Thursday, May 11, 2006


Doris Violet Castle was born 11th May 1911, on the Isle of Sheppey in England. She was the second youngest of seven children born to Alice Elizabeth (Nance) and James Franklin Castle.
Today would have been her 95th birthday. I know that if she were still alive today, she would still be the same gentle, accepting and caring lady she was when she died 10 years ago.
This is the earliest picture I can find of my Mum. It was taken when she was 17. I have never seen a picture of her as a child. But she was certainly a beautiful young woman. There was a young teenage boy on the island who was attracted to her from the start, in spite of the fact that she was 5 years older than him. David Winch used to stand behind the lamp posts and watch her as she was taken out by other older fellows...and he waited. Finally he was allowed to "court" her, and they were married in 1937, just 5 weeks after David's 21st birthday.

Although she was a great achiever at school, Mum had to leave at fourteen to help support the family, as was the way in those days.
She took work at Jennings Shop in the High Street in Queenborough, and actually trained in millinery. Mum used to love making hats for my sister and I as children. She used to love the June Millinery Store in Sydney, where you could buy a hatform, and decorate it in the shop!
! wish I knew more about my mother's childhood. I do know they were a strong and supportive family. The Isle of Sheppey was a fairly strategic area in WW1, being right at the bottom right hand corner of England, and people who lived there had to have a special permit to go on and off the island. I still have my grandmother's permit book, signed by the Commanding Officer on Sheppey. Mum used to tell how they used to billet soldiers at their home.

On the back of the photo at the top, it says it was taken at "Wichanbreaux, home of Susan, Sally and Mary Castle." My mother used to tell stories about these three elderly aunts, and how they came to visit her parents. Whenever someone had a piece of news or gossip, Susan would say "Well I never!"
Sally would say "Goodness Gracious!" And then everyone would hold their breath until Mary piped up: "Fancy that!"
The picture below shows that Mum was very much an outdoor girl in those youthful days!

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