That reminds me...by Jeff Dunn
8:20am Tuesday 1st May 2012 in Milford Haven
I CAN’T wait for May to come in and out so I can start casting a few clouts, although I have absolutely no idea where that old saying comes from or even what it means – anybody know?
Thanks for another big batch of responses. I am chuffed to bits that this week once again we’ve got a delightful dollop of diversity for your delectation, most of which stems from the content of last week’s TRM.
I will start with an email from Ken Goldspink, about Steve Holdstock’s Hakin greyhound racing query.
“After the war, my parents were temporarily housed in one of the Nissan huts which were left by the American See Bees Unit. I believe Stephen Holdstock is correct in saying it was around 1949/50.
“I was born in 1943 and I remember my father taking me up to the Observatory Field to watch the dogs racing.
As best as I can remember as a six-year-old, the power for the cable was provided by a motorcycle engine in its frame mounted on a stand.”
Thanks Ken, it is always nice to hear frommyCanada connection.
I had some nice calls from the family of Skipper Matthews, regarding Sally Hicks and her Our Bairns trawler wheel, and hopefully I will have an update on that subject to report soon.
But undoubtedly the item which attracted the most attention and caused a stir was the photo of the George & Dragon, a pub which we had inadvertantly moved from Barlow Street to Fulke Street. I am wondering if it may have been symptomatic in our not always knowing where the heck we were.
And as you might imagine, the error didn’t go unnoticed.
Steve Smith rang to point out the bloomer, as did Eric Jones, who added also that one of the cars shown outside the pub in the snap had been the first he had ever purchased, from Harry Thomas for £20.
Clare John sent this email: “Dear Jeff, reading your column in this week’s Merc referring to the George &Dragon pub,mymumLisa John is adamant it was in Barlow Street and Mr and Mrs Jones ran it, and their granddaughter was Barbara Coates.”
Cheers Clare, it just goes to prove one thing, mums are always right.
Then my pal Mel Horn joined in: “I have just read your piece in this week’s Merc. The George & Dragon was one of our stops prior to attending the dances at the Trafalgar Institute. For some reason we didn’t seem to use the bar, but we could always be found in the lounge. There were steps with a handrail from the front door to get back up to Charles Street, not that we ever needed them!
“For the sake of accuracy, the pub was in fact at the top of Barlow Street before it became the cul de sac it is today. On the right hand side of the photo you can just make out the eaves of what was the Milford library, which I believe was made of corrugated steel.
“I think in my day the librarian was Mrs Hamilton.
Opposite the pub there were cottages set back off the hill and one of the tenants used to keep ferrets there, cor blimey how old am I?”
About the same as me Mel, thanks for that.
Ivy Smith rang to say that at one time it had been the site of the police station and when it was finally demolished, skeletons had been unearthed, thought to be those of seamen who had been brought in to port dying from fever some hundred years previous.
But John Beckett, who had actually lived in the pub as a child, thought the police station had in fact been a nearby site, although he agreed there had been some macabre findings, which was confirmed in this cutting from a Milford Messenger which he gave me.
“Many will remember the George & Dragon Hotel, when a skeleton and human bones were found between brickwork when the building was demolished in about 1963.”
Sounds to me like there were definitely grisly goings on in that area, and I have got a feeling in my water that TRM hasn’t heard the last of the George & Dragon.
I’m extremely grateful to all those who have contributed their own thoughts and recollections.
Now I think it’s time to sort out last week’s terrible teaser, which had lots of you as flummoxed as tongue-tied Kenny Dalglish gets after every Liverpool home game.
Here it is again. Alex can never tell a lie. Arsene can never tell the truth. One of them said: “The other one said he is Arsene”. Which one said that? The correct answer was Arsene, and was masterfully deciphered by Alan Scard, John Roberts and Pete Hyde. Congratulations to them and thanks to all for having a go.
Just a quickie for you this week. What 11-letter word is pronounced incorrectly by more than 99% university graduates?
Right our concluding item this week comes courtesy of Neil Jackson, who recently got in touch, asking if I could give a mention to next Sunday’s Anzac Day’s Service, held annually to commemorate the sacrifice of the Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli and their support in other conflicts.
For those who may not know, there is a significant local connection.
It was actually 70 years ago this year, in July 1942, that a Wellington bomber on a training flight from RAF Lichfield, crashed near Milford Haven fish market into the area under the Marine Gardens, the rear gun turret landing about 50 yards from the main wreckage. Sadly, all six crew were killed. Five Australians and one Englishman.
The tragic accident is described in the excellent book “Final Flights, Aviation Accidents in West Wales from the Great War to the 1990s” by John Evans, which includes eye witness reports from the likes of Milford Docks Police Sergeant Stanley Roberts who told the West Wales Guardian: “I heard an aircraft making a helluva noise and thought at first it was one of the old Walrus seaplanes from Pembroke Dock. Then I realised it was flying on one engine. I knocked on the office window of the Dock’s Manager, Mr J C Ward, who was on fire-watching duties, and told him there was something wrong. With that, the crippled Wellington is believed to have touched the old Ice Factory stack before crashing on the Docks on the paint and oil store of Mr E E Carter’s Westward Trawlers.”
Neil explained that in 1986, the Pembrokeshire Aviation Group commissioned the erection of a bronze plaque, fitted to a slate-topped brick plinth at a point on Hamilton Terrace above the crash site, next to the Chinese building.
The Anzac Day Service is on Sunday, April 29 at 11am, and I am grateful to him for reminding us all that Milford, although fortunate to escape virtually unscathed through the war, did have its moments of terror and tragedy, and we must never forget them.
My photo this week is, fittingly, one of the Ice Factory.
See you next time.