Ceredig (Ceri) Stephen Davies was born at Claribel Nursing Home, Durban on 26th December 1943 (Boxing Day). Mum (Daphne Mwyfanwy) and Dad (David Eric) lived at 9 Botanic Grove, Durban. Granny (Elsie Stephen) who lived in the family home was a great help.
Ceri shows that he is a contented baby, happy to lie in pram, have nappy changed and find his toes at the end of his very flexible legs! He enjoys a bath and although sitting for the first time isn’t easy (ouch!) he gets the hang of it, surrounded by cushions should another over-balance happen, and amuses himself with the first toy….a rattle.
After showing that he is fascinated crawling on the lawn, Ceri goes for a walk in the pushchair with Mum and proves that he has very flexible legs. His enjoyment of pureed food gives him strength to find his legs and stand for the first time, followed by running around the garden. He enjoys playing with toys in the playpen and on the lawn. A happy little boy.
In 1942 during the Second World War, the luxury trans-Atlantic cruise ship, the Ile-de-France, on loan to the British Admiralty, was deployed to South Africa where she was refitted as a troop carrier in Port Elizabeth before continuing her voyage to fetch POWs back from North Africa. She docked in Durban and here Dad is filming her arrival with the Bluff in the background, an historic moment, being the largest vessel to have entered the Port of Durban at that time. The tug, the William Hoy could well have been used in docking the French-owned ship, seen here flying the French ensign and with troops crowding her decks. The Ile-de-France continued military operations for 5 years before being returned to France to be changed back to a cruise liner sailing between Europe and America once again.
This rockinghorse was a favourite plaything for the 4 Davies children. Being new and fluffy when Ceri had use of it from 1946, it had become quite threadbare by the time Stephanie had her chance to ride it about 11 years later. It seems that Ceri also had a firm friend in his pull-along duck on wheels, venturing out to the island in the middle of (quiet) Botanic Grove to give it a walk. In this film, Ceri is shown to be taking an interest in garden activities, helping to sweep up and admire flowering plants, both at home and in well-kept Jameson Gardens, a favourite outing not far from the house. He seemed happy entertaining himself making mudpies, too and he was soon to have a sister. Marilyn was born on 10th September 1946 and here is being shown off to her big brother by a proud father.
Here is a short length of film with Mum showing her new baby girl, Marilyn, off to brother, Ceri (1946).
A few yars later, during 1950 (we think), Dad had the opportunity to travel back to his home town of Cardigan, West Wales. Whilst there he took the chance to visit his various cousins and attended a family wedding…we are not sure whose special occasion…as well as paying respects at his late mother’s grave. Mari Davies, the dressmaker, had passed away in 1947.
Some of the old faces are familiar to Shân who had a chance of being introduced to Dad’s ageing family during her overseas trip in 1973. The house Y Nyth at Penparc is familiar, but the names of the occupants escape Shân’s memory. Lovable twins, Lena and May who lived at Craig-y-Don in Aberporth and cuddly Auntie Bess at Y Bwthyn, Cenarth were a few who made lasting memories on Shân. Men at Cenarth rowed their boats called coracles on the River Teifi hoping for success on salmon-catching expeditions.
Daddy returned home to South Africa, after having completed a Radar Observation Course, on a new tug for the South African harbour service…The Sir John Campbell.
Shân was born on 2nd August 1951 and here is the first footage of her as a baby in pram whilst big brother Ceri and sister Marilyn look on.
Ceri enjoyed his 3rd birthday party on Boxing Day 1946 with Granny’s, Mum’s and Dad’s company, (Marilyn would probably have been sleeping in a pram) in the garden of 9 Botanic Grove. The sponge cake was decorated with a statue of Peter Pan, used on all birthday cakes for years to come.
Some unfortunate double-take “ghosting” in parts of this one
This footage was taken during 1947 when Ceri was about 3 and a half years old and Marilyn nearly one. It shows Mum enjoying time with her 2 toddlers on Durban South Beach whilst she lounges in a red and blue blow-up canvas chair and helps them build sandcastles. The chair gave the children lots of fun in years to come until it eventually perished. A favourite activity along the beachfront was a train ride on a narrow gauge line, pulled by a steam engine.
That year, the Llanstephan Castle, one of the ships in the fleet of the Union Castle Line, docked in Durban This was her first post-war voyage sailing down the west coast of Africa, having been used during the 2nd World War as a troop ship. On board was a friend of Dad’s who delivered 2 Welsh Corgis for the family (Cymru (Kimmy) and Topsy) as well as belongings for Dad from his late mother (who had died in the March, 1947). Dad, Mum and Ceri bid the grand old ship a fond farewell as she leaves the port of Durban bound for England via the east coast of Africa and the Suez Canal.
In 1947, the Royal Family (King George VI, Elizabeth the Queen Mother and Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret) visited South Africa, travelling aboard The Royal Navy ship, The Vanguard. In Durban they drove through the city centre, the procession being watched by a large crowd and being escorted by marching soldiers. Here Mum, positioned in West Street outside the City Hall to watch, has Ceri with her. He has a small Union Jack to wave as the cavalcade passes and continues down West Street.
During this visit, princess Elizabeth celebrated her 21st birthday (21st April 1947) and broadcast to member nations of the Commonwealth her pledge to serve, whilst in Cape Town.
This film also shows Uncle Oscar from Pietermaritzberg at the beach ( favourites were Isipingo and Port Shepstone) with his daughter Merle and Ceri, playing in the sand and in rock pools. The children would have been 3+ years old.