The Mates of Town

History does not belong to the most powerful or will even remember their power. I do not try to give the following written words as bull and clap trap. But many of those now forgotten men who served in our Pre 1939 and into the conflict of the 1939-45 Army or navy or air force were the gladiators of our country. My reference takes a reiteration and reference to a past conversation. Talking one day in the old Goldcroft public house in Caerleon on Usk. Chance remarks in conversation led to Afghanistan and frontier conflicts. Leading to one of our group to mention his father had served in the North West Frontier. And recounting various escapades of up the Kyber. To me it seemed to ring a bell and I mentioned if his fathers name was Reg. Surprised at my remark he said how did you know that? I then asked if is father had served and mentioned the Swabs or the later I corrected to the proper name the South Wales Boarder’s. Also a question I asked had he been a Janitor in the hot mill Office block A9. Following our conversation I questioned of also and with thought did your father have a wooden leg or limp. No! not a wooden leg but a limp that he had from a wound that had made is leg stiff.

This rekindled to recount that I had often talked to Reg of my own sparse frontier experience compared to the times that when he had served and an that can only be described by any old comrade of a band of brothers including Reginald William Hagett who served when they were needing warriors. Not feeding them so much as when I Myself served. Often would see Reg in Our Town of long ago. The water holes were many the conversation long when ever I saw Reg. Living near by in York Place in our Town. Reminiscing by his son Roland Haggett we again went over old times and sadly informed in conversation Reg had passed away at aged 71. Mentioning that his father Reg Haggett had always said when he had gone to take his medals and sell and get a few bob for them at a second hand shop in Town. What a sad state we have become to want a trade or buy of medals. when in thoughtless in experience of youth or grief one sells and regrets that one’s action As wishes for return of deed of lost sold medals. Walk a road of lost images of people long gone of and remember well. When the bell will toll it may toll for Ye!

Reach out to those less fortunate than yourself.

If not he! then Who?

When once to walk down High Street that once busy area with bus stop traffic and folk dashing to and from market or arcade area. With its variety of shops it being in those times past not unusual to see some friend. Be it some of our long gone characters of times past Burglar Manship: Andrew servers, Vic Spinuti; Phil Hillier; Ron Lyles; Soldier Roy Hillier who luckily survived three assault landings; Harry Gamlin; or Trevor ticker Williams Brother of Les my Comrade in escapades in India until he was demobbed in 1948 at Newquay. Lynn Helmich paratrooper and my best man. Terry Williams mate and old salt sailmaker never to carry the Andrew flag at the cenotaph ever again. Those not among us long gone too many to mention by far I could but fill a book.

The old water holes of past. The Talbot Raglan and Royal Albert hotel in town. long Gone are the Doebells. Gone along with the many of visitor character drinkers. But Murrenger house still remains in defiance. But open still the Royal Albert in Maindee a Bass houses of distinction.

The regulars at the bar

Some old friends that are left from the many. Of those treading the pavements of town. Barney Brunnock; Albert Bray and Sadly his father Bert absent who could not stay killed in action on a working day at hot mill Llanwern. Along with many absent friends galore one Len Hathaway killed again in that Mill near downcoiler. How well I wish we all could go back in time to kick a ball when on Tredegar park we played Right back for me and left back for Nobby memory I search our life behind. And still now as I walk up the now river bank alone absent friends look down from above and Protect old Morgan in his thoughts of past as tide moves by in a gentle flow we are sure to follow for life to pass

All we take with us is our memories. Bingo friends all crossing out numbers. and Dancing girl friends with fun and laughter. Pubs I think of too mention but a few, Rose and Crown of Sam Penn daughter June Penn and husband John Goman and many more Mavis Randle and Nora too twenty-one the key of the door. Brother Ray Randle together we sailed home from India when last we met departed too I do regret.

Southampton port a memorable evening-tide scene witness of cheering crowds together we viewed many loved ones united with girls galore. Home again and then ashore Crowley. Denis whom I see more often at funerals and most regular too and my long time pugilist friend Roy Jones and wife Maria. Long Gone Bryn Lewis I think about past visit to when after work his water hole Nash Constitutional club with good ale. Do a bet and stagger not drive home then but now we cannot. Harry the guard Railwayman walking ever still over our bridge of sighs. Legging to a new venue of a raped Town of polluted gum droppings that would disgust a shitting pigeon. A Dutch cap loop of steel Sculpture on a river bank where once I fire-watched in war time stint in the old buildings of the once sited Hughes Forrest and Evans business. Down River bank with an abortion building to match of breeze and white. The Newport ship may save its plight. Maybe Tom Pitt the black Smith hits the anvil in gods garden and star flour makes a ghost of its past in clouds of flour.

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