Uncle Rolf’s tribute to my Dad, to be read on April 19th at his funeral
My Dad’s brother lives in Australia and will not be around for my Dad’s funeral tomorrow. He has written a tribute to his older brother that I want to share here with you all.
My Brother, Alan Michael Short was born at Olney Buckinghamshire on the 28th December 1928. He had the same birthday as his father, Albert Short. Our mother Doris also had a daughter Eileen who is here today. Eileen was born earlier at Bedford, and was an early mentor to Mike. This is what family and friends called him.
The wonderful care and love the family gave Mike in these early and later years, helped shaped his genuine caring, compassionate and unselfish nature. He always helped others without reward. This was apparent to those who were in close contact with him. I am very proud and humbled to have been his younger brother. Mike was so much more than an icon to look up to. I will always remember him fondly as a wonderful, helpful, caring and generous human being.
In the early 1930’s, our family moved to New Bradwell in Buckinghamshire. I was fortunate to join them in 1935. MIKE, along with my sister Eileen were the paragons of virtue who looked after me. He had a country upbringing, and was active in most things, including the local Church choir. His education was at the local primary and secondary schools. His intelligence earned him a place at Wolverton Grammar School, where his kind demeanor and enthusiasm for knowledge gained him the respect of many of his Grammar school staff. THESE were his HALCYON days, with many friends in all walks of life. After his Grammar school education, Mike applied to and was accepted by Oxford University to read English, but fortune would not smile on him. Our parents couldn’t financially afford the fees and living expenses. They both worked long hours, seven days a week, just to look after their family.
Mike took this in his stride. Instead, at eighteen he enlisted to do his two years of national service. He didn’t shirk this duty. He did an intensive basic training as an officer cadet. These were rough times for him; the HALCYON DAYS were finished forever. He was posted in Germany to work on the ‘BERLIN AIRLIFT”. After these experiences he decided that life as a commissioned officer was not for him
After Germany, Our family was surprised by Mike’s decision to join the Metropolitan Police. He was posted at the well-known Bow Street Station. He stayed in the Met for two years. He then took and passed exams to enter the Colonial Police and went to Kenya. At that time the Mau Mau troubles were affecting the area’s tranquility.
Once there he met and married his wife Beryl, who many here know. They have two wonderful, clever and genuine daughters called Lynn and Hillary. Hillary is reading this on my behalf. Mike often told me how proud he was of his family. After Kenya, the family went to live and work in Tanzania. Mike spent around 17 years in the East African police forces.
Mike was the last colonial policeman to leave Tanzania because of his hard work and the respect he had gained for his kindness to the locals. They loved him as one of their own. Mike came back to England. The family settled in Worthing. He embarked on a new career in Brighton as a financial advisor for the family owned company of RT Williams. He loved his new profession and enjoyed the staff and clients that he worked with. Several of his clients would often drop by his office for a cup of tea and a chat. Once again he was expected to pass examinations to practice in his new field. In later years the financial institutions tightened their regulations. Mike had to take and pass more complex exams. In his latter years at a time when many people his age were retiring he achieved this task with ease. He gained respect within the firm because he treated all members of staff with kindness and compassion.
Later in life, I immigrated to Australia with Brenda and my daughters Jane and Wendy. Brenda and I briefly moved back to London before returning to Australia. During this time Mike moved to Brighton. I would regularly meet up with Mike. I couldn’t get enough of his company. As we walked the lanes of Brighton he would talk on a large range of subjects, never derogatory always positive, these were my “HALCYON DAYS”. I have been blessed to have wonderful Parents, Sister and Brother. If I can only be half the man Mike was I would be very happy. His passing has left the world worse off, however he has left a wonderful family who will cherish his memory, as I will. Allen Michael Short heaven is for you, your unselfish life is a beacon to all; may your ‘HALCYON DAYS” now commence for ever. God Bless you Mike, your ever loving brother Rolf xxxx