Last Argosy

Brian and Joan

National Service

June 1957 to June 1959

Brian originally from Huddersfield was sent to Aden in 1958, a gas fitter by trade Brian was actually trained as a Morse code operator in the RAF. This was the time of the Suez crisis and Brian would be stationed in Aden on standby incase the crisis escalated. It was quite a dramatic call up, Joan explained. ‘We were woken in the night by police knocking on the door of the house and the next day Brian was sent to Preston to prepare to go to Aden’. The couple lived in Faraday Square, Milnsbridge, Huddersfield in a modest back to back terraced house. Milnsbridge at this time would have been one of the busiest areas of the town having several banks and cinemas as the village was in the centre of the worsted wool mill district, which would have been the major source of employment. .Interesting to note today all the banks and the mills have long since closed replaced with charity shops and take aways. During his National Service Brian, sometimes was able to get a weekend pass and would hitchhike back to Huddersfield to see Joan and his children. Brian was eventually stationed in Aden, spending most of his days sunbathing on the base at Khormasar, as he was not actually called upon. It would be six months before the couple were re united and on Brian’s return he became a minor celebrity in the town with his bleached blond hair and tanned skin, which would have been a rarity in the town. The couple’s only point of contact would be letters and according to Joan, Brian was not a prolific letter writer so contact was sparse. When we think of National service we generally think of the male enduring harsh conditions. However, Joan was left at home pregnant and with a toddler to care for, living on a miserly military pension. Joan’s Father was a textile representative and had a decent wage with a company car which would be a rarity in those days. Being a solid family man he stepped in financially and would leave some money behind the clock on the mantelpiece, often taking the kids to the traditional seaside northern town of Filey. On his return Brian returned to work as a gas fitter with the local gas board.