In 1938, returning to Clapham Road from a trip to French battlefields of World War I, Ted heard of Neville Chamberlain's discussions with Hitler in Germany, and his famous announcement, "peace in our time!" In 1939, Ted was awarded a two-week trip to central Canada by the W.H. Rhodes Educational Trust; on the train to Montreal to sail back to England, he heard the announcement that German aircraft had attacked Poland and been fired at. Susan remembers a World War I officer saying, "I hope you fellows don't have to go through what we went through."
Blacked out, repainted in gray camouflage, the ship arrived in Liverpool just four hours before war was declared. On board, Ted had met a "certain Girl Guide Captain, Edith Wilson," foster child of her aunt and uncle in Hamilton, Ontario.
Having passed his Higher School Certificate, Ted volunteered to become an Air Force meteorologist. Refused because of his ear surgery, It "wasn't a disappointment, because I got to find something else to do!" "Something else" meant joining the Signals Corp, but this time Ted was told he was too young. He got a job in the Chemical Inspection Department (C.I.D.) of the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, London, doing chemical analysis of high explosives. An obvious target in the 1940 Blitz, the C.I.D. was evacuated to Slough, near Windsor. On December 12, 1940, Ted signed up for the Signals Corp, and was sent to "boot camp" in Wales, training previously experienced as a cadet at school.
Ted and Edith became engaged in 1941, just before Ted boarded a troop ship for India. On board, Ted "picked up a book by John Hadham, 'Good God!' and I followed that up with 'God in a World of War.'" (Reflecting on her current reading, Susan lists 'The Other Bible,' the Gnostic Gospels, Dead Sea Scrolls, Visionary Wisdom Texts, Christian Apocrypha, Jewish Pseudepigrapha, Kabbala, and the National Geographic Geography of Religion: "There's so much to read! One book leads to another through bibliography...")
Commissioned as a British Army Royal Corps of Signals Staff Captain, Ted served in India until his return to England on VE Day, May 8, 1945. He and Edith married in June of 1945, but because the war continued in the Pacific, Ted was still on "active duty." Captain Westall was sent to Hanover, Germany, where he commanded the main switchboard between London and the British Army's German headquarters and trained German telephone operators. A friend told Ted he should go into teaching: Susan grins, "That's the last thing I thought of!"
Demobbed at the end of 1946, Ted went back to England to confront the future. "What do I do now? What I used to do? Chemistry!" Then, "No, this job is not for me, I'm interested in people." Taking his friend's advice, Ted got a job as a temporary teacher with the London County Council while he waited to get into College.
Pregnant with the couple's first child, Edith went to visit her foster parents in Hamilton. (Julie was born there in 1948, and Wendy in 1952.) In London, Ted saw a sign encouraging emigration to Ontario, inquired, and was told, as an analytical chemist, "You'll do." "I told Edith, 'Don't worry about coming back. I'm coming over!" They met in Toronto in November, 1947, and Ted went to the Department of Education, where the Minister enabled Ted's transfer from his English training school to Hamilton Normal School, as Teachers' Colleges were then known. "It didn't worry me because I'd already taught in East London."
Years of teaching with the Hamilton Board of Education began: Grade 6 at Central School came first, where "we were making models with asbestos powder!" Ted was also asked to do vocal music. After a stint as Principal's Assistant in two schools, in 1951 Ted was appointed to Tweedsmuir School to teach vocal music. ("As a boy, I'd enjoy evenings around the piano with my aunt. I had an offer to go to St. Paul's Cathedral (London), but my Father refused, and I'm glad he did. I'd done a little singing, had a music group at Normal School, and had been invited to join the choir at the Church of the Ascension.") Remaining at Tweedsmuir until 1957, Ted "dabbled in piano, but I wanted to get into high school, teaching Geography, but it was all Social Studies. So I wanted to do Math. I had done vocal and instrumental classes, and applied to teach Music outside the city, but I was offered the Math job at Delta (High School)....
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