Men of the Sea

Hi John

What beautiful images of your father’s travel documents and his own traces between France and Algeria. What a striking contrast this makes from my own experience of air travel between Paris and Algiers this summer. It’s a shame I didn’t manage to find an image of Bône from when your father’s passport, which you included in discussions with Parvati, was issued there in 1953 – just a year before the Algerian War began. Although I would have thought that the postcard I included that shows various supposed images of the city in large letters would certainly be contemporaneous – maybe late 1950s or early 1960s at a guess?

Perhaps the postcard of the gentleman by the lighthouse, postmarked as 1914, could hark back more to your paternal grandfather’s generation of seafarers. Did I tell you, by the way, that on my father’s birth certificate from 1950 his father’s occupation is listed as fisherman? Malin Head and the surrounding coast has historically been a significant fishing area, and it’s not for nothing of course that the region is still mentioned every day on the Radio 4 Shipping Forecast.

Both having men of the sea in the family is a link I hadn’t made before, but alas – save for this one word on that document – I have no traces of my own paternal family’s nautical travels.

All the best

Joe

P.S. My wife reminds me that my father-in-law was an engineer in the merchant navy for nine years as a young man: Manchester may be landlocked but water seems to surround me.

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