My Grandfather was a man of principle, at the time of the Second World War he was working for Unigate Dairies at Guildford. His three brothers and oldest sister Rose, who was married was living at Manor Farm Guildford. Two of his other sisters was living in nearby Shackleford, Hurtmore and the second eldest was living in Essex with her husband who was a military man.
Whilst it would have been a much safer and easier option to have started working at the farm, my Grandfather joined up. He had been married under a year. My Grandmother told me she was furious, but his principle was one of things she loved about him, and he was absolutely doing the right thing.
He joined Army and after training left for over 2 years in Sierra Leone, before returning to England and then onwards to Europe. I sent off for his service record a few years ago and I am trying to piece together his life during those war years.
Upon returning from the army, he resumed working at Unigate and did so until he retired in May 1973, having been asked to carry on working for a few months by Unigate. Looking forward to retirement he fell ill and suffered from breathing difficulties, and died at Milford Chest Hospital on 20th July 1974 aged 66 years.
My Grandmother spent the next 21 years a widow, and often talked about him. I once asked her if she had ever wanted to remarry. Her response was, “you only meet perfection once and one day you will know what I mean”. When I married in the summer of 1994, I knew just what she meant.
George Butcher 1908 – 1974