The day Jock became our hero

LOCAL historian and publisher Paul Mould takes us on a trip down memory lane and looks at how life changed for Bostonians at the start of the Second World War.

THE usual memories of how life changed at the start of the Second World War concern gas masks and air raid shelters – but there were many other changes.

Signposts were taken down so the few people who had control of their cars and vans had to rely on memory when making a journey.

Nothing was allowed to be displayed that would be of help to any enemy spies. The hoardings were either empty or displayed Government slogans such as Dig For Victory, Make Do and Mend, Careless Talk Costs Lives and Be Like Dad, Keep Mum.

Bakers, butchers, grocers and drapers nearly all had rounds-men to deliver their goods but, when the men-folk were called up, their places were taken by women.

They were allowed to drive without taking a test and, as far as I know, none were ever involved in an accident.

Towards the end of 1941, workmen, who had been travelling by bus every day to Coningsby, finished the job there and most of them were flown to Iceland and spent the next four years building living quarters and runways near Reykjavik.

If anyone had an empty room in their house, they were obliged to billet airmen and soldiers. These lads were made very welcome, as most fathers, uncles and big brothers were somewhere overseas.

As far as children were concerned they came in very useful for mending punctures, blowing up footballs and getting balls out of guttering and spouts.

One airman, who was billeted with Mr and Mrs Fred Parker, in Edwin Street, proved his value in a mucy more serious way.

Their house overlooked the riverbank and one evening at high tide, five or six of myself and friends were playing near Gostelow’s slip.

Somehow Frankie Welberry fell into the swollen river and was submerged for a third time, when Jock, the airman who had seen it happen out of a bedroom window, rushed out, dived in and dragged him to safety.

From that day on he was our particular hero.