DONALD SYDNEY MAITLAND'S OWN STORY
Issue Date: 15/10/2015.
Mostly DSM, with some papers found in Dower House collection.
Others noted in text.
Born: 28/8/1918, Shanghai, China.
Parents: Nathaniel George & Eleanor Isabella (Poole) Maitland.
Married: Rosemary Joyce Lister Parkes, 8/11/1941, Codsall Parish Church.
Died: 20/9/1999, at home, The Dower House, Oaken, Wolverhampton, heart failure.
1/1. Antony Arthur Armstrong Maitland.
The author of this work.
1/2. Eleanor Lindley Maitland,
Born at High Elms, Mill Lane, Codsall February 6/1949.
Started at Miss Hill's school The Drive, Wrottesley Rd Tettenhall Autumn 1953.
Born and lived in Shanghai until 1924 & then:
Educated (1924-26) at Normanton School, Buxton, where the family lived with Aunt Daisy when not in the Far East, then Langley Place, St Leonard-on-Sea (1926-32), then at Charterhouse (Pageites house, 1932-37) DSM studied Maths, Physics & Chemistry for higher certificate. He was head of the choir and Captain of the Shooting VIII.
After Charterhouse, DSM read Mechanical Sciences at Clare College Cambridge, graduating in summer 1940 with a 3rd Class degree, after which he joined the RAF, serving as an engineering officer, mostly in Egypt (arriving April 1942) and the Middle East, returning home in March 1946.
After the War, DSM started work at his father-in-law's firm, Josiah Parkes & Sons, lockmakers in Willenhall and they lived at High Elms, Mill Lane, Codsall, Staffordshire, until 1957 and then at the Dower House, Oaken. He retired from JP&S as Chairman in 1982. He and RJLM enjoyed a long, happy and productive retirement.
Rosemary Parkes was born in Wolverhampton in Staffordshire June 14/1919, daughter of Arthur Josiah and Ethel Anne (Lister) Parkes of The Manor House, Oaken, Wolverhampton. Arthur was born in December 1890, and Ethel Anne September 1/1885.
DSM was also musical, being head of choir at school and playing piano jazz in pubs in Cambridge.
Air Force List:
6/1945 FL (T) (e) seniority 1.7.43 84415 (Technical Engineer)
While he was at Sealand looking after something like 80 Tiger Moth trainers, Rosemary was often at Oaken: it was surprising how many test flights were needed between Sealand and Cosford (about 5 miles from Oaken)!
A note from David Eastment, son of Colin Eastment of JP&S:
.. funny story about your father, one summer day when it was really hot, he came to work in his khaki shorts and either Mr Arthur or Mr Cyril told him to “go and put some proer trousers on”.
Dower House Collection
Team photos from school and university show him playing in soccer and cricket as well as shooting. Clare college "Trundlers" 1939.
Commissioned at P/Officer VR, 16/8/1940.
At marriage, Officer of the Royal Air Force, at RAF Sealand.
Bronze Medal Country Life Competition 1937
The Daldy Medal (Charterhouse) 1935 "for the best aggregate score in matches" average 61.6
Recruit Competition (Charterhouse) O.Q. 1933 2nd (Note OQ = autumn term)
Ministering Children's League: DSM admitted to Shanghai branch March 6 1924. (P19-10)
RECOLLECTIONS OF DONALD MAITLAND
(The following is produced verbatim, with footnotes by A Maitland at the end of the paper)
I am Donald Sydney Maitland and, in June 1995, I am the eldest surviving direct relative of my grandfather Francis Maitland who died in 1901. Perhaps I should have said male relative because my uncle Edward had three daughters; one almost exactly the same age as myself and two a good bit older but I have lost touch with them all.
I know that sometimes it is difficult to sort out generations when reading a history of this sort so that when I refer to parents or children I am the starting point and parents are MY parents and children MY children.
Father went out to Yokohama1 with the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (or was it the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China) about 1896 and there married Mother on 14th September 1904. Francis George was born there on 3rd September 1905. About then Father was moved to Shanghai where John Armstrong 'Jack' or 'Jimmy' was born on 9th November 1906 incidentally the same day of the year as Father.
My mother was born Eleanor Poole and there is quite a lot of information on her early life in histories put together by her brothers. There are several copies in various places in the family.
Our parents were on leave from Shanghai based I think in London with Grandmother Maitland - Grandfather Maitland died 1901 - when Otis was born there on 10th August 1909
Grandmother had a very young maid who was Emily Scottrell of blessed memory. Emily was an orphan with only an elder married sister so Mother pinched her from M-in-law and took her out to Shanghai as Otis' nanny - though she was always known as Emily and never nanny. Emily stood 4ft 8 1/2 inches, but bossed everyone about and was loved by all my generation and most of the next. She and my mother were together for almost 60 years.
Don't know much about early years in Shanghai but I do know that the family then lived in a substantial house in the French Quarter of the International Settlement in Route Gizeh (as in pyramids). Don't know if it was rented or owned. It had a ridiculous name like Sunnyside or something similar. Later on(? end of 14-18 war) they moved to a house in Wei Hai Wei Rd (where I think I was born) and eventually to 17 Ferry Rd which is the only house of which I have any memories.
Come the beginning of the 14-18 war Francis was 9, Jack 8 and Otis 4. In the normal course of events Francis and Jack should have been sent back to England to school but the outbreak of the war precluded this. The family was thus stuck in Shanghai for the whole of the 14-18 war as transport was difficult and dangerous.
There was in Shanghai a Cathedral2. I know not of what persuasion the bishop was but probably Anglican serving British and American communities. Anyway it had a small school geared to primary education. But the travel restrictions forced it to struggle with secondary work for which it was ill equipped. This was not too much of a handicap to Otis, but when the family (now including me) returned to England in 1919 Francis and Jack were very much behind.
Otis aged 10 was able to go to a conventional prep school - Langley Place in St Leonards on Sea - and catch up so that he could go on to Lancing in Sept 1923 or 24. I followed to Langley Place in 1926.
Francis and Jack could not make the common entrance exam and were taken on by a non public school called rather grandly University College School in Hastings. Despite being behind they both got into Cambridge - not too difficult then - Francis to read Medicine and Jack engineering.
The period between 1919 and 1926 when mother and father left Shanghai permanently must have been very difficult. Otis boarding first at Langley Place and then at Lancing, F & G at Hastings and later at Cambridge and me trailing around the world always with Emily and sometimes with one or both parents.
I had travelled 2 1/2 times around the world before I was 6. The first half by returning with all the family from Shanghai in 1919. Incidentally I don't think F J or O ever returned to Shanghai - but I did! I made two round trips; twice via the Pacific, Canada by train, and the Atlantic and twice by sea via Suez, Ceylon, Singapore and Hong Kong fetching up in England in 1924. Parents made at least one more round trip before coming to roost in 1926. My parents had all the predictable problems that ex-pats have in keeping in touch with children. Trips home were not infrequent and for a period I think they made their UK base around Hastings.
I have a dredged memory at the age of 2 or 3 of my tummy bursting in a disastrous fashion in a public garden in Hastings to Emily's (and my) acute embarrassment! This must have been during one of the UK visits.
We were certainly in Shanghai in 1923 because mother Emily and I went for a summer holiday in Japan. I had my fifth birthday in Karawaza at the Mompei Hotel and in September the earthquake struck which totally destroyed Yokohama3. It was at least three weeks before we could leave for Shanghai and during the late autumn and winter Uncle Chester and family, homeless from Yokohama, stayed for several weeks with us.
Parents, Emily and I returned to England in early 1924 and I never went back to China. What I have so far written is mostly hearsay or intelligent conjecture but from here on I have a much clearer and continuous memory.
At some time (I know not exactly when) the family base in England moved to Buxton where Aunt Daisy (christened Harriet Matilda and father's sister) lived with her husband Tom Morrison and could provide a family sheet anchor. Also Buxton as a spa (dozens of Bath chairs) had plenty of short term accommodation Ma Perkins, who ran "Rosemount" as a superior boarding house provided the space for a family which at full strength numbered 7 but could shrink to 2 when three boys were at school and parents in China.
I am not clear exactly when this happened or who acted in loco parentis to F J & O when they were first at school in England and early in 1924 when my continuous memory of Buxton starts. I think it must have been well before 1924 because F J & O seem to have been resident in Buxton for long enough to have grown more roots than I did before moving to Byfleet in 1926. My own memories of Buxton (where I was at school for two years) involve both living with Emily alone at 5 Belvedere Terrace where Aunt Daisy lived and also living with the family at full strength at 19 Broad Walk. Indeed some early memories may be pre 1924 as a visitor with mother and father. All very confusing.
This history is then continued in his words by:
Letter to Peter Garnier, an old friend from Byfleet & Charterhouse, who DSM remet in 1998. Written about June 1998.
(Peter Garnier died in the Spring of 2000, about 6 months after DSM: rather poignantly, both their death notices were in the same Charterhouse Newsletter issue)
Since you haven't had a reply to your welcome letter of 6 May you must have given me up for lost again. At the time and for about three weeks after I was in a whirl which I have recorded later in this letter. This is however no excuse for my dilatoriness in correspondence which I will try to correct.
Briefly (but once I get started I tend to go on a bit) I went up to Clare Cambridge after leaving C'house and had a couple of happy years in engineering and wasting time so that I failed my exams and had to get my finger out. The war then started and the Joint Recruiting Board (a useless organisation) decided that as I was an engineer it would be best if I finished my third year so I did and scraped home with a third.
In October 39 went into a cafe and joined a party with Peter Waddell (contemporary Lockite who turned up in Clare after that modern invention the gap year spent in France and Germany). Party also included a super girl named Rosemary Parkes in Nuneham reading geography. Met her in London on 19 April 1940 on our way back to Cambridge to see second performance of Gone with the Wind: Proposed the next day and that was that. Came up to the Manor House Oaken (500yds from where we now live) for R's 21st. on June 14th. Paris fell and I had great difficulty pinning R's father down as he was totally immersed in the formation of the L.D.V. aka Home Guard but all well eventually.
I joined the R.A.F. in Aug 40 went on a 5 month course and then to an Elementary Flying School near Chester where I had 77 Tiger Moths4 on my personal inventory but otherwise pretty boring.
On Oct 18 1941 R's younger sister married Peter Waddell whose division was going to the far east and the guests were asked to come back in three weeks time to R's wedding because I was threatened with going to Canada. In true wartime fashion it was discovered, 48 hours before departure, that Peter was an Olympic skier so he found himself in Iceland with tropical kit. Similarly the R.A.F. decided to disband my unit instead of sending it to Canada so I was posted to the Middle East.
R's last words to me were "I'll join you somehow" and sure enough she did. Gave up a good and interesting job in the Ministry of Food in Colwyn Bay, joined the A.T.S. in the Intelligence Corps had a brief spell at Bletchley Park5 and turned up in Egypt after I had been there a year. I knew she was coming and met up with her within 24 hours of landing. A lady of considerable resource and certainly worth more than the 4/6 a day the army generously paid graduate corporals but it served a purpose.
I spent 3 of my 4 years mending aircraft of one sort or another and the 4th in Cairo distributing technical bumf to all & sundry from Oman to Klagenfurth. Meanwhile R spent 2 years keeping track of German divisions in Russia by which time things were getting quiet and boring. Then by sheer chance she met a man from the British Council who, when he discovered she had a geography degree, offered to extract her from the A.T.S. if she would teach A level geography at the English School in Heliopolis. He was as good as his word (no mean achievement as R was the only A.T.S. girl ever to be discharged in Egypt instead of being sent home) and she was out of the army in six weeks in time to start teaching in Sept 44. I got myself to Cairo in the publication unit and we moved into a flat about Xmas 44. R fell pregnant in Feb. 45 - carefully arranged and timed so she could comfortably fulfil her years contract. VE day celebrated - considerably - the night before in Cairo R retired from teaching in July. My cousin Alan M (we overlapped in Pageites by one year) passed through Cairo on his way to the Far East in the Fleet Air Arm but sadly was killed in the very last week of the war. Antony born Oct. 16 in Anglo-American hospital. March 46 we three came home on married family troop ship in time to be demobilised. So ended our wartime careers.
On May 1 46 I started at Josiah Parkes & sons Ltd. Where my father in law had offered me a job which I thankfully accepted. Public company floated on B'ham exchange because brothers Arthur and Cyril and cousin Tim had only daughters to follow them. Parkes trade mark UNION and make locks - for doors not barges. I became a production engineer which I thoroughly enjoyed and clambered up the hierarchy. In 65 Chubb with whom there was a long but tenuous association made an offer. This was a happy association with a similar company; the active chairman being George Chubb 3rd. Baron Hayter a great charmer. All was fine until George C retired in about 80 a new C.E.O. arrived and upset the apple cart. In 1982, about 15 months early, I was asked to retire which was a bit of a wrench after 10 years as M.D. but with hindsight I'm very glad. So ended my paid working career - it fortunately doesn't stop one working at something or other.
When we returned from Egypt we moved into a rather inconvenient house in Codsall which father-in-law had bought in 45 before we got home. 2/3 wedding present 1/3 from R but at least it was somewhere to live (a lot in 1946) and no mortgage. Daughter Lindley was born there in Feb.49 and eventually we moved here in 1957 and have been here since. Lindley sadly is not married and has lived in London since she was about 18 first as a florist in up-market hotels until she got fed up with a. the abysmal pay and b. having to do Jewish weddings on Sundays! So she returned briefly to W'ton to a secretarial college where she was at least 10 years older than anyone else and moved into secretarial/administrative work. Currently the Administrator - the number one paid employee at NADFAS.
Antony will work any time day or night as long as it's not 9 - 5 five days a week which he tried briefly when he came down from Cambridge with an engineering degree but quickly gave it up in favour of building kit aeroplanes, gliding and flying. This worked up to a commercial pilots licence and he now manages (A lot of paper work) and flies a twin turbo-prop aircraft for a company in the middle of Wales which makes control gear for electric motors. Technically he is self employed so he can take other work as well.
On his 31st. birthday Antony married Alice, a marvellous extrovert beautiful grown up 20 year old. After 3 years Isabel appeared, followed 3 years later by Oliver, another 3 years and her health started to decline and she was treated for asthma. Eventually there was a crisis and it was discovered she had been operating on one lung for years and the other had collapsed. Emergency repairs, reasonable recovery but poor prognosis. Gradual deterioration finally after three years on permanent oxygen she gave up and died last March6 just 40. Alice's incapacity (unable to drive or tramp round shops for the last 4 years) and Antony's erratic life never knowing what he was doing 48 hours ahead and often away for a couple of nights presented some major logistic problems living in the country. Perforce of circumstances both children at boarding school Isabel since 11 and Oliver since 7. Isabel now rising 18 and for her 17 birthday R gave her an 11 year old Metro for her 17 birthday last Sept. She had driving lessons at school and passed the test first time in December (times change!) which has eased the logistics greatly. Oliver just finishing first year at Shrewsbury - just as spacious as Charterhouse and a hell of a lot nearer.
I told you that once I got going I might go on a bit but you are now up to date with last 60 years or so! I too have dredges of memory of those happy times - "Chickadee", Nicky Nowell, "Mr. Garnier's tin punt" and seeing Augustus John in the pub with an improbable dolly spring to mind. I had a very beery week with my elder brother in Prah sands just before the war broke out and R and I went back in 48 when I think I went over to Newlyn and had a long chat with your father. This reminds me that a couple of months ago we went to lunch with a Cambridge friend of R's and were taken to Keele Hall, a vast Victorian brick pile girdled with a string course bearing memorials in Latin of the Sneyd family now the centre of the university including a rather nice restaurant. We have been to Cornwall quite a few times over the years either to look at gardens -a major hobby - and to see an old friend and neighbour who moved to Rock 20 odd years ago. If you want to know what we were doing in Cornwall when I rang you read on but meantime I must stop. (See end of this paper)
Cutting from Autocar: (8 October 1997)
My First Car
(He worked on Autocar for 25 years, from 1950 until 1975, with seven year stints s both editor and sports editor.
I was still at school at Charterhouse in 1937 when I bought my first car with a term's pocket money - thirty bob. It was a 1925 Morgan Family 2 seater. It was derelict in someone's garden and was in a dreadful state. It had a side valve JAP V twin engine - quite awful. Anyway it was very much against Charterhouse rules to have a car at school but, somehow, myself and a friend called Donald Maitland managed to smuggle it into the shed where the school fire engine was kept. There, hidden behind the engine, we built a new body for it, out of plywood pinched from the school workshops. The first time we took it for a spin the magneto fell off. I did admit to the headmaster that I had the car and he said I would be expelled if I broke school rules again. Eventually I sold it to a farmer for £4, but bought it back and put its engine into a speedboat.
DSM War Experiences (dictated 16/4/95)
For the 1st year of the war, he was in his 3rd year at Cambridge reading mechanical sciences: technical undergraduates were not called up, hence he was still there. On coming down in June 1940 he worked for Vickers Armstrong, Weybridge assembling Wellington fuselages, paid 1/4½d per hour. He joined the RAF in August 1940 as an engineering officer. He had 5 months at Halton on initial training. Towards the end of the course, they had a lecture by Barnes Wallace9 when he described the turbine engine, before the first flight of a jet powered aircraft. This was followed by 12 months at RAF Sealand as a maintenance engineer for an Elementary Flying School with 77 Tiger Moths. In the Autumn of 1941, the EFS was to be moved to Canada, but DSM had just been married and applied not to go to Canada. He was sent to the Middle East instead: in the event, the EFS was disbanded, the usual war chaos. He left Glasgow on 13/2/1942, arriving in Suez in April 1942 after an uneventful voyage until the last 2 days: their ship rammed and sank another, then at Suez all baggage caught fire. He went to Aboukir in the Summer 1942, working very hard: 14 hours/ day, 7 days/week, repairing Hurricanes fighting in desert. The battle of Alamein in October 1942 was the turning point of the local war. The Hurricane Maintenance Unit was to be sent to Tripoli on 100 trucks. As his wife was arriving, DSM transferred to Fayid mending Liberators: he stayed there for 6 months. He was then promoted to Flight Lieutenant and sent to an Anti Aircraft Training Unit with 12 Marylands and 15 Hurricanes. The unit carried out a lot of low flying to the extent of killing 3 people on ground (one during an airfield beat-up, a second when attacking an AA battery and a third by low flying along a road and hitting a pedestrian). His last 12-18 months were in Cairo in a unit distributing all the RAF technical publications over an area from Muscat to Klagenfurt. He and his family returned to the UK in 1946 when he was demobbed.
Transcript of an interview by Oliver Maitland,
DSM's grandson, for a school project about 1995 (sadly, the first part was lost). This was recorded for the anniversary of the end of WW2 in 1995.
.... The summer of 1942 in Egypt was pretty tense actually. I was mending Hurricanes at Aboukir and gradually the Germans advanced towards Egypt and they got within about 50 miles which is really no distance at all when you started worrying about at 5 or 600 miles in North Africa and that got a bit tense and I did toss up as to whether I should try and fly a Hurricane which I thought I would be able to get off the ground but I did not know quite what would happen if I tried to land it in Palestine or what was then Palestine or whether I would vittle up my 18 ft boat which I had sailed about in always been in Aboukir a sailing club and I might have sailed to Palestine.
OAM - Were you in the Army? and were they near by.
Well, there were a lot of services all over the place but on the whole there were not very many Army to be seen at Aboukir and which was of course where Napoleon was defeated at the Battle of the Nile in 1792 and the whole of the French Navy was sunk there in Aboukir Bay. No, eventually, Montgomery started his very successful campaign and that put paid to the immediate threat.
OAM - How many people were you with on your sort of partition.
Oh Gosh, there must have been, oh at Aboukir I should think, it was a big station, there were probably, at least 3000.
OAM - What about the 8th Army?
Yes but that was nothing to do with the Air Force
We supplied them with repaired Hurricanes and it was very disappointing sometimes when you would send out a nice completed completely rebuilt Hurricane and it would be back in 48 hours full of bullet holes or someone had landed it with the wheels up or something like that.
OAM - Where did you go after the Desert War had settled down a bit didn't it?
Yes, then I went back from Aboukir I went to back to Ismailia to the Unit I had been with for a few weeks. I had been asked for I had been sort of head hunted by the C/O who was a marvellous man.
OAM - Who was that?
His name was Eric Pearce. and he
OAM - What does C/O stand for?
Commanding Officer. And of No3 ARU, I think it was, can't remember. An ARU was an Aircraft Unit and was the brainchild of the Chief Maintenance and Supply Engineer in the RAF Middle East and was a small unit which did nothing except repair one specific airframe and engines taken out and were sent somewhere else and propellers came off and went somewhere else and undercarriages sent somewhere else and we just repaired the aircraft and they were very skilful at it.
OAM - So you went there after Aboukir?
I went there along with 3 or 4 other engineers. The C/O Eric Pearce was a squadron leader and he had started life as an MT driver in the RAF, which was a rather extraordinary thing, and he had spent a lot of time in Iraq; where Iraq was policed by the Air Force - no Army - but even the Air Force had to have,- they formed two Armoured Car Companies and Eric Pearce was with one of these Armoured Car Companies run by the RAF in Iraq and he had transferred to the Aircraft Engineering Branch. He was a marvellous organiser and finished up after the War he left the Air Force and became a Rolls Royce agent in Canada.
OAM - What was the place called? and when did you go there?
Well, Ismailia is just on the Suez Canal about 1/2 way up or down which ever you like of the Suez Canal and the RAF Station which was also pre-war certainly and was just outside Ismailia about 20 miles out and I suppose I was there for - until the beginning of 1943 when the unit was moved lock, stock and barrel from Ismailia to Tripoli.
OAM - Did they get English captured??
By that time you see we had captured the whole of North Africa in effect and this unit moved up with 100 3 ton trucks - brand new which required to they had been delivered to Egypt they were surplus to requirements in Egypt and were therefore somehow they wanted to get them up to the Western end of the North Africa up towards Tripoli and the idea was that these 100 trucks would be sufficient to take the whole of our unit and our equipment and everything else up there and get the trucks there and we actually at Ismailia we trained many them from scratch with no experience of driving we trained enough people to take 100 trucks about 1000 miles in about a fortnight or so 10 days and I think there was only one truck lost on the way which was really quite an achievement.
OAM - Was that to Ismailia?
From Ismailia up to Tripoli.
OAM - And so at Tripoli what did you do?
I did not go with them, I stayed behind because it so happened that I knew that my wife was on the way out from England and she duly arrived and I was the - I sort of fiddled my way to stay behind in Egypt instead of going up to Benghazi or Tripoli.
OAM - How long did you stay there?
Well, I stayed .. I was posted from one of those ARUs, Aircraft Repair Unit to another one which was also on the Suez Canal and I suppose I was not there for very long, perhaps 6 months or so.
OAM - And where was the place you were posted next?
O, Gosh. Where are we, what's the date? Ah yes, Christmas 1943 I think I spent in Cairo, I can't quite remember where I was stationed, but I know that from this second Aircraft Repair Unit which was at a place called Fayid, the same name as the gentleman who owns Harrods. I was posted from there to an outfit called 26 Anti Aircraft Co-operation Unit which was back at Ismailia or substantially Ismailia another airfield about 6 or 7 miles North of Ismailia called El Fadan.
OAM - Did you continue participating in Airframe Repair?
No, No, No, this was a total change from repair to actually managing two flights one flight of Hurricanes and one flight of twin engine American bombers originally called Marylands, 1st called Marylands, and then we re-equipped with things called a Boston, which was a bit bigger and better. and the object of the exercise of 26 Anti Aircraft Cooperation Unit was the twin engined aircraft used to tow targets for Anti Aircraft guns to shoot at and the single engine Hurricanes were used for mock attacks on gun positions up and down the Suez Canal and we did a lot of work the target towing a lot of work with Cooperating with the Navy in Suez and to some extent in Port Said towing targets for Merchant Ships which had some Anti Aircraft protection. They never had much chance of firing their guns in anything approaching anger. And the single engine aircraft were used on these mock attacks on ground attacks and whenever there was an Army Unit an Army Division in training somewhere in the Middle East which there was frequently at about that time it was just as the Invasion of Sicily was taking place and the invasion of Italy and there were quite a lot of Divisions working up in the Eastern end of the Mediterranean and we would send and I remember we sent one detachment across to Cyprus for a month or a couple of months; we sent another detachment up to Northern Syria to Baalbek for a fortnight or 3 weeks, and had permanent detachment at Benghazi and a permanent detachment in Palestine somewhere all cooperating with the Army and the Navy on Anti Aircraft practice.
OAM - What.. where did you go from the airfield just up the road from Suez?
Well I was there until - I had then been living in a tent for about three years and my wife - your grandmother - was in Cairo and she had arrived in the Middle East in the ATS, Auxiliary Territorial Service, the Women's Army, and she was in Military Intelligence dealing with the keeping track of German Divisions particularly around Stalingrad and where they were moving to and also in Northern Greece and then she, somebody found out that she had a degree in geography so she was able to get out of the ATS in Cairo to teach at a school because they were desperate for someone who could teach Geography to Higher Certificate Level.
Interruption by RJLM - indecipherable.
That's what happened. So anyway I then pulled some strings and I got myself posted also to Cairo and then we were able to share a flat together. An interesting little sideline: she was in the Army and I was in the Air Force. If a couple were married and they were in the same service both services either the Army or the Air Force or for that matter the Navy would take endless trouble to ensure that the husband and wife were always separated and posted to different units but if you were - for some extraordinary reason - I was in the Air Force and she was in the Army and both almost fell over backwards to be helpful so it wasn't very difficult for us both to find ourselves in Cairo. She was by then a civilian and I was then posted to a establishment by the name of APU - Air Publications Unit - in Cairo, in fact just outside at Heliopolis and that Air Publications Unit was responsible for the distribution on one side of all the administrative forms and books and rules and so on for the whole of the Middle East and the other half of it was the was responsible for the distribution of all the technical information. That's why they had and engineer for the technical side.
More interruptions and movement.
I think I have got more or less to the end of my...
OAM - What date was it when you went to the place just outside Cairo?
We had Christmas 1943 in Cairo.
OAM - And then you stayed at that place til the end of the War?
OAM - What were you doing then?
Well I was dealing with all the technical publications actually funnily enough an awful lot of photographic work, distributing drawings and technical information of all sorts and then we both came home in March 1946.
You have your little say now....
Rosemary (Parkes) Maitland contribution:
When I went into the Army, I went straight to Blechley which was the headquarters of the Code Cyphers Department.
OAM - What date was this
I think it was in June 1942 when dealing with the Enigma decodes.
OAM - Is that the German one?
No that's the British one. The German decodes decoding the German messages. And then I went out to Egypt to do exactly the same thing working with Enigma and I monitored more or less the same areas in German army groups in Stalingrad and around Stalingrad and in NE Greece.
OAM - And you stayed in Cairo? and you were a teacher? what year was that?
I did that. 1944. And they were very, very frightened that we would be captured or sunk on our troopship or something because we knew too much. and nobody knew you see the Germans did not know that these codes had been broken.
OAM - What was the code?
Enigma. Its called Enigma.
OAM - What was it like?
Oh Christ! Read the book.
OAM - Was it like the Morse Code?
Oh No No. it is very much more complicated, terribly complicated. I think that you had better read the book!
Other Sources of Information
Text of address made by the priest at DSM's service of thanksgiving in Codsall Church after his cremation at Lower Gornal 30/9/99.
Lived in Shanghai until early 1920s when he returned to England to School at Charterhouse (Pageites).
Graduated from Cambridge University with an Engineering degree.
At the beginning of the war the Joint Recruiting Board decided that DSM should finish his degree. He joined the RAF in August 1940 and went on a 5 month course and then to an Elementary Flying School near Chester where he had 77 Tiger Moths on his personal inventory.
In October 1939 he joined a party in the Whim cafe‚ in Cambridge with Peter Waddell (a contemporary from Lockites at Charterhouse) also there was, to use his own words "a super girl named Rosemary Parkes" who was reading geography at Nuneham. The day after seeing 2Gone with the Wind" in London on 19 April 1940 he proposed.
On October 18 1941 Peter Waddell married Rosemary's younger sister Bunch and their father invited the guest back in three weeks' time for Rosemary and Donald's wedding with the Reception at the Manor House in Oaken.
DSM's was posted to the Middle East. Rosemary was determined to join him and having given up her job in the Ministry of Food in Colwyn Bay, jointed the ATS in the Intelligence Corps and had a spell at Bletcheley Park and got to Egypt about a year after DSM.
DSM lived in a tent for 3 years and spent 3 out of the 4 years he was there mending aircraft of one sort or another and the 4th in Cairo distributing technical bumf to all and sundry from Oman to Klagenfurth.
In Cairo, they lived on Soliman Pasha St (no 61?), near the Hotel Continental, in a block of flats with other English Service personnel on the upper floors. Harry Summers (who was one of Antony's godfathers) lived with them - he was in the RAF as an Administrator (he stayed in after the war, becoming an Air Commodore, before retiring to run a club in Regent St). They spent many afternoons at the Gezira Sporting and Racing Club1: Rosemary also frequented the Heliopolis Club (nominally only for officers, but she as a Corporal found enough officers to escort her. One of these was Stan Grant, RAF fighter pilot, who was another of Antony's god-fathers).
Rosemary managed to get out of the ATSs and, uniquely, was not sent home but taught Geography at the English School in Heliopolis.
Antony was born in the Anglo-American hospital in Cairo and has an Egyptian birth certificate to prove it.
On their return from Egypt they moved into High Elms in Mill Lane, Codsall, which had been bought by Arthur Parkes in recognition of housing Bunch and her children during the war - what he gave to one child he gave to the other.
Although the house left something to be desired the garden allowed their lifetime passion for gardening to develop. Hens, pigs and ducks were also kept and hens are kept today.
Lindley was born at High Elms and they moved to the Dower House in ..
After his cancer operation in 1973 DMS's main concern was, could he continue to cut down trees, on being told yes, he never looked back, indeed increasing arthritis, a new knee, angina and a repaired coronary artery did not stop him cutting down trees and planting his vegetables in the immaculate fruit garden.
During his convalescence he took up carpentry again and made some beautiful furniture, virtually fitting out Lindley's flat, delivering her dressing table only a month ago, with the matching stool planned. The piece de resistance was probably her Grandfather Clock, scaled down to fit into her flat easily and made out of the old oak fencing posts from the field in front of the Dower House.
Rosemary ensured they had an extremely good social life and they treasured their many friends. They were great supporters of both the local Boderlines Garden Society and NADFAS.
They made the most of being in Egypt during the war and travelled as much as possible spending Christmas 1943 in Aleppo in Syria. They never stopped travelling, Europe, the Far East, Iran, Turkey, the Caribbean (too slow for them used for convalescence ) Mexico and Guatamala, ideally flying to wherever, picking up a car and then driving themselves around, with DSM deriving as much pleasure from the planning as in the execution.
He was a mine of information, there seemed to be not limit to his knowledge from gardening, through to financial and city matters, to all things mechanical and to the useless trivia which is probably when he entered the Radio 4 Brain of Britain competition one year. He and Antony spent many happy hours pouring over car engines, discussing the intricacies of the central heating system had installed in his house near Presteigne, and of course aeroplanes.
His family meant a great deal to him, he kept in touch with all his own relations and was particularly close to his wife's nieces, spending the 6 & 7 September down in Devon with them and their children and their appendages having seen his own niece on the way down. He loved and admired his daughter in law, Alice, who fought her own declining health with such spirit. He thought the world of his grandchildren and loved being able to pop over to Shrewsbury to see Oliver row and was touched by Isabel's last letter to him when he was in hospital.
Above all he and Rosemary remained a couple, arguing of course about the unimportant things in life but never the important. Encouraging and supporting each other through life's travails, planning the next garden project, always thinking where the next holiday should be and, after a few days of doing nothing, dreaming up who to invite for supper next.
(Information from Dereck Langley, a JP&S colleague)
Having served in the armed forces during the war, Donald joined his wife's family business of Josiah Parkes & Sons Ltd, quickly establishing his presence with his strong personality and technical expertise.
During the 50s product development and factory expansion mirrored the efforts he and his team brought to a growing lock industry. He was always proud of the development of new innovative products, such as door closers and high security locks, which put the company ahead of competition when they were successfully launched. He was known by his peers, all over the world, as "Mr Locks".
It was also during the 50s and 60s that his experience ensured that the company expanded overseas with major factory development in South Africa, Nigeria and Singapore. Later, in the 70s, this development was followed by expansion in Kenya. Donald was the prime mover in these developing companies and his visits to the territories were always welcomed by the local management.
In the 1951 he had been appointed a Director of the company and 1968 saw his appointment as Assistant Managing Director; subsequently he became Managing Director and prior to his retirement in 1983 he was the Chairman.
He was well respected by everyone he dealt with, but particularly the workforce who had known him for so long - in many cases, sons and daughters of long serving employees.
On his retirement, many good wishes sent with genuine sincerity, came in from both customers and colleagues at home and abroad.
People who had worked closely with and for Donald held him in respect and affection and surely the best epitaph that can be accorded him is one which was often heard said of him. "Donald is a gentleman" - and in today's business world this surely is the ultimate compliment.
From service agreement 4 December 1968, £4885 + 1% of profits.
Made joint MD with Ted Fryer on AJP retirement, with AJP recommendation that he should join the Chubb Board. Ted Fryer was close to retirement by then and was included so as not to offend him!
DSM had a major operation for cancer of the colon in 1973, and had a colostomy (as had his mother, she survived for long after the event). He developed various heart related problems (including angina) later in life, having a pacemaker fitted in 1998. He also had a replacement knee fitted in about 1995, which was successful. He seemed to regard the body as a piece of equipment which, when it went wrong, he took to the workshop and had it fixed. He overcame all these problems and seemed indestructible, but finally died from a sudden and catastrophic heart attack late in the evening of 20/9/1999, after going up to bed for the night.
DIARY APRIL/MAY 1998
This piece, written by DSM, describes a fairly typical period in their busy retired lives. It was sent with the life history sent to Peter Garnier.
Monday April 27. Drove down to Bath to Francis Hotel for N.A.D.F.A.S. Annual Dinner but not to the A.G.M. on Tuesday because --.
Tuesday April 28. Left Bath about 0930 aiming to meet up with other members of our Garden Society at Nigel Holman's garden at Chyverton just outside Zelah. Made it by 1230 which wasn't bad for 175 miles.
Conducted tour followed by lunch at pub. Then visit to Burnecoose nursery then assemble at Budock Vean where we stay three nights.
Wednesday 29 April. Wake to pouring rain and drive to Pz. for 1000 helicopter to Tresco which lifted into cloud at about 30 feet. My first trip in a helicopter, nothing to see till we dropped out of the cloud at 30 feet into pouring rain. Not ideal for a garden visit and still raining when we left at 1600. Not quite so murky on the way back and able to spot Lamorna, Mousehole and Newlyn before arriving in the rain at Pz. and back to B.V.
Thursday 30 April. Still pouring in the morning -- visit garden at Trebah then lunch at the Pandora, Mylor Bridge by which time it had just stopped raining. Then to Trewithen still wet and muddy but bright.
Friday 1 May. Pay a somewhat alarming bill at B.V.! Depart for a garden, Pine Lodge just outside St. Austell built, largely single handed by a man who made a lot of money out of the meat business -- odd mixture! Weather totally recovered by this time and we all sat outside for lunch at The Crown at St. Ewe. p.m. most went on to Caerhays near the Nare.
This was the end of our society's three day outing and most set out for home. It's worth recording that our society is very local and limited to 28 members currently 12 couples 2 widows and a widower. An interesting lot which includes two farmers, a widow who is the proprietor of a wholesale nursery and, until very recently sold, of a garden centre, the vice chairman of the National Garden Scheme, an orthopaedic surgeon who is a considerable authority on trees and makes beautiful furniture, an American married to an Englishman for 45 years but who visits the States twice a year as she is on the governing body of her university in Iowa, etc.
Most went home but not us (and others) as we had been invited for the weekend by Philip & Ann Trevor Jones, the Garden Scheme lady to their holiday house in a marvellous situation in St. Mawes just below the castle.
Saturday 2 Nay. Visit another garden in St. Mawes and not much else.
Sunday 3 May. Return home.
Tuesday 5 May. Visit Dr. about heart where ultra sound suggests valve may need replacement. Fortunately more direct measurements in mid June prove this won't be necessary but a pacemaker may be.
6-13 May. Peace and quiet except for a jolly dinner party on 8/5. Try to catch up on 2 acre garden of our own with little help. Compose speech -- see 16 May.
Thursday 14 May. Drive down to Lymington to Memorial service of v. old friend Alan Boxer regular R.A.F. whose obituary we saw in the D.T. while in Cornwall. Known them since our sons went to St. Edmunds, Hindhead in 1953 - sons have since been best friends and indeed best men to each other. Took some time to discover that Pam Boxer's maiden name was Sword and that her brother John was in the shooting eight with us in 1936 or 37 - sadly killed in 1940. Incidentally this seems a suitable point to record that I kept up with Stan Grant in P with us. He was also regular R.A.F. Saw quite a bit of him in Egypt during 1943 and irregularly but not infrequently till he died about 8/10 years ago. He and Alan Boxer both finished up as A.V.M. had exciting wars and rated obituaries in D.T. 7
After memorial returned to Odiham to B & B (explanation follows) then to Alton for supper with friends.
Friday 15 May. Went to Saville Gardens in Windsor Gt. Park a.m. beautiful day and returned to Odiham for wedding rehearsal at 1700 of Rosemary's great niece Tasha tomorrow. R has two nieces living within a couple of miles of each other and of Odiham. Angela is bride's mother and Carol Ann her aunt and professional florist.
2100 supper in pub with an exhausted Carol Ann who had just finished flowers in church & marquee and daughter Lindley not quite so exhausted who arrived full pitch from London.
Saturday 16 May. Kept out of the way by taking daughter to Nat. Trust property which doesn't open till next Saturday! 1530 Tasha gets married. Splendid affair. I produce speech lasting 5 mins flat.
Tashas parents live next door to church v. convenient. Reception for about 150 and later supper for 50 or so including whole pig roasted on mobile spit.
Sunday 17 May. Returned home and about time too.
DSM kept a log book of his flying in the RAF: while he was not aircrew, he flew nominally as passenger, mostly around the Middle East. He said he had usually in fact flown the aircraft. His log book shows a variety of types, from the Audax and Hinds which were archaic even then to the DC3, many of which are still flying in 2006!
The routes show him flying round in the ME much of the time on "business" (including up to Syria), but some were to see RJLM in Cairo (she mentions him getting lifts in aircraft). Earlier, there are a suspicious number of flights in Tigers from RAF Sealand to Cosford and Wolverhampton, convenient for Oaken!
Anson Argus Audax
Baltimore Beaufighter Blenheim
DC3 Dragonfly Fulmar
Halifax Hart T Harvard
Hind Liberator Lysander
Magister Maryland Master 1
Oxford Piper Cub Proctor
Email: Sat, 13 Mar 2004 16:35:45 -0000
From: "Richard Harcourt" email@example.com
I came across your website via Google search engine.
My name is Richard Harcourt and I live at Newark in Nottinghamshire, UK, I'm uncertain as to your country of residence. From the late 1950's to 1980 I served as a Ground Electronics Engineer in the Royal Air Force. In the 1970's I served at 103 Maintenance Unit at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. As well as being an Electronics Engineer.
I kept in touch with a number of ex 103MU colleagues to the present day and last year saw an advert in the press for a Reunion of ex 103MU personnel. The story behind the Reunion is that 103MU was originally formed in Egypt at Aboukir in the 1920's and stayed there till the 1950's when we pulled out of Egypt and the Unit moved to RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus. Over the years it had several name changes and was disbanded a number of times, only to be resurrected always at Aboukir. It remained in Cyprus until final disbandment in 1975.
All the time the Unit was in being it was renown for its high moral, esprit de corps and very high standards in all fields of engineering. For the past twenty years the old WWII and post War Aboukir members have held an annual reunion at Birmingham. For the last couple of years with their numbers dwindling due to age (they are mostly in their 80's) they decided to invite the ex 103MU Akrotiri personnel to join them which is where I saw the advert and had a very enjoyable weekend with my wife at the Reunion which had drawn from both Aboukir and Akrotiri. Out of interest my CO at 103 in 1972-74 was W/Cdr Ron Bowers who served at 103MU during WWII as an LAC and Cpl.
1 More details about NG Maitland are found under his own section, and a more general description of life in the Far East is given by Eleanor Poole's brother, HA Poole.
2 NGM's brother was married here in 1899 - photographs are in EI Poole's albums.
3 For a description of this earthquake, see Chester Poole's "Death of the Old Yokohama"
4 Tiger Moths were the ubiquitous bi-plane trainers used during the war for ab-initios.
5 Bletchley Park was the home of the Enigma code breaking set up - well described in several books of the 1990's.
7 Daily Telegraph
8This was a popular club on an island in the Nile and popular with the ex-patriot population of Cairo: it was well described in a novel, "A woman of Cairo".
9 Of Bouncing Bomb, Dambusters fame. Antony also went to a lecture by him when at Cambridge on Engineering philosophy.
20/4/2001: added War Experience Interview.
13/3/2002: resaved from Word
23/7/2002: edited layout
14/3/2004: added history of Aboukir 103MU
15/10/2015: web frame