War-time message plea reveals family tradition

PUBLISHED: 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, 12:30

Police say vandals have targeted a church in Exmouth, leaving a trail of damage.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:16

On this week in 1944: Extracts from the Exmouth Journal, printed March, 25 1944.

Read more
Yesterday, 06:30

Police are appealing for information after two vehicle-related incidents in Budleigh Salterton.

Read more
Wed, 18:02

Cranbrook then and now - an interactive look at the new town development. (Follow the link and scroll down to see our interactive maps).

Read more
Wed, 15:52

More than 50 submissions have been received after district bosses asked for ideas about the possible return of a café to Orcombe Point.

Read more
Wed, 15:09

An Exmouth bank has raised vital funds for a charity which supports suicide-bereaved families.

Read more
Wed, 12:48

Scores of customers were greeted with Easter eggs and champagne as they queued for the opening of the M&S Foodhall in Exmouth yesterday (Wednesday).

Read more
Wed, 12:45

Crews praised for saving ‘high sentimental value’ items in Newton Poppleford thatch-roof fire.

Read more
Wed, 10:18

This photo shows the aftermath of a major fire which has destroyed a thatched-roof home in Newton Poppleford.

Read more
Wed, 10:00

An Exmouth historian has called for the town to recognise its first-ever OBE recipient - 100 years on.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 9°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Local business directory

Exmouth's trusted business finder

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications