As we grew up in Stannington I was too young to play with kids that Reg played with. But I came in useful for him from time to time. For instance I was the one that climbed over the wall to retrieve a lost apple or two, or sent to the shops for a bag of sweets.
Then Reg reached his teenage years when he became Godfather to Denise. Yes, they were the years I wanted so desperately, but I was still six years behind. But in those early teenage years my job description changed and I was put to great use as a lookout for the parents of certain girls in the area. To me it seemed such a waste of time - talking to girls.
Then came the rumblings of war and my brother became my hero as he joined the Royal Air Force. It was during this period that he met his beautiful Jessie who would later become his wife. During their courting days we didn't have telephones and the like so I became the errand boy delivering messages and all that stuff. They used to go out dancing and Reg mostly wore his civvies. Of course he had a Barney Goodman suit, little did he know that I used to try it on, because I wanted to look as good as him.
He finished his training in 1943 and qualified as a bomb aimer on Lancasters. He completed almost fifty operational trips over Germany and occupied Europe, but God and Good Fortune brought him through, though a lot of his friends didn't make it.
It was on VE day when I almost burst with pride, as on that day he received the Distinguished Flying Medal from His Majesty the King at Buckingham Palace.
I would now like to read to you a letter Reg recently sent to the BBC.
30 September '94
Brief background for this moment is etched in my mind. I was awarded the D.F.M. during my first tour on Lancasters as a bomb aimer with 49 Squadron, 5 Group, Bomber Command. Citation dated the '43/'44 winter. Finishing my tour of 28 operations I was screened from further operations for six months as a bombing instructor. Volunteered for a second tour and finished that tour of 20, then screened again as a flying controller. During this time I had a letter from the Central Chancery at St. James Palace requesting my attendance at the investiture on 8th. May.
As a family we travelled down to London from Sheffield overnight. Had a final 'sprogging up' in Trafalgar Square conveniences and up the Mall, which was quiet but with an air of expectancy. My fiance (Now my wife Jessie) and brother Don had to wait outside. So we made arrangements to meet after in Green Park. My Parents went to join the rest of the audience and I toddled off to join our queue.
After the investiture
I emerged from the Palace and was astounded at the throng in
front of the Palace. A policeman pushed me through a side gate
-saying "The best of luck lad". The next half hour
was just a sea of faces and a cheering noise but amazingly I
found Jessie and Don in the park and my parents found us later.
Hope you find this interesting
As a result of this letter Reg and Jessie were invited and did appear on BBC Yorkshire Television.
It was after hostilities in 1946 that Reg and Jessie were married and what a wonderful and happy day that was. As time went on they, like all others, had their struggles. After the war accommodation and furnishing, and even food, was at a premium. But they soon put together a home and were blessed with three sons, Timothy, Andrew and Steven.
I can tell you he loved them all. They are a close family.
We all loved you------Goodbye-------our kid.