Local Folk

Jack Spicer in WWI

By Ron Spicer

Photo:Centre row, last on right is Jack Spicer.

Centre row, last on right is Jack Spicer.

From the private collection of Ron Spicer

This page was added on 10/07/2008.
Comments about this page

In common with many families from those times, nothing much was ever passed down regarding Jack Spicer. When he married Liz Trott they saw the usual hard times in the slum areas of Brighton before being allocated a house at North Moulsecoomb. It made little difference to their financial state except that it was obviously more comfortable when compared with the past.
Plenty has already been written elsewhere in these forums about the slum clearance reasoning behind the building of the North Moulsecoomb estate. It didn't prevent the windows being of the sash type which let in the slightest draught resulting in many a cold as well as contributing towards general ill health. The lesson having been learnt, metal windows appeared in the houses at East Mouslecoomb.
Being Jack Spicer's second son, I can recall his roughshod style with us all. Mum Liz lived a life of seemingly unsmiling care. Ever watchful for a possible angry reaction over the smallest of things. Waiting apprehensively for his arrival home so that the dinner which had been cooked, ready for his entrance, would be just right - and it never was! It seems there were other similar households - but nobody 'spilled the beans' in those days; as Sheiia Winter said, "All was kept behind closed doors ...." Jack was almost certainly an enlisted soldier for a period because he spoke on the odd occasion of war service over a period of 6 years, part of which was in Mesopotamia. Whatever happened, nobody seemed to know, but it is certain he was demoted from sergeant to the lower ranks at one stage. All rather depressing in its own right but as can be seen, in other forum parts, I've written of other attributes he possessed which affords some measure of more pleasant recognition! He died at the age of 72 after 17 years of invalidism, mainly due to the brackish tobacco he smoked - tar laden Digger Shag and British Oak. Arterial sclerosis. Toes off, feet off then legs off and death. Smoking, that curse of the world. We all had a lot to learn. He wasn't so lucky.

By Ron Spicer (10/07/2008)

Reflecting on why many men were as Jack Spicer was of those times, it brings to mind the fact that only one year after I was born were women allowed the full vote. Up till then the country had gone through a fairly long period of suffragettes campaigning for womens' rights, so the men of that period were almost certainly swayed by the historical view that male superiority was rightfully dominant and oppressive, plus of course the possible thought that the ladies would somehow usurp their authority.
Many times in my childhood days I witnessed the drunken, over-ruling behaviour of male neigbours but never of the women. Probably due to lack of funds, I never saw my own father drunken and cruel combined!

By Ron Spicer (01/01/2009)

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