Interview with Michael and Ann Akrill


Interview with Michael and Ann Akrill


Michael and Ann Akrill talk about their uncle, William Akrill. He grew up in Lincolnshire, and studied art in London and under the tutelage of Robert Kiddey. He considered becoming a contentious objector, but volunteered for the RAF and after training, he served as a navigator with 115 Squadron. He wrote many letter home which focused on the more light hearted episodes of training but the letters to his friend in the Fleet Air Arm reflected his concerns. He wrote about how upsetting it was as crews who did not return had their belongings swept away before a new crew took their place. William celebrated his 21st birthday on 11th March 1943 and on the 12th March set off on his first operation. He did not return. His family stored all his artwork and letters and kept his memory alive with constant reminiscences of the time he had been with them. They discuss the likenesses to real people in his cartoons and his training, his brief operational service and the impact his loss had on their family.




Temporal Coverage




00:34:06 audio recording


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JL: Ok. Ok. I’ll just do a quick introduction.
AA: Yeah.
JL: And then we can just talk and you can go through it. Right. This is Jeremy Lodge on behalf of Collingham District Local History Society and the International Bomber Command Centre on the 4th of December 2017 talking to Ann and Nick about —
MA: Michael.
JL: Michael.
MA: Michael please.
JL: Why have I put you down as Nick?
MA: Well, I don’t know.
AA: Perhaps you put Mick.
JL: Probably. And Michael. We’re going to talk about their Uncle William.
AA: Yeah.
JL: Who was in Bomber Command during the Second World War. So, do you want to introduce yourselves for the tape and then I’ll let you talk.
MA: Yeah. Well, I’m, I’m Michael. I’m the only one of, myself and my siblings who actually saw Uncle Billy but I can’t remember him because he was lost the week after my first birthday. But the story goes that he was on leave the week before my birthday and he offered me either a penny or a florin as a birthday present and I took the florin. I suspect it was because it was shiny and the other one wasn’t but maybe I was just greedy.
AA: Probably that’s true [laughs] I’m Ann Akrill and I never knew my Uncle Billy as he was known but in the family there was always a picture of him on the wall at grandma, granny and grandad’s house and they always talked about him.
MA: And at our house.
AA: And at our house. We had a picture of him as well at our house and granny and grandad and his sister Auntie Mary always constantly talked about him in our childhood. He was a very, very big figure really, wasn’t he in our childhood. He —
MA: He was.
AA: He was always there. He was always around.
JL: Where was he born and where did he live?
AA: He was born in Billingham, Lincolnshire in 1922 and they had a farm there. They were actually tenant farmers. They farmed one of the farms that belonged to the castle and I can’t remember what their names were now. Anyway —
MA: Doesn’t matter.
AA: Doesn’t matter. But anyway, they had a farm there and, and he did go to school there for a while but then in 1931 they moved to Collingham. To Bolting Holme Farm on Swinderby Road and then in 1932 for whatever reason, I don’t know why, they, maybe they didn’t want the —
MA: Decamped.
AA: Like the farm, or they had to move but anyway they moved in 1932 to Potter Hill Farm on, well, I think it’s called Potter Hill Lane. I think it’s technically Station Road but everybody calls it Potter Hill Lane which is where I was born in the farmhouse.
MA: And where I was born in the farm cottage.
AA: Yes. That’s right. And then in nineteen, yes 1931 to 1936 he went to Collingham Boy’s School where he was taught by Mr Evans who thought he was wonderful according to all accounts. And then in 1937 he went to Newark School of Art and was taught there by Robert Kiddey.
JL: Oh right.
AA: Who is quite a well-known, well he’s a sculptor really. I think he was, but he did do some art and we have got some, a picture that he did which is a kind of a silhouette of Robert Kiddey which the Newark Town Hall Museum was rather excited about when I took it in to show them. And then in 1939 he went to Regent Street Polytechnic, in London to study commercial art because he was a very very talented artist. He did many many drawings most of which, an awful lot of them I’ve got in my possession as the only person whose got room to put them I think [laughs] But he was a really really talented artist. I mean, he, and he was also a very, he had a very inventive sense of humour and he did lots and lots and lots of cartoon type drawings which started [pause] Well, the first lot we’ve got that he did were in 1935 when his father was in hospital and he wrote letters to him which all, half the letters were drawings and cartoons of the goings on that happened at Potter Hill at the time and for, in 1935 how old would he, oh thirteen.
MA: He would have been thirteen.
AA: He was thirteen and the stuff that he did it was not only, it was not only that he was a good artist but his sense of humour was, well —
MA: I would suspect —
AA: Overdeveloped. Overdeveloped.
MA: I was going, I was going to say very well developed for a thirteen year old.
AA: For a thirteen year old.
MA: At that time. Maybe not now but —
AA: Yeah. Yeah. And his letters.
JL: Oh yes.
AA: They were all, he never wrote a letter without putting lots of drawings and silly little things in it. And then in nineteen —
MA: Well, then war broke out.
AA: Yeah. Then war broke out and at the end of the 1939 he came home and he didn’t quite know what he wanted to do. He toyed with the idea of being a conscientious objector but he didn’t quite get that far. And then in 1940 until September 1941 he was employed by Smith Woolley and Co in their drawing office at Collingham which he didn’t enjoy shall I say. He hated it actually but he still, I mean he went there and he did the job that he was supposed to be doing and they all had a really good time because there were four or five young men who were all waiting to be either, to either join up or be called up in to wherever. The Army. The Air Force. Wherever. Oh one of them went in the —
MA: Fleet, well the —
AA: The Fleet Air Arm.
MA: Fleet Air Arm. Yeah.
AA: His best friend went in to the Fleet Air Arm because he, he failed his medical because of very poor eyesight for the RAF when he went with Uncle Billy. They both went together. David got knocked back because he had very poor eyesight which he’d no idea he’d got very poor eyesight and then, so he came back home. Uncle Billy got accepted and joined up. David came back home. Thought he’d try for the Fleet Air Arm and they said there was absolutely nothing wrong with his eyes at all. So, it’s assumed that there was somebody who went to join up to the Air Force who had appalling eyesight but they’d mixed up their, you know.
MA: Records.
AA: Their records because David’s eyesight was spot on apparently according to the Fleet Air Arm. So, he joined. He went off to the Fleet Air Arm and they used to compare notes in their letters about the Air Force and the Fleet Air Arm.
MA: I think the other thing about Smith Woolleys was that it gave him a lot of fodder for his cartoons, didn’t it?
AA: It certainly did.
MA: Because there are a lot of them of well particularly the older guys that were working in the office who you can obviously make more humorous comments about as far as drawings are concerned.
AA: Yeah. He did lots of cartoons and for a long time the cartoons were actually on the wall in the Smith Woolleys office. And then I don’t quite know what happened to them in the end but we’ve got copies of all of them that he did. And you can see. I mean, the likenesses are just incredible. Because a lot of the people who were on those cartoons, we knew them in later life.
MA: In later life. Yeah.
AA: You know, there were a lot of Collingham people that we knew and they are so much like. You can see exactly who it is. You don’t have to be told who they are because you can see who they are and some of their children are still around in Collingham and you could see the likeness to them as well, you know. [laughs] Oh yeah, that’s so and so’s son. Yeah. So, I mean he did loads of really, you know all these funny little cartoons about Smith Woolley but he really didn’t like working there because he wanted to get in there and get to the Air Force.
MA: Get at them.
AA: Get at Hitler basically. That was what he was aiming for. And then he joined the RAF. So, he joined the RAF in nineteen, 15th of September 1941. He went to London, to the Oval as a lot of them did in those days. They went to the Oval and they all got sort of signed up and you know all sorts of things went on and he had all these letters that he’s written. He didn’t have a very high opinion of the powers that be in the Air Force because he thought they were all a bit, you know. It was —
MA: Above themselves.
AA: A lot. Yeah, and a lot of what they were doing really was a bit ridiculous. But anyway, and then he went through various episodes and various, he went to lots of different places. He went to, I think from London he went to Aberystwyth. And then from Aberystwyth he went to [pause] where was it he went? Oh, from Aberystwyth they went to somewhere in the Cotswolds I think it was. And that was when he went to the flying school bit which unfortunately he didn’t pass to be a pilot which is what he really wanted to do. So then he went off to Brighton. And then to —
MA: Eastbourne.
AA: Eastbourne. And started training to be a navigator which after, when he started training to be a navigator he realised that actually pilots didn’t have to be very bright at all. Anybody could fly a plane but not anybody could be a navigator. He did have a fairly high opinion of himself I think [laughs] And then he went from oh it was near Reading. That’s where he went to.
MA: Theale.
AA: Yeah.
MA: Theale, it was called.
AA: Somewhere like that. Yeah.
MA: Yeah.
AA: Near Reading. That was his, where he failed his pilot’s test. And then he went to —
MA: Well, Eastbourne.
AA: Eastbourne.
MA: And he was at Eastbourne for quite —
AA: He was at Eastbourne when his bomb, was bombed. And he had little cartoons of him hiding or having a near miss with a Heinkel or a —
MA: Whatever. Yeah.
AA: Something or other.
MA: Yeah.
AA: You know, one of those German bombers.
MA: And he got quite involved in Eastbourne, didn’t he?
AA: Yeah.
MA: Because I think a couple of times he was asked to preach at the Methodist Church and this, that and the other.
AA: Oh, no that was —
MA: No. I think he, I think he —
AA: Did he there? He might have done then. Yeah.
MA: I think he preached at Eastbourne.
AA: He spoke to the young people and things like that.
MA: Yeah.
AA: He was very involved with Collingham Methodist Chapel when he was there. And then from [pause] from there he went to —
MA: West —
AA: West Freugh.
MA: West Freugh.
AA: In [pause] Is it in Ayrshire?
MA: Whichever one.
AA: On the west coast.
MA: Yeah.
AA: Of Scotland.
MA: Near Stranraer anyway.
AA: Near Stranraer. And that was where —
MA: Well, I don’t think it was near anywhere.
AA: That was where he did his final navigation training and they, they used to go out, you know, pretend bombing and things like that and he was a navigator. And that was when he got his navigator’s —
MA: Ticket.
AA: Ticket, and his sergeant’s stripes. Because they all became sergeants once they got their navigator’s thing. And then from there —
MA: And I think they flew over Potter Hill a couple of times.
AA: Yes.
MA: On training runs.
AA: Well, yes. Well, no he did that more from —
MA: The next one.
AA: The next one.
MA: Ah yeah. Probably.
AA: He came down from, back from there and went to [pause] what was it called? Oh. What was it? No that’s West Freugh. I’ll tell you in a minute. I can’t remember. I know. I know it very well what it’s called. But I can’t remember the name of it.
MA: Was that the place that there were three RAF bases with the same name in different parts of England?
AA: No. No. That was the final one.
MA: Oh, that was the final one wasn’t it?
AA: That was the final one. Yeah.
MA: Apparently, one bloke took [laughs] took a week to get back from leave to the base because he went to all the other three first.
JL: Good excuse. Good excuse.
MA: And got away with it.
AA: Oh, what was it called? You know the place in the, it wasn’t the one in the Cotswolds.
MA: Oh yeah. Yeah.
AA: Yeah.
MA: Of course. Yeah. Upper Heyford.
AA: Upper Heyford.
MA: Upper Heyford.
AA: That’s right.
MA: Upper Heyford.
AA: Upper Heyford or Lower Heyford.
MA: Well, one —
AA: Anyway, there was an RAF base.
MA: The base was at upper Heyford which later became an American, an American base.
AA: Yeah. It is still there I think now.
MA: It is. Yeah. I took a photograph of it.
AA: Yeah.
MA: A year ago now.
AA: Yeah. And then they, that, that was when they did the final training and they got paired up with all their, you know, their crew. And from then —
MA: Well, that’s where he really became involved in the community isn’t it?
AA: Yes. That’s right. He met up with a, he was involved with a Methodist Church there and there were some very nice people who were the bakers in the village and they took in, they would, you know sort of adopt —
MA: I think they had —
AA: Airmen who were away from home and —
MA: They had one sergeant and his wife and little boy billeted with them.
AA: Billeted with them. Yeah. That’s right.
MA: And two or three other of these guys who were Methodists used to spend nearly all of their spare time —
AA: And he spent their Christmas there with them as well.
MA: With the Bates.’ Yeah.
AA: Yeah.
MA: He spent his last Christmas with these people.
AA: Yeah. And I think granny sent, sent them some things, you know. For Christmas.
MA: A pack of butter or something.
AA: Yeah, because obviously —
MA: Yeah.
AA: They were on the farm so they had, you know a bit more of the finer things in life to eat.
MA: Yeah.
AA: And they, they used to write to each other for a short time because you know she was so pleased that they were looking after him and, you know all that sort of thing. And then he went off to, well he came back off leave and got sent to this place which was, well, Honington was the main base that they were supposed to be going to which was somewhere in Suffolk. But there are lots of Honingtons.
MA: In the Brecklands sort of thing.
AA: And they all had, they were all, they all had Air Force bases. All these different Honingtons.
MA: And there was also an American base there wasn’t there?
AA: Yes. Yes. He eventually got to the American base. No. I think the Americans were there. That’s right because, and this was a little satellite place where he ended up in which was a place called East Wretham in Norfolk. In Thetford Forest really and he was there for not very long.
MA: Not very long.
AA: Was he? Not very long. I can’t remember when they actually went there. Should be able to find it in here. Yeah.
JL: Was that still a training posting?
AA: No.
MA: No. This was —
AA: That was, this was the real thing.
JL: Yeah.
AA: That was the real thing and yeah, here we are. Oh, there’s one, a letter here from him, “Somewhere in Norfolk or Suffolk. Goodness knows where. I don’t.” That was February ‘43. Yes. “Nobody had been sure which Honington to go to. My bombardier had gone all the way from London to Honington near Grantham, found it was the wrong place, gone back to Grantham where he found two more fellows on their way so they all came back to Bury St Edmunds. They’d heard my pilot and another pilot were also on their way to Honington, Lincolnshire.” So, you know it was all, but when they were there they had a good, this, they arrived at this place in Norfolk or Suffolk which was an American Air Force base, “And we had a good breakfast and a marvellous dinner. The best I’ve had in the Forces. Some wonderful American stuff which you’d thought had disappeared since the war.” And then they got sent off to East Wretham which is just near Thetford and it’s right, the Air Force base I’ve never been able to get to it because it still belongs to the MOD and you have to make an appointment or, and see if they’ll allow you on. They do, it’s where sort of Dad’s Army Country. You know, where they filmed Dad’s Army and all that. But he went, so he’s now then at the RAF station at East Wretham, Thetford in Norfolk. So, he arrived there in February ’43. Mid-February ’43 and then he went out on one raid. One, one flight the first flight he went out on they were dropping mines.
JL: Do you know which squadron it was?
AA: Yes.
JL: Which aircraft.
AA: 115 Squadron and it was a Wellington. And it was at the time when they were just, they were, they were all waiting to go and be converted to Lancasters. And he was hoping that if he was converted, going on a conversion course which they promised them they would be doing in two or three weeks time he would be at —
MA: At Swinderby.
AA: Swinderby, which was like a hop, skip and a jump from the farm where he lived so he was hoping that he would be able to spend some time with —
MA: The rest of them.
AA: The rest of them.
MA: At this stage he hadn’t let his parents know that he was operational. He was going to do three, four, five or something.
AA: Yeah.
MA: Just so as he could say, ‘Well, look —
AA: I’ve done all these.
MA: I told you it was safe. I’ve done them all. I’m right.
AA: Yeah.
MA: But —
AA: So, he did, he did the, he did the one where he went, they went out. I’m just trying to see where it says it and then on the 11th of, 11th of March it was his twenty first birthday and he had lots of lovely presents from people. People had sent him all sorts of things. And on the 12th they went off to bomb the Krupp’s factory in Essen and didn’t come back again [pause] And that was it. So —
JL: That was his first, that was his —
AA: It was his first actual bombing.
JL: Bombing run. Yes.
AA: Yeah.
MA: Yeah.
AA: That was his first one.
MA: They’d laid mines but that was —
AA: And they’d, I’m trying to see [pause] Oh yeah here we are this is, he wrote this book that I’ve got here. It’s got the letters that he wrote to his parents and it’s got the letters that he wrote to his friend David —
JL: Yeah.
AA: Who was in the Fleet Air Arm and they’re very different letters because with his parents it was all, yeah, jolly. This is great and everything’s going fine. With David he sort of laid himself bare and told him what was the same sort of things that David was going through as well. And so he’d written to David and they’d had, I think four of their, his colleagues, four of the other planes they, four of them had gone out on one night and only two came back and then in the morning all these what they called the erks who were the powers that be, you know. The minions from the —
MA: Ministry. The men from the Ministry [pause]
AA: Yeah. That’s right. Those.
MA: Not quite.
AA: They would just come in and just sweep away everybody’s belongings who hadn’t come back and come in, sweep everything up and go out again. So, he’d written about that and and they were, he said they were all a bit [pause] he said [pause] they were all very shaken up about this because and he’d, he’d written, he’d written letters to all the parents of the boys that had gone out and hadn’t come back again. So, I think he was sort of, you know the chap in the group that —
MA: Did that sort of thing.
AA: Did that sort of thing.
MA: Yeah.
AA: And, and then he did, he did write a letter saying to David, saying to him, telling him how he was feeling and said that he wasn’t, he wasn’t worried about going because he’d got to go and there was a job to be done and whatever happened that was, it was ok. He was going. But please tell them at home what I’m, you know that that’s how I feel because if I don’t come back I want them to know that. And he didn’t come back. So [pause] it was all quite [pause] Well, it was very traumatic wasn’t it?
MA: Yeah. Yeah, it was.
AA: Granny and grandad never recovered from it. We can’t, none of the three of us can remember seeing them smiling which is a bit sad really isn’t it? and that was I mean granny lived till nineteen ninety something didn’t she?
MA: Ninety three.
AA: No. Ninety. No.
MA: No, sorry eighty.
AA: Nineteen seventy something.
MA: Nineteen seventy. Yeah.
AA: That’s right. Yeah. Grandad died in the 1960s.
MA: She was ninety three when she died.
AA: We can’t remember them smiling and you know she just, he was their world really even though they had two other children as well but, you know. He’d gone.
MA: Who they loved dearly but —
AA: Yeah. That’s right.
MA: But he was, well, A) He was —
AA: The youngest.
MA: Six years younger than dad.
JL: Right.
MA: So, he was —
AA: The baby.
MA: He was considered the baby of the family and I guess you look after the baby.
AA: Yeah. But he was, he appeared to have a very, he was a special sort of person. You know, there are some people that are just like, there’s something about them that everybody loves. Well, he was that sort of person or so it would appear. We don’t know because we [pause] but everybody said how lovely he was. You know, everybody we’ve met who knew him said what a wonderful person he was. So, yeah.
JL: It's shocking how sudden it is.
AA: I know.
JL: I was watching you leafing through—
AA: Yeah.
JL: The letters. Thinking oh, there’s only two or three pages left.
AA: I know. Yeah. And well, that’s what everybody said when they read it. They’ve really enjoyed reading it but they all know that they’ve got to get to the end.
JL: Yes.
AA: And they know what the end is because it says so on here. You know. Yeah.
JL: What happened to David? Do you know?
AA: David survived.
JL: Right.
AA: And he used to come and see Auntie Mary and, and my grandparents as well I suppose.
MA: Yeah.
AA: But I never met him. We’d never met him.
MA: I never did meet him.
AA: You never met him. I, when my auntie died we found a letter from him and both my other brother and I, my other brother lives in Cardiff. I was working in Newport at the time and this letter from David [Iliffe] was, had the address was from them somewhere Carleon, which is about what ten miles ten miles from Newport. And I thought —
MA: Oh.
AA: Oh. And we got all these things that we’d found because all, all the stuff, all the letters, all his paintings and drawings. Nobody knew that they existed until Auntie Mary died. We had to clear the house out. Went in, up in to the attic and there were just, there was all this stuff. There were suitcases full of all these letters and things which nobody knew. My mum didn’t know they were there. Nobody had ever said anything about them and there was all the artwork and there was all, all these letters. They were all in the envelopes still. All put together in a suitcase. And nobody had ever seen them so I thought hmm I think I’d better find out about this.
MA: This chap.
AA: David Iliffe. So, I looked in the phone book, the Newport phonebook and I found somebody called D [Iliffe] but he didn’t, he wasn’t living in Caerleon he was living somewhere not far away but he was, he was in that phone book. So, I rang him up and I said, ‘Hello. I’m trying to find a Mr David [Iliffe] who used to live in Caerleon.’ He said, ‘Oh, that’s my father.’ And I said, ‘Oh, well, my name’s Ann Akrill.’ He said, ‘Oh, you must be Akey’s family,’ or nephew, niece or anyway to do with because they always called him Akey. David always called him Akey and he had always talked throughout his whole life, he’d talked to his family about Akey as if, almost as if he was still alive. You know, he told them all about him because they were such close friends. So, he was living in, still living in Caerleon so I went to visit him and he was just, well he was so, he was so thrilled that we got in touch. And that’s where half of these letters came from because he had kept all of Uncle Billy’s letters as well and he’d transcribed them all himself and had a file of all these letters which he let me have. So they all went in here, in this book as well. And we kept in touch with him and I kept, I went to see him several times when I was down there but all his family knew all about Uncle Billy because he’d constantly talked about him really. And there was a lovely drawing that Uncle Billy had done of David as well in his, in his Navy uniform which was really nice. But you know he died, it must be probably about —
MA: I don’t know. Don’t look at me.
AA: About ten years ago probably David died. Now I don’t whether his wife is still alive. We have over the past year, we always used to get a Christmas card from her or mum always got a Christmas card from her. But I don’t think we got one last year. But he’s got, he had three sons and I could get in touch with, with one of, with those sons to see if he was still alive which I ought to do really to let him know that —
MA: Yeah.
AA: Mum died. Yeah. But yeah, I mean it was lovely to see him because he obviously was so fond of Billy you know and Uncle Billy was also, also always used to go and visit his family. His parents and his —
MA: Sister.
AA: David [Iliffe’s] brother in law had been lost previous to that and he’s on the Collingham War Memorial as well. His name was Jack Chell. C H E L L. And his daughter, if you are of an age or maybe you have children of an age who used to watch —
MA: Blue Peter.
AA: No. No.
MA: No. Not Blue Peter.
AA: Not Blue Peter. Jackanory. Was Carol Chell —
JL: Oh right.
AA: And she used to be on Jackanory and that was David [Iliffe’s] niece.
JL: So, David was from Collingham as well.
AA: Well, he lived in Collingham. Yes.
MA: Not originally.
AA: They weren’t originally from Collingham.
MA: I don’t know where they came from originally.
AA: No. I don’t. They weren’t originally from Collingham.
MA: But where —
AA: But his father worked for Smith Woolleys.
MA: Yeah.
AA: And so David worked at —
MA: Mr Chell was at Smith Woolleys too.
AA: No. No.
MA: Mr, Mr [Iliffe]
AA: Mr [Iliffe] Yeah. They lived in the corner house in Collingham which is, I think is it the corner of Church Lane or, as you’re going into Collingham you go past the [pause] and you go past the Low Street turn. I think it’s the next one.
MA: It’s the next one which isn’t Church Lane.
AA: It’s the big house on the corner with a wall around it which is called the Corner House. They lived there. But then after a while they moved to a house because they were renting it from Smith Woolleys probably, you know. They moved to a house which is either on Low Street, right at the far, near the office anyway. It was oh. It’s [pause] I can’t remember what it’s called now. But there’s a farm and there’s a house that have both got the same name and I can’t remember what they’re called. Just around the, if you —
MA: [Manor?]
AA: No. No. it’s What’s it called?
MA: [unclear]
AA: No. It’s right near Smith Woolley’s office. You know. On that corner. By the —
MA: By the tree. By the Stocks.
AA: By the tree.
MA: Yeah.
AA: By Stocks Hill there. I can’t remember. I can’t remember now what it’s called. But that’s where David’s family lived in latter years. They moved there. They moved from the Corner House to I think it was a slightly smaller place.
MA: Yeah. I can’t remember ever having met them. Whether —
AA: No.
MA: How long they stayed in Collingham, I don’t know.
AA: I don’t think they, because I don’t think David lived in Collingham after.
MA: After the war.
AA: After the war. Because he met, he met his wife, she was in the Air Force as well, I think doing, well they weren’t in the Air Force as such were they? They were —
MA: Fleet Air Arm.
AA: No.
MA: Oh.
AA: Yeah.
MA: Oh, the WAAFs.
AA: I think she might have been in the Air Force but they weren’t called [pause] They was, they had another name.
MA: The WAAFs.
AA: They weren’t officially in the Air Force then. It was the Women’s Voluntary Auxiliary. Women’s Auxiliary or something. Anyway, I can’t remember what they were called and he met her during the war and then they got married and I’m, I can’t, I’m not sure where they lived because David carried on as a surveyor and all the stuff that they were doing at Smith Woolleys. He carried on in that profession because I think that’s what his father did.
JL: Yeah. Smith Woolleys, for the tape are land agents in Collingham.
AA: Yeah. And they became more than that didn’t they? They were more than just land agents after.
MA: I don’t know.
AA: Yeah. They were.
MA: Yeah.
AA: Yeah. They were surveyors and all sorts of things.
MA: Well, I mean —
AA: I suppose that’s probably —
MA: And before that they were still a very important family wasn’t it because —
AA: Yeah.
MA: Smith Woolleys was —
AA: Yeah. Smith Woolleys have been around for years, haven’t they? Yeah.
MA: Yeah.
AA: Yeah. So, and really that’s, that’s our story of Uncle Billy.
JL: Ok. That’s great.
AA: Although we’ve got loads of photographs. We’ve got loads of artifacts and bits and pieces, haven’t we? Which —
MA: But I haven’t still got the florin that he gave me.
AA: No.
MA: I suspect mum took that and put it straight in my piggy bank.
AA: Or in your bank account even.
MA: Well, in my bank account maybe.
AA: Well, no. You probably didn’t have one in those days.
MA: I probably didn’t have one when I was one.
AA: Yeah. Yeah.
JL: Shall I switch it off?
AA: I think that would be —
JL: Ok. That’s brilliant.
AA: That will be alright. Yeah
JL: Thank you.



Jeremy Lodge, “Interview with Michael and Ann Akrill,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 21, 2024,

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