Father’s Day 2024 With Gentlebands – Dad’s Life Story

Father’s Day 2024 With Gentlebands – Dad’s Life Story

My latest article on my blog is a special Father’s Day celebration of my Dad, sharing his life story, including his varied jobs, military life, and even hobbies. It is also a collaboration piece with Gentlebands to showcase Dad’s style and love of jewellery and accessories. Continue reading to find out more.

Click Here For The Gentlebands Golem Ring

Father’s Day is a special event, and this year, I have worked with the Gentlebands brand (whom I have featured more than a handful of times on my fashion blog). We discussed the idea of showcasing their stylish rings and sharing Dad’s story with my readers.

Dad chose the Golemm ring because he loves the design, pattern, and beautiful colours created by the blend of opal, dinosaur bone, and ceramic materials. Additionally, the chain offered by Gentlebands is ideal for Dad and his background in the building trade – he can easily still wear the ring around his neck even when using his hands. The ring was also engraved for ‘Father’s Day’ (perfect for that personal touch).

Dad’s story offers unique tales and adventures, military enrolment, occupations and hobbies. My Dad is a traditional old-school guy, always working hard with his hands. This true grit conviction gels perfectly with the Gentlebands band and their hardy selection of rings. So, without further ado, let’s begin Dad’s story.

Dad (Archie) was born in Birmingham, UK, in 1939, living through the threat of bombing during the Second World War. His Father served across many campaigns, most notably in Africa.

Time At School

Dad attended the local Uplands school (which is a few miles from the family home), and he already showed a keen interest in using his hands by excelling in metalwork and woodwork (the latter, he won a prize with a table he crafted, which is still fully functioning now, along with trays and a fruit bowl).

Early Working Life

When Dad left school, he began work delivering laundry (in fact, he heard that one of his ex-teachers remarked to his students, “Don’t you do what Archie York did; he’s only delivering laundry now!”. Dad didn’t stay in that employment for long and applied for a wood pattern maker position at Incandescent Heat. They told him there was nothing available in that position. However, there was a vacancy in the laboratory (at a different area of the company called Metal Porcelains Limited) if he was interested, so he accepted and became a lab technician. 

The lab was considered one of the top companies working with vitreous enamel (one task involved coating the inside of an atomic reactor cooler). Regular daily tasks involved testing and developing the enamel. One typical test was dropping a ball onto plated enamel to test its strength—one of the most popular colours throughout the UK at the time was created here (T311—cream colour).

After two years working in the lab, Archie decided to move on and begin working closely with his Father in the building trade as a bricklayer improver (the starting path to learning the ropes).

Interests And Hobbies

After Dad left school and started earning, he became a big lover of automobiles. He owned a number of vehicles, including an Austin 10 Tourer, a Ford 8 Saloon, and an Austin 10 Cambridge. He then switched to a two-wheeler with his Triumph Tiger Cub Motorbike.

During the 50s, Archie was a huge fan of music, particularly rock and roll, with Cliff Richard and Elvis at the top of his favourites list! Dad’s friends used to buy a record each and share them between the group to save money, often listening to the LPs together.

Army Life

In 1960, Dad was called up to the Army for National Service (which he actually received on his Birthday! – bad timing!). He was enrolled into the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and headed to Scotland, Ayr, to begin his training (which, incidentally, is where my partner Eve lives – small world!). 

Shooting Competitions

During this time, he honed his marksmanship skills, winning many medals and even entering the famous Bisley Shoot (again, winning some awards for his fantastic shooting ability). Dad also gained a nickname at the beginning of his service – “Bilko” due to his great card-playing talent (from the 50s Phil Silvers Show – TV programme).

One competition had an SMG trophy to win, and his squad and even one of his commander officers remarked, “This is yours, isn’t it, Bilk?” Unfortunately, Dad and his squad hit the town the evening before the shoot. Well, without going into it further, they had a great night, but Dad couldn’t see the target in the morning (as such, Dad never got his normally well-deserved trophy!).

In another tournament, Dad was again estimated to win as the best shot, but his opponent had terrible aim and kept missing the target. The staff in charge were getting fed up that he couldn’t qualify, so they started marking him as getting bullseyes so that he would pass—which, in turn, allowed him to win the cup instead of my Father.

Military Transport

Once “Bilko’s” training was completed, he was sent to Asia for 16 months to work on military transport (MT)—driving large wagons and trucks with troops, weaponry, and even high-ranking officers. Dad has a number of interesting stories here, too!

Driving Officers

As a transport driver, he had to pick up a Major Jones and get him to the army manoeuvres at 7 am – Dad arrived sharp with plenty of time to spare to pick up the Major’s Batman (a signalman) along the way. However, he was largely unhelpful and said he needed to finish his breakfast. Once they were finally on the move, Dad was speeding towards the Major’s home (he was already waiting outside, checking his watch). He barked at Dad, “York, I distinctly said I wanted you here at 7 O’Clock”, to which Dad replied, “I was ready, sir.”

The Major glanced at his Batman and said, “I’ll deal with you later”. Then he turned back to my Father and stated, “I need to get to Queens Hill in 20 minutes, which is now impossible.”

Dad took this as a challenge, putting his foot down on the accelerator, and burned at lightning speed towards the destination (the Batman was cowering and whimpering at the wild driving, whereas the Major was sitting calmly with a typically stiff upper lip). The journey took them down one of the most dangerous winding twisting roads, which was almost 7 miles in total – when they finally arrived, the engine was pouring with black smoke, but they arrived on time! The Major said to my Dad, “Well done, York”.

Another time, Dad had to transport rockets up a treacherous mountain to be used in training; when he got there, an officer asked if he wanted to fire one (although Dad already had fired rockets on numerous occasions), and Dad said no, it’s okay. The officer replied, “Dunno, what’s the matter with you drivers? You don’t wanna do anything,” and Dad said in jest, “Well, it’s too dangerous.”

Stationed In Germany

For the final portion of the National Service, Dad headed to Germany, Hamlin, for a dramatic change of scenery (although first had to endure a 45-day boat journey back to the UK on the TT Oxfordshire).

Much of Germany was largely covered in ice and snow during his time stationed there. One memorable event was Dad driving a 3-ton truck heading around a square, but due to the icy conditions, the vehicle wouldn’t stop with the brakes and flew past the gate, sliding across the concrete. Dad was battling with the wheel, attempting to keep it steady. An officer was observing from his staff car, and he got out of his vehicle just as Dad managed to stop his truck nearby. He ordered him to step out of the truck and, pointing at a sign, asked, “What does that say?” Dad walked over to it and replied, “It says ‘stop,’ sir”.

The captain questioned further, asking, “How long have you been driving?” “Five years, sir,” answered Dad, “I bet you can make it stand on hind legs, too.” the officer replied jokingly.

Finally, Dad was de-mobbed (demobilisation) from the Army in 1963. However, he had to serve an extra six months as he was among the last enlisted due to the low level of squaddies in the UK.

After The Army

Dad jumped back into the building trade, going self-employed and constantly upgrading his skills. He worked in construction, painting, plastering, and even plumbing. During this time, he connected with a local building trade businessman (Julian) and worked closely with him on a contract basis for many years. One of his jobs was to build Julien’s house, which Dad did single-handedly.

Dad met my Mom in 1963, shortly after leaving the Army (he actually already knew her brother Peter/Les, who was in the RAF). They dated for some years and eventually got married. Following this, my parents visited many places, mainly in the UK (one of the regular holidays was Burnham On Sea, which had its unique charm along with Dartmouth in Devon). Although Mom and Dad did journey across Europe by road in a brand new Ford Capri with a caravan in tow to Italy (twice!).

As we entered the 80s (just around when I was born), Dad started with a new love of accessories and jewellery – regularly rocking a chain and signet ring with his many outfits (the typical style of the time). His love of music was still evident as he always invested in quality audio systems (although I used to put my toy cars on the record player!).

Video Games

Once I was a little older, Dad and I regularly played video games (which I am still a massive fan of to this day!), first with the ZX Spectrum, in which we battled each other on Barbarian (there was a trick, in which if you managed to roll your opponent into the corner first, you would catch them in a stuck loop, and by continually rolling, they could not get up and would lose once their energy was depleted—it was always a race with me and Dad to each corner!).

Later on, my parents got me an Amiga 600 for Christmas, and we began playing Street Fighter 2 together (although, often, this led to a real-life scuffle, and Dad wrestled me to unplug my joystick so he could win! Haha!) – although Dad loved to play Pinball Dreams too!

Dad has always used his hands regularly, fixing up the house and building huge extensions such as the conservatory and even the loft. If Dad didn’t have a tool in his hand, he was always looking at doing something! Even now, as Dad is older, he’s still active and busy (and still looks great in his clothing choices and jewellery pieces, as you can see from his necklace from Gentlebands).

Father’s Day 2024

For this Father’s Day, we headed to a local restaurant, treating Dad to a huge sizzling mixed grill (to satisfy our shared big appetite for the special day!) – check the photos! (Even so, we couldn’t finish the huge meal, so we got a doggy bag for the leftovers!).

For Dad’s gift, he chose the Golem ring, featuring a striking mix of meteorite, dinosaur bone, and dinosaur tooth, creating something truly beautiful to look at that also contains a piece of ancient history. Each model is totally unique due to the positioning of each element—the different colours of opal and gemstones cause it to sparkle vividly in the sunshine!

What do you think of the latest post celebrating Dad’s life story? Would you like to see more personal content like this? Let me know in the comments section below; I would love to hear your thoughts.

Check Out The Complete Gentlebands Collection Here

*Partnership with Gentlebands / Opinions are my own.


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