Bolton Remembers the War Logo
Vince Southern - Schoolboy
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Vince Southern




Vincent Neville Southern



8 June 2005


Vince was born in Rawson Street, Farnworth, in 1930. His father was a radio officer but died when he was seven. He went to St Stephen's School, Kearsley, and was brought up by his grandparents at Vale House, Stoneclough, which belonged to the Fletcher family who owned the paper works. His grandmother was the cook and housekeeper and his grandfather looked after the horses. Vincent remembers the area and the people very well and recounts various incidents from the time.

In one air raid the Farnworth and Kearsley Coop in Springfield Road was damaged as well as his mother's house. Fortunately she was staying elsewhere and was told, "You'd better get up to your house, and you won't need a front door key". He still has a piece of shrapnel from the house. At the end of the War there was a big party on the front lawn of Vale House. Vincent later had a taxi business in Bolton.


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Watching the air raids...

We were fortunate at Vale House, instead of going upstairs and going to bed, we used to go downstairs into the cellars at Vale House which were where the barrels or beer were kept and many, many other things were kept down there and there was a big Robin Hood boiler that used to be the heating appliance that heated the whole of Vale House... So we had our bunk beds and our ordinary beds, my Grandmother and my Mother's bed and spare beds down there, in case any of the family, because there was quite a few aunties and uncles, and we lived down there. But the fire escape door, which we had down in the cellar at Vale House, used to go out towards the tennis courts, which were at the back of Vale House, and overlooking the back of the then, Kearsley Power Station. And, of course, looking out towards Clifton and Manchester you could see a lot of the fires and the bombs dropping, and the searchlights searching across the sky, the barrage balloons that were there to be able to stop bombers coming in, to be able to get near enough to be able to bomb the places. I don't know why, I don't know how the barrage balloons were supposed to stop them, because, obviously they would be higher than that if they were dropping the bombs, but at that time, it must have been a deterrent, or something. Actually, it was a marker wasn't it? That there was something important there, but probably no-one thought about that at that time.