Many Residents at Cedars Castle Hill have lived full, often hard, yet interesting lives. It is really illuminating to listen to their stories and hear details of a bygone age. One such person is Jack , a Resident at Castle Hill House. He shared some of his experiences with Ann, a member of our Activities Team, and we are pleased to share them with you. (Ann is Pictured left with Jack)
“Jack, who is 89, started work at 14. “Work was hard”, he said. Jack was a lorry driver during the war. He learned to “… drive the lorries from the man who lived next door”
“Things were tight during the war but in some ways more relaxed”.
Jack drove Lorries to deliver loose coal. It was delivered in wagons to Gillingham Station. He would collect it and supply the coal to the local gas works.
“Sometimes driving along the road, if you went too close to the edge you could end up in a ditch” said Jack, “but people would help pull you out with chains or a rope, people were helpful back then. The wage stayed the same it was the working rate. The business now is too competitive, you just got on with it then. Life was different”.
Jack did this for a few years then he was conscripted to drive for the Royal Artillery, he drove all sorts of vehicles including those “…carrying guns that fired 25 pound shells”. He didn’t get paid much, just pocket money really but he got well fed and lived in the barracks in Devizes, finishing up in Germany.
Jack ended up receiving a medal from the Queen for long service of 30 years.“
Personal accounts of real life experiences are not only fascinating but they also help us paint a picture of the past and give us a better understanding of what life was really like for our Residents. Talking about their past life enables us to relate to them and find better ways to communicate and empathise. We can learn so much from them if we are prepared to listen.