Interviewed by Katie Christian from Ramsey Grammar School
Published on November 29, 2010 in Uncategorized.
We interviewed Katie’s Grand dad Herbert Christian at 79 talked about all of his previous jobs and his time in the navy.
Herbert was born (in 4 College Street ) and raised in Ramsey, unfortunately his father died when he was 5 and both of his brothers left to go to the war when he was just 10, he didn’t know them that well at all. But as a family they were close because they didn’t have any electricity they played cards, bored games and when he wasn’t with his family he would meet up with the other children around his neighbourhood. They often had big family’s were often big consisting of 4-5 brothers and sisters all close.
So he started school, Albert Road where he used pieces of wood with a nib on the end then dunking it in as a substitute of today’s pen. At his school there were only female teachers (apart from the headmaster) because the men were all at the war. We asked him if he enjoyed school to which he replied yes, apart from sports, must run in the family! When we asked him had the war affected his life he said no not really because we lived on the island we could grow our own produce, I had 7 relatives that owned farms, but the food rations didn’t go till 1950 ish. England got it much worse.
He started working at just 11 and left school at 14 and took up an apprenticeship as an iron monger, where bar logo is now. But got fed up and left his iron monger job to join the navy at just 17. We asked him why did he join to which he replied all of my mates had gone, my brothers and father has gone and it was an opportunity to visit the world. One of his first visits was Malta in the Mediterranean for 2 years, when we asked him did you get to go home ever, he said the boat was your home there was 250 people on the boat, they were my new family, but when I was moved to a bigger ship it wasn’t homely with 2500 people on the boat you didn’t know more than half of them. After 17 and a half years the war was over and he returned to the island, but all wasn’t as well as it should be, with his brother Henry dead from the war and his other brother who came back from Bermuda ill then eventually dying, but he soldiered on and said, everyone had losses it wasn’t like I was the only one who had lost family, my mother took it hard, but it was what is was.
Because of all the soldiers coming over local women were marry Englishmen, this resulted in the population increasing, the Manx language dying and the traditional Manx way of living.
After the war he worked as a fireman on the steam packet, but he had to leave this job because of a bike injury, he cracked his scull, well knitted helmets weren’t that protective. He then started work at Gladstone factory, he was first a boiler man then a knitter- I was a nit he quoted-, he didn’t like that job and then started his job at the gas station, where he was very happy. Sometime in these previous years he met my Granny in a park).
One of our final questions was as a kid would it have been better to live back then or now, he said defiantly back then because everyone was friends not because of what we had because we all had pretty much nothing, We all used to meet up and have a good time, we would go to the cinema, local dances. Now a day’s the relationships between family’s is much weaker and friendships are sometimes based on what we have or what we wear, it’s just not the same.
During this interview they were very kind and fed us grapes. ïŠ