Oral history of British science
Vine, Fred (Part 1 of 12). An Oral History of British Science.
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Interviewees home, Norwich
Vine, Frederick, 1939- (speaker, male)
Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)
Part 1: Fred Vine [FV], born Chiswick, west London, 17th June 1939. Comments on press cutting reporting parents’ marriage, 1936, as joining of two Chiswick families. Mentions contrasting political orientation of maternal and paternal grandfathers. Comments on parents’ jobs at J Lyons catering company, Kensington, London; effect on mother’s mental health of end of employment following marriage. Mentions impression that mother’s death was premature. Mentions relations as adult with father. Comments on lack of knowledge of parents’ childhood; origin of parents’ relationship; character of parents’ relationship in marriage; father’s grief following mother’s death. [04:39] Comments on maternal grandmother: her home and immobility in old age. [06:31] Mentions death of grandfathers; relations with paternal grandmother. Comments on lives of paternal grandfather and great grandfather. Mentions own genealogical writings. [09:13] Comments on lack of discussion of politics by parents. [09:32] Story of father’s Navy service, WW2 (World War Two), including role in preparations for D-Day at HMS Vernon, Portsmouth. Mentions father’s letters home with fake Mediterranean sending address; own written account of father’s wartime work. [12:01] Detailed story of father’s involvement in D-Day invasions, in context of history of the invasions; father’s sudden return home. Mentions own experience of bombing by German V1 rockets; father’s service in Africa; wartime documents found in loft recently. [16:35] Comments on fathers’ non-violent accounts of war service. Mentions father’s death, November 2009; carved tusk obtained by father. Story of father’s involvement in Normandy and D-Day Fellowship, from 1983, including participation in 40th anniversary events, 1984. [22:51] Comments on wartime memories, including bombings, songs, VE Day celebrations. Story of wound treated by soldier with field bandage. Comments on interest, as child, in kamikaze pilots, ship strengths. Story of older girl’s interest in injured/killed following bombings. [26:43] Further stories of wartime experiences, including air raids. [29:27] Comments on factual nature of father’s accounts of D-Day landings. Description of father’s book keeping and filing system. [33:23] Comments on mother’s experience of war in absence of father; own view of war as child; positive effect on health of wartime dietary restrictions and opportunities for outdoor play. [39:28] Description of bomb site on Chiswick Lane. Mentions playing in grounds of Chiswick House; proximity of recreation ground, Kew Gardens, Richmond Park, commons, river. [42:15] Comments on lack of memories of time spent with mother. Story of holiday in Felixstowe, Suffolk, 1946 following father’s demobilisation. Mentions subsequent holidays, Isle of Wight. Story of boat trips with father from Felixstowe. [46:36] Comments on grandfather’s naval service; use of naval slang by father; own involvement in school Army Cadet Force; maritime experiences of career in geophysics. [49:00] Comments on naval slang. [49:57] Comments on family visits to Kew Gardens. Story of father introducing FV to various experiences, including football, greyhound racing. Comments on father’s interest in sport; father’s appraisal of his own intelligence. [53:32] Comments on reading habits as child, including Biggles books, ‘Eagle’ comic; tendency now to read non-fiction or historical fiction. Comments on JG Ballard’s ‘Empire of the Sun’.
Interview with geologist Professor Fred Vine.