Dorothy Marjorie JONES (née CUMMING, aka Marj) [1911-1985]

Submitted by Admin on Sun, 06/02/2013 - 15:46
Dorothy Marjorie
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(Day & Month are approximate.)

Wife of R E Jones.

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Dorothy Marjorie Cumming (Marj) married Raymond on October 1939.

They left the UK in late November planning to spend a week's honeymoon at the Mount Lavinia Hotel in Colombo, Ceylon, en route to Hong Kong.  The ship which was due to take them on to Hong Kong from Colombo failed to arrive as it was diverted for war service.  They were 'stranded' at the Mount Lavinia for several weeks until they were able to get berths on a French boat.  The ship was described as disgusting by Marj but delivered them to Saigon where they spent a very pleasant week, reminding Marj so much of Paris which she had visited as a teenager.  

They arrived in Hong Kong on 7 January 1940 and moved in to Prison Officer quarters at Stanley. My father's amah Ah Yam (always known as Garso) welcomed Marj and guided her through the first days of life in the tropics.  Garso remained with the family as our No. 1 amah until we finally left Hong Kong in the late 1950s.

By May 1940 Marj was pregnant and it was as a result of this that she was evacuated, very reluctantly, to Australia. The evacuation happened later in 1940 when it seemed a Japanese attack on Hong Kong was imminent.

The evacuated women and children first arrived in the Phillipines where they were 'guests' of the US military for several weeks in very basic accommodation for some of the time. Some of their stories of this time were hilarious and showed a remarkable spirit!

The US military finally demanded that the British government move them on and when they arrived in Darwin they realised their final destination was Australia.  My mother and her close group, mainly wives and children of prison officers, opted to go on to Sydney.  There they were settled in Bondi sharing accommodation in the Buckingham Flats. 

Rae was born at the Royal North Shore Hospital Crows on 22 January 1941.

When Hong Kong was liberated most of the evacuees chose to return directly to Hong Kong to join their husbands. Marj chose to return to England specifically to check on her widower father who lived in Skegness.

Raymond and Marj were reunited in Lincoln. It was during this time that Raymond's affair with G was revealed and the incident with the diary happened and we believed it had been destroyed.

Marj, Rae and Raymond returned to Hong Kong as soon as Raymond's health permitted. Their first home was at Stanley as Raymond was still a prison officer and Garso was reunited with the family. He soon transferred to PWD and the family moved to Kennedy Road flats and then to a house in Wongneichong Road.

Determined to work on the survival of their marriage, Marj gave birth two her second daughter Diana at Queen Mary's Hospital in December 1951 believing that this aspect of life would help Raymond and their relationship. They led a busy social life and were a popular couple thanks to Marj. 

For a few years Marj was manager of the lingerie department at Whiteways & Laidlaw, her philosophy being that a woman should if possible have some independent means.

When Raymond died Marj settled in Isleworth in the UK. She was only in her 40s. She never really settled in England.  Marj returned to Hong Kong for several visits after she was widowed, specifically to check on Garso's welfare.  Garso never worked again as an amah, lived in Wanchai supported by family. She supported Marj (Missy) through the ups and downs of married life.  The two women had a very special relationship.

Marj died in 1985  and is buried in the pretty church yard at Thrumpton in the village where Rae lives.

Marj was a quietly strong woman, uncomplaining, loyal and full of common sense.  She only ever loved one man.

Thanks Rae, it's good to get a better idea of your mother and her strengths, not just the brief mentions we read in your father's diary.

Best regards, David