Reader Pat Clack (née Gibbons) has kindly supplied some memories of her father who served in the First World War. 

He was also a journalist who later became editor of the News & Mail.

Before the Second World War, Pat worked at the Tylers off-licence at 4 Chertsey Road, Woking. 

One of her customers was Dame Ethel Smyth, whose life was featured in Peeps last month.

Pat said her father Reginald Herbert Gibbons was born on May 1, 1888.  

His life before the outbreak of hostilities in 1914 was spent in Maybury. 

His father worked at Colman’s furniture store. 

Reginald started working for Woking District Council in 1904, aged 16.

By 1911, he was working in the Woking area as a journalist. 

He had married Hilda Ilott and they had an eight-month-old daughter named Evelyn. 

The 1911 census lists them living at 69 Eve Road, Woking.

After the First World War broke out, Reginald joined the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), much to the amusement of his four brothers as he had no previous medical experience.

Reginald was based at the Inkerman Barracks Military Hospital at Knaphill. 

After the war, his journalism career took off.

He became the News & Mail’s sports editor – regularly reporting Woking Football Club matches – and later sub-editor and editor. 

Reginald retired from the newspaper in the 1960s, on which occasion he received front-page coverage.

Pat recalls meeting Dame Ethel at Tylers. These meetings were not long before Pat enlisted in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) during the Second World War.

Pat said that when men began to join up for military service, she helped out in Tylers’ shop as well as its office.

She said: “Dame Ethel came in regularly. 

“One day, the manager – Mr Finch – said that I could serve her.

“She came in wearing a ‘pork pie’ hat and a cape and had a large dog with her. 

“It was the only dog that Mr Finch allowed in the shop.

“She was quite chatty and asked about my background. 

“I told her that although I was only aged 17, I was planning to join up when old enough. 

“After that we had bits of conversations. One day she said ‘See you next week’, and I said ‘Well, no, I am enlisting next week’.

“Dame Ethel said she would enquire about my progress and would keep in touch. But sadly she died only a few months later. I joined up on March 8, l944.

“She was a very imposing and gracious lady.”