James Henry Shelby (‘Uncle Jack’ or Jim) (right) was born on 26 October 1903 in Los Talleres, Banfield Provincia De Buenos Aires. On 21 November he was baptised at the Catedral Anglicana de San Juan Bautista, Buenos Aires. He married Constance Winifred James [Willesdon 1938, 3rd qt]; she had been born on 13 May 1908 [Hendon]. In 1939 Jim was a draughtsman aircraft engineer and he and Constance were living in a flat in Penn Hill Park, Yeovil. They had a son but then Constance died on 29 September 1949, aged 41 [Yeovil 1949, 3rd qt]. Jim later married [Yeovil 1952, 3rd qt] Eva Nell Poole (b 30 June 1921). She bore no children but she did a wonderful job as a step-mother. Jim died, aged 77 [Bideford 1980, 1st qt] and Eva on 14 January 1994 [Bath].
The son of James and Constance, John James Shelby, was born in Yeovil on 8 December 1940 [Yeovil 1941, 1st qt]. John described his parents as being quite old-fashioned. His upbringing was different to that of most of his peers; his mother died when he was only eight and his father was a good parent but very strict. Fortunately John grew to love his step-mother, a teacher of art and design at a local college, and he spoke fondly of her. He admired her talent and kept some of her artworks, which he enjoyed showing to friends. John grew up in Yeovil, where he was a boy chorister; he enjoyed classical and choral music throughout his life. He also had a passion for nature, which lasted his lifetime.
John started working in local bookshops. A short period in Cambridge, working in Smiths bookshop and, briefly, in the university bookshop, was followed by employment at the Abbey Book Shop in Sherborne until he returned to Bath to work at Bayntons. It was at this time that he met a German lady, Elke, at Bath's International Club. Their friendship blossomed and, on a trip to visit her parents in Germany, John asked her father for permission to propose to Elke. (This was typical of John who, like his parents, retained old-fashioned ideas; he was always chivalrous.) Elke was hesitant about accepting but was persuaded after meeting John’s parents and deciding they were lovely! She laid down one condition: that John should give up his Baha’i religion and return to the Church of England (they were not church-goers but they were Christian in their outlook). He agreed and they married in Elke’s home town of Schleswig in Germany on 8 August 1969. --->>