|Written By||John Denison|
|Comment||A piece of history shared by John Denison. The photograph shows John Smith on the left and John Denison on the right.|
|A piece of history shared by John Denison.|
The photograph shows John Smith on the left and John Denison on the right.
“Here is a picture of John Smith and I reading the Wharfedale & Airedale Observer.
Nothing much unusual or noteworthy about that except that it is August 1949 and we are in Accra, The Gold Coast (now Ghana).
There is also a bit of a tale behind it.
John was in the same class at South View School and lived in the little enclave of houses to the south of the cemetery in a large bungalow.
Among their neighbours were Councillor William Hudson (a High Street Butcher) and Fred Waugh (Standard 5 teacher at South View.
John’s father worked as a foreman at Arrow Aircraft in Harrogate Road.
As an eleven year old newspaper boy I delivered to the Smiths and, just before Xmas 1937, it fell upon me to take to them the very first issue of ‘Dandy’ comic.
From then on I would sit on their back veranda and have a good read.
Had they kept that comic it would have been well worthwhile – a copy recently sold at auction for £21,000.
When we left school both John and I worked in the Fitting Shop at Arrow under the watchful eye of his father.
We both left to work in Kirkstall, me at the Forge and he at Fairburn Lawsons.
We would often meet on our return home at night when I found him on the bus.
In Dec 1944 I was conscripted into the Royal Army Pay Corps a few months later John was also called up into the Royal Signals.
A year later I was ‘swanning it’ at home after a Bradford posting, meanwhile John was sweating away in
A few letters passed between us and that was that for a while.
I was posted to West Africa in Feb 1948 where one night I paid a rare visit to the NAAFI it being some distance from my quarters.
I almost fell through the floor when I saw John sitting there, after that we met up quite often going
surfing at Labadi beach, Accra.
John was now a married man being joined shortly after by his wife Betty.
They lived some two miles from our camp but one evening I walked over for a meal then had a somewhat scary walk back in pitch blackness among thousands of fireflies.
I did not see John again until about 1954 when I returned to UK after five years in West Africa.
Now also married, my wife and I went to see John, who had now left the Army, and Betty who lived in Queensway.
That was the last I saw or heard of John, they emigrated to Australia.
Consolidated by Jack Brayshaw. 22 August 2022.
Last updated: 22 August 2022.