Wilmslow - Recollections - John Baylis

John Baylis was rather too young to be in the RAF during the war, and has some interesting child’s-eye memories of wartime Wilmslow as “Massey’s little evacuee".

“I was evacuated  to Wilmslow and spent about six years living with Mr Fred Massey and his wife  Maude. They had two children Thomas and Eunice, The address was at Lapwing Cottage, Lindow Common. Wonderful people and wonderful memories.

I went to  school at Lindfield. It was a huge hall, set in grounds that were a real  eyeopener for a city kid living in a row. I've looked for the Hall since but  I can only assume it was demolished for the housing estate of the same name.  I was evacuated from Levenshulme Manchester, but there were kids from many  places besides that; lots from Liverpool.

I'm 77 yoa now (2009) and a retired  Tugmaster. I jumped ship in Sydney Australia in 1950 and never regretted it.  Living now in Darwin NT on a small property.  Just along the highway from the Boddington and Dragon  towards Altrincham, were the only people I still remember as my friends: a Frank Green lived just along past the pub, which, I think stands on what was a small vegie patch belonging to Fred Massey; and Walter Hardy lived further  up the highway where it forks, in the middle cottage of three that were  done in the old cement render and river pebbles scattered over style.

I went into Google Earth and lived my life there again; I roamed Bluebell Woods once more and went to the 'pictures' at the Rex.  There was another picture theatre near the station, that used to have all the kids thrillers like Tom Mix, Gene Autry and Abbott & Costello, you don’t recall them names? before your time?? Yeah I'm sure it was. 

Anyhow, I remember perfectly which way I went to School and home and just about everywhere, I really enjoyed my little time warp. Anyway, again, from the Rex, towards Lindow Common (my playground) along Altrincham Rd, and turn left on Bourne St, about halfway along Bourne St on the left handside used to be Lindfield, I see now it is subdivided into various Lindfield Estates. Progress is always a bit sad for dinosaurs like me.  After school I would jog home to Lapwing Cottage, Lindow Common, down Bourne St to Chapel Lane, along that to right turn into Oak Lane then onto the common, passing the Lake on my right I'd get to the NW corner of Racecourse Rd, and a small rectangular extension of Racecourse Rd, that connects to Altrincham Rd via GreavesRd. That was my country and I loved it for six years of war.

One day coming home from Lindfield, and still on Bourne St, we heard a plane going overhead in difficulties, and quite low. We saw it go down behind the houses at the end of Bourne, and my older brother 'dinkied' me to the crash site, I know it was not very far 'cos there was only one policeman there when we got there. Knowing that, and seeing the street map on Google, I'd guess it was about halfway along Nursery Lane in someone’s backyard. Being a nuisance kid, and always looking for souvenirs, I dodged the policeman and got in the yard with the wreck. It was a bad move for me 'cos I found a dead airman burnt and scary enough to give me nightmares for years.

One last thing, I can only remember two friends, locals. One was Walter Hardy and he lived on Altrincham Rd just before the Mobberly turnoff  in the middle cottage of three on the right hand side of Altringham Rd. The other was a Frank Green who lived in a row of houses just along Altrincham from the pub near Greaves Rd.

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