My father, Brian Stow

Young Dad

Dad was born on 31st March 1922 in Edgware, Middlesex.

His parents moved to Totteridge in North London and Dad went to Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Barnet. He was very proud of his school, followed it throughout his life and was always a member of the Old Elizabethans. He left school at 17 to start work though today he would have been university material. He joined the Standard Bank of South Africa and was there until he was called up for war service.

Dad did not talk much about the war. He was in Royal Signals. He was shipped around and took part in the Allied invasion of Italy in July 1943, coming off a landing craft in Sicily carrying his radio. It is hard for us to imagine being thrust into such a situation under fire.

Dad’s duties included taking over telephone exchanges in Italy and monitoring. He had a natural ability for languages and picked up Italian from scratch. In later years, he took his “O level” after going to evening classes and he spoke Italian well, as Gloria and I observed when we went with the parents on holiday to Italy. Dad was also apparently able to pass for a native of Vienna, such was his German accent from his time after his transfer to Austria prior to de-mob.

When Dad returned to the bank in 1946, he met Mum, who had been working at the Bank for several years, being one of the young women who filled the gaps left by the men on war service. Mum and Dad were married in 1950 and were married for the best part of 67 years.

If I am honest, I should say that we children, Marion and I, did not see all that much of Dad during our childhood. He always seemed to be at work, which of course was for our benefit.  In those days he often worked on Saturday mornings, and went to the Arsenal on a Saturday afternoon. He was a season ticket holder at Highbury, as was his father until his death in 1964. Dad first went to Arsenal as a boy during the Herbert Chapman era. We spent time with Dad on Sundays because he took us to church at Stock, where we were in the choir.

In recent years Dad followed Arsenal on-line and also became quite good at on-line shopping.

Dad was quite sporty. For a time, he played for a local cricket club, opening the batting. One great memory was his taking a one-handed catch over his head while fielding on the boundary. I was most impressed.

Dad’s career at the bank saw him rise through the ranks to be senior in the Trustee Department. Then he became a Head Office inspector for the Standard Chartered Bank, so he then had the opportunity to travel the world from Djakarta to San Francisco and many places and offices in between.

Dad retired in 1982 and Mum and Dad moved from Billericay to Nayland in 1985. Dad joined the congregation here, where he remained until Sunday morning outings became too difficult. I know Mum and Dad were very happy with their new life in Nayland with the more rural environment and more room for all the dogs.

In the last year or so, I always tried to phone at 7pm every evening. Dad usually answered with a chuckle as he would have been waiting for the call. I do miss that.

Retirement meant that Dad had more time for everyone and showed more his kind and generous spirit. He was a thoroughly decent man and we will all miss him very much.

Brian Frederick Geoffrey Stow was born on 31st March 1922 and passed away on 30th July 2017.

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