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Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

Wigan Album

st johns school new springs


St Johns school, New Springs.
St Johns school, New Springs.
Photo: walt(north yorks)
Views: 2,490
Item #: 29393
Class of 1923 taken after a sports day, my dad Ted Southern 1911-1974, second from left front row, he won a fountain pen for winning his race - barefoot I believe has he had no footwear other than clogs. Dad would be about 12 years old by the time this photo was taken

Comment by: GW. on 1st June 2017 at 01:19

This for me is one of those photo's where i look and wonder who were these kids and what lives did they go on to lead. Personally if i'd have run that race i would have held back for third and scored the pocket knife.

Comment by: Philip Gormley. on 1st June 2017 at 11:35

Walt - Having been awarded a 'fountain pen' for his victory in the 80yds dash, I guess your Dad would later have become the toast of his St John's classmates - 80yds bare footed ... strewth. Thanks.
GW - Holding back in order to secure third place! That isn't the full-throttle GW that I've become accustomed to. I see your point though. Regards.

Comment by: walt (north Yorks) on 2nd June 2017 at 07:11

GW you wondered what happened to these children, I can't of course say other than my own father. In his teenage years he did all kinds of odd jobs but before WW2 had started he had joined the Royal Artillery and was to become a sergeant in charge of a large gun. Dad was sent to Africa, Burma and indeed was evacuated from Dunkirk. During his time in the army he ran and swam in competitions and was almost unbeatable. After the war finished he went into mining at Chisnal Hall Colliery until it closed in the late 1960s. He then went to work at Rivington Carpets Horwich. Sadly, he didn't reach retirement but passed away at 62 years old. I asked him once what was his best time of life and he told me "The war years and working down the mine because all the people he was with were true friends and could be relied on at all times". Phil, you are right, no good running any race other than to win, the prize was only secondary to dad.

Comment by: GW. on 2nd June 2017 at 08:43

Thanks for sharing your some of your Dads life story walt. Every picture tells one 'eh. By coincidence my father was a gunner ( Australian Navy. Japan/Korea.) And you and Philip are right , my dad tried to tell me the pen is mightier than the sword/pocketknife but i'v always been a slow learner/runner. Regards GW.

Comment by: Rev David Long on 2nd June 2017 at 13:29

walt, it's unlikely they were in the same outfit, but my father-in-law was in Burma with the RA. I've put pics of him in uniform up on the Flickr site - including some of his time in the jungle - they might give you a flavour of life for your dad out there:

Comment by: walt (north Yorks) on 2nd June 2017 at 19:48

Thanks for that Reverend David, I shall have a look no doubt find it interesting.

Comment by: Philip Gormley. on 2nd June 2017 at 20:34

GW - Your 'penwork'? I shouldn't worry too much about it; I find your posts on W/W easy to follow and enjoyable. I must say though, that while the pocket knife may have been a tasty morsel for you in the build-up to your imaginary dash, 'you would have resisted the temptation'. During the 1950s, my junior school's Walking Days were followed soon after with fun and games in the local park, and prizes awarded were not chosen, but graciously accepted - just as Walt's Dad would no doubt have done. Two prizes that I recall winning (50 yds dash in successive years) were a 'corky' ball, and ... wait for it ... a six inch dagger that had a steel blade and leather-bound handle - I'm sure you must have seen them at some time or another. Take care. Ouch!

Comment by: Veronica on 4th June 2017 at 09:48

Walt- I found the short biography of your dad's life very touching. I have heard tales before from my elders when working at the ROF of men who thought the war years the best of times despite all the difficulties. Many men found it difficult to settle down after the war especially if they had been POWs. Many could not speak of their ordeals only to others who had been through the same as themselves. This had an impact on their families. What stands out is the camaraderie they shared, after all 6 years is a long time after being 'plucked' out of everyday day lives into the intensity of focusing on winning the war. It was the same in many ways for the Home Front as well. Unless you have been through what they went through you can't really understand fully. Growing up in the fifties you could sense something in the older generation of shared times and experiences and this reflected in the close communities I feel.

Comment by: DTease on 4th June 2017 at 12:36

Veronica, I agree with you about the close communities that we used to have. I also believe that the men and women who lived through the war came out of it determined that they would not go back to the appalling conditions they had been forced to live in before the war. As a result they voted in a Labour Government that gave us the NHS, nationalised the Railways and Coal and brought in many more improvements to the lives of the people who had borne the brunt of the fighting during the war.
Sadly mad Maggie Thatcher destroyed most of what that Labour Government achieved by selling of most of the assets that the people had fought and worked so hard for.

Comment by: John on 5th June 2017 at 16:08

One thing puzzles me on the caption above the photo : "for boys up to 16". In those days you left school at 14 (apart from at grammar schools) so was this perhaps the church "field treat " sports day? or did some pupils stay on after 14? Just wondering.

Comment by: walt (north Yorks) on 6th June 2017 at 10:07

John, in answer to your question, all these children were from St Johns School however, it was a sports day that other schools from Aspull took part in as well. Regarding the age group 16 years- ex pupils would have probably been invited to take part. St Johns school achieved such good positions in their events that the school laid on a charabanc for a trip up to (wait for it) Belmont - as a treat, most would not have been any further east than Springs bridge until then !.

Comment by: John on 6th June 2017 at 11:10

Thanks Walt for explaining that. Belmont, wow! But they probably enjoyed it just as much as going anywhere more exotic. They would appreciate it more in those days.

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