The remaining letters are from Paul in the 1920s, but before we start reading them let’s catch up with him.
Paul and Nancy had two daughters, Joan and Paddy (Patricia). When we pick up Paul’s letters in 1926 he has a command of his on in China and Nancy and the girls are in England and Nancy is trying to buy a house. When they were older, the girls were sent to school in England and lived with their grandparents during the holidays.
Paul’s letters skip through the 1920s, a few from 1926, a handful more from 1927 and three from 1928. They start out with a Naval engagement Paul was involved in in China, and then move on to his relationship with Nancy and his daughters.
Paul spent a lot of his naval service in the China seas, and retired in due course from the Royal Navy but my brother remembers visiting him in London and seeing his bedroom, separate from his wife’s, and little more than the size of a cupboard; the room of a man who spent most of his life in enclosed spaces on board ship.
Paul and Nancy divorced in the late 1920s and he married Amy Ida Anna Lyndrajer in 1938. They must have separated during the Second World War because he married Elizabeth Louisa Margaret Eden (“Peggy”) in 1946.
These emails from Paul’s grandson tells the story of his three marriages and post-war years better than I ever could:
I suspect you might be right that Paul was difficult to live with. Peggy seemed to be his match as ‘Number 3’. I do recall being at a family function with Paul’s 2 exes and Peggy and he spoke to them as No 1, No 2 and No 3! No names. Nancy took it in her stride. When I drove him around London, on more than one occasion, on seeing an attractive young lady he would shout, ‘Stop the car. There goes Number 4’
He was a good-looking man throughout his life.
His grandson continues:
Growing up in Rhodesia as it was, I only had the fortune to get to know my Grandfather Paul in 1968 (me being 17 years old) and then of course my Grandmother Nancy Swan.
I, like you, had a great fondness for Paul and he embarrassed me unashamedly as his Grandson from Africa and forced vast quantities of beer down me in a very short space of time. We did our utmost to make up for missed time and I spent many nights at 59 Redcliffe Road and still recall the telephone number as Flaxman 2015. There was far too little time to really catch up but I was always very proud of my ‘Pa’ Berryman.
He and I were both keen that I should join the Royal Navy for which I applied. I was not accepted for being ‘Rhodesian’ with whom after the Unilateral Declaration of Independence Britain was seriously contemplating War, my loyalty was questionable! Paul was livid and I fear made his feelings known and felt!
I was also able to share two Christmas’s with Granny Nancy.
Sadly over a period of only 5 short years, Paul, my Aunty Ben, Nancy and my Mother Joan died.
I have memorabilia of a few telegrams and letters from HRH Prince Albert to Paul. These letters clearly indicate a warm friendship between them. Albert was my Mother Joan’s Godfather and we have a lovely signed silver christening mug from Albert to my mother on her christening in 1919.
Prince Albert Duke of York, of course, became King George VI who was King during WW2 and was father of the present Queen.
I am grateful to my cousin for these sharp memories of Paul. I do not remember him now, but Paul died when I was 7 years old and my parents did not bother to tell me about the death of so elderly and distant a relative. I was outraged when I found out and exclaimed “My own BLOOD! And you didn’t tell me!”.