Paddy Ashdown: My family values

Posted by: Newswalle

My family had a strong tradition of 150 years before I was born in the service of the Crown or the Empire. My father was in the Indian army and Iwasborn in New Delhi while he was stationed there. I grew up, served by Indian Muslims servants, and spoke Hindi and English when I was spoken four. We moved to Northern Ireland in 1947, when he was five, when my father left the army to start a business as a pig farmer.

My mother's family was Irish. I was one of seven children, but my younger brother Richard died when he was 11 months old, in India. My family was ruined by the loss. When I was 14, my brother died of leukemia Robert. And one of my sisters died in a car accident. The loss of three children was very hard for my parents, transforms the spiritualism for comfort. These losses affected me, of course. I always have the feeling that a great fear when one of the children or grandchildren were sick.

In Ireland, I learned a lot about religion and religious divisions. Then I was off to board the same my father had visited in England sent. I called Jeremy, but you will be known as Paddy iwas then sent me to school.

Agriculture Business not my father, so when I was 17, I had to close it. The best choice for the family, he reasoned, was to go to Australia as part of the resettlement program, which was heartbreaking for me because I was staying in the UK to start my training as a Royal Marine.

I met my wife-to-be, Jane, when we were very young and were married young; I was 20, she was 21 It was a time before the birth of our first daughter. Like every military wife, Jane had to go where I was assigned. She says she I have in 10 or 12 years was in the Marines, moved 25 times. She was the cornerstone of my existence. As my mother was the quiet center of the family, the large amounts of unconditional love has been spread, while my father was stubborn and adventurous, she played the same role. It is sometimes said that you could have done with less adventure during our marriage.

My mother died suddenly of a heart attack in 1978, and my father returned to England, only to be diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. He died in our house Yeovil family Mai 1980. I am very proud that we took care of him until the end. I've always wanted to please my father and admired him long after he was gone. He encouraged me to have a liberal attitude and not afraid to be my own opinion. And to do what was right or not. My mother taught me the value of love and compassion.

I was a good father? I have room for my kids to have their own life, but my political ambitions a lot of time that could have been swallowed up by them. Jane makes a lot more credit for raising two wonderful children. I love being a grandfather. I have traveled a grandson and granddaughter living in France with the family of my daughter and two granddaughters in the family of my son the UK. It's my job to bring adventure and to encourage them to experience life and naughty with him.

• Paddy Ashdown is Brewin Dolphin Borders (June 12 to 15) to be in the Book Festival in Melrose on June 12, talking about his book Cruel victory: the French Resistance, D-Day and the Battle for the Vercors 1944 ( William Collins, 20). Call 0844 357 1060 or visit