Another difficult week. Less than a month after attending my grans funeral, this week I attended my grandads funeral.
I used to work with my grandad when we both worked behind the bar in the local club. He taught me how to pull a pint and how to deal with customers.
My grandad is also the person who took me as a 16 year old to my first ever rugby league challenge cup final at Wembley stadium in 1990 to watch Wigan beat Warrington 36-14. In front of a crowd of 78!000 people. That’s a day I’ll never forget. We went on the train from Leeds to Kings cross station and then spent the morning riding round London on the tube train visiting as many monopoly locations as we could before making our way to Wembley to soak up the Prematch atmosphere. Even though my team weren’t playing I had worn my Leeds shirt and I wasn’t the only one. There were people in shirts from every club in the league all mixing together in a very friendly atmosphere. I don’t remember much of the game except that our seats seemed very high up and we had a great view.
My grandad was in the navy during WW2 and was one of the survivors of one of the worst disasters of the war when a lone German aircraft dropped a bomb on Bari harbour hitting a ship that contained a shipment of mustard gas which exploded kill and injuring hundreds. The incident was initially classified but has now been written about in the book “Poisonous Inferno ” by George southern.
My grandad didn’t speak much about what he got up to during the war however he did used to talk to me about it behind the bar if we were not busy. He also let me see a copy of his naval record. Which made for very interesting reading despite having some gaps in it which he always brushed over. In later years he did tell me that he was on the naval vessel involved in the mission to rescue the leader of the Yugoslav partisan Josef Broz Tito, which would explain the gap in his record and the Baltic theatre medal he has for which there is no citation.
Throught the duration of ww2 my grandad was rescue from the water after ships he were on were attacked on numerous occasions. Which considering he couldn’t swim is extremely fortunate.
Seeing as my grandad was so at home behind the bar pulling pints, it was only fair that when we built our own home bar that we invited him to pull the first pint which turned out to be the last time my grandad visited our house.