Colin Kennard
FUNERAL ADDRESS – Wednesday, 2 nd  May 2012  By J. David Kennard (Major Retd. Irish Guards – Son) Colin David Kennard, much loved husband, father, step-father, brother, uncle, grandfather, cousin, godfather and good friend.  What does one say in just a few minutes about a man who was, at just the age of 23, recommended for a Victoria Cross?  Who was this man and what did his life mean?  Beneath an endearing modesty, self-deprecating sense of humour, keen sense of fun, was a man of many talents and dimensions.  A man who was respected and loved by his friends and family and those he led.  He was loved for what he was and what he stood for during his long and full life.  I have been moved by the letters sent to me, and they express over and over again “his bravery, inspiration, leadership, fun, modesty, kindness, determination and many other compliments.  A close friend wrote, “He had an internal vibrancy and straightforwardness; a genuinely good man – a charming host”. HOME AND EARLY CHILDHOOD In his childhood, he lived in beautiful and interesting homes: Corton Denham in Somerset; the Old Bell House, and Purslow Hall in Shropshire. Early life was idyllic as the second youngest of five rumbustious siblings.  Country sports were the main recreation with hunting and shooting being the most popular.  Both his father and mother came from large families themselves and so there was no lack of cousins with whom to have fun.  He and his younger brother Bob, were often packed off by train with luggage labels attached to their lapels, to stay for weeks on end with their Colfox grandparents and cousins in West Dorset.  I even found recently, one of these labels, which described the boys as ‘goods’ to be ‘delivered’ to the Station Master!  These halcyon days left my father with an abiding love of West Dorset where he felt completely at home. GROWING UP For a person blessed with a strong independent streak, life at prep school at Chafyn Grove, Salisbury, and then Radley College, was considered irksome and constricting.  His main outlet for frustrations was on the rugger field where his competitive spirit was given full rein.  He was always impatient for the holidays, particularly the winter holidays, so that he could go off with his gun and his dog, an assortment of brothers and his father.  From reading his game book, it reveals that they managed to go out most days!  One particular story comes to mind of this period.  His elder brother Michael was a notoriously poor shot.  One evening before a day’s shooting, my father and his partner in crime, his younger brother Bob, removed the shot from all of Michael’s cartridges and then refilled them with pheasant feathers.  During the first drive the following day, as the duo watched with anticipation, Michael fired, missing a passing pheasant, but to his astonishment and disbelief and to his brothers’ unbridled mirth he was submerged in a deluge of feathers.  Gleeful cries of ‘Good Shot’ echoed across the field. From Radley, in 1938, he went up to Christ’s College, Cambridge to read Land Management. WAR Like so many of his fellow students, he joined the local territorial regiment on the outbreak of war in 1939, but fearing that he would never see active service, he decided to join the Regular Army, but which regiment?  His father’s advice was to join the Grenadier Guards.  This was not a good move.  He was turned down by that Regiment’s Lieutenant Colonel, partly because his younger brother Bob, had already been accepted by them a few weeks previously. In a moment of inspiration, he sought a recommendation for the Irish Guards – the Micks - instead.  As he told us years later, what on earth was he going to say to his father for having been turned down by the Grenadiers?  Two or three good friends had already joined the Micks and had not been at all reticent in their disapproval that my father should be considering a rival.  In spite of the irregularity of this procedure, the Grenadier Colonel found himself agreeing to this.  The subsequent interview with the Micks, was hardly an interview at all, so taken aback were they by his audacity.  He was ordered to report to Sandhurst without delay. Like so many of my father’s generation, he rarely talked about the war.  One or two amusing anecdotes percolated out during our childhood but he did not dwell on his personal exploits which happen to be well documented.  My father was very modest about his achievements, he always believed that many others deserved greater recognition than himself and that so many ‘acts of bravery’ happened because of the accumulated deeds and common endeavour of many.  He was one of the lucky ones who survived active service in North Africa, Italy and the advance through Holland and Germany. Amazingly, as a young officer in North Africa, he managed to survive, albeit wounded, a particularly brutal five-day battle on the ‘Bou’, against overwhelming odds where the Battalion was decimated.  Of his original Company, only a couple of dozen Irish Guardsmen survived that battle.  It was for this action that he was recommended for a Victoria Cross but was awarded an immediate DSO. It was only in recent months that he talked in any detail about these wartime experiences, dwelling somewhat on the utter futility of war and the waste of young life.  All his life he mourned especially the loss of two close friends, John Kennedy and George Ismay.  It is true to say, that the intense camaraderie born of these events left its mark on those survivors but inculcated an especially strong sense of ‘family’ in the Micks which is nurtured to this day.  My father always considered the Micks his Second family and he rarely missed an Irish Guards’ party. However, not all his experiences in North Africa were unpleasant.  There is an entry in my Father’s game book for 28 th  March to 12th April 1943 at Medjez-el-Bob (Tunisia), just before the ‘Battle of the Bou – hills 212 and 214’ - and I quote, “Place: Medjez-el-Bob whilst in front line. Guns: self. Partridges – 15.  Hares – 2.  Remarks:  sport somewhat hampered by heat and proximity of Germans.  Birds very tough eating!” POST WAR On demobilisation, like many of his peers, he decided not to return to Cambridge thinking that too much had happened and that he was, at the age of 27, too old.  He ended up in the City working for United Glass Bottles.  It was a job, but not one that he relished particularly.  For relief, he played rugger with passion and commitment for both Wasps and London Irish and was even offered an international trial for Ireland which he turned down as he did not deem himself to be Irish enough!  DORSET In the mid ‘50s he grabbed the opportunity of moving himself and his family, having married my mother Rosemary in 1947, to Dorset to become the Sales Director of Joseph Gundry in Bridport, the largest net making firm in Europe.  This got him back to the country and we lived in various houses: Wytherston, Symondsbury with the cousins, and Drimpton, before eventually settling in Litton Cheney where he soon became a stalwart and then leader of the Parish Council. These were happy years and one of my abiding memories is of being dragged round every point to point and racecourse in the West, come rain or shine, following my father’s other passion, the Turf.  Picnics galore, put together by our long suffering Mother and, as my sister Clare and I got older, generous quantities of Gin and French of lethal strength were packed into the boot of the car and which were disbursed liberally to our friends along with tips on what to back. He was the most generous of hosts.  Whenever I appeared at home, usually accompanied by numerous brother officers from the Mick or Celtic fringe, possessed of powerful thirst and hunger, my mother emptied the fridge and my father the cellar while the washing machine churned away. As my father got older, playing tennis became his twice-weekly activity.  He was no mean player and only ceased playing in his 80s!  He indulged too, his love of the racehorse by having minor interests in the odd horse, along with Nigel Martin of Came and Joan Turner of Cheselbourne, amongst others.  What fun they had following their equine children’s racing progress. In the mid ‘70s, he left Gundrys, to become an independent stockbroker.  He was in his element: bringing him into contact with people and looking after their interests, along with using his aptitude for figures.  He built up a good business and was pleased when I decided to join him in the mid 80s. LATTER YEARS His marriage having failed at this time, he married secondly, Hillary, and acquired two stepsons, Edward and Colin.  He made his home in Hinton St. George where he was very happy for the last twenty years or so. His increasing years and latterly, arthritis and cancer, were borne with typical stoicism and lack of complaint.  As long as he had his gin, his racing, his whisky, his After Eight mints, his hotline to his bookmakers - plural, he was as content as he could be.  His last year of life was spent in Abbey View Nursing Home in Sherborne where the care was excellent.  He always looked forward to hearing news of, and having visits from, his five grandchildren of whom he was enormously proud. Underpinning his life was his understated acknowledgement of his spirituality.  Like most English men of his era, this was worn lightly but I know that he talked with, and to, the Almighty on a daily basis. We loved him dearly, we shall miss him sorely but we know he is in good Hands. QUIS SEPERABIT.
Frank Whillock – Eulogy 25 January 2016 – Deborah & Michael Harley Introduction Thank   you   for   coming   today,   some   have   come   some   distance.   We   remember,   amongst   others,   those   who   cannot   be   here   granddaughter   Sarah   and   family   in Australia,   nephew   Martin   (and   Ruth   Whillock),   niece   Janet   (in   Italy),   niece   Marion   (and David)   in   Canada,   and   nephew   Gerald   (and   Hnong)   in   Thailand,   Bob   Lay   his   old   friend   –   each   are   remembering   Frank   at this time.  Early Years Siblings Frank,   born   in   Hornsey,   London   on   the   19 th    June   1921,   was   the   youngest   of   the   four   children   of   Caroline   and   Frederick Whillock.   His   siblings,   Arthur,   Ethel   and   'Bubbles',   have   all   died   and   Frank   felt   that   keenly   as   he   became   the   last   one   to survive.   He   said   they   were   like   four   legs   on   a   chair,   as   each   one   died   the   chair   became   increasingly   wobbly.   He'd   probably now say that the chair is mended – a typical woodworkers analogy. Ethel   and   'Bubbles'   used   to   mother   him,   while   his   brother,   Arthur,   was   kind   to   him   and   helped   him   financially   through   his teacher training. A kindness Frank never forgot. Hard Times The   family   hit   hard   times   when   their   father,   Frederick,   was   unemployed   for   about   two   years   around   the   Depression between    the    Wars    and    mother,    Caroline,    had    different    jobs    to    make    ends    meet.    But    it    was    a    loving    family    which compensated,   so   Frank   felt   he   had   a   very   happy   childhood.   Little   things   pleased   him-Bubbles   ensured   that   he   got   his   first pocket   sewed   into   his   new   home-made   trousers,   of   which   he   was   immensely   proud   (there's   a   photo   of   him   with   his   hand stuffed determinately into the pocket of those trousers). War Years Good War Frank   had   barely   started   his   Teacher   Training   when   he   was   conscripted   into   the   Royal   Air   Force,   working   with   electronics helping   to   operate   Radar.   He   served   in   England,   Belgium   and   Germany.   Typically   Frank   couldn't   resist   secretly   taking photographs over Europe as a souvenir, and he got away with it.  Frank always said he had a good war. Leaving his gun behind There   were   one   or   two   incidents   that   he   mentioned   which   were   hilarious   in   hindsight.   He   went   to   the   theatre   in   Belgium, and   on   returning   to   his   Station   realised   that   he   had   left   his   Sten   Gun   under   the   seat.   He   had   to   rush   back   to   the   theatre, knock on the side door and retrieve it from the caretaker. Failing to retrieve it would have meant a prison sentence. Prisoner of War guard He   guarded   a   German   Prisoner   of   War   under   house   arrest   in   Germany,   who   had   been   a   war   artist.   He   befriended   him   and once   accepted   a   social   evening   alone   with   him,   listening   to   music   and   discussing   art,   deciding   it   was   safe   to   leave   his   gun behind   in   the   Station.   The   artist   gave   Frank   a   drawing   which   is   still   on   a   wall. After   the   war   the   artist   wrote   to   Frank   asking him   to   set   up   an   exhibition   for   him   in   London,   but   Frank   realised   it   would   be   immensely   unpopular   to   encourage   a   German artist in London, so he refused. Confirmation During   the   war   Frank   was   confirmed   in   Winchester   Cathedral   –   the   Chaplain   had   arranged   for   the   group   of   confirmees   to be   flown   down   specially   for   the   event.   Latterly   this   link   with   Winchester   amused   him   because   of   Mike   and   Deborah's   link with the same Cathedral. Post War Choice of careers A   defining   moment   for   Frank   after   the   war   was   when   he   was   offered   further   training   as   an   electronics   engineer,   but   he decided   to   return   to   teacher   training.   He   would   wonder   what   would   have   happened   in   his   life   if   he   had   made   a   different decision. Teaching He   resumed   his   teacher   training   and   was   allowed   to   continue   from   where   he   had   left   off   before   the   war,   this   shortened   the required   training   post   war   which   delighted   him.   Frank   became   a   woodwork,   metalwork   and   technical   drawing   teacher, thoroughly   enjoying   teaching   and   encouraging   children   in   these   early   years   of   his   career.   He   was   also   an   accomplished woodworker and joiner, producing many fine pieces of furniture for his home. Family Life Audrey and girls At   his   first   school   he   met   Audrey,   who   was   to   become   his   first   wife.   They   married   in   1951,   lived   in   New   Southgate,   north London, and their daughters were born there - Deborah in 1952 and Diana in 1954. Forgetting the baby He   once   took   the   newly   born   Deborah   to   the   local   shops   in   her   pram,   arriving   later   back   home   without   her.   Audrey   asked where   Deborah   was   –   he   had   forgotten   that   he   was   a   new   father   and   had   left   the   baby   outside   the   shops.   On   rushing   back Deborah was still there in her pram - a sign of more trusting and safer times. Patience Despite   the   previous   incident   he   was   a   caring   and   attentive   father.   Frank   had   endless   patience,   and   both   Deborah   and Diana   remember   him   helping   them   with   their   Maths   homework,   despite   their   tears   of   frustration   at   not   being   able   to understand the subject. Picture Framing Frank   has   been   a   picture   framer   for   many   decades   and   had   his   own   business   that   he   ran   from   the   garage,   and   then   the garden   shed.   Deborah   and   Diana   spent   happy   hours   with   him   making   things   out   of   offcuts   of   wood.   Both   remember accompanying   him   around   north   London   delivering   pictures   to   clients,   when   he   would   sing   Bing   Crosby   songs   ('In   the   cool, cool, cool of the evening' being a favourite). Bedtime stories Frank   had   a   talent   for   making   up   bedtime   stories   initiated   by   Diana,   always   with   a   happy   and   moral   ending.   Diana remembers   stories   about   an   object   that   didn't   want   to   do   what   it   was   meant   to,   like   'the   light   switch   that   didn't   want   to switch on', or 'the door knob that didn't want to turn'. Wider family Over   the   decades   his   two   sons   in   law   have   found   Frank   to   be   a   great   Father-in-Law,   very   interested   in   and   supportive   of what they have done in their careers and lives. Also,   Frank's   nephews   and   nieces   have   very   fond   and   treasured   memories   of   him.   They   said   he   was   a   kind   and   generous uncle; interested in what each did; fun with a positive attitude towards life; and a good role model. Retiring During   the   1970's,   Audrey's   health   deteriorated,   and   Frank   realised   he   needed   to   retire   to   care   for   her.   He   retired   as   the Head   of   the   Handicraft   Department   of   Ravenscroft   Secondary   Modern   School   in   about   1978   -   the   school   was   the   location for   the   TV   series   'Grange   Hill'.   By   then   he   was   pleased   to   retire   since   teaching   had   become   a   strain   for   him,   as   children   in this era were far less respectful and obedient than their predecessors. Litton Cheney A decisive move Frank   and Audrey   moved   to   Litton   Cheney   in   Dorset   in   1979.   Mrs   Smith, Audrey's   elderly   mother,   moved   down   with   them and occupied one of the bedrooms. Village life to the full Frank   threw   himself   into   village   life,   enjoying   every   aspect   and   getting   thoroughly   involved.   He   organised   the   village   fete   for a   few   years   –   Diana   remembers   the   fancy   dress   competitions,   where   he   dreamt   up   wonderful   topical   costumes   for   himself, such   as   the   'weather   man'   one   year   because   of   the   wet   summer,   and   the   'litter   man'   during   the   anti-litter   campaign.   The Harley   grandchildren   remember   taking   part   in   fancy   dress   competitions.   One   year   Diana   was   roped   in   with   her   friend, Wendy, to be a judge. Audrey dies Sadly   Audrey   died   in   1981,   aged   57   years.   Frank   was   left   with   his   Mother-in-Law   in   the   house   to   care   for   as   she   was becoming more dependent, which was a difficult era for him.. Hobbies and interests He   began   to   take   craft   lessons   in   the   local   Junior   School;   became   a   PCC   member   and   was   involved   in   the   church;   and   for thirty   years   he   coordinated   Country   Cars,   a   service   for   taking   people   to   hospital   appointments   from   the   local   Bride   Valley. He   enjoyed   golf   and   belonged   to   the   West   Bay   Golf   Club.   He   also   threw   himself   into   music   –   he   started   to   learn   the   violin again,   to   play   the   guitar   and   had   piano   lessons.      He   became   a   member   of   the   Bridport   Music   Centre   Orchestra   (even playing   the   violin   at   the   millenium   concert   in   the Albert   Hall)   and   the   Dorchester   Camarata.   He   started   to   go   to   a   local   Folk Club, joining in the singing and playing. A New Era Barbara It   was   at   a   folk   club   that   he   and   Barbara   met   some   time   later,   they   were   married   in   1984   and   a   new   era   began.   During   their marriage   they   ran   a   business   together   of   antiquarian   maps   and   prints   and   bric-a-brac.   Frank   continued   picture   framing   and repairing   items   for   Barbara's   shop   and   stall. They   enjoyed   knowing   the   local   artists   who   Frank   framed   for. They   jointly   sang in the Bride Valley Choir. Friends and parties Barbara   and   Frank   made   many   friends   in   Litton   Cheney,   and   Frank's   80 th    and   90 th    birthday   parties   were   well   attended   by both family and numerous friends. The Man Poetry Like   many   in   his   generation   Frank   remembered   poetry   from   his   school   days,   which   he   had   learnt   by   rote,   but   in   addition   he was   also   known   to   write   poetry   himself.   One   or   two   of   his   poems   were   published,   and   some   found   there   way   into   the   local magazine. One of his poems is going to be read in this service. Inquisitive mind Frank   had   a   naturally   inquisitive   and   lively   mind,   almost   to   the   end   –   he   always   wanted   to   learn   about   things   and   to understand   how   things   worked.   Although   the   internet   was   beyond   him   and   he   really   didn't   want   to   get   involved,   he nevertheless   wanted   to   try   and   understand   how   it   worked.   He   was   absolutely   amazed   that   he   was   actually   on   the   internet   Diana showed him a photograph of him playing the violin on the folk club website. Inclusive As   a   person   he   was   very   inclusive,   sometimes   modern   in   outlook,   and   often   accepted   people   as   they   were.   But   he   did have strong opinions and was not afraid to express them. Grandchildren Enjoyment Frank   derived   much   pleasure   from   his   grandchildren   and   Sarah,   Jo,   Fran,   Andrew,   Erica   and   Christopher   also   remember him   with   great   affection   and   all   have   their   special   memories   of   him.   They   enjoyed   their   visits   to   Frank   and   Barbara   and found their house fascinating.. Their reflections They loved listening to the stories of his life They felt he was young at heart, warm and enthusiastic They enjoyed making music with him, and he encouraged their musical endeavours Fishing in his river Making things with him from scraps of wood in his shed Having fun on the local beaches Being supported in their hobbies and having their achievements framed In later years finding him interested in and even inspiring their choice of careers Great Grandchildren Frank   said   that   he   was   privileged   to   meet   some   of   his   great   grandchildren,   and   was   something   that   he   never   thought   that he   would   see.   It   gave   him   much   pleasure   to   meet   them   and   place   a   silver   coin   in   their   hand   for   luck   –   a   family   tradition   we were told. Conclusion Poor health As   you   know   Frank's   health   has   been   poor   over   the   last   years   and   Barbara   has   been   a   really   great   support,   carer   and strength   as   he   has   been   very   confined.   He   missed   terribly   not   being   able   to   get   into   his   workshop   and,   even   with   Barbara's help, he realised that it was time to lay down his tools. Peaceful death At   the   end   he   died   very   peacefully   and   quietly   in   his   own   home   with   Barbara,   Deborah,   Diana   and   me   around   the   bed   unfortunately   CS   was   unwell   and   therefore   unable   to   be   with   us.   It   was   a   good   death,   and   he   had   his   wish   to   die   in   his   own home. Greatly missed He   will   be   greatly   missed,   but   there   will   be   many   fond   memories   of   him   as   we   commend   him   to   God   with   thankfulness   for such a long and interesting life, and having had the privilege of knowing him.
Veronica Kingston Edwin Kingston Shiela Barnes Nancy Coombs Colin Kennard Gordon Moxom Brenda Smith Charlie Trott Janet & Reynolds Stone Frank Whillock John Randall Dorset Litton Cheney in the Bride Valley