Part Five – Home. St.Helens : A while ago I went to Monte Camino In Italy, with my parents to visit the site of a World War Two battle in which my maternal grandfather, Eric Causey was injured. On my return I made a series of panels telling the story of his war experience. They will be shown in the Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery over the Remembrance Day weekend 2016. Previous posts told the story of the first four pieces, Home,London and North Africa and Italy and The Battle
In the last post in this series we had left my Granddad at a field hospital in Italy, waiting to be shipped home. My Granny’s account takes over from there. She was still working in London and of that time she wrote:
” I returned one evening to find a letter from my Aunt Kate back home in Edinburgh. Inside she had enclosed an airmail letter addressed to me at my home address. I can remember to this day how my heart started a ‘quick beat’ when I saw the sender’s name: Cpl. H E Causey. The news was not good. He was writing to tell me that he had been wounded and was on the way by boat to Southampton and from there would be taken to a hospital in Liverpool. He had given me his home address in St.Helens to which I wrote immediately. We were nearing the end of 1943 by the time I received further information. He was in a hospital in Childwall, one taken over for limbless ex-service men.
“Approaching Christmas, after quite a bit of bother getting leave for a long weekend I found myself on a crowded train to Liverpool. A place I had never been before but in uniform , during the war, one was usually sure to find people helpful. I truly believe that God had a hand in all that happened. A civilian lady of my age was travelling home form get employment in London and when I enquired about Childwall she said she lived near the hospital. She took me home with her that night to her parents’ home. They made me start the bight then walked me round to the gates of the hospital with strict instructions to get back to them if necessary.
On approaching the entrance to the hospital I realised it was governed by the same rule regarding visiting at special times. Having traveled up from London, I was in no way going to be turned away. I just dug my heels in until a ward Sister came to se me. When I explained the situation and whom I wanted to, see her face brightened ( I think Eric had already become a favourite of hers) and she led me into the ward and shouted out “Visitor from London to see patient Causey”. There was a tremendous roar of appreciation from all the men in the ward. Sister gave us some privacy by putting screens around Eric’s bed. I was given some refreshments and then a lunch and stayed until his father and mother arrived in the afternoon. There was great surprise all around. I can remember his father saying ‘Lad, is this the lass you spoke about?’
‘When I returned to London I realised that to make such a journey and find accommodation would be difficult. My own area of work was in the posting of personel to various stations. Why couldn’t I post myself to somewhere near Liverpool? Searching through all the information to hand I saw that Speke airport, a partly civilian station required a further Met. Assistant. I posted myself there and threatened due action if I was again recalled to Headquarters. It worked. My time of service at Speke lasted until after Eric and I were married and I received an discharge to care from my husband, now out of hospital but still in the army.”
Anyone who knows me will see from this tale where I got some of my most stubborn and resourceful qualities!! Eric and Dorothy lived with his parents in St.Helens for five years and had my Mum and Uncle. They then moved out to a new council house and Eric trained as a mental health social worker. They moved around the country with his various job promotions until he took his final job in Carlisle as Director of Social Services for Cumbria. He died just after retiring in 1982 of a heart attack. I keep a portrait of him at his desk on my bookshelf at work. Dorothy remained living in Carlisle until her death at the age of 91. I kept various of her personal possessions including her last part of Van Dahl Shoes ( her favourite make, which we use dot enjoy shopping for together) and used them to make this final piece. I am pleased to say she never lost her feistiness!