In the post ‘Baltic’ and ‘Noran’ nine days ago, I said I would attempt to recover a memory of an amusing story involving the latter fisherman. As chance would have it, I met a relative of ‘Dick Noran’ on my early morning walk towards the end of last week. I told him the story as I remembered it.
Richard Duke ROBINSON was a friend of Mary Elinor PLACE, the only daughter of George Thomas Brown Place, a curate for a while at St Oswald’s. Mary ran a Café on Filey Brigg. Perhaps it was this one.
There were several generations of café, each having a few years of life before they were wrecked in storms. But surely only one had a proprietress as eccentric and inventive as Mary. If she ran out of ice-cream she would take a large white sheet around the corner of the Naze and weigh it down with rocks on the cliff face. This was a signal to Dick Noran to buy a large tub from Baker’s Café on the Landing and row it out to the Brigg in his coble.
I said to Dickie’s first cousin twice removed, “Is this true?” and without hesitation, he replied, “No”.
Aw, shucks. Tom did concede that “some people around town” said that Dickie and Mary had a relationship – and left it at that.
Dick was 17 years older than Mary but had been a widower for a long time when their friendship began. Mary didn’t marry. He died in 1969 aged 79, she in 1985 aged 78.
I went up to the churchyard this afternoon to see if I could get a better photograph of the stone remembering Dick and his parents. There is work for Paul and his gang because it has broken away from its base. Propped up at an angle it is in the early stages of being overwhelmed by vegetation.
Dick and wife Mary Ellen named their first son Richard Duke. He survived for just four months, so they tried again with their third son. This Richard Duke Robinson joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and died in North Africa during the Battle for Tunisia. (Montgomery and his Eighth Army versus Erwin Rommel’s German-Italian Panzer Army.) I have no supporting documents for my surmise that Richard should have been safe at one of the British Hospitals, probably No.31 General in Oued Athmenia because he was initially buried in the Military Cemetery in that town. He may have succumbed to malaria. His body was exhumed the following year and re-buried at La Reunion War Cemetery in Bejaia. I have given him an ID and put him on the Shared Tree.
Richard Duke Junior was seven years old when his grandmother Mary Ellen died at 66 Queen Street. His elder sister Margaret was living at 68 Queen Street when she died in 1959. I photographed the cottages this afternoon.