Good evening, John. What have you been up to today?
Kathi and I went to a concert by the Navy Band. They played a lot of patriotic tunes. The crowd sang along. 'Bless 'em All', 'Pack Up Your Troubles', 'Tipperary'.
Those songs go a long way back. 1914-1918. The First World War. I remember one man we had in the Church of Christ, a few years back. There was him, his wife and his family. They all played instruments and sang. We'd call out the title of a song — shout it out to them — and they'd up and play and sing it. A very musical family. Some people are like that. Quite outstanding.
Your cousin Charles was pretty musical. I stumbled across some facts about him.
I don't recall Charles. A cousin of mine? A part of the Leyland family?
Yes, your Uncle Alfred's boy. They lived in Lower Hutt. He was born about 1908, so was a few years older than you. Charles worked for Begg’s Music Store. I thought you might know him, so I collected what information I could.
Tell me what you found. It might jog my memory. It might come back to me. Go for it, boy.
These details are from old newspapers — a website called Paperspast — operated by the National Library:-
1925. Age 17. Piano solo finalist in the Lower Hutt Competitions.
1929. Age 21. Choirmaster and Sunday School secretary, Trinity Congregational Church, Lower Hutt.
I've never heard all that before. It's all news to me. Fascinating. Go on.
1930. Age 22. Charles publicly apologised for infringing music copyright.
1930. He conducted a 150 voice church choir and a large orchestra.
1939. Age 31. Fined for exceeding the speed limit.
1944. Age 36. He got engaged to Kathleen Owen.
1944. He was a Radio Operator in the RNZAF.'
That's what I found out about your cousin. Does it ring any bells?
No. I never heard of Cousin Charles. It rings no bells.
Bummer. Shall we change the subject?
Might as well! That was a bit of a dead end, wasn’t it?