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John Edward Olsen a011 John Edward Olsen [F;gF;2gF] was born on Sunday 21 February 1915 (1915 1st quarter, Mile End, folio 1c page 731), the eldest of four children to Johan Martiniús Olsen and Valencia Ann Harper Olsen (née Penney), at 396 (Lion Inn Home) Commercial Road, Mile End Old Town, in London. He was born within the sound of Bow Church's bells and so was a genuine Cockney. He had two sisters, Stella Cynthia and Mandia Violet and one brother, Albert Charles. He was living at 32 Faith Street, Mile End Old Town. From a very early age, he was musical and played 2nd. violin in a local orchestra, with his mother who played 1st. violin. He also loved acting and being on the stage. This picture shows John and his sister Mandia on the stage, about 1922. He was also very athletic. He put his loves together when he became half of an acrobatic duo, 'The Neslo Brothers', (Olsen backwards), and toured the country, playing in many towns.
In 1939 he was living at 442 Bethanal Green Road, Bethanal Green, London. He was a variety artist, acrobat and was a trained A.R.P.; Air Raid Precautions. At the outbreak of war in 1939, John volunteered to join the Royal Navy, but was told to join the army. He served with a) Q.O.R.W.K. (Royal West Kent) from 1/7/1940 to 31/1/1942. b) Royal Artillery from 1/2/1942 to 17/8/1944, and c) Devon & Cornwall Light Infantry, from 18/8/1944 to being demobbed on 19/6/1946. When he first joined up, because of his acrobatic experience, he became a Physical Training instructor. He was later seconded to the R.A.F. as P.T. instructor and was stationed at RAF Driffield in East Yorkshire, where he met a012 Frances Garner. He married her on 7 September 1942 (1942 3rd quarter, Worksop, folio 7b page 76), at Blyth parish church, in North Nottinghamshire. He then served in France and Germany with the Royal Artillery and the Devon & Cornwall Light Infantry. He landed in France on D-Day +5. He was a bombadier No. 6351259 and a sniper. It was while in Germany that he found that he had a flair for languages, and taught himself to speak fluent German. Picture of John during the war, about 1940. It was while he was in Germany that his son, John, was born on 7 June 1945.
After the war and out of the army, John returned to London with his family (picture about 1949) and lived at his parents home and Shop (picture about 1948) in Welling, Kent. After his parents emigrated to Australia in 1949, John took his family back to the North of England, becoming an Insurance Agent. About 1953, John started to work at the Firbeck Main Colliery. On 18 July 1953, his daughter, Jacqueline was born. Up to 1955 the family was living at 18 Knaton Road, Carlton-in-Lindrick, Worksop. On 02/11/1955, the family emigrated to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, on the Shaw Savill Line, 'SS New Australia' from Southampton to Sydney ticket number 924. The family returned to England in Jan. 1958. It was mainly for John to see his mother, sisters and brother. His father had died there in 1950. He worked there as a tram conductor. After his mother's death he brought the family back to england, in early 1959. John went back to working at the Firbeck Colliery, but this time operating the smokeless fuels plant. In 1964 he got a transfer to a mine in Bedworth to start up a new plant, and the family moved there. John's final job was as Cemetery Keeper in Bedworth, until his retirement in 1979 at the age of 64 years.
John and Frances then moved back up north, where he enjoyed spending his time with Frances and helping her around the house, and gardening. However, old age was catching up with him, and he was getting weaker. So in 1989, they moved to Wakefield, to be near to son John and family. At this time he suffered a minor stroke which he got over, but it left him with very weak legs and needing a wheelchair for any distance greater than a few yards. John and Frances had started attending church. On Sunday 16 June 1991, at 76 years of age, John became a Christian, when he gave his life to the Lord Jesus. On that day he also received a healing. He went into church in his wheelchair, but walked out unaided. In fact he RAN round and round the church. He was then baptised by total immersion on 8 October 1991, along with myself (son John) and Thurstan Richard (grandson).
On 7 September 1992 John and Frances celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary with a great party attended by friends and family. By now, John was getting weaker and weaker going into hospital at the beginning of November 1994. He finally left this life on 22 November 1994 (1994 Nov, Wakefield, folio 0991A page A44A/267/1194) to be with his Lord. His funeral service was a very moving celebration of his life. ( Read his eulogy.) And what a life!! A life lived to the full. A life full of love and pride for his Frances and his children, John and Jacqueline. I have got some of the love letters that he sent to Frances during their courtship and after their marriage when he was still in Germany, and his diaries which he kept, right up to his death. If only I could love, even as half as much as my Dad loved.

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