In June 1952, sixty years ago, I was an eighteen-year-old serving in the Royal Air Force along with a brother and two cousins. I can remember receiving a letter from the Mayor of Ilkeston, Councillor Bostock at the end of May, thanking me for my services to the Queen and country and enclosing a 10 shilling postal order (50p in today’s money). Your readers might think that it is not a lot of money but, to a national serviceman earning 28 shillings a week (£1.40 in today’s money) this would have been a considerable sum equating to ten or 12 pints in the NAFF.
My colleagues were amazed that a town council would send this money to all serving personnel. My brother and two cousins, who were serving in different parts of the world, also received this gift. The Ilkeston Advertiser and the Town Council apparently ran an article in the newspaper, asking relatives of the town’s service personnel to come forward with names and details by way of celebrating the Queen’s coronation. When I was next on leave, I found out it was my Aunt Kitty who had nominated all four of us to the Ilkeston Advertiser. It confirmed to me what a wonderful place Ilkeston was, and still is. My mates in the billet, until this time, had never heard of the town of Ilkeston and from this time on I was known as that ‘jammy bod from Ilson.’ My street cred was considerably increased and I was the toast that night! Remembering the incident and knowing of the genorosity of the people of Ilkeston, I spoke to the leader of the Borough Council, Cllr Chris Corbett, enquiring if something similar could be done to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee and to thank our serving personnel. He was very positive and supportive of the idea and assured he would speak to his group and would consider the practicalities (how many?how much et).
I would be interested to hear the memories from June 1952 of other serving personnel. Did any other person receive this acknowledgement?
Councillor Tim Moloney
Old Park Ward