An Owner’s Tale – John Flashman

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John was born on 30th September 1929 and was brought up in Winchmore Hill, near Alexandra Palace, London. The war came only too soon; during the blitz in 1941 the Flashman family had a lucky escape.

A German bomber dropped two torpedo-shaped landmines by parachute very near their home; one actually went through the roof and first floor of the house next door, landing alongside a grand piano and a sleeping elderly lady – fortunately it did not go off! The next morning John spotted the now defused landmine lying on the pavement waiting to be taken away. The other mine exploded on a golf course, causing only slight damage.

So John was sent to board at Berkhamsted School for the remainder of the war. Here he developed his running skills, where he was Victor Ludorum in 1948 – the Hertfordshire Junior Champion in both the 100 and 220-yards races. Later he equalled the 100-yds in 10.1 seconds record of Norris Mc Whirter (co-founder of the Guiness Book of Records with his brother Ross).

In 1948 John started his National Service and joined the army. He was commissioned into the Royal Army Service Corps and was posted to Belfast, just prior to the worst troubles. Here he ran a supply depot and became a member of the Covent Garden-led ‘mushroom society’, growing mushrooms in a disused warehouse for consumption in the camp – and in another disused warehouse he played badminton for the army! John was fortunate to be demobbed in 1950, just four weeks before the start of the Korean War.

John then joined the London office of Shell, where he met Jill. They played badminton together at the Lensbury Sports Club, owned by Shell and BP; they were a formidable pair, and so the romance began.

John’s job was programming oil tankers from the Middle East to European refineries. Whilst touring Iraq, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Lebanon he met associates of the imprisoned Terry Waite and was almost imprisoned himself! Following the overthrow of the Shah of Persia and the Suez disruption, in order to keep the supply of petrol to the UK flowing, he bought crude oil from the USA and Venezuela.

Jill and John married in 1955. They set up home in Winchmore Hill where their son Richard was born in 1956, followed by Caroline in 1959. When Caroline was only 7 weeks old Shell sent the family to Australia, travelling on an ocean liner which was also carrying ‘£10.00 Poms’. Needless to say, the Flashman family had better accommodation!

In Sydney amongst other homes, they were given a bungalow in Collaroy near Manly; unfortunately, there was only one toilet, which was outside, and inhabited by funnel-web spiders which had to be knocked off with a stick before one could use the loo. John recalls that on Christmas Day he took the children to the beach whilst Jill cooked the turkey. The temperature was 30 degrees and Caroline’s plastic carry-cot melted on the sand; and then they went home to hot turkey!

After some 6 months in Sydney, the family were sent to Melbourne, and after two years in Australia the Flashmans returned to the UK, sailing on the Dutch liner, Willem Ruys, via the Panama Canal, the same ship that had brought them out via the Suez Canal. They settled in Hadley Wood, between Epping Forest and Barnet. John was based at Shell’s new London Waterloo office, where his experience in Australia proved very useful in developing North Sea Oil.

Shell were partners with BP and were based at the oil terminal at Sullom Voe, Shetland, 100 miles west of the nearest landfall. In 1981 Jill and John were present at the official opening of the terminal by Queen Elizabeth: a small IRA bomb went off, fortunately doing only minor damage to the roof of the building. The Flashmans later also met Charles and Diana at the naming of the Aith RNLI lifeboat. John recalls that Charles was very quiet, whilst Diana spoke excitedly to everyone, even going to the kitchen to meet the chefs who had baked a special cake for the occasion. Also whilst working in Scotland, John helped relocate Shell’s Brent System Head Office from London to Aberdeen.

The Flashmans left Scotland in 1989, when John retired at the age of 60, living briefly in Hadley Wood, before moving to Christchurch. Over the years they took up cruising on hired boats on the Thames and canals. And then they bought a boat, which they named ‘Jayare’ (as in JR, from ‘Dallas’), and moored it permanently at Lensbury Motor Cruising Club, where John was appointed Commodore. They took trips down the Thames, the Medway and up the North Sea Coast to Felixstowe and Woodbridge. Jill also had many other interests including being Captain of Barnet Golf Club, a member of the W.I., working for the NSPCC and RNLI, as well as taking navigation exams, playing bridge, upholstery and crochet – a busy lady.

Eventually they decided to move to Bournemouth, where they bought a penthouse flat in Tower Road in 2003. John became Chairman of the Board and Chair of the Bournemouth & Poole National Trust Outings Committee; the 800 members travelled all over the country by coach until Covid put paid to it. At Elgin Court they met and became firm friends with Diana and Ted Over, eventually following them to Melton Court in 2017.

Unfortunately Jill developed a blood cancer and had several falls, resulting in her admission to Poole Hospital, where she caught Covid. After a short stay at Bourne Valley Nursing Home she passed away on May 7th 2023.

Jill was very happy during her years at Melton Court, especially enjoying the restaurant and the garden, where she helped to keep the roses in order. Manager Fiona and Chairman of the Board Christine soon recognised John’s potential as a Board Member and he now chairs the restaurant committee. He is also still a member of the Parkstone PROBUS, the association of Professional Businessmen.

John still eats in the restaurant every day – one of the main attractions of Melton for them both. Of course he misses Jill immensely, commenting on how lovely, lively and sensible she was.

He is a regular attender at All Saints Church, Branksome Park, as well as being a supporter of the Holy Communion Services provided at Melton Court by St Aldhelms Church. John supports and participates in the social activities programme whenever possible and would encourage all fellow owners to follow suit.

Helena Greene

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John was born on 30th September 1929 and was brought up in Winchmore Hill, near Alexandra Palace, London. The war came only too soon; during the blitz in 1941 the Flashman family had a lucky escape.

A German bomber dropped two torpedo-shaped landmines by parachute very near their home; one actually went through the roof and first floor of the house next door, landing alongside a grand piano and a sleeping elderly lady – fortunately it did not go off! The next morning John spotted the now defused landmine lying on the pavement waiting to be taken away. The other mine exploded on a golf course, causing only slight damage.

So John was sent to board at Berkhamsted School for the remainder of the war. Here he developed his running skills, where he was Victor Ludorum in 1948 – the Hertfordshire Junior Champion in both the 100 and 220-yards races. Later he equalled the 100-yds in 10.1 seconds record of Norris Mc Whirter (co-founder of the Guiness Book of Records with his brother Ross).

In 1948 John started his National Service and joined the army. He was commissioned into the Royal Army Service Corps and was posted to Belfast, just prior to the worst troubles. Here he ran a supply depot and became a member of the Covent Garden-led ‘mushroom society’, growing mushrooms in a disused warehouse for consumption in the camp – and in another disused warehouse he played badminton for the army! John was fortunate to be demobbed in 1950, just four weeks before the start of the Korean War.

John then joined the London office of Shell, where he met Jill. They played badminton together at the Lensbury Sports Club, owned by Shell and BP; they were a formidable pair, and so the romance began.

John’s job was programming oil tankers from the Middle East to European refineries. Whilst touring Iraq, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Lebanon he met associates of the imprisoned Terry Waite and was almost imprisoned himself! Following the overthrow of the Shah of Persia and the Suez disruption, in order to keep the supply of petrol to the UK flowing, he bought crude oil from the USA and Venezuela.

Jill and John married in 1955. They set up home in Winchmore Hill where their son Richard was born in 1956, followed by Caroline in 1959. When Caroline was only 7 weeks old Shell sent the family to Australia, travelling on an ocean liner which was also carrying ‘£10.00 Poms’. Needless to say, the Flashman family had better accommodation!

In Sydney amongst other homes, they were given a bungalow in Collaroy near Manly; unfortunately, there was only one toilet, which was outside, and inhabited by funnel-web spiders which had to be knocked off with a stick before one could use the loo. John recalls that on Christmas Day he took the children to the beach whilst Jill cooked the turkey. The temperature was 30 degrees and Caroline’s plastic carry-cot melted on the sand; and then they went home to hot turkey!

After some 6 months in Sydney, the family were sent to Melbourne, and after two years in Australia the Flashmans returned to the UK, sailing on the Dutch liner, Willem Ruys, via the Panama Canal, the same ship that had brought them out via the Suez Canal. They settled in Hadley Wood, between Epping Forest and Barnet. John was based at Shell’s new London Waterloo office, where his experience in Australia proved very useful in developing North Sea Oil.

Shell were partners with BP and were based at the oil terminal at Sullom Voe, Shetland, 100 miles west of the nearest landfall. In 1981 Jill and John were present at the official opening of the terminal by Queen Elizabeth: a small IRA bomb went off, fortunately doing only minor damage to the roof of the building. The Flashmans later also met Charles and Diana at the naming of the Aith RNLI lifeboat. John recalls that Charles was very quiet, whilst Diana spoke excitedly to everyone, even going to the kitchen to meet the chefs who had baked a special cake for the occasion. Also whilst working in Scotland, John helped relocate Shell’s Brent System Head Office from London to Aberdeen.

The Flashmans left Scotland in 1989, when John retired at the age of 60, living briefly in Hadley Wood, before moving to Christchurch. Over the years they took up cruising on hired boats on the Thames and canals. And then they bought a boat, which they named ‘Jayare’ (as in JR, from ‘Dallas’), and moored it permanently at Lensbury Motor Cruising Club, where John was appointed Commodore. They took trips down the Thames, the Medway and up the North Sea Coast to Felixstowe and Woodbridge. Jill also had many other interests including being Captain of Barnet Golf Club, a member of the W.I., working for the NSPCC and RNLI, as well as taking navigation exams, playing bridge, upholstery and crochet – a busy lady.

Eventually they decided to move to Bournemouth, where they bought a penthouse flat in Tower Road in 2003. John became Chairman of the Board and Chair of the Bournemouth & Poole National Trust Outings Committee; the 800 members travelled all over the country by coach until Covid put paid to it. At Elgin Court they met and became firm friends with Diana and Ted Over, eventually following them to Melton Court in 2017.

Unfortunately Jill developed a blood cancer and had several falls, resulting in her admission to Poole Hospital, where she caught Covid. After a short stay at Bourne Valley Nursing Home she passed away on May 7th 2023.

Jill was very happy during her years at Melton Court, especially enjoying the restaurant and the garden, where she helped to keep the roses in order. Manager Fiona and Chairman of the Board Christine soon recognised John’s potential as a Board Member and he now chairs the restaurant committee. He is also still a member of the Parkstone PROBUS, the association of Professional Businessmen.

John still eats in the restaurant every day – one of the main attractions of Melton for them both. Of course he misses Jill immensely, commenting on how lovely, lively and sensible she was.

He is a regular attender at All Saints Church, Branksome Park, as well as being a supporter of the Holy Communion Services provided at Melton Court by St Aldhelms Church. John supports and participates in the social activities programme whenever possible and would encourage all fellow owners to follow suit.

Helena Greene

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- for a healthy and happy lifestyle

So you’ve decided where you’re going to live. You’ve taken care of your finances. But one thing you may not have planned for is the free time on your hands. Here’s a snippet of the wellness activities that help you to thrive in your new environment: