The Goadby Story

In late 2012 I was contacted via another website I run, by a gentleman called Anthony Carron Goadby in connection with his research into his family. On calling him I learned that he is another son of VCW, born on 18 August 1931, and named Anthony Carron Wellington. At this time VCW ran a small business, V. Carron Wellington Ltd., whose nature remains so far unknown. As Tony informed me, his offices were at 55 Baker Street, London, and he employed a young female secretary, Winifred Mary Tanner.

Tony was born to Vincent and Winifred nine months after her 19th birthday and Vincent’s 41st — they are a few days apart, and Tony conjectures that a birthday celebration for one or both of them may have led to Win’s seduction by Vincent. Tony was adopted, but not until he was eleven months old; this was apparently very unusual at the time, and it was possible that Win was trying her hardest to keep and raise him, possibly with Vincent’s support in some way. Tony adds:

“When young I never pressed my adoptive mother, Dorothy, for any details about my birth parents, but there must have been some contact (which was allowed in the early 1930s, though subsequently stopped), as a mass of pictures of Win’s I received after her death included one of myself as a toddler by a portrait photographer identical to one which always hung in my childhood home. Dorothy also told me the name Wellington in my teens or early 20s, and as I was sometimes in Brighton in those days, visited the Registry office there in 1954 and looked up my birth in the handwritten register.  Very unusually, it had been entered twice, suggesting they each made an entry independently and the registrar failed to spot this, once with and once without the ‘h’ in Anthony, i.e. Ant(h)ony C. Wellington. I was very frustrated when told the law forbade me to take enquiries any further.

“My mother could not tell me what the C stood for, and until 2000 when I finally obtained my full birth certificate, I never knew, though as soon as I acquired my first copy of AOASA in 1962 I suspected it was Carron, as indeed it turned out to be.  In fact I had been plain Anthony Goadby all my life until I added Carron by deed poll in 2000. Now I’m starting to feel it would be more honest if it was ‘Hugh’!”

and in response to the Trout and Salmon article in its October 2013 issue:

“I remember standing on Thomas Telford’s swaying bridge over the fearsome Corrieshalloch Gorge in 1975 and gazing down into its dark and slimy-looking depths.  I wonder if the bridge is still open?  At that time there was a notice by it stipulating no more than 7 people should be on it at one time, and I was alarmed when about ten crowded onto it in addition to myself!  I was not greatly tempted to make a passage through the gorge, though if Vincent had been there I could probably have been persuaded quite easily; I have been almost as adventurous as him in the past!  It is amazing how I have inherited his love of wild places, mountains and natural history (though not angling) without ever knowing him. ‘It’s all in the jeans’, to quote the saying about Bill Clinton.”

Tony has been able to provide two letters of 1962 from a Mrs Vera Cyster, wife of a Norwich clergyman, regarding VCW. Mr & Mrs Cyster had been guests at the Glenmoriston Private Hotel run by VCW and his then wife in Inverness in the years up until his death in 1962:

1.12.62

Dear Mrs Goadby,

I hope you will forgive me answering your letter on my husband’s behalf but he is so busy.

We had only known Mr Wellington for a  few years through staying at the hotel, although we had become firm friends.  I’m afraid we know very little of his history, as he rarely spoke of the past except for stories of his childhood in the Scottish Highlands.  He also spoke with regret of the passing of all his old friends & contemporaries so I doubt whether there is anyone like that who could help you. However I will tell you what little I know.

He was Scots on his mother’s side & Welsh on his father’s. his name being originally “Jones”. His father died when he was a few months old, & his mother remarried & changed his name by deed poll to that of his step-father – Wellington.

He never published any other book except the one you have mentioned.  I’m sure you must have found it fascinating, & although it is in no way autobiographical as regards events, it gives a very true impersonation of his personality.

Physically, he was a very fine looking man, even in his old age, & with a striking personality to match.

He had a great sense of humour & fun, & was extremely generous to folk worse off than himself – in spite of the fact that he had very little of his own – even the hotel being his wife’s.

Altogether, he was a man of great charm with a tremendous capacity for friendliness, & we were very grieved when he died this summer.

I am enclosing a snap of him with his dog – you must forgive the fact that I am in the picture too!

I’m afraid I’ve not been able to add much to your fact-finding, but maybe I’ve assured you of the charm of his character which is after all more important surely?

With best wishes to you and your husband,

Yours sincerely,

(signed)   Vera Cyster

The photo referred to in the letter was lost to theft some time later.

29.12.62

Dear Mr Goadby,

Very many thanks for your letter.

As you probably gathered from my previous letters, we valued your father’s friendship very highly & were very fond of him, so it has given us quite a thrill to find this new link with him through you.  As a matter of fact, he used to call my husband & I affectionately his “adopted son & daughter”!

It is interesting to find you & he having such similar interests, for although his book gives the impression that angling was his main hobby, his interests were in fact much wider.  He was equally keen on bird-watching & mountaineering – he was keenly interested and had an intense love for Nature in general.  His love of Nature was so profound that he found his greatest peace of mind & spirit alone among his beloved hills. 

In the last few years he had lost his interest in fishing, but remained a splendid golfer & up to 5 or 6 years ago was still doing serious climbing (he was also a wonderful dancer!)

He never lost his sense of wonder at the beauty around him from the delicacy of the minutest wild flower to the grandeur of a storm among the mountain peaks.

His heart was in the Highlands & he had a great fund of folklore which he delighted to tell with enthusiasm & delicious humour.

However, I daresay he will be remembered most for his capacity for friendship.  He was a genius for making people feel wanted & at ease & “at home”.  Earth is the poorer, heaven the richer for his passing.

We would love to meet you sometime – perhaps you could combine a visit here with some Norfolk bird-watching.

My husband is a keen astronomer – do you include that among your interests?

With every good wish to you & your family.

Yours sincerely,

(signed)   Vera Cyster