The Wildgoose Chase

I met Chelsea Pensioner Walter Wildgoose in 1977 when he was 87 and I was 26. Through a series of letters written over the last year of his life, he passed along his life story - the workhouse children's home, a life in the British Army witnessing the opening battles of World War I and life in India, a remarkable family surviving the bombs of World War II London. This blog will document my research and progress on the novel I'm writing about this amazing man.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Oropesa Deck Boy

When I was in England in May, I spent an afternoon with Walter's son Ron, whom I'd met twenty-five years earlier on one of my visits to the Royal Hospital. He was kind enough to let me take digital photos of old pictures and memorablilia - that's where most of my blog photos come from.

One of the items Ron had was Walter's PSNC service book. Here's a shot of his certificate of discharge.

In his letters Walter said he'd made four trips to South America aboard the Oropesa, but there are only two entries (maybe he meant two trips Liverpool-Valparaiso + two trips Valparaiso-Liverpool). Both journeys originated in Liverpool, destination Valparaiso. Trip 1: August 29, 1907 - November 19, 1907. Trip 2: December 5, 1907 - February 6, 1908. The letters don't go into detail about the voyages much beyond the destinations (see yesterday's post).

After his second trip Walter went to Aldershot to see his mother, and less than a month after his discharge from the Oropesa he enlists with the Royal Lincolnshires (on 3 March 1908).
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posted by MaryB @ 8:08 AM  


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