Memories of the memorial cottages

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Years ago the memorial cottages in Eastwood were strictly kept for ex-servicemen and their families.

Andrew Wardle’s father served in the Second World War and the family moved into number 15 in 1958.

Andrew has fond memories of his years spent living there, in particular of Harry Fletcher, who he described as a ‘grand chap’ that lived at number 19.

Harry served in the First World War and lost both of his legs.

Andrew, who used to call him grandad, said: “I spent many a happy hour listening to Harry’s war stories and putting pennies into a slot in his wooden leg. He would give me the pennies and then laugh as he told me they would be safe if I put them in his leg!

“But despite his legs he used to take me all over the place. We would walk for miles,” Andrew reminisced.

Andrew lived in the cottage all his life until he turned 22 and got married.

“I explored the landscape gardens at the front, made dens in the adjacent land that is now Morrisons and played football on the rec across the road – all happy times,” he said.

“We spent many happy family occasions at the cottages.”

Andrew, now living in Giltbrook, said he could remember the ‘camaraderie’ and community spirit’ he felt living there.

“Across the road in the Princes Street area were the pit houses, and we used to get a lot of camaraderie from them,” he remembers.

“We used to have football matches every Sunday. There was a lot of community spirit in the area.”

Andrew said despite the town’s Buckley brothers playing football professionally, they would come out each Sunday for a kick about with the others.

Andrew’s father passed away in 1987, and when his mother moved into a care home in 2009, she rented the property out.

But the 51-year-old said it was shame the cottages were not looked after today, quite as well as they were back in the day.

“When I was a boy it would take two men two or three days working on the gardens. It was marvellous. The place used to be kept immaculate.

“It was the urban district council back then and they used to really go to town keeping the front of the cottages all landscaped.”