AN EVENING Times reader researching her father’s family history is hoping fans of Thanks for the Memories can help solve a mystery.

Helen Windsor, whose dad Philip Kelly was born in George Street in 1918, has been working on his memoirs for 12 years.

“My dad had written his memoirs in secret, all on a manual typewriter, and they had been hidden away in a cupboard since he died in 1983,” says Helen.

“About 12 years ago, I came across them again and I thought – right, I’m going to sort these out.

“And it has been really fascinating. There are about 17 chapters’ worth and my research has even taken me down to the National Archives in Kew three times. He was a real character and led a great life.”

But in the course of looking into the people and places her dad mentions, Helen has hit a stumbling block.

“As a teenager in and around the Springburn and Townhead areas, he was friends with a boxer called JP Boyle, a Scottish welterweight champion, and his brother Callum,” she explains.

“I cannot find any details about Callum Boyle anywhere. I was wondering whether Evening Times readers might know family and friends of the Boyles who are still around, or even have expert knowledge of boxing practices during that era?”

She adds: “My dad writes that Callum was shot down in RAF raids in France but I have been looking into war records and can’t find a single thing. It’s a real mystery but I won’t give up…”

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Philip spent his teenage years in Springburn, and in his memoirs, he talks about leaving school (or, as he says, ‘handing in his notice at St Mungo’s Academy’) and going to James Watt College in Greenock to study morse code.

He began his seagoing career with Anchor Line as a radio officer in early 1939 and he served on both the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mary, where he reached the position of second radio officer. On leaving the Merchant Navy, he became a landlord in Southampton.

His memoirs are packed with interesting details about Glasgow’s history and the ordinary lives of city people before, during and after the Second World War.

“Glasgow had flourished and grown until the end of the First World War, then poverty and terrible depression struck as I entered the world and lasted until I was 14,” he writes. “However, with poverty came great neighbourliness and honesty.

“Everyone used a common check key to their house. A halfpenny key gifted access to every home, but housebreaking was unheard of.”

Philip tells funny and moving stories about his mum, Helen – who was known as Nellie – doing her washing at the local steamie, and his dad Frank, a skilled steel dresser, who had to walk for miles every day in search of work.

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He also reveals his love of holidaying to Kirn, a seaside village near Dunoon, and to Crieff, which is where his mother was born

Researching the memoirs is a labour of love for Helen, who has tracked down friends and family members as far afield as Australia.

Recently, she visited Glasgow to see where her father lived on George Street, and walked his route to school.

“My dad was a proud Glasgow man,” smiles Helen. “It was lovely to spend time in the city he loved.”

She adds: “I’m hoping someone, somewhere in Glasgow might be able to provide some more information about JP Boyle and his brother Callum.”

If you can help Helen, email her on

If you would like to share your stories and photos of old Glasgow and its people, email or write to Ann Fotheringham, Evening Times, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB.