The Shieldsman

A story of four young boys growing up in the tower block of flats in Percy Main in North Shields. the story follows them through to adulthood through mischief and lost innocence, love, tragedy, and finally triumph. If you remember what it was like growing up as a child then this story is definitely one for you.


9. 9

They all stood two hundred yard away before taking aim at the tin cans on the wall the accuracy of these lads was fantastic they could hit a light bulb on a lamppost in the street at three hundred yards away.

The weapons were so powerful.

They wood go down to Stephen L. Robson’s wood yard at night to shoot rabbits. They rarely missed. Even the Skemmie’s (Pigeons) on the roof tops never stood a chance. They were all gathered and eaten to subsidise the meat in the household.

Ralphie had a strict rule that they never fired at cats or dogs or any human being as these catapults could put an eye out or even kill someone.”

No one went against Ralph Mason because he was a big lad for his age. He was quiet until riled then he would let loose his fury upon any suspecting person who had inflicted violence upon him or his friends. Paul Kerrigan was not a fighter and usually talked his way out of trouble. Joe Kimber whose father had been in the army had made Joe tough by sending him out when he came home with torn clothing or a bloodied nose to fight the person again until he won.

Kevin Skipsey lived off the reputation his father had; no one bothered him.

Many a father had been ploated by Alan Skipsey for even raising their voices to his kids.

A lot in his neighbourhood said he had connections with the local gangsters he hung around with Paddy Devlin and Paddy Leonard who also had a bit of a reputation.


It was just after one o’clock when they returned to the block of flats the girls were playing with two balls against the wall and asked them if they wanted to play hide and seek or tin a block later.

“I don’t know said do we lads; we might be going to the res’ (reservoir) or down the lines to shoot rats.”

“Can we come Joe said Brenda Wilson, Anne Colquhoun and Bella Mason who was Ralphie’s sister.”

“I don’t know said Joe if your mother was to find oot you had been to the res’ we would all get a hiding.”

“Please Joe let us come we wont do anything stupid.” “We could play truth or dare.”

“Alright but you must do as we say or you go home.”

“What time are you going?

“After dinner we will meet you on the corner of Waterville Road.”

“Alright in say an hour?

“Okay but if you aren’t there we are leaving with out you.”

“We will be there said Brenda who was actually older than Joe by a year she was twelve.”

The boys left the girls and went home for dinner; whilst the girls all sat on the grass giggling away.


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