My parents were Ethel Emily Weguelin ‘nee Turner’ and Charles Bernard Luz Weguelin.
Both born at the turn of the century and married around 1920.
The Luz part of my fathers surname is a bit of a mystery , some of the family are named as such, and others are just plain Weguelin.
It seemed to start when one of the Wegelin’s in Germany, married Jacobina Lutz.
From then on Luz Wegelin was used, this was then changed to Luz Weguelin when two brothers arrived in England around 1720—I believe they were Huguenots chased out of France in a religious dispute with the King—they settled in Spitalgates in London.
The mystery of the Luz part of the name continued when my brother Bernard was the only one of us who was named Luz Weguelin, but I’m not sure if his two daughters, Tina and Fiona, carried the same name.
My father, worked as a metal worker at the Airscrew propeller factory, he made the copper tips that were fitted to the edge of the propellers.
Although he died at an early age, he earned extra money by repairing clocks and making items of furniture, I believe a medicine chest and a plant table are still in the family.
I think the mahogany timber for these were salvaged from the Airscrew.
My mother came from Addlestone in Surrey and worked in the Bleriot aircraft factory there as a machinist.
They had three boys and three girls, all born within eleven years.
When my mother was widowed in 1934, our friends and neighbours gathered round and supported us, in an effort to stop us being split up and placed in a home.
My mother, with all this help managed to keep us together, it must have been a great struggle.
Then along came Fred Barker to the rescue, he worked for the local council as a painter and decorator, and the two of them become, what is now called common law man and wife.
This was the perfect solution, we had a steady wage coming in and life was looking good again.
Fred was already married but the marriage broke down, he was unable to have a divorce as his wife would not grant it.
I regarded him as my father, although we all called him Fred, he was such a funny man, he could play a tune on ‘clappers’ or spoons, and even a wood saw.
A favourite trick of his was to ask me to pull his finger, he would then ‘let off’ very loudly—we were not allowed to swear in our house, even now I am uneasy about writing the word ‘fart’.
We certainly knew how to have fun in our house.
He would then say”better out than in”. I thought that was a matter of opinion.
This trick of his has had a lasting effect on me, to this date I am reluctant to shake any ones hand.
He was a great cook, his speciality was what he called scallops, these were thinly sliced potatoes, pre cooked, dipped in batter and then fried, we loved them
They had, first David and then Sylvia to add to the family.
Sadly he became ill with TB and ironically three of the youngest children were in put in to care homes, as TB was very contagious, David was also infected with the disease and spent several more years in a sanatorium in Essex.
Fred died in 1944, mother was on her own again, she carried on with her cleaning jobs, and also earned money as a bookies runner—collecting betting slips and having a bet herself with the commission—, she was also the local mid wife.
She lived in Chertsey for the rest of her life. My brother David looked after her for several years when she suffered from dementia. He did a magnificent job of it too, he had do everything for her.