Memoirs of Gerry Daniels

Interviewee:                                     Gerry Daniels
Born:
                                                         27th September 1922
Date of Interview:           22nd June 2014
Length of Interview:        55 Minutes
Interviewer:
                                                                                                                    Sadaf Rasheed

 

 

CLICK HERE to listen on a mobile device.

 

Gerry Daniels’ easy going approach to life has ensured he has enjoyed himself no matter what life has thrown at him. Listen to his authentic experiences as a medalled World War II Naval Signalman. A word of warning – it might make you cringe!

Detailed summary (with time stamping for ease of access)

 

0:00:12.3:         Where I was born and when.

0:00:31.4
:         It was lovely growing up in Ceylon.

0:00:51.8
:         My house in Anuradhapura and Kandy.  

0:01:25.3
:         I moved to Colombo.  

0:02:09.6
:         Memories as a childhood and my siblings and cousins.

0:02:33.0
:         We lived in a mixed community where everyone got on.

0:02:48.8
:         St Peters College.  

0:03:30.2
:         Funny story about a priest.  

0:04:25.8
:         I was baptised an Anglican but followed Catholic religion.

0:05:05.6
:         Religion was very important in my life from the age of 14.

0:05:48.5
:         I had a bicycle when I was a 12.

0:06:14.4
:         For Christmas we always had new suits.

0:06:43.1
:         The church services were all conducted in Latin.

0:07:09.7
:         Most exciting memories in the Navy.

0:08:31.8
:         My first day’s training in the Navy and the Japanese bombing.

0:09:51.8
:         The atmosphere of the bombing in 1942.  Everyone wanted to leave Colombo.

0:10:22.3
:         The reasons I left Ceylon in 1964 and why I chose UK.

0:11:12.9
:         I came to London by aeroplane and my family came by ship.

0:11:49.5
:         First impressions of London.

0:12:10.5
:         I stayed in Maida Vale when I first arrived in London.

0:13:41.9
:         I got a job in British Rail after two days of being here.

0:14:04.8
:         My friend found my family and I a place to stay.

0:14:18.6
:         There was a big Burgher community in London.

0:15:07.0
:         My wife was a teacher in Ceylon and applied for a teacher job in London.

0:15:32.0
:         I left my brothers and parents behind.

0:15:55.9
:         The adjustments I had to make in London.

0:17:09.5
:         I bought a shotgun when I came here and go clay pigeon shooting.

0:17:15.5
:         What I missed most about Ceylon, my house in Mount Lavinia and things we grew.

0:17:59.6
:         Education was good in London for my children.

0:19:08.4
:         My job in the Railway.

0:19:19.7
:         Cultural differences and food.

0:19:47.0
:         Burghers had an open door policy to everyone.

0:19:52.4
:         Children don’t enjoy their childhood now as much as we did then in Ceylon.

0:20:21.2
:         I met other Burghers in London at parties.

0:21:12.9
:         4 year ago I got invited back to Sri Lanka by St Peter’s college.  There were only three of us alive who played rugby for the college. A limousine came to pick me up. They flew me business class to Colombo.

0:21:04.1
:         St Peters College Old Boys Association where I used to arrange reunion parties.

0:21:55.5
:         How I felt when I went back to Ceylon.

0:22:38.6
:         Baila music reminds me of Ceylon.

0:23:35.9
:         When I came to London I faced no discrimination which I think was to do with my attitude.

0:24:07.5
:         I know some people who faced discrimination.

0:24:23.5
:         I cut off my ties to Ceylon when I came to London.

0:25:03.6
:         I go back every year in the winter and where I stay in Ceylon.

0:27:36.0
:         I have my genealogy charted.  My ancestors are from Holland.

0:28:57.5
:         I couldn’t retire in Ceylon.  But I like to holiday there.

0:29:13.7
:         I love London.  I entertain with friends and cook curry for them.

0:30:00.7
:         London has changed a lot since the 60s there are more people and life is more hectic.

0:30:26.2
:         I go fishing once a month in the summer but now my back hurts so can’t do it anymore.

World War II Stories

0:31:26.9:         The Japanese bombing in Ceylon and my involvement.

0:35:43.5
:         My experience in the Maldives and rescuing survivors of ships that had been torpedoed.

0:37:25.1
:         I was on the ship for 3 years and it was an exciting time.

0:38:28.0
:         My time in Trincomalee.  Bringing a torpedoed ship back to harbour.  Rescuing a corpse in the water. 

0:40:15.7
:         I was awarded the Burma Star and Defence Medals.

0:41:14.1
:         What I did to be awarded the Burma Star.

0:41:43.6
:         I volunteered to join the Navy.

0:43:14.9
:         My girlfriend who then became my wife.

0:44:42.0
:         How Ceylon was affected by the war.

0:45:52.6
:         My experiences on a minesweeper.

0:47:29.7
:         Some of the duties in the Navy and the collapsing ship HMS Oxa.

0:50:30.6
:         Jellyfish clogging our ship motor and the volunteer sailor who was scarred from the jellyfish.

0:51:39.3
:         My wife and our travelling and cruises.

0:53:03.7
:         My favourite hobby fishing and gun club.

0:53:55.2
:         Excursions out organised by my British Rail employers.

The End