I have put this up before evidently because I had an answer to it from the old forum so just in case anyone cant find the tale I have put it here again and I leave it up to Admin if they want to delete it.
“Nellie” The Elephant.
This memento will be staying in the family as a heirloom and it was through “Nellie” that I started collecting treen ( which is anything made from wood ) mainly of beautifully carved animals bought for me by many folks from many countries worldwide.
“Nellie” the Elephant
I used to go round the schools or to re-enactment venues to talk to children about life during WW2 and I took the elephant below to show them. The children were fascinated hearing the story about “Nellie” and loved to see the man spin round on the top of the trunk.
There is no mechanism and it is just by balancing as shown.
“Nellie” was sent from Burma in 1942 by my eldest brother who was in the RAF. When he had leave he bought this elephant to send her home to my parents.
Unfortunately “Nellie” got caught in a bombing raid that damaged quite a bit of Mount Pleasant Post Office in London.
When she finally reached us in Loughborough her trunk was off plus her tusks were missing .
My father glued the trunk and God knows what he glued it with because its still stuck to this day.
No superglue then but whatever it was it certainly made a good job of “Nellie’s” trunk.
She stood for many years balancing the man on top of her trunk on my parents window sill but still minus tusks.
When it was handed down to me we were not very flush with money and I had saved enough to go and get myself a new blouse and skirt but passing a jewellers window I spotted two necklaces that had a nacre ( mother-of-pearl ) tusk hanging on them.
I am allergic to any metal which includes gold and silver and cannot even wear my wedding ring because it makes my fingers swell. IF ever I did wear it to a special do such as weddings and such like I could guarantee it would start a rash and various swellings and I would certainly pay the price for wearing it and that was why my hubby wondered why I was fascinated with the necklaces because he knew I could not wear them.
Anyway I went in and bought both the necklaces and the look on the jewellers face when taking them off him after payment I said “My lovely elephant will be whole at last.” He was quite intrigued with the story after I explained why I wanted them.
I wasn’t interested in the 9carat gold chains they were threaded on I just wanted the tusks.
Hubby put the tusks in the holes where the original ones should have gone and ‘Hey Presto’ here is “Nellie” below in all her glory.
She has been a great conversation piece no matter who calls and children are fascinated watching the man spin on the top. She will definitely be staying in the family.
Here she is in all her glory, now aged 78 at the time of posting this here.
Much to my wonderment since Christmas of year 2018 I have found out why my brother sent the elephant as a memento.
Someone who had read the tale of “Nellie” elsewhere invited me to join an RAF group to tell them about her because they wanted to see “Nellie”.
This I did with a photo of the crew plus ground crew .
One of the group got back to me and said “Oh you mean Squadron 27 called the Flying Elephants”
This was the first I had ever heard about them being known as that but I have a feeling that my brother bought “Nellie” in honour of his comrades .
His daughter has since sent me scans of two Christmas menus that her Dad brought back from Burma one for 1944 and the other for 1945 with his comrades signatures on and she has also sent me a scan of the 4 medals he got including the Burma Star.
I was overjoyed to find out that Squadron 27 that my brother was in were called the Flying Elephants.
I was told that every squadron had an animal or bird as their insignia.
Unfortunately this lovely brother of mine came back a different man to when he first went in the RAF and used to have horrific nightmares and became very aggressive.
He died some years ago and this was the same brother who is mentioned in the book I wrote who bought me a lovely tea set the week I was born and who pulled me off the chair in his aggressiveness when I was sewing a button on my coat way back in 1949.