War-time message plea reveals family tradition

07:00 22 February 2012

Ivan Santer with a picture of his father-in-law Dennis McLeod. Photo by Terry Ife ref shs 8444-07-12TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Ivan Santer with a picture of his father-in-law Dennis McLeod. Photo by Terry Ife ref shs 8444-07-12TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Archant

Sidmouth Herald readers helped decorating dad solve mystery

A POLICE officer’s plea over a war-time message has revealed how a family tradition has survived seven decades – and can be found in scores of Sidmouth homes.

Herald readers have helped decorating dad Dave Wallace solve the mystery of a hand-written memo he discovered while stripping wallpaper in his house.

Dave, 46, uncovered a note, penned by Dennis McLeod in September 1944, that read: “Germany is on the run at last. It won’t be long now.”

Relatives of Dennis, who died in 1984, say the painter and decorator, from Brewery Lane, always left a unique and topical remark – and his descendents have continued the trait to this day.

“As a family, we’ve carried on the tradition of writing on the walls every time a room is decorated, which is an ongoing source of great amusement and nostalgia,” said Dennis’ grandson, Paul Santer.

“There’s houses all over Sidmouth with these messages - he was quite a character,” said Dennis’ son-in-law Ivan Santer, 82, of Winslade Road.

“They are always topical comments on things happening at the time.

“I’ve been in this house since 1956 and dare not move as there’s too much under the wallpaper!”

The painting and decorating profession still runs through the family.

Ivan’s grandson, Adrian Baker, 28, of Ottery, has taken on the trade.

Ivan’s youngest daughter, Lesley Rule, married painter and decorator Nick.

Both Adrian and Nick adhere to the family tradition.

Dennis McLeod ran the family painting, decorating and signwriting business in Sidmouth with his younger brother, Malcolm.

The firm was started by their dad, HG McLeod, and became established as one of the most reputable and professional decorating firms in the town.

Dennis played rugby for Sidmouth, fought in the First World War and joined the ranks of the Home Guard during World War Two, while also entertaining American troops stationed locally with music and comedy routines.

He lived in Brewery Lane with wife, Nel, and the couple had a daughter, Joan, who died in 2006.

0 comments

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 09:21
Exmouth's county  election map?

Exmouth’s influence on county bosses could be blunted under plans to redraw the electoral map.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:00
Budleigh Salterton beach.

Budleigh Salterton beach is still at risk of failing new water quality tests, the Environment Agency has warned.

Read more
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Anna Reffell and Lee Atkinson, who are getting married on a cycle from John O'Groats to Lands End.

An Exmouth couple are preparing to tie the knot on a two-wheeled adventure - when they get married during a charity cycle ride.

Read more
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Dan Lavery of the Devon Freewheelers. Ref exe 1231-13-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Dan Lavery is determined Devon Freewheelers will help save lives – as a Belfast ‘hidden hero’ undoubtedly helped saved wife Shelley’s life in 2005.

Read more
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Image of the proposed new building at St Peter's Primary School.

A major expansion is beginning at St Peter’s Primary School this week - as builders move in to begin work on new classrooms.

Read more
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Sam Bader

Dad-of-one Sam Bader, 28, who grew up in Ottery St Mary, supports Devon Freewheelers by sponsoring one of the motorbikes, Bravo One.

Read more
Friday, May 22, 2015
EDDC's Knowle HQ. Ref shs 7705-15-12SH Picture: Simon Horn

Independent councillors call for extraordinary meeting to debate the office relocation

Read more
Friday, May 22, 2015
Hospiscare's mascot Ella the Owl visits the Archant Exeter office to thank the company for supporting the charity's Twilight Walk fundraising walk at Exmouth in July. Photo: Paul Strange.

Ella the Owl visited the Journal offices on Friday as she gears up for the Twilight Walk on Saturday, July 11.

Read more
Friday, May 22, 2015
Fran Rose with her daughter Lucy in her previous electric wheelchair

A housebound Topsham woman, whose electric wheelchair broke down, is looking for a replacement to allow her to get out and about again.

Read more
Friday, May 22, 2015

The new co-ordinators of the Budleigh Salterton Voluntary Car Service are making an appeal for more drivers to come forward.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 12°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life
Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition today E-edition



Exmouth's trusted business finder