Bolton Remembers the War Logo
Edith Kay née Hayston - Schoolgirl
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Edith Kay
Edith Hayston



Edith Kay née Hayston

26 September 2005

Edith was born in Bolton in 1934. She lived in Hibernia Street, Deane and attended Brandwood Street School. Her mother worked at Musgrave's Mill and her father was a miner at Mosley Common as well as being in the Territorials.

He was in the 5th Loyals and she remembers waving him goodbye on the corner of the street. When Singapore fell he was on one of the boats going into the harbour and was taken prisoner by the Japanese, but it was a long time before her mother knew this.

Edith lived through all the experiences of a schoolgirl growing up in Wartime Bolton and each week went with her mother to the Red Cross at Watermillock, to try and find information about her father. As a Prisoner of War he was forced by his captors to work on the infamous Burma-Siam Railway but tragically died of cholera in 1943.

After the War there was a desperate need for people to work in the cotton mills and her mother worked at the Eagle Mill as a jack-frame tenter, a job she was very proud of. Edith met her husband, Beverley Kay, at that wonderful Bolton institution - the Palais de Danse.

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Fancy dress and jelly... mp3 sound clip - 248kFancy dress and jelly... mp3 sound clip - 248k

A telegram on VE Day... mp3 sound clip - 535kA telegram on VE Day... mp3 sound clip - 535k

Fancy dress and jelly...

We went round and had a fancy dress parade, all round the area and collected for the Red Cross... and Bolton Royal, because somebody's Dad had just been in Bolton Royal and they wanted to give them some money as well, you see, and we collected quite a lot. It was a successful day, a nice party afterwards. The Red Cross ladies came and made, well someone had made, little woolly golliwogs, because you couldn't get toys so much, and they'd made all these little woolly golliwogs and they were the prizes for the fancy dress, you see. We nearly all got one (laughs) and then we had a party. And someone had made a lot of jelly. I remember we were all having jellies. We had the end house, so it was a big garden, and we all went on there and they put tables out.

A telegram on VE Day...

And then when we were getting ready for VE Day, we put all the flags out and made bunting, and they'd had to make it, because they probably couldn't buy it, but I remember sewing all these triangles onto pieces of string (laughs) and we had it all out, all ready, and the bonfire was built up, further up our street, and my Mother went to work, at the butchers. She'd gone to give a couple of hours work and our John, he was still in bed, he was only a little boy, and I was eleven, well about eleven, I think on VE Day. And there was a knock on the door, and it was the telegraph boy, and he said ‘Is your Mum in?' and I said ‘Oh no, she's at work' and he said ‘Oh, I have to take an answer. I have to wait' he was only fourteen, because they were only fourteen weren't they, these little telegraph boys? And he didn't know what to do, you see, and he said ‘I've got to take an answer back, I've to wait for an answer' so I said ‘Well, I'll have a look at it' so I opened it and it was to say that my Dad had died in this camp, so I said to him ‘There's no answer' and off he went. I can remember him to this day. He were just stood staring at me, and I were sort of staring back at him, neither of us knew what to do, you see, because he was so young, too young really, to take that sort of a message, wasn't he? So I went to my Auntie, who lived higher up, at the top end of Hibernia Street. I got our John up and took him with me. And she said ‘Well, you stay with Dorothy' that's my little cousin, ‘and I'll go and get your Mother.' So she did. She went to the butchers. And I always remember my Mother, she was so angry, when she came in, she was so angry, and she said ‘I don't believe it' and she just wouldn't accept it at all. We stayed at my Auntie's... We didn't go to the party or anything that day, so that was it.