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Web Transcript © 2003 Hubmaker. All rights reserved.
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February 25th 1943

My dear Boys and Girls,
A short letter this week as I have already exceeded my space with news and extracts. However I would suggest that you take a leaf out of Jimmy Swift's book and hold some short Services on your own. It is a very good idea, and I am quite sure that if you asked your Chaplain to lend a hand in getting them ship shape he would be most pleased. I would like to be with you to do it myself.
With every Blessing and good wish,
Ever your affectionate friend,

Petty Officer Nicholas Forshaw, R.N. (opposite Church) was married on Wednesday in Tarleton Parish Church to Margaret Ann (Maggie) Iddon, Mount Pleasant, Sollom. The rector officiated. Detective Sergt. Cyril Iddon gave his sister away and Pte. Eric Edmondson was Best Man. The Rector spent Monday and Tuesday in the Border district, and visited Dvr. John Caunce who is in a military hospital near Scotland. By invitation of the Matron he had tea in the Common room with the patients. John Caunce was up for the first time that day. Whist Drive and Dance in aid of Schools was held on Friday night. The Home Guard Jazz Dance Band, Conductor Tom Wilson, played for dancing. Net profit £21. Dance in Schools at H.B. in aid of the widow of Tom Mee, killed in M.E.F., and Mrs. Smith (nee Eileen Ball, Chapel Road, H.B.) whose husband is reported missing at Singapore, was held on Thursday night. Accident in Highfield Road, Croston,on Wednesday. An Army Lorry collided with an empty Ribble Bus. The conductress, a native of Chorley, was killed. Mrs. Paul Wignall, Moss Lane, fell over a chair and broke her wrist (compound fracture) last week. Miss Cookson Shore Side, H.B. fell and broke her leg last week, Mrs. William Pickervance, Carr Lane, gave birth to a son on Tuesday, but he only lived a day. The Rector Christened him Peter. He was buried in our Churchyard. The mother is doing fairly well.

On leave:
Evelyn Taylor, A.T.S., William Harrison R. A., (Kearsley Ave.). George West, Tank Corps: Vernon Ogden, R.N. (Hoole) before going abroad, Robert Latham (Blackgate Lane), Sergt. Nick Dewhurst: Jack Marsden R.N., Dvr. Sid Ball., David Hanson, R. A.F. Kenneth Parkinison, (H.B.) R.A.
On Thursday Mr. William Ascroft shot a fox in the plantation behind Mere Farm, Mere Brow. It was 4' 6" long and weighed 4 stone. John Taylor, Bannister Farm, Gorse Lane, was married on Tuesday at Tarleton Parish Church to Jean Armstrong, New Road. The Rector took the service.
A Mrs. Wright related to the Tarleton and Mere Brow Ascrofts, who lived for many years at Bolton, died there, and was brought to Tarleton for burial. Funeral took place on Tuesday.
Nick Latham has given the rector 10/6d for the N.L. Fund, for which we thank him. It came as the result of fining everyone who swore in his house. Chief Petty Officer John Hornby, a former scholar at our Church Schools, now living at Hoole, went on Tuesday to Buckingham Palace to receive the medal of the B.E.M. from the hands of H.M. the King.
Alice Kirby, Carr House, Hoole, on Wednesday married James Coulton, of Leyland, at Hoole Parish Church. Reception at Garlick's Tarleton.
Hesketh Bank is running a News Letter for the lads on its own. It will probably, at first, be issued once a month. Mr. Thorne, the rector of H.B. is editing it, We wish it every success and we are sure it will be as greatly appreciated by H.B. lads as is our own. At the present time we send our N.L. by special request, to a good many H.B. lads, but when their own gets going ours will have no further use for them.
Jack Hodge, (Hesketh Lane), has volunteered for the Navy, has passed his medical A.1. and is now awaiting his call up. Mr. Kettle, assistant at Co op, is now at the Willows convalescing after an operation on his leg. It is still in plaster of paris.

From Ceylon comes an airgraph from a total stranger, Methodist Minister, which explains itself. It says "May I introduce myself as a Methodist who is in touch with Frank Foster from your village. He fractured his skull in a motor accident and lost rather a lot of blood. I am glad to tell you that he is now well on the way to recovery, but is not allowed to write yet, and has asked me to do so for him, I have not much knowledge of Franks people, but will you please tell them that he is as comfortable as can be, with many friends of Ceylon visiting him, and he is getting the best medical attention available. He is now much better. This airgraph is dated 22nd January, and comes from the Rev. John Wright.
Trooper Alec Barnish sends an airgraph saying "For two months we have been chasing Jerry across the desert and have now arrived in country with trees and crops growing, a bit more like civilisation. Three N.Ls. arrived yesterday. I would very much like to receive the Parish Magazine. On Christmas Day I received a letter from my brother Ted who is now with the Persia and Iraq Force. I can't tell you where I am, but we are in a very happy position. There is no catching Jerry, we have him on the run this time. Please remember me to my brother, cousins and friends."
An airgraph from Robert Bond (Mere Brow) says "I have been in hospital so you can understand why I have not written sooner. Did you get my Christmas card. I sent it to show that I had not forgotten you. I spent my Christmas and New year in Benghazi, but am well away from there now. I suppose you had the usual New Year Dance. I have nearly forgotten how to dance. Remember me to all the boys and girls in the Forces„"
From India Kenneth Robshaw sends an airgraph saying "I had a very good Christmas, apart from the fact that I was in hospital with a bad leg, but it is doing fine now. I hope that you have been getting my air mail through safely, I keep writing to you quite often. P.S. I miss the News Letter". (The rector has received no air mail from you, Kenneth, since you went abroad. This airgraph is the very first. Also the N.L. has been sent to you regularly each week.)
LAC Jimmy Swift sends an airgraph from East Africa saying "Just received a batch of N.Ls, and am pleased to find so much home news in them. I was asked if the lads and myself would like to join the local people in prayer on Christmas Eve, and we jumped at it. It was a very small room, white washed inside, no parson, the people ran the services themselves. We could not understand their language, but the tunes were like ours, so we sang our own words while they sang theirs. One chap spoke in broken English and said they were very pleased we Englishmen had joined them in prayer, for although we were different colours we were all one "in the Lord Jesus Christ". A second airgraph comes from Jimmy Swift by the same post saying "I mentioned in my last letter about joining the local people in prayer. Several good things have come of this. On Sunday mornings we now attend their Services and in the evening we have a short Service ourselves. I am very pleased to say that our Officers have joined us in the evening Services, and there could not be a better atmosphere anywhere. We are told that it is 120 years since the first Missionary brought the Word of Christ to this small island, and he was British."
Dvr. Ronnie Pilkington' s airgraph says "Just received your N.L. with the Magazine. I am so pleased to find so much home news in your letter. It is very cold here. In the next issue of your N.L. will you remember me to Harry Devitt, Dick Johnson and Dick Gabbott, all my old friends back home in the good old days. I will have to find time to write more to you later for I know that this is not enough." (Thanks, Ronnie, you know of course that both Dicks are out in the M.E.F., so you may, possibily, come across them and Harry Devitt is in India.)
Pte. Jack Parker sends a cheerful airgraph saying "I am still on the top of the world (in spirits) and 5,000 ft. above sea level geographically; I hope you are the first half, although as to the second, you are only 50 ft. above sea level. I am still waiting for my first mail from home. I expect all my girls still love me, though I write to tell them all I still love them family tradition, you know. I thought of you at Epiphany, a few nights ago, when I heard singing of 'Holy Night' coming from the R.C.Church. It did sound good. "
Corpl. Billy Benjamin, R.A.F., writes "I think you will agree that I have turned over a new leaf, for I have written twice since I returned from leave. I do not have much news for I am very isolated in this island, but thanks to your N.L. I am able to keep in touch with the village lads wherever they may be, or go. Please give my kind regards to all the Tarleton lads and lassies in the Forces, at home and abroad, especially Harry Harrison, Johnny Hague and Frank Foster, wishing him a speedy recovery, and not forgetting Ernie Ball and wife. Also wishing Hugh Melling much happiness in his new venture."
Dvr. John Iddon returns one of the addressed post cards supplied by the rector himself. The rector franks all with ld stamp, but this one had a 3d stamp in addition, but where John picked up a 3d stamp, (good, English, King George V1) in the desert while chasing Rommel (it is dated Dec. 29th), heaven only knows. Obviously, reason for additional stamp, this note; added to data supplied, "Dear Sir, thanks for the N.L. I have just received four. Sorry to hear about your Father's death, yours truly John". (The personal touch was worth the 3d. John. The rector will refund it with interest when you get home, with Rommel, perhaps, in your bag.)
A/C1 Hugh Melling says "I haven't any exciting news for nothing ever happens here. I am glad that Frank Foster is improving. Please remember me to Uncle Bert, Cousin Harry and all the other Tarletonians.
Gunner Arthur Harrison says "I was very sorry to hear of the death in action of a big friend of mine, Tom Mee. He was a very good man and we have spent many happy hours together, so would you be kind enough to convey my very deepest sympathy to his Mother and his Wife. Well, Rector, we have a padre's hour every Friday and we have some very interesting talks, such as "Religion in Germany", "should the Church interfere in Politics" etc. so you see we look forward to them very much. I have some good news for you I met Harry Cookson yesterday in the N.A.A.F.I, here. It was a grand surprise for both of us and we spent two very happy hours together.
L.A.C./W. Vera Foulds writes "you will see from the address that I have moved. It is simply lovely here. We are billeted in a hotel right on the promenade. We have a lovely sitting room here with settees, carpets and wireless combined, just like home. Please remember me to all my pals and also to Tom Spencer and Jack Marsden."
Gunner Harry Woosey writes from hospital to say "Probably you have heard of me having contracted diphtheria, tonsilitis, and a septic throat. I have had a pretty rough time of it and the doctor says that I shall not be really well until I have had my tonsils out, but that will not be until I get stronger. Please remenber me to all the lads and lassies, especially Jack Robinson, Jimmy Burns, Jimmy Latham and John Hornby."
O/S Tom Dickinson says "We had a kit inspection today by the D.O. (Divisional Officer) and mine was O.K. Will you remember me to John Caunce and the Rowland brothers. I have met a lad from Longton here. His name is Edward Holt and we used to live in the same Avenue at Longton".
AC/2 Freddy Coupe writes, "Well! I have now been back a week, and what a week!! I have been worked to death. I saw rather a rood show this week. It vvas 'China Caravan', and was all about the Burma Road. Then I went to a concert given by the R.A.F. Orchestra. So on the whole I am not doing so badly, I have not been able to see Jack Robinson yet, but I hope to do so in the near future."
Tom Bolton (Longton, was at Tarloton Co op) writes, was good to hear all the weekly news in the N.L. I am sure all the lads overseas will treasure each one. I'm sorry to hear about Frank Foster and hope 'ere this he is well on the way to recovery. I seem quite an old timer on this Camp now, having been here for 12 months. Please remember me to Sergt. Nick Dewhurst; also all the best to all the lads from Tarleton and district."
Gdsn. Harry Crook, says in his letter, "I was sorry to hear about Frank Foster, and am glad to hear of his improvement. I was glad to hear Jimmy Burns was asking after me, and that he is doing well. An interesting point for you -- I went through your familiar country last week, Virginia Water, Egham, Sunningdale, Staines, Chertsey ete. The roar of our tanks mingled strangely with the melodious noises of the country life."
Pte. Tom Hurst says "I must tell you that Bill Barker is stationed at the same place but we do not see much of each other during the day as he is on a Bren Carrier. Both Bill and I went to Midnight Mass on Christmas night. It was the first time we had been to anything like this, and with it being very high Church we both felt very strange at first. I cannot close without telling how very good the people are up here, and how well they look after us. (Tom is in Scotland.) Please remember me through the N.L. to all the boys and girls in the Forces from Tarleton and H.B. "
Pte. Arthur Barron (Post Office) says "I suppose you will know what fatigues are. We have a lot of this kind of work, for this is a big place and requires a lot of cleaning. We should be good helps to our wives in the days to come. The Padre here is a very good man and an interesting preacher."
Dvr. Fred Taylor writes "I have just come back from the front line and the news and what I have seen up there is very good. We have got Jerry on the run. Will you please remember me to Dick Taylor in your next N.L. I have not received an N.L. for the past two weeks."
A/C2 Bob Johnson says "We have a lovely Church here. I think the Altar is almost, but not quite, as nice as the one in Tarleton Church. We have a big suplice choir, in fact all the lads on the station who are training, and our C.O. reads the lesson every 4th Sunday, Will you please remember me to Tom Smith and Bob Moss in your next N.L."
Sto. Tom Spencer writes "As you will see I have changed ships again. Please remember me to all the lads and the lassies in the Forces." He ends his letter "one of the Village lads, the best place I know yet". And so say all of us.


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