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Hesketh Rectory
Hesketh Bank
December 1944

My Dear Friends,

Every good wish to you one and all, for Christmas. It is our sincere hope that even those farthest away will get this letter in time for Christmas.
We are thinking of you this month, of all months in the year, and herewith send you our love from this village and parish.
I could not help being struck with a very sensible remark in one of your letters to me about looking forward to the end of the war. "It is better to keep on and finish it than to think everything is over". We can see what the writer meant. It is the spirit of Sir Francis Drake's prayer who prayed that he might have grace not merely to begin a great work for God, but to be enabled to attain the glory of finishing it.
These letters give us many good thoughts, and we thank you for writing to us.
Here is a thought for Christmas. "Jesus shall reign first in our own hearts, then in our Homes. If we let Him reign, there is hope of happiness we have not known before, for our Country and the world".
Yours very sincerely,

Points from Letters.
Jimmy Buck writes from Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia on September 29th. We apologise to him for not acknowledging his air graph dated June 9th, in which he speaks of Bulawayo near which he has been stationed. We wonder whether he has come across a Mr Marshall who went out a few years ago to a Government Railways post there from McLeod's Bungalow in Station Road, Hesketh Bank. Jimmy says the people out there are very kind and hospitable. In his second letter he reports having spent a few days in Durban, but was very disappointed in not "contacting" Bob Iddon there. He recently enjoyed nine days leave at the Victoria Falls, which are a wonderful sight. The people at Livingstone are very kind to the Service men and cannot do enough for them. He quotes Ralph Iddon to give us confirmation of this. He saw Ralph's name in a visitors' book at Livingstone and made enquiries as to his whereabouts only to find that he was back home on leave. Jimmy sends his regards to Harry Hoyle, Leslie Tiffin, and all the other boys.
John Jackson writes from Deal, Kent (October 31st). He congratulates Betty Dawson and Shirley Iddon on their £21 'Bring and Buy Effort', and William Ball on his engagement and wishes him all the best. He hopes to see Harry Hoyle soon and to have some interesting news for him, and sends his best wishes to Bill Ball (Newarth), Raymond Bailey, Bill Bailey, Stanley Holden and Arthur Taylor. (Many thanks John, for your message to the Rectory). He closes a cheery letter with "Roll on, Victory"!
Stuart Leadbetter writes from "somewhere in Holland" (October 24th). He has not yet been lucky enough to meet any of the Hesketh lads, but goes on hoping.
Joe Iddon (HMS Devonshire) writes (November 1st) after his few days leave to return thanks for his valued NLs, especially for "Country Lad" and Marsh News. He sends "Well done" to the WVS for their £124 effort, and wishes to be remembered to Robert Sharples and Tom Measham.
Ronnie Whiteside has written twice since our last NL. First on September 8th, he says he is very much alive and kicking even in slutch and mud worse than the old clay pit, wading in a couple of feet of water! He ends a wonderfully cheery letter with his best wishes to Leslie Bramwell, Gordon Iddon, and the Carr brothers. Secondly, on October 29th he writes to say that he is in the pink and hopes that the NL workers are the same. He has seen St Peter's, Rome, and (perhaps better still) Leslie Bramwell and Fred Carr, with whom (he says) "you can bet Lancs. was our talk". He is first to wish us a Merry Christmas.
W Melling writes from Hampshire (November 9th) to report that two of his NLs have been to Bombay and back. He surprises us by his news of picking potatoes in Hampshire, evidently killing time till the next ship, and he surprised himself by meeting a lad from Croston. He wishes to be remembered to his cousin Rigby Melling, Stacey Gautrey, Joe Power and Bert Miller; and all the lads at home and abroad.
Frank Taylor writes from Hereford to thank us particularly for the NL which he received when he was in the 'sick bay' in N Ireland. Recently he met Stephen Coulton, of Banks, who used to live in Moss Lane, Hesketh. He sends all the best to David Rimmer, Stacey Gautrey, Cecil Cookson and Peter Dawson.
Bob Iddon writes from Alexandria (October 17th). In spite of the censorship which renders his movements necessarily obscure and his personal news scanty, he has a timely warning for us all. He says he is greatly cheered at the good war news, "but" he continues, we must not forget that when Germany is beaten there is a fierce war to be fought out East". In closing he sends his congratulations to Nicky Rimmer on his school successes.
Thomas Bond writes twice this time, on October 31st from a hospital in Salford, and on November 13th from the Convalescent Depot near Chester. He met a Nurse Bentham, from Tarleton, when he was at Whittingham but he missed seeing Lilian Iddon. He says that the NLs smell of Hesketh air! He sends his regards to William Ainscough, hoping soon to see him at Hundred End again, also his greetings, if a bit belated, to George Taylor on his 'twenty-first'. Tom has managed to see the inside of five hospitals, a notable record. We are glad to know he is really better and we wish him the best of luck.
A Christmas card has arrived from Harry Whitehead 'wishing us all the best'. Very many thanks, Harry.
Leslie Bramwell writes (November 2nd) from CMF and tells us of the happy time he spent in Rome with Ronnie Whiteside and Fred Carr. He even slept with Fred. Both of them, he says, look well and fit, and we are to tell the Brick works that Ronnie is still the same old Ben.
Malcolm Taylor writes from Madley (November 9th) to thank "all the willing helpers in the village who do so much for us". (Sorry, Malcolm, for not noting your change of address).
Joe Power sends us greetings from the "Land of wooden clogs windmills and canals". He has just seen "For whom the bell tolls". So have we in Lord Street! What a small world it is.
Joe Eastham (SEAC) posted his on August 30th. It took about 8 weeks to come. He has just spent a nice leave up in the hills, with a climate like England, which Joe evidently enjoyed heartily, as it reminded him of home. (We hope it was not like recent weeks in Hesketh Bank!!) He greets William Melling with the hope that he will soon be able to settle down to married life properly.
John Taylor is now a Petty Officer. We send him our congratulations. He writes on a Sunday in October. The last NL he received was August. During his last leave in a Rest Camp he was able to spend two days of it touring the Holy Land. He says "I won't ever forget them. They made me speechless".
George Taylor writes from Holland (November 6th) He has been visiting windmills, and describes them as a real "Heath Robinson" effort. He drove the first Tank into Lille, and the second into Beauvais, knocking out a "King Tiger" in the centre of the town. Here too they captured their first German flag which is one of the finest souvenirs of the squadron's collection.

As we go to press we understand that the Bowling Club and the Women's Comfort Group, the latter ably assisted by Mr Douglas Iddon, have arrangements well in hand for your Christmas Gifts. It would be impossible for the matter to be in better hands; the year round they are raising money for your funds. They have worked from the beginning of the war on your behalf, and their satisfaction is the knowledge that they have been able to send you gifts of money. The parish as a whole is deeply grateful to these workers who have gone on month by month, raising the funds. And we know how much you appreciate their efforts, and so on your behalf we offer them a big "THANK YOU".

Southport Infirmary.
As usual, Church and Chapel in Hesketh Bank have made their joint house-to-house collection for the Southport Infirmary, and have sent up £37.9.2d. The Secretary of the Infirmary has sent a special letter of thanks to each of the collectors for their valuable help.
Fancy Dress Dance.
The Newsletter Committee held a most successful Fancy Dress Dance in aid of the NL Funds on November 21st, and raised £43.19.7d, an excellent and enjoyable evening it was in every respect. Mrs Whitehead, Mrs Watson and Mrs Float kindly acted as "Judges". It will interest the troops to know that the winners were as follows: - First, Second, Third and Fourth Prizes in order of names.
Pretty: Brenda Johnson, Audrey Ashcroft, Betty Way, Sheila Way.
Humorous: Irene Edmondson and Brenda Farrington, Peter Redman, Roy Redman, Doris Baybutt.
Character: Brenda Moss, Sheila Iddon, June Iddon, Muriel Kelsall.
Special prizes were awarded to Mary Edmondson, Michael Kettle and Ronald Ashcroft.
War Bereavement. We record with deep regret the death of Lieut Leonard Pill in Italy, and we wish to convey our heartfelt sympathy to his wife whom we know so well as Betty Ball, and to his father, who is a widower and has now lost both his sons in the war, and lives with his daughter in Cornwall.

Joe Iddon RN, Shoreside, HB has got another daughter,
Nick Taylor has met Henry Fairburn in NW Europe they had quite a pleasant chat.
Frank Foster, Junr., has come home on leave to Tarleton after spending 4 years in India, where he received a fractured skull and was dangerously ill at one period, although Frank Foster Snr., kept up his whistling just the same.
R Iddon (RAF) has been on leave after being abroad 3 1/2 years and has now rejoined his unit.
B Iddon (Army) (Chapel Road) has been in hospital in Belgium suffering from shell shock when in Holland. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Mrs R Taylor (Brow) is in Preston hospital, but is now recovering. Mrs Will Cookson (Station Road) is also there, and is recovering.
Mrs J Ball (Moss Lane) died last week after a long illness.

Home on Leave.
J Taylor; Tom Spencer; M Sutton; L Ball.
Henry Wignall was married to Margaret Bullen at Croston Parish Church last Saturday morning. B Miller was home for the occasion.
A Preston woman appealed for oranges for her son who was ill and received over 100 replies. After a week it was reported that he was improving.
PO D Baxter has met J Moore abroad.
J Coulton (Moss Lane) has bought a house at Birkdale and is selling his land.
We regret to record the death of Charles Eatough, of Hundred End Lane.
Kenneth Baxter has been made a Pilot Officer. Our congratulations to him.
The Rector was very pleased to receive a visit from Martyn Wright when he was on leave.
Our deep sympathy is with Mrs Sutton of Fermor Road who has heard that her son is missing.
More Whist Drives have been held in the C/E School for the benefit of your Comforts. One which was given by Mrs W G Ball made £16, one given by Mr Mrs John Bramwell made £11, and one given by Jimmy Baxter which made £18. The next Drive is being given by Mr Mrs P Iddon.
Jimmy Sharples and Frank Baxter have signed on to play football for Fleetwood Hesketh, and in their first match which was played on Saturday November 18th they distinguished themselves as stars and in doing so held up our village's standard of football, as in the past far higher than any other villages, best of luck Jimmy and Frank.

A Tribute to White Bess.
Nearly all villages have some kind of a place or thing that they are proud of, some have their village greens some their fine old inns, some their quaint old thatched cottages, and others perhaps will boast of age old legends, but we here in this little village have for the past proudly boasted of a fine beautiful white charger in the name of White Bess. Many have been the happy moments that she and her master have given us during her life that she spent among us. When at the end of a long and tiring day our work done, we should perhaps take a rest in the garden or a stroll down the road, there we would see or meet Bess and her master cantering or galloping in real Cossack style, her master riding and handling the reins in such manner as would have given credit to the great Fred Archer himself. Sometimes we would see them on the marshes, a grand sight with her fine white mane and lovely long tail waving in the breeze as mare and master raced over the long green fields, but now alas, a tragedy has fallen on our village, for White Bess will no longer canter down our highways and byways, no longer shall we see her in all her glittering harness and no longer shall we smile at the amusing antics that she proudly showed us, for sad to say White Bess, one cold damp foggy October morning, left this earth for the Happy Hunting Grounds and where for ever the fields are white with clover. We here at home and perhaps those of you who knew and saw her will with us express to her master a man greatly respected by us all, our condolences on his great loss, but we are sure, that White Bess has attained for her master a name that will go down for ever in the annals of our village's glorious history. The question that is being asked by everyone at home is, will Turpin ride again?

Chapel News.
Anniversary services held 29th October and 5th November.
Preacher on 29th October. Pastor Jones of Southport
Preacher on 5th November. Rev S G Delafield of Penwortham.
A Demonstration Song Service "Wings of Peace" was given on the afternoon of 5th November. Anthems were rendered by the Choir. Mrs W Iddon was organist and Mr J Watkinson conductor.
Overseas Missionary Anniversary, 19th November. Preacher in afternoon Rev B Oliver, in evening Rev P L Du Feu from the Ivory Coast, West Africa.
Young People's Fellowship - Social on Friday 17th November - games, spelling bee, refreshments, well attended.

Dear Friends,
Christmas will soon be here again, yes Christmas time, the time of the year when home is the one place most in our thoughts. Many of you will I know be thinking of the grand old times you had when you were at home, how when you had finished work early on Xmas eve, you helped the wife to decorate, and the friendly arguments, as to where the mistletoe had to be hung and even mother-in-law was honoured by having the nicest piece of holly placed behind her picture. When you had finished, the kiddies after much persuasion, were tucked into bed too excited to sleep with the thoughts of Father Christmas coming to fill their stockings which hung on the bed posts. After supper you sat by the fire listening to the strains of Hark the Herald Angels sing, sung by members of the Church or Chapel choirs and when thy were departing all the Seasons best wishes were given to you in a real Christmas manner. And those of you not married but with sweethearts, the thoughts of taking her to a show, and would she like the present you had so carefully chosen, and tonight above all nights she was taking you to her home for the first time - how thrilling it all was! Those of you who had neither wife nor sweetheart, perhaps tonight for once in a while made your way to the local to celebrate the Christmas spirit, how different and grand the place was, the clinking of glasses the jovial company of your friends, the aroma of cigars, the place all decorated with bunting and someone thumping on the old piano the good old carols, yes all these things tended to make the real Christmas spirit. And on Christmas day our famous prize band came round and gave us more carols with the drummer carrying the money box. Good old times weren't they? And at night we should all be having a party at our homes, the table loaded with good things to eat, the crackers, the paper hats, even grandfather and grandmother each wearing one, and Uncle, whose blood pressure had for the past months been at bursting point, was indulging in cold pork, mince pies, and Christmas cake, and finishing with a drop of something which at any other time of the year he would have refused with an acid "No thanks, doctor's orders". Yes friends, all these things have for the time being, gone for you, but now more than ever we all feel sure that the time is not far distant when you will return to all these grand things, and when you are sitting at home, you will look back and say, yes it was jolly well worth it.
Well my friends, in concluding let me say that I do sincerely hope you all, hard though it be, will try and have a good Christmas.
Country Lad.

Home Guard.
We have at last received the "Stand Down" Order and whilst we all consider this is giving a clear indication of the confidence which the "Higher Ups" have in the present military situation we feel just a little regret at the suddenness of the decision. Apart from the military side of the movement the social benefits which have been derived from the Home Guard have been considerable. Many new friendships have been formed in the Platoon which we feel will be to the benefit of the village in general in the post war years.
Now a word as to our wind up programme: We are holding a Farewell Dinner on the 28th November in the Becconsall Hotel, when we hope to have as our Guests, Lieut Colonel Wright, Major Chadwick, Capt Beswick, and CSM. Our only regret is that so many of you ex-members are away but you may rest assured that our second toast will be "Absent Friends".
On 3rd December we hold our Final Parade in Preston and from then on the "Stand Down" is in force. We then only await you boys finishing the job off for the "Dismiss".
For the information of the ex-members of No: 1 Platoon a representative Committee has been formed to administer the Comforts Fund but it is not anticipated that anything definite can be done for some considerable time.
Our very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year and may we see you all back safe and sound in 1945.
T Houghton, Lieut.

Marsh News.
18th November 1944

News from the Marsh is rather scarce at the moment, as the only activities seem to be "Brussel" picking and ploughing. The latter with mechanical aid more or less at its height, is done in much quicker time. I should think there must be about 20 tractors in use down there now.
The other day I called and had a look round Sam Slinger's farm, and as this was the first time I had been inside his shippons I was surprised to find how much bigger they look inside than out, though even looking from the outside, they appear to cover a big area.
Sam tells me at the present time he is milking 160 cows, all tied in one shippon, which take about 2 1/4 hours to milk mechanically, and by the way, they are passed as an attested herd. Part of the other shippon was divided into pens, in which there were about 100 young calves, and in a new building adjoining the Dutch barn, were his year olds. He has a stock of about 400 not including the milkers. One cow recently had three calves.
He is going in for rearing his own 100% Ayrshire stock. Sam wished me to say he will be very pleased to show anyone on leave, round if they care to go down.

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