Hello John, John was my grandfather, which makes you my uncle. He married my grand mother in Scotland during the war and they had one child, my mother, your half sister Margaret.
John divorced my grandmother in the late 50s and she left for America. My mother married my father in 1960 and they had two children myself (Paul) and my sister Martine.
After the divorce my mother lost contact with John. Apparently he had been visiting Scotland regularly (for the Scotland v England games) but he never got in touch. He lived several double lives and we're still not sure how many half brothers and sisters are out there.
He eventually got back in contact with my mum in the late 70s and this was when I first met him. This was all because of his partner Nellie who encouraged him to make contact. Since that first very emotional meeting we were in constant contact. He made regular visits to Scotland and we'd also go down and see him in London. He lived in Kilburn with Nellie (a proper Cockney, and right battle-axe, loved the bingo and had a heart of gold), they never married.
He worked for Bovis, I think, as a painter and decorator, I remember him telling me he painted the M&S in Bakers street. His favourite tipple was Guinness, I remember my mum having to get in crates and crates of the stuff every time he came up for Hogmanay in Glasgow.
As for the one arm, well he had several versions of that story. He either lost it, as a diver, attaching a limpet mine to a German ship, or while blowing up fish in Alexandria harbour (to sell to the natives) or his arm was crushed between a launch and the dock.................never did find out the real story. John and Nellie moved to Fleetwood near Blackpool after he retired. I'm not sure of the exact date but sadly Nellie passed away in the 90s. John moved into a flat overlooking Fleetwood FC football ground. He spent most of his days in the British Legion drinking Guinness with other veterans talking about the good old days. I had a few sessions in there myself and always enjoyed the banter. While in Kilburn his favourite haunt was the D.O.B. (Done Our Bit Club) just around the corner from where he lived.
John was a West Ham fan, it was him that bought me my first ever football strip when I was about 10, a West Ham Admiral strip. He was also a big England fan, much to my chagrin, he used to come up every other year for the Scotland v England game but I don't think he ever made a game despite having a ticket...............the pint before the match always ended up being the pint during and after! We called him Daddy Hall, when in Scotland he was always Jimmy Hall. He was a real character and liked by all, I can't remember meeting anyone who didn't like Jimmy, can't remember him ever being angry. On one of his frequent visits he fell down the stairs and broke his good arm. He still managed to drink his Guinness and rip open his packet of Players Senior Service with his teeth.
His favourite film was Zulu, back in the days of VHS we had to put it on every time he was up!
Eventually the fags and the booze took their toll but he had a good innings, Jon died on his birthday 26th January 2004. I was out of the country at the time but I did get to see him a few months before and he did get to meet my son his great grandson Max.
It's such a pity as he died just after my mum had arranged to move him up to sheltered housing in Glasgow. My mum was constantly up and down to Fleetwood keeping an eye on him and over to California to keep an eye on her mum. Catherine, his ex-wife passed away a few months after John.
My mum's had a tough life, she looked after my dad until he passed away, then her uncles and then John and her mum Catherine. I spoke to her before I started this email and she agreed that I should get in touch. When we were looking through John's effects we came across a letter from your mother to the admiralty asking for a contact address for John. I am not sure of the date of the letter, I'm also not sure of whether John had decided to respond. He never mentioned having had any other children but there were rumours and John's sister had mentioned as much to my mum.
I was searching the internet to see what I could find out about John Percy Hall and your name popped up. I immediately thought I should get in touch. I can't imagine what it's like not to have met your father or not to know anything about him. I count myself lucky to have known my grandfather and I do not know why he never got in touch with you.............and I suppose we'll never know. I also don't know if you'd like to meet or be in contact with your extended family but I would certainly like to know more about you. To sum up:
Your sister is called Margaret Beltrami (nee Hall), born in Glasgow 22nd November 1943, married Raymond Beltrami 1960. Children Martine born 18th February 1961, Paul born 26th August 1966.
You have 4 nephews, Jack 22 and Lewis 20 (Martine's boys), Max 14 and Andrew 11 (Paul's boys).
Margaret lives in Glasgow close to Martine and I live in Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates (I'm an English teacher at an Airforce College).
So John, that's about it. I hope this email gets to you (you wrote in 2012, 4 years ago!!!). And I hope I've filled in some of the blanks but my biggest hope is that you get in touch.
Your long lost nephew Paul