Today is the 4th of June 2023, the 48th year anniversary of my Pop’s death.
I can vividly remember how much I loved him as a child. I was 6 years old when he left us, and some of my earliest memories are of the time I spent with him.
Unfortunately, there is no photo of us together, which is baffling, considering I was the first grandchild to be born. I do however have this wonderful photo of my Pop and my brother Graham together.
It was taken at the domestic terminal of Kingsford Smith Airport in Sydney. It was April 1975 just two months before he passed.
This was the day we left to move to Western Australia. Pop was giving Graham a sip of his beer. It was the 70s, that’s what happened back then.
I threw this one in with my Nan to show that I was actually there at the airport at the same time as my Pop.
What also happened in the 1970s was driving with your grandson riding on your knee and helping him to steer the car. Which is another of my treasured memories of my Pop. Oh my god, this was so exciting to me at the time, and I can still remember how much I loved going driving with him. There is no photo again, unfortunately.
Here is a photo of Pop in uniform in the early 1940s.
Here he is outside Saint Michael’s Church Stanmore on the morning of his wedding to my Grandmother, Kathleen Ashton Raymond. He is pictured with his brothers, Kenneth Nicoll on the left of the photo and Douglas Nicoll on the right.
The photo below is my favourite of Nan and Pop.
At the time of his wedding, Pop was an Armourer in the 104th Anti-Tank Regiment.
Here is one of those street photographer photos of Pop, leaving Central Station in Sydney via the Eddy Avenue exit.
Pop enlisted for full-time war duty on the 5th of June 1941 but I’m fairly sure he was already in the Citizens Military Force before this. Just four months later in October 1941, he was promoted to Sergeant, the rank he is wearing in the photo above.
I just had the most amazing luck while searching through the family photo archives, I found two photos of us together.
The first is from one of my earliest memories of a trip to Lake Eucumbene, in New South Wales, maybe in 1972 or 1973. I remember this picnic so clearly, helping Nan and Pop brew the tea.
They are the most rubbish photos I know. The first is so out of focus and the second, there is absolutely nothing linking the two of us together but they make my heart swell and the eyes sting a little.
Unfortunately, my Mum the photographer, wasn’t the best at getting the focus on the photos she took. At least they are better than nothing so I’m very grateful for her efforts.
There is so much I want to share about my Pop but I will keep this post to just a quick glimpse and write about him further in the future. Here are just a few photos of him to finish off and one of my prize possessions, a letter I received from him when we first arrived in Western Australia.
Pop was an outdoors bloke from a very young age, these phenomenal photos were taken in the 1930s when he was in his 20s.
He was also a family man who loved taking his family out camping and picnicking. This wonderful photo shows him relaxing with my Aunty Jan, his youngest daughter.
And here he is Pop with my Uncle Peter and an older Aunty Jan.
Pop apparently was an avid fisherman.
And I’m fairly sure my Aunty Jan and Uncle Pete are chip’s off the old block. I don’t have a photo of Aunty Jan fishing or being outdoorsy but I know it runs deep through her psyche. I did find this fantastic photo of Uncle Pete with my son, Pop’s great-grandson Xander, fishing with his Pippo (what our boys call Uncle Pete) at Fisherman’s Reach.
Here are Mum and Dad at their wedding reception with Nan, Pop and Uncle Pete.
This is Pop in the centre of the wedding party, between Mum and Aunty Jan (his daughters). Dad and his sister, Aunty Karen are to the left of Mum.
Dad with his newly minted parents-in-law, Nan and Pop, Kathleen and Norman Nicoll.
This was always one of my favourite photos of Pop and Nan. It is so clear and it is their eyes, there is so much going on. Oh, if I could just jump into this photo, what I would give to have a conversation with my grandparents at this stage with the knowledge I have now at 54 years of age.
I can remember Pop always had a comb in his back pocket and he used Brylcreem in his hair. He used to always ask me if I would do his hair for him. Oh, I loved being my Pops hairdresser. I remember exactly the feel of his hair with the cream in it and the smell of the cream, even after 48-odd years or so.
My final memory of Pop was going back to visit him in Sydney when he became ill. We had only been in Tom Price, the mining town in the Pilbara region of Western Australia matter of weeks when Mum got the call that something serious was happening with her dad’s health. I remember the flights back to Sydney so vividly but unfortunately, the memory of vising Pop at the hospital is hazy at best.
I wish so much that I got to spend more time with him. The six years we had were too fleeting, especially when you consider I was probably only really aware of him for the final two years of his life.