Bernie Quayle
Wonderful World of the  Wireless
Childhood Memories

 

It all began  on January 28th, 1941, at the Jane Crookall Maternity home, Demesne Road, Douglas, Isle of Man at around 8.15 pm.  I was two weeks overdue and weighed in at 10lb 12oz.!  Home was 9 Upper Church Street, Douglas - now demolished to make way for a bank, but what a great neighbourhood, hardly any cars around but still plenty of horse drawn carts delivering bread, milk and all manner of goods.  And of course, numerous street vendors with their handcarts piled high with fresh herring and whatever the harvest of the sea brought in that day. I was born into a world of rationing.  Mum would carefully dole out our weekly allowance of sugar into individual jam jars which we guarded zealously.   
My father's business partner, Bill Callister,  was in the RAF for the duration of the war, their house in Hutchinson Square had become part of one of the many internment camps on the Island, as a result  his wife Nell, her sister Jessie and their father, Pop Quirk, came to live with us.  'Aunty' Nell, having no children of her own, would spoil me rotten and she, along with Jessie and Pop, soon became my second family. Most of my playtime in those days was spent with the neighbourhood gang, hanging around in Hope Street and the grounds of St. George's church. - here are a few of them in 1942.

Back row L-R: Grandfather, E.C. Quayle, the artist, Grandma, Margaret Quayle: Me in the arms of Aunty Kathleen Turnbull (Mum's sister) Anne Lahmers, Uncle George Turnbull, cousin Brenda Quayle.
Front row: L-R John Clucas holding his brother Jeffrey.  My brother, who I still call Teddy but is  now 
known as Terry.  Bernard Taylor, Jim McLinden, Bobby Moore ?  then my eldest cousin Maire Quayle.


Below, a group of baby pictures taken by my father - pre:1945. note how I was prepared to my bit for the war effort in a uniform made by my Aunty Sally. Dad was a great photographer and did all his own developing. You can see more of my father's great collection of old photographs by clicking here:

 I was so lucky to have such loving parents, Minnie & Ed to their friends and there was quite an extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins.  Sundays were always special, after 9.30 mass at St Mary's in Hill street, Dad would take us for long walks in the country - he was a true nature lover and could name all the plants and trees we enquired about.

When the summer season was over (Mum ran the boarding house) we'd all get on our bikes and head out for a picnic.  At first, I had a little saddle on the cross-bar of dad's bike, as seen in the picture on the left, note Mum's bike parked against the hedge. Cycling has played a major role in our family., Dad was a founder member of the Manx Viking Wheelers and took part in the very first cycle race around the TT course in 1924.  You'll see more on that story if you click here. My brother Terry is still very active, his son Gavin is a partner in the Bikestyle cycle business and both
help out at the kids cycling events at the NSC where Mark Cavendish got started on the road to world championship status.  I was so impressed by the way Dot Tilbury and all the other volunteers organise these events, I had to make a video of them, it's just 8 minutes:  
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I
n the pictures below,  Mum was wearing her "land-girl" outfit which was frowned on by father - "women should wear skirts. Injebreck was the location of the picnic and dad encouraged Teddy & me to strike a boxing pose. From a very early age,  I  loved listening to the big fights on radio.  I followed the careers of heavy weight Bruce Woodcock and flyweight Rinty Monaghan in particular.


In 1947 on a visit to grandma's in Newry, dad and I were walking along the beach at Warrenpoint and who should come jogging along but Rinty Monaghan.  Dad stopped him and asked for his autograph for his biggest fan - me!  I can remember saying that it was actually for my mother because she loved the way he entered the boxing ring singing "When Irish Eyes are Smiling."  The following year, Rinty won the world flyweight title and I listened to the commentary on an extension speaker 
dad had fixed up in my bedroom.

Most summer holidays were spent at grandma's in Newry, I loved it so
much I even went to school there.  I did two terms at the Christian Brothers 
school just before starting at Ballakermeen in Douglas.  Pictured left, my
sister Pauline and I at Dublin zoo having caught the train there from Newry
I was 12 and Pauline just 7.  Can you imagine children of that age taking
such journeys on their own these days.  Below is the only picture taken during my high school days at St Ninian's, it was in 1956.  This is unfortunately taken from a photocopy, so the quality isn't too good.  It was taken by teacher Mr. Jones, affectionately known as Taffy, on Malcolm Curphey's camera.


L-R back row: Ewan Leeming, Robert Clague, Guy Redmayne, Colin Shaw, Garth Cheffins , Lawrence Kennedy
Front: Halsall, Syd Smith, Malcom Convery, Heifer, Malcolm Curphey, John Harrison, Christopher Graves, Me.

I'm embarrassed to say I'd forgotten some of the names, but thanks to Robert Clague, I have at least got all the last names.
If you happen to know the missing first names,  Email me  Robert e-mailed me from Honolulu where he has lived since 1967!
He was in hydraulic sales and even coached football.
I worked with Malcolm Curphey in the early 60s when we were both employed by Bear Brand Hosiery, he  was based
at head office while I was on the road as a salesman in the heart of London.  Wow, that was quite a  time to be working 
in swinging London. The whole pop explosion was happening all around me and I had the pleasure of calling on 
many of the boutiques that were springing up all over.
  I also enjoyed a long working relationship with another of my classmates, Ewan Leeming, he became Manx Radio's chief engineer in the mid sixties right up to his retirement, his 
son Darren, now holds that post.  It seems, Manx Radio is very much a family business.  My father and brother worked
on fitting out the Douglas Head studios when the station moved from the promenade in 1969, Teddy refurbished the
studios 30 years later!   Click to Continue