The Netmaker

"The Netmaker" the story follows four families who are all linked in some way to the Wilkinsons Lemonade Factory that was bombed during WW2. This is a tribute to the 107 people who lost their lives on 3rd May 1941

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15. 15

Sam’s first lesson was art which was near the gym at the top end of the school but first there was assembly.

The boys all stood as Harold Jackson head of Ralph Gardner Secondary Modern spoke to the school.

“It is with a heavy heart that I have to report the deaths of some of our former pupils who have gone to war and not returned. Please put you hands together and close your eyes whilst I read out the names of our fallen heroes.

Anderson, Thomas Geoffrey (Corporal Royal Fusiliers) 19 years of age

Beattie Robert (Private Durham Light Infantry) 19 years of age

Cochrane John Oliver (Left Tenant RAF) 18 years of age

“Ditchburn George (Captain Royal Marines) 22 years of age

Errington James Ian (Sergeant Durham Light Infantry) 23 years of age

Farrah Peter (Private Royal Artillery) 18 years of age.’ Mr Jackson paused as he told the school that Farrah had lied about his age and was only 16 years old.

Guthrie, John (Private 3rd Parachute regiment) 18 years of age.

Harper Ian (Sergeant Scots Guards) 19 years of age

Harper Paul (Private Scots Guards) 18 years of age.

Jackson William Harold (Captain Royal Engineers) 20 years of age; a tear formed in the eye of the headmaster who had just read out his own sons name and a former pupil.’

Kelsaw Arthur Robert (Captain Durham Light Horse) 20 years of age.

Mason Robert Andrew (Sergeant Royal Marines) 23 years of age.

Williamson Richard (Gunner Royal Navy HMS Hermes) 18 years of age.

“We will all say the Lords Prayer together then we will observe one minutes silence to remember our dearly departed.’ “Our father who art in heaven.’

The school joined in their voices barely a whisper as they remembered some of their former pupils who were now gone; all young men with their whole lives ahead of them. Their names would be added along with the others on a memorial plaque on the wall. So far since the war had begun over one hundred and twenty names were on the board.

It was very subdued in the classrooms that morning hardly anyone spoke a word and it was the same in the playground. No one kicked a ball or made a noise they just sat around talking quietly amongst themselves.

The head boys all went around and collected from both the boys and the girls and with the money they raised they bought wreath and it was hung in the hall. They also bought a cherry tree and it was planted in the quadrangle along with a plaque made by James Sanderson who had added every man lost so far with room for more to be added if the need arose. It had been a sad day indeed for every pupil and again Sam told his brother when he returned home from work about the men who had been killed.’

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