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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Mam eventually got a place of her own and we all mucked in to help. I think this is why I am older that my years.’

“It certainly has stood you in good stead he coughed as he swallowed some sea water.’

By four in the morning the sky turned from blackness to a yellowish colour.

“Dawn will be here soon skipper, and then we have more chance of being seen.’

“Yes Jim Hardy said weakly. They had been in the water nearly thirteen hours when Alec spotted a boat.

“Over here he waved his arms and shouted as loud as he could.

Then someone must have seen them as the boat sounded its horn.

As it got closer Alec called out to Jim; it’s the Northern Gale Jim, they’ve come back for us.’

 

 

 

 

George Johnson brought the Northern Gale along side then waited until the two men were brought on board. “Where’s the rest of the crew?’ “All dead said Alec shot by a German aircraft.’

He ordered his men to get dry clothes, lots of them and hot food and tea.

George helped the boy and George out of all their wet clothing then tried to rub some life into the wrinkled skin with a rough towel then helped them dress in dry clothes. He radioed the coast guard and reported that he had two men suffering from hyperthermia one with a broken arm and his position.

A boat was sent out immediately and they were taken to a hospital in the Shetlands.

The bodies of Bat Harper, Cockney Dick, Steve Roberts, Alan Stephenson, and Billy Smith were never recovered.

George Johnson and his crew waited for five days in the Shetlands going in to the small hospital every day until the lads were able to leave.

There was a huge crowd of Shields folk waiting and cheering as the Northern Gale sailed into North Shields harbour. Reporters and photographers wanted the story.

Not one of the local boats from the Shetlands went out because they were afraid of being torpedoed themselves. The Northern Gale went straight out once they found out. They had just unloaded their catch and hadn’t even been paid. They had searched the area all night but it was only when dawn broke that they could see and then the two men were discovered.

“All the men on board the Northern Gale gave forty pounds each from their wages and gave it to the widows of the men lost plus another forty to both Alec Lowery and Jim Hardy.

 

Jim was told that he’d be compensated after the war so in the meantime he and Alec worked with his friend George Johnson on board the Northern Gale.

 

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