- Contributed by
- People in story:
- George Ernest Parnell Webster
- Location of story:
- Flushing, Cornwall
- Background to story:
- Royal Air Force
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 04 July 2005
This story has been written onto the BBC People's War site by CSV Storygatherer Lyn Hedges on behalf of Parnell Webster. They fully understand the terms and conditions of the site.
After four years away from home in the RAF, I was eventually told in Milan in 1946 that I was going home. We boarded a cattle truck full of straw, which crossed Switzerland and France without stopping. Then we got a boat from Dieppe to Newhaven, where I sent a telegram to my Dad to tell him I was coming home. The telegram would be delivered the next morning — we didn’t have a telephone in those days.
I caught a train to Truro in Cornwall and then on to Falmouth and my home town, Flushing (across the river from Falmouth). I remember how emotional I felt as I crossed the Penryn viaduct on the Truro to Falmouth branch line. I looked across at Flushing and cried because I’d thought I might never see it again. Then I cried again when I got to Falmouth and embraced my sister whom I hadn’t seen for four years. She’d taken time off work especially to meet me. She had been just 15 when I left home and was now a 19-year-old young woman. My mother had died in 1939 and my father had got married again while I was away in the RAF.
As a welcome home present and in appreciation of our war efforts, we were given six £1 notes by Mylor Parish Council. We were also told we could have preferential treatment for a new house in Flushing.
I was posted to RAF St Eval, where I was lucky enough to meet a WAAF cook Gwen Anstey. On my first date with her on a Sunday in Newquay, Gwen asked me if I liked going to church. I told her I did, but I was chapel! So we ended the date by going to chapel together.
We were married in Madron Church near Penzance in February 1947. She has been my wife for 58 years and we still go to chapel!
Although we’d been offered preferential treatment for a house in Flushing, we decided to settle in Falmouth. Gwen said she didn’t want to live in Flushing because she’d once crossed by boat from Falmouth and the water had been very choppy. She still wonders whether she made the right decision!
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