This is a picture of my Dad, Fred Palfrey, taken on his 80th birthday.
He was born in 1923 and died in May 2010 aged 86.
Fred Palfrey was born in 1923 in Suffolk. He was the 3rd child of Hannah and William Palfrey, his two older sisters were Doreen and Veronica (Babs).
His mother died when he was only 4 years old. The close knit agricultural community provided care, including Kay who became his stepmother, and later – William’s brother, Uncle Bob. Fred worked in the fields and was in service at Hengrave Hall learning to be a butler when he was called to serve his country in the REME in World War 2.
He travelled in campaigns to North Africa, Italy and Greece. He drove and maintained army vehicles, including lorries. During this time one of his colleagues, Alf, had a photo of his niece, and introduced them as pen friends. They wrote to each other for a long time until meeting in person and marrying Betty in 1948 and made their home in Northamptonshire.
Ron was born the year after, in 1952 Robert , and in 1955 John completed the family.
Fred was working mostly as a farm worker and moved on to drive lorries for a firm delivering road bitumen in the 1960’s. Fred kept in touch with his sisters – Doreen and Babs, and their families, writing regularly and visiting occasionally.
As the boys grew up, Dad was a loving father, always helpful, repairing toys, cycles, motor cycles and later, cars. If anything broke, we always said, “Dad’ll mend it!”.
We had various pets, dogs, cats, rabbits and Dad always enjoyed growing vegetables, fruits and flowers in the garden. He would take us out in the lorry sometimes, other times we went fishing, and occasionally shooting rabbits and pigeons. We were quite a sight in the motor cycle combination with a specially converted sidecar to carry 3 young boys – and we would travel in it to Church and on holidays to Great Yarmouth.
Dad moved from driving lorries to the British Leyland foundry, then later worked for ARC (Amey Roadstone) as a dumper truck driver . He then joined the Anglian Water Sewage division where he spent his later work years. He developed serious asthma and had to retire early. He was well looked after by his GP and the Brompton Hospital in London who stabilised his life threatening asthma.
By now he was a grandfather and enjoyed the hoards of children and family visiting him in his own special way. In retirement he was a constant support and companion to his wife, who was a member of the Baptist Church and Fred supported her in her Christian work, also doing lots of helpful jobs and transport for church members and friends.
He was active in his garden, often giving away the produce to relatives and friends and helped others with their gardens.
In 1982 he had a holiday with his wife and other members of his family, travelling across Europe by coach to Austria. Generally, though, he enjoyed holidays around the English Lakes, Wales and the Coasts.
He remained active walking “Rags” the dog sometimes twice daily. He was growing and harvesting vegetables from his garden well into his eighties. He continued driving until 2009. He did let the garage service his car once he was in his latter years.
He was a man of few words, but in the right mood he had some marvellous anecdotes of country life, a wealth of experience and stories to call upon about engineering, his time in the war, and was always willing whenever he could to help others out, but especially in relation to cars. He was a practical man who rarely showed his emotions, except his love for his wife. They were married for almost 62 years.
He loved and was loved by his three sons and their wives, and partner, and his 9 grandchildren and their wives, husbands and partners, and 5 great grandchildren, and many other relatives and friends. They are a wonderful legacy to a gentle and considerate man.