Family Backstory

On this page you will find out about the Haines family history. I will post photos including stories and an explanation of those photos. You will be able to follow the backstory of our family from early beginnings. The latest posts will appear at the top of the page.

I am very happy to announce that from this week 30/04/21 that one of the three Backstory posts each week will be from my Godmum and Aunt Carol. Carol has long helped me with these posts, however I felt it was time she had one of the three weekly posts. The Carden family and the Haines family were always very close, and now we can show the whole story.

The Magical New Forest

One of our most successful and eventful family holidays was when we visited the New Forest. Now if you haven’t had the opportunity to visit the New Forest, I will tell you a little about it.

The New Forest in southern England, and is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most visited tourist attractions

Some New Forest families still practise their ancient Rights of Pasture by turning out their ponies, cattle, sheep, and pigs to graze and browse the open forest. These animals help to maintain the forests unique landscape. One special highlight is the thousands of wild ponies, which roam freely in the woodlands and open moorland. The New Forest has a wonderful collection of plants, birds, and insects.

The New Forest is full of history, myths, and legends it almost seems magical. It is beautiful and calming although not always as you shall see.

We took the caravan and awning to a campsite near Brockenhurst. Our first surprise was to see some of the wild ponies wandering round the site. As you can see, they were very curious and not at all afraid of the comings and goings on the site.

Beside the site was a river, where you could fish and swim, which David and I did a lot. However, the best thing was hunting crayfish, you had to have lightning reactions. David and I spent hours hunting these wee creatures. At the end of the day, we would put them all back in the river to swim away. If I only knew what a delicacy crayfish are, in those days they were just a novelty.

One night we had the most torrential thunderstorm. The rain was that hard and heavy that the awning and very nearly the caravan was flooded. Dad was digging drainage channels frantically whilst I was grabbing floating belongings and equipment. In the end Dad had to hitch the caravan up and with neighbouring campers helping to hold the awning in place, move the whole kit and caboodle to higher ground. We had to stay a few extra days so that the awning had time to dry out.

Away We Went.

Whilst we were at the New Forest, we took the opportunity to travel and see the sights in and around the New Forest.

We visited Whipsnade Zoo, it is massive, or was at that time. I think it is still going. I loved and still do love going to zoos, and Whipsnade is one of the better ones. You can certainly rack up those steps wandering the zoo and seeing all the animals. I seem to remember it had a great reptile house.

Some of you may remember my Mum was a WRN, (Women’s Royal Navy), known as Wrens. Mum served at HMNB Portsmouth, so of course we visited, and Mum showed us her old stomping grounds. We went aboard the HMS Victory, which is still listed as a Royal Navy ship, although now it is a museum. That really was a great day with us ending it on a Portsmouth harbour bat tour. Seeing all the RN ships at berth was great.

The National Motor Museum, Beaulieu was on our must-see list. David Dad and I all loved cars and bikes especially old ones. It had been a pipedream of Dad and mine to restore an old broken-down car. Unfortunately, a pipedream it remained and will do as cars these days are so complex computer systems rather than good old engineering.

In the bottom left of the last photo you can see some record-breaking land speed cars. Sir Douglas Campbell’s Bluebird is a main attraction at the museum.

Overall, the holiday was like pretty much all our holidays a great success. We didn’t have much money to spend however what we did have was time and family. Every night we would play cards or a family game before we went to bed. In the caravan it was a bunk bed system for David and me, so you can imagine the fun I had tickling him.

I think these years we have been covering recently were my golden years. I was old enough to enjoy the sightseeing and appreciate my family. I had no cares, no wants, and no worries.

Not a Good Start.

1976 did not start too good.  I was unwell and in February was in hospital for 3 weeks, then a convalescent hospital for 2 weeks.  My mum and dad then stayed for a week to help me settle back home, and I was then soon A1 and back to work.

On 9th June Stuart was awarded an Air Officer Commanding’s Commendation in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in recognition of his work as SNCO in charge of the propulsion tradesmen of the Scheduled Servicing Flight.

 June saw us going down to St Athens to stay with the Haines family.  It was a lovely time, the weather was brilliant lovely and hot.  I remember Mary (mike’s mum) and I deciding to start to get a tan.    Mary and I were laying out in the garden sunbathing, unfortunately we had also used fake tan cream, the result was lots of streaks which took ages to get rid of.  We also all went to Barry Island and got hooked on a tennis game in the Amusement Arcade, which pleased Frances, Mike and David.  We spent all day having competitions and a final championship – there were a lot of 10p spent that day, and a lot of stiff necks from moving side to side watching the games.

Again Stuart was out and about  as he joined a team canoeing the lochs of Scotland.  He had to train first on how to roll with the canoe,  etc   He admitted the days of canoeing were hard but said the worst loch was Loch Ness, it was quite eerie with the shadows of the clouds, wind and rain.

We decided to move up the property ladder and were again on the move. We had sold the house in Garforth and bought a detached bungalow on the edge of Swillington, nr Leeds.  The Haines all came up to help us move.  We all had our cleaning and unpacking jobs, Poor Mary (Mike’s mum) got the short straw and was assigned to cleaning the oven (which she remembered when they moved house!!!).

Later Stuart was given a 1 year transfer to MOD Harrogate. He was to lead a small team of airmen and civilians gathering information throughout the RAF, Navy, and Army and compiling, correcting, coding information and programming results for Automatic Data Processing. 

The Cornish Adventure

After the Haines and Carden’s had been in different parts of the world and were all back in the UK we decided to have a good holiday to relax and enjoy each other's company again.

Chris and Mary (Mike's Mum and Dad) had sold the tent they had in Germany and on their return to the UK had bought a second-hand caravan and awning.  After many discussions it was decided that our holiday would be camping in Cornwall.  Still living miles apart, we arranged to meet the Haines at a motorway service station, we were in our trusty VW Beetle (packed with tent, etc.) and the Haines were in their Hillman Avenger towing their caravan.  With Chris setting the pace with the caravan and us following we headed to Cornwall, to a campsite near Mevagissey.  From the A390 we were to take a turn left to Mevagissey. Unfortunately, we took the first turn left and started downhill where the road started to get very narrow.  We 'realised' that no caravans were allowed, and they would not get down this road.  Stuart made a 'several point turn' and went back up to stop any cars from coming down.  Chris then reversed back up the hill to a point where the road was a bit wider.  We then all pitched in to unhook the caravan and manhandled it around, then Chris also made a 'several point turn' with the car and squeezed passed the caravan.  We hooked the caravan back up and returned to the A390, luckily there was no traffic trying to get down the road, and we were able to take the right left turn to Mevagissey.  What a way to start our holiday.

After Mike cut his ankle and Chris and Stuart had got Mike up the cliff and to hospital in Chris's car it was all actions go - Mary (Mike's Mum), David, Myself (Carol) and Frances collected all our things together and carried then up the cliff path got them packed into the Beetle and went back to the campsite to await Chris, Stuart and Mike back from the hospital.  It did not stop us all going down, many times, to the beach and having great fun playing and swimming in the sea.  As Mike's grandad used to say ' We were blessed with weather' and we made full use of the sun and heat.

Apart from the few mishaps it was a perfect holiday we were all together as family/friends enjoying our time together.

Carol Carden.

The Fun and Drama in the Sun.

As you can see, we still loved a good rough and tumble with Dad. It really was the thing that David and I loved best. Since we were still on holiday with Carol, Stuart and Frances, my cousin joined in with the fun and games.

The five of us travelled the length and breadth of Cornwall seeing as many of the sights as we could and of course the ice-cream and cream scones, mmmm lovely. We visited the iconic Jamaica Inn, scene of many good film and story.

The beach pictured in the bottom photo was at the bottom of a very steep cliff, some of it ivy covered. A long steep path took you to the carpark at the top. I had gone exploring and was climbing part of the cliff. Mum shouted at me to return as I was getting too high.

When I returned Mum let out a yell and asked me what had I done? Looking down there was a great big cut in my ankle. The blood was pouring out. It needed hospital treatment. Dad put a hanky over the cut, slung me over his shoulder and with Stuart joining him started off for the carpark. Stuart and Dad became superheroes that day. It was extremely hot and the cliff very steep. Swapping me over between them, they carried me to the car and took me to the hospital where I got stitches, patched up and sent on my way. It turned out that someone had thrown a glass bottle at the cliff and it had got caught up in the ivy. I still have the scar to this day. To this day I am still amazed at both my Dad and Stuart’s endurance and strength because they didn’t just walk, they ran and whilst carrying me in a fireman’s lift with my leg stuck in the air.

You can see how far up Stuart and Dad had to carry me in the third of Carol’s photos. It was a steep steep path.

Still, it was a wonderful holiday.

Remember Summer of 76?

The Summer of 76 was a scorcher, from the beginning to the end. Mum and dad had sold the tent we had in Germany and on our return to the UK, had bought a second-hand caravan and an awning for it. So, after chatting with Carol and Stuart, it was decided to join up in a camping holiday in Cornwall.

Carol, Stuart, and Frances my cousin, met us at a motorway service station. They had their trusty VW Beetle and Mum, Dad, David, and I were in our Hillman Avenger and on the back was our new caravan. The Carden’s were in their tent and we were in the caravan. That first trip was a learning experience for us all. It was David’s job to wheel the water barrel over to the fill-up point. My job was to wheel it back and connect it to the caravan.

As I said the Summer of 76 was a stormer, such warm weather. Frances, David, and I spent most of the Summer in our swimmies. The three of us got on like a house on fire. It really was the most idyllic Summer.

Getting the Miles In.

Stuart was still enjoying his walking and on 3rd October 1974 with a team of airmen walked ‘The Lyke Wake Walk’ his time being 13hr 20min.   When some friends decided to walk the North York Moors Route of Dales on the 26th October Stuart was with them. 

At the end of 1974 Stuart was posted from RAF Church Fenton where he worked on training aircraft, to RAF Leeming where he worked on servicing and rectification of gas turbine and piston aircraft engines.

Again he had the opportunity to join a RAF walking team. Not content with walking the Lyke Wake Walk in October when the team from RAF Leeming asked him to join them on 17th January 1975, he was keen to try and beat his time on his previous walk and did so by 17 mins.  Later in 1975 he walked with the team on the ‘Hadrian’s Wall - Coast to Coast’ walk which took 5 days.

We still went on our regular visits to my mum and dad, but if Stuart was walking or working weekends Frances (our daughter) and myself would still go.  With Frances at school, myself in full time administrative work and Stuart with the RAF it was usually the weekends when we visited.

Carol Carden.

Cardiff, What a City.

As you can see from the previous post, we now had a dog in tow. Sheila was what my described as a Heinz 57 breed. At that time Heinz had 57 different types of tinned food. Sheila was a dog you could say that came from very mixed parentage. Sheila was however a very good-natured dog, enjoyed playing with David and myself and had cemented her place in the family.

We had a number of favourite places to go as a family. Cardiff was a delight, a great place to visit and plenty to see. I was lucky enough to visit Cardiff on a GAU tour in 2019 and it is still very much the same. Lovely people, lovely sights. We visited the castle quite a bit. They had and still do have all sorts of events at the castle grounds including concerts.

Out other favourite place to go was the Brecon Beacons. As a family we loved hiking in the Brecon’s. The views are incredible, I am sure may of our readers would agree. The last photo is the Mum, David, and I on the top of Pen y-Fan.

Another of favourite places was Barry Island. Barry beach is a great place to hunt for fossils. I still have (somewhere). If we were lucky, we went home to St Athan via Llantwit-Major. There was a great bakery there that sold sausage rolls and the most magnificent cakes. That would be our treat.

Wandering in Wales.

Late on in 1975 my Dad, Chris, received another posting. Due to his work on the Vintage Pair, he was posted onto a Maintenance Unit responsible for keeping the Battle of Britain Flight’s Lancaster serviceable. This was on a base in South Wales, RAF ST. Athan. So as on many occasions we packed all our belongings and headed for new horizons.

Since now as I was of an age to help around the house Mum and Dad brought in a child labour policy. I am joking, I can remember that feeling of pride as Mum and Dad trusted me with doing the dishes and making a cuppa. I did once spill a boiling kettle of water all down my leg. Dad picked me up and dunked me clothes and all in a bath of lukewarm water. I was taken to the base medical centre to get checked out. No real harm done, just a harsh lesson learnt.

The married quarter (military family house) we were in had been relatively newly built. Many of the quarters had been built during the 40’s and 50’s, and quickly at that. Our quarter was the most modern we had ever lived in. If I remember right, it was 32 Livingstone Way.

As you can see from our school photo David’s cheeky grin only increased. It was good times.

Back to the UK.

In 1974 Mum and Dad packed up our house in RAF Bruggen in Germany, and headed back to the UK. We first stayed for a while with my Nana and Grandad.

Dad got a dream posting onto the RAF display team at RAF Little Rissington The Vintage Pair. The Gladiator (left) and the Vampire were brought back into display service to display at airshows across the UK and beyond.

This was a very very happy time for my Dad. I can remember sitting in the cockpit of both these aircraft after Dad had sneaked me onto camp.

We were assigned a married quarter which was to be our home until Dad got another posting.

As you can see David's blonde hair and his charming ways even had the birds coming down out of the trees for him. He really was a charmer.

Venice Was & Is Amazing.

There are so many things to see and do in Venice. The city is truly beautiful. These days spent in Venice were the start of a love affair for me, with Venice and the destination for a good few trips in later life. It has always been a dream of my adult life to visit Venice during the famous and infamous Carnival.

So back to 1973 we were in St Marks Square in Venice, the centre point of the city. Mum was desperate for the loo so we had to stop at a café in the square. We had soft drinks for David and I and coffee for Mum and Dad. I can’t remember how much it cost but I do know that for a few days we were on very much reduced rations. The shock of the bill stayed with Mum and Dad for many years.

Even back in 1973 it was very easy to be ripped off.

Lido De Jesolo 1973

In the June of 1973 we had a camping holiday with our tent in Lido De Jesolo in NE Italy. The main intention was to visit Venice to see the beautiful architecture, visit the museums and galleries.

We did however visit all over the area with a good few days spent soaking up the gorgeous sun. For both David and I it was idyllic time. Swimming in the sea, making sandcastles and our trips to iconic Venice.

The Carden's First Home.

With Mam, Dad, David and me still in Germany Stuart settled into RAF Church Fenton, and by mid 1973 Stuart and Carol had decided that it was time to put down roots and bought their first house in Garforth, Nr Leeds.  They had camp chairs to start with and trays to hold their plates and cups until they could get some furniture.

They were only 45 mins from my Nana and Grandad who were able to visit Carol and Stuarts often giving advice and help.  Also Stuart, Carol and Frances were able to visit them often.  A regular visit was on either Saturday or Sunday when Stuart went walking with my Grandad and Carol would take my Nana and Great Aunt Jenny (who lived nearby) out in the car for a scenic drive usually ending with them going for tea and cakes or ice-cream.  My Grandad was a great walker and Stuart once told me that when Carol and him started courting my Grandad asked Stuart if he fancied a wee walk, when they got back home, a few hours later, Stuart said to Carol - if that was a WEE walk what's his LONG walk.

Loved Seeing Family

This photo is another of my personal favourites. It typifies David and i’s love of fun, games and mischief. Mum and Dad always had a sense of fun, they always had their way of showing their love.

It was always good to see family and friends, whether it be camping with, doing touristy things or staying at our home. When the visitors went home and dad was home we still did lots . There were plenty of day trips to zoos, cities and attractions.

One of our favourite things to do was our family walks. There was a lovely perimeter track round the site at RAF Bruggen. The woodland around the camp were full of wildlife and interesting things to find. We did give Mum and Dad the fright of their lives once when David or I (can’t remember who) found an unspent blank round. Don’t think I have seen Dad move so fast to get it out of our hands.

Nana & Grandads Visit.

Once when my Nana and Grandad came to visit us, we took them to De Efteling. We met them at the ferry in Rotterdam and then to a hotel for the next evening. The following day it was off to De Efteling. They loved it and really entered into the spirit of the place.

You can see David and I listening to the toadstools that were dotted all over the park. You could here music if you put your ear tothem.

As you can see my Nana and Grandad were up for a laugh. Normally quite dignified and reserved on occasions they would let their hair down.

The park took fairy tales and using animatronics would bring them to life in the most amazing way.

They Took The Long Way Home.

At the the end of October l972 Stuart's posting to Cyprus came to an end.  Instead of flying back to England the family decided to come home by sea and land.  They boarded a ship, along with their car as cargo, and set off from Limassol Cyprus to Venice Italy.  The voyage took 6 days calling at Turkey, various Greek Islands, the Greek Mainland and cruising and stopping along the coast to Venice.  A highlight of the journey was sailing through the Corinth Canal.  On reaching Venice they unloaded the car from the ship and travelled up through Italy over the Brenner Pass through Germany to RAF Bruggen (nr Dusseldorf) to stay  5 days with my Mam, Dad, David and me. They were meeting David for the first time and it was so lovely all being together again and catching up on all the news.  They then continued their journey to England where Stuart had his next posting in Yorkshire.  They were pleased about this as they were not too far from my Grandad and Nana.

Just before leaving Cyprus Stuart was told he had been put forward for a Commendation and 31 December l972 he received a letter saying he had been awarded a Commendation in the New Year's List of Honours and Awards in recognition of his hard work at RAF Akrotiri.

Amazing De Efteling

Not too far from Rotterdam in the Netherlands there was, and sill is the most amazing fantasy themed fun park called De Efteling. I still to this day have the most wonderful memories of this amazing park. It took fairy tales and turned them into attractions. It was a place of wonder and awe for kids like David and myself.

Amongst the amazing attractions, all over the parks were these goblins with massive, big mouths. If you put your rubbish in them, they said ‘Danke Schoen’ (thank you). It really was a wonderland.

I hear that there has been a lot of changes of course since I was last there however when and if I have Grandchildren, I will be taking them there

Crimbo 1971

The Christmas of 1971 seemed to me to be our best ever Christmas. It might have been my young age at the time however I remember it as being perfect. Mum and Dad must have been earning more or the exchange was more favourable because we seemed to have more presents than ever before.

Dad was a big fan of motor racing and because my hero loved so did I. I was at the age that my Dad was my hero in everything. Mum and Dad had got me a really pedal powered go kart. I loved it. I had a crash helmet and everything. I had the go-kart for a good few years and must have done miles in it. David got a red tractor on which he turned into a demon.

You know when you go through your memories and photos and there are if you lucky those iconic times when the world seemed to be so wonderful, this is one of mine.

You can just about see David behind the cracker on the Christmas Dinner photo. Mum turned out the best dinners. We always ate before the Queen’s speech, then after the speech David, Dad and I would tidy up and then a family walk before a film on the telly.

Cardens in Cyprus.

Meanwhile Stuart, Carol and Frances were enjoying the beautiful Island of Cyprus.  Stuart had been posted to RAF Akrotiri where he worked on Lightnings on QRA (Quick Reaction Alert). The Island at this time was not divided so they were able to travel the whole Island enjoying the history, food, sun and sand, and the beautiful scenery.  My Grandad and Nana could not travel so far to Cyprus but Stuart's sister and husband, and nephew and girlfriend were able to visit.  Stuart started to walk and hill walk with his friend Alan, and really enjoyed this.  He continued with the walking for many years.  Carol and Frances with Alan's wife and children would at these times go to beach with other friends. Stuart and Alan told me they had achieved an ambition on Xmas Day 1971, they went to Troodos the highest point in Cyprus played in the snow then got in the car and drove down to the coast and swam in the sea. It was not all play Stuart was working long hours on Lightning Jets keeping them ready for immediate flight.  Carol did voluntary work at the Naafi HQ making sure that families had provisions until their furniture etc arrived from England.  There was a small cafe attached which was always busy.

In January 1971 Stuart and his tech team were presented to the then Prime Minister Edward Heath on his visit to Cyprus.

Nightly Routine

Being in the Royal Air Force or any of the Armed Forces is not a nine to five job. We never knew when Dad would appear, he worked until the mission was done. There were times when Dad was gone for days and even weeks. This was and is normal in the Armed Forces, mission always comes first, sometimes he would get a message home and sometimes not.

Every night when Dad came home from work the routine was the same. After dinner David and I would have a fight on the floor with Dad. Dad would slowly strip us and then give us a cuddy ride up the stairs for a bath. Both David and I loved this routine and could not get enough of it.

I never realised the thinking behind this routine until I had my own boys. The whole idea was to tire us out before bed. When my boys came along way way into the future I did the same.

Off To Germany.

Dad received a posting to RAF Bruggen in Germany in 1971. Another exciting stay for my family. We loved Germany. Mum and Dad bought a brand new car, a Hillman Avenger. This was Dad's pride and joy, this was his first and last brand new car.

Mum and Dad also bought a second-hand family tent. We spend oh so many nights under it's roof, all over Europe. This was our home from home. At a drop of a hat Mum and Dad would pack up clothes, food and kit and we would take off.

A Mischievous Wee So&So

David, was turning into this bright, sunny disposition bairn. He could charm anyone with his smile. He seemed to have no fear and would go and explore needing Mum, Dad and I to have eyes in the backs of our heads.

He was as I said bright and cheerful, however on those rare occasions when he was not happy he let everyone in hearing distance know.

Family Always Around.

That New Year we had visits not only from Nana and Grandad, (my Mum's parents) also a rare visit from some of Dad's family. Starting off with the lady looking at us, with black hair is Dad's sister Maud, then my Nana and then you can just see the top of Maud's husband Tom, grandad is next, the my cousin Tom (he was a hero to me at that age). Sitting next to Tom is my Grandmother Lillian, then me and Mum. Dad was taking the photo.

Birthdays & Christmas 1970.

My birthday and our Christmas that year were joyous occasions, I was still totally besotted with my new wee brother.

Mum and Dad always gave David and I as good a birthday and Christmas as they could. Money was tight in those days, however there were presents to open and of course I had my new wee brother.

Happy as Larry.

David rapidly became my best friend as well as being my brother. With that twinkle in his eye and that charm of a smile he was a favourite with everyone and I was only too happy to be his big brother.

My Nana and Grandad were only too pleased to have another Grandson as well. The four of us had many trips to both my Grandparents and my Aunt Carol and Uncle Stu's.

New Addition.

The reason why we had returned to the UK was that my Mum was expecting. On the 9th of May 1970, my wee brother David arrived. It was the best thing ever. I still remember holding him for the first time. I had a brother, FANTASTIC. He was christened David Cawthorne Haines. He was noisy, smelly and I loved him.

Goodbye to The Orient.

Early in 1970 we said goodbye to the Far East and flew back to the UK. Dad had been posted to another base RAF Leconfield as he finished his tour.

Carol and Stuart were still in Cyprus but our plane stopped at RAF Akrotri, Cyprus to refuel and we were allowed off the plane for a couple of hours so were able to meet up with Carol, Stuart and Frances before having to reboard and continue our journey to England.

It was great to catch-up with family. Here I am getting a shave from my Grandad. What I didn't know there was an ulterior motive for our return to the UK.

Hazy Memories

Unfortunately I have only hazy memories of that time. I know it was a time of happiness for Mum, Dad and me. I can though still remember our visit to the Tiger Balm Gardens in Singapore and also a separate trip to see The Sleeping Buddha.

Explore We Did.

As with everywhere we were based, Mum and Dad took every opportunity to explore. Mum and Dad always taught David and I to respect other peoples culture and faith and to learn from them.

All Change.

There were so many changes to our way of life. You can just see me in the top photo at the fence of our house. This was a very happy time for our family. Full of new sights, sounds, tastes, smells.

CasEvaccing.

CasEvaccing is Casualty Evacuation. Injured American troops were being evacuated from the Vietnam conflict and then onto the USA. Dad was part of the team that kept the Blackburn Beverleys serviceable.

Off to the Far East.

In 1968 Dad was posted out to Malaya and then Singapore. This was the start of a real adventure for all the family as we accompanied Dad.

In 1969 Stuart was posted to Cyprus so again the family were miles apart, but with letters and photos, Nana and Grandad, Carol and Stuart, and Mum and Dad were able to keep in touch.

Family Outings.

Abingdon was a special place for my family. There were plenty of visits from Carol, Stuart and Frances and from my Nana and Grandad.

Mum and Dad took every opportunity to get out and about and explore wherever we were based.

Dad to the Rescue.

As any servicemen or woman will tell you, even to this day, you don't join up for the money. We didn't have much money at home, so Dad set about making toys for me. I can fondly remember that Dad made me a garage that I played with for hours and was eventually passed down to my own boys, both of them.

Family Get Togethers.

With Stuart and my Dad in the RAF getting time off together was sometimes difficult, however when we could we would meet up and enjoy the company.

Ok I apologise for the unreservedly cute photo of me. Not my usual photo as friends and family will tell you. All I can say in my defence is that I didn't know what I was doing.

Down to Abingdon

In the summer of 1967 the three of us travelled down to Abiingdon, Oxfordshire. Dad had been posted onto 47 Squadron which were flying the Blackburn Beverley. The Beverley was to become Dad's favourite aircraft.

Happy Childhood.

It seems from what my family have told me, I was a happy child. I loved riding on the carpet sweeper and playing with my duck as I sat on the potty. I slept well from an early age, (wish I could do that so easily now).

Close as Kin.

My Dad, Chris, had left home at an early age and only really kept in contact with his sister Maud. Jock became a Father figure to my Dad, and to Stuart as well. Jock and Barbara, my Grandparents accepted Chris and Stuart into the family and treated them as sons.

Pleased As Punch.

My Grandparents Barbara and Jock were to become important fixtures all through my life and even to this day although both have long passed on.

I inherited Jock's family name of Ballantyne which has been in our line for generations.

It's A Boy.

On the 22nd of June 1966, Mary and Chris became Mum and Dad with the arrival of their son Michael Ballantyne Haines, that's me if you are wondering. Mum and Dad were very much hands on parents although they had no idea of the rollercoaster they were on.

My Dad had to go on a 10 day detachment and because Mum was near the end of the pregnancy Stuart and Carol travelled from Yorkshire to stay with my Mum. The night before my Dad was due back home Mum went into labour. A very anxious and nervous Stuart got my Mum and Carol in the back seat of the car, and with Mum giving directions Stuart drove down dark, country lanes to get my Mum to Hospital. Dad arrived at the hospital the next day in time for my birth.

Family Christmas.

Carol, Stuart and Frances returned from Germany in January 1965 and at last the whole family could all get together for Christmas 1965 at my nana and grandad's house, and to share some good news.

Scotland Bound.

Mum retired from the WRNs so she could marry Chris. Shortly after their wedding Chris was posted to RAF Leuchars, Fife, Scotland. Chris was to serve on the 43Sqn Hunters and then the Lightnings.

Holiday with the Cardens.

September 1963 saw my mum going to Germany to stay with Carol, Stuart and Frances to tell them the good news about meeting Chris again and that they planned to marry that December. My mum did not see much of Germany as Stuart had planned for them all to drive down to Spain on a camping holiday.

Return To Dishforth.

After Chris's tour of the Far East had been completed he returned to RAF Dishforth.

He soon picked up where he left off, bike out of storage and met a young lady. They were at the dancing in Ripon when Chris stumbled and knocked into another couple. It was Mary and her escort. Their eyes met and their affection rekindled. They were soon courting (going out together for those too young) again and their love flourished. They got engaged and were married on the 21st of December 1963.

& The Time of His Life

Chris loved a laugh with his pals and certainly whilst out in the Far East enjoyed the sights, sounds, and food.

Time of Her Life.

Mary loved her time in the WRNS. Mary made lots of friends and travelled all over with the Navy.

Living the Dream.

Both Mary and Chris lamented the breakdown of their relationship for a while. Then like many others put behind them and got on with life.

Being out in the Far East was an adventure for Chris. The sights, sounds and tastes were all very different.

The Cardens' in Germany.

Stuart was posted to Germany October 1961 and Carol, with Frances, joined him in December 1961. The foursome Carol, Stuart, Mum and Dad were miles apart from each other but the friendships remained.

In September l962 Nana and Grandad went to Germany for a stay with Carol, Stuart, and Frances and toured all over Germany.

The Glorious 12th.

On the 12th August 1961 Carol and Stuart's daughter arrived. Frances was to be my cousin in a few years time. Frances and myself were very close for many many years and then as life moved on we slowly drifted apart.

Service Tradition.

My Mum, Mary had set her sights on different pastures than a factory. In early 1961 Mum joined the Women's Royal Navy (WRNS). Mum took to the life like a duck to water and eventually rose to the rank of Chief Petty Officer.

There is a long history in my family of service in the Armed Forces.

1960 What a Year.

1960 was an eventful year. My dad being posted to the Middle East, Carol and Stuart got married (August) and my mum decided to join the WRENS, something she had wanted to do for a long time. The picture shows my grandad on the left and my nana 2nd on the right, my mum (Mary) was maid of honour

The Split.

Chris and Mary had a break up of their relationship when in 1960 my Dad went on a posting out to Hong Kong. They tried for a while to keep their relationship going however being on the other side of the world did not help. Chris went on to Malaysia, Singapore and Bahrain.

Stuart on Lightnings

Here is an early photo of Stuart working on a 11Sqn British Electric Lightning. Stuart had signed up as a RAF Apprentice and like Chris served for many many years all over the world.

The Working Man.

Dad (Chris) had joined the Royal Air Force as an aircraft engines mechanic. Dad completed his 22 years engagement retiring from the RAF as a Flight Sergeant. Dad like many others in the forces saw service all over the world.

Gabby as he was nicknamed in the RAf can be seen here with Geoff working on a Javelin.

Off on the Bike.

Mum and Dad travelled miles all over the country, far and wide on his motorbike. They enjoyed the cinema and going to the dancing although the dancing was very different in their day.

Their First Meeting.

My Dad, Chris, was posted to a RAF station near Ripon. He and his friends loved going out to the dances that were held in the area. At one of those dances in 1959 my Dad and my Mum met. The start of a wonderful romance and many years together. Like all marriages, some great times, many good times and the occasional bad times.

It was at the Dance Hall (when with my dad and mum) that mum's sister Carol met my dad's friend Stuart. The two sisters and the two RAF lads (Chris and Stuart) became firm and everlasting friends, and my grandparents home became the home they all kept returning to.

Duty in Dishforth

You can see my Dad, Chris, kneeling second on the right and Stuart his mate right in the center just above the knee. They worked hard and they played hard. Both had bikes and toured the area.

Family Tradition.

My Dad, Herbert Cawthorne Haines, (Chris)' left home as early as he could and following his family tradition joined HM Forces. Dad, (Chris) joined the Royal Air Force. He served in the RAF for 22years.

My family are very proud of our service to our country. It means a lot to this day.

Dad was posted to RAF Dishforth and met a Stuart Carden - became friends and like many of the Airmen they both loved to go dancing in Ripon

The Move to Ripon.

On 2nd Jan. 1959 the whole family moved to Ripon a market town in Yorkshire. Ripon was the family home and, not only being close, my mum and Carol were also then best friends enjoying dancing, music and reading. The photo was taken in 1958 a few months before the move.

Ripon was to change my mum and Carol's lives - both loved dancing and it was at the Dance Hall, that my mum met my dad for the first time.

Ferryhill Rebuild.

The post war years in Ferryhill were good for the Richards family, although as with everyone money was tight. Both Mary and Carol grew into their teenage years with both their parents. Both the sisters were capable, independent young ladies.

Mary went to work in a factory helping to bring money into the home. Carol was able to go to college to study secretarial services when she left school.

They both had their own friends and with 5 years between them different 'social' pastimes, but were very close with my mum 'keeping an eye on Carol'. This picture shows them shoveling coal (which had been unloaded on the road) into buckets and carrying the coal to the coal house.

Destination Durham.

After losing almost all their possessions my Nana Barbara and Carol went to pick up my Mum Mary, from Wellingborough and headed to the mining village of Ferryhill in County Durham. When my Grandad Jock returned from Burma, where he served in the Army, he was de-mobbed in 1946. The family was reunited in Ferryhill.

My Mum had been with my Grandad and Nana from when she was born in 1934 until grandad went into the Army but Carol was only a few months old so did not remember him at all. When he came home and my mum very excited went to tell Carol (who was playing outside) that daddy had come home, she did not want to meet a strange man and was not impressed

Blitzed and Bombed

My mum Mary stayed in Wellingborough when my Nana Barbara, returned to London with Mary's baby sister Carol. Mum always said the Cooper's treated her as family and whilst missing her own family, it could have been much worse.

Back in London after a night spent in the London Underground sheltering from a Nazi bombing raid. Barbara and daughter Carol returned home, only to find they had nothing left. Their home had been destroyed.

Evacuation.

Thousands of children were evacuated from London during The Blitz during World War 2. My mum was one of the many. Mum ended up in Wellingborough with the Cooper family. Mum was with the Coopers for nearly two years.

Carol, Mary's younger sister stayed with Barbara in London.

Burma Bound.

After Dunkirk and then the Japanese entering into WWII, Jock was shipped out with his battalion to first India and then onto Burma. Whilst in Burma he fought alongside the Chindit hill tribes.

Barbara Richards, Jock's wife, my Nana, started working in a factory for the war effort. Barbara, her daughters Mary, my mum, and Carol, (born 25.12.1939) were living in London near Finsbury Park.

Back from Dunkirk.

It's 1939 and like many young men of the time my Grandad, James Ballantyne Richards, (Jock) volunteered. He served in the Army and was shipped out as part of the British Expeditionary Force in France in response the the Nazis.

As you can see he was safely evacuated from Dunkirk to his family's relief.

Sowerby Bridge 1937

My Dad was born in 1937 to Lillian and Frederick Haines in the town of Sowerby Bridge in Yorkshire. My Grandpa a fireman, died during a Second World War bombing raid. I never knew my Grandpa, my Grandma Lillian died in 1980. We had many family visits to her in Devizes.

Not long after this photo had been posted, I received an email from a cousin I never knew I had. It seems that all I knew of my Dad's family was pretty much wrong. Dad never talked much about his family and asking him questions about his folks always felt like prying.

Way Back When. 1933 London

I am often asked about my family's story. So this is the start of a series of posts all about my family. Below is the first photo of my Mum in 1935. Mum was born In London in 1934. My grandparents at that time were in service to gentry. Jock (James) my Grandad was a butler and my Nana (Barbara) was lady's maid.

My grandad and Nana often told stories of their time in Service.

Their employer often gave parties and hosted events. At one such party The Lady decided to wear her very very expensive necklace of black pearls. They returned from the party very late and she gave the necklace to my nana (Barbara) and told her to keep it under her pillow until it could be returned to the bank the following day. Just in case they were burgled!!!

Another time the Lady gave a party at the Savoy Hotel. She arranged with the Manager that James (my grandad) have access to the kitchens so that he could make his delicious potato crisps for the party as she only ate the crisps he made.

After Mary (my mum) was born they left their present employment, Grandad to work for the Post Office and Nana to be at home with Mary

7

Ferryhill to Rebuild.