The Runner keeps me in contact across the world

Photo:Trafalgar Street today

Trafalgar Street today

Photo by Peter Crowhurst

Memories of a former resident of Trafalgar Street

By John Wall, former resident of North Laine now living in Australia

First to introduce myself - John Wall, who spent from 1936 to 1946 at 44a Trafalger Street.

Keeping in contact with people in North Laine

I have for many years been in loose contact with Eddy Bryant and his sister, Margaret, of Trafalgar Terrace, and many years ago he sent me a copy of the North Laine Runner, dated November/December 2004, No 171.  Having read it and filed it away, it was one of those things that was forgotten in spite of the fact that I read The Argus every evening and have done so for years, or at least from the time I became computerised. 

Pat Lettres

Another very dear old school chum is Patrick Lettres, who manages to spend a few days with me each time he visits his family in Australia.  On his last visit a few weeks ago, I remember him telling me that he was interviewed by your good self [Peter Crowhurst], plus the fact that he lived in the house next door to you many many years ago.  I thought no more of it until yesterday, Friday, when I received from him the latest copy of the January/February 2008 edition of the North Laine Runner, No 190.  What a pleasant surprise and what a glorious write-up of his history. Oh happy memories - most of it was known to me of course.  Conversations over many years, and one could put the pieces together. 

School in the 1930s and service in the 1940s

We first met at Middle Street School, circa 1937, and became great friends - a friendship that has lasted over seventy years.  We went to Ditchling Road School together and after leaving school we lost touch for a couple of years, until one day (circa 1947), we both happened to be in Trafalgar Street walking towards one another.  He was dressed in khaki and I was dressed in RAF blue.

Rhodesia, England and Australia

The years went by and later whilst I was in Rhodesia, I met a chap who was visiting Allan West (in Rhodesia), and 'yes', he knew Pat.  Contact was again renewed.  Visits to England followed and finally after many travels around the world, I ended up out here in Oz.  All the time Pat and I managed to keep in touch, first by letter and then by email.  Eddy, of course, was always in the picture and finally Pat waylayed him at his home in Trafalgar Terrace, took photographs and sent them to me.  Thus the circle was complete - or very nearly. 

Home thoughts from abroad

I would dearly love to visit my home again.  I say 'home' because no matter where one ends up, one's country of birth is always one's home.  People who have been out here for years and years still call England 'home'.  Unfortunately, lots of people have been screwing things up with the result that the air fare is just about impossible, plus all the extras and taxes added make it a virtual 'no no'.  However, I still have hopes and I would love to see my home once more before I shed this mortal coil.

Singing and sirens

Incidentally, Pat and I sang in the same choir at the Chapel Royal in North Street and I well remember the air raid sirens going as we left church.  I remember the air raid warden gave us a telling off for being outdoors. 

This page was added on 12/06/2008.

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