Saturday, 4 February 2012

My Father meets his First Born


Promotion in the British Army had always been slow for the lower ranks, and there were not many who served long enough to make it to the giddy heights of Warrant Officer First Class. Events such as the World Wars caused changes of course, and this was possibly the reason why expressions such as: 'Every private soldier has a Field Marshal's baton in his knapsack.' came into being. Allowing for these changing attitudes it was still very unlikely that an individual commencing life as a private soldier could ever attain the giddy heights of a commissioned rank. After all, officers were gentlemen, and gentlemen were not to be found in the lower ranks. Knowing this my father had set his sights on reaching the top of the Non Commissioned Ranks, and having by this point in my story become a Warrant Officer Second Class, he was aware that he was making very good progress towards his goal. What with his very satisfactory progress through the ranks, and his ever improving reputation, it was not too difficult at this point for Dad to arrange for his family to join him in India.


My mother had this picture taken of me before my father got home on leave and it is one of the few I ever saw in which I had long curly hair.

The regiment’s approval was not given overnight of course, another three years on active service passed, and during that time it was agreed that when Staff Sergeant Bishop went home for his next leave, when he returned to India he should be accompanied by his family. In his absence I had been born, and early pictures of me show that a woman’s influence dominated my life. When my father arrived on the scene the masculine view that girls have curls, but boys have short back and sides, became the order of the day. But photographs I have show that nature thought otherwise.


This picture shows how I would have looked when my father came home on leave about 1935; soon afterwards he had my hair cut short and it has remained short and straight to this very day. The music around this picture is the result of my attempts to show that here you behold a musical child. I did not know it at the time but so it proved to be.

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