Fred Hardy


North Carolina.


  31st July 2003

Dear Alan,
The website gets better each time I logon.
Having read all the very interesting contributions by my former neighbours and friends I have really been able to travel back to my youth at 28 Summerhill Road where I was born in April 1936 and left in 1950. I was the 7th of 8 children born to George and Catherine Hardy. My Dad was born in 1889 in West Green Rd. at the bottom of Summerhill Rd. He met my mother while in basic training in Conway North Wales in 1914. They married in 1920 and moved into number 16 Summerhill Rd. Dad worked as head carpenter in the Tottenham Council Carpenters Shop in Clyde Road for 30 years. Mum died in 1947 and dad in 1950. Having been gassed during four years in the trenches during WW I it left dad with bronchitis that he never really recovered from.

I can remember events from about 1943 till 1950. An incendiary bomb falling on the petrol depot behind our house in 1943. Luckily no petrol was stored there during the war. The first VI flying bomb I saw is still clear in my memory. My eldest brother Charles was on leave from the Navy and a had a pair of binoculars. My mother said "look the poor devil is on fire". Charles replied "that's not a plane, it has no cockpit". At that moment the motor stopped and it landed in Mount Pleasant Road (I think). Collecting pieces of shrapnel in the streets was another pastime. My mother, father, sister Gwen and I all slept under the Morrison table shelter. The doors of our house used to rattle when an anti-aircraft gun mounted on a lorry used to stop right outside our house and let of a few rounds and then move on.

My eldest brother Charles entered the Royal Navy in 1938 and saw considerable action in destroyers. The book "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat is his story. My brother Charles died several years ago. but I checked the following with my eldest sister Kitty. As I understand it, my brother Charles served on destroyers (one was HMS Shearwater and another the Euralys) and Nicholas Monsarrat served as an officer on one of the destroyers. Charles would never talk about his experiences very much but I did hear him mention the following: His very first trip to sea was to Dunkerque pulling men off the beach. He was on the "Malta Run" when 21 merchant ships would leave the UK and only 3 or 4 arrive in Malta. Several destroyers he served on were torpedoed and sank but he managed to escape from the engine-room with his crew each time. He was wounded and spent 6 months in a Cape Town S. Africa tent hospital and was then sent on the Scotland - Murmansk run in the winter.

Richard served with the Royal Canadian Airforce in Winnipeg Canada. My sister Kitty was with the GPO in North Wales. Victor, Edgar and John were all evacuated to the Hoddesdon home of Mr. Glaspool, a wonderful man. In 1939, after war was declared, my sister Gwen and I were evacuated to Conway, North Wales to my mothers relatives. But the "phoney war" period set in and we moved back to Summerhill Road in early 1940. That's when the "fun" (Blitz) really started. Not a good move.

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This photograph from the 1980's shows number 28 and the entrance to the old Petroleum depot

Next door at Nr. 26 there were 3 families. Ground floor Mr Mack, middle floor Mr & Mrs Miller and their sons Ted & Reggie. Ted saw action in Burma and survived, Reggie was in the Merchant Marine. On the top floor were Mr & Mrs Chant and daughter Diane. Mr. Chant gave me my first bicycle. I believe it was Mrs. Bastin Nr. 24 who lost 2 sons in the same tank in North Africa.

The VE and VJ celebrations and street party were wonderful events. Our parents and neighbours really put on a good show for us. We were a lucky family, God blessed us and all our family survived the war.

After the war I used to play truant and ride with the tanker lorries from the petrol depot. 2 of the drivers were really remarkable men. Mr Reggie Downs and Mr. Charlie Mallows. Reggie had been a Commando and seen an awful lot of action. Like night raids on the French coast to steal German radio equipment etc. He told me how scared he was and war was not heroic. During all his story telling he never once poisoned my young mind against against any nation, friend or foe. Charlie Mallows was the same.

I can only remember the old building next door to Nr. 28 as a derelict building. It was hit several times by incendiaries, which my mother extinguished as she was the Fire Warden for the company Monk & Glass** who stored their custard boxes in the garages during the war. Before the war it housed the office of the the Adams Garage (who used to race cars at Silverstone) and the Petroleum Transport Company owned by Mr. Bellamy. ( ** Who was I believe a former player for the Spurs.) The company closed shortly after the war started and re-opened about 1946. Mrs. Cissy Minter should know.

Through your web Alan I would like to say hello to all my old neighbours and playmates. Alan Jarvis, Bill and Edna Mitson, Janet, Betty & Sylvia Hoills, Jeanie Algate, Anne & Margaret Carter, Ronnie Bloomfield, Russell, Ian, Hazel & Barbara Pooley, Peter, Fred, Charlie and Beryl Small, Ronnie Jones, Terry & Ivy Potter, Phyllis Martin.

I moved to Enfield in 1950 when Dad died to live with my brother Charles. Gwen went to Richard in Edmonton. I met my wife from Enfield in 1952 and we married in 1957. During our honeymoon in Majorca we befriended a German boy of our age that turned into a lifelong friendship. We moved back to Dortmund Germany in 1960 after my National Service there. After 13 years we moved to Liege & Eupen in Belgium for another 13 years and then to the USA in 1987.

I would like to trace a former playmate who spent her summer holidays in Summerhill Rd. with her aunt at Nr. 50. Her name was Pat Evans. In 1949 she was 10 yrs.old. She lived with her father in Harringay area I think.

Like many residents my brothers and sisters have moved away. Charles to Poole, Dorset, Richard to Scotland, Kitty to Upminster, Vic (who married Margaret Wilson Nr. 24) to Pembury, Edgar (who married Penny Penson from Clyde Rd) to Norfolk, John to Enfield and Gwen to Hertingfordbury. The Hardy's now number about 41 (at the last count).

Ed and John were very active with the West Green Baptist Church in the 1950's when Rev. Stokes was there.

I have a few photos to send you once I master my new scanner.

Best regards to you Alan and thank you for the work you put into this website.
Fred Hardy.

(** Editors Note: We have subsequently discovered that a W.R Bellamy played for Spurs from 1926-7 until 1934-5 season

We also thought this old picture of post-war grocery items which shows 'Monk & Glass' custard on the bottom shelf would evoke a few memories)

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(Note: This letter has been reproduced for the Internet site from the original written by Fred Hardy )

March 2010 - We have recently received some updated information and photographs from Fred Hardy. Firstly, on a sad note, we were informed that Fred's brother, John Hardy, passed away on 9th February 2010. Our condolences to all members of the 'Hardy' family.

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This photograph shows my sisters Kitty and Gwen in the garden of number 28. Taken about 1947. You will notice the petrol pump just behind Kitty in the photo. This had a wooden handle on it and had to be moved back and forth to pump the petrol into the white glass container you can see on the top of the pump.  I remember as a child I was never strong enough to work the wooden handle

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This photograph shows me as a 3 year old sitting on one of the Petroleum Transport trucks at 30 Summerhill Road. I think it was taken on the day war was declared or very near to that date. I have been told that as a 3 year old I walked from the garage into our kitchen and said to my mum

" Now we have to fight the Germans because of those bloody Poles". Needless to say my mum reprimanded me for blaspheming.  It appears I had been listening to the truck drivers conversation after war was declared

The photograph below was taken in 1947 (I think) in the playground of Downhills Central School. I hope it prints out reasonably clear. I am not sure who sent it to me but I would be very pleased to hear from anyone who can name some of my former school mates. I have some very fond memories which include my French teacher Miss Grigg. (not sure of the spelling). She had a habit of walking up and down the rows between the desks reciting French verbs while rubbing Nivea cream into her hands.  Owing to my terrible pronounciation she would squeeze the end of my nose to obtain the "nasal" sound. To this day, when I smell Nivea cream, Miss Grigg comes to mind.

I also remember Mrs. Jenner. I think she was school secretary. A charming lady. When I was about 14 years old she asked me to cut her garden hedge after school. While cutting the hedge on a beautiful sunny afternoon I could see Mrs. Jenner and I believe Mrs. Parker having tea and cakes on the terrace. This image of a beautiful English garden with two elegant ladies having tea is still with me today

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The miserable looking kid in the front row extreme left is me.
Front row: 2nd from left: Jimmy Groves ??  Then Gordon Brooker . 5th from left: Edna Hardiman   extreme right: Ron Bowers. Back row 2nd from left: Russell Pooley. I have forgotten all the other names.

I telephoned Russell Pooley from my home in the USA  a couple of weeks ago. I last spoke to Russell nearly 61 years ago so what a pleasure to get in touch with him again. How time flies !


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