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Knottingley and Ferrybridge Memories



I was born at Barnes Lane maternity in Castleford in 1969 and lived at 30 Windermere Drive, Warwick Estate, Knottingley until I joined the army in 1985.

My earliest memory was of my mother Shirley taking me to Throstle Farm Primary School in 1973. I remember it so well because it was the first time I had passed the SYD club on foot. I cannot remember any of my teachers except a Miss Randall. It was such a big day to finally get out of the Primary School and move next door to the Junior School. Mr. Jackson was the Headmaster, and one event sticks out in my mind so much.

We lads had this thing about the trains which passed by the bottom of the playing fields.  There was some waste ground at the bottom of the playing field, and Mr. Jackson had told everyone in assembly that the area was out of bounds. One afternoon everyone was out on lunch-break, when we saw a Class 55 Deltic locomotive passing the level crossing, we all ran through the waste ground to see this rare sight.  I should explain that there was only 23 Deltic's made, and each one was named. If my memory serves me correctly, the loco on that day was 55 003 which was named 'MELD'. Anyway we had all ran through the waste ground to see the Deltic and the music teacher was on duty that lunchtime, (a Mr. Taylor I think) I remember him chasing us back to the upper part of the playing field, I'll never forget the look on his face as he tried to memorise all our faces!!! There must have been at least 50 of us.

Anyway, lunchtime ended and we all returned to class when someone came in and said that all the lads had to go to the main hall.  When we got there, Mr. Taylor & Mr. Jackson were standing there... and so was every lad in the school.  Mr. Taylor walked up and down the line pointing out everyone he had seen in the waste ground. Of course, some of the younger lads protested their innocence, but to no avail.  When the line was whittled down, and Mr. Taylor was satisfied that no-one had escaped the net, we were lined up along the wall and told to be quiet until Mr. Jackson came back from his office.  When he returned, he had the 'School Slipper' with him, and he proceeded to whack everyone in the hall on the bum with the slipper whilst he lectured us all on the errors of our ways.

My first day of High School was cool, walking down the 'ginnel' between the SYD club and the First School passing the 'juniors'.  I remember everyone meeting down by the level crossing and waiting for James Nicholson who was a great junior Boxer and the 'Cock' of our year.  We all walked into Knottingley High School together, and kept ourselves separate from the kids from Simpsons Lane, I think Phillip Morton was the big lad from that school.  Once we had been processed in the main hall, I was taken to the 2I form room in A Block, (I think it was A6 and it was a home economics room)  Miss Sykes was our form teacher.  I don't remember all of our teachers but those I do remember were; Mrs. Ellis - Maths, Miss Totty - French, wee Ronnie England & Geoff Haigh - PE, Mr. Gleddhill - Music, and my personal favourite teacher who I did not get on with - Mr. Burton (MONKEY) - Physics.  Oh how the years don't lessen the memory of that man!!!

About the time we had moved into 4th year, I had joined the ATC (2446 Squadron) which was located in a porta-cabin next to the gravel track by the Womersley Road entrance.  We had fun, going flying & on Annual camp every summer.  I remember working the summer holidays at 'Hey Brothers' pop factory in Pontefract up to we went on annual leave and being 'chuffed' to be paid 23 for a 48 hour week.  If I remember rightly, the key members of the ATC squadron were:- Flight Lieutenant Harrick, Pilot Officers John & Eileen Fletcher, Warrant Officer Bunting (RIP Dennis old chap), and there was another Warrant Officer who for the life of me I cannot remember.  Anyway, a big thanks to him because it was he who recommended me to be promoted to the Rank of Sergeant. (I believe it was the first time a cadet had been promoted to Sergeant from just being a cadet and missing the rank of Corporal out).  People I remember from the ATC are Ian Chapman, Simon Ward, Steven Onions, George Breadmore, Dean Fletcher, David Harrison, David Wylie, David Powell and Keith Pawson.

If anyone remembers anyone I have missed out, feel free to get in touch.  A wide and varied childhood, Oh how I wish I could have them again!!!.  Anyone reading this who recognises me, please e-mail me so we can swap stories.  I wonder what the lads I grew up with on Warwick are doing now?

Dave Malcolm
January 2002

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