in 1953/4, my parents visited the mothers of all the crew members who had perished with Ken. We also called in on some relatives like my great great Aunty Kitty in Margate, as discussed in a previous post, and also my great grandfather's cousin, George Morrison Cruickshank, who ran the chemist shop in Turriff, where we stayed in a flat above the shop for a few nights. Pictured in the doorway with a small yours truly are George, born 1874, and his daughter Janet, born 1919.
Amazingly just a couple of weeks ago another Cruickshank descendant in Invercargill NZ showed me this 'matching' postcard that George had sent to her family back in the 1920s. On the back George wrote that it showed him standing in his shop doorway, with his little daughter Janet standing on the kerbside.
|High St, Turriff, 2003.|
The Cruickshank pharmacy in Turriff is still run by Alan, one of George's grandsons. We met him there but didn't think to pose in the doorway.
For more doorstop gatherings and reflections, go to Sepia Saturday 203.