Why my Dad wouldn't eat Jelly and Ice Cream

Its been one week since my Dad died. A busy week, sorting out funeral arrangements, talking to celebrants, cancelling things, tidying away my Dads life.

It could be worse, most of the tidying away happened when we had to put Dad into a home and then sell the family home to finance it.

When we did that, it dug up memories, and stories told by my parents.

One of the stories, was that when Dad did his National Service, he caught Typhoid Fever, and was in hospital for six months. All he could eat whilst he was in hospital was Jelly and Ice Cream, which is why he didn't like it now.
The people Dad trained with in Shrewsbury. My Dad is the one with the yellow star on his face.

As a child, I remember thinking how brilliant it would be to eat nothing but Jelly and Ice Cream, and didn't know what Dad was complaining about. What I really didn't understand was quite how seriously ill he was. It was only when we sorted out the house, it really became clear.

My Dad was conscripted to do National Service when he was 19, on the 6th November 1947.

This was something all healthy young men between the ages of 17 and 21 had to for 18 months. National service finished in 1960 and the last young men doing National Service finished there service in 1963.

Dad was a Morse code man, or officially a Signalman, and trained to do that. He completed his training in July 1948. After he was trained he was sent to Cyprus, at the beginning of September 1948. By October, he had contracted Typhoid.

And then his parents received this telegram on the 27th October 1948

 Closely followed by this one.

I can not imagine, as a parent, how that must of felt.

This must be so common, now as much as then, with our service men and women. Terrifying. The only slightly comforting thing for today, is I imagine communications are better.

There were two more telegrams, one to say he was taken off the dangerously ill list and the second to say he was taken off the seriously ill list, this one came on the 16th December - probably the best present my grandparents got that year.

There are a number of letters to his parents during this period, some quite official from his Commanding Officer, another more friendly from (I think) his doctor, who had clearly had conversations with my Dad, and apologises on my Dad's behalf, as he has not been able to write to them himself. The Doctor also talks about what a good patient he is, he has apparently suffered crippling headaches and fever as part of the Typhoid, but never complained.

My Dad was demobbed in November 1949, but he never went back into service, this disease crippled him for nearly 18 months and he had side effects even in my life time, over twenty years later. He received the Kings medal when he was demobbed.

My Dad, up until his dementia started, would quote his service number regularly, but he never really went into the detail of what happened when he had Typhoid or any of his National Service. I know he was happy to leave the army, even though, I believe, when he was poorly he was treated with nothing but kindness (he has very fond memories of one Irish female Nurse - my Dad was a terrible flirt).

Now, I completely understand why my Dad didn't like Jelly and Ice Cream, I don't think I would either under those circumstances.

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