About C J Littlejohns
learn more about his work, life and aspirations.
Cecil John Littlejohns (CJL) was born and brought up in Upper Killay, Swansea, South Wales and went to Gowerton School from 1927 to 1934. He was an able all round pupil, academically sound, winning cups for cross country running and was a keen musician and member of the school orchestra. However he was not destined to go onto further education. He left school to become a long distance lorry driver taking fruit and vegetables from Swansea to Covent Garden in London.
At the start of the second world war CJL volunteered for the army and enlisted as a private in the South Wales Borderers. His aptitude for hard work and learning new skills was soon recognised and he was transferred to officer training school at Brecon. He was invited to stay on as a trainer but he felt that his duty to his country required active service and he transferred to the 2nd Battalion the Royal Welch Fusiliers. He saw active service in Burma from 1942 to 1945. In 1943 as a Lieutenant he was decorated for gallantry, winning the Military Cross.He completed his active service when the Burmese campaign was won. During that period he was promoted to Captain. At the end of the campaign he was promoted again to Major and regimental adjutant and was present during the last days of the British presence in India serving in Calcutta.
Three themes dominated the rest of his life.
Work – He established a tyre fitting and distributing company – presumably inspired by his experience of long distance driving and the emerging importance of road travel for pleasure and business. He provided a service to private customers but also to commercial fleets of cars and lorries and in the early days spent many cold winter evenings changing lorry tyres on the snow covered Brecon Beacons. His business expanded and he added depots in Swansea and Carmarthen to the initial one in Gorseinon. However changing tyres was to prove more dangerous than the second world war and he lost one eye when a tractor tyre exploded. However the business thrived and he eventually sold it to the French company Michelin in the late 1970s.
Family – He married Hazel Margaret Rocket and they had two sons John and Peter. One of CJL's proudest moments was when his eldest son joined him as a deacon in Siloam Baptist Church Killay, as he himself had been a deacon with his father. John was to follow his father into the family business. CJL admitted one significant regret about his life – he wished that he could have gone to University - so he encouraged his youngest son Peter in his studies and was delighted to see him qualify as a doctor in 1979. In 1959 Hazel developed what was later confirmed as Multiple Sclerosis. However this did not stop CJL and his wife enjoying a full life together and he soon became adept at moving a wheelchair over all terrains. Over the years its increasingly battered form visited many countries of the world.
Public service – CJL was secretary and deacon of Siloam Baptist Chapel for over 30 years. In the 1970s he was made a Justice of the Peace. - He was most actively involved with the juvenile court and concentrated on working with young offenders. He actively supported many local charities and good causes especially Killay Orphanage.
With the sale of the family business a well earned retirement beckoned, but this was not to be. During a trip with his youngest son, a diagnosis of heart disease was made. Later that year during a coronary artery bypass operation at the Brompton Hospital (which was completely successful) disseminated kidney cancer was unexpectedly discovered.He was immediately transferred post operatively to the Royal Marsden Cancer Hospital next door. However CJL decided to fight the cancer in his own way. After an initial period of treatment he declined prolonged chemotherapy and spent the last 2 years of his life traveling the world with his friends and family. He died a few days after his 67th birthday.
Cecil lived a full life, and this prize will ensure his legacy has an effect beyond his time.
'Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.'
Dylan Thomas, Welsh poet writes about the death of his father