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Joe Duffin.

Joseph David Duffin & Helenor Eliza Purser had one son, Joseph Francis Duffin, he grew up first in Willesden then when he was about 10 the family moved to a brand new house, bought off the plan directly from the builder, this was Number 32 Lewis Crescent in the rapidly expanding  suburb of Neasden. A brand new house within walking distance of work, must have been quite a change from Talbot Road in Willesden.

Having grown up in 1930's Britain Joe must have thought himself lucky to have found a job after leaving school at 14. He worked for Odhams Press a book and magazine publisher, presumably in whatever the lowest rank of "Office Boy" was back then. His job would have been to lick out the waste bins and ashtrays or some such task. Whatever he did he must have done it well, as in the mid 1980's he retired from a very senior position in Mirror Group Newspapers.

Joe's rise through the ranks was to some degree disrupted by World War 2, though having one's career interrupted sure beats having one's life interrupted. Along with everyone else when he turned 18 his conscription papers arrived. This presumably would have been 1943/4 and there was still some degree of choice as to what branch of the services you were conscripted into.


Dad had a life-long love of the sea, so he chose the Royal Navy.  This seems like a very canny choice to me. Unlike the army, the Navy has no use for untrained cannon-fodder, everyone on a ship has a specific job. Joe's choice was to train as a Naval Electrician, another canny choice, you can not train an electrician overnight, and each day training on land is one day less getting shot at . Once the D-day landings had successfully happened it must have been clear to all what the final outcome of the war would be. It was a matter of time and whether a short time or a long one the day would come when civvy life could re-start, the trick was to not get killed or maimed first!!

Whilst stationed at Rosyth, on the Forth near Edinburgh, Joe met Marguerite Cameron who he subsequently married, however more on that later.

Joe Duffin 1928 ( ish )

After the war Joe went back to Odhams Press, presumably in a slightly more senior role, and continued working himself up through the company. Marguerite by then a qualified teacher moved down to London getting a teaching post in a school in Harrow. Long distance relationships might be difficult now, they were out of the question in post-war Britain! Joe's family home in Neasden was not far from Harrow so they were able to spend time together whilst they saved up to be able to afford to get married and have somewhere to live. Joe was living at home with his Mum & Dad, Marguerite was "IN Digs" as it was called at the time.


Digs involved living in someone's spare room, having some off your meals provided in return normally for a modest rent.  From a parental point of view "Digs" has a lot going for it, especially for single girls. You knew that your daughter was getting at least one decent meal per day and lived in accommodation of a reasonable standard but more important, if your daughter was getting up to the wrong things, one could pretty much rely on most landladies to let you know.

Joe Duffin with sons Michael & Neil around 1958.

This concludes the "Pursers " section of the website. The Continue button takes you to the start of the section on Joe, Marguerite and the current generations. This section is hosted with the Cameron section so the Master Menu will not display the Purser pages, to get back to the Purser section use the links below.

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