The Black Middens

A story of love and struggle to bring up three children during the war years.
Joe Donnelly, a coble fisherman from cullercoats meets the girl of his dreams when Emily Rose Higgins crashes into him on her bicycle whilst out with her sister Mary Jane. Joe and his brother George, a captain in the British Army ask the two girls out to a dance at the plaza in Tynemouth and they both fall in love. Alan Donnelly the youngest of the brothers is in the Northumberland Fusiliers. it is not long before they all get married. Emily Rose has two children but there are complications during the birth of her third child and she dies leaving Joe to bring up Marina, George, and Helen the newborn child.
After some attempts to try and hire a nanny come house keeper Joe hires a dutch girl called Alina Classen whose parents were both killed by the Germans in the first world war.
Not speaking much English Alina works very hard and teaches the children to speak Dutch and they in turn teach her English. What dev


10. 10

“Can I get you a drink Emily?”

“I would like a glass of lemonade thank you.”

When Joe returned, George his brother came over with Mary Jane.

“You got here then said his brother sarcastically.”

“ You know how fussy you are about your boat.”

“Never marry a fisherman Miss Higgins; they are married to the sea and she can be a cruel master.”

“What do you mean Mr Donnelly?”

“Please call me George; well, the sea calls people like our Joe and they will never be happy unless they are at sea. She demands respect and those who disobey her will face her wrath.”

“Why do you call the sea as if she were a woman?”

“Because the sea has moods just like a woman; she can be happy and gay one minute then turn on you with their anger and sweep you away.

The sea is a force to be reckoned with and so are women; is that not so Emily?

“I have never heard it described like that before and yes you are right.

“Would you like a beer brother said George?

“Go on then you are the one with all the money.”

“My brother is a captain in the Army you know. It’s a high honour for a commoner like my brother. He was wounded and still saved the life of his troop commander Clement Worslington. He carried him some two miles back to his garrison.

They gave him a medal for bravery in the field of battle and made him a captain.

“Is he still in the army Joe asked Mary Jane?”

“Yes; George loves his job; he is only here for the weekend before he returns to Pembroke College Cambridge where he will train the next group of potential officers.

“Did your brother go to private school then?

“No; he won a scholarship.”

George returned with a tray of drinks for everyone; he passed the drinks around then returned the tray.

When George came back Mary Jane spoke.

“Your brother says that you are a war hero George; is this true.”

“Take no notice of my brother he tells everyone about that story to impress the ladies.”

“So are you a captain in the army?

“Yes, they were rather short of officers during the Great War and I just happened to come along out of Cambridge College.”

“Were you badly wounded?”

“I was shot by a bosh sniper in leg; I hauled myself into a trench where I thought my men were and fell upon the German army. I managed to shoot my way out of there and I tried to get back to my lines where came across an unfortunate fellow who happened to be a troop commander lying in a mud hole. Well I got him back to safety and he survived.

“You carried him two miles George with a bullet in your thigh said Mary Jane who was in complete awe with the act of bravery.

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