|Birth: ||Apr. 26, 1910|
Rhondda Cynon Taff, Wales
|Death: ||Jan. 16, 1991|
"Wally" was my maternal Grandad. As my baby sitter when I was little he would allow me to stay up way too late and taught me about all sorts of interesting things like magnetism and reptiles and magic tricks and how to build simple electrical circuits and switches. It was Grandad who bought me my first chemistry set which got me banished to the basement. I nicknamed my Grandads so my parents would know who I was talking about, he was "Ball-y" Grandad as he once gave me a super-bouncy ball which I thought was the best thing since pockets, and he also fed my pen addiction (which I think he actually started) by bringing me souvenir ballpoint pens back from his travels. He was a bit of a wiz with electrical stuff which he loved to tinker with, and built himself all kinds of gadgets such as a timer to turn his lights on and off which was made from an old heater thermostat, several pieces of Dexian and goodness knows what else. After he died we joked that he was probably building secret bombs for the Army as we found a little storage room in his bungalow with a work bench covered in half-built circuits, switches and sundry other electrical things. He cycled everywhere, was a staunch radio listener - he never owned a TV during my lifetime - and recycled the same calender for years by crossing out the days above the columns and relabeling them each year.
He was born in a small mining village in Pontypridd, South Wales where he trained as a cinema projectionist, hoarding little clips and reels of silent movies away for himself. He married Beatrice Mary Bowden in 1933 in Pontypridd and their only child, my Mum, was born in 1935. When the War came to Europe he joined the Army, serving with The Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, and fought in the field as a Gunner Sergeant in the North African and Italian campaigns among others. He was wounded in Italy when his regiment was shelled by Nazi forces and was hospitalized in Greece for several months before being demobbed and returning to England to settle in Middlesex with his family. They traveled extensively after the War, with Italy being one of their favorite destinations.
In 1967 Gran got sick and passed away from lung cancer. Grandad never remarried but stayed at their home at Rose Gardens in Feltham until the 1980's when he moved to Hodge Lea in Milton Keynes close to where we lived. This meant we got to see a lot more of him and he also became very popular with his neighbors on their small street, especially the children. He continued to travel although in later years he curtailed his globetrotting habits somewhat, preferring to take bus tours and short cruises. He also became a keen gardener, maintaining a full greenhouse and vegetable garden in his small suburban back yard.
Grandad was in and out of hospital on and off through the years because of thrombosis aggravated by the wounds he received in the War. He had a couple of surgeries which he always bounced back from so despite his advancing years we weren't too worried when he was admitted to Milton Keynes General Hospital again just after Christmas 1990. He was doing well after another surgery and was expected to leave hospital on Thursday January 17th. Tragically he contracted pneumonia a few days before, and was lost to us on the evening of Wednesday 16th.
His memorial service was held at Holy Trinity Church in Old Wolverton, Bucks on Monday 21st January 1991 and the following day we formed a cortege to drive to Feltham Cemetery in Middlesex for his graveside service and burial, where he was reunited with Gran at last.
*** with love and thanks to VampireRed for sponsoring Grandad's memorial and to darealjolo for locating and photographing his grave ***
Beatrice Mary Bowden Francis (1913 - 1967)
Marilyn June Francis Marshall (1935 - 2013)*
Note: There is no inscription on my Granddad's side of the marker.
London Borough of Hounslow
Greater London, England
Plot: Grave 86 Z 3rd ext
Created by: Mount Hope NY
Record added: Mar 07, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 25118833