Part I
Steve Adkins meets Ray 'Ginge' West for the first time
Part II

G’day Richard,

A couple of years ago after a distress flare from me regarding finding my birth parents (as I was adopted at 6 weeks of age), you kindly put me in touch with some ex RMB’s regarding my birth father Ray “Ginge” West. After many patient, protracted negotiations, we eventually met my dad Ray and my 1/2 sister Stacey for the first time in March 2010. B/Sgt Ray West

Eric Hayward and his partner Jan were extremely influential in arranging a welcome into the RMB fold at the Adelaide 2009 reunion and again this year. Ray was going to attend 2010 but he is now 81, not in the best of health and cancelled at short notice. Nevertheless Eric and Michael Hutton took time out of their busy schedule and made a personal visit to his home in Melbourne, which really made his day, prior to the 2010 reunion.

We are now in touch via telephone every couple of weeks with dad and slowly building our relationship. Now the West’s in the UK have been absolutely fantastic, Ray's younger brother David (and Eric Hayward) lobbied for many weeks to get an initial ‘phone call and after this a personal visit.

After the 2010 reunion, Jan (my wife) & I flew to the UK and spent all April in lovely spring UK weather and built further on our newfound family relationships with my aunt, uncle and cousins. Very positive and uplifting. I also visited the RM museum in Eastney and met John Ambler the curator / historian. Previously John helped me out with copies on Blue Band in which Ray published photos and accounts; a great day for me.

Now why am I writing all this?

Well I have slowly gleaned a lot of photos, some of which have already been shared with other RMB’s to add some names to faces, but memories have faded......

Maxie Beare (Bless him!) who has had his share of medical dramas this year, printed off the photos I sent and hot footed around to poor old Joe Simms's but could not shed any further light on this one. We believe it was taken on the IoM circa 1944/5; Joe was in the same intake as Ray. Unfortunately Joe is not at all well and his speech has deteriorated significantly. Bloody shame, as when I met him in 2009 he was overjoyed to meet Ray's son, while his speech was not good then, his additional contacts and information assisted in tracking down more old friends & RMB’s.

Please see enclosed, I have a few more too, so maybe you could assist with posting these with a distress beacon for names to faces and maybe a location confirmation too on the site?

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions and from a call with dad today a few further bits have emerged too:

Thank you for all your behind the scenes assistance and congratulations on a most wonderful web site.

P.S. Mum was a P.O. WREN, but passed away in 1991 before we could make contact or meet. However other ex-work colleagues of mum have been in contact and shared photos. Unfortunately I have not been so lucky with Mona’s family, but we won’t go there.

Thanks to the WRNS association in London, who published a letter and photo, I have been put in touch with 4 Wrens who have since written to me and shared stories & even more photos! One knew my dad and shared a really rare photo from Malta.

Best wishes & regards

Steve Adkins

SA 5158, Australia

Phone: +61-8-8381-7654
Fax: +61-8-8387-3025

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