Woodman Alford Kelly (aka Dan, Ned)
Why am I writing about Woodman Alford Kelly or Dan as he was known to me?
I believe he died without family knowing where or how he lived the last years of his life.
I write in the hope that someone, some day may want to trace him and find this information useful for filling in those missing years.
He was living in
When I first met Dan he lived in a rented upstairs room in a run down brick building on the one-way system (
Dan was probably introduced to me by a lady called Hilary whose husband played the organ in a local church.
After a church outreach one weekend in
At that time our church was meeting at either Hythe Community Hall or
Dan had expressed an interest in attending our church meetings so it was arranged that I would collect him on my journey across the
Calling at the house in
Beneath the newspapers his bed was covered in books and clothes, I wondered if he preferred to sleep in, rather than on, the bed.
He seemed to have a collection of cheap saucepans and kettles. When I asked why he had so many for a small bedroom dinette he replied that if he saw a mouse climb into one then he was reluctant to use it again, he’d rather go out and buy another.
When the time came to move into a ‘home’ he disposed of most of his pans and gave me a green aluminium kettle that we put to good use in our caravan for a further 20 years.
Dan came to church occasionally but only if I collected him up on the way. He didn’t always respond to the door bell and I didn’t pursue the matter but continued to call for him on following Sundays.
I found him to be a friendly, humorous and likeable person, he rarely spoke about his past but he did say he came from Filton in
He said he had been married and I think he said there was a child, maybe a girl, left behind. He gave me the impression that he was not wanted at home but wouldn’t say more on the subject. From
The house in
He kept the place tidy, no newspapers necessary here, and we had many short chats about life in general including having a relationship with God.
He died, aged seventy on January 17th 1989 and was cremated at Southampton Crematorium near Bassett, Southampton where members of the church and a friend or two from the home attended the service.
The soldiers ‘lament’ was read because Dan had made it known to a friend that he'd been in the Army (read, I believe, by an ex-Army friend from the house).
Dick Hailwood, our church leader at the time, took the service.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
If anyone believes they might be related to Dan and is interested in learning more then I may be able to help. He left a Bible, three diaries and a letter (from 'May', Southfield Park, North Harrow, Middlesex)
I hold a copy of the death certificate and letter from his last place of residence. Contact by email - quest(at)balmaha.net
(Document origin www.balmaha.net/dankelly/index.html)