Picture Story by Johnny Campbell

THOSE WERE THE DAYS... Johnny Campbell (on left), aged just 18 months, pictured alongside his cousin, Paddy Dillon, in 1921.
THOSE WERE THE DAYS... Johnny Campbell (on left), aged just 18 months, pictured alongside his cousin, Paddy Dillon, in 1921.

This photograph of well-known Derry man Johnny Campbell - grandfather of Derry Journal reporter Julieann Campbell - with his cousin Paddy Dillon was taken in the early 1920s.

Johnny - now aged 92 and living in England - was born in April 1920 in his aunt and uncle’s house at Fountain Hill in the Waterside.

Johnny lived with his granny and Aunt Minnie at 5 Herbert Street - a long gone street in the Waterside.

As he reveals in his remarkable memoir, ‘Those Were The Days’: “I was left there at about 12 months old and I stayed with them until I married. It goes without saying I loved them very much.”

He goes on: “I had five brothers and four sisters and I was the eldest. Kate was born in 1922, Mary in 1923, Tommy in 1925, Willie in 1928, Eileen in 1931, Paddy in 1932, Dinny in 1935, Hughie in 1940 and, finally, Ann in 1942.

“They all lived with my mother at 90 Chapel Road. Except me. I was living in Herbert Street with granny and aunt Minnie. They were two lovely people, though, and I was well fed and clothed.

“My grandmother had worked as a seamstress and Minnie was a machinst at Ebrington Factory. I’ve been so lucky that I’ve had so many lovely women in my life.”

Johnny adds: “My earliest memory is snuggling up to my grandmother. I must have been about 16 months old and listening to her teaching me my prayers.

“Although I was much too young to remember which prayers, my granny always prayed at night. She said we have to pray for the seamen - they have a hard life and a perilous one.

“Our bedroom window used to rattle with the high winds and the rain thumped against the glass. I vowed never to be a seaman.”

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