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Notes from meeting with Ken Eyles – 25 June 2007
Ken Eyles

Ken & g.f. Fred Knight
of Earls Barton
Ken was born at 34 Sartoris Road and remembers seeing his grandfather Fred go off to work, across the street at Davidson’s, wearing his apron. He would return at dinner-time and, after his meal, walked back to work. At the age of 5 he learned to play nap with his grandfather Fred. Ken loved to watch the horses & drays delivering the leather to the factory. Boxes came from Chapman’s in a petrol vehicle with thin axles – he remembered how thin those axles looked compared to those of the carts – and the driver shouted “mind your feet”, that was about 1925. Two doors away lived Billy Paris – a pilot.

His mother Bertha (nee Knight) was a professional singer – mezzo-soprano – sang at Northampton & Kettering as well as locally, usually on a Saturday night and would sometimes stay away overnight so his grandma looked after Ken. His mother would sometimes take Ken with her and bring him on stage at the end when they would sing a duet.

Arthur William & Bertha Eyles about 1919
Arthur William & Bertha Eyles
Ken's father Arthur William Eyles, was born in 1882 at Wellingborough (and he started work when he was just 10 years old), and he was a professional runner.

The photograph of Ken with his mother and Kate Eaton was taken at 34 Sartoris Road in 1923. Kate later married Bertha’s brother.

Bertha Eyles, Kate Eaton & Ken
at 34 Sartoris Road in 1923
In 1924 Ken started school at Moor Road but ran away on his first day and the teachers followed him in hot persuit up the Wellingborough Road. He passed the 11+ exam but chose to go to the Intermediate as he was keen on football.

Ken was a keen sportsman and he played football for Rushden & District team in the English Schools Shield and they reached the third round. Also played for Rushden Adult School team (you had to attend two Sunday school sessions to qualify) in Spencer Park, then for Rushden Town and then professionally for Kettering.

He also played cricket for John White’s and tennis. Later he played for RAF & Army teams. He had been a Corporal in the RAF and was transferred to the Army at the end of WWII for the Japanese war and was a Colour Sergeant. He went to Freetown in Sierra Leone. The Sergeant Major used to put on a “bit of a show” and Ken would sing too.

After the War Ken worked for Blundell’s of Wellingborough, then went as a department store manager at Coventry for 20 years. When that store closed down, he went as a financial analyst with Standard Triumph, and later he moved to Rover. When he retired Ken and his wife decided to come back to Rushden and now widowed, Ken lives in a bungalow near Hayden Road.

Ken in Freetown in 1945
Intermediate School Football Team 1933
Adult School Football team 1940
Ken in Freetown 1945
Intermediate School 1932-3. Back row: Hedley Underwood, ---, Albert Knight, -- Holley (HF), Jack Barnet (on stool), Don Butlin, ---, Fred White. Front: ---, Ted Salisbury (Irchester), John Britten, Roy Hartwell (Raunds), Ken Eyles. Adult School 1939-40. Back row: Ken Martin, Bill Crawley, Edgar Chettle, Ron Sharman, Horace Webb (GK), Silas Wright, Jack Burton, Les Neville, Bill Percival. Front row: Norman Gillett, Albert Knight, George Watson, Ken Eyles, Ron West.

Fred White in the middle picture, was in trouble with his teacher when he shouted "Yu 'an ought to 'a let it went", meaning you should not have let it go!

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