Fond memories of grandfather

Fond memories of a reader's grandfather were recalled when we printed this picture in last week's Northumberland Gazette.

Thursday, 24th March 2016, 8:55 am
Home Guard: Newham, Elford, Chathill area. Top left: ? Dixon, Thomas Hogg. Bottom left: ? Duncan, Adam Pyle. Front row: ? Grey.

It was sent in to the Gazette by Mr Hogg from Embleton.

And when published last week, it sparked memories for Seahouses resident Jimmy France.

His grandad is in the picture and he recalls stories from his time in the home guard.

Mr France said: “I recognise my late grandfather, Jimmy Athey, in the photograph.

“He is situated front row, third from the right, on the photograph.

“He sadly died in 1967 when I was 10, but myself and my brother have very fond memories of him.

“He grew up at Snipehouse, near Alnwick, and married my grandmother Margaret Richardson, who lived at the Summit, up on Alnwick moor.

“They lived at Tughall farm, near Chathill, and worked for the late Andrew Robinson.

“He looked after the racehorses for the Robinson family and was great friends with Gordon Richards, who had the racing stables at Beadnell at the time.

“I do remember him telling us of how the home guard used to use the water tower at Swinoe, near Beadnell, as a lookout during the war.

“There were also plenty of stories of the aerodrome being built and used at Brunton, next to Tughall, and the Italian POWs working on the farm.

“His brother-in-law Alexander Richardson died as a prisoner of war working on the Burma railway in 1943, something that my grandparents and family never got over.

“I still have some mementos from my grandfather – his old army gas mask, horse tiepin and chess set he give me when I was young.

“I also have the letters from his brother-in-law, Alexander Richardson, which were sent home while he was stationed in France.

“Many thanks for publishing the photograph, it brought back happy memories of a very special man, my grandfather, Jimmy Athey.”

If you have any old pictures you would like published in the Gazette get in touch with Helen Millichamp by using the contact details at the top of this page.