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18. PS… I said “A1” several times, but I didn’t get a wonderful meal. Can I get my money back?
Episode 48: “Rock With the Caveman” by Tommy Steele

Thanks to Dave and John.

107 thoughts on “ALL OUR YESTERDAYS”

  1. Pics 2 and 11 are the same. The common denominator is either Commer or Albion.

    No doubt someone will put me right soon enough.

    Pic 11 is Nehru, and Pic 19 a very young looking Tommy Steele.

    Oddly enough, I associate Spam (Pic 20) with foreign travel.
    On my first trip abroad, a school trip to France and Switzerland, the bus was full of tinned food, and Smash (powdered potato). And Heinz baked beans.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. tris, that first trip was done on a shoestring.

        But the second trip must have been better financed.

        On our last night in Paris, we ate out in a restaurant.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. The history of the once dominant British Motior Industry is VERY convoluted;
      Commer (1905) were owned by Humber from 1926 becoming subsumed into the Rootes Group (Hillman etc.,) from 1931. The brand subsequently evolved into Dodge then Renault Truck and Bus following subsequent takeovers.
      Albion (of Scotstoun) were taken over by Leyland in 1950 (Leyland also acquired AEC in 1962). Albion production was maintained until 1972 although latterly just as ‘badge engineered’ Leyland products.
      Austin and Morris merged in 1952 to form BMC. (British Motor Corporation) who acquired Jaguar in 1966 becoming BMH (British Motor Holdings).
      Tony Benn’s masterplan to rescue the loss-making industry led to the merger of BMH and Leyland Motors in 1968, to form the British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC), bringing a vast (too many?) number of historic marques together.
      It proved a doomed enterprise, BMH was close to financial ruin and the newly installed Leyland management failed to turn its fortunes around. It was subsequently nationalised as ‘British leyland’ in 1975. That also didn’t end well.
      Overall a sad tale from which none of the parties involved (management, unions or government) can derive any ceredit.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. confusingly, the above actually relates to DonDon’s comment re pics 2 & 11 that “the common denominator is either Commer or Albion.”

        the answer to which is ‘neither’!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s really a bit like British industry all over.

        Failure to modernise. Management too stuck in their ways. Workers treated badly so they went on strike at the drop of a hat.

        It wended with Mrs Thatcher… The end of British Industry and the concentration of all wealth in London and the south east.

        I know it was more complex than that.

        But that’s the very basics.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Not Albion – it had a rising sun logo: “Albion sure as the sunrise!” We created a community centre and garden in part of the former Albion plant in Scotstoun and have a number of ex-Albion workers who bring in memorabilia, including some lovingly preserved trucks. Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits wrote a song about Albion Motors. His feyther worked there.


  2. 16 GWR King class 4-6-0 – the most powerful class of GWR locos but lower route availability than the Castle Class, which could deputise for them when needed and seem to be regarded as the most success GWR – and possibly British locomotives – of all.

    17. Tommy Steele – came to fame for covering Guy Mitchell’s Singing The Blues (without seemingly opening his mouth) and went on the become something of an “all round entertainer”, puffed up on Parkinson once but not generally to my taste – although in fairness he did have one or two pleasant records and film appearances. Once in a Melody Maker or similar poll in the 1950’s, he was named as one of Britain’s top guitarists despite being unable to play, while Bert Weedon who actually played the guitar breaks on Steele’s records, came about 40th.

    There is a possibly apocryphal story about the last night of theatre production run of Singing in the Rain, in which the water tank for the big title number (allegedly) had contents in part donated by the stage hands but of course this may be entirely apocryphal.

    14. Nehru. Have heard various stories about his non – political affiliations.

    And of course SPAM, unforgettable. One of my uncles, well on one new year, shambled through to the kitchen to make himself a sandwich and found a tin of what he called spam but the only empty tin my mother found next day was dog food….now there’s a taste test for a TV ad.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There was a keen hill walker who used to pack a tin of dog food as emergency rations. If it had been anything else then he would have eaten it before getting into trouble!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. LOL…

      I tried Spam once… One bite was enough. But there are people who like it.

      Tommy Steele has a bit of a reputation for being weird. I have the impression he’s not well liked by his colleagues.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. (the radiator badge says ‘Austin’:))
      The ‘A’ reg predates the Leyland merger by several years

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep. There probably wasn’t back then though. It might have been the Chamber of Commerce in these days. That’s old Vicky’s statue at the Albert Institute.


  3. 3 – I used to pass the Bournvita Factory when on the train going to St Albans. It must be near Hendon.

    12 – The Titanic.

    19 – Thomas Hicks.


    1. I remember Moira Anderson talking about seeing the Bournvita factory from the train when she travelled down to visit her old friend Molly Weir who lived in Pinner. That was not her only connection with Bournvita. Moira and Molly were working on a musical production of the courtroom drama Twelve Angry Men in which Moira played the role so ably rendered by Henry Fonda in the film version. The production was met with critical and public success which culminated in Moira being presented with a replica of the American supreme court made of Bournvita containers.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Molly and her brother, Tom, were born and raised just round the corner from where I live now. Molly was a classic working class Tory and by conviction.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Just have to use my day-clubs, then. Haven’t had an outing since I left Dubai so first I’ll have to check if I still have balls – and the ability to hit the spot with them. If I make a hash of it, would that pass as spotted dick?

        Liked by 2 people

  4. A friend of mine had a small factory in East Calder making fuel tanks for Bathgate. he regularly sent birthday cards to his bills. he then started adding interest which got quite hefty, but it made no difference. the bills were paid eventually including interest and no comment was ever made.
    By the time Bathgate closed he had already diversified so his company survived, many didn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh. Is that where it is, Jimmy?

      I came across it and thought it would be a good contender for the page. The Burton’s store was a bit spectacular.


    2. Sorry, Jimmy. It’s actually Kircaldy and it still hosts a mini-Burton’s.

      Burton’s had a preference for corner sites and they had a standard building. Looking at Google StreetView, many of the buildings are still there.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I was hoping Danny could tell us more about No 1. It’s a postcard my dad sent from New York in 1942 when the troopship carrying the Cameron Highlanders docked there on their way home from defending oil refineries and fuel tanks in Aruba from threatened invasion. No invasion but they came under heavy bombing. My dad has his ear blown up when a fuel tank exploded.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Sorry John, I didn’t mean to sound cheeky.

        Last night, I did use my far-from-peerless Googling skills to check out Fort Slocum.

        Didn’t find anything worth reporting.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Conan the Librarian: “No pussies there then?”

            Undoubtedly a reference to the execrable so-called comedy series “Are You Being Served?”

            One of many I wish I had not seen.

            Unfortunaely, they were part of life back in those days.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I bought my mum the box set when she was ill because I thought it would be nice easy watching for her.

              What utter garbage.

              Watched the first couple and took the box set to the charity shop.


        1. No offence, DonDon, don’t worry. Spotted my up/out lapse but missed that one. And Tris, it was indeed hearty of them, believe it or not. As a kid, I remember the 10-shilling postal order coming every week in a buff OHMS envelope, and being take on a big outing to Inverness every time he had to go for a medical to check that he was still pension eligible.

          He always bought his own hearing aids, and his pension was always going up, but he was in his 90s when he decided he’s had enough of army medicals. When he didn’t turn up, the social security came calling and he was dragged off reluctantly, convinced his pension would be cut and his own hearing taken away. Instead, the army medics were horrified he’d been paying for his own for so long.

          Army issue now as good if not better than private. Did he have the receipts for all the hearing aids he’d bought? Being a man of very careful record keeping, he had receipts for everything since 1945, probably. He got a full refund – index linked – plus a pension increase and the latest army issue hearing aid. Not so bad after all, and all his avoidance of more medicals.

          A rare happy story from UK social welfare.

          Liked by 3 people

    1. John……That’s interesting. I had a great (or great great) uncle in the US Navy who was stationed in Curaçao during WWII.

      Wiki says: Curacao is a Lesser Antilles island country in the southern Caribbean Sea and the Dutch Caribbean region, about 65 km (40 mi) north of the Venezuelan coast. It is a constituent country (Dutch: land) of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Together with Aruba and Bonaire it forms the ABC islands. Collectively, Curaçao, Aruba and other Dutch islands in the Caribbean are often called the Dutch Caribbean.

      The name “Fort Slocum” was vaguely familiar so I Googled it. I discovered that “Fort Slocum, New York was a US military post which occupied Davids Island in the western end of Long Island Sound in the city of New Rochelle, New York from 1867 to 1965.” It was the site of a hospital that served wounded Civil War soldiers, including Confederate soldiers, and for a time at the beginning of the twentieth century had a coastal artillery defense function. It also served as a recruitment and training center.

      Wiki: On 16 May 1941, as war raged in Europe, Fort Slocum became part of the New York Port of Embarkation, becoming a staging area for troops moving overseas….The fort was thus a key element of the Army’s Transportation Corps, so named in mid-1942, whose mission was moving huge numbers of men and amounts of materiel overseas. By early 1944 the need to ship troops to Europe had lessened, and a policy of rotating troops in the US who hadn’t seen action to overseas battlefields and the reverse was instituted….Battle-hardened soldiers returning from Europe were put through a “Provisional Training Center” at Fort Slocum to re-acquaint them with the stateside Army.”

      So Fort Slocum’s function with the Army Transportation Corps as a staging area for troops going overseas as well as for rotating troops to and from the European theater of WWII, would fit with the use of its port facilities by troopships carrying allied forces back home from Aruba.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Looking forward to NASAs big announcement on Monday Danny. Do you think they’ve found a big black monolith?
        Seriously, my bet is water ice, any thoughts?

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Conan……I don’t have a clue. NASA certainly has teased the story. It involves the SOFIA infrared telescope, and is somehow related to Artemis, the manned landing program. Something about significant amounts of water ice would make sense.

          A couple of years ago, NASA announced that small patches of water ice had been detected in craters near the poles. At the time, they said “Learning more about this ice, how it got there, and how it interacts with the larger lunar environment will be a key mission focus for NASA.”

          Next week is after all the last week of a presidential election campaign, so moon news may have trouble making the papers. But if that damn monolith has shown up again, I want to know about it. 😉

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Aaarggh… that ink shows NASA has found a misrelated participle!

            “In the darkest and coldest parts of its polar regions, a team of scientists…”

            A team of scientists with polar regions? Now that is a momentous finding.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. LOL…..LOL…..Thanks John. I LOVE that!

              NASA is run by engineers who work wonders at space flight. But grammar? Not so much!

              They’re not great historians either. You may have heard that when NASA went searching for the original 1969 moon landing tapes, no one could find them. Turns out that when recording tape got scarce at NASA, the engineers erased them for reuse.

              The TV signal from the Apollo 11 landing came down in an electronic telemetry format that was incompatible with standard commercial broadcast formats. So NASA, in real time, converted the live signal that was fed to broadcast networks around the world. I’m told by people who saw the live converted monochrome video that was broadcast by the American TV networks that night, that it was barely recognizable. (When you see the video today, after being reconverted and restored, it looks OK.) The people at the NASA tracking station in Australia that night, who saw the signal in NASA’s original Slow Scan Television (SSTV) telemetry format, saw a clear picture with good definition. That’s the original that NASA recorded and later erased. What we have today in a computer enhanced version from the best currently available video recordings is probably nearly as good as the original, but that doesn’t alter the fact that NASA engineers can be idiots.

              This is the original SSTV signal as received and recorded at NASA’s Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station near Canberra, Australia, on July 21, 1969. This is a stunningly sharp photograph (for a 1969 TV signal from the moon) of the image from a television monitor at Honeysuckle Creek, that bears little resemblance to what the world saw on broadcast television that night. This is what was recorded and later erased.

              The Wiki article shows a comparison between the original SSTV picture with a version which it says represents the converted image that went to the world’s commercial TV networks. In fact, I’m told by people who saw it in America, that the broadcast image on American TV was nowhere near as clear as this (darker) converted image. That the converted image seen on American TV also had lots of video noise (TV “snow”) and apparently reduced resolution.

              The sad story of the erased NASA tapes:


              Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, Danny. that makes perfect sense. The Camerons would have been billeted there while the ship was docked and that explains the postcard, although he makes no reference to the relevance of the picture. Dad and some regimental colleagues pictured in Aruba appeared in AOY a while ago. I’ve always wondered why a detachment from a Scottish regiment should have been posted there, and especially now that you mention an ancestor serving in Curacao. From what I’ve been able to find out abut it, the Camerons were relieved by US military.

        Are we that different in age? I have a picture of a great-great uncle in Highland military uniform during the Crimean war!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. John…….I left youth behind a few years ago when I turned 30. The WWII “Greatest Generation” men who fought in WWII would have been my great uncles (in traditional terminology), but (in what seems to be current genealogical practice) are now called grand-uncles.

          My casual reference and apparent confusion about one OR two “greats” in the relationship was a misstatement. My confusion was really between “grand” and “great” in the avuncular relationships of that generation. I’ve always called those people my great uncles and great aunts, but I see that genealogical software and apparent practice now calls them my grand-uncles and grand-aunts. And of course that alters how many “greats” you then assign to your avuncular “grand” relationships in earlier generations. The confusion is compounded on my mother’s side of the family especially, in which there were many siblings who were born over a number of years that could span almost half a generation in time. Thus my use of genealogical software to keep it all sorted out……except for the great and grand thing. 😉 The new naming convention does resolve the problem of the mismatch between the number of “great” relatives between your direct parental ancestors, and your avuncular relatives in the same particular generation. In the traditional naming convention, there was always one less “great” in a generation of your direct parental ancestors verses your aunts and uncles of the same generation.

          Sorry about the long genealogical digression, but I’ve only recently encountered this and am still trying to sort it out. From now on I’ll just call my WWII ancestors “uncles.” My grandfather that I knew was the youngest of several brothers in his family and did not serve in WWII.

          Thanks for posting the information about your dad and the Cameron Highlanders. The WWII stories came down in the family to me long after the fact, and sometimes seem garbled and incomplete. I never met the uncle who served in Curacao or had any idea why US Navy personnel were posted there in the first place. I didn’t know about the refineries and fuel tanks in the Dutch islands. I have however seen some Dutch coins that he brought back. There were also stories about him being in Trinidad. I’m not clear if he was ever stationed there or if it was maybe a place he visited when on leave. There was a naval tradition in the family. He had two older brothers who were career navy men and were already serving when Pearl Harbor was attacked and the US war broke out in 1941, long after the European war was already raging in England and Europe. He didn’t want to be drafted into the army and managed to enlist in the navy before his draft notice arrived. Another uncle, on my father’s side, waited for his draft notice and wound up in the army, in Douglas MacArthur’s joint army-navy command in the southwest Pacific. His war service was as an army infantryman in fierce jungle fighting in the Pacific islands.

          I never knew anything about hostilities in Curacao, and always assumed that my uncle there had a plum posting as wartime postings go. From your dad’s experience, now I’m wondering if he might have been shelled at times. I do know that when the war ended he already had orders to ship out to the Pacific on an aircraft carrier for the final dreaded push against the Japanese home islands. But the war ended when the atomic bombs were dropped, and he finished his naval service in Curacao.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I don’t know who made the decision to change the terminology, Danny, but you are correct. My genealogy software does indeed have grand uncle although I’m sure it was great uncle previously. I suspect a transatlantic divide here.

            However, as far as I’m concerned I’m a great uncle. And I’ll be seeing my grand nieces and grand nephews today.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Dave…….I first noticed the change in how my genealogy software identifies aunts and uncles in previous generations after I recently upgraded it, after a few years using an older version. The one I use is called “Family Tree Maker,” which is popular in the States. I’m pretty sure that the older version of FTM used “great” instead of “grand” to refer to aunts and uncles in my grandparents’ generation. But I don’t now have a copy of the older software to check. As soon as I upgraded, my old genealogy files were rendered in the “new” standard.

              I did Google the issue and confirmed that “grand” uncles and aunts are in fact the current practice. But I haven’t identified exactly when the change occurred.

              Liked by 1 person

          2. Now we know the age gap, Danny – 40 years and a wee bit more. I think that will be shared by quite a few of our readers.

            As for uncles etc, by Crimean uncle was my grand-father’s uncle, so that would make him my great-grand-uncle in Scottish genealogical parlance.

            He was known in Gaelic as ‘Alasdair Saighdear’ – Alasdair the soldier – after a lifetime in the army. After the Crimean War and retirement, he kept his claymore and hid it in the thatch of his croft house in North Uist. When the Highland Clearances bailiffs came along to evict him and his family, he climbed on the wall, removed his claymore, and told them: “Come closer if you want widows in Lochmaddy!”

            They didn’t – or I might not be here to tell the tale, and with you in the USA or Canada most likely.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. John……Your great grand-uncle seems to have been a man to be reckoned with. And once again, I learn something new . When you said that he kept and hid his claymore, I was trying to figure out how he could safely keep an explosive device for such a long time. I was in fact thinking about the M18 Clymore anti-personnel mine that the American military has used since the Vietnam War.

              Wiki says: “The M18A1 Claymore is a directional anti-personnel mine developed for the United States Armed Forces. Its inventor, Norman MacLeod, named the mine after a large medieval Scottish sword.”

              I need to learn more about the Highland Clearances. I tend to conflate them with the brutality of the “Butcher” Cumberland after Culloden, when Highlanders were sometimes shot on sight. But I also see that the University of Glasgow awarded the Duke of Cumberland an honorary doctorate. As for the Clearances, I see that “the Countess of Sutherland genuinely believed her plans were advantageous for those resettled in crofting communities and could not understand why tenants complained.”

              Scottish history is complicated. Thank God we have Google and Wiki! 😉

              Liked by 2 people

  6. No.4 is an Albion single decker from around 1930, the destination screen shows ‘Elgin’…. on the windscreen labels it looks like ‘Elgin via Orton’. Logically that should place the photo somewhere like Keith but I don’t recognise it, perhaps Fochabers? (It’s from the Scottish Motor Museum archive but I don’t have access).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Elgin via Orton buses were a deviation off the usual route via Fogwatt on the main road between Rothes and Elgin. The bus route started in Dufftown and travelled via Craigellachie, Aberlour and Rothes. Some buses from Aviemore, Grantown, Aberlour and Rothes to Elgin also diverted via Orton. Nowadays the weekly bus from Tomintoul to Elgin goes via Orton and is the only bus connection the area has. Progress…

      Liked by 1 person

        1. In Dunphail and area you could cadge a lift with the postie, although how you got back up from Forres was a challenge, bu not allowed now. For a wee while you could get the school bus, but they charged a fiver, it was rumoured that went in drivers pocket. That has stopped as well You can Dial M for Moray but you have to book in advance, and then there is the return trip again.
          So I get really annoyed when I get criticised for using a car. The joys of rural living . 17 miles round trip for a pint of milk. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        1. I spent a frustrating hour or so using Google StreetView of all the likely towns but could not see a match. Perhaps it is a building that has been demolished.

          Liked by 1 person

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