My name is Leslie Richards. I moved to 13 Cowfold Road in 1936 from the condemned cottages in Oxford Street, Brighton. I had an older sister Kath and an older brother Jim. My mother’s name was Kate and my father’s name was Arthur. I went to St Marks School and later to Whitehawk Senior Boys.
I too was evacuated to Slaithwaite during the war. I enjoyed the time I was there. The Brighton evacuees would play around the canals that ran by the cotton mills. Many is the time one of us fell in the canal, but having come from a seaside town it was a whole lot of fun to us. The saying among the locals was: “It’s those evacuees again”.
I remember the days before the Normandy invasion. There were tanks and truck loads of troops parked in our streets; the housewives were baking cakes and making pots and pots of tea for the soldiers. As kids it was an exciting time being so close to all this armory.
Sadly, so many wouldn’t make it back. My brother Jim was shot down over France in July 1944. Jim and 5 of his crew were rescued from the plane by the French resistance, unfortunately they were all dead. The village people of Magny Fouchard buried them in their village cemetery, where they still rest today. All the crew were 22 or under; Jim was 20. I visited the graves in July 2004.
Let us not forget what Mr Churchill said: “Never was so much owed by so many to so few”. If any of the lads in this photo are about I would like to hear from you and will be watching this page for comments.