DOB: 8th July 1922
Our paternal grandfather was born on a small island paradise in the Society Island’s as named by Captain Cook (Now French Polynesia) called Rurutu in the village of Avera, the northernmost island in the Austral archipelago of French Polynesia which is situated 572 km (355 mi) south of Tahiti.
Dad said that “Grand-père” always said he was older and his reasoning behind that was simple and quite possibly true, he only disputed the year not the day and month.
He would say to Dad “Son back in the 1920’s when someone was born in Rurutu families didn’t rush down to the registry office.”
Dad said he had ask him “Why?”
His response was, “Well they simply didn’t have one!”
Unfortunately with Grand-père’s early demise none of my siblings or myself got to know him as well as we would have liked to.
Dad tells us most of Grand-père’s stories; luckily for us he can still share many a tale.
He would play the guitar Dad said like it was a part of him and it was his way of relaxing, and my understanding is that my Uncle Jean Claude still has his guitar a Hofner.
Dad said he remembered him actually taking it apart and re gluing it back together again, why he wasn’t sure.
This natural talent took him to another level of entertainment with a Tahitian Dance Troupe and making Tahitian Music Records (Vinyl) which Dad still has, but as Dad said that’s another story.
Grand-père also had an invitation for his Hula Troupe to go to Brisbane in 1961 to do a show.
At very young age Grand-père and many of his friends from Tahiti joined the armed forces and left home and ended up in England.
He became a Radio Operator and Gunner in the GROUPE “LORRAINE SQUADRON Equipage du “J” Lieutenant SAUBERLI, Capitaine de STADIEU, Sergent-Chef MARA Natapu, Sergent RIBERT. (source: ICARE N°167) that flew out of Camberley in Surrey.
Without going into too many details right now he survived three ditchings into the English Channel and received a long list of medals along with a Chevalier de l’Ordre National de Mérite. English translation: Knight of the National Order of Merit (of France) Dad mentioned that Grand-père was peeved as he had to pay for it, typical French was Grand-père’s comment.
Dad spoke about the fact that Grand-père never shared all that much about his time during the Second World War where he lost many close friends.
My understanding is that when he went to war he already spoke and wrote 3 languages, Rurutu, Tahitian and French, then during his time in England learnt to read and write his fourth language.
He was well respected by his peers in the Medical Fraternity during his twenty years as an Interpreter, Translator, Liaison and Tour Guide. Both patients and Doctors considered him to be the best Medical Interpreter in New Zealand.
Therein is a short and concise breakdown of who and what about “Notre Grand-père”
It is over 30 years since he passed away and thanks to Dad he is still remembered by us all.
DOD: 17th September 1986
We will continue to offer the same professionalism that “Notre Grand-père” had maintained during his lifetime.
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