Jack Sails To America

Jack aboard the Queen Mary

My grandfather, John (Jack) Gilbert Mollekin, wished to meet his granddaughter, Linda K. Kennedy, before he died.  Linda’s mother, Beryl, died just fours days after Linda was born.  John worked for an additional two years which enabled him to make two or three visits to America, each visit lasting for a number of months.  John even got married on one of these visits.  Below is a combination of three newspaper articles which describe the occasion of John meeting his granddaughter for the first time.


Jack Mollekin, 65, a retired railways employee from Yorkshire, England, arrived in New York Tuesday aboard the Queen Mary to begin the land leg of his journey to Tennessee. Mollekin is making the trip the trip to see his granddaughter, Linda K. Kennedy, 17, for the first time. Linda’s mother moved to Tennessee but died at childbirth and Mollekin resolved to see his granddaughter before he died. Linda now lives in Hampton, Tennessee.


NEW YORK (AP) – An Englishman arrived yesterday on the liner Queen Mary en route to Hampton, Tennessee, to see his 17-year old granddaughter for the first time.

He is Jack Mollekin, 65, a retired British Railways employee, of Yorkshire, England.

His daughter is Linda K. Kennedy, a student at Hampton High School.

Her mother-Mollekin’s daughter-died in childbirth in Johnson City, Tennessee. Her name was Beryl Marjory Mollekin. She was married to a member of the U.S. Air Force, Andrew (Jack) Kennedy in England in 1945.

Queen Mary


She joined him at his East Tennessee home, after his return from overseas. Kennedy has since remarried.

Mollekin’s wife died 11 years ago without seeing her granddaughter. The grandfather resolved to see her before he died and saved his money until he could afford the trip.

‘I have seen hundreds of photos of my granddaughter,’ said Mollekin, a trim, smiling Englishman in an interview aboard the Queen Mary. ‘I have seen her grow up from a baby in pictures.’

He planned to board a (Trailways) bus at 9.30 p.m. EDT


Eyes were suspiciously bright as a handsome, well – groomed grandfather arrived yesterday to see his granddaughter after travelling more than 3,000 miles by sea and land to realise a long-cherished dream.

The grandfather is Jack Mollekin, 65, from Yorkshire, England, who began his trip to Hampton, Tennessee on June 19. He arrived in New York City on the liner Queen Mary on June 25, took the first bus out, arriving at the local Bus Terminal at 12:40 p.m. yesterday.

Linda K. and Jack

And awaiting him in a state of extreme excitement was the lovely granddaughter, Linda Kay Kennedy, with who he has kept in close touch all through her 17 years.

A war time romance ended when Linda’s mother died in childbirth. She had joined her husband Andre “Jack” Kennedy here after his discharge from the Armed Forces, and in giving birth to the baby, Mrs. Beryl Marjory Mollekin Kennedy died in a Johnson City Hospital.

Mollekin, a retired British Railways employee, resolved many years ago to make the trip to America to visit his granddaughter. His wife died 11 years ago before the two of them had an opportunity to come to this country, but the grandfather’s resolve held firm.

“Seeing him is wonderful,” said Linda, whose beaming smile and happy expression told their own story. Mollekin said, “She looks like her mother.” and there is a striking resemblance to the grandfather.

The trim, well-dressed Englishman said that he had met many Americans on the Queen Mary and was impressed with their friendliness. He though the scenery between here and New York Cirt quite beautiful, but from Bristol on his excitement mounted until he could hardly await his arrival in Elizabethton.

Newspaper personnel and photographers from the entire area were on hand to witness the first meeting of a grandfather she had long to see. They were not disappointed since it was a human interest story of the ecstatic happiness of two persons, separated for all of Linda’s years by the Atlantic Ocean.

Linda’s father was a member of the U.S. Air Force when he met and married Marjory Mollekin, and he was on hand to welcome Mr. Mollekin. Kennedy has since remarried. And also present for the memorable occasion was Linda’s paternal grandmother, Mrs. Elizabeth Kennedy, who appeared quite happy to see that5 the dream of her granddaughter and the maternal grandfather had at last come true.

The two principals in the meeting recognized each other instantly, and Linda was enfolded in the arms of the grandfather she had longed to see. It was definitely a beaming grandfather who held her off to get a good look at Linda in person.

Mollekin expects to remain in this country until the latter part of August. He will no doubt take back to England with him a fond recollection of the warm welcome and hospitality accorded him here.

In an interview aboard the Queen Mary, the visitor told reporters that he had seen hundreds of photos f his granddaughter and said, “I have seen her grow from a baby in pictures.”



ELIZABETHTON – “It’s just wonderful, seeing him at last,” said 17-year-old Linda Kennedy, of Hampton, as she planted a kiss on the cheek of her grandfather, newly arrived here from England.

Jack Mollekin stepped from a Trailways bus at 12:40 p.m. here, where smiling and happy, he fulfilled his dream to see his granddaughter before he died.

The 65-year-old retired British railways employee from Yorkshire, England, travelled for one week over land and sea to meet his kin.

Linda said she and her grandfather have been corresponding through the years, and he has seen hundreds of pictures of here.

She has been looking forward to his arrival for the past month, after he wrote her he was coming. Linda’s father, Andrew B. Kennedy Jr., said that before Mollekin’s arrival yesterday, “She’s very excited.”

But grandfather Mollekin was also anxiously awaiting the great moment, as he said, “I’ve been excited ever since I left.”

Asked what his plans are and if he intended to stay awhile in Tennessee, he replied, “Well, I don’t know yet….my visa isn’t up until the end of August.”

Linda resides in Hampton with her grandmother, Mrs. Elizabeth Kennedy. Her mother, Mollekin’s daughter, died in childbirth in Elizabethton. She was Beryl Marjory Mollekin, who married Andrew Kennedy in 1945 when he was serving with the U.S. Air Force. Kennedy has since remarried.

The immaculately – groomed Englishman said he has been saving money to afford the trip. When his wife died 11 years ago, without ever seeing her granddaughter, Mollekin resolved he would see her.

He left Yorkshire on the liner Queen Mary and arrived in New York Tuesday.

Mollekin met lots of American aboard the liner, and said his trip was wonderful…..but the happiest moment of all was meeting Linda.

Beryl Marjory Mollekin

BMM (4)

Beryl M. Mollekin

My aunt, Beryl Marjory Mollekin, the daughter of Edith Mary Pinder and John Gilbert Molleken was born in 1926, in her grandmother’s home on Bethel Road, Eastwood, Rotherham.

Beryl lived the first few years of her life at 33 Bentley Road, Bramley, Rotherham, before moving to a newly erected house on Melciss Road in Listerdale, Wickersley.

As a teenager, Beryl began working as a Clerk at the Masbrough Goods Railway Station in Rotherham. Before joining the Army, my father also worked here.

Bethel Road, Eastwood, Rotherham - 06.07.17 (1)

Bethel Road, Eastwood, Rotherham

My father remembered Beryl having a Polish boyfriend who was a pilot in the Royal Air Force. I can’t remember this gentleman’s name, but I seem to recall my father saying that he gave him sweets etc. and was good-natured and friendly towards him. My father remembered how one evening, his sister was in a hysterical state, with her parents trying to calm her down without success. My father surmised, years later, that this was when her Polish boyfriend had been killed in action.


Saint Alban’s Church, Wickersley

Nineteen days after her nineteenth Birthday, in May 1945, Beryl married Andrew Beulah Kennedy in Saint Alban’s Church, Wickersley. Andrew was a Corporal in the American Air Force, stationed in the local area.

A U.S. AIR FORCE BRIDEGROOM. – Miss Beryl Marjory Mollekin, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Mollekin, of 109 Melciss Road, Wickersley, was married at St. Alban’s Church, Wickersley, last Saturday, to Mr. Andrew B. Kennedy, only son of Mrs. Kennedy, of Hampton, Tennessee, U.S.A., and the late Mr. A. B. Kennedy. The bridegroom is in the U.S. Air Force. The Rev. H. Lee officiated and the hymns sung were ‘O Perfect Love’ and ‘Lead Us, Heavenly Father,’ Mr. S. Briggs the organist. Wearing a gown of white lace, with a net veil and coronet of orange blossom, the bride was given away by her father. She carried a bouquet of pink carnations, sweet peas and maiden-hair fern.

ABK & BMM - Wickersley - 19.05.45 (edited)

Andrew and Beryl

Shortly after their marriage, Beryl and Andrew left England to live in Andrew’s homeland, which was Tennessee, America. This was also an exciting time for my father, as he would receive gifts of items from America that he wouldn’t otherwise have obtained in England. My father was also looking forward to a planned holiday in Tennessee. When Beryl began her journey to America, at the railway station, she gave my father a small, toy, railway engine.

In Tennessee, Beryl became a Bible Teacher.

Telegram (Linda Kennedy's birth)

Telegram announcing Linda’s birth

In September 1946, Beryl gave birth to my cousin, Linda. Beryl sadly passed away four days later.

Coincidentally, Beryl’s great grand aunt, Martha Pinder, died following childbirth 75 years previous in 1871. Both Beryl and Martha had lived at an address, numbered 109. Martha died at 109 Hope Street in Rotherham, whilst Beryl’s last residence in England was 109 Melciss Road, Listerdale, Wickersley.

Telegram (Beryl Mollekin's death)

Telegram announcing Beryl’s death

After Beryl’s death, my grandmother frequently communicated with Linda’s relations in America as she wanted to bring her to England so that she could be raised in Wickersley. It was decided however that Linda would remain in Tennessee. My grandmother passed away just six years later without ever seeing Linda, but my grandfather was finally able to make a trip to see her in 1963.

Below are a couple of newspaper articles pertaining to Beryl’s death.

Saint Elizabeth Hospital, Elizabethton, Tennessee, America (1)

Saint Elizabeth Hospital, Elizabethton, Tennessee, America


Our deepest sympathy with the members of a Wickersley family has been given to them in the sad and sudden loss of their daughter in child birth. Beryl Mollekin, as we knew here, was married here a year last May to Andrew Kennedy, who was in the American Air Force. He was a very nice young man, and they were very happy together. Just after Easter, Beryl went out to America to join him, and last month gave birth to a baby, living only four days after the child was born. Beryl was a member of the Church and a Sunday School teacher. In their deep sorrow, her parents have the consolation of knowing that she was a good girl, and we hope and pray that, though she died so far away from home, they will be granted faith to realise that they may look forward in patience, hope and trust to seeing her again in the eternal home.

30 - Tennessee (Beryl M. Mollekin)

Beryl’s Grave

ELIZABETHTON, Sept. 14. – Mrs. Beryl Mollekin Kennedy, one of Carter country’s war brides and wife of Andrew B. Kennedy, Jr., of Hampton, died at 11:50 a.m. Friday, in St. Elizabeth Hospital, after a brief illness.

A native of Yorkshire England, she was married in England May 19, 1945 and came to this country in April. Her husband, who was stationed with the Eighth Air Corps in England for three and a half years, arriving home last January. The young couple had been making their home with his parents at Hampton. She was a member of the Church of England.

BMM's (left) bible class - America

A pregnant Beryl (left) with her Bible class students

Besides the husband, she is survived by an infant daughter, Linda Kay; parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Mollekin; and two brothers, John and Barrie Mollekin, all of England.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Hampton Baptist Church with the Rev. B. N. Canup in charge. Burial will be in the Hall Cemetery.

31 - Saint Alban's Church, Wickersley (Mollekin) - 31.08.17

Saint Alban’s Churchyard, Wickersley

Pallbearers will include Harlan Oakes, Hazen Brumit, Don Hazelwood, Bobby Oakes, Ray Waycaster, Jack Stevens, Sam Young and Charles Baker.

The body will remain at the Roy Hathaway Funeral Home, which is in charge, until 1 p.m. Sunday when it will be taken to the church to lie in state until hour of services.

Although Beryl is buried in Tennessee, she is also remembered on the Mollekin family grave in Saint Alban’s Churchyard, Wickersley.