Grandad Remembered

I don’t really know too much about my Grandad, except that he died 20 years ago today.

Arthur James Thomas Buchanan HARRIS, known as George after his father, was born in Temperence Street, St. Albans, Hertfordshire, on 23rd February 1912. In WWII, he was in the Royal Army Service Corp, 13th Corp Leaping Gazelle, Water and Breakdown Transport (driving the big Mac lorries). He was awarded the Oak Leaf and Bar, and Mentioned in Dispatches. He later worked at Horace Slade & Co. Ltd. He had 5 brothers and sisters. In July 1952, he married my Nan, June DUNHAM in St. Albans.

When I have more time I want to see what military records hold about him. I know he was posted to Africa and the phrase Desert Rats has been mentioned a few times, but other than that I don’t know any more.

As he died when I was 8, I didn’t get to know him much. All I remember was that he the strong and silent type. People who know me and knew him have said how like I him I am at times. That’s fine with me. If anyone did know him, then feel free to get in touc.

I posted a poem that I wrote ten years ago of how I was feeling at the funeral ten years before that. I copy it in full below:

Poem: My Everlasting Memory

Gary and Grandad

Gary and Grandad


I lost a loved one almost ten years to the day.
I remember some of the memories, others have faded away.
What tears me up the most, and to you maybe the same,
Is that never again will we here, that treasured voice again.

It was my Grandfather who left us, I remember the day I was told.
I was sitting at home, with my mum, I was only nine years old.
Now something like that for a nine year old, is such a weird thing,
You know that something is wrong, because everyone around you is crying.

It wasn’t like that for me though, I had only my mum for support,
It didn’t sink in at first, but later when the evening came, she appeared very distraught,
She told me straight and didn’t hold back, and gave me a hug to ease our pains,
I cried like I had never cried before, aching inside, becoming a man in one day.

I was allowed to the funeral, for which now I shall always be grateful,
And it was there that I knew I was a child, for when it came to say the Lords prayer,
I spoke no words. I said my own words of love, to the man I take after,
As his coffin was taken away to a place behind the curtain,
I tried to help my mother and her mother, and those who were there that day,
But inside, at that moment I was being torn up.
Perhaps I was too young to understand what was going on, though I believe I wasn’t,
Maybe the hurt and discomfort passed over my little body, not ready to set down,
Could it be that I felt my Grandfathers death as a child or an adult? Who knows?
All I can say is that, for a nine year old,
I have experienced something that will last a lifetime.

Poem: Ode to Dorch

Alan teaches in the classroom,
We know as the gold fish bowl,
Means we can see who’s winning the fight
Between some dude and Anthony Cole.

Jim said one day he had a sore tooth,
And was going to get it checked out,
I asked him the next day how was the dentist,
And he said, “Oh, he looked down in the mouth.”

Livia is the crazy girl,
She makes me smile, she’s nice,
Though there’s something we all know sunshine,
That was never your Muller Rice.

Upstairs Allan obviously teaches cleaning with a good few tricks,
They chat, drink tea and watch videos and still get a certificate for BICS.

Richard does the magazine,
Though now he’s also a dad,
We all wish the family well,
With Luca, their little lad.

Christina does the Yoga,
“I love it!” a prisoner said,
Though he then did fall over,
As he had his leg behind his head.

The IAG team at Dorchester,
Is Richard, Jackie and Lynn,
The great service that they provide,
Is offered to all who come in.

Margaret teaches on D Wing,
Which is always rather merry,
Especially trying to control our friend,
The wonderful Mr Perry.

Jane does the IT,
Including how to type a letter,
I wish her well and hope,
That her back soon gets better.

Margot teaches Literacy,
Down in room 3,
Even I now know,
How to use the apostrophe.

Anne, Judy, Ginny and Roger are great,
They can cover anything,
I know that when I am stuck for a class,
I can always give them a ring.

Lesley teaches lots of groups,
With lots of different lads,
The one I think she most enjoys,
Is Story Book Dads.

Karen teaches Barbering,
Which is something quite rare,
Would you let a prisoner with clippers,
Come anywhere near your hair?

Marion joined us recently,
Though she hasn’t lost her ties,
Half the time she’s not here,
As she’s forced to work at Guys.

Lisa is seen to run the show,
And is very often stressed,
We all know there’s chocolate though,
Somewhere on her desk.

Stuart is more in the background,
Making sure we all have our goals,
And that is why he works,
As the HMP Dorchester HoLS,

And then there’s me, little old me, like Mickey Mouse in Fantasia,
I’ve done my best, so I’m having a rest, and now I’m off to Malaysia.

Evening Adventures

We headed out at about 7pm and walked into town, aiming for the restaurants / bars area of Basingstoke. A quick wander through and we chose to go to Spur. Only problem was they were queueing to get in, so we chose Dexter’s instead. Good meal, although the drinks were a little expensive.

After the food came the drink, so we went to Lloyd’s bar and propped up the corner of said bar for most of the night. Atmosphere was good, drinks were cold and cheaper, views of the clientèle were nice (!) and rugby and football were on the TV – result! We left about 2am and stumbled home where I couldn’t get the key in to the door. When we got in, I made tea, Dad fell asleep on the sofa, then I went upstairs to be ill in the bathroom. I don’t recall having moved the bin by the side of the bed, or indeed putting a plastic bag in it in case of future illness, but I’m obviously well-trained, even in the drunken state.

Next thing I know, it’s morning and the phone’s ringing. My head doesn’t hurt as much as it should, but my tummy is far from happy, and is still not right even now. I think I might even still be a little drunk, hence the poor writing of this post. *hic* I’m not at the “I’m never drinking again” stage, but I am thinking that I hate hangovers!

Weekend Visitor

My Dad is coming down to stay for the weekend! Yay! I haven’t seen him for about 18 months or so I think, and I’m looking forward to it. We might even walk into town tonight and for food and drink; I certainly can’t ever remember just the two of us going for a night out.

Gary and his Dad

Gary and his Dad

Poem: My Everlasting Memory


I lost a loved one almost ten years to the day.
I remember some of the memories, others have faded away.
What tears me up the most, and to you maybe the same,
Is that never again will we here, that treasured voice again.

It was my Grandfather who left us, I remember the day I was told.
I was sitting at home, with my mum, I was only nine years old.
Now something like that for a nine year old, is such a weird thing,
You know that something is wrong, because everyone around you is crying.

It wasn’t like that for me though, I had only my mum for support,
It didn’t sink in at first, but later when the evening came, she appeared very distraught,
She told me straight and didn’t hold back, and gave me a hug to ease our pains,
I cried like I had never cried before, aching inside, becoming a man in one day.

I was allowed to the funeral, for which now I shall always be grateful,
And it was there that I knew I was a child, for when it came to say the Lords prayer,
I spoke no words. I said my own words of love, to the man I take after,
As his coffin was taken away to a place behind the curtain,
I tried to help my mother and her mother, and those who were there that day,
But inside, at that moment I was being torn up.
Perhaps I was too young to understand what was going on, though I believe I wasn’t,
Maybe the hurt and discomfort passed over my little body, not ready to set down,
Could it be that I felt my Grandfathers death as a child or an adult? Who knows?
All I can say is that, for a nine year old,
I have experienced something that will last a lifetime.