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After spending a year in Iraq the family moved back to England and followed the familiar pattern of service life with a succession of postings in the UK, France and Germany as Doug made his way to the rank of Squadron Leader in the RAF.

Right: Pictured at an unknown RAF outpost with son Hillary

Pictured on the left in the 1960's with stepdaughter Chris.

A photograph taken in the early 1970's at an RAF function with Doug.

By the mid 1970's Doug had retired and he and Daphne were living in Nigeria where Doug was then working. The couple decided to buy a flat in England and chose Torquay on the South Devon coast, so in 1976 whilst Doug was still in Africa, Daphne set about fitting out their new home. Then tragedy struck, Doug called his daughter Chris saying he had been unable to reach Daphne by telephone as was getting worried about her. Subsequently the police were called in an effort to locate Daphne which resulted in them forcing entry to the flat. Daphne had died suddenly of a brain haemorrhage, she was 56. Her daughter Chris recalls the shock and then, worse still, having to break the sad news to her father miles away in Nigeria. Following a memorial service her ashes were scattered, at her request, on The Hoe at Plymouth.

One of the last photographs taken of Daphne seen here with son Hillary in the mid 1970's.



Throughout this time the family were blissfully unaware of Helene Hanff's book and its sad to think that the young secretary who had offered her accommodation were she ever to visit England and, perhaps more importantly provided the 'Yorkshire Pudding' recipe did not live to enjoy the success of the stage play and the film.
There is however a rather nice footnote to the story. Some years later Doug remarried and he and his new wife Claire were living in the Middle East, Doug having taken yet another position overseas.
One evening his wife was reading a book when she said to him "You must read this its a really lovely story", glancing over her shoulder he saw on the open page the address Eastcote, Pinner, Middlesex and instantly recognised it as that of Daphne's parents. When he had recovered from the shock he wrote to Helene and, in due course received a reply so typical of her. It simply said "DOUG WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN???????"


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