‘Meet your great-great-great-granddad, Leroy Ambrose’ says the researcher handing Nick a tattered old photo. ‘Are you sure about this?’ Nick hesitantly asks. ‘Absolutely!’ she replies enthusiastically ‘Isn’t it amazing? From such humble beginnings to a decorated war hero!’ ‘Humble beginnings?’ questions Nick. ‘Well Leroy entered the country as a stowaway on a West Indies trading vessel’ explains the researcher ‘It must have been hard as an illegal immigrant, so I’m sure he was pleased when his family joined him. All thirty-seven of them stayed here after the wedding’. ‘Wedding?’ echoes an emotional Nick evidently moved by Leroy’s story. ‘To your great-great-great-grandmother, Haya’ comes the reply ‘people within the Jewish Gypsy community wouldn’t have appreciated such a union so she must have been very brave’. ‘Jewish Gypsy?’ Nick responds struggling to absorb the story. ‘They were obviously very much in love though’ continues the researcher ‘Haya even converted to Islam after Leroy became a Muslim’. Touched by the tale of love tears begin to well up in Nick’s eyes. ‘He converted during the war. Upon his return they went on to have four children Denzel, Tyrone, Ansonia and your great-great-granddad, Mohammed’.
It also transpires that Leroy was a gifted public speaker. ‘He was a very vocal opponent of the slave trade’ explains the researcher ‘and became known for his extreme left-wing liberal views. He became very involved in local politics. Which I imagine is where you get your political interest from too’. Nick simply nods in stunned silence at the origin of his political leanings.
The researcher then hands Nick Leroy’s actual Crimean War medal ‘Leroy signed up to fight as soon as he could and saved many lives fighting for Queen and Country. You should be very proud; our country is built on the blood and bravery of people like Leroy’. Nick simply stares in silence, moved by the sacrifice. ‘His eventual treatment is so regrettable’ laments the researcher ‘Sadly Leroy died doing hard-labour after being convicted for harbouring Mohammed’. ‘Harbouring?’ Nicks voice trembles. ‘Well unfortunately for your great-great-granddad he was a bisexual transvestite. And people simply weren’t very tolerant in those days’. Nick appears visibly shaken at the news of his family’s plight. ‘I bet this has all been quite a shock for you’ sympathises the researcher with a smile ‘I know it would be if I found out a member of my family had won the Victoria Cross’.