Ribble Valley at war

Berlin Sports

Berlin Sports

L/Bdr Albert Howarth younger son of Mr and Mrs A Howorth, 5, Queen Mary Terrace, Mitton Road, Whalley, had the distinction of being one of the representative in the Britsh team of athletes which competed in an Allied sports meeting held in the Olympic Stadium -Berlin on September 23rd.

Albert Howarth won the trials for the 100 metres in 11 seconds and that he felt fine and fit for the fray. The Americans brought along six champions to compete, this being the reason for the Russian withdrawel from the contest. The British team were beaten but it was terrific occasion with thousands attending. An old boy of Clitheroe Grammar School, where he secured many athletic awards. Prior to the war he was in the office of the Lancashire County Council Highways Department. Now in the Royal Horse Artillery with the 7th Armoured Division, he is stationed in Berlin. He served with the Desert 'Rats' from El Alamein to Tunis and went across Italy, and took part in the advance into Germany. 

Clitheroe Advertiser and Times October 5th 1945. 

Liberated From Japanese

Liberated From Japanese

People from Sawley and District will be pleased that Mr and Mrs E Clark, of Green Head, have received news that their eldest daughter and son - in - law, Mr and Mrs Harold Garner, have been released from internment under the Japanese at Shanghai. Both Mr and Mrs Garner and their two children (the younger born in August) are safe and well. 

 Clitheroe Advertiser and Times dated October 5th 1945.

Safe In Australian Hands

Safe In Australian Hands

Many friends in the Whalley District will be happy to know that L/Cpl, Robin Greenwood of "Spring Kell", Whalley, captured at the fall of Singapore, is now safe in Australian hands. L/Cpl, Greenwood went to Malaya 16 years ago, and was allied with the Straits Settlement Volunteer Corps. He has been in two Japanese prison camps, first in Siam and later in Borneo, from whence he was freed. In a letter to his parents he assures them that he is quite well and hopes to be home soon.

Clitheroe Advertiser and Times Friday October 5th 1945.

Escaped Injury

Escaped Injury

Last Friday afternoon a motor cycle and side car driven by Mr J W Smalley, 65 Woone Lane, Clitheroe, collided with an Army truck in Clitheroe Road, Whalley. The lighter vehicle was overturned, but Mr Smalley, who was accompanied by his wife and daughter, happily escaped injury.

Clitheroe Advertiser and Times dated October 5th 1945.

Reginald James Pye

(Reg) James Pye

One of our earliest veterans who we met was Reg Pye having lived in Garstang with his wife (Phillis) and sadly has now passed away this year (2011) but prior to the war and for many years after he lived in Clitheroe. We have filmed Reg and gave him his films and we appreciated his time and the information he had given to us. Reg signed up for the 156/52nd Regiment of the Royal Artillery with the Territorial Army and went off to war with many other young men from Clitheroe and the Ribble Valley. Survived Dunkirk and the evacuation only to be captured by the German Forces in Crete along with thousands of other Allied Forces.

We shall list Reg's experience in due course which saw him spend most of the war in Prisoner of War Camps but for now we shall list some of the men who came home and were part of a reunion organisation for many years which Reg helped to put together and keep together for many, many years.

T=Territorial. R=Artillery Gunner. M=Militiaman. F=Friend. All men are from Clitheroe unless otherwise stated.

B F Allen (R) 40 Pendle Road. V Allen 46 Littlemoor Road. (F). H Barnett. 9 Pleasant View. Hoddleston, Darwen. (T). E Bracewell. 3 Primrose Street. (R). F Bridge 16 Waddington Road. (T). F Bailey 17 St Paul's Close. (F). N Chew 78 St Paul's Street, Low Moor. (T). E Cook. 58 Emma Street, Accrington. (T). D Critchley, 137 Pleckgate Road, Blackburn. (T). J H Douglas, 1 Beech Close. (T). R Driver, 33 Bawdlands. (T). R Derbyshire, 18 Clevelys Road, Hoghton. (T). H Floyd 35 Beech Street. Accrington. Service not listed? W Foulker 10 Tower Hill. (T). G Friend 32 Siddows Avenue. (R).R Fish 5 Hollinshead Terrace, Tockholes, Darwen. (T). J.M.H Gray. 'Shay Cross' Old Back Lane, Wiswell. (R). H Glover. 9 Church Close, Waddington. (T). H Grundy. 19 Woodstock Crescent, Blackburn. (T). J Hackett,. 19 Henthorn Road. (T). F Hewitt no address or service listed. W Helm. 13 Charter Block, Princess Street, Great Harwood, Blackburn. (T). N Hargreaves 23 Deerpark Road, Burnley. (RM). T Hitchen Omega Hotel, Warley Road, Blackpool. (T). N Hind. 11 Rutland Ave, Poulton Le Fylde. (T). E Ince. 56 Park Road, Accrington. (T). R Jackson. Queens Road, Clitheroe formerly 1 Limefield Avenue, Whalley. (T). P Jenkinson 23 Corporation Street. (T). R.T. Knowles. 15 York Street. (T). H Kay. 2 Cavendish Street, Darwen. (T). J Lannon. 504 Preston Old Road, Cherry Tree. (T). J Liver. 125 Whalley Road. (T). W.H. Lakin 8 Lilac Grove. (T). E. V. Martin Flat 16 Dutton Brook House, Ribchester. (T). R Moorhouse. 29 Railway View Road. (T). B.A. Murray. 5 Faraday Avenue. (T). S Nadin. 13 Faraday Avenue. (T). D Noble. 8 Station Road, Rimington. (T). E. Oddie. 8 Brennand Street. (R). G.O'Mara . 120 Redearth Road, Darwen. (T). S.J.Parker. 42 Station Road, Whalley. (T). J Parkinson. 6 Riverside, Low Moor. (T). R Penny. 79 Hayhurst Street. (T). R.J.Pye. 15 Green Lane East, Cabus. (T). A Rowe. 96 Woone Lane. (T). F Summer no address-service. R Sagar 11 Coniston Avenue, Accrington. (T). J Sayles 65 Stopes Brow, Blackburn. (T). A Simms 8 Bank Hey Close, Blackburn. (T). C.T. Sharp, 3 Clitheroe Road, Whalley. (T). W Sanderson no service or address. C.T. Sharp 3 Clitheroe Road, Whalley. (T). J. Scott, 33 Peel Street. (T). T.Snape, 7 Dorset Drive. (T). G Singleton, 64 Westwood Street, Accrington. (T). P Spence 8 Brierley Avenue, Layton. Blackpool. (T). J.C. Southworth. Lowerfield Nursing Home. (R). R Tattersal. 75 Mitton Road, Whalley. (T). E. Threlfall. 11 Hope Terrace, Blackburn. (T). J Todd. 16 Huntingdon Drive, Darwen. (T). G. Tomlinson, Arrowthwaite -Hest bank Lane, Slyne with Hest, Nr Lancaster. (T). F Taylor, 51 Park Road, Accrington. (R). L.G. Weaver 31 Bawdalnds. (T). S Weaver, 267 Whalley Road, Accrington. (T). A Waddington. Elizabeth Street, Acccrington. (T). J Westby. 112 Wrldbank Lane, Chorley. (RM)

66 men.

50 (T), 9 (R), 2 (F), 2 (RM) 4 men no service listed.

These men met on a regular basis which Reg Pye administered the meetings and perhaps with other men took turns to do this.

Reg was 19 and part of the Territorial Army and met on a regular basis. This all changed on the 24th August 1939. They were all told that they were all now part of the 156 Battery, Royal Artillery and after a very basic medical were told to report the next day in full kit and off they went to Aldershot. Here they did some basic training and King George the Sixth came to inspect them. They left Southampton for Cherburg to be part of the British Expeditionary Force. They stayed at various Frence villages as they progressed towards the Albert Canal and Brussels in Belgium. No sooner had they got sorted out when they were told to withdraw. The German Army was too powerful and sweeping everything and everybody in its path. They didn't get to Dunkirk which was just as well as Reg states, it was a mess. They were fortunate enough to go 12 miles further along the coast to get on a ship called the HMS Simitar. They landed in Dover and then onto St Agnes in Cornwall to recover. From here they went to Lincoln and very quickly given 12 hours leave. By the the time Reg got to Clitheroe it was time to go back. They were billeted in RAF huts that surrounded three airfields. Then a train up to Greenock in Scotland. The rumour was they were going to Ireland. They sailed down the Clyde to get on a huge ship that took 3,800 men.

They sailed across the Atlantic to Freetown and then spent 2 days in Cape Town then a day in Durban and then across the Red Sea to Cairo. The parade ground they had was right next to the pyramids. They were up at 5am everyday and had to run up the pyramids and had their hand stamped by the sergeant at the very top. Then the orders came and 154 battery went to Italy, 155 Battery to Greece and their unit 156 went to Crete. Crete was wonderful especially after Cairo. Green fields and trees with fruit. It was wonderful. However all that was to change. They were forever digging gun placements in and around airfields.

Then on the 20th May 1941 the German planes attacked. Over 1,500 of them followed by thousands of German paratroopers. The Allies did well to begin with. The Germans then got the upper hand mainly through the planes they had and the Allies having none. They smashed everything as time went on. Sergeant Lockley was killed close to Reg who put a small wooden cross over him whilst sheltering from the bombs. They had nothing left to fire back with. What was left of the unit headed to the hills with New Zealand forces to strike back at the Germans with what they had left. Rescue had been a possibility by sea but then word came that the rescue ships were being sunk including destroyers and cruisers and other ships by the German Airforce. They were soon throwing stones at the German soldiers and the word came to surrender and hoist the white flag. Reg thought it was all over in about ten days. Thousands were rounded up and put behind barb wire including Australian forces. They were fed on figs, grapes and given charcoal to help them fight dysentry. Reg didn't get assistance from an MO for several days as he had shrapnel in his legs. They were then transported to Selonika and then onto Germany.

His first camp was Stalag 7A in Moosburg and during this time the men were sent into Munich to clear the streets of bomb damage as the Allies in 1942 were bombing this city along with others. Citizens called out "Englander Filth" and other similar words -sometimes worse. Then moved to Stalag 8B (Lamsdorf area) which held mainly prisoners captured at Dunkirk. Those that were given a number three were going to die and no use to them and those like Reg were given a number four and set to work in whatever they had in mind for them. Then they were sent to be billeted at a school in Selesia and then at 5am sent to a shed by a mine. It was pitch black and they were given a small candle to see by. It was freezing. They were told to strip and put on a leather hat and a form of uniform and then given a lamp and put on a cage and sent nearly a mile underground. Reg and many of those around him had never seen a mine let alone to work in one. At first they refused and were left for days in the dark and cold conditions. Then the Germans got hold of thirty men and were going to shoot them and another thirty and so on if the men refused to work. They then worked but not quickly although it made no difference as 100,000 tons of coal had to be brought to the surface per day and only then did they get back for a couple of hours sleep. The normal work day was 5am until 10pm/11pm. Reg and many men with him never saw daylight for three and a half years. Only occasionally did the Germans allow the men to have a wash. From time to time Reg did see thousands of Jewish prisoners being marched past the camp in bedraggled clothing. Poles were also working underground and on the top. During this time Reg and his pals captured a German guard dog and ate it. The Germans just thought the dog had run off.

On the 20th January 1945 they were all rounded up and walked westwards. The Russians were advancing into their area. During this period of time they worked on many and varied details as they went. One terrible time was when they were repairing railway lines, marshalling yards and stations and the Allies were bombing in great numbers and even during the air raids the Germans made them work. Reg estimated that between 600-700 Allied soldiers were killed. Everything was smashed to pieces. Bodies, trains, railway lines, houses and offices just demolished leaving nothing to work on. They moved on again and slept by the road, in fields or wherever they lay down. Food was scarce. Then on the 24th April 1945 260 men had been sleeping in a barn beside Reg with the others in whatever they could find on the farm. Reg was woken early in the morning something like 2am by shouts of "The Germans have gone". They couldn't believe this at first but not one German was in sight. Several men went off straight away. Others killed the chickens and cows and for several days they ate well. The farmer had long gone.

During this period Reg noticed as did others the number of vehicles passing which were dubbed in white paint and white wash -POW-FREE. It was time to be off and explore. The feeling of freedom and not being under threat of being killed if one wasn't working was just so amazing. To be in the open and free. They secured a horse and cart to begin with and travelled around obtaining what food they could. Then they got some tyres and fitted them to a Citron car and off they went. They followed the rest of the vehicles to be stopped by an MP who told them to ditch the car with all the other vehicles and go to the airfield and await orders to be sent home. Thousands upon thousands of soldiers were at this airfield. The mass of soldiers went on forever. The Americans were making white bread and dishing these out. Reg hadn't seen or tasted white bread for five years. It was wonderful.

The delay was going to take a week if not more and he and Leonard Perkin from Cardiff who had been together through thick and thin with several other soldiers went off and got a truck and decided to venture for more food. They came across a village and Reg went in and oblivious at first to the German woman ranting he got some bed clothes for himself and his pals to sleep on. The German woman went on and on and had she continued he would have shot her. Reg on leaving very quickly felt that this wasn't right what he had done and always felt bad about this. Had he returned he would have apologised and given the bedding back. However, at the time they were free and never felt so elated for so long. Reg couldn't express enough the feelings of being outside and to do what they wanted. They felt the German people should have been helping them as they had done so much wrong and evil. This help and assistance was never forthcoming. They came across another house with a man protecting something and at first thought it was a gun. It was in fact a small SS insignia which Reg kept. They considered shooting this man who may well have been an SS soldier in civilian clothes but they decided to go and sit in the fresh air and eat.

The war against Germany was over. It was soon time for their return to England and after being looked after they did have s slight period when they were being retrained for a possible posting to fight the Japanese. This didn't happen and Reg was then demobbed and made his way home to Clitheroe. Reg had been so lucky and many of his friends had not been. Why had he and others survived when others hadn't! Reg stated that he had done his part and would have liked to have done more. They had defeated the Germans and Japanese so that the world could enjoy freedom but at what cost. So many killed, wounded and lives destroyed but had they not even many more millions of people would have perished.

It was a pleasure to meet and talk with Reg. God Bless and thank you.

Clitheroe Youth Forum.

Weddings

Pinder-Armstrong

The marriage was solemised on Saturday at St Paul's Church, Jarrow on Tyne, of Flight Lieutenant Neville Vincent Pinder, L.D.S second son of Mr and Mrs John T Pinder, Well House, Clitheroe and Miss Ethel Armstrong only daughter of Mr and Mrs Robert Armstrong of Bede Burn Road, Jarrow on Tyne.The best man was the bridegroom's brother, Flight Lieutenant John R Pinder, L.D.S. Squadron Leader the Rev. G. W.F Howard, vicar of Norwich, and now a member of the bridegrooms squadron, assisted by the Rev. A.R. L East Jarrow officated.

Joynson-Crompton

A wedding of interest took place on Saturday week at Askern Parish Church, Yorkshire, between Sergeant Brinley Joynson, of Manor Way Askern and Miss Violetta Crompton only daughter of Mr and Mrs R Crompton, Siddows Avenue, Clitheroe. The bridegroom has recently returned from overseas and is a member of a parachute battalion.

Hayhurst-Rising

The wedding was solemised on Saturday at St Ambrose's Church, Grindleton, between Corporal Fred Hayhurst R.A.F, the only son of Mr and Mrs W Hayhurst, of Sagar Ford, Grindlton and Corporal Ivy Beatrice Rising W.A.A.F, daughter of Mr and Mrs Rising of 90, Cazenove Road, Stoke Newington, London. The Rev. B Dawe officiated.

Clitheroe Advertiser and Times dated March 17th, 1940

The wedding took place in Shropshire on Tuesday week of Private H Turner, youngest son of Mr and Mrs Frank Turner of 66, Pimlico Road, and Miss Edna Fletcher the second daughter of Mr and Mrs Walter Fletcher -Chester Avenue, Clitheroe. Private Turner, now serving with the Pioneer Corps, was formerly employed at the Abion Works. His bride is a school teacher at Gisburn.

Clitheroe Advertiser Juky 4th, 1941.

Starkie-Trimby -Tudgay

On Saturday at St Paul's, Low Moor, the Rev. Ivor Pugh (Vicar) performed the nuptilas of Leading Aircraftman R Starkie, R.A.F., younger son of of Mr and Mrs T Starkie, 9 Kemple View, Clitheroe and Miss Ellen Trimby-Tudgay, youngest daughter of Mr and Mrs W. Trimbey-Tudgay, 39, Bawdlands, Clitheroe.

Adams-Cook

At Moor Lane Methodist Church on Saturday by the Rev. J.E. Storey, M.A., the wedding took place of Gunner Frederick George Adams Royal Artillery younger son of Mr and Mrs Adams of 145 Plascaman Road, Camberwell, London to Miss Annie Cook, second daughter of Mrs and the late Mr Heny Cook, 8, Littlemoor Road, Clitheroe. Lance Bombardier Amies was the best man.

Catherall -Milligan

Clitheroe Advertiser dated Friday 24th July, 1942.

The wedding took place at St Anne's Church, Fence last Saturday, of Gunner Richard Catherall, R.A., son of Mr and Mrs R Cathersall, of Moorside Cottage, Billington, and Miss Alice Milligan, daughter of Mr and Mrs J Milligan of 1, Laurel Bank, Fence. The bridegroom is spending 28 days leave after three and a half years abroad. The best man was Sgt Walter Grierson, R.A.

Webster -Hancock

The wedding took place at St Nicholas Parish Church, Sabden last Thursday afternoon between Miss Evelyn Webster, niece of Mr and Mrs Charles Edge, 50, Whalley Road, and L.A.C. Kenneth C. Hancock only son of Mr and Mrs A J Hancock of 7, South Parade, Leeds. The bridegroom is on leave from Italy after serving several years abroad.

Hincks-Roche

The wedding took place at the Clitheroe Parish Church, on Saturday of L.A.C, John Hincks of 21 Turner Street, Clitheroe and Miss Mary Roche, eldest daughter of Mr and the late Mrs J Roche of 78a, Grandby Street, Liverpool. As bridesmaid, Miss Edna Chester wore W.A.A.F uniform and a spray of pink carnations. The ceremony was performed by the vicar Rev H A Bland.

Taken from the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times Friday June 30th and October 5th, 1945