Monday, August 4, 2014



My only memory pre WW2 is rather misty, I was only 3/4 years of age is of a holiday in Cornwall. A pillow fight with my big brother on the night sleeper always comes to mind. The only other thing coming to mind is causing family panic when my older cousin, Sylvia, took me on a long walk across the beach to see a seaplane that had crashed into a building. We went to Cornwall, I have learnt since, as my father was born in Helston and I was taken there to be christened in a small Church on the cliff top at Gunwally.

      A pleasant way of life came to an abrupt end September 3rd. 1939 when WW2 was declared with Germany. As the war progressed I can recall standing on our door step to watch the ‘Dog Fights’ by the Royal Air Force and enemy aircraft above Teddington. To small boys it all seemed to be one big game, going to school the next morning we would scour the streets looking for shrapnel. Part of our ‘game’ was when the airaide warning went to stand on our garden Anderson shelter, where we slept many nights, to listen and look out for enemy aircraft the dive into the shelter.

      On reaching the age of 7, I joined the 3rd. Teddington Wolf Cub Pack (Cub Scouts). The war effort was well under way by this time; I remember all the iron railing fences were collected from peoples gardens, aluminium pots and pans were collected, all for munitions’ manufacture. The scout group set up a ‘shoe shine’ stall outside Teddington Station to raise funds for the war effort. Boroughs were expected to raise funds to ‘buy’ a spitfire, a large rally/parade was held on Twickenham Green as our Boroughs part in this campaign. Although times were hard, in war time, our cub pack went to a party with other cubs in the basement of the Wesleyan Chappell on the corners of Stanley, Hampton Roads and the Broad Street.

The very next night the Chappell was to get to a direct hit from a German High Explosive Bomb, Whew that was close. Another victim of the Wesleyan bombing was ‘Bells’ store in Stanley road opposite. I remember sitting on a step stool there eating broken biscuits, our mother used to work there on a part time basis. Gordon Bellchamber continued trading in a hurriedly bomb repaired shop at 9 Broad Street, where he traded until his retirement.

     After a night raid we would go round on our bicycles looking at all the sights of the bombing raids, the Baltic Timber Yard in Stanley Road on fire, the Baptist Church in Church Road bombed. We did not see them all, of course, bombs on Shacklegate Lane, Fullwel Road a very large landmine on the garages in Wellington Gardens. The list goes on; Teddington took a lot of bombing because of the National Physical Laboratory being here.

On one very bad raid Teddington swimming pool was used as a temporary morgue. Our own home took a near miss with two pairs of houses being taken out with a pair in Wilcox Road. We were in our garden Anderson shelter that night. I recall a loud swish, a big bang and a great red flash. Our front door blew up the stairs, windows came out and roof tiles missing. We had a family staying with us for a night from east London who had been bombed out of their own home the night before. They had camp beds against an inside, load bearing wall.

     Treats were few and far between, I can remember, on a family outing to Kew Gardens, being shown a banana growing on a tree in the glass house, “After the war” we were told, “You’ll have one of those to eat” But I got one before then, as our Dad was serving abroad we were invited to a party at the American Army Camp in Bushy Park and given an orange and banana.

                        Still going out to Bushy park and the river we found the Diana Fountain

to be covered in a huge wire netting and camouflage,this being great fun climbing up to the top of the fountain until being chased off by park keeper/police. Large holes were dug all over Bushy Park with the earth mounds alongside to prevent German Gliders landing. The holes soon filled up with water and became breading places for newts, frogs water boatmen and other insects. Great fun to collect with nets and jam jars, taking home frog spawn to hang up and watch it turn into tadpoles then frogs.

      By this time I had become a very nervous boy, being singled out at school for a special red capsule with my morning milk. We ventured a bit further on our bikes one day to Twickenham to see the devastation by a V1 rocket (buzz bomb) of the centre of the Town and riverside. Kings Head, front of Woolworths (3d. & 6d. Store) blow out, Water Lane and boat houses bombed. A V1 landing on Strawberry hill Golf Course decided the time had arrived for our ‘evacuation’ – we did not go on a scheme but went to stay with my father’s brother’s family in Henstrige Somerset, they were there as they had been bombed out of their home in Portsmouth.

     My war efforts did not stop there, in the autumn the whole class where taken out into the fields to pick rose hips from the hedge rows to be sent off to make rose hip syrup. Much needed vitamin syrup to supplement lacking vitamins from the wartime diet.

     One of the village family names was Dufall; they were farmers, owned the village bakery, and grocery shop, my aunt used to work at the bakers with a very early stat. One day I went with her and was allowed to go up to the flouer loft and send flouer down the shoot for the next day’s mixing and proving. Would not be allowed now, Children miss out on a lot these days with so much ‘Health & Safety’.

They were also leading lights in the local Baptist Church. My cousin and I were in a ‘team’ of boys paid 6d. a month to be in the choir and another 6d. to pump the organ, electricity had not come to the village yet. Our cottage was lit by oil lamps, and hot water from a brick copper in the yard, cooking on several primus stoves. Water had to be carried from a communal tap 75 yards or more down the lane.

     The Somerset and Dorset joining line used to r un through thru the village with it’s own station, with steam tank engines, we would put half pennies on the track to flatten them out to pennies. As ‘immigrants’ from London we were soon integrated into village life. One day the school put on the customary school show, I was to play the part as father, head of the household, and supposed to make-believe to light up a pipe. On the way to school on the day of the show I picked up cigarette dog ends and put in the pipe. Much to the amusement of the Mums and Dads smoke came out of the pipe. Once off the stage I was sick as a dog, probably the reason I never took up smoking.

     A weekly treat was to walk to the next village to a film show, when it rained it would almost drown out the film sound. Sometimes, if one was due, we would go by train.

     Henstrige was an assemble point for some of the American service men for ‘D’ day. After school we would often call at the camp and were given sweets and chewing gum, a treat with our shortages and rationing. “Got any gum chum” was quite a saying when we passed by a ‘Yank’. One day we were very late for school, a long convoy of trucks etc going thru the village so we could not cross the road.

To be continude. . .

Sunday, January 5, 2014

JUST A THOUGHT - for 2014

Just a thought – 74 years ago I was 5/6 years old and went to the Baptise Church Sunday School in Church Road Teddington.  After singing hymns and a prayer  we walked round for the collection singing –

 “Dropping, dropping, dropping hear the pennies fall, every one for Jesus, he shall have them all”

Story time came. We were told a missionary would take our pennies to Africa for the poor undernourished orphans. We were shown pictures of natives in grass skirts and loin cloths, carrying shields and spears in war paint and told how the tribes kill each other.

Now in 2014 we are bombarded by Television advertisements to give £2 or £3 a month to help the poor undernourished orphans left by the ‘Warring factions’ (Tribes?) using combat gear and weapons sold to them by the ‘Civilised Countries’ to feed the greedy arms salesmen, wealth makers and bankers.

Another song “…when will they ever learn, when will they e-ver learn….”

Sunday, September 15, 2013

ROOM WITH A VIEW - for the rich, not our ex-service men

Our wonderful council, London Borough of Richmond on Thames, have decided that the views from Richmond Hill are too good for our seriously injured servicemen, who have given their active life and limbs in the service to their country.
They have given planning permission for its conversion into 90 luxury flats (sorry, apartments) for the rich at £1,000,000 + each. A few years ago they did the same allowing luxury flats on the other side of the river, where the people’s ice rink used to be in Twickenham.

The Star and Garter site was donated to Queen Mary (consort of George V) in support of her plans to establish a home for paralysed and permanently disabled soldiers.

The building was dedicated in 1924 as the Women of the Empire's Memorial of the Great War it was formally opened by George V and Queen Mary on 10 July 1924

In 1948 residents of the home took part in a forerunner of the Paralympics’ Games, the first national athletic event for disabled athletes, organised by Dr Ludwig Guttmann.
The Star and Garter Home reeived a royal charterin 1979 adding the prefix 'Royal' to it's name.
Our council has no regard for heritage and tradition, by the dedication of a few people, the ‘Twickenham River Terrace Group’ for over 20 years has campaigned, with 10,000 supporters, and prevented the council giving planning permission for the building building of Luxury Flats, a Super Store and underground  cinema on Twickenham embankment.

The Jubilee Gardens on the site of the Twickenham swimming pool, bought with public money in 1925, has stopped this: but for how long?

Friday, May 17, 2013

The 'ELMES' of Teddington

The Teddington ‘Elmes Family’ in WW2. This photo frame travelled all round North Africa and Italy and was safely brought back to Teddington.( Ken and Alan standing, Vernon and Pauline on s tool)
The family was ‘evacuated’ to other family members in Hensdrige, Somerset when the flying bombs started to arrive. Their own home in Clonmel Road was severely damaged by high explosive bomb on houses opposite, spending a few hours buried in there garden Anderson shelter by door, windows and roof from their own home.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Do our Council know what they are doing?

To whom it may concern
At the London Borough of Richmond on Thames

When in 2007 I opted for direct payment, at the councils suggestion, I was informed that this was to be spent to buy the care and assistance I needed when and how required. This worked out very well and satisfactory up until 2012.

The council decided, in 2012, to take a component of my disability living allowance as part of their care plan. This had the effect of reducing my available cash for care/PA by 5 hours a week. I have been trying to get my hours increased by this amount for many weeks. This also to account for my deteariating physical condition with encroaching age, extra help, all agree, I now need.

I have had the same career/PA now for over 3 years; we have worked together very well on flexi time according to what I want and need to do throughout the day. Always on telephone call, if required, he is very helpful and caring and now puts in many more hours than he is paid for.

Today, as it is sunny, after he has showered me he is driving out to the park or riverside for a walk with the wheelchair. On Wednesday afternoon taking me to a talk on ‘Historical Teddington’ and on Friday to a meeting at Ruils – ‘Your Say’. 

Twice a month he takes me to an evening committee meeting of an organisation I was a founder member many years ago. As I have said many times our care and life style is not regimented by set times, and is very flexible, I do not need extra careers but the hours reinstated for my long standing excising career, taken from my DLA.

Now the council, instead of allowing the 5 hours to be reinstated, started to send in agency care at set times throughout the day to do work my career/PA is all ready doing, at times we might be out. Today, Wednesday and Thursday we will be. This is not acceptable as it upsets our programme.

It is ridiculous that I ask for 5 hours to be reinstated at £9.00p per hour, £45 a week as my ‘DLA‘ used to be, and instead they send in agency care for over 7 hours a week, costing goodness know what at agency prices.


Kenneth Elmes,     18/02/2013

72, TW11 9QS

(020) 8977 2382


Foot note addition – As it was so nice, our outing ended up at Portsmouth, after a good lunch, having a good wheelchair walk along the sea front at Southsea


Saturday, October 13, 2012

In 1989 I had a major stroke, spending 9 months in Hospital and stroke units.

·        On discharge I was awarded DLA (Disability Living Allowance) at the higher rate, this allowing me to obtain a car through Motorbility and with the help of a PA live as near as normal as possible.

In 2007 I was asked, and accepted the new Direct Payment Scheme, to save the council administration expenses.

·        Together with my DLA this worked very well and I could continue my life and voluntary local public work the next few years with the invaluable help of my PA/Carer.

In 2011 the council administrators decided, without warning, to cut the payment for weekend care down to the flat weekday rate only.

·        (i.e.  In 2007 the payment was £9+ per hour weekday and £13+ for weekend) this to include employer NI and work insurance for the employee.

·        I was paying my PA/Carer £9.50p. per hour. Not been able to give a rise since 2007.  He helped me far beyond ‘the call of duty’ and the hours the council paid for. This cut resulted in a drop of my income for care of £102 per month.

The administrators, without medical assessment, took my DLA (a Central Government Allowance, not from council tax payers) a further cut in PA/care income of £210 per month.

This cut of £312 per month at a time when my physical condition was worsening with age problems compounding on the effects of my stroke.

·        In 2007 I could still walk on wrist crutches, shower myself, dress, and still drive and prepare my own meals.

Now in 2012, I am wheelchair bound and have to be taken everywhere, now heavily incontinent have to be showered daily, have to be dressed, cannot drive my car, obtained with the mobility component of DLA. My PA/Carer getting my main meal.

·        The council have taken the other component of my DLA, as part of their care plan, leaving nothing to pay to be driven out, and the attention I need, when out, with my catheter etc.

·        The reduction in the hourly rate and the taking of my DLA, by administrators, has resulted in a loss of 32 hours of help I need as assessed by occupation therapists, medical staff, and central government.

Friday, April 20, 2012

My Appeal to Richmond Council

My appeal at London Borough of Richmond decision

·     To take my central Government Attendance Allowance award as part of their care package after 20 years. The care recommended, after extensive treatment and tests, by professional medics, Doctors, PT, OT, District Nursing Team and many visits to Kingston Hospital throughout 2010/11 was costed out at £1596 per month (in round figures) a monthly  increase over my 2007 award of £386 to pay for the extra care I now needed.

·     My new revised award, in 2011 is all at a flat rate of £9, instead of the higher rate for weekend working, representing the first cut by administrators of £145,  Taking away my Attendance Allowance of £186 makes another cut leaving only a difference of only £281 for all the extra care, it was agreed, I now need.

On early retirement from my printing business and sub postmaster in Hampton  hill  in  1980,  I  retired  to  my  weekend  cottage  in  Pewsey Wiltshire. Became licensee of a small Hotel in the mid 80’s. It was whilst here I suffered a major stroke, boxing day 1989, spending the next 9 months in Hospital and stroke units. After 2 more years of treatment and Occupational  Therapy,  I  was  registered  as  Indefinitely  Disabled and came back to Teddington under the Government mobility of housing scheme.

I was awarded mobility and attendance allowance; I could still drive my automatic car but could only walk on two wrist crutches very slowly and with pain. Where ever I drove to I needed help or be stuck in a car park, unable to get to a toilet and the attendance this allowance was for.

For the next 18 years I was able to get the attendance  and help I needed to attend all normal functions, help far outside the £9 an hour the council want to pay. I.e. A trip to visit old friends in Pewsey/Swindon,
9/10 hour day, and a trip to the coast 10 hour day, my carer was quite happy to attend me as long as I paid expenses, lunch tea, snacks etc.
 from the allowance. He attends me and helps me on this basis for many   hours more than the carers pay would allow; now I am wheelchair bound and do not drive.

Further Hospitalisation with cellulitis left me completely wheelchair, bound physically deteriorating and needing much more care throughout the home. My carer, living only in the next road, often calls any time day and night outside his paid hours when I phone if I need any small help or when I fall. Tasks not measurable with stop a watch and calculator, thus saving the Help Line’ calling out the Ambulance service.

In 2007 I opted, on being asked by the Council, for direct payment to replace home help etc. As well as my attendance allowance. This worked very well and I could lead a near as possible to normal life style taking part and continuing in my lifetime activity in the local community.

When I was awarded my Attendance Allowance by the Government, some 20 years ago, I could still walk on crutches, drive, cook my own meals shower etc but cannot do any of these things, very incontinent with a permanent catheter now, one of the reason for my increased care.

The  support  plan  review  dated  May  2011  was  based  on  OT, Doctors and Hospital visits throughout 2010 when my physical condition rapidly deteriorated and continues to do so. I agreed to my   support   plan  as  being  adequate   whilst  I  was  receiving Attendance Allowance. Now this is being included in the plan, this is clearly not enough.

By  taking  my  Attendance  Allowance  as  care,   the  Council  are depriving me of a basic human right, the right to play my part, participate  and make my own contribution  to the community,  (I have always been a member of local groups, committees and discussion groups) attending local art shows, exhibitions, riverside walks and our boroughs parklands.

The  councils  use  of  the  attendance  allowance  as  care  is  not obligatory, and different people have different needs. The Council attitude seems to be one size fits all. Some people at 76 are ready and happy to accept a way of life to sit in and be taken once a week to a day centre for bingo and a sing song. I am not, and far from that stage yet, with an active and absorbing mind and brain. In fact
40 years ago I helped to run those sessions for Teddington People.

When I had my first direct payment, after working out a plan with
Jackie Wade of Ruils this included 45 hours for weekend working at
£13 an hour. The new revised award, in 2011 was all at the flat rate of £9, representing the first cut of £145, which I accepted. The original assessment did not include the extra jobs my carer now does, i.e. putting on my compression stockings attending to my catheter thus saving extra calls by the District Nursing Team.                

Taking my Attendance Allowance £186 makes another cut leaving only a difference of only £281 for all the extra care, it was agreed, I now need.

The care recommended by, Doctors, OT, District Nursing Team and many visits to Kingston  Hospital throughout  2010/11  was costed out at £1596 per month, an increase over my 2007 of £386 to pay for the extra care I now needed.

Bullet points

·      The  councils  use  of  the  attendance  allowance  as  care  is  not obligatory, and different people have different needs.

·         The Council administrators attitude seems to be one size fits all

·          The  Council  are depriving me of a basic human right, the right to play my part, participate  and make my own contribution  to the community,  

·         I agreed to my  support  plan as being adequate  whilst  I was  receiving central government Attendance Allowance.

·         My award in 2007 included 34 hours at £13 for weekend working, 2011 award all at the rate of £9 making a loss of£136 per month. This was accepted by juggling round the hours and my carer’s family kindly supplying me a roast Sunday lunch.

·         By taking my Disability Allowance (after 20 years) of£196 per month making a total loss of income of £332. Not allowing me to pay for help in going out, have not been out for over 2 months.

Kenneth L. Elmes