I HAVE been following with interest the reports from Richard Hartley-Parkinson, pictured, in Sri Lanka on the work he has been doing there following the disaster of December 26th, 2004.
I visited many parts of the island – Ceylon as it was then – during my service in the RAF, out there from February 1942 until October 1945.
I witnessed the air raids on the island by the Japanese at Easter 1942 and was stationed at 222 Group RAF HQ, in Colombo.
I later moved to Katunayaka to supervise motor transport in building the RAF long range bomber station in August 1944 and worked there with the civilian workers on the aerodrome construction.
This aerodrome later became the International Airport for Sri Lanka.
Richard's reports bring back memories of my visits to many places on the island, on duties and on leave.
His visit to Hikkaduwa reminded me of my stays there at the rest house on my journeys to Lake Koggalla, taking officers to the flying boat base.
The tidal wave hit all the east coast and the south-west of the island, causing great destruction in the town of Galle.
The last leave I had was in 1944 near Arugam Bay, on the east coast at Wategama, and I swam in the sea there.
The beach on the east coast was much safer for swimming, whereas on the west side a coral reef creates an underwater current which sweeps right up to the shore and makes it extremely dangerous for anyone entering the water.
The only point at which we were allowed to swim was at Mount Lavinia, south of Colombo, and then not to go too far out, and also in what was called The Governor's Pool, where the sea splashed over the rocks to form a pool.
I did not travel as far north as Jaffna, but visited our RAF station at Vavuniya, situated in dense jungle, and also China Bay, near the naval base at Trincomalee.
My first visit to China Bay was the day after the Japanese bombed it in Easter Thursday 1942 and wrecked the place, and also set fire to most of the oil storage tanks at Trincomalee.
In last week's Advertiser and Times, Richard mentions a place called Lesana Gama, which I am not acquainted with, but many places were given new names after independence in 1948.
He seemed to have to put up with some primitive conditions. I was fortunate to live in Echelon Barracks, in Colombo, since demolished to make way for tourist hotels, and at the Maris Stella Catholic College, in Negombo.
I can appreciate the difficulties of working with people who cannot speak English, but in my case I had a chief clerk who was a great help to me, as I only had a very limited grasp of the local languages.
I was pleased to read in the latest issue that Richard had been able to witness the spectacular Perehera in Kandy. I visited Kandy a number of times, but not at the time of the Perehera.
I am not surprised that Richard has grown to love Sri Lanka and its people and, although it is nearly 60 years since I left, I still have a great interest in the island and its people.
I would have considered returning for a holiday, but when I was at liberty to go the political situation was very volatile and dangerous, particularly in the north.
A frantic scene we will never forget
AS a resident living in the Henthorn area, I am deeply concerned about the dog attacks reported in last week's Clitheroe Advertiser and Times.
I was in the back garden at the time that the dogs attacked and, fortunately, there was a large group of people sitting in the garden allowing us to react quickly. Unfortunately, a number of those were children.
As the family puppy was attacked, the scene was frantic and the children were screaming – a sight they should have never had to have seen in the first place and one which they and the rest of us will never forget.
In total, there were eight children in the garden – all of whom could have been turned upon. It took five adults some time to pull the bull terriers off the family dog and when they finally released Jack the puppy, they ran into the street. If it had been earlier, the street would have been full of kids playing who could have well been the next victims. The dogs were cornered in a nearby garden until the police arrived and took the dogs away.
Luckily, Kaitlyn, the child who was injured in the attack, has recovered from the shock well and Jack the puppy is recovering well from his operation. A few other adults were also bitten, but luckily, they too are okay.
What will it take for the owners of these dogs to realise that their "beloved" pets are dangerous? While the owners thought their dogs were secure, they obviously weren't and steps need to be taken so this doesn't happen again. At the very least, muzzles should be made to be worn so if there is a next time everyone in the area can feel slightly safer. Many people walk their dogs in the area. We all need peace of mind that we are not going to be attacked by roaming dogs whether it is people walking dogs, children playing on the street or just simply sitting innocently on private property.
It is thought this is the second time these dogs have attacked (incidentally, the dogs are back with the owners). It is only a matter of time before they get out again. I have no doubt they will and next time the consequences don't bear thinking about.
A CONCERNED HENTHORN
Name and address supplied
Junction work to keep drivers safe
I AM writing as a Clitheroe resident who uses the A59 Clitheroe Bypass every day.
Along with many other local people I am concerned about the number of accidents that have happened there over the past few years.
One thing that does worry me is the fact that though people are talking about traffic calming measures at the Pendle Road junction, nobody seems to be paying any heed to the fact that the Pimlico Link Road junction is very dangerous too.
With all the recent industrial units being built on sites just off the link road, most of Clitheroe's heavy goods traffic now uses this road to either come into, or circumnavigate our town, and this must be one of the heaviest used routes into town.
At peak times, traffic joining the bypass from the link road may sometimes have to wait for up to several minutes before being able to get on to the A59, and if having the misfortune to try and turn on to the road towards Blackburn, the view on to the road is quite often obscured by lorries or other vehicles turning on to the link road, making it a dangerous situation.
While politicians, highways agencies and other powers-that-be, are considering the best way to calm the traffic or create roundabouts near to the Pendle Road junction, I urge them to think of the Pimlico link junction and consider that surely it would make good economic sense to look at doing something that would benefit both junctions and keep all local drivers safer.
Merchant seamen to be remembered
THIS Saturday, September 3rd, is National Merchant Navy Day and, as such, the Red Ensign will be flying from the Castle Keep and outside the Conservative Club, in Clitheroe, and also from the parish church in Whalley.
On this day, Merchant Seamen past and present remember their brothers who lost their lives during the First and Second World Wars, and subsequent conflicts.
This year, at our Remembrance Service at the Memorial, Tower Hill, London, on Sunday, there will be an unveiling and dedication of the Falkland Memorial, by the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Alan West GCB DSC ADC.
I will be there, along with others representing our Ribble Valley branch. If any of your readers would like to know any other details of our branch, they can contact me on 01200 443073.
PETER D. SUTCLIFFE,
Pat on the back for thoughtful council
LAST week we had visitors from New Zealand who were very impressed with the recently-installed benches in the Castle Grounds.
They made us aware that these benches were made of recycled materials – which are very common in New Zealand.
We were surprised that the benches were not only comfortable, but didn't look out of place in the Castle Grounds.
It is good to know that Ribble Valley Borough Council has the insight and knowledge to use recyclable materials which benefit not only ourselves, but future generations.
C. A. CHATBURN,
Lamb Roe brought back memories
Having being born at Lamb Roe – note spelling - I was most interested in Doris Brown's letter. However, there are a number of inaccuracies.
The area included the Spread Eagle pub and attached farm, on which we children spent many happy hours, milking, haymaking etc.
The row of cottages pulled down was called Rose Cottages – there never was a Lamb Row. The only place there is such a name – Lamb Roe – is over the pub door.
The other houses are Birch View and Exton Terrace. The 1930s houses further on just had names, but the address was Clitheroe Road, Lamb Roe, Whalley.
Next to Blackburns' garage was a long hut which my parents, Carey and Peri Chatburn, who moved into "Gleneagles" after their marriage in 1937, told me had been a sweet shop. During the war a London family made their home there for a time. I seem to remember four children, one of the girls being called Ursula.
Also during the war, when it was "Dig for Victory", the field at the back of our house was ploughed by horse and corn grown. I was fascinated by the poppies. Later we helped harvest potatoes.
Ashcroft's Mill, founded by the late Frank Ashcroft, sold animal feeds. It was then run by his son the late Edward, then grandson John. We played on the field and sometimes "helped" fill sacks with cattle nuts.
Most of the Lamb Roe children went to Barrow school, for although the area is in Whalley one walked to the nearest school.
l TWO errors found their way into Doris Brown's letter, published last week under the heading "My memories of Lamb Row". The reference to "Ashcroft's Cotton Mill" should, of course, have read "Ashcroft's Corn Mill" and the Infant School Headmistress was Miss Ashcroft, not Mrs.