This picture shows Donald Grey Barnhouse, Sr. and Donald Grey Barnhouse, Jr. in his Winchester College Sunday uniform in front of the Winchester Cathedral in Winchester, UK during the fall of 1939. Donald Senior was age 44 and Donald Junior was 13.
Donald Grey Barnhouse, Jr. (he's the one we saw on TV with John Facenda) said:
Here you have Donald Grey Barnhouse Sr. and Donald Grey Barnhouse Jr. together in one photo, side by side. Donald Grey Barnhouse Sr. is the one with the normal hat, in his hand, by his side. This was an era when most men wore hats most of the time - fedoras or homburgs in the US, homburgs or bowlers in England. Donald Grey Barnhouse Jr. is the one with the hat seldom seen outside a Fred Astaire movie.
The picture was taken in 1939, standing in front of Winchester Cathedral, very shortly after the outbreak of World War II. I am togged out in the required dress for Sunday at Winchester School, where I had just been enrolled - hard collar and top hat were mandatory. I had just turned 13, and the plan was for me to spend the following four years at Winchester and then go on to Cambridge University. My dad was about to head back to the United States, after some very successful meetings in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
I look very neutral here; my Dad is looking cheerful. My guess is that he was trying to cheer me up about the prospects of being separated from the family for who knew how long. England and France were theoretically at war with Germany, but the only evidence was "blackouts" to make the possibility of German bombing more difficult. Hitler was busy conquering Poland and splitting it with his Soviet partner - Josef Stalin. Some were calling this period "the phony war," because Britain was almost totally unprepared to do anything warlike and Hitler was busy in the East.
This was the beginning of about seven years when our interaction was limited by my schooling. This was the era before e-mail or Skype. Phone calls were expensive, rare and short. There were some letters, but we were together only during vacation times: Christmas, Easter, and summer. It was not "spring break;" it was "Easter vacation."
I spent one year in school at Winchester, and was driven home by the changing quality of the War. When Hitler began his major assault on Britain in the spring of 1940, the school decided that they could not accept the responsibility of having an American child there. All the students had been issued gas masks and taught how to put them on. We had air raid drills, and cellars to go to. We were allowed to go up on the roof one night when the German bombers were thick over Southampton, a major port just 12 miles away. We could see the searchlights crisscrossing the sky looking for bombers, sometimes illuminating the barrage balloons deployed to keep the bombers from flying low. We could hear the sound of the sirens and the anti-aircraft guns.
In the middle of June, the school put me on a train for London, where I changed for a train to a port on the Irish Sea. There I had to catch a boat for Dublin, and then a train across Ireland to the port of Galway, where an American ocean liner, the George Washington, was due to show up and pick up a large group of Americans leaving the British Isles. The boat was a day late, and the hospitality facilities of Galway were strained past bursting. Food was scarce. There were far from enough beds. I was put to sleep on two boards rigged to cover a bathtub.
The boat arrived, with a tale about being chased by submarines, even though it was American neutral and fully lighted. I was met in New York by the family, including Donald Grey Barnhouse Sr.'s oldest sister, Mabel Jean Barnhouse. She took exception to my accent, picked up from a year with the British. Dad was pleased and proud, but she said "I hope he soon learns to talk American."
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