“I look back on my childhood and thank the stars above, for everything you gave me, but mostly for your love.” ~ Wayne F. Winters

My father was the best father in the world. Isn’t that what every daughter thinks about her Daddy? Well, I’m not sure whether they really do or not, but for me, my father was the best father ever.

He was the strongest, kindest, most loyal, bravest man who ever existed. When Dad was with me, I was completely safe from all harm. Nothing could hurt me when Dad was there to protect me. When we were together I was indestructible and so was he.

Why didn’t I ever tell him that? He needed to know that nothing could ever harm him, that he could fight dragons with his bare hands and still survive.

Maybe if I had remembered to tell him that, he would still be here today …

There’s one thing I do know that he knew. He knew how much I loved him, just as I know he loved me too. And for that, I thank the stars above.  Jo. xxx

~ ~ ~

Samuel Rubery Mottershead, born Manchester, Lancashire, England.

March 29, 1920 ~ August 16, 1998.

Baby Sam at 13 months of age.

Samuel Rubery Mottershead (Sam) was the eldest son born to Samuel Mottershead and Florence Edith Thompson. As a youngster, he was the wild child, the one who ran away with his mates on an adventure, forgetting to mention to his mother where she could find him.

The day Sam was born, he was blessed with fearlessness, a quality that remained with him throughout his entire lifetime. Nothing worried him; he never panicked; he never cried. He remained calm, logical and composed in all situations. That was the Sam the outside world knew.

But there was another side of Sam that his close family knew. A compassionate, gentle man who loved cats and would do anything to protect an animal from harm. And an intellectual man, spending hours researching topics of interest, or helping his daughters with their homework.

Sam in kindergarten. He is in the second row from the back, the fifth boy from the right.

He enjoyed his school days, as school satisfied his thirst for knowledge. A highly intelligent and inquisitive man, his mind retained knowledge and detailed facts with a precision that others only dreamed about.

At only fifteen years of age, Sam met the girl he would spend the rest of his life with, Annie Mansfield. From the time they met they were together, and married four years later on October 27, 1939, in Stockport, Cheshire, England, just eight weeks after Britain and France declared war on Germany.

Sam & Annie, 1940.

Sam had initially wanted to join the navy, although his final choice was the army, in which he became a paratrooper. He was proud of the fact that he had flown in hundreds of aeroplanes, yet had never once landed in a plane!

The years of World War II were not easy for Sam. His compassionate side could not tolerate the cold-blooded taking of human life that he witnessed and on a few occasions he was known to go AWOL (absent without official leave). Ultimately, he suffered from a condition then known as “war neurosis”, (now post-traumatic stress disorder) and shortly after a six-month stay in the hospital, Sam was discharged from the army in 1945.

Between 1942 and 1946, Sam became the proud father of three girls and in 1951, the family of five emigrated from Cheshire in England, making their new home in Sydney, Australia.

At the migrant hostel.

Living in a migrant hostel when they first arrived in their new country may not have been an ideal situation, but it was a beginning. Before too long, the family had a home of their own, a motorbike for transport which was soon upgraded to a car, new furniture, the girls began their new schools and Sam was employed, working in his chosen trade as an engineer welder.

The family in Australia, 1955.

By the 1960s, Sam and his family, (now four daughters, as I had been born), moved to the Blue Mountains, to live in a family home that Sam helped to build. Sam could turn his hand to anything he set his mind to; building, structural gardening, painting, car repairs or welding. He was a man who could fix or make anything.

Sam & Annie at the wedding of their daughter, Anne.

Throughout the 1960s, Sam continued to work as an engineer welder and by the late 1960s he had accepted a position building pumps and working in the mines, just outside of Sydney. He saw his three eldest daughters all married and settled into lives of their own. Now, Sam was ready for a change.

A workmate had decided to move his family to the northern New South Wales area, to become self-employed in a general store and takeaway food business. This idea appealed to Sam and so the family, now with just one daughter at home, was on the move again.

Whilst living in a caravan at Ballina in northern New South Wales, Sam fell in love with an old general store, opposite a busy railway station and on the main Pacific Highway, in Murwillumbah, N.S.W. The old building appealed to his sense of history, and the projected income appealed to his pocket!

The family spent three years working seven days a week in the general store, much to the dismay of Annie, who was not impressed with either the long working hours or the old building they now called home. Sam’s instincts regarding the business being something of a “gold mine” proved to be accurate and after three years they were on the move again, this time just a few kilometres further north, to Tweed Heads, on the border of New South Wales and Queensland.

After another three years had passed, Sam had had enough of being self-employed and went back to working in his old trade.

Just before retiring age, the factory in which Sam worked closed down. Not satisfied with sitting at home with his feet up, Sam soon found further employment working in the kitchen at a local club.

In 1993, it came as a huge blow to Sam when he lost his wife of fifty-three years, Annie. They had celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1989, with a get together of their daughters, their daughter’s husbands, all the grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Photos of the celebration can be found here … A Golden Wedding Anniversary Celebration.

Sam survived for five years on his own, staying active by teaching himself how to cook, joining Neighbourhood Watch, buying a bike for bike rides to the beach, going for long walks and regularly spending time with his family and friends.

It was very sad to see Sam in his final year or two, as the once brilliant mind gave way to slight dementia. He remained, however, living independently in his own home at Tweed Heads, up until his final day, when he joined Annie.

Sam and his wife, Annie Mansfield, leave a legacy of their four daughters ~

And twelve grandchildren ~ Jeffrey, Jenine, Troy, Steven, Scott, Mark, Andrew, Mathew, Ben, Hayley, Emma and Adam.

Twenty-one great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren. ❤

Sam aged 17, with Annie, 16.