This year was the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and was remembered with a service attended by HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, in London at West Minster Abbey.
Watching this service evoked many memories for our residents. Randall Wagstaff was in the army and was stationed out in Egypt and Italy. Pictures on a horse with the pyramids behind him in 1945.
He was just 19 years old when he was called up. The soldiers were just coming back from Dunkirk.
Randall spent his 21st birthday with the ‘Yanks’. He recalls being invited to look around the Vatican and along with six colleagues, climbed to the top of the dome of the Basilica where there were peep holes which gave a clear view of Anzio Beach where they had landed.
Randall was born on Christmas day 1922. He had four brothers and five sisters, of which Douglas and Bob joined the Navy, Ted was in the Fleet Air Arms and Mick was in the Air force. But not to be outdone by the boys, Jessie and Amy also joined the Air Force.
Ruth who is also a resident at West Hallam worked at Fletchers in Nottingham mending Mosquito nets and then became a hardworking farmers wife.
Our local Gordie resident is Patricia Cahill. She told us a sad story of remembering the young men parading the streets before going off to war. She specifically remembers one lad, only 18 years old proudly waving at the crowds as he passed, who never came back.
Leila and John Evans, pictured in their uniforms together, were both in the Air Force. John was in Blackpool for a while in Billets before being sent to serve for his country in Africa.
The average age of a pilot was only 20 years old. However it was while stationed at Llandeddurog in Wales, that he met his future wife Leila who was in equipment.
The Remembrance Day service in our village was held on the 14th November and was attended by over two hundred people. A short service was held at the war memorial where the names of the brave young men who had lost their lives were read out. The majority of those were between 18 and 22 years old. Wreaths were laid by councillor Carol Hart, Brownies, Guides, Cubs, Air Force and the British Legion.
Written by Caroline Edge, Manager at West Hallam