I was born to Hugh Boyd and Anne Turner on the 24th day of September 1902, in the village of Maddiston, Stirlingshire Scotland At the time of my birth, my father was on a five to ten years mining contract in the United States of America.
My Mother sailed to
My earliest memories start at three years of age and that was when 1 first laid eyes sister Anne Eva, she was born on the 9th December 1905. As a child of three I though she was an angel from God, she had very fair hair and blue eyes. In my young imagination, our new baby had to be an angel.
We attended church every Sunday in the
We were living in the beginning of the century back then and living in pretty wild country, it was a regular sight to see a rattle snake, or any other species crawling along the garden or in the lanes. Our house was built up off the ground for that reason and had mixed blessings. The rattlesnakes and wild boars would get in underneath and it was sheer pandemonium, until they were exterminated or smoked out. It all depended how tired my Father was as he worked long hours. We lived in rather a rugged area some distance from neighbours who lived closer to the mine my father was contracted to. Lizzie lived in that district and had quite a walk down the hill to get to our house. She would sing all the way down such songs as Under the Shade of the Old Apple Tree and Pure as the Water Lily Bell. I wonder how many people remember these beautiful old songs today.
My Mother had been sick for some time and Lizzie had taken full charge of meals etc, no breakfast was complete without pancakes. Many years after when I had children of own, the favorite pancakes were much in evidence. Although I did not realise it at time, my mother was expecting another child. Tragedy then struck our family, m brother John Turner Boyd was killed on a railway trestle. According to what I was told, he jumped clear of one engine and was caught by a passenger train traveling in the other direction. John was my Mothers first born and it was a very sad and emotional time for everyone. My brother Hugh Charles was born around the same time but died a few weeks after. My Father and Mother decided at that time, to return to
When I look back on those years, my memory is still vivid on the first day I started school and had to stay there nearly all day. Before that I could wander into the little old one room hut, expecting to get a candy and sent home. But no! I couldnt understand why I had to stay and waited until the teacher left the room for a few minutes, and then I ran home and hid under the bed. I fell asleep, and everyone was out looking for me.
It was very traumatic leaving for the Old Country as my Father and Mother described
According to my Mother I was sick on the way back and couldnt eat, this period is a little blank in my memory, but I do remember arriving at the
1 started school again in Maddiston; it was a vast change from our little school in the States. The other children called us Yankees. My teachers name was Miss Dunn, a heavy set lady who would use the Strap for the least little incident she thought needed punishment. The second day I was at school, Miss Dunn called me out, I suppose I had not been paying attention. She said 1 am going to punish you 1 said yeh she pushed me. I put my hands on my hips and faced her up with these words just you put your hands on me and I will soon fix your clock (face). I was only six years of age. At the end of the day, I was given a long blue envelope, for my Grandfather, who I may say was much respected in the community, as was my fathers parents. The following day my father took me to school, it was not just around the corner, we had to walk at least one and a half miles, along a railway track used by the mining companies, no school buses or any other buses in those days. Somehow I think we were all the better for it, as it made us more alert to what was going on around us. Now to face the Ogre as I thought, but to my surprise, Miss Dunn had got over the shock of my bad behaviour. She patted me on the head, told me to go to my seat as I did not mean it? I replied yes 1 did my De always told us to stick up for ourselves and you pushed me However when she returned to the classroom, after seeing my father out, she had a pleasant smile on her face. There was no further trouble. After two months we left that school, as it was too far from the new house we settled into. We were all registered into Wallacestone public school.
My Father had joined the family contracting company again, all the Boyd brothers were in it. They were known for miles around, in later years when I was a young woman; I was asked are you connected to the Boyd mining contractors. They opened up mines in many parts of
We had only been back from the States over a year when my De was killed during the reopening of a Pit in
The brothers were members of the Masonic Lodge and carried the coffin shoulder high; it was a full Masonic funeral with a band playing The Dead March in Sol. I couldnt sleep at night for a long time because of the slow beat of the drums in my ears. My brother Tommy walked the two miles to
October, but we still wore white dresses with a black sash underneath our coats. In those early days, everyone went into mourning clothes. My Maw wore a long fitted black coat and a large black hat with a crepe veil. The large black hat and thick veil were called Widows Weeds
Nothing settled down much, until my sister Minnie was born. My sister Barbara was only one year and eight months old, my Granny Turner took care of Minnie who stayed with her, until Granny died. My Maw moved to the
We had three different sets of clothes, one for Sunday one for school and a change when you got home from school.
We had always missed our De, as his contracts used to take him away a lot, but he never failed to come home on a week-end, Sundays were family visiting days to both Grandparents, first to my Maws parents for dinner and of course our supply of eggs, pork if a pig had been killed also a chicken. Some people only had a chicken for Christmas, but Granny kept Geese and thats what we would have. The Geese were vicious birds at times and used to run after us. I think perhaps we used to annoy them, as everything was so peaceful and quiet, before our mob descended on them. My De and Maw rode bicycles, they would strap a cushion (old gold) on to the front and take the girls in turn, and my brother had his own cycle. We saved our pennies until we had a sixpence, then we hired a bicycle, so that we could learn how to ride it.
My Granny Boyd was the sweetest, kindest dear old lady. I loved her very much and often got myself in to trouble, for coming home late from school. If the truth he known at the time, it was because I had crept up the side of a hedge to visit her, she was so loving. I was christened after her (Mary Mcintyre Boyd).
When we lived in Brightons, we lived near the
After two wonderful happy years in the Dairy store, my older sister Margaret caught scarlet fever. The Dairy was closed down for fear of infection in the dairy side. This was another fatal blow to my Maw we were not without money at that time, as a compensation claim had gone through because of my Des accident, but how long could that last.
In those days, a child was kept six weeks in hospital in case they spread the disease. Unfortunately that was not the end of it; my sister then contracted St. Vitus Dance. I do not know what the medical terminology for this affliction is today; it was quite prevalent after Scarlet Fever, when we were young. Now the cure was to bathe in Sea water, morning and night but we were miles away from the
My Des two sisters Aunt Annie Mrs. Tim Longbotham) Aunt Mary (Mrs. Jack Haddow) had moved to
We didnt attend church as often after we left Brightons, but I went down to the beach whenever I could, mebe two or three times a week and on a Sunday There was a Band of Hope we attended in winter and in the summer we congregated on the sands at the foot of Bath St. We never collected money, I often wondered why? As we marched down we sang Onward Christian Soldiers As we gathered in a circle for the afternoon, we sang one hymn after the other. I couldnt sing hut I made a noise and I always remembered the words. My favourite hymn was Throw Out the Lifeline I sang this with great zest, at the same time looking over the Firth of Forth to the great
When King Edward died, the paper boys were running all over shouting Read all about it the King is dead Long live the King. With my usual curious mind, I stopped a boy he handed me a paper, 1 said I dont want that I dont have a penny to buy that, but tell me how can the King be dead and you are shouting Long live the King. I was standing there so innocent; I got his cap across my head for that question. Then came the big day, the Coronation of King George the fifth and Queen Mary, my Maw had to work long hours and the shops all closed at 6 oclock she was not able to get my Brown Button Boots until the night before the Coronation. When she got home that night, I tried them on and they were too small for me and we were to march next day to
cried myself to sleep that night and something I had never been known to do I had a nightmare. I got out of my bed, took the box with the boots in it opened the door, walked down the garden path and into the street. It was a short street and at the end of it was the Clock Tower. I remember looking at it, six oclock exactly. Then suddenly I felt someone taking my arm and leading me back into the house. Later my Maw said she had not wanted to scare me as this was a bad thing to do, to someone sleep walking. I did get my boots next morning; Maw went to the store owners house a few doors from ours and told him what had happened. He was an elderly man so his son took the boots back for a bigger size. 1 managed to get to my school group just as the long parade started. Me and my Brown Button Boots, I just had to be there to get my medal and china mug, with the pictures of our new King and Queen on it.
We then moved to a new house 54 Carronview (In Maddiston) we had two attic bedrooms, one front bedroom and a sitting room come kitchen. This house had a much more modem
on. We were all taught to sew and knit by my Maw, and she always encouraged us to keep sewing and knitting all through our lives. My brother started to work in the mine, he did not want to be a miner, and he was more interested in the Engineering side of it. He was still the head of the family and only 15 years of age, Tommy and I were very close.
One day my Maw was visiting a friend of hers and she had a boarder living at her house called Joseph Colville. His brother who was an army officer was visiting him that same day. A spark must have been lit between the two visitors. He began to then visit more frequently and by that time he came in civilian clothes, as he had served his twenty one years in the army. To be truthful about this, Tommy and I were not too happy about these visits; I guess we must have been jealous, seeing Tommy after my Des death had been considered head of the family. This visitor looked very much like my De; he had black hair and a moustache. Maw told us many years later that is what attracted her to him. I was twelve years of age; the day Maw married John Colville in St. Anthonys Roman Catholic Church in Rumford, much to the ire of my Granny and Grandpa Turner who were strict Presbyterians. My stepfather had a very good army pension, after twenty-one years service. His brother Joseph was under manager at Manuelrigg Pit and he got my stepfather a job at Craigend Pit as store -keeper.
There were rumours of War and Tommy had turned sixteen, this worried me very much in case he would have to go to war. He was very close to his cousin John Turner and his pals John Shackleton, Johnny Meechin. We used to say John, John, John and one Tom when we wanted to tease them. Then came the terrifying news War has been declared After all the trouble the Germans had caused in Europe, Kaiser William and his son Little Willie as he was known, were on the march against Britain. As they usually did the four pals took off for their country strolls that day. There was no sign of them as evening fell, it was then 12.3Oam and Maw was still waiting up, we couldnt sleep wondering where Tommy was. At last the door creaked open and in crept Tommy. My Mother said Oh God Tommy where have you been he had never stayed out that late before as he had to be at work for 6am. He said John Turner joined the Argyles, John Shackleton, has joined up Johnny Meechin (who was a couple of years older) had also signed up. Maw said and you Tommy. They only had two days to report to
On the 24th of September 1915, my brother John Francis Colville was horn. When I came home from school and before I entered the house. Dr Lawrence came down the stairs with his little black bag. He said Many happy returns Mary I brought you a present of a little brother He was a lovely baby, dark brown eyes and a mop of black hair. My Step-father was asked by the Government to take over the Mothers and Widows pensions this was over and above his usual job. We always had someone waiting in our house for Government assistance. Every available man young and old had gone to war; some were not accepted because of the coal situation. Someone had to mind the Pits, to keep the home fires burning.
Early in 1916 the big push had started in
After we passed through the
My ambition was Domestic Science; my Maw had a pension from the Marshall Trust for our education after my De was killed. After she remarried that was cut off, they allowed me to continue at
My friend Meg Grindley and my cousin Margaret Strudwick were my pals. They had ended up in