My grandparents both had hard lives. Harry was a soldier for many
years, on active service in many parts of the then British Empire.
A relative remembers Harry thus:
|Harry Wykes circa 1920
"The simple word 'Soldier' is rather an understatement. I believe Harry was
in the Boer War, the Dardanelles and Gallipoli campaigns. Was wounded
and shell-shocked. In fact a real War Veteran. The picture of him with
his medals tells it all.
In spite of his terrible war experiences he was, at heart, a kindly man.
I remember him first when he was living at Witton Late, Birmingham and then
at my birthplace, 104 Davey Rd. where he passed away.
It was terribly ironic that after coming through all the wars he should
meet with an accident at the Dunlop Rubber Co. where, I believe, a tyre
mould fell across his knee putting it out of action for the rest of his
life. I believe he went through great pain when the doctors tried to
get his knee working again."
Clara Martha was a a saint of a woman, whom life dealt a mean hand to, but who
through sheer strength of character battled through, taking in relatives and
friends who had nowhere else to go.
She is remembered thus, by the same relative:
"My earliest memories of my Aunt Clara are of visiting her when she was
living in Witton Lane in a row of terraced houses opposite the Aston
Villa football ground (about 1922). Conditions were very primitive with
an outside toilet - bench seat and open bucket type. It must have been a
great fillip to her and Uncle Harry when they moved into our rented
house at 104 Davey Rd., Perry Barr, B'ham., my father, John Thomas,
buying a semi-detached house in Aldridge Rd. By that time her invalid
son, Jack, had passed away.
Clara Martha Wykes circa 1920
When she was living at Witton Lane there
was an Aunt Lizzie living with her. She was rather elderly and what
relationship she was, I do not know - whether aunt to my cousin Len or
aunt Clara. She must have been very lonely after uncle Harry passed
away in 1942 as Len must have left home by then.
She had a very hard
life with her husband in all the wars and an invalid son and Len, of
course. A very strong personality and very alert she was, nevertheless,
very kind. In spite of all her troubles she had a keen sense of humour
with a ready wit and a twinkle in her eye."