Local Face: Tony Tyson

  |  Published: Mar 1st 2008
Tony Tyson
Tony Tyson

Tony Tyson was born in Liverpool in February 1921 and moved to Farnborough Hants aged two. His father was advised to live in a drier and warmer climate so with a friend, David Garnet (who wrote Aspects of Love)  they went to the Cote D’Azur setting up an antique shop then a restaurant and bar called the Rendezvous in Vence  just above Nice.  Tony went to school there and soon became fluent in French meeting some very interesting people: Sir Hugo de Bath who was Lilly Langtry’s husband,  D.H. Lawrence and his wife Frieda, and P.G. Wodehouse to name just a few.  In Vence there was no Anglican Church.  The mayor of Vence gave them a piece of land and in 1929 a church was built and is still in use today.  Tony’s first job in any church was in Vence; handing out the prayer and hymn books.


Then in 1933 his mother, aged 36, and Grandmother died.  The financial crash came and his father had to close the Rendezvous.  He returned to England and Tony was left to live with an “Aunt” in Cannes. At a new school he went as a boarder for the first year and then as a dayboy until 1938 when he returned to England.  He was not able to finish his education in France and had no certificates to prove what standard he had reached. He joined the Royal Air Force but, colour blind, he could not fly as a crew member so he joined the medical branch and first came to RAF Halton in the last two months of 1938 to train as a nursing assistant.


There was an Anglican church in a hangar, and he got to know Wendover very well.  From Halton he was posted to RAF Locking.  On 1 September Tony was posted to 13(ac) squadron at RAF Odiham in Hants, employed as an interpreter as well as doing  medical duties.  During the war he served in France and on air sea rescue in the North Sea.   His French also came in very useful during the war.


Tony returned to Halton in 1946 and in 1947 met and married a Wendover girl, Gladys Davis, who sadly died in 1990.  He went to Egypt but was called back after a year to go and set up a medical unit in Fontainbleau just south of Paris.  There was a protestant church in Fontainbleau which he attended.  They stayed there for 4 years and came back to England in 1952. He was awarded the Order of St. John for Services to Humanity.  Through the RAF he was able to train and become a State Registered Nurse.  After a while he came back to Halton as a Nurse Tutor and was due to leave the RAF in October 1962.  The local health authority wanted to employ a male district nurse and he was employed in Aylesbury as a District Nurse (the first and as far as he knows the only male district nurse so employed). He then went to London and did Cytology training and worked in Pathology for 23 years.


Tony retired in 1986. He  thought it seemed silly going to St George’s in Halton and felt he should attend St Mary’s in Wendover, and soon became very much involved in  the church.  On Saturdays and Sundays the church would be open for visitors and someone would be on duty to show people around.  One Saturday when he was on duty a very lovely lady came in and they got talking.  The rest is history as they say.  Tony and Aileen have now been married for 14 years.  They love the church and the idea of Churches Together.  They also love Wendover very much indeed.


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