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My Dad: Childhood Memories in Blackpool

by Seasider

Contributed by 
Seasider
People in story: 
David Pickering
Location of story: 
Blackpool, Lancashire.
Article ID: 
A2012419
Contributed on: 
10 November 2003

I was four years old wheb the WW2 broke out. I was born and raised in Blackpool, Lancs. where my dad was a postman driver. he was called up into the Army at the age of 36 in 1940 and went into the Royal Army Service Corps as a driver. I will always remember his army number,284878. Late in 1940 I had chicken pox and had to go into Devonshire Rd. Hospital where i spent Christmas. it was whilst I was in hospital that my dad visited me on leave, I did not know then that I would not see him again for four and a half years. I had a sister, Irene, who was six years older than me and a brother, Alan , who was 21 months older than I was.
growing up in Blackpool during the war was a fantastic experience for a young and impressionable boy. The whole town was full of RAF personnel who were billeted in the hundreds of hotels and guest house around the town. Amusement parks such as The Olympia, which was part of the Winter Gardens complex, and Lunar Park on the Promenade were used as traing establishments. As I lived near to the centre of town we were surronded by RAF and each morning we would watch them fall in, in Charnley Rd. to be marched away to 'work'. We would often fall in behind them and followed for a short distance.
In the late summer of 1944 when we were aware that our Dad had been in the North Africa campaign and then in Italy and we knew that the war was coming to an end, my brother and I were going to school. We went to St. Johns' C of E on Church St. and were walking up Regent Rd. near to the Regent cinema and we saw a soldier coming towards us. He had a huge kit-bag, a rifle and a tin helmet (he was very sunburnt i remember) and although we did not know him he was looking at us intently. He stopped us and said "Are you Alan and David Pickering". We said that we were and he said "I am your Dad." Alan and I were amazed as we did not know he was coming home and we certainly did not know hom. We had a chat for time and he told we had better go to school. Of course we could think of nothing else all day until we saw him later.
The memories of those times and events are still vivid in my memory and will stay with me always. Mum and Dad are no longer with us and sadly neither is Alan but I will never forget that meeting and having to get to know my Dad for the second time.

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