Brian Frederick Kingshott is my father. He was born at 15 Porten Road, Hammersmith, West London in 1944, during a German Luftwaffe air raid. His parents were Walter Ernest and Grace Kingshott. His mum, my gran, received a war pension because of injuries to her hearing sustained during this air raid.
Shortly after being born Brian, along with his sister Barbara, and his mother were evacuated from London to the North Devon town of Barnstaple. They eventually arrived at a place called Caradon, in Pilton Causeway, Barnstaple.
When the war ended, the family moved back up to London but my grandfather had always wanted to live in Devon. He would therefore catch the early morning paper train from London on the Friday night with his pedal cycle - get off at Exeter or Barnstaple and look around for a house and the possibility of a job. That is how he found Lake (a small village just outside Barnstaple) and they moved down in 1952 into a cottage with no electricity and no water. My gran (up until she died on 21st March 2012) and Brian's sister Yvonne, still live at Lake.
Brian went to the National School and then Bluecoat School, both in Barnstaple and moved to Barnstaple Secondary Modern School. From there he went to North Devon Technical College and then onto Plymouth Polytechnic (now Plymouth University) where he took all of the qualifications to allow him entry to the Merchant Navy as a Radio Officer. He remained in the Merchant Navy for a number of years, despite suffering from sea-sickness! He was not exactly a salty old sea-dog. These are some of the ships that he served on.
This is the Royal Mail Steam Packet ship "Ebro"
This is the MV Hollybank
This is the Baharistan
This is the Cardiganbrook
Whilst in the Merchant Navy, Brian travelled all over the world. I would occasionally see exotic, far off places on the television and knowing that dad had been there, ask him about them. The conversations would always go like this:-
Me: "Have you been there dad?"
Me: "What was it like?"
Dad: "It was alright."
And that would be that! Everywhere was "alright". I have always liked travel, and can put it down to wanting to find out about the places that dad went to whilst in the navy. I now find myself describing places that I've been, when asked by my own children, as "alright"!
After the navy Brian mooched about for a while doing various hush hush things and eventually joined the police. He served for nearly 32 years with the Devon & Cornwall Constabulary, attaining the rank of Inspector. He served with the Criminal Investigation Department, the Traffic Department and Uniform in all ranks, retiring in 2001. There is a short history of his police career here.
Inspector Brian Kingshott - 1998
Brian enjoyed playing rugby and is seen here, during the mid 1970's, as part of the Devon & Cornwall Constabulary rugby team. You can judge the size of these blokes. Dad, front row, second from the right, is six feet two inches tall but looks dwarfed by some of these guys.
Dad, front row, second from the right, sporting magnificent Victorian sideburns which seemed to be all the rage!
Following service with the police Brian moved to the United States and started working at Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan. This is, incidentally, the one place in the USA where there is also a large contingent of Kingshott's (which you can read about here) including another Brian Kingshott!
Dad's CV, which he constantly fails to keep up to date, can be seen here. This one is correct up to March 2012.
He was interviewed as part of an American TV show called "Feel Like You Belong" in 2015, which is a show about how non-Americans fit in to United States culture. Their website is at www.feellikeyoubelong.com The interview which details some of dad's career, is repeated here with the kind permission of the host, Alan Headbloom.