Telegraph Boys and Close Encounters

A class of schoolboys outside Warwick School in the 1940s. Peter Stocker can be seen at the back right of the photograph.
Image provided by Peter Stocker

I eventually left the King’s High School Kindergarten and landed up in the Prep department at Warwick School, but after a while I had to leave for being disruptive and being a pain in the butt. I then went to Westgate school, where I learned more in 12 months than I had learned in the previous five  years and subsequently won a scholarship back into Warwick School. It was at this time at Westgate school that I joined the railway engine number collecting fraternity, who gathered on the Cape Road railway bridge, in quite large numbers, drawn from Albert Street, the Saltisford and of course the Cape.

In those days before emails and the like, messages were transmitted by telegraph/ telegram and delivered to homes by telegraph boys on good old GPO sit up and beg bikes. Now if you saw one of these lads in the vicinity, everyone knew that bad news was heading somewhere and all too frequently one or two lads on the bridge would be called home to be told that their father was missing, presumed killed. Terribly, terribly sad.

A Close Encounter with Jerry

One Saturday lunchtime a couple of friends and myself were cycling back from Leamington on the Myton Road and we were nearly at the island by Bridge End, when we saw this aeroplane going round the back of the castle. Strange we thought, what is it? We soon found out, when it reappeared over the top of the spinney by the road. We could see the crosses on the wings and the swastika. We did not hang about and dived into the ditch, which is no longer there. The German plane headed off down the Myton Road on its way to bomb the Lockheed. As he went passed he was so low we could see the rear gunner and he had the cheek to wave at us. To which he got two fingers and a ball-bearing fired by one of the lads from his catapult. Shortly after that we heard the Lockheed gunners opening up. I believe that they hit him and he came down somewhere in Oxfordshire.

Tomato Ketchup

Obviously food was in short supply and sometimes my mother and myself would go to The British Restaurant which was somewhere up Jury Street. We were there one day and someone asked if there was any tomato sauce available. It would have been all the same if he had wanted the Crown Jewels. The answer from the waitress was a tart “NO!”. But some other guy said he had a bottle somewhere and he agreed to fetch it. Upon his return, he duly opened it and the sauce fountained out of the bottle like Mount Etna on a bad day, hit the ceiling, and then made its return. Needless to say everybody got a helping, but not where they wanted it.

This article was submitted by Gary Stocker on behalf of his father. It appears on the Unlocking Warwick website.

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