Dedicated to Kath from Mike
An Ode To A Lady
Kath's Diary
Under Construction
Under Construction
The Crew Works Gang


                                             ... by the other “you know who”!

She sits there a’knittin’ by day and by night,
Needles, hands busy, both left and right.
She does have to stop,
and rates at the top,
in kitchen and finance and dirt out of sight.

Once she was “limey” but now she’s “Canuck”.
How fortunate for me to have such good luck.
We got married of course for better or “woarse”.
We started in days “when a buck was a buck”.

Let’s go back in time before being war bride,
when first I did see her and she managed to hide
at the Parish Hall dance
where first I did glance
at this pretty girl dancing so off I did stride.

The dance hall was crowded tough to get through.
My size did not help three inch ‘bov five two.
She flitted away,
I felt like a stray,
shoulders I shrugged; what else could I do!

You’d think this was it but the answer is “no”!
That face lurked within me and wouldn’t let go.
So back to the hall
to catch sight of the “doll”.
I looked but no luck and began to feel low.

Then it happened! I saw her and instantly knew
she was the one who would answer “I do”!
Could this be right,
love second sight
whose name might be Rosie or Carol or Sue?

I remember that night fifty years have gone by;
time disappears when dear moments come nigh.
Love starts so simple
‘tis but a whimper.
Courtship began and the world changed for this guy!

This part of the story is all you will get.
Fifty years focus since the day we had met!
So I raise my glass
to toast this lass.
Thanks for her love I’m forever in debt!

Time may come to have a sequel to this.
The great day is coming we hope not to miss.
From friends and family
 “Happy Anniversr’y!”
Together share blessings great moments like this!

........ by “me” for “ she “!



Town’s old name was Hellath Wen which tells of Welsh connection and means white salt town. The name ‘Nantwich” itself is Welsh, “Nant” meaning riverside vale (which there is) and “wich” meaning salt pit (see story separate pages).

In a file located next to this story will be found other materials about this lovely town where Kath (Mom) was born November 20, 1924 ( actually these materials are in the original album and may be copied time permitting; there are pictures and some comments may be found on the back. After Auntie Doll (Nannie’s sister and the last one living) passed away in 1998 I think, Kath received from our fine friends in Nantwich, Peg, George, and son David Nicholls, a parcel of what Auntie Doll left for her. Two treasures are the Wedgewood china pieces as well as an album with pictures. There are a few comments on postcard like pictures I believe and very interesting indeed ; priceless dating back to first World War 1914-18.  This album is here downstairs with other many albums.
Also, Catherine prepared so well a special album titled “Nantwich” for Nannie with some excellent pictures of new and old Nantwich. We placed a few more pictures as well of family when Kath lived in Nantwich.

Following this page an historical account is provided of great interest for family members especially such as the salt mines, fires, how Nantwich got its name from the Welsh (north Wales is not too far from Nantwich; neither is the city of Flint in Wales where Kath’s Dad was born ( we do not know the date when he moved to Nantwich). A page from a newspaper called the Daily Telegraph and Morning Post dated July 2,1962 (local paper now has the name Chronicle) has a writeup on the new Nantwich with some pictures  (original album).

Additionally, if any of the children or grandchildren visit Nantwich, be certain to see the small theatre. Indeed book tickets and see a performance. I attended a play there and was lucky to get the 84th or was it 82nd seat; the last one right on the front row. Some writeup(dated 1977) is there stating” Curtains for the Quaker meeting house” which perhaps is something about history and the building at one time was a Quaker meeting place. I saw the performance in 1988 whenI brought a number of student teacher to Alsage located not far from Nantwich, The borough bought the place for about a pound ($2.50) and what a wonderful little theatre resulted! It shows what intitiative can do when vision is bold.

Personally, in my visits to the area on two occasions with student teacher, I found the beautification results so pleasing although some of the “older folk” prefer the more ancient Nantwich. The small downtown area is set aside for pedestrians only except for service purposes with a perimeter road available leading to the parking area. Then the road leads on one way going on to the main road at the outskirts. Admittedly this makes it difficult at first for most of the Seniors. The pubs had not changed and great as always together with sociability; the Lamb and the Crown pubs are the two with which I was most familiar.

The reddish-tan coloured cobblestones downtown are especially attractive as is the more modern lamp post. Now quite visible is the church Parish Hall where Liz and I met for the first time at a dance the day after my birthday March 6, 1944. St. Mary’s church and its tower is situated quite close to the Parish Hall.

Obviously I am biased about Nantwich which is very much like home town for me. However, I wish now to mention in closing this appendix to focus on Liz (her nickname instead of Kath) as to how she felt when she arrived in Winnipeg on March 6 or near to that 1946, meeting the family, and saw where we were to live first in two rooms in Elmwood. Then to Point Douglas area on Gomez Street in Winnipeg where my mother and family lived ( and acoss the street where the bootleggers plied their business!) This has been mentioned in another writing but not emphasized. The family history album story of course gives full details of this historic area where I was born March 5, 1922.

The answer Liz gave me, so typical of her, is that she was determined to make the best of things. She had previously an inkling of what to expect since I described the situation. Hearing and actually seeing and living in Point Douglas are rather different.The two room home was very much different from her home in Nantwich. No doubt this was the same for many other war brides. By the way the two room home on Gomez exists no longer since the Disraeli Freeway was built right over that area. Also, this home had the steepest steps you can imagine for a home and near the top curved into our entrance. How our bed chesterfield got through I do not know!

Later albums carry on with our earlier modern marriage life. Little did she realize about my basketball endeavour playing for two teams in the winter months and together with university tasks made me a very busy person. A person in many ways somewhat different in many ways than the one she knew back in Nantwich!



The following articles and pictures ( in original album only) tell the story of Murray. This writer has not the words to describe the love and devotion provided by his mother who to us is Auntie Lil. We observed this during our visit to Nantwich as a family; indeed the only visit when all of us were there. The newspapers articles are dated 1954 and unfortunately in the year 1959 Aunie Lil’s dear husband passed away at the age of 55. Auntie Lil had to call upon all her personal, remarkable strengths religious in particular to find a meaning for her life. It was Murray who gave her the added strength, enthusiasm, energy, and mostly love even though Lil herself faced persoanl health problems.

Our visit to where Murray met his friends in Crewe was truly a joy. Indeed the transporting van was named JOY and it was parked just outside the home which had the wonderfully approptiate name SUNSHINE CENTRE. Remembered also is Ed Joiner, a spastic lad with movement in one leg only, that is for all his body, one leg. He did make a few vocal sounds but he had a way to communicate. Somewhere there is a picture of his communicating and it may be in the original album worth copying for other albums. Since Jamie had been a scout as was Murray, a Cub, and Ed Joiner also, Jamie seemed to have an excellent rapport with both of them. In this case with Ed who was demonstrating how he communicated.

In front of Ed on the floor was a typewriter with Ed’s foot on it; an especially designed typewriter. After some time Ed completed a letter using his foot on the keyboard. The letter was quite a lengthy one and naturally took some time to complete. I wonder where that letter is? Perhaps with Jamie and if available should be included in this writing.

A family  not related to Nannie and her sisters nor to Pop and his family are Peg and George Nicholls with son David.They live even now in the same home as during the war not too far from where Mom lived and where Auntie Doll and Uncle Joe lived. We keep in touch with the Nicholls usually by phone as we do with friend Ollie Williams.The family had many picnics and other celebrations. Murray was loved so very much by the relatives as indicated from the words written by David. These words are included in the memories statements in the newspaper after Murray passed away at the age of 17 in 1962. They  follow:
“Happy memories of Murray, my dear friend: ..... I often think of you , think of when you died. Many times I have talked to you, and, and many times I have cried. You never said goodbye to me; perhaps just as well. I never could say goodbye to one I loved so well.”

Auntie Lil passed away in the early sixties, Murray’s Mom, when living at her home named Glenesk on Crewe Road. The living years for her and husband Leslie, Mom’s much loved Aunite and Uncle, were not “ three score years and ten” but joy and happiness especially when Murray was with them made up for the loss of years.

So much loved was Murray by all the sisters of Nannie; sisters who are mentioned in Mom and Pop’s story.

Our visit to Sunshine Centre is so very memorable and indeed a highlight of our trip.



Mom found this priceless diary which included some drawings which are not included. Perhaps these might be pasted on a page.

This is not a day to day account. It may be best described as a Memories Book with items by various individuals; loved ones and friends. As to dates, one indicates the date as 1936 but others much later.

The actual Memories Book may be found amongst other items in a brown envelope. This is headed Nantwich File and is located next to the Nantwich Picture album (top shelf south wall).


To go through life
We ll need an umbrella.
May yours be held up
By a jolly nice fellow (that could be me if the verse is for Mom)


If at first you do not succeed,
Try,try, again (mine: and then try again!)

M.GIDMAN ..... JAN 18, 1939

Love is like
A mutton chop.
Sometimes cold,
Sometimes hot.

DOROTHY BIRCH ..... 1944

Nantwich is a windy place,;
It blows the skirts up high.
But God is just and sends the dust
To close the young man’s eyes!

E. DAVIES ..... 1944

He or she has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
who has gained the respect of intelligent men and women and the love of little children;

who has always looked at the best in others and given the best he or she can; in other
words who has left the world a little better than he or she  found it!

C. BAKER ..... 1939

I dreamt I died and to heaven did go!
Where did you come from they wanted to know;
When I said Nantwich St. Peter did stare;
Step in you are welcome!
You are the first one from there!

DOREEN PARRY ..... 1941

Little bits of powder,
Little bits of paint
Make young ladies faces
Exactly what they “ain’t”!

TOM KRAMER ..... United States Army, Philedelphia

Roses are very pretty, I think England is swell;
Especially since I met the nicest family
And the prettiest girl in England ( the one Mom hit over the head with ?? for ??


Two old women over one cup of tea
Will talk of more gossip than they ever did see.
Two old men over one glass of beer
Will talk of more work than they do for a year!

....and so a memory couple of pages of days gone by and by and by

Since this is typed March 15, 2003 (WOW!)


Under Construction


Under Construction
Brown envelope located next to the Nantwich album contains very interesting aspects of Nantwich.

The problem is to duplicate these and this may be too difficult. For instance the book titled “ War Brides” indicates pretty clearly what experiences Mom had in coming to Canada. Emotion is so evident as indicated in the following quote:

“Homesickness hits you below the belt. It sneaks up on you in a song, a line of poetry, or even a smell!”

Unfortunately I managed to get only the one book but readers may be able to seek one or more  in some way.

Just imagine! Some 70,000 dependents were transferred to Canada from the continent including Europe of course. Within this astounding number were 20,000 children!

I shall probably have the contents in the brown envelope in another kind of file.



Being conscripted to Crew Works, a very large  munitions factory in the City of Crewe located about five miles from Nantwich, took some getting used to as compared to the previous atmosphere at the Baronia in Nantwich. Mom was fortunate however in being assigned to the office which was an enclosed area with windows looking out into the factory itself. Soon she made friends and this more than made up for the move to Crewe and especially into the office.

Olive Williams who had worked in the Nantwich pub, Molly and her sister Dorothy, as well as Gwen all worked outside the office she thinks. With Mom this became the “gang” although this is my name for the group and not theirs. They became very close friends and lunched together in the large hall at the Works. Exchanged were incidents that happened from time to time. For instance the washroom was a bit of a walk and the whistles of the men to the girls was most natural. Some of the Italian prisoners of war assigned to the Works seemed to make many trips to somewhere where they could could look at the girls through windows. Times have not changed with this opposite sex attraction.

Your Mom remembers so well the long hours and often overtime days. Additionally the girls were expected to and did serve at the canteen every Sunday - a canteen for service women and men. This was operated by Mr. and Mrs. Blagg, our chaperones. An option to this was to knit mitts and gloves for the war effort but the choice for the canteen was preferable for the “gang’. Then there were the dances at the church Parish Hall. Yes, this was where I first laid eyes on your Mom ( see Long Ago and Far Away album).

Friend Gwen met her American there and eventually married him to live in the United states. “Our” girls went to the dances to be partners for the many servicemen and perhaps men were volunteers for the ladies. I would imagine that after a long day at the Crewe Works, there were many occasions when they would have preferred to stay at home to rest. Still, it was war time and the spirit of helping prevailed.

Now, almost sixty years later, Mom communicates with Olive who lives with Frances in Nantwich (Frances passed away not so long ago). Some correspondence takes place with Molly (Mullin) who with husband Brian live in Meals, Wirral, Cheshire. At one time Molly used to send lovely flowers to us regularly but she is not well at the present time and our health has minimized our keeping in touch. There were the phone calls with all kinds of memories remembered. Now the memories remain and so precious they are to Mom. Also to me with regard to Olive and Frances.

So ends the Crewe Works story fondly remembered by Mom.

Kath and Mike's Overseas Story
Long Ago and Far Away
Wedding Photo Album
Kath's Family Photo Album
Contact Daughter Cathy at:

As You Were . . .
Tribute Webzines
Navigation Chart to the
Hillman WWII Tributes
Short Bursts
Ex-Air Gunners Association

Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum: RCAFHMCS Prince Robert: Hillman WWII Scrapbook - RCNXII Dragoons - 26 RCA Museum
Webmaster: William G. Hillman
Editor and Webmaster Bill Hillman ~ Copyright 1996-2021