George, his life.

I’d like to introduce you to George Lawton. Here he is when he joined the Army during the Second World War.Soldier GeorgeHe volunteered.  With his amazing skill at languages, he got sent to help liberate Europe because he spoke German and French fluently – his Yiddish was pretty good too!

Well it doesn’t look like a bomb to me, mate!

He worked on the de-nazification of captured German personnel and was even known to do a bit of bomb disposal work when he wasn’t liberating cafés with his mates.

After the War he joined the Metropolitan Police and made Class Captain in his year. He was always a bright lad, our George. He’d brought himself up by his bootstraps and he carried on doing so all his life.

No, they weren't auditioning for 'Allo 'Allo, it just looks that way
No, they weren’t auditioning for ‘Allo ‘Allo, it just looks that way
Third from right, back row, that's George
Third from right, back row, that’s George

It wasn’t long before his ability to learn languages got him promoted and he went into Special Branch. His job was protecting and acting as interpreter for visiting foreign dignitaries. By this time he’d picked up a working knowledge of Hungarian and Czech. He was often armed and the job was very stressful even if he did get nice presents from important people like Marshall Tito!

Mazel tov, George, a little Princess
Mazel tov, George, a little Princess

He got married and George was always popular because although he was a self-taught pianist, he could play anything “by ear” and in the days before electronic music people would gather around the joanna to sing along while George bashed out the tune. Never forgot his Manchester roots, never got above himself.

And eventually they had a little girl and he used to call her Button – maybe because she had a snub button-nose or perhaps because she was his pearl-button, small but very precious. I don’t know why – I never got a chance to ask him.

So he and the girl from his class in the Police Training School were very happy until he decided that like any responsible father, he should take out life-insurance and it was during the medical that it was discovered that he had stomach cancer. He must have had it for some time.

Button was only two and a half when her Daddy went into hospital and because things were so strict, they didn’t allow children to visit very sick patients. So she never got to say goodbye to him.

I hope that finger is in your mouth and not up your snotbox, Button
I hope that finger is in your mouth and notup your snotbox, Button

She was four when he died of cancer and he was only 38 years old. What a terrible, shocking waste of a wonderful life and all that talent. His little girl got very sick and nearly died too. Her Mummy went a bit loopy and life wasn’t very much fun for either of them for most of the time.

Button is now over 60 and there is still a Daddy-sized hole in her life which nobody will ever fill. She can’t watch the film of the Railway Children because at the end when Bobbi runs down the platform saying “My daddy, it’s my daddy!” She gets up and leaves the room so that nobody sees her crying.

Why am I telling you this? Because, you see … I’m Button, although nobody has ever called me that ever again. It was George’s special name and I keep it closed away for him, in a box.


Remember that girl in the class photo? Yes, that's her!
Remember that girl in the class photo? Yes, that’s her!

15 thoughts on “George, his life.

  1. OMG!! This just made me cry. My dad died when I was 9 and the railway children does the same to me. I remember when he died I screamed ‘Not m daddy, not my daddy, not my daddy.’ Bless you Button. xxx

    1. You can because you understand – and I’m sorry for your daddy too. So maybe we’re forming a fatherless child club here? I’ll look forward to that drink – mine’s a pint of Guiness! Bless you !

  2. I can’t watch the end of the Railway Children without sobbing and I still have my Daddy, must have been so hard for you Ailsa xxx Bought you a drink or 2 my love xx

  3. “Daddy-sized hole in her life”… bloody hell.. as a Dad to the most beautiful daughter in the world, I can fully understand how the pain of your loss must continue to be completely unbearable Cam..Weeping buckets now!!

  4. My boys have “dad sized holes” in their lives now and that’s what makes me cry most when I miss Andrew – thanks for sharing your beautiful story and fabulous photos – real treasure. Your daddy sounds like he was a most amazing man – of course I’ll buy you a drink!
    LOVE and HUGS xx

    1. I’m so sorry. Give your boys a big hug from the big girl with no daddy – I understand. I’m sure Dad is very proud of everyone who’s helping and thank you so much for donating. He WAS an exceptional man…but then I’m a bit biaised!

  5. I have tears in my eyes as I type this, my mum died of cancer when she was 55, and my younger sister was just 15. It’s hard to lose a parent, no matter how old you are, but worse still when you’re young. Charge a drink to me too, Cam, it’s a worthy cause. Have you thought about having a raffle, or an auction to raise money? Let me know if I can help in any way. xxx

    1. Thanks, Sharon. My sympathies to you and your sister. Good news is we raised quite a lot of money. The only puzzle is that now I don’t drink alcohol at all, I may have to work out another way of commemorating Daddy this year!

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