I’ve mentioned Hilda before. She came to the house when Sprig was a year old as his nursemaid. Three young children was a lot for Ma to cope with and they never had much help in the house. Pa’s brother had a full set of house staff and his wife had no idea how Ma managed! Hilda would have been about 24 in 1937 and she stayed on and the whole family loved her. But those friendly American airmen – or one of them, at any rate – was her undoing and she became pregnant. So did her sister, though I don’t know exactly when or if another airman was the father. Pa and Ma looked after her and stood by her and so did her brother and sister-in-law, who took on her baby boy and her sister’s child and raised them as their own.
Meantime, young Sprig enjoyed visits to the Americans. They were not encumbered by rations, as the locals were, and they were generous. So he’d be given packets of Smiths Crisps and sweets by men who had no bad motives at all, simply were kind and missed their own sons and young brothers. He was also given a model aeroplane which he treasured for his whole life.
On the way back from bombing raids, the crew had nothing to do – except the pilot and co-pilot, of course. So one of the hobbies was making model aircraft. Tim rather thinks it should be in a museum and I don’t disagree, and we do have a local one at Flixton where the airbase was. But I can’t let it go, it’s part of my family, so it’ll be up to my children. I’ll take a picture of it for my next post.