In The Beginning – Philippa Stewart-Hall – Memoirs

wedding-photoWhere do I start……??
At the beginning I suppose…
My father, Stanley William Hall was a Skipper for Jardine Mathesons in Hong Kong.
My grandfather was chief engineer on his ship
One day my grandfather asked my father to deliver some books and a set of false teeth to my grandmother (the old lady) in Hong Kong.
My father agreed and as he was going down the gangplank the teeth slid off the top of the books and subsequently fell into the sea.
With determination and a lot of guts he delivered the books…thrusting them into the hands of Tommy Fraser’s 16-year-old daughter…Janet…referred to as Jean.
“I lost the teeth but here are the books.”
That was the beginning of a love affair, which lasted until my father died…in 1979 in Mapleton, Queensland Australia.
But I am getting ahead of myself…. My father started courting my mother…whom she called Mr. Hall right up until they got married. She had quite a few suitors…. and naturally as the Germans were in Hong Kong some of them were Germans…

My father arrived back in Hong Kong after he had had to make a delivery into the deep south china seas and discovered my mother at a dance with one of these suitors…he was furious…so he and the German fellow got into a fight and the opposition ended up knocked out up against the powder room door.
My father then marched up to my mother and said…

“Well if you are going to marry any one then you may as well marry me!!!”
and that was the marriage proposal…
A typhoon hit Hong Kong the day before they got married and there wasn’t a flower in the place…. so the bouquet had to be wired together out of petals…. but it was a wonderful day…so I am told!!!
Here I come…!!!
I was made in the bridal suite of the Raffles hotel in Singapore …where my father kept my mother for about a year…
Things were hotting up, the Japanese were in to China and Hong Kong…people were on the run all over the world and my mother was evacuated out of Singapore, (pregnant), only to arrive in a country where she didn’t understand a word of the Australian lingo…at first she hated it here…. now she adores it…..!!!
My father joined up with Royal Australian Navy as a lieutenant commander and there’s a bit of history missing here for me…
I was born just after the bombing of Pearl Harbour…. my father was home on compassionate leave…(I wonder how compassionate he thought it was after I was born). So he missed out on the bombing where our ships went down.

What I do know is that the Japanese had headed for Darwin and had arrived in Sydney Harbour…people were on the run and my family moved to Newcastle…you could not rent out a house for love nor money on Sydney Harbour at that time.
My father was sent on secret missions to New Guinea taking in Aussie commandos and hoping to pick them up after they had had achieved their objective (very few came back).

My family in the meantime had decided to get out of Australia and go to New Zealand…. which they all did…. grandma, grandpa, my great aunt Daphne and my great Uncle Alex along with my mother, father and myself…and settled in Christchurch.

That is tale for another time…

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