Colonel and Mrs A. H Kelly, Egypt 1938 with my father James
I never knew my paternal grandfather. A professional soldier and Colonel of his Regiment, he died in 1960 following complications from injuries sustained when he was shot by a machine gun storming a position in Fallujah, Iraq in 1943.
So nothing changes in that country, even now.
He was invalided home in 1944 via Bermuda where he stayed and recovered for a year, and from that experience developed an interest in pirates and the Caribbean so was rather ahead of his time if he put those words together and made a film.
In every photograph I have he is always wearing a tie, whether in the garden, overseas or the sea-side. He was a passionate stamp collector, Empire only of course, calligrapher and gardener. He lived in a shadow of an earlier world where structures ensured a rigid path through life and that meant that you were not troubled by what others had, anyway there was nothing really to buy. One inherited furniture, not money and the cottage sparkled and shone with wood polish. It was uncomplicated and time was dictated by Church, regular trains, parades, reunions and the Home Service.
He would not have understood what is the today as we live it, the music, the lack of hat wearing but was happy reading a paper that only he could find his way around. I often wonder what he would make of the young of now. I like to think he would have respected their passion. His soldiers followed him into battle and they do now even in Iraq.
He left for me in his will, but only if I lived up to the name of Kelly all the family portraits and his stamps. In the Regimental Chapel he has his own pew and when he died my grandmother married his best friend in the Battalion, another Colonel.
Anyway the point of this is that his name was Arthur and who would dare call him ‘Art!