Friday, 13 January 2017

BH Memoirs: Prologue

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL JOHN MATTHEW BLAKISTON-HOUSTON DL (1898-1984), OF BELTRIM CASTLE, COUNTY TYRONE, AND RODDENS, COUNTY DOWN, WAS BORN AT ORANGEFIELD HOUSE, KNOCKBREDA, NEAR BELFAST

 HE SERVED IN THE FIRST AND SECOND WORLD WARS; WAS AIDE-DE-CAMP TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF AUSTRALIA, 1929-30; HIGH SHERIFF OF COUNTY DOWN, 1944; DEPUTY LIEUTENANT OF COUNTY DOWN, 1946; HIGH SHERIFF OF COUNTY TYRONE, 1954


PREFACE

To my thirteen grandchildren:

I wrote these notes on my life, as I feel certain you and your generation could not possibly realise how our world has changed in the last 80 years.

It must be incredible to you to realise that I actually witnessed the arrival of the first aeroplane ever to fly across the English Channel.

Two world wars in my lifetime have speeded up the march of scientific inventions in all directions, many of them developed during these wars with no thoughts of the cost, to help defeat the enemy.

With inter-space travel and other inventions, we do not know what the future holds for us.

The development of Nuclear energy seems a serious threat.

If a third world country builds a nuclear plant, it will be possible for that country to be able to produce Plutonium, and from it, to make nuclear weapons.

It is too alarming.

In my earlier days the population of the world was controlled by starvation and disease, and it seemed to be effective; but Doctors and Health control have largely eliminated disease epidemics and improved Agricultural methods, resulting in the supply of more food and consequently reduced starvation.

But when I say: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven,” I really do believe our prayers are answered, and that the Almighty really does control our destiny, and that He will continue to do so.

GRANDFATHER

*****
  

FOREWORD

I have jaundice and the doctors will not let me go out so I will try to write a story of my life to relieve the boredom.

They say anyone can write his own life story but my memory is not good for names and places.

My diaries and photograph albums were all destroyed in the fire at Roddens [County Down] in 1939.

Before I forget everything I would like to jot down what I can remember for the benefit of my children because like Adam Lindsay Gordon –
I’ve had may share of pastime
And I’ve done my share of toil
And life is short, the longest life a span.
I care not now to tarry for the corn or for the oil
Or for the wine that maketh glad the heart of Man.
For deeds undone and gifts misspent and resolutions vain
‘Tis somewhat late to worry; this I know
I’d live the same life over if I had to live again
But the chances are I go where most men go…
JMBH
Beltrim, 1947


First published in January, 2015.  Extracts by kind permission of R P Blakiston-Houston OBE JP DL.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Last year (in Australia) I read a book called Lasseter's Gold, about the adventurer Harold Lasseter's final attempt to find the vast gold reef he believed to exist way out somewhere in central Australia. This expedition was badly organised and hopeless in almost every way. (Lasseter gets murdered by a German who ended up in an internment camp on the Isle of Man during the war.) About the only person to come out of the story well is a Capt Blakiston-Houston (but in the book he is called, I think from memory, Charles, or perhaps Matthew). Everything else, ie he is said to be ADC to the Gov-General, led me to think he was indeed this John B-H. I was interested to see, however, that in his Memoirs 1V, which covers his time in Australia as ADC, he never mentions this ill-fated expedition (he only spent a short time on it as he had to return to work). Would be good to learn more.