My mum Rene (Alice Irene Flitney née Harding) died in 1999. When my brother, sister and I went through her things we found an envelope full of old newspaper clippings and other bits and pieces. We looked through the papers and put the envelope away, but those yellowing pieces of paper keep whispering of half-forgotten times and places. Places like Butlers Cross, Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury, West Wycombe, Little Kimble, Wendover, Ellesborough, Southcourt and Princes Risborough.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Guest Post; As I Recall by John Flitney

Arthur Denis Flitney, Denis Flitney, Owen Flitney, Daisy Flitney

Barbara Fisher (nee Flitney) is one of my cousins. She, along with her husband Terry are the founders of this blog about our Flitney family history. For this I am most grateful, (a) because they have revealed historical facts about our Grandad I was unaware of, and (b) for being given the opportunity to contribute to this record. I also am grateful to cousin Alan Smith for a copy of his earlier research into the history of the Flitneys. I must also thank Elizabeth, my wife, for her invaluable help with computer stuff. 
My contribution to this story will be limited to my recollections of family life and my personal journey through life, proudly bearing the surname Flitney. 

 Mum and Dad were married at the registry office in Amersham, Buckinghamshire on the 25th September 1939. The groom, Owen Arthur Flitney was 25 years old, living at 46 Micklefield road, High Wycombe and working then as a bus conductor. The bride was Madge Edith Moore, 23 years old and working as a domestic servant at Horley Rough, Prestwood, Great Missenden. The ceremony was witnessed by Daisy C Flitney, the grooms mother and Winifred J Baines a friend of the bride. Those details are taken from their marriage certificate. 

Just Married

Owen Arthur Flitney and Madge Edith Flitney nee Moore

It is possible that the wedding was rather a subdued occasion as the country was at war again with Germany. Plus the fact that Madge’s father did not altogether approve of Owen as a potential son-in-law. Yet in time he proved his worth by agreeing to move the family to Murcott in 1954 so that Madge could care full time for her ailing parents. 
I do not know when Mum and Dad first met but Mum was working as housekeeper to Mr. and Mrs Mase when she and Dad were courting. The Mase’s often entertained society folk at their home. On big occasions, when there were several guests for dinner, Dad would be asked to act as butler for the evening. This obviously strengthened the bond between him and Madge leading eventually to him asking for her hand in marriage. She accepted, but alas was denied a white wedding as Mr. and Mrs Moore had “hoped for somebody better!” for their daughter. What Dad had been doing to create such suspicions we will never know. 
They were very strict and proper, her father was a huge man who had been a policeman in London. Her mother, although quite small in stature, nevertheless still ruled the household. (Mum told me that the only parental advice she ever got from her mother was “If ever a man does anything to you you don’t like tell your brother!” Brother at the time was a very fit Sergeant Major in the Royal Engineers). Mrs. Mase was very supportive toward Mum, especially about the wedding, even to the extent of loaning her a very expensive dress for the ceremony. They remained lifelong friends. 
The only other pictures of the day I have, show Mum and Dad together with Gran. Daisy, (on the right) and, I presume, Mrs Baines and her daughters. Then the one of the boys doing what boys do best at such occasions. 

Owen and Madge Flitney and family

So now it is four years five months later and Madge and Owen are living at 6 Lawn Hill, Edgecott, a small rural hamlet in Buckinghamshire. Owen is now a farm labourer. On this particular day Mum was labouring also, giving birth to me. The date is 20th February 1943 and I make a start in life. 

                            Dad at work                                      Proud father - Richard or me?

Apparently I was born at a very early age therefore it was quite some time before I started recording things as memories. Either I wasn’t very good at it or nothing really memorable happened until I was about four years old. (I was told later in life that I was born with a lot of curly white hair. A colour I have reverted to now but without the quantity). Also, something I’m glad I don’t remember. I developed a serious case of eczema and had to be covered with a purple ointment. I do recall becoming aware that I was a second child, so I had made a tentative start at maths already. Also, that I was named John Arthur Flitney. My brother Richard Owen had been around for just over two years when I came along and he is still older than me. We must have got on reasonably well as children as we are still on speaking terms. He now lives in Penarth,Wales, with his wife Veronica. Whereas I and my wife Elizabeth reside in Cyst St.George, Devon. 

To be continued...


  1. Thanks so much for your contribution John. I had no idea Owen was a bus driver or about any of the other details of the wedding. Next time we take a trip to Buckinghamshire, we will be looking up some of those addresses. It would be nice to get photos of the places as they are now. I can’t wait to read the next instalment, but there is absolutely no hurry as I will be posting more of Sue’s memories next. Barbara

  2. Hello Barbara,
    Thanks again for the invitation to join in. I shall endeavour to make my pieces as interesting as yours and Sue's.

  3. Hi John, lovely to hear about your part of the family. You share the same birthday as my eldest son, Michael, who was 50 on the 20th of February this year. Sue

  4. Sue, hello,
    It is great to hear from you. I very much enjoyed reading your story too and look forward to learning more. John

  5. It's great that you have others willing to share what they know. The photos in this post are wonderful.

    1. Hello Nancy, I feel very blessed to have help from Sue and John. The other upside is it takes me an age to put my posts together so their contributions give me a little breathing space. :- ) Thanks for calling in, Barbara.


I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara x

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