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From rags to riches part 3

by Shropshire Archives

Contributed by 
Shropshire Archives
People in story: 
Location of story: 
German, France and England
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Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
29 July 2004

This account is submitted in 3 parts

We both worked hard and were able to save. After a year or two, I bought a motorcycle and a year later, Wynne bought first a small motorcycle and then a new scooter. So she had her own transport to get to work. Neither of us were people to spend our hard earned money in the Pub. We saved up and bought what we thought was right for us. Our holidays we spent with Wynne's middle brother and his wife and little daughter, who lived in Kensington, London. We had some very happy holidays with them.

Wynne's elder brother lived at that time in Bowdon, Altrincham, and we spent a great time with him and his wife and their little daughter. I was very close to Doug, Wynne's brother, and in all the time I knew him. nearly SO years, we never had a bad word with each other. Sadly, he died nearly six years ago and we both, Wynne and I, miss him terribly. Right from the day I met him at Christmas 1946, he was not a brother-in-law to me, but like a blood brother.

As I said earlier, we stayed and worked at Agden for eight years and were very happy there. Every Saturday afternoon, Douglas, Wynne's brother and Iris, his wife went to a Riding School down the road, to take Elizabeth our niece for Riding lessons. They called on us, and every Saturday Wynne would cook a lovely roast dinner, which was most appreciated by one and all.

My boss at the farm was a fair and good boss to me, and my fellow worker on the farm. When he and his wife went on holiday, he left the keys to the house with me so that we could make ourselves a cup of tea, and keep an eye on the house. He always said, "as long as you look after the animals, and get the eggs washed and sent to the Packing Station, I will be happy, even if you can do little in the fields." That's the kind of boss he was, kind and considerate. After eight happy years working at Agden, one day our boss dropped a bombshell. His Father-in-law, who farmed in Nantwich, was kicked by a cow and badly hurt, so much so, that he had to give up farming. As my boss was his only Son-in-law, he handed over the farm to him, lock-stock and barrel, including the workers who lived in Cottages belonging to the farm. That meant, he could not take my fellow worker or me with him, as he had no accommodation for us. And, so our eight happy years came to an end. We were very sorry, and I can say, so was my employer.

We found a new job, more or less at once, about three miles away on another farm, and Wynne was able to carry on in her job in Altrincham. We moved to my new job and lived in a farmhouse, as my new boss farmed two rented farms. The boss lived with his wife and young son in one farmhouse and Wynne and I in the other Farmhouse, about a mile away. I commuted between the two farms daily. The young stock and some machinery were kept on the farm where we lived, and the milking stock where my boss lived. It seemed a good arrangement and worked well. We soon settled down again to a happy life.

The son of Wynne's main boss played in a Country & Western band and we went every weekend to listen to them playing. Wynne and I love Country & Western music. We made some very good friends on our weekends out. One couple, Johnny and Joyce became such good friends; they are today, after over forty years, still our best friends. We shared with them our joys and sorrows. We've seen their two children grow up, who now have children of their own. We more or less shared our lives together. We spent some very happy holidays together with them and their children: On the odd weekend, Johnny, Joyce, and their son and adopted daughter came to the farm where we lived and shared our Sunday roast dinner with us. I remember Johnny and I were sitting in the garden; Wynne
and Joyce were in the Kitchen, when Wynne came to us in the garden, she held a big piece of cardboard against herself with a big 41 written on it, and kept rubbing the 41. Johnny asked Wynne what was up, and Wynne replied, "I'm feeling my age!" We had a very good laugh over it.

In time we bought our first car, a 1949 black Standard 8. I sold my motorcycle and took driving lessons, and we became proud car owners.

Thinking back over my life, I remember in the early fifties, making up my mind to try and have a holiday in East Germany to see my parents and my brother and two sisters. Of course, I was still a German national and needed a Passport, Entry Visa and re-entry Visas into England on my return, etc. I arranged everything but the only thing I could not arrange nom England was an Entry Visa into East Germany, which had to be done by my Dad from within East Germany. We arranged it at the beginning of the year, so we assumed I would receive the Visa for later that year. However, the Entry Visa was refused and the excuse given was' All Visas for that year had been issued '. To this day, I believe the East German Authorities did not want me to see what was going on in East Germany at that time, and on my return to England me telling my mends what I had seen in East Germany. Soon after, the Wall around Berlin, and boundaries between East and West Germany, was built and my chances for an Entry Visa to East Germany became nil. ! I did not try to visit Germany again until later in my life.

We travelled to Germany for the celebration of my brother's Golden Wedding. Of course, the Berlin Wall had been demolished by then. I am sorry to say I never saw my dear Mum and Dad again; they passed away soon after my application to visit East Germany was refused. My younger sister also passed away. It was a great shock to me, as I have said, I loved my youngest sister most dearly.

Our nearest neighbours lived a few hundred yards away, so when we had our musical friends at our house, we played Country music. We did not disturb our neighbours. We had many a lovely party at our house. At a later date I joined a group, playing Bongo drums. A good time was had by one and all!

My boss bought a Combine Harvester, and about six years after we moved to Longridge Farm, I worked with his son on the Harvester at Harvest time, lifting heavy bags of corn on my own every afternoon, whilst the boss helped his son on the Harvester. After a week or two, I experienced strong pains in my back, where the shrapnel had entered my back during the war. I saw my Doctor who sent me for an X-Ray, which showed that the piece of shrapnel had moved, luckily it was moving outwards, the way it had entered my body. The scar started to fester and I was admitted to hospital for the removal of the shrapnel. The operation was carried out on New Year's Eve 1966, and when I
woke up the piece of shrapnel was in a glass phial on my bedside table. I still have that piece of shrapnel as a reminder of my days in the German Army.

We kept up our circle of old and new friends. We had visitors nearly every weekend, and of course visited some friends ourselves. Our house was always full of laughter and joy, in other words 11 A happy house". We spent several holidays in Wales, hired various caravans at the seaside. Joyce and the children came with us to share those holidays, as Johnny, who worked for the Post Office, could not always have leave at the same time as us.

As I said, our house a Longridge Farm was a happy house, but there was just one thing spoiling that happiness. The wages on a farm were so low, even Wynne had a job. We had an ambition that one day we would own our own house. But with my low wage, we could not get a mortgage, even though we saved as much as we could. A friend of mine was working as an Area Foreman, and he said many a time to me "Why don't you try and get a job on the Council?" - I was able by then to take on any job, and was not restricted to work on farms. He told me that prospects for promotion were good and that wages were better than those of farm workers; also when you finished working, you received a Pension, in addition to a State Pension.

One day he came to see me and told me that a vacancy had arisen, and said, "Why don't you put in for it?" Wynne and I talked about it, and I applied for the position. I had an interview, and low and behold, was offered the job as a tractor driver with Cheshire County Council. My first step up the ladder, for promotion, better wages, and a better living standard.

A landowner at High Leigh, near Knutsford, Cheshire, sold some parkland for building luxury houses. In the park stood a cottage, which in time (about three years) was to be demolished to make room for the new houses. The cottage was sub let to the Council for those three years, so as not to stand empty. Wynne and I were lucky enough to be able to rent the cottage, and received a Council rent book. The builders sold the new houses quicker than anticipated and so after two years our rented cottage was demolished. We were re-housed in a three bedroomed council house in Plumley, and lived there for the next 18 years until my retirement. In the meantime, I started work for Cheshire County Council and right from the beginning I enjoyed my work very, very much. The Foreman would see me each morning, tell me what I had to do during the day, and then left me to get on with my work. I did my work to the best of my ability and my main boss could see what was going on. He, the District Engineer, could see on his rounds through the District, that I tried to do my best, and he took me under his wing and helped me on the way to promotion. So much so, that after only four years I was lucky enough to be appointed Area Foreman. Two years later I was promoted again, and became an Area Inspector. I was responsible for a great deal - to meet the public, inspect road surfaces, culverts, and dead trees in the district, etc. etc. I worked all my time as the Area Inspector without any supervision. I had some office work, writing reports, etc. but mainly I was on the roads.

In 1971 my boss suggested to me that I ought to attend one day a week Manchester College. to further my knowledge about Highways. And so I attended Manchester College of Building, altogether for four years. During the first three years I gained seven London City and Guilds Certificates, not just passing them, but passing all of them either with Credit or Distinction. Not bad for a man of 50 years of age, who was captured during the War, and who didn't know the English language! I attended the College, with the belief that I would do my best that I could achieve. Some youngsters attended
College to have a day off work, whilst being paid for it. At my age, I had more sense, and worked hard to get on. At my fourth and last year at College I sat for my N.E.B.S. (National Examination Board in Supervisory Studies). Again I did my best, so much so that in 1974 I was awarded 'The John " Holt Memorial Trophy', which was awarded to the outstanding student of the year! I was also awarded 'The Hepworth Iron Companies Cup' for Drainage to Highways. I can honestly say, that my boss the District Engineer, was proud for me, and proud for himself, having recommended me for studying at the Manchester College of Building.

During 1969, Wynne worked for a short while for a Temporary Staff Agency, because the firm she had worked for, for 18 years was taken over by a big firm from Birmingham. A lot of staff from Wynne's old firm left, including the gentleman Wynne was secretary to, so Wynne left also, and that is why she worked for a short while for the temporary staff Agency, until she found a permanent position. During Wynne's time at the Agency, she worked for a few weeks as secretary for a Solicitor, while his permanent Secretary was off ill. The Solicitor suggested that I ought to apply to the Home Office to become naturalized. He did all the paper work for me and in October 1969 I became a British Citizen.

During my nine years working for Cheshire County Council, I made some great friends. One such friend, his wife and two children. Their daughter Eileen, a sweet girl, was severely disabled and she was unable to walk and was blind. Every time we visited I would have fun with her and pulled her
leg. She enjoyed our visits. I am sorry for she died in her middle twenties. She was in spite of her disablement, always full of fun.

Johnny and Jean Goodier became great mends of ours, and even today, Jean is now a widow, we still see Jean once a month, drive to Knutsford and take her out to lunch and spend the day with her. Johnny sadly closed his eyes in 1992, and we hope he is with his Maker. He was such fun to be with. We have spent many happy times with Johnny and Jean - we used to go dancing with them to a Club most weekends. Jean is a wonderful cook and she baked for Wynne and me the most lovely cakes. A big square iced one for our Silver Wedding, Ruby Wedding, my 65th Birthday, and last but not least our Golden Wedding. Speaking of celebration, we celebrated our Silver Wedding with a party and lots of friends at The Angel Hotel in Knutsford in December 1973. It was a day worth remembering!

After my last year at Manchester College of Building I saw a job advertised in the local paper for a Highway Superintendent. I applied for it. It was the kind of job I was striving to achieve. I was asked to attend an interview at Manchester County Hall. The job was for a Highway Superintendent on the Motorways around Manchester. Again, I was lucky, and was offered the job, after a personal reference from my District Engineer from Cheshire County Council. So I left Cheshire after 9 1/2 years service, and started work in April 1976 for Greater Manchester Council.

I was responsible for four Motorway departments. One on the M56, near to Manchester Airport, one at Urmston at the side of Manchester Ship Canal, one at Westhoughton on the M61, and a further depot at Milnrow on the M62 and the Yorkshire boundary. I tried to visit every day; therefore I did a lot of driving each day. But I must confess, I had a great team of lads working at each Depot, and some really excellent foremen, keen to perform a good job, efficiently. We had a great deal of cooperation from the Greater Manchester Motorway Police; we worked together as a team I am glad to say. The job was quite stressful, having to attend meetings with high officials from the Department of Transport. After all, we were only Agents for the Department. The most stressful part of the job was to attend at Motorway accidents, especially fatal ones. I attended one once when a Tanker was on fire, and the tanker driver was trapped in his burning tanker from 10.00 a.m. until 7.00 p.m. before we could remove his body. That type of accident was very stressful at times, but work had to go on.

We lived for eighteen years at Plumley. We had some happy times, but also some sad times during those eighteen years. In November 1970 Wynne's Dad died at their flat in Altrincham in the presence of Wynne and her Mum. We said to Mum that she should come and live with us. After all, Wynne was her only daughter, and we had no children, and we had plenty of room. She could treat our home as her own. The arrangement worked very well, and I think Mum was very happy living with us. She lived with us for about ten years.

We bought ourselves a static caravan in Wales by the sea at Port Maddoc. We took Mum with us every time we spent our holidays there. After a few years with us, Mum became frail and unable to look after herself, and Wynne had to give up her job to look after Mum. In time she was unable to look after Mum anymore at home and the family decided that it would be better for all, if Mum would go into a Home. Doug found a very good home in Eastbourne, near to where he lived, and the family shared the cost of Mum living in the home. Sadly, Mum passed away in 1981. The last few times we visited her, she didn't know who we were - it was so sad, but we did everything for her to make her feel wanted.

The following year our great friend George Whiteman died, a great loss to the community. He was a hard working, sincere, gentleman, well respected by whomever he met. His wife Betty moved and we visited her often. On one of our visits we met a neighbour of hers, Mr. and Mrs. Wadsworth and we became great friends with them. Mr. Wadsworth died, and we have stayed friends with his widow to the present day. We see her every week, and ring each other every day to make sure she is all right.

In 1986 the Government decided to abolish the Metropolitan Council, which included Greater Manchester Council, and I was asked if I would like to take early retirement, with a lump sum, a good pension for the 19Yz years work in Local Government. I took the opportunity and retired in April 1986.

As I said before, Wynne and I worked hard all our lives, and saved what ever we could. Now, with receiving my retirement lump sum and our savings, we were in a position to buy our own home. We went for a few days to visit Wynne's ex landlady, from her Land Army days, who lived with her son in South Humberside. During our visit, a house opposite theirs was up for sale. We liked it, inspected it and made an offer to buy it. We had more than enough in the bank to buy it without needing a mortgage. So we gave up the tenancy of the council house and moved to South Humberside. I am sorry to say, we made a mistake. We felt lonely, all our friends lived in the Cheshire area, and to see them was a rather long journey for one day's visit. We were not happy there. After more or less 12 months and a severe winter, living in South Humberside, we made up our minds to move back to the

On one of our visits to our friend Betty, we heard of a house for sale in Whitchurch. When inspecting the property, it turned out, the lady selling the house was a lady we had known since she was a schoolgirl. What a co-incidence! We made a deal with her, returned to South Humberside, and put our house there on the market. The house was sold before it was advertised in the local paper. We received a phone call from a young gentleman, who had seen the photo of our house in the window of the Estate Agent. He came to see us, looked at the house, and liked it. He explained that our house was the third one he had looked at, and that he had been gazumped three times. He said "If I pay you the asking price for your house, you won't gazump me, will you?" And we told him that if he paid the asking price, the house would be his. Next day he phoned us again and asked if he could come and inspect the house again, and bring his fiancé with him, as they were getting married. He came with his fiancé and his future Mother-in-law, they looked round the house and said that he would see the Estate Agents on Monday morning to offer the asking price. Sure enough, on Monday morning the Estate Agents phoned, explaining that a gentleman had offered the asking price, and should they go ahead with the sale. Our answer was a loud "Yes", and the house was sold.

We went ahead and bought the house, where we are still living, and we, Wynne and I, hope that the move here will be our last move! We have lived here now for 14 years, this December, and have settled down well. We have made new friends again but kept up our friendship with our old friends and see them often.

In December 1988, we celebrated our Ruby Wedding. We arranged a big party when we were still living in Humberside. The party was to be held at Plumley, where we had lived for 18 happy years, in Plumley Village Hall. It was a great success. The Hall was full of friends, relatives, and former neighbours.

Life carried on. And in 1989, one of our nieces from Germany came to visit us here in Whitchurch, and stayed with us for two weeks. We drove to Heathrow Airport in London to pick her up. On our journey up to Whitchurch we stopped at Doug's, Wynne's elder brother. His wife Iris prepared what I would call a banquet, not a meal! The table was laden with beautiful food. I know my niece was most impressed with her welcome here in England. During her time with us we drove around Cheshire, Shropshire, and lovely Wales. We know she enjoyed her holiday with us, she told us every day.

In 1991 Wynne's younger brother, who was a Captain in the Royal Corps of Signals, died very suddenly of lung Cancer. It was a great shock to us all. A year or two later, Wynne's dear brother Doug, passed away. Poor Wynne, she was heartbroken, as was 1. I was very, very fond of Doug; we were like Brothers, not Brothers-in-law. Soon after, her middle brother also passed away, again with lung trouble. She had lost all three brothers within a very few years. The loss of her three brothers left a big void in Wynne's life.

Since moving to Whitchurch, we attend St. John's Methodist Church, every Sunday. Again, we got to know lots of kind, loving people.

In 1993, fifty years after I last saw my brother on his Wedding day in Germany, Wynne and I planned a holiday in Germany, to help celebrate his Golden Wedding and to celebrate my Sister's 75th Birthday. We flew from Manchester to Frankfurt in Germany and from there by train to the town in Germany where I was born. The arrangements for our stay in Germany were left entirely to my brother, and a very good job he made of it. We left it to him as to where and when we were going each day. We met all his children and their children. We went to see my sister and her husband and their children. We had a really wonderful time. A very emotional experience for me was a visit to the graves of my dear Mum and Dad, and my young sister. I could not stop the flow of tears and remembered them all, with all my love in my heart.

Two years later, my brother and his dear wife Use, came to stay with us for three weeks. It was our turn to see they would have a good time here in England.

In the meantime, Betty our friend passed away, and one year later her son, Neville, who we had known since he was a little boy.

Now, most welcome visitors to us are Wynne's cousin, Victor and his dear wife Kathleen. They live a long way from Whitchurch in Bath. Yet they come to see us quite often. They both are the most kind and caring people. We are both very fond of them. On their visits to Whitchurch they stay at a local guesthouse during the nights, and we go out together every day, whenever they are here.

Wynne and I both like our garden and our well-kept lawn. We both love flowers and colour. During the summer our garden is a blaze of colour. I grow most of the plants in my small greenhouse from seeds. And for the last nine years I have entered the Whitchurch in Bloom Garden competition, and I must say that every time we entered, we have a won a Certificate, from a Certificate of Merit to, at the last time, First Prize for a small garden.

On the 21st December 1948, 54 years ago we pledged our love together at St. Bride's Church in Liverpool. We have had our share of joys, sorrows and happiness. We vowed to look after each other in sickness and in health, and I am proud to say have lived up to those Vows. Four years ago we celebrated our Golden Wedding, we decided to have a great celebration, after all, not everyone is able to celebrate 50 years of married life. We planned our "do" well in advance of the 21st December. We hired Whitchurch Civic Centre for the night, booked a band and I must say, a very, very good caterer, who on the night did us proud with the display and quality of the food. Jean our friend baked a beautiful Wedding Cake. We sent lots of lovely printed invitations out in good time. On the night we had most of Wynne's family with us. Lots of old friends, new friends, and old and new neighbours. One of Wynne's Bridesmaids at our wedding, 50 years ago, was our niece who was then aged about 4 or 5 years old. We were proud to have her with us with her dear husband. We had asked our guests not to spend any money on presents, but if they so wished, they might perhaps like to give a donation to the Shropshire und Mid Wales Hospice, to help people fortunate than ourselves. To our surprise we collected £750. for the Hospice, and handed it over to them on a separate occasion after Christmas. All in all, our Golden Wedding Celebration was a great success. The forward planning paid off.

At the present time we live our remaining years as comfortably as we can, even though neither Wynne nor I are in the best of health. For the last 54 years we have looked after each other, shared our happiness, joys and sorrows together. We pray every day to ask the Lord to grant us a few more years of togetherness.

Thanks be to God

September 2002

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These messages were added to this story by site members between June 2003 and January 2006. It is no longer possible to leave messages here. Find out more about the site contributors.

Message 1 - From rags to riches

Posted on: 01 August 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Hans

I very much enjoyed reading your remarkable story and I was pleased at the happy ending.

However, in Part 3 you give your full postal address and you end with your full name. This is a dangerous thing to do on the Internet which spans the entire world and could result in unpleasant mail. For that reason, on the day your story appeared, I pressed the 'Alert the Monitors' button and sent this explanation for doing so:

"The writer of this excellent story, Mr Hans Alfred Nossky, has given his full postal address in it ... He is 80years old and possibly does not realise the danger of doing this, could you please advise him or remove his address for him? Many thanks, Peter"

To my surprise I got the following reply:

"Further to your complaint about some of the content on the WW2 People's War site, we have decided that it does not contravene the House Rules and are going to leave it on site. ... Please note that the complaints form is *only* for serious complaints about specific content that breaks the site's House Rules"

A further email to them has so far being ignored. If you click the Edit button on the side of your submission you will be able to edit out your address.

Kindest regards,



Message 2 - From rags to riches

Posted on: 02 August 2004 by Ron Goldstein

Peter (and the WW2 Team)

The mind boggles when faced with this type of situation.

I sincerely hope that the team (when they get around to seeing these items) have the grace to apologise for their, or their colleagues, ineptitude.



Message 3 - From rags to riches

Posted on: 04 August 2004 by WW2 People's War Team

Dear Peter and Ron

We have a team that work across the BBC's sites checking contributions and referring them to us if they are not sure of what to do. Usually they do a great job but just to be on the safe side I regularly check their decisions. I quite agree that this was an incorrect decision and I have notified the team supervisor.

Thank you Peter, for following this up. I did not know that this conversation was happening here but I have received your email and replied to it.

Regards, Penelope


Message 4 - From rags to riches

Posted on: 04 August 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

The dangers of posting either mail or email addresses on a website were vividly and tangibly brought home to me today when I received a long and very unpleasant email from a Member of this website.

I had given my email address in good faith (altered to avoid spam trawlers), but that good faith was grossly abused.


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