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to the hen-run, and on each egg she painted a big ‘VE’! When John, now a bright four years old and very well able to read – he could read letters of the alphabet from the age of eighteen months or so – ran down the garden on his customary job of collecting the hens’ output, he was amazed to find they had laid their eggs with the mark of this great day already on them! In the evening, Kath, Len and the two girls, Mary and Celia, went off to their church, Holy Trinity in Rugby and I was left to look after the boys now both sound asleep in their beds. Then the ’phone rang. It was Tom! There was no thought now of waking little Colin but I thought John was old enough to understand what all the excitement meant, and I could hardly wait to tell the family the great news when they got in from church. We looked up the trains from Oxford, and decided we knew when Tom would arrive at Rugby Station. There he was, very brown and sunburned, no cap, brown boots, unpressed uniform, much thinner than when I had last seen him, and needing a haircut. He had lost a stone and a half. My war was over.


I must just add a footnote. We had a date fixed, a date which fell immediately


after Tom’s disappearance, for Colin’s christening which, at the earnest request of Tom’s parents and particularly of his mother, was to take place at the Presbyterian Church in Alfred Street, Oxford, for they were long-standing members of the Presbyterian Church in Redcar, which Tom himself had attended as a boy, and where his father had been Session Clerk and organist for many years. My mother-in-law had been keen that Colin should be named after his father and, indeed, after her own father, Tom Sheldon, but I had resisted, for both Tom and I had liked the sound of ‘Colin’, and ‘Leonard’ had been added which, we hoped, would be pleasing to my brother. Then came the dire news of the events of March 15th. Grandma Kilpatrick was at me straight away. She was now insistent that the baby, now four and a half months old, should be christened ‘Tom’, or rather ‘Thomas’, like his perhaps defunct father and his maternal grandfather. I had to agree. Baby had been registered at birth as ‘Colin Leonard’, but he had not been baptised with any name as yet, and the Birth Certificate could be altered, as indeed I subsequently arranged. But I refused to give up my own choice of names, and the baby was accordingly burdened with all three and duly christened at that Presbyterian Church, his paternal grandparents in attendance, with the names ‘Thomas Colin Leonard.’ Our grandchildren may be interested in this recital, for it is the explanation of why all Colin’s numerous children have no less and no more than three initials each!


And I must tell you that grandma Davies’s crack about ‘mistaken identity’ is purely apocryphal. The two of them loved each other! – AMK


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