A WARTIME MEETING
ADDED 21 APRIL 2006
is with great regret to have to thank the Germans for anything but on
this occasion, if it had not been for them I wouldn’t be here – a
the 1920s my grandmother, Barbara Jones, moved to this area from South
Wales with her family when her father found work at Fryston Colliery.
She settled here and I think they lived in a big house at the top of
Northgate. Her mother, Emily Jones, owned a second-hand shop, somewhere
near the bus station, which later became a bookmakers. Apparently it was
opposite the old Bullock’s shop which even I can remember and I wasn’t
born until 1970 although it has all been demolished now.
the war they used to take in families evacuated from the city’s as
well as soldiers here on leave
the war, when my gran was about 17 years old, she met my grandfather,
Kenneth Hebblethwaite. Ironically, Kenneth was from North Wales but the
reason he found himself in Pontefract in 1941 was that he was one of the
300,000 soldiers evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk and was sent here
after getting back on English soil.
always thought he had been accommodated in Pontefract Barracks but not
so. Opposite the Town Hall, above the few shops which are today an
opticians, a phone shop and Peel’s Chemist, was a barracks on the
upper level where many Dunkirk soldiers were actually housed. My gran
recalls the first time she met him – shoeless in bare feet. It was
love at first sight!
Pontefract my grandfather was posted to Burma but after the war they
settled together in Pontefract raising four children including my father
who was born in 1947. There are now lots of grandchildren and
gran has lived in a number of places around Pontefract including the
Booths, Nevison, Chequerfield, Horsefair Flats and she now resides in
Micklegate Square – a real townie she is!
if it hadn’t been for the German advance towards Dunkirk my granddad
would never have found himself in Pontefract and the Hebblethwaite
family would never have grown here. For that alone I have to thank them.
21 April 2006
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