Ronald – A Brother-in-Laws Perspective

The following is an extract from the Mitchell / Stirzaker Family Book written by William Mitchell, brother in Law to my Father. The book took him 15 years to research and produce, much of which will be used on the pages and a lot will be used to populate my Family Tree.

It goes back a Long, Long way

It goes back a Long, Long way


Ronald, Son of Robert and Margret (Townley) Stirzaker was both fortunate and unfortunate. He was unfortunate because his Father’s health failed. Ron had started work in a Carnforth Garage when his Father dies in 1944. He had made up his mind to be a motor mechanic.
Although young lads do sometimes change their minds, I believe that had his Father survived, Ron would have achieved his objective. 
Unfortunately however, Ron’s mother was now a widow, with only a widow’s pension to support her. Furthermore, she lived in a tied cottage which means she would eventually have to move on. Accordingly, Ron decided to enlist in the Royal Navy where he would at least have an opportunity to learn a trade and equip himself with a means of earning a living.
Ron failed to enlist in the Royal Navy since there was a surplus of volunteers at the time. But he was accepted as a Band Boy in the Royal Marines. This proved to be a blessing in disguise. After completing three years or so as a Band Boy, Ron joined the Royal Marine Commandos, an elite group of special forces. Now he could not only complete his his training as a motor mechanic but also joined the motor cycle display team, a dare devil group that toured the world giving exhibitions including Canada and the United States where they were guests at a barbecue given by the late Lyndon B Johnson, President. 
From preceding observations* it becomes obvious that Ron had the most colourful of all The Stirzaker Family but life in Yhe Royal Marines was not all fun and games. Although the 1939-45 War was over both in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East, numerous brushfire wars continued to erupt world wide. Accordingly, the job of the Royal Marine Commandos is to quell these brushfire wars before they erupt into full scale war.The British Soldier, as we have previously observed* is certainly no bigger and stronger than most of its foes. But historically he has been able to fight in any of the four corners of the world and all too often at a disadvantage and especially when the foe was fighting on home ground. A legacy inherited from his Norse Ancestors. Oddly enough it was the great Zulu Warriors who recognised this quality in British Soldiers during the Zulu War, and paid them a tribute for standing firm against almost impossible odds. Also, oddly enough Tommy Atkins often succeeded in spite of being led by officers who’s only qualification being that they could buy a commission. It would be unjust, however, to imply that all British Officers were incompetent. We were able to produce some excellent leaders in spite of the system. For example, Wolfe, Brock, Lawrence, Wingate, and Wellington [no reference provided].
It would also be wrong to to imply that Ron led a charmed life and came through his military service unscathed. He served in such flash points as Trieste, Palestine,  and Burma. Accordingly, he was knifed in the back by a jewish refugee whilst boarding a ship running the Palestine Blockade. On another occasion Ron almost ended his life at the bottom of a Burmese swamp: The wiley rebels had cunningly diverted the jungle trail into a swamp. Ron lost his jeep, but the second one was able to stop in time and effect a rescue. War is still a matter of life and death, in spite of modern weaponry and science.
Just like his brother-in-law before him, Ron was able to work his way up through the ranks by natural ability until he achieved the rank of Sergeant [Colour Sergeant].  Wisely, he stayed in the Royal Marines until his twenty-five years of service was completed.
When Ron did return to civilian life however, he found many opportunities awaiting him because of his rank and military experience. For example, he could have joined  the Metropolitan PoliceForce as a Motorcycle Instructor. Another opportunity was that of a river keeper on a large estate. However, Ron became a Publican and Landlord of the Red Lion near Petersfield, Hampshire. Here again, he enjoyed a very successful career as a landlord. His genial personality and experience at managing all types of men stood him in good stead. Therefore, the family enjoyed their prosperity and they built up a good clientele. Many of these patrons became life-long friends.  
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The book then goes on to talk about how he met Mum and had three of the most beautiful children the world could have ever wished for (I may have employed literary licence here and enhanced the lovely children bit 🙂  )
Dads Medals

Dad’s Medals

* Preceding observations are reflected in other parts of the family book. Salient parts will be added over time.

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