Five Ways to Remember: Dedication – Graham Richard

You, Graham R. were named after your great-great-great grandfather Richard P because he seemed to me to be something of a real broth of a bhoy – very left of the extreme right in his excesses. He was of all things, a Loyalist Protestant living in County Wexford during the days of the 1798 Rebellion. A yeoman in Ogle’s Loyal Blues he took his loyalties to his heart without question as this account by his son Nathaniel testifies.

“My father, at this period was a great loyalist – fond of company, and possessing an undaunted mind, was often led astray, and sometimes got into difficulties. In Ireland about this period, no Protestant was safe; Government had issued orders to have the leaders of the rebels seized and executed. Many individuals were sent to New South Wales. One of this class, named McDonald, being in a public house near Ferry Carrig Bridge, my father and uncle Foley, while passing the same (house) at night, on looking in, saw McDonald and determined to make him a prisoner, although surrounded by many of his friends.

My father stepped into the room where he was, drew his sword, ordered him to rise, adding that he was the King’s prisoner.

Some of his companions rose to take his part upon which my father struck the mantel piece with his sword, saying – the first man that moves from his seat, or offers resistance, shall take the consequences. He brought his prisoner out from amongst them, led him along two miles of a lonely road and lodged him in the gaol.

The act of committal being informal, the prisoner was discharged, and my father confined for a period of three months for false imprisonment.

Another instance of his rashness and over-zeal was shown whilst in the yeomanry. There was a corporal in the company to which he belonged of enormous stature and bulk, who on coming into the barrack-room one night, said some insulting words to my father, who immediately challenged him to fight, although not much more than half his size; the corporal struck my father and knocked him into a coal tub, but on recovering himself, and again encountering him, struck him such a blow in the stomach as to render him unable to renew the personal combat. I recollect my mother sending me to the country public-house to bring him home, and having to pass a lonely church-yard it being a late hour at night, he stopped on the road to challenge all the spirits to fight. I was greatly terrified, and ran, as if for my life, leaving my poor father to contend with his ghostly antagonists single-handed.”

Great-great-grandpa Nathaniel also records that his dear old dad and his brother Henry were Church of England and were stationed at Dungannon during the insurrection. Uncle Henry went off to the fight the wars in Europe, and Richard returned to Bellevue to marry Elizabeth Foley of Baladicken.

Sometime after this a relative named Evans, who lived at Newton Barry, sold his property and went to America. He returned, chartered a ship, and offered Richard and his family a free passage to America and a farm in Ohio. “My mother however would not consent” reports Nathaniel. But how do we know other Pidgeons didn’t accept this offer and progenerate Walter Pidgeon the actor? How else should I always be called Walter (after the actor) when I’m really only William?

Strangely enough, after this bit of conservatism on Elizabeth Foley Pidgeon’s part they allowed themselves to converted by an itinerant preacher, Mr Bulger, to the Wesleyan Methodist faith. All this conversion stuck and much later at a revivalist meeting, Nathaniel met and later married Miss Eliza Proud whose old granddaddy had looked after John Wesley during his visit to Ireland.

[W.E. Pidgeon c.1970]

Note: Walter Pidgeon’s family line extends back into Canada in the 1700s. There is no known family connection.

Wep’s 1956 Romanian adventure: 28 Nov-3 Dec; Homeward bound

Mon 26-Nov-56: Got train to Harwich, boat to Holland
Tue 27-Nov-56: Down the Rhine by Lorelei Express, arrived Zurich about 9pm
Wed 28-Nov-56: Roamed around Zurich & caught plane at 7:30 back to Aust.
Thu 29-Nov-56: Landed Instanbul about 1am. Passed by the mountains near Mt Aararat. Landed Basra – Karachi.
Fri 30-Nov-56:    Calcutta about 1am, Singapore 11am. Stayed Raffles – saw dress rehersal of show.
Sat 1-Dec-56:     Left Singapore 10:15am direct to Darwin – arrived 8:45pm. Took off for Sydney about 11pm.
Sun 2-Dec-56:    Arrived Mascot 7am. Met by Dorothy, Graham & Trellie – John Boyce in at dinner in evening.
Mon 3-Dec-56:  Quiet day & loafed around – few drinks.


Zurich, Switzerland; 28 November 1956
Zurich, Switzerland; 28 November 1956
Ganymed Statue, Bürkliplatz, Zürich, Switzerland; 28 November 1956
Bürkliplatz, Zürich, Switzerland; 28 November 1956
Uraniastrasse Bridge, Zurich, Switzerland; 28 November 1956
Basrah Airport, Iraq; 29 November 1956
Singapore; 30 November 1956
Singapore; 30 November 1956
Looking across towards the Fullerton Building, Singapore; 30 November 1956
The Fullerton Building (now a hotel) with the Fullerton Road bridge in front, Singapore; 30 November 1956
Singapore; 30 November 1956
Cavenagh Bridge, Singapore; 30 November 1956
Raffles Hotel, Singapore; 30 November 1956

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War Letters – New Guinea: 9 Jan 1944, Sydney; If anything should happen to me…

Jan 1944


If anything should happen to me I’d like you to do a few things that while I was here I didn’t seem to be able (or for that matter, had no point in saying) to tell. Or ask, of you.

Above all, I don’t want you to blow the old top! I expect you to be upset – that is human enough.

But these are the things I want you to do. I couldn’t tell you them – it would sound all so silly and melodramatic.

Go for a trip or something. Don’t hang around the house we lived in. Wipe all the half-wits you and I know are half-wits. Get rid of Molly. And for Christ’s sake don’t finish up the widow Vi. Get married.

Don’t panic. You’ll be getting more money than even you know what to do with. What with office compensation, my insurance, remains of my mother’s property, and your own people’s estate, you will be worth about £5,000. You don’t have to let a cheap hick get hold of you. I would hate the guts of that. Don’t sell your mother’s house. Don’t sell my property. Lend £1,000 to Jack at 5% – he could use it. All in all you should be able to get about £5 to £6  per week without doing a tap.

Please always be a little bit in love with me. Within my pretty lousy way I have loved you. Unspectacularly maybe – but there has been no other.

Please don’t lose that little baby. Perhaps I’m sloppy – but I’d like to leave something behind to justify the old existence.

I love you – at times, wildly, deliriously, and without reason. I have loved you.

Too bad I think that there is nothing after all this. I’d have liked to have seen you.

Snugglepot Bill

[This letter was probably never revealed to Jess till later. It may have been in a sealed envelope, or it may have been given to an associate to give to her in case Bill was killed whilst overseas.]

Note: Bill left for Townsville on 9 January 1944 (Ref: DVA File No. X336636)