Frank – Our
Fuhrer Leader! Frank lived next-door but one to me in Nottage Road. He was a natural born leader and what he said was never questioned by anybody – except Copper Ward! He had 2 brothers and 4 sisters, all older than him, except
George, who was pretty much my age – 2 years younger than Frank.
Selwyn H. – He was Frank’s age – the only one of our gang to be so! He was pretty inactive in the gang but rose to prominence when Frank fancied Monica R and Selwyn had to be paired with her friend Betty, who was pretty plain, I’m afraid! His younger brother was:-
Terry aka Wiss. Always seemed to be with me when I got into trouble, like setting the Church Hall on fire – accidentally, of course!
Keith H. – One year older than me and my protagonist supreme!!! Frank would set him on me whenever he felt in the mood to do so, and I would be left laying in the roadside, battered! We learnt the ‘facts of life’ together, mainly in Dick Woollacott’s barn!
Billy – Bilbow, my brother. 2 years younger than me.
Lyndon – a goodly lad of my age who lived at the bottom of Nottage. His Mum introduced me to Cottage Pie. Scrumptious! She also had the only telephone in the street – apart from Beynon’s shop! His younger brother was
Jimmy – aka Dyma (pronounced Dummer!!!). Jimmy was a good bit of fun and spent most of his time up Dick Woollacott’s farm.
Roger – aka Pongo. A year younger than me but a big lad – like his Dad who played Rugby for Wales and captained the All Whites. I often had a fight with him, I’m afraid, but he wasn’t a very good fighter!
Hugh – my neighbour. Younger than me, he had a couple of ribs missing, right where his heart is positioned. His mother would shout that out to me every time that she caught us fighting!
Donald – aka Duckat, aka Duke! Lived out over Caswell Cliffs and would cycle in to sometimes join us. His real claim to fame was that he had the most powerful air-rifle in the village!
Left to Right; Margaret, Doreen, Dickiebo, Mother holding Billy, Jeanne and Pat. Father is in his army uniform.
Jeanne is the eldest, born in 1930, 2 years older than Margaret, who is 2 years older than Pat, who is 2 years older than Doreen, who is 2 years older than Dickiebo, who is 2 years older than Billy. Brother David died at birth in 1948.
P.C. Ward was our village Bobby (cop) and would just glare at us when he passed. We were all in his notebook on umpteen occasions. He knew that we were ace scrumpers but just couldn’t prove it! I used to antagonise him by saying, ‘Hello, Mr Ward’ as he passed me when I was on my own. He never answered!
St Peter’s Church
The church and our vicar, Canon W.J. Hickin – known to one and all as ‘Walter John’ – was a massive part of my boyhood life, as well as the church grounds being my fav play area. Our gang were all choirboys and I started when I was just 4 in 1942, and left when I left home to go to London to work in 1954.