Some of you may remember last month i made a freind while out at my local park. We started chatting purely because we both were enjoying a pipe. He's got a couple of years on me. Im 34 and he's 96 but we have struck up a great friendship and he is so damn interesting. Some of you guys on here asked me to post any updates so here i go!
unfortunately, Richard (Dick) has been cut off from allot since his wife died when they were in their 60s. Bless him he'd been "making do" with a tobacco he didn't particularly enjoy and his pipe collection had slowly let him down until he was left with one pipe for the last decade or so. And he likes a smoke does the ole boy! I think the only time i've seen him without a bowl on the go is when food was ready and when he met my son. So one of the first things we got to was introducing him to the internet and some instant PAD and TAD!H went wild like a kid in a sweet shop! Imagine it - you've been smoking second rate tobacco in a pipe thats had its day for ten years then all of a sudden the worlds you oyster!- He now has a cellar and collection of smokers that I'm extremely envious of lol!I refused to accept anything from him, despite his persuasive efforts. That a'int what I'm about. Helping someone who without his service i could be living a very different life, i s pay off enough for me. I did however accept the basket churchwarden on my birthday. I was told not to offend.
Im absolutely privileged. Not only to have such an interesting man to smoke with. Dick has given me his journal from his Navy service and RAF service from 1933 to 1957. He served in the 2nd world war and continued to serve until he was 41 flying and fighting in the Korean war, Algerian conflicts and many other postings mainly protecting the British Empire at the time. What a damn Hero!He has piloted Air speed oxfords, DH98 Mosquito, Lancaster bomber, the legendary spitfire and a Hawker Typhoon in ww2. (thats at a glance!)A Dehaverland Vampire in Korean warfare where apparently the british were not deployed at the time. And co_piloted an American Boeing super fortress under temporary orders from the american airfare. When an american pilots girlfriend was in labour dick pleaded a case to His superiors and to the americans to let him use the down time he was on to cover for the soon to be pilot dad. The man flew for the USA in English uniform!
I just cant wait to read these journals properly. Obviously i've only scratched the surface here. There's another 20 years of his career where he saw more conflict, promotions, new aircraft, tested insane prototypes that never made it, made friends in every continent, married into a mixed race marriage at a time less tolerant........
I guess when you have been around 96 years your life really is epic. I take 4 or so meals round a week now and we spend a couple of hours smoking and chatting and its great! I worried i was intruding a bit when i took my 4yr old round to meet him but this week he asked "you have oliver this weekend, when will you be bringing him round?" which is really nice cos my Dad and My ex wife's Dad are both Alcoholics and not around for him. A fantastic elderly figure to have in my sons life as far as I'm concerned. We go down the pub every thursday and enjoy a pint a bowl (of course) and a game of cards. An I help him into town for a bit of shopping and such like. I have to say I'm a bit proud of myself. I can see the companionship has picked him up since i first met him and he has more to offer me than i him.
If anything I've waffled on about has pricked an interest then have a read when i update in a week or so. Ive been given permission to share the diaries to an extent. Obviously there is private stuff for my yes only but the main content of WW2 i'll do my best to make an interesting post.