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The Rectory
Hesketh Bank
December 1943

My Dear Friends,
This is to wish you, with all my heart, and with all our hearts in Hesketh Bank, a happy Christmas and a victorious New Year.
I am not just saying the usual thing when I tell you that you will be much in our thoughts at Christmastime. Christmas is a wonderful link between us all, and especially with that lovely thing we call "Home" and all it stands for. But it is more than this. It links our thoughts to Christ the Saviour of the world, who did once come from Heaven to earth to show us that God is really love, and who comes still to comfort and strengthen us here and now in 1943
May He therefore make your Christmas a happy one, for even though you are far away from us, we are all near to each other in Him.
Yours very sincerely,
A P THORNE

Dear Friends,
The Rector has very kindly invited me to write a few lines for the monthly "News Letter" which I gladly do. To some of you boys serving your Country in many parts of the world I feel somewhat of a stranger, although I have been resident in Hesketh Bank for upwards of 16 years. It is my regret that I knew very few of you personally until this War started when I was asked to take over the local unit of the Home Guard. Since those days I have come into contact with many of you and to-day I feel that I am looked upon almost as a "Native". I daresay you know what I mean.
Life in the village passes without very much excitement. You will be glad to know that most of our local farmers got their harvest in pretty good condition, despite a very bad spell of wet weather. Shortage of labour was again acute but the Army came to the rescue and sent quite a large "fatigue party" to one of our bigger farms. The Home Guard, as in previous years, cancelled several training parades so that those engaged in farm work could get on with the job without interruption.
In conclusion, I would just like to mention that several men have been directed for duty with the Home Guard, so you will see that we at home are not being permitted to slacken our efforts to bring final victory nearer.
Good luck to you all, a speedy end to the War and a safe return.
Yours sincerely,
W O HOLMES Commanding Home Guard
15/11/43

POINTS FROM LETTERS
The Rector acknowledges a very appreciative letter from Charles Bury from somewhere in Italy. He thanks us warmly for the NL as "a link with home".
Fred Carr writes from the same country, thankful for a welcome change from sand and flies, though the mosquitoes (the little ones) bother them a lot. Once again he wishes to be remembered to Bert Miller and Tom Brewer. He is looking forward to the last "All Clear" which will mean re-union.

The Rector has received a very interesting card from an Army Chaplain at Tripoli worded as follows.
"To our Fellow Christians in the Hesketh Bank Parish we send greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus from a Church in the Middle East which was recently visited by John Jackson, of Newarth Lane, Hesketh Bank".
Signed H P Woodburn, Chaplain
SCF Tripoli, NEF

Joan Binns, of the WRNS writes to tell us that her unit has been recently inspected by the Duchess of Kent who is the WRNS Commander-in-Chief. She was very charming, has a most fascinating voice. They were all very thrilled to meet her. They have just started a play-reading group, and enjoy plenty of games and entertainments after work is done.
William Bailey writes again his thanks and particularly for the letter from Mr Bowker.
Ernest Buck writes of his cricket matches in the summer, and of four games of football already played this season. The neighbouring Padre seems to have been a great help to Ernest's Unit.
Ronald Whiteside says he has not seen rain since May (unlike us!) so we can guess what colour he will be before he gets home. He has seen and heard George Formby and also heard a very fine Egyptian Military Band. The day he wrote Sept. 30th, was Christmas Day in those parts. It was strange, he says, to be greeted with a Merry Christmas in September.
Reggie Cookson writes to say that of all the magazines and papers he receives, none are so interesting as the NL. He sends congratulations to Frank Cookson on his marriage, also to another old friend, Sgt.B Stringfellow of the Home Guards on his recent Certificate reward from the G.O.C.
JW Parkinson reports what he himself is OK and the camp where he is stationed is very good for food. He wishes to be particularly remembered to Tom Hurst, Jim Coulton, and Sam Long, whom he hopes is better and out of hospital, also to all the boys overseas he sends a Happy Christmas and New Year.
Bob Iddon says that he received the March NL on Sept 5th for which we are very sorry. It was evidently chasing him round from pillar to post. We thank him for the criticism of the NL for which we asked our readers. He evidently likes the articles about the home country-side such as Sydney Iddon's on the "shining plough" and the seagulls etc. We will try to remember this in the future. Bob has had an interesting journey through the tropics, completing it by crossing the famous mountain range called the Karoo on his twenty-first birthday. Following a troupe of monkeys into the bush he suddenly came across a large snake, and only a few days before he wrote he helped to kill a cobra outside his hut. When he goes ashore he stays with some people who used to live in Banks.
Acknowledgements also to John Wrigglesworth (Navy) (husband to Leah Clews, the Walk) for his recent letters, and to Joe Power from his near station in Cheshire. Leslie Bramwell writes to say that his experience in certain parts proves that old England can teach others a lesson in cleanliness. An officer of his unit knows Hesketh Bank and said to Leslie "That is the place where they go shooting wild geese. How I would like to taste one now". Leslie wants to be remembered to Harry Buck.
Walter Bassett writes from Northern Ireland. He was fortunate in seeing the "Stalingrad Sword" on view in Belfast.
The Rector apologises to Thomas Bond for the wrong address on his NL. He is rectifying it this time.

NEWS FROM THE VILLAGE
Mr William Iddon, of Moss Lane, father of Mrs Jack Iddon died in the Southport Infirmary on Nov.7th. He was buried in the old Churchyard on November 10th. He was 67 years of age. Our sympathy goes out to his family. Several of his old railway colleagues were at the Funeral.
John Hamilton married Sally Ellis at the Chapel at Penwortham on November 11th.
Ronnie Wignall (RN) is home on leave after serving two years abroad.
Hilda Wickham, daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Wickham is now serving in the WRNS.
Stanley Holden (son of the postman, Newarth Lane) goes to join the RAF.
J Garlick has arrived safely in North Africa.
Herbert Wignall and George Taylor have been home on leave since the last NL.

WORK
Work on the Marsh at present is rather slack; a contrast to the bustle of recent weeks. The main job now is picking sprouts, a job not at all popular with some of you, especially first thing in the morning when there was a coating of ice on the leaves and one's fingers went numb after a few minutes picking. Even farming isn't all sunshine!" Ploughing is being done by some farmers in readiness for the coming frost; the tractors are busy.

AMUSEMENT
Many of our village youths are now taking dancing lessons on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and on Friday evenings they are showing their newly acquired skills at the dances in the School.

CHRISTMAS GIFTS
Again this season Mr Douglas Iddon has run a series of Whist Drives and this has enabled him to send to you in the Forces a gift through the War Comforts Group for Christmas time. The Parish is grateful to him for undertaking this special task which occupies so much of his time, but we know that the satisfaction of a good job well done and your appreciation of his work is his reward. By his efforts this year he has been able to raise over £152 for the Comforts Fund - a magnificent achievement. His Big Whist Drive and Draw was held on 20th November, the prizes were presented by Mrs John Bramwell and the MC was Mr Wm Cookson (Church View). All the patrons of the Whist Drives send to you through this News Letter their wishes for a very Happy Christmas and they hope for your speedy and safe return.
Mrs Bramwell, Mrs R Ball, Mrs W Ball and Mrs Measham have all held Whist Drives for the benefit of the War Comforts Fund. A special word of thanks is due to Mrs John Bramwell who so ably organises the distribution of the gifts.
A Fancy Dress Dance, the first of its kind in our village, is to be held on Dec.7th From all accounts it is going to be a great success. It is hoped that our boys and girls on leave will enter the competitions.
Congratulations to John Baxter on becoming a Bombardier.
Stacey Gautrey goes into hospital because of eye-trouble. Best wishes for complete recovery.
Several recruits have recently joined the Home Guard.
Miss May Rimmer, who assisted in addressing the envelopes for the News Letter has now left her position as typist and has gone to work on her father's farm. Our grateful thanks to her for her assistance in the past.
Chapel Anniversary Services were held on 31st October and 7th November. The Preachers were the Rev. S.G. Janney and the Rev. A.E. Folley, both of Preston. The choir sang anthems and on the second Sunday the children gave a Demonstration Song Service. Collections amounted to over £28. Overseas Missionary Services were held on 21st November. The Rev. R.W. Charlesworth from the West Indies was the deputation.

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