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Life and History of Albert Pike (my dad) 1923-1993

Albert Pike

Dad with his dog Cheerfull, about 1935.

My Farther Albert Pike Born 2 April 1923 in 4 Ashfield Terrace Handsworth Birmingham
Died on the 31 October 1993 aged 70 and is buried in Quinton cemetery, Quinton Birmingham.

Albert Pike married Violet Louisa Barber
Violet was born 1925 In Heaton St Hockley Birmingham,
They married on the 2 February 1946 in St James church Handsworth Birmingham,
Children from this marriage were David born 1950 and Janet born in 1956,
Janet Married Robert in 1980 at the Birmingham registry office, children from this marriage were James born 18 July 1986, and Samantha born 2 April 1993.

My father Albert Pike born 2 April 1923, was the youngest
Of five children,
Stanley Pike, born June 1911,
Eric Pike, born 1920,
Dennis Pike, born 1921
Florence Ruby pike, born 1913, Died 13 June 1915,

As a young boy Dad played and grew up around the streets of Handsworth Birmingham,
At the age of seven dad and the family moved from,
4 Ashfield Terrace Handsworth to 70 Alexandra Road Handsworth.
It must have been just before this move that my dad’s family Were planning on immigrating to Canada,
But for some unknown reason it all fell through.
The photo at the top is dad aged about twelve with his best mate Cheerful the greyhound, I don’t know how he managed to persuade his mother to let him have a dog, as she was quite strict, perhaps it was consolation for them not going to Canada.
As a young man dad’s nickname was coalhouse Bert, I latter learned dad got this nickname from doing his courting in the coalhouse, at the back of the house, whatever turns you on.

In 1942 at the age of 19 he was enlisted into the Royal Ulster Rifles, details in his enlistment papers show him as
Rifleman Pike 14362445 stationed at Carlisle,
during his service dad saw action with the 8th army in Africa and Italy, he was wounded twice,
The first time he was hit in the legs from machine gun fire, the second time he was hit by shrapnel from an exploding shell, the explosion left him with shellshock.
After serving 5 years in the Royal Ulster Rifles dad was discharged from the army on the 24 Aug 1947.

About 7 years after the war (1952) dad suffered with tuberculosis, he was about 29 years old,
the hospitals at this time still had very few drugs to treat this illness.
Dad was a fairly fit man and with treatment from the hospital he started to show signs of recovery,
but the illness returned to one of his lungs,
by now dad had been in and out of hospital for about three years.
After talking with my mom and the doctors, dad decided to have his infected lung removed.
Dad had his operation and spent another twelve months in hospital, he returned home in 1955/56,
although I was only about six years old I can remember that day very clearly, mom said there is someone upstairs to see you,
I ran upstairs with excitement only to find this stranger in my mom’s bedroom.
I ran downstairs screaming and shouting, “Mom there is a strange man in our house”.
After I had calmed down my mother told me, “its your daddy, he’s been very poorly in hospital, but he is better now and he as come to live with us”
After rubbing the tears from my eyes,
I was lead back upstairs, my mom holding my hand very tightly,
we walked into the bedroom and I can remember my dad having tears in his eyes, my mom said "go and give your daddy a hug and kiss" well after a few hugs and kisses and the odd sweet we were the best of pals.
This illness and the loss of one of his lungs left dad with an uphill struggle to find work but we managed somehow.
With the help of an old friend Dad managed to get a job with the Evening Despatch as a van driver delivering the papers to the local newsagents, it was not the best paid job in the world but it made such a difference to us as a family.

My Dad was a fairly strict father, I can remember getting a few clips around the ear whenever I stepped out of line, but I guess it did me no harm.
Dad was not a wealthy man by any means but he was nonetheless a very generous man,
he always stood up for the underdog and would help anyone if he could.
I can remember when I was very young my dad bought an old army ambulance (box van) bit like the one in the film “Ice Cold in Alex”
he completely striped the inside and turned it into a caravan with a foldaway table and two long wooden bench seats on the either side, cupboards to store the pots, pans and crockery and if my memory serves me right there was a armchair up the far end of the van plus a number of wooden chairs none of which were fixed to anything!! (health and safety would have had a nightmare) just to finish the van off Dad painted the outside royal blue.

This van must have travelled all over England during the summer months, I can remember family days out and when I say family I mean family,
Mom, Dad, Me, Nan and granddad, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins, on average 15 people in the back of the van!!
I dont remember the names of the places we stopped at but it seemed like Dad would just drive into a grass field and everyone would pile out
the adults would start preparing something to eat while the kids would find some wonderful hideaway in the woods or go fishing for millers thumb in the near by brook or river,
Dad always managed to find somewhere that everyone enjoyed (must of planed it) we would stay there all day and make our way home late in the summers afternoon.
This was typical of my Dad and also my Mom who loved to have family around them.

In 1963 when he was about 40 dad got a job with Austin Morris (British Leyland)
He worked there for 15 years, and took early retirement in 1979 at the age of 56.
For the next ten years mom and dad enjoyed a really active retirement, with holiday’s abroad nearly every year, mostly to Spain.
There favourite place was Pinneda, they became very friendly with a Spanish couple that ran the local café, and went back year after year to see them, mom and dad loved it.

August 1993, Dad told mom he was not feeling to good which was not like my dad he was not the type of man to complain unless he was very ill,
so we knew there was something serious.
After a check-up at the doctors he was sent to hospital where he was diagnosed with liver cancer and told he did not have long to live, it quickly spread throughout his body and two months later Oct 31 1993 Dad passed away at home.

Linked toFamily: Pike/Barber (F1)

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