Portrait of Joe’s life at Peverel court care

Learning the stories of our resident’s lives and celebrating their achievements is one of the greatest joys in all of our Peverel Court Care homes. Read on to discover more about Joe’s remarkable life.

Discovering our resident’s life stories is one of the most wonderful aspects of supporting them in their latter years. Lives that have been lived to the full, with twists and turns, achievements, joys and sadnesses, weave together to create a tapestry that is unique to each individual. We aim to celebrate this glorious individuality in everyday life in all of our care homes, with the knowledge of the person that we gain from talking to them and their family being absolutely fundamental to us providing truly person and relationship centred care.


Residents who’ve lived in different parts of the country and had interesting work experiences teach us a lot about what life used to be like. These are fascinating insights that our younger staff in particular are often captivated by, and Jo’s story is one such example.


Joe has lived at Merryfield since February 2022. He was in the Navy during the Second World War, worked at the Morris Motors car factory in Oxford and has been the lead singer in a band. Joe has kindly shared his story with us as follows:



“I was born in Rossington, Yorkshire on 25th May 1926. Rossington was a mining village near Doncaster.


My Mother, Fanny, lived in Yorkshire. My Father Wilfred was a coal miner whose job was known as a ‘Sinker’ because he was the first person to dig the hole in the ground. I was the eldest of three children; my brother Bill and sister Yvonne have sadly died now.


I went to Rossington Grammer School, a huge school where the girls and boys were separated. I enjoyed playing cricket and football and learnt to dance. When I was 13 I did junior coal mining, but my father didn’t want me to go into mining full time. I also worked on a farm harvesting. At 14 I was Head Boy and the Second World War had just broken out.


I have fond memories of Yorkshire and I like to chat about life there. I remember going to ‘The Pictures’ when a new cinema was built during the war. It was called The Hippodrome and about 5000 people went there a week. I went with my family regularly, there were always cowboy films, Westerns and musicals to watch. I particularly liked the cowboy films. 




I joined the Navy aged 16 as an Apprentice Motor Mechanic. My first ship was a minesweeper ship – it’s still a very dangerous job! I served in the Navy on three different minesweepers. I even went to Singapore, meeting Prince Phillip when he came to inspect my ship. I left the Navy in 1947 having achieved the rank of Chief Petty Officer. 

I then moved to Oxfordshire so I could get a job at the Morris Motors car factory with my Uncle Pete who lived in Marston, Oxford. When I moved to Marston I fell in love with the neighbour’s daughter, Aileen, and she would later become my wife. We were married in July 1949 and had three sons Peter, Paul and Phillip. Aileen and I always said it was an easy job labelling their school clothes as they were all P.Burton!



I worked in the car factory in Oxford for 34 years, leaving the job as a Superintendent of The Trim Shop in 1984. I then worked for a kitchen unit manufacturer in Abingdon for 10 years and Thames Valley Saws as a delivery driver. I eventually retired aged 86 having worked for a total of 72 years!

I have a very close relationship with my sons and my grandchildren and they all visit me regularly. I was very close to my wife; I like to talk about her and sometimes I forget that she has died.

I’ve had many hobbies and interests throughout my life including the snooker club, sports, animals and gardening. I’ve always liked cars too. As soon as I was anywhere near a car I knew my bearings and I knew how to make them go! 

Music is my biggest passion though. I was the lead singer in a band called The Wayferers. We met at the Munchery Farm Country Club and formed our band, going on to sing in clubs in and around Oxford.  One of my favourite songs is ‘Only you’ by The Platters

Joe’s wonderful story now continues with the support of our Merryfield colleagues. Joe says of living at Merryfield:

I like joining in with the activities at Merryfield, especially when singers visit, and participating in reading, painting, scrabble, bingo, and watching snooker and films. I like to go out to the pub for lunch and a pint.”

With Joe’s varied career background, we’ve been really keen to gather his thoughts on being in the military, singing in The Wayferers and what his favourite memories of Yorkshire are.

We caught up with Joe to find out more about his life and his thoughts:


Joe, what was life like living on a warship?

“Living on a warship was pretty rough! My memories of the Navy are that you cleaned anything that could be scrubbed and you looked shiny! You were always on high alert as you were constantly put on quick short runs of trouble. You never knew when you would get bombed – my area was a hot target for the Germans.”

What are your fondest memories of Doncaster? What was the best thing about growing up, living and working in Doncaster?

“It had a mighty good Air Force, a good town centre, a football pitch, rugby pitch and there was always something going on in the community, whether it was horse racing or special events. I remember when they opened the pictures (cinema) – it was the place to be! Doncaster was just an all-rounder of a town with lots of variety. It was a smashing town for me.”

What did you sing in The Wayferers band? 

“Oh yes the Wayfarers! [laughing]. All the songs we enjoyed singing were either Naval or what was popular at the time. People would stand up and shout song requests at us.”

Joe, having had three children, what would be your advice for parents today?

“Stay true to yourself and your personality. Try to better what your children are learning by sharing your own experiences. And know your place, especially in Yorkshire!” [laughing]


A huge thank you to Joe for sharing his story with us.


About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business. Providing exceptional, personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

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