Mr Selfridge & Uncle Albert

I have commented before on the remarkable life of Charles Walker, a Maghull resident and friend of mine, who is 92 years young.

Charles looking back on Gibraltar (in the distance) from the cruise ship Victoria last year. Charles was based in Gib' (RAF) during part of the IIWW.

Charles looking back on Gibraltar (in the distance) from the cruise ship Victoria last year. Charles was based in Gib’ (RAF) during part of the IIWW.

Every now and then Charles (known as Uncle Albert to his friends) will let slip another interesting snippet of information about his past and here is a fascinating one.

Before the IIWW Charles worked at George Henry Lees department store in Liverpool. At the time it was owned by Selfridge Provincial who had bought up a number of what were then famous local department stores in towns and cities across the Country. Charles says that Gordon Selfridge, the son of the original Harry Gordon Selfridge which the present ITV TV series is about, would regularly visit George Henry Lees and that he had spoken with him on one such visit. Charles recalls him being an engaging chap.

Charles left George Henry’s in the early part of the war to go into the RAF and around about the same time period Selfridge Provincial sold their interest in the department store to John Lewis. Interestingly, when Charles returned to the company after his National Service he did not consider the new owners to be as staff friendly as Selfridge Provincial had been.

A nice act of kindness following Champion story about Charles and Gibraltar

I posted not so long ago about my dear friend 92 year old Maghull resident and former local councilor Charles Walker, who had been back to Gibraltar 70 years after he had been there in the RAF during WWII.

What’s more the Aintree & Maghull Champion newspaper covered his visit and that brought a really nice surprise and act of kindness from a Maghull resident who sent Charles a print of a painting. The print, see below, shows what Charles tells me is a Catalina Flying Boat and a Navy ship passing Gibraltar in the distance. Charles is delighted by the print and has written to the resident to thank him.

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The Catalina was one of many planes that Charles worked on whilst in Gibraltar fighting for his Country.

A Return to Gibraltar – 70 years on!

My dear friend Charles Walker has recently had the holiday of a lifetime – a cruise with his daughter and son-in-law which took in Gibraltar (aboard Cunard’s Victoria) where Charles was stationed during part of WWII with the RAF.

This is the Llanstephan Castle that was in use as a troop ship that took Charles to Gibraltar during WWII.

This is the Llanstephan Castle that was in use as a troop ship and took Charles to Gibraltar during WWII.

Charles is now 92 but whilst physically he is most definitely feeling his years he remains as bright as a button. Indeed, he was a Lib Dem Town Councillor in Maghull until he was 90 having only taken up politics at the age of 74!

His service with the RAF was as an aircraft electrician and I have previously posted a list of the many aircraft he worked on during his National Service on this site.

Charles (known as Uncle Albert to his friends) had always wanted to go back to see Gibraltar so his lovely daughter Carole fixed it up for him. Not only that but she also persuaded the Wing Commander at RAF Gibraltar to meet and greet Charles and show him around. I don’t think you need me to tell you how delighted Charles was with all this.

Here are a couple of photos of his visit:-

Charles Shaking hands with Wing Commander Greg Smith

Charles Shaking hands with Wing Commander Greg Smith

Charles looking back on Gibraltar (in the distance) from his cruise ship Victoria as he leaves after his holiday of a lifetime.

Charles looking back on Gibraltar (in the distance) from his cruise ship Victoria as he leaves after his holiday of a lifetime.

I am so pleased that Jim Sharpe of the Champion newspaper (Aintree & Maghull edition) ran a story about Charles and his WWII and indeed 2013 exploits in Gibraltar in the most recent edition of that paper.

Finally, here is Uncle Albert with his Gibraltar flag that was presented to him by the taxi driver who took around the Rock.

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