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My Early Years

A Memory of Braintree

I lived in Cressing Road, went to Chapel Hill Primary School and then to Braintree County High School. I left there in 1952 when my father was transferred by Crittall Metal Windows, to Dunedin, New Zealand. I remember the 750th Anniversary celebrations in 1949 and had always said I would like to return for the 800th Anniversary, but I couldn't make it. I would love to hear from some old friends of my early school days - maybe someone will read this and remember me. I have fond memories of my early childhood, even thogh it was the start of the 1939-45 war. My parents used to billet some servicemen, three of whom I remember well - Ron Hamnet, Jimmy Galloway, and John Andrews who all played football for Crittall Athletic. Some old school friends I remember were Douggie Kemp and Malcolm Wassell, and John Mews. Our neighbours in Cressing Road were the Potters (Tony and Jill were my age), and the Foulkes. The Little family had a small general store two or three doors from us and the Humhreys family lied just up the road. I remember going hunting for mushrooms over our back fence. My grandparents lived in John Ray Street (Frederick Rush) and Railway Street (Baron Smith). My brother Peter still lives in Panfield Lane - I have only seen him and his wife once since 1952 - they were brought to Sydney for a reunion with my mother on a local TV show.

A memory shared by Paul Smith , on Jul 7th, 2009.

Comments & feedback

Fri Aug 29th 2014, at 3:29 am

Robin Wilkins commented:

Crittall Metal Windows sent a lot of Staff overseas. My first girlfriend, Ann Cousins went to South Africa circa 1948 when her father was sent there as a Chief Draughtman. She gave me my first real kiss on the way home from school one day. Alas the milkman saw us and told our respective mothers. They laughed. We were aged 10!
Robin Wilkins
New Zealand

Mon Jun 29th 2015, at 8:15 pm

vringer commented:

Ann Cousins is my cousin. She is now retired and living in Luton, England. My maiden name was Virginia Dring, and I now live in USA.

Fri Nov 6th 2015, at 4:08 am

Robin Wilkins commented:

Hi vringer,
Re Ann Cousins, I do not check this site but once a year or so, so missed your Jun message. Do you have an email address for Ann. I think she had a sister Judy, they lived down the Rayne hill, past Francis Road. Ann would be around age 78 I guess, same as me. my email is: maunu1@hotmail.com

Thu Jan 19th 2017, at 3:58 am

Bill Cranfield commented:

Hi Robin,just been having an annual update on this site.I together with my wife & two children had a transfer from Crittalls at Braintree in 1965,where I was a draughtsman.We still live in Dunedin & have returned several times to see family & friends.Last year I caught up with Johnny Mews who is mentioned in Paul Smiths earlier comments.How long have you been in NZ & where do you live?I am 80 years old

Fri Jan 20th 2017, at 3:13 am

Robin Wilkins commented:

Hi Bill,

By chance checked this article today, 20 Jan 17,came to NZ 1959, but left Braintree 1954 via MN and then RAF. Live in Whangarei and will be 80 in August. My email address in a previous comment. Was in Dunedin last year have two granddaughters at Otago university, doing physiotherapy and oral health. Retired as Admin Mgr NZ Refining at Marsden Point. Onetime JP, Local Govt Commission, City Councillor etc .. Married 54 years. Have been back to Braintree couple of times, have school friend there still in touch by email. Watch Braintree Council via their webcasts. Came to NZ by sea, the usual way then.Last year came into Wellington harbour ex Picton 57 years after arriving in same harbour ex UK, the weather not so good. But did have a wife this time! Hope you have enjoyed NZ as much as me.

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