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Walter Colin Ivor Harse- Memories of Oxford Childhood

Known as Ivor or Charles        page 1

I was born on Saturday 29th November 1913 at 4pm, just in time for tea, at 32 Norries Ave, Oxford.

Walter Colin Harse was my father and (Alfred) Colin Harse of 27 St Giles, was Grandad, That is why I am Walter Colin Ivor. Why they called me Ivor I have no idea. Auntie Vi or Tid, was the oldest then Winifred, then my father and the youngest was Madge.

My mother, Rosetta Oxley came from Coventry, her father being a watchmaker.

My mother met my father when she was a barmaid at a Public House in the Cornmarket.

My father died on 20th May 1960 aged 75 so he would be born 22nd Sept 1885.

Dad at a young age was a soldier, Cavalry Regiment. Dad served in the 1914-18 war, in the transport corps and saw some of the worst fighting but luckily went through without a scratch.

Then he was a butcher, then a taxi driver until about 1927 when he joined Morris Motors, in the Transport Department. I joined him in the same year.

My first memories are of my early school days at a Kindergarten run by 2 sisters and a brother, the 'Kings'. The brother was known as 'Monkey King' because of his looks.

The School was at the bottom of Worcester Place, a large house backing on to Worcester College grounds.

When the first World War started, my Mother went to  live at 27 St Giles, as Dad had joined up to serve his country in the Royal Engineers.

In 1916 my Mother and I left 27 St Giles and took up residence at 1 Richmond Road.

I well remember going with Mother to view this house and the door being answered by a man with a hook in place of a hand. I remember being told at a later date that he was a shunter in a local Railway Yard and had lost his hand in an accident in the Yard.

I have a vague memory of the 1914-18 War. I can remember going to stay with my Mother's sister at Coventry and seeing a Zeppelin raid on that City.

I can also remember going with Mother to visit Aunt Alice ( no relation) in South Oxford when the factory hooters sounded, indicating an Air Raid.

I also remember my Mother having the Flu that struck England in 1917. She was very ill with it. It must have been near my birthday, and could have been 1916, because I had been promised a ladder from the local toy shop in George Street- I forced her to leave her sick bed and buy the ladder for me.

I also recall my father coming home on leave from France, and Mother and I going to the Station to await his arrival. I well remember, as we walked along, my Mother singing a well known song of the day "If You Were The Only Girl In The World."

As we waited for Dad's train to arrive, they unloaded a train full of German Soldiers- Prisoners Of War. These men stood on the platform and one wanted to give me his watch, but my Mother forbade this, much to my disappointment.

That evening my Father went out for a drink and on his return home, about 10pm, he was very drunk. I well remember him sitting on the floor and offering me a bottle of beer, with a promise of half a crown if I could hit him over the head with it. I would have done so if my Mother had not restained me.

I also remember being left alone in the house with some fireworks which had been given to me to celebrate the end of the hostilities. we had staying with us members of the Doyle Carte Opera. They were at the Oxford Theatre. I was so anxious to try these while they had all gone. I chose one that was on a stick, put it in the fire and then held it up the chimney. You can well imagine the end of the story. my hand was badly burned.

It was about 1919 and I found myself a page boy at Aunt Win's wedding. The ceremony was held at St Giles Church and the Wedding Breakfast at 27 Giles St. (Photo taken here.)


Marriage of Sidney Walter Antwis and Winifred May Harse.

Back row L-R

Lily Arnold         Alice Harse nee Moulder      Alice Harse       Walter Harse        Alfred Harse        Madge Harse

(Bride's friend)               (Mother)             (Sister)                 (Brother)            (Father)                (Sister)


                                                                            Rosetta Harse nee Oxley

      Walter Colin ka Ivor Harse




































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