Violet Mary Amy Berryman
|25 JAN 1919
|23 OCT 2013
|5 NOV 2013
|George Percival BERRYMAN
|Amy Emily RADFORD
Violet was born on the lovely island of Guernsey and was the eldest daughter of George and Amy Berryman. Here she enjoyed an idyllic childhood, although she said that going to a Catholic school that was run by nuns and where the discipline was very strict, was very different from the schools of today.
Out of school she spent a good deal of time on the beach and she certainly would have had plenty of delightful ones to choose from. She never lost her love for the seaside and once said that when she finally came to settle in England she wished that it could have been by the coast.
When she left school at the age of 14, she began to work in a local grocery store. She worked there until one day she noticed the account her mum had with the store. Now Violet had always been very good with figures and soon realised that the owner of the store was overcharging her mum and so she left and her mum began to shop at a another store.
Then, early in 1937, Violet she met a young soldier called Richard Porter who was stationed at Castle Cornet and it wasn't long before they had settled down together where they lived with her parents.
In 1938 her daughter Maureen was born and a year later an event was to occur that would change life forever. This was of course the Second World War when Britain declared war on Germany, following Germany's invasion of Poland. Richard Porter, known to the family as Dick, had been a regular soldier, having enlisted at the age of 16. He had been in the army for 7 years and was now on the reserve list and therefore, in 1939 when war was declared, was recalled back to the army and sent to France with the BEF.
In 1940 the remnants of the British Army were evacuated from Dunkirk and invasion looked imminent. The British Government now decided that they wouldn't defend the Channel Islands and they informed the islanders that if they wished to be evacuated to England they could do so. Violet's family had secured a place on a boat carrying evacuees to England, but the father was working as an Air Raid Warden and was not allowed to leave the island until the morning of the 29th of June. The family rushed down to the dockside in St. Peter's Port and were fortunate enough to get on the last boat to leave Guernsey. The Germans arrived on the island the following day and were to remain there until 1945.
So here was Violet at the young age of 21 with a 2 year old daughter sailing across the English Channel on a crowded boat to an uncertain future in a strange country. To make matters worse, before leaving the island she had received a telegram from the War Office informing her that Maureen's father was missing in action, presumed killed.
When she landed in England it must have been like moving to a different world. She had never seen a steam train and now she had to travel on one to Leeds. She didn't stay long however,as it was the policy to place refugees with family if possible, so they were sent down to Nottingham to live with Dick's relatives (Ellen Porter - his mother). The first Violet knew about this was when she heard from the military that Dick had in fact survived and been evacuated from Dunkirk and had arranged to have Violet and Maureen stay with his mother.
So having lived all her life in a rural community she was now living in a large industrial city with people she didn't know. Seeing all the factories, shops and rows of terrace houses, not to mention all the traffic such as buses and trams, must have been a bewildering experience for someone used to living on a small island.
Violet and Maureen stayed there for two to three months; the bed they slept in was in the middle of the room to stop the bugs falling from the walls onto them while they slept. The house itself was one of many terrace houses on a steep hill with the backs of two rows of houses forming a yard.
Violet didn't get on with the people they were living with, so they moved again, this time to Hatfield where Dick was now stationed. Their flat was on the edge of an airfield and one day a young German bombed the airfield, he was later shot down and captured. The bomb failed to explode but landed beneath their flats, as he was leaving the airfield he strafed the flats and bullets came through the landing window only seconds after Violet carried Maureen down the stairs and outside. After that incident, Dick insisted they leave Hatfield and return north to 41 Oakley Street, Thorpe, West Yorkshire where Violetís parents were now living. The house consisted of a large kitchen where meals were cooked and eaten, a front room, as they were called back then, and bedrooms on two floors plus the inevitable outside toilet. She stayed there until the end of the war and at one time there were 13 or 14 people living in the house.
With the ending of the war, Violet and her family, who had never kept in touch with other evacuees, didn't get to know about plans for repatriation and it wasn't until late December that they finally returned to Guernsey. They had to make a crossing during a winter storm and she said it was very frightening. When the family finally landed and made their way to what had been their home they found that it was now occupied by another family. Due to their arriving back on the island much later than other evacuees they were told that they would have to live to separate hostels until housing could be found for them.
This they didn't want to do, so after much discussion they decided to return to England. However, due to the terrible crossing they had experienced, it was a few weeks before they set sail once again to cross the Channel.
In 1948 Violet, Dick and Maureen moved to Temple Avenue in Rothwell and Dick, who by this time had been demobbed, obtained a job at Ardsley Colliery, not far from where they had lived at Thorpe during the war.
In 1954 they moved once again to a new house at 39 Oakwood Drive, once again in Rothwell, and this was to become their final house. It was shortly after moving here that her son Richard was born. Violet experienced a difficult birth and no one at that time could have realised what problems this would cause in later years.
In 1960 her daughter Maureen married Brian Richardson and they had two sons, one of which was me. Violet now had two grandchildren and through the late 90's and early 2000's three great-grandchildren, following my marriage.
Violet was a family and home loving person and though she didn't go visiting much because she didn't like travelling by car, she loved members of the family to visit her. She enjoyed pottering around in her garden and especially growing tomatoes. She had a greenhouse, a Guernsey type, of course and even when she was in her eighties she was still producing a fine crop.
In 2002, Violet's husband, Dick, died but she continued to live with her son at Oakwood Drive. Then in 2003, when Violet turned 84, an age when most people were settling back to enjoy the quiet latter years of their lives, surrounded by children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, she found herself suddenly having to look after her son, Richard, who was by now having serious problems with his health. She spent the following years doing all that she could to ensure that he son was alright, but in 2012 things only got worse when Richard suffered a stroke and was then diagnosed with epilepsy. Violet was, by now, 93 and in poor health herself, in fact it could be said that it was her strong will power that kept her going as she fought as long as she could to be there for her son.
Towards the end of 2013 and now in her ninety fourth year, Violet's health began to fail her and on the 22nd of October her frail body could take no more and she quietly passed away.