CUF(F)LEY Newsletter 1998. Issue No. 16, Page 3 of 9
WILLIAM ‘BILL’ FREDERICK CUFLEY,
b 11th June 1918, m 3 August 1946, d 20 October 1998.
It was with great sadness we learnt of the death Bill Cufley who was my father's brother. Grace his wife wrote about his life and this was read at his funeral. I have included these notes below.
Bill was the second son of four sons born to Sarah nee Morrell and William Cufley.
He attended St. Margaret’s Primary School, Plumstead and Plum Lane Secondary School, Plumstead.
A lover of sport, a swimmer all his life, he played football for Wickham Football Club and was a member of the team when they won the 1937-38 season trophy. After retirement he took up the art of bowls. Like most boys of that era he became a paperboy and would often boast how many papers he had delivered. When he left school at 14 he became a delivery boy; on a push bike; for Johnson’s the dry cleaners. Later he worked in the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich.
In 1939 he was called for military training as a ‘Militia Boy’. Initially for 3 months in June 1939, but war was declared in September and so the three months was extended to 1946, when he was demobbed. The Woolwich Arsenal applied for his release when war was declared, but the Army said he was by then a ‘trained soldier’ and refused to release him. His war service started in the Royal Artillery Barracks, Woolwich. Later he was posted to Brighton and then joined the Sussex Yeomanry. He saw overseas service with the ‘Sussex’ as a ‘gunner and fought in Abyssinia (now Ethiopia), the Western Desert, Tobruk, El Alamein and saw service in Persia (now Iran), Iraq and Jordan-Palestine. He returned home on a troop ship and docked in Liverpool on V.E. Day.
Demobbed in 1946 he returned to work in the Woolwich Arsenal and on the 3rd August Married Grace Agnes Brown the daughter of Agnes nee Riedl and Thomas Brown. Two years ago they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
They had many happy holidays together in the early years of their marriage enjoying happy days in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight. Bill’s favourite holidays were in Tenerife where he and Grace spent many happy times. On retiring Bill and Grace spent some of their holidays in Cornwall, staying in Liskeard with Grace’s sister Doris and her husband Alec in their bungalow. An ever-eager swimmer Bill loved swimming in Cornwall and was always ready to hire a surfboard and try the ‘surf’.
Bill ran the Royal Arsenal Swimming Club for many years and taught hundreds of children to swim and enjoy the pleasure of swimming. He encouraged them and gave them certificates when they swam a width, a length and longer distances. The certificate bore their name, age and distance they had swum. When he encouraged non-swimming mothers or fathers to learn to swim they also received a certificate, but discreetly endorsed ‘age over 21’.
After retirement he took up the gentle art of bowls and spent many happy hours down at the Royal Arsenal Sports Ground in Church Manorway, Plumstead on the green.
Bill was always willing to help the neighbours with any problems they had, widows who had difficulty changing a light bulb, or needed a new washer, or ‘taking on the Council’ on their behalf.
Bill passed away on the 20th October 1998 in Greenwich and Bexley Cottage Hospice, where he was cared for with affection in quiet and peaceful surroundings.
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Copyright © David Cufley 1998