As part of this month’s theme for the Genealogy Blog Party ‘The Strong Will Survive!’ I am highlighting my Grandfather as someone I believe was strong both emotionally and physically. He survived not only a war but a situation at home, happening at the same time, which was incredibly emotionally stressful for him. Read on and see why I think he qualifies as a man of great courage and integrity.
I’ve always been fascinated with this postcard that my Grandfather, Harold James Davis, had made in Cairo, Egypt. He never sent it (there is no writing on the back) but from what we can gather brought it home to South Africa to give to his only daughter.
Harold James Davis (1908-1967) was stationed in Egypt with the 1st Hygiene Company of the South African Medical Corp from November 1941 to April 1944 and transferred to the United Defense Force Admin HQ in Cairo, Egypt from March 1944 to November 1944. Obviously he carried with him a photograph of the young daughter he had left behind in South Africa, enabling him to have the postcard made.
It was during this time serving in Egypt that my grandfather would have heard that his wife, my grandmother, Hazel Jane Keown, had abandoned their young daughter. Perhaps tired of life as the wife of a military man (Harold had been an Army man since July of 1929) Hazel Jane Keown had left their 4-year-old daughter and disappeared. Harold returned to South Africa in November 1944 where he sued for divorce and sole custody of his daughter.
It must have been difficult to be in the middle of a war and to be worrying about his young daughter. I like to think that the photograph of her he carried, and the postcard he had made, helped him to feel closer to her.