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Father's Family History

I went home that weekend with the intention of getting some of the family history down.  Sandra was a wonderful help to me. The "he" referred to in these notes is David Angus Pratt (my father)

So what are these questions he prodded several times. Feeling very sheepish... so my wonderful
stepmother finally prodded me into talking. Did I know why he had enlisted?  And off we went. I
listened. He talked. Amazing.

At 17 he had taken an extra year of school to get biology. He had been unable to take that at
Keith Grammar School and so had gone to Aberdeen. He was going to be conscripted at eighteen
anyway and as a Veteran he would be assured of a place in Veterinary College.  So down he went for his
medical and off he went to the Gordon Highlanders.

As he finished Basic training the Agyle and Sutherland Highlanders returned from  a tour of duty in Palestine and needed soldiers with some of his expertise. So over he went. A week or two later he was on his way to Hong Kong to guard the island nation against the Chinese invasion. Memories of guarding the airport and watching
five hours of continually streams of Chinese women carrying nightsoil to the waste barge. running
almost jogging with bamboo poles...balancing two pails...and guard duty at CFHQ Combined
Forces Head Quarters. with pick axe handles...didn't want soldiers shooting up the town.
morning reveille played by a couple of trumpeters echoing across the bay.  Sounded like twenty
trumpeters on every ship on the bay and there were hundreds. clear morning ...junks and ferries
sampans and destroyers.

Then he moved inland to the border on the penninsula..shooting people trying to cross the border
(Judging by the tear in his eye I think there was more that happened here)  The Highlanders had a
unique six spotted sporran (the decoration for the front of a kilt) when they arrived in Hong Kong
they were deliberately marched through town because twenty years earlier they had been brought
in to stamp out crime and drug trade...they had been brutal and efficient. Crime immediately took
a nose dive after their march through. Father returned spending most of the trip in the ships
hospital with dysentery almost immediately on his return. Came down with malaria
about two months after he came back. And hasn't been in a hospital since.

Then the big mistake highlanders were sent to Korea...told to take a hill that the americans were
told to bomb. 40% dead  20 % wounded. Many of his mates.(again the tear)

Then came the pictures...dogs barney and boco. and reminiscing about coming to
Canada ...landing in Regina. Meeting and old classmate. setting out in a Ford Galaxy running into a
snow storm returning to Regina and getting stuck in the Aquarelle valley my brother two and
myself four.

Disjointing to hear the stories told of Ann (my mother) I found  it took a minute or two to realize
this was mom.  The next day they took the's a seven hour drive now I wonder what it was
then ...lonesome tale of landing in Nipawin late and making their way to a hotel.

The expected house wasn't waiting. Rented to someone else. Wonderful tale of buying a
vehicle...An International Travelall which I remember as the vehicle of my childhood.
$3400...Iwent and found the bill of sale...the letters and telegram around his acceptance. transfers of
money. opening and account of the Bank of Montreal...that will be fine young man go and buy the
vehicle and we will pay for it and work out the details of the required loan and be in touch.

carrying on up the story road. Perhaps the most interesting part of the morning happened when the
photos and old papers started to make an appearance.  The papers themselves have many stories.
but it was two old church bulletins that I have asked for copies of that were the gold that I had
come seeking.  J W Jarvis. John William Jarvis. grandfather on my mothers side.  The
first one was a series of eulogies delivered at his funeral. He died as I had recalled out with a
group of his "boys" Covenanters (which is going to take more research) There were several
clues...the travels of Mr. Penny.  My uncle as part of his eulogy related how over the course of
several years the journey by Mr. Penny entertained my mother and him.  This bent old copper lead
a merry and exciting life as it traveled to all sorts of exotic places.  Including at least one trip
down the drain.(fertile imagination non?)  Regaling his boys, the church, and his banker friends
with stories was one of the common threads in all the eulogies. 

The second bulletin was even more interesting (at least to me)  synchronicity ...I could hear the
wheels of the universe meshing as I read it.  It was a manuscript that my grandmother had found
at his bedside.  Have I ever told you about work I do with strategic planning? trying to get people
to envision the future that they wish to create in their workplace. That's what this was a
description of how the church would be if it were a perfect place (which as he points out in the
first paragraph it isn't because he is there.)  It is so close to stuff that I have written in a
completely different context.

That then is where the story telling comes from almost undoubtedly. Deputy Chief accountant of
the First Provincial Bank.

Other tidbits and then a final poetic connection
The letter my grandfather wrote to my father allowing him to marry my mother.

Flyers from something called the SNA ...Scottish National Assembly  pranks that someone spent
two years in jail explanation.

and some quotes in his grad memories that I need to double check.

and at the end of the day I got most pleasant surprise.  I was handed two books of poetry. written
by an aunt.


Margaret Beveridge

This from the program at my Fathers convocation program.. I do not cough for my own
amusement--Shaw He stamps his feet, whistles and shouts obscenities at the most embarrassing

Yup and his tie is crooked in the foto.

and it wasn't SNA it was SRA and the names on one of the flyers dated 1953  were Robert Watt,
Owen Gillan, Callum McAlistair, and Raymond Forbes. they were touted as patriots from the
high court. 27th of November...and the flyer was produced by the Edinburgh Area Council SNP
191 Gilmore Place, Edinburgh

Another connection and thing to pay attention to: Thomas Hogg or Hog (Scottish Covenanter)
Jailed for his beliefs ...Sandra will copy the family tree stuff ...there are de finetely comments about
the gift of from a learned side of the family and one from a market side of the
family ...eloquent without resorting to vulgarity..

it should be interesting chasing some parts of this down ...there was a funny inheritance I remember
from my childhood was an explanation of that that bears examiing...and then
there is the Mace brothers (whom Maceville , New Zealand is named) cricketers extraordinaire.
one of the brothers was my grandmothers father. As near as I can tell.  Jarvis derived from mind reels...did I really feel that this would be doubt there are stories
and who knows where it will lead ....a long letter to my mother from TB Hunter discussing