|Title||A Teenager in Wartime Yeadon|
|Date||1939 – 1945|
|Written By||John Denison|
|Comment||Read on …|
Today I think we will complete this journey down memory lane with John Denison which he has called “A Teenager in Wartime Yeadon”
Its been a fascinating journey and I hope an inspiration to others to do as John has done, send me your memories any subject from long ago and not so long ago, email, Royal Mail, pop them through my letterbox, stop me in the street or in Morrisons and hand them to me, and leave the rest to me.
“The Town Hall band at that time was The Premium Players led by Hubert Parkinson, the double bassist was Tom Rawlinson who would later become my brother-in-law, the singer was Pat Maclead.
More rarely visited was the Blue Kitten dance hall in Guiseley and the White Cross Hotel.
I recall meeting up with Georgie Claughton and Selwyn Piggott then catching the bus to White Cross.
Georgie was a paratrooper and demonstrated his newly acquired skills by safely jumping off the bus platform whilst it was traveling at still quite a speed, Selwn followed suit and promptly landed flat on his face.
We entered the Blue Kitten with him in a sorry state with hands and face covered in lacerations.
Harry Ramsdens at White Cross was a favorite hangout for the lads and lassies to get acquainted on a Sunday evening.
So there you are, that was how we entertained ourselves on a weekend.
For the rest of the week it was very often the cinema one visited, there were two in Yeadon, The New Picture House and the Temperance Hall.
The films shown would change twice a week so it was not uncommon for us youngsters to go to the pictures three or four times a week.
I personally only went to the pub at the weekend not being too well-off on a soldiers pay.
Initially it was 3 shillings a day but you were ‘encouraged’ to make a voluntary allotment to your mother of a shilling a day.
I later earned a little more when I received trade pay and was even more ‘flush’ when I became a Corporal.
Albert Square was a largish unpaved area which was usually unused except for a few market stalls but it came into its own when the ‘feast’ came to town with its steam engine powered rides and the numerous stalls.
This all stopped with the war but the ‘Speedway’ roundabout remained as this became its ‘lay-off’ home.
The owner Chris Thompson, took up residence in a caravan in a small field behind Waites fish shop.
It continued operating and was a gathering place where lads would ‘show-off’ to the girls jumping on and off the fast moving roundabout.
The Dam was refilled and one weekend my friend John Quinton was home on leave and we met a couple of young ATS girls and took them boating.
Some few years later John married one of them, a Yeadon girl Eileen (nee Lawson) and they went off to start a life together down near St John’s Church.
Another ‘meeting up’ is worth a mention.
Late on in my last Yeadon stay I met Dennis Lockwood who I had been at school with, he had worked for the council in Micklefield House, Rawdon before being called up into the Royal Engineers.
He had just returned from Piraius in Greece where he had been with a Port Operating squadron.
We went into Leeds and had tea at the Co-op and there was I, a humble Corporal, sitting with a Warrant Officer 2nd Class.
To get to this rank in such a short time was a remarkable achievement.
After his military service he became a solicitor but I was sad to hear that he passed away in his forties.
In January 1947 the Pay Office moved, lock stock and barrel, from Bradford to Knightsbridge in London and, of course, I went with it.
I was now no longer a teenager having just become 20 and so my story comes to an end.
I never did return to Yeadon except on leave, often from foreign parts, to visit my parents and later would stay with them with my family whilst we awaited allocation of married quarters.”
It’s been quite interesting reading your wartime memories and reminded me of several incidents in my own life around that time. I was also sad to hear of the death of Dennis Lockwood and wonder how many others in our age group and school chums are still alive.
23 September 2013.