It was in December 1939, after 45 years in the Merchant Navy, that Mr Dick Hocking, 47 Market Street, Appledore, stepped ashore for the last time.
But even now, at 81, his life is largely governed by the rules of self reliance he learned long ago. He lives alone, cooks his own meals, does his own washing and keeps his home ‘shipshape and Bristol fashion’. So much so that Mrs Jessie Lamey, one of his two daughters, he also has four sons, says that there is never any work for her to do.
Even Mr Hocking’s hobby is a craft that he learned years ago on board ships. He never fails to spend at least two hours each day making rope mats and he is probably among the last exponents of the art. The rudiments he learned as a boy after he left Appledore at the age of 13 for his first voyage in the Annie Laurie. When a Gazette reported called at his home he was putting the finishing touches to an ornate mat that is to be a present for his other daughter, Mrs Coral Cook.
The full Gazette article is dated 1 March 1963