Death of Windsor Davies brought back childhood memories for Porthcawl man.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

– Local People

by Contributed ItemContributed Item

The death earlier this month of Windsor Davies – most famous for It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, but very fondly remembered in Wales for the BBC Wales comedy, Grand Slam – brought back memories for one Porthcawl man.

David Richards grew up next door to Windsor, his parents and sister in Nantymoel. Windsor was seven years older than David, and this was the period when Nantymoel was 100 per cent a mining town, with three mines operating: the Ocean Weston, the Wyndham and the Penllyn Gwent (known locally as the Drift).

It was a friendship that, despite their lives taking very different paths, would be renewed at regular intervals in London.

Both attended Ogmore Grammar School and Windsor did work in the mines for a while, but then went to north Wales to teacher training college. There was an interruption for National Service but then he returned to teaching in London. He was 29 when his wife encouraged him to take a drama course, and he then became a full-time actor.

David, now a retired Chief Superintendent with the Metropolitan Police, recalled: “I followed him to London when I joined the Metropolitan Police and we would meet up over the years as he continued his acting career.

“Windsor lived in number 4 Graig Fryn and I, together with my parents, lived in number 3. They were terraced houses and as such we lived our lives very close to each other with small gardens at the front of the house and at the back was a shed for the coal and another small shed for the WC.

“Windsor always had a sense of humour and on one occasion locked his father in the glasshouse in their garden during a very hot day. While Windsor’s father pleaded to be let out, Windsor laughed outside.

David continued: “When we met up again in London, I recall he talked his National Service. On one occasion, his unit were posted overseas, so they were driven to the troopship and, on arrival, there were several more lorry journeys before reaching their camp.

“When he got there, he discovered he had lost his rifle. He said that he had received a ferocious telling off from the Sgt Major, and I suspect he drew on that experience when he played Battery Sergeant Major Tudor Bryn Williams.

“Again in London, Windsor came along to see my grandfather on one occasion. Windsor lived with his family in Kentish Town and for a time I lived in Tuffnel Park, hence we bumped into each other on regular occasions. As a Sergeant at West End Central, I recall meeting Windsor in the West End in the early hours of the morning when he explained that he had been filming all night.

“The last time we met was in Hyde Park with an event involving St John Ambulance. A very loud sports car was being driven around Hyde Park and in the passenger seat was Windsor. He was as usual smiling and laughing and obviously enjoying the occasion.We exchanged a few words and he then continued his journey.

“His parents I believed came originally from north Wales and then moved to London. His mother told the following story. They were being bombed and she was very anxious to get to the air raid shelter.

She called to Windsor’s father to hurry up and he replied that he could not find his false teeth. She replied: “It’s bombs their dropping, not sandwiches.’ His parents had a good sense of humour, which Windsor inherited.”

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