Roy Mabel Returns Home
It was a real treat to take 89 year old Roy Mabel back to the Isle of Dogs recently and follow the traces of war that shaped his early years.
Roy lived in Glengall Grove, he wasn’t sure of the number but remembers the street and The George Pub on the corner.
When war was declared Roy was evacuated to Leeds, but returned in time for the first raid on the area 7 September 1940, it was this night his street was badly hit and he recalls sheltering in Christ Church, itself damaged, and watching an orange flame-lit sky over London, an image that has stayed with him ever since.
Roy was evacuated again shortly afterwards to Kent and his family rehomed in East Ham, however, throughout the war, he would visit his nan who lived in Manchester Road and remembers well visits to Island Gardens Park, and having his own ‘beach’ on the Thames, Newcastle Draw Dock.
Despite the incredible change that has happened on the Island since the 1980’s, all of the above places (with the exception of his house) remain, he was thrilled to visit them all, along with the many scars, memories and hints of the Docks long history still visible.
Much of this we discussed, along with the (mis) fortunes of West Ham and Charlton Athletic over a pint in the same George Pub that he remembered as a child.
A huge thanks to James Davis and Roy’s daughter Lisa for facilitating this and putting Roy and I in touch, its a day that will live long in my memory.