EARLY LIFE of William James Hunt #7
THE WAR IS OVER!
The Japanese had surrendered! I know it was Wednesday August 15th 1945. We were all glad to hear that news I can tell you. I remember the exact date that it happened. We were sat on the edge of our Aircraft carrier when our Captain announced the good news over the speaker, we all gave a loud cheer. Boy, that made our day, believe me. We were all five on deck that afternoon wishing each other the very best because we knew that the service was all over for us.
After that we got news that our Aircraft carrier was to sail to Japan to pick up our "prisoners of war" and bring them home. All the planes were taken off the carrier to make room for all the prisoners, as many as our ship could carry. Next thing we were told was to pack all our gear up ready for the next day, as we were being sent to a camp to get prepared for the journey back home to England. It was November when we set sail for home on a Troop-Ship. It was December when we arrived at the demobilization depot, and it was January the 26th 1946 when I finally arrived home. The village of Crynant looked great, I suppose, but all I had eyes for, was Edith and our son, Keith. Remember, he was only two months old when I had left home. What a sight for "sore eyes' they were.
The war was now over, and I was back home with my family. Keith was three years and four months old. I had my "kit bag" with me and all he was interested in was to see inside it. He wanted to see if I had brought him any presents. The only thing I had in the bag was some candy. It was Saturday. We went out in the
afternoon to get him a toy. I was so glad to see Edith and "our Keith." What a joy, what a priceless moment in our lives. And I thanked our Lord God for keeping me save through the war. And for the wonderful life I had received all through the time I was in Australia. Thank you God - Jesus Christ for everything I have received in my life. Remember if you believe, really believe, in our heavenly Father and ask for guidance you will never regret it!
The next day was Sunday and all the shops were closed, a day of rest for all. God in his mercy gave us a "family" day, my first weekend home. God's goodness toward me and my family has been unbelievable! I was one of the "blessed" who came home from the war without injury! Only God's grace on my life can account for this. You may not believe how God had been in my life, and still guiding me to this day.
The following day I went to sign on at the Labour exchange. I needed to get some money while I was waiting to find some work. All we got from the service when we were de-mobbed was fifty pounds, to get us started with our new life. It seemed a lot of money in those days. They were in the process of putting new
houses up, at the top of our village. They were called "Prefabs." They were put up pretty quickly because they were made of prefabricated units. This was a new kind of building and I was offered a job putting them together. Naturally, I never turn the chance down, and I accepted that work, as I now wanted to give my family a good living. I started the very next day. First we had to dig a trench outside of the foundation for electric cables. Again, I was chosen to be the leader of the gang of six men on the job, after my interview (This is where my training in the centre when I was taught to read the blue prints). That meant I got more money than the rest of the men. I really enjoyed that job too, and I worked at that until January 1947. At the same time, the boss asked me if I would like to do another little job as a "Watchman" on Saturday and Sunday, which meant I had extra money coming in. We only had two "Prefabs" left of the quota, when the boss called me in to talk to me. The news he had was, that the firm had decided not to put up any more "Prefabs" in my village, after we finish the last two. He wanted to know if I would go with him to his next consignment. I said I would have a word with my wife when I go home that night.
On Monday morning I went to the office and told him we did not want to move if the place was too far for me to travel each day. He said, that he would let me know, as soon as they told him. We had only one more to finish, when our good Lord came into my life once again, at the end of January. I fell ill and had to go into hospital because I had Peritonitis. I must have had a grumbling appendix for a very long time. I started with this when I was younger. I had stomach pains and each time I went to my doctor he kept saying it was just a chill on my stomach. I even had this, one time, when I was in the service, but they did nothing. This time it was worse than ever. I was staying with Edith's Mom, she became so worried about me that she went and got my Mam, to come over, and the doctor was called. My Mam told the doctor, "This is more than a chill on his stomach, get him in hospital straight away; as it should have been done years ago."
He went out to phone no one had phones in their homes in those days. I was in hospital inside half an hour. The doctor at the hospital examined me; he asked me how long I had it, when I told him, he ordered me to be taken to the operating theatre straight away. They just got me operated on before it burst. It could have
been very nasty. Once again God was looking after me. After I got back into my ward and came around, the nurse looking after me said this, "Are you a lucky boy! We got you operated on in time, it was ready to burst." She told me if it had burst you would not be with us any more.
I recovered from that, but a few days later when I got out of bed, I started with some very bad pains in my leg. When the Sister (a head nurse) looked at my leg, she ordered me right back into bed, with my leg elevated. I had Phlebitis, which I was told it was inflammation of the vein in the leg from a blood clot! I was in hospital another six weeks with that, then I was taken up to the nursing home for recuperation. I was also told that I couldn't work outside any more. That meant that I was back at the labour exchange once again. And I was out of work for another six months. I did help out a bit at the farm that Edith's sister and her husband ran. It was summer time and the weather was very nice, so it was okay working outside, then. At the time we lived with Edith's Mum. My Mam lived just across the way, there wasn't much inside work to be had in our village.
We had a long talk about going to Australia. Anyone that had been in Australia during the war could go back there on a twelve pounds passage. You had to sign up for a two-year stay, or you would have to pay back the full fare to the Australian Government.
At first, it seemed the ideal solution, and we were all for it, we even got all the necessary papers filled in. Then we had a long talk about what we would do if anything happened to our Mothers. We would not have the money to come back to England for some time. I gave Edith a few weeks to think about it, I was very keen myself as I wanted to go back there. After two weeks Edith thought about that, then one night she said, "Would you mind Dad if I said I don't want to go." I told her, "If that is what you want I will stay here." We decided that we wouldn't go to Australia, so far away from our families. I would have loved to have my life in Australia. But I was happy to stay in the U.K. if Edith wanted it that way, I would not go against her wishes.
(KEITH comment: Well I can say this time God decided on my Mother not wanting to go. I would not have wanted it either, though only 5 years old at the time. I look back and know it was God's intent I grow up in Britain, for various reasons as my life unfolded - KEITH HUNT)
Then once again God came into our life; through Edith's mother. She suggested we go to Halifax to look for work. There was a lot of inside work, as there were lots of mills and factories up in Yorkshire. It was decided that Edith would go to her Aunt, to see if she would take us in, till we had got jobs, and a place to live, that was ours. Edith was away for five days. Edith's Mum and I looked after "our Keith." When Edith came home, she gave us the good news. We could go and stay with her Aunt. It took us around five weeks to sort everything out. We had to get ourselves organized, get Keith out of school, and make our way to Halifax, Yorkshire.
Before I leave Wales, let me say I loved my little country village of Crynant, and I am so glad that my Dad made his home there. I have thought, many a time, how nice a place it was to grow up in. I have always appreciated the good life I had during those nineteen years in Wales. I guess I would never have left, if the 1939 War had not started. I have made all arrangements for Edith and I to come home to rest, when God takes us both to His garden.
( KEITH comment: YES I know have the job of taking my Mother and Father's ashes mingled in a double urn, back to the grave site my Dad picked way back in 1997. Him and I were over in Wales and England for 3 months. We picked the head-stone for the grave spot; we decided what words would be place on it, and it was done and erected in place. I only have to get the stone-smith to add the day-month-year of my Dad's passing, which was June 30, 2014. He lived to be a few months off 94. I will plan to go back and finish this task in 2015 - KEITH HUNT)
Things were a lot different after the war ended, most of the boys and some girls our age had left our village. I did stay for a while working on the building of the "Prefabs," until God came to my rescue, when my job there was ending. You may not believe me when I say that our Lord has guided me all my life, but when you read this story, and get to the end, you will find out how many times, he always gave me a better life. God knows where He wanted me, at the time I fell ill in the service, I ending up in Australia. You have read what a life I had there.
We got to Halifax and settled in with Edith's Aunt in March 1948. I got a job at the firm that makes toffee, "Mackintosh." They were well known for the best toffee in Halifax. They had a lot more than just toffee. I started in March, in the gum wrapping department working nights, running a wrapping machine. Edith went back to the mill where she worked before we got married. So we were both working now, and things were better than staying in Wales as there wasn't a lot of work only the coal mines, although we loved living in our country village, in the end we made the right decision. I never regretted for one moment Edith making that decision not to go to Australia.
Keith was five and a half when we moved to Halifax. Aunty Edith got him in the school, near, where she lived. After a few weeks, Aunty Edith asked me if I would visit the teacher the next afternoon after I got up from my sleep. I did that, and I wondered what Keith had been up to. When I got to school, I had a big surprise. She asked me if I would do her a favour, we both had a good laugh when I heard the problem. When the class was learning to count to ten, Keith at that time counted in Welsh, Un, Dau, Tri, Pedwar, Pump, Chwech, Saich, Wyth, Naw, Deg. She said, "I didn't tell you before, as the entire school's teachers wanted to hear him count up in Welsh." I did do that, in Wales, when I was in the
infant school for it was all Welsh, I told the teacher, and she said it's nice. "We all wanted to listen before we mentioned it to you."
When I got him home, I explained to him that now he had to count in English. At the weekend, I went through it a few times, and then promised him, if the teacher was pleased with him on the Monday, I would take him in town and buy him a little car. When I next saw the teacher she told me how good he was at counting in English. Of course, he got his little car, eventually he forgot all the Welsh that he had learnt in Wales; as I was brought up there I still have not forgot my Welsh teaching to this day, as much as I learnt, which was only a little.
(KEITH comment: WELL Dad remembers some Welsh words, but does not speak fluent Welsh, as in his days in school it was not taught in any serious way, as it is today - KEITH HUNT)
We had now settled down to live in Halifax, and everything was going fine. We were doing well and making a good living. After a year of working hard Edith became ill. She had a bad case of Anaemic and was poorly for three months. I was doing very well at my job and after two years I was promoted up to a charge-hand. When Edith was ready to start work again, I got her a job with the firm I was with. Edith worked on days, and I was on nights and it worked out very good for us. We eventually found rooms in Savile Park next to the Clock tower, we were now just a little way out of the town centre.
That was a start for us leaving Aunty Edith and getting us away from the town centre, and now we could save for a home of our own that was our sole desire, We did not know at the time that the people who we were in rooms with, did not own the house that came up for sale two years later, and ended up on us owning our own home, read on to find out what happened later. We really liked living there as it was close to the Moors (large open grass park) and where all the shows were in summer. Also it was nice grounds (Moor) to have a nice walk around in summer, and if you had a dog you were allowed to let it off the leash, and also they played soccer matches and other sport during the summer months, different schools nearby used it for their Soccer and Cricket practices.
When we got in the two rooms with the Warboys (the house we later bought) after leaving Aunty Edith, we could meet at the top of the main road in the morning as Edith was going to work, and I was on my way home. We could talk for about fifteen minutes before my bus came. When I got home I would get Keith up and ready for school, he was no problem to get him off to school, and I did not have to take him to his new school, the one he now went to was south of the town, we had a little side path all the way to his Holy Trinity mixed school, run by the Church of England (just like I had when I was in the infant school). We always walked that way ourselves when we went into town. We did not have a car at that time in our life. That was when we lived in the rooms, when we left Aunty Edith.
We were in the rented rooms for two years, not knowing at the time as I mentioned earlier that the people who we found had rented the rooms to us were not the owners. It had been left in trust when the owner died. The man who now owned it wanted to sell it, so he found a place for the Warboys. After that when he found us in the house he tried to give us notice to leave, I had consulted a Lawyer regarding the notice I received from him. He told me to go and look at it first, and, "If you are not satisfied just say it's not suitable; you keep in touch with me and I will tell you the next move." I knew now that with it being unfurnished rooms he had to find us similar accommodation as we already had. He told me to refuse anything not suitable. The new Landlord tried all ways to get us out, he could not find us the equivalent place; he eventually threatened if we would not accept his last offer, he would have us evicted. I told him straight, you try it. I had already consulted a lawyer and I kept him up to date. I knew my position now.
One day later I received a letter from him asking me to come to his office, I went to see him and he made me an offer, if I would put the 2000 pound down for the mortgage I could purchase the house. I told him I did not have that kind of money (he did not know that I had already a lawyer working for me). I told him that the house needed a lot of repairs and when I finished telling him he said he did not know that, he would get back to me on it all. I got in touch with my lawyer again to keep him in the picture.
The new Landlord phoned me up on the weekend and asked me again if I could come to see him one afternoon. I did go to see him with his lawyer as usual with him and he told me that as the place needed a lot of repairs he came up with this new offer, if we would do the repairs they would give us the money for the mortgage. I said I wanted to think about it and let him know as soon as possible, as with me working nights I would have to wait until next week. I phoned my Lawyer to keep him in the picture about the new offer he had given me. The owners lawyer told me to come and see him. I made an appointment. I told the lawyer that before I could agree to anything, I would have to have a word with my lawyer. He was surprised I had a lawyer working for me. Then I told him who he was, he then said to me, "That he is a friend of mine. Do you mind if I give him a ring" I said no I don't mined. His Lawyer rang and I heard the conversation between them. In the end I heard him say, okay I will tell him you want see him. I went straight up to my lawyers office and I told my lawyer about the new offer. The owner would give us the two thousand pounds to put down for the mortgage if I do the repairs. I told him that would be no problem. My lawyer phoned the owner's lawyer, they had a long conversation, and it ended up he got me $800 pounds more because he told him how much the repairs would cost, and it was all settled before I left the office. That was how we started owning our first home in Halifax.
Again just think I did ask for help when I had never used a lawyer in Halifax when all this started. I asked God in my prayers to help me to find a Lawyer, as I didn't know what to do, then two weeks later on a Friday afternoon I opened my paper and right in front of my eyes I saw this advert in big bold letters. "Need a good Lawyer then look no further." I rang the office number and made an appointment to visit the following Monday. Again our Lord God had aswered my prayers.
I worked hard doing that house up over the next five years; it did cost me a lot of money. I also had to replace a lot of things that I could not do myself. After five years we sold it and made Ten thousand pounds. We came out on top of that deal. The good lord was still guiding me to better things. I had done all the repairs and now we decided that we would like to find a place further out of town, the other side by our General Hospital, we liked that part when we were looking around and our Keith could stay in the same school.
(KEITH comment: I well remember my Dad doing all those repairs and painting, and having other things added by experts in their particular trade. It was all a very fine house when completed, but it was a "row house" - not an individual house with a garden and yard - KEITH HUNT)
After looking around we met up with some friends and we told them where we would like to go, one of them said there is a nice semi-detached (duplex in Canada) coming up for sale where she lived, she knew the people and she would let us know when she had a word with the owner, she soon found out when it was being ready for sale, the lady told her she would give us the first chance before placing it on the market.
We were all happy with our life so read on for more good things to come. Our son, Keith, was enjoying his school; we also brought him up going to Sunday school. Now there were times in my life when I could not go because of my work. However, even in times when we could not go, we sent Keith, every Sunday. But we still believed in the written word (Bible) and the church. I have believed in God from an early age as my mother also believed in God.
(KEITH comment: INDEED it was a wonderful blessing for me that my parents sent me to a Church of England school, at age 7. We were given a Bible on our first day. The first half hour of each school day was reading the Bible. We were told to open to Genesis one. We read the first chapter, and when I saw, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth....." it was like a light switch was turned on in my head. I had from being a toddler, a wonderment and amazement at all the creation I saw in Wales and now in England, all around me. I was enthralled with it all. I knew from that first day reading Genesis one that there was a God in heaven who made all the creation I could see around me. I was a believer in God from that day forward, and a reader of His word contained in the Bible. Of all the great things my parents gave and did for me in my entire life, sending me to a church school was the best of all - KEITH HUNT)