The newspaper cutting above comes from The Sentinel which was then, as now, the daily evening paper for the Stoke-On-Trent area. This piece entitled ‘Another Proud Family Record’ appeared on the evening of 19th May 1943.
The photograph features the family members in service at that time who were related in some way to Mr and Mrs J. Griffiths of 40 Albemarle Road, Cross Heath, Newcastle-Under-Lyme. These were my Grandmother’s parents. My Grandfather, Jim Heath is pictured top right in a Staffordshire Regiment tunic is the common denominator in this story, as he was married to June Griffiths, daughter of the proud parents.
Of the other men and women featured I know a little.
Private J. Griffiths (North Staffordshire Regiment), pictured top left.
Known to me as Joe, apart from my Grandfather he was the relative in this picture that I remember most of. He was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs J. Griffiths. During the war he served in Burma and for his trouble he contracted malaria, bouts of which would trouble him throughout the rest of his life. He would occasionally drive down from Staffordshire to Sussex to arrive at my Grandparent’s house unannounced on a Friday night. This was never a problem for my Grandmother, as they were very close. Sadly, Joe died shortly after retiring from the Mother’s Pride Bakery. After his death, his family made efforts to obtain the Burma Star to which he was entitled.
Corporal W. Griffiths (RAF), top second from the left.
William, known to his family as Bill, served in the Merchant Navy in the pre-war years before a transfer to the RAF. Of the family, Bill was what could be considered to be something of a ‘Jack The Lad’. Like Joe, he would turn up in Sussex unannounced, but then disappear to who knows where. I would have met him at a family reunion for my Grandmother in 1986 in Clayton I believe it was. Even then, I am told he put in an appearance late in the evening, only to disappear again shortly afterwards. He died in Newcastle-Under-Lyme.
Private L. Griffiths (Cheshire Regiment), top middle
Len’ war time activities are unknown to me, but according to my mother, he spent time in Korea (this would have been in service after the war). Injured by shrapnel in the legs, this affected him throughout life. Len died young, in his forties, from thrombosis, attributable to wounds received in service.