My Granddaughter found your ‘story’ on the Web which I am reading with great interest. I was born at Barrow in 1936, and lived at 15 Hastings St with my brother Ralph Williams, my Mum, ‘Molly’ (Mary) Williams and my Dad, Jack (John) Williams, and my elder sister Joan Williams. My Father’s Father lived on the same side of the street, further up probably about opposite to your house. He was called John Williams I think. My Father worked in Vickers as a Capstan Lathe Machinist throughout the war.
I remember VE day and the party outside Joe Condron’s. We used to play with his son Colin regularly. I would very much like a copy of the street party if you can supply one. I think myself and my brother is among the boys seated on the right of the picture. I am struggling to remember you by name. In 1941 (I think) I was playing at the bottom of the street with some other boys, when a small group of other boys came around the corner from the rear of the back of your side of the street. They were calling names and throwing stones at us. One struck me directly on the left eyeball. My eye swelled up very badly, and my parents trailed me all over Barrow to various Doctors and the Hospital and they all said that the eye would have to come out. With careful nursing however I still have it although there is a tiny mark on the front of it as a reminder.
Also I remember being snowed in during the very bad winter of 45/46 I think. The snow was drifted right to the top of the downstairs front window and my Dad had to dig a way out of the front door.
Most of the early war years seemed to have been spent at night in the Air-raid shelters that were built in the back streets, with guns firing all around and plenty of pieces of shrapnel in the streets the following day. I had quite a collection at one time. There was a big searchlight and anti-aircraft gun on some ground behind the Picture House. We used go the Saturday morning matinee for kids watching Flash Gordon and cowboy films. The place was a riot with everyone shouting and stamping their feet when the ‘baddies’ came on. I remember a bakery nearby having a sign saying ‘Closed for the duration’ and I couldn’t understand at the time what it meant. Men coming home on Leave in Uniform and local families upset when they had received news by telegram of a family member being K.I.A. There seemed to be a lot of waste ground and the Lakeland Laundry electric vans and electric milk floats coming and going from street to street. . I also remember vividly going with my father, to look at the bomb damage in and around Barrow and also watching ships and submarines being launched into Walney Channel.
.I did go to Ocean Rd School until 1946, but I don’t remember any of the teacher’s names.
.In 1946 our family moved to Haverigg in Cumbria. Just across the Bay from the Northern tip of Walney and eventually into a Council House in Millom.
In 1954 I left Millom to do my National Service and it will be 60 years this June since I left and haven’t been back since. I joined the Royal Air Force in 1954 for 3years for the better pay and served at RAF Hornchurch and RAF Kirton in Lindsey as a RAF Policeman. I met my wife Maureen who was from the village of Kirton. I ought to say that my full name is john Stuart Richard Williams. When I joined the RAF everyone called me by my first name John. Only my family still use the Stuart name. Leaving the RAF in 1957 (the year we were married) I worked for 5 years in Scunthorpe Steel Works and on the 10th December 1962 (Very bad winter) I joined the West Riding Police. I served for 30 years in and around Yorkshire retiring back to Lincolnshire in 1996. We have lived in Sleaford for the past 17years.
Sadly Maureen passed away on 31.12.2013 after bravely fighting an illness for many years. We had been married for 57 years and had two sons PAUL and IAN. Paul was on HMS Hermes for the Falklands War. He went away a bright young lad and came back a completely different man. It certainly affected him and sadly he died aged 36years of age, leaving a wife and four young girls. The eldest girl 11years of age died suddenly at home with a heart defect not detected. As one can imagine, it was a very sad time for the family. We are a close knit family and life goes on
I am enjoying reading your story, with memories of my early days flooding back. Finally I would like to wish all my family and friends, good luck and best wishes for the future