Mr. Tony Hall, has submitted an Eulogy to share with the residents of Goffs Oak. His brother, Mr. David Colton Halls passed away on the 20th October 2010.
David Colton Halls, the eldest of seven brothers, was born in Enfield on the 22nd April 1932.
Soon after, our parents moved into a sleepy little village in Hertfordshire: not the busy village it is now. In those days, he had to walk several miles to school in Cuffley. David then went to Cheshunt Grammar School until the age of 15, which is when he joined the Royal Navy.
David was always making things as a boy and I remember a magnificent ship he made, about 3 feet long, which was put on display at the village sweet shop. I don’t know what the deal was – but David loved sweets!
During his time in the Navy, he learnt to play many musical instruments in his spare time: he could play the trumpet, clarinet, guitar, mandolin, harmonica, and piano accordion to a high standard and also had a pleasant baritone singing voice.
He started his Naval career at HMS Ganges, the training school for boy entrants. He became an Asdics Operator, which entailed submarine hunting. Through the work involved, he became very interested in electronics and throughout his career served on various battleships and destroyers such as HMS Superb, Cheviot, Greenville, Cleopatra, and finally on the aircraft carrier Victorious. That was a significant posting, because as a result of it, he turned away from the career he loved and became a different person.
In recent years, as I tried to unlock some of his memories, he confided to me that after serving on a ship like HMS Cheviot, it was like living in a village. He ended up on an aircraft carrier and felt it was “like living in the middle of London” – and it turned him against the Navy. He had a loner attitude which he may have inherited from his father and grandfather.
Having access to his Naval records, I can see now that pattern that shaped his future: every annual report (that is an appraisal in Civilian terms) made it clear that he was always smart, pleasant, intelligent, and good at his job, becoming a Leading Seaman. He was a shy man who appeared not to like to giving orders.
In 1957 a report: “Halls has improved still needs to show much more drive and force when taking charge of other ratings. Otherwise, he is keen, smart, with a modest and pleasant personality. Should make a good Branch Officer, if he can overcome his shyness”.
After his career in the Royal Navy, David finished his working life in an office, working on training manuals doing technical drawings, which his electronics background suited him for. A nine-until-five job, and he went home to his little cottage and garden. It was a semi-detached cottage with children living in the neighbouring house. He flet with the boisterous children it was “Like being on HMS Victorious,” he described it. So much so at one point he counteracted the noise by fixing two or more speakers against the adjoining neighbours’ walls! Through his knowledge of electronics he was able to link every room in the house to a system on time switches that made the sound of rushing water. Whilst the sound of noisy neighbours was lexss intrusive,when there was loud music, he would switch the rushing water to sound to a military band playing marches.
He rarely had the opportunity to see his parents and brothers. On one annual outing I remember when collecting him to go to a vintage and classic car show. He would spend hours rummaging thorugh boxes of auto jumble for parts that he could use.
During this period, he developed his Berkeley three-wheel car and his DKR scotter with side car into beautifully crafted specials. Only recently, these two items attracted a lot of attention at a classic car auction recently. Later in life, David spent his time in a nursing home.
David kept many things in his cottage and when clearing some of his old things, it seemed like dismantling a space ship-com-fortress. There was electric gadgetry everywhere; doors with double locks and the garden completely enclosed by netting; etc.
So then to the close of life for this intelligent, well-mannered, pleasant, and shy man, who did not as a whole welcome lots of company, he was still well liked by those who met him. He has gone to the peaceful life he always craved and is now on that final journey where noisy people a busy rushing life do not exist.
This was scripted by Tony Halls, 3rd November 2010