'Right boys, take out your geography books' said the teacher to the class. There was a loud banging of desk tops as the boys noisily complied, followed by a buzz of whispered conversation behind raised lids.
'Quiet. Pay attention for a moment please.'
Silence descended upon the classroom as the boys folded their arms across their chests and sat upright as required in the wartime classrooms of the 1940's; 1943 to be exact.
Mr. Wilkinson gazed around the classroom to see he had everyone's attention before beginning.
'No doubt you will be aware that American soldiers have moved into the barracks next door. I want you all to remember that all these soldiers are a long way from home, that they are in a strange country and now in a strange city. Everything is completely new to them; our way of life and even our language.
It's up to you boys to help them in any way that you can. If they are lost show them the way, if they can not understand our money, which many of them will not, show them how pennies make a shilling, how many shillings in a pound.
Explain what half a crown is, a florin and even sixpences and three penny bits. If possible introduce them to your families, make them feel welcome in every way.'
With these words ringing in his ears, the boy stood at the barrack gates in his young schoolboy way, ready to help.
As he looked up he saw a soldier walking towards him from the cook house or Mess Hall as he later learned they called it. The boy walked towards the soldier and held out his hand.
'Hi Yank, I'm Brian' he said as they shook hands, 'Hi, I'm Jimmy and I'm pleased to meet you and by the way boy, I ain't no Yank, I'm a rebel from Birmingham, Alabama.'
'Would you like to come and meet my family Jimmy?'
'I sure would boy and thanks for the invitation.'
And so began a long friendship with the rebel and the boy and his family. The boy told his Mam and Dad of his meeting with Jimmy and they said, 'He is more than welcome to come and visit our home.'
A couple of nights later the boy introduced Jimmy to his family and they made him feel very welcome, especially his dad who had been gassed badly and wounded during the First World War.
It seemed that soldiers of any era have a common bond and so through the following year, especially the winter nights when the snow was down and it was very cold outside, Jimmy used to love sitting in front of the open coal fire talking to Brian's parents about his home and his family; his wife Julia and his young daughter.
Jimmy was particularly taken with the black leaded range and the highly polished brass trivets and the gleaming copper kettle.
He thought it was a lovely sight. To the boy too, it was a great time. A never ending supply of chewing gum and Hershey bars; things unobtainable in wartime Britain.
Jimmy asked Brian's Mam is she would like to write to his wife in Alabama which she did and they became very good friends. So good that one day there was a loud knocking on the front door, when the boy opened there was a post office van outside, the driver said 'parcel for you.'
The driver turned to the van and came staggering back with a huge box. It was a food parcel from Jimmy's wife containing all kinds of foodstuffs never seen for years in England. Tinned peaches, tinned ham, biscuits and candy.
What a sight to see, what a feast; it was an adventure just to read the labels for the boy. His mother wrote back immediately to Jimmy's wife and thanked her for such a magnificent gift and told her how much it was appreciated by us all.
At about that time, Jimmy seemed to get a great interest in English silver three penny pieces, the boy asked him why. Jimmy said that if he could get a broach and earrings made from them, he thought his wife would like them and they would always remind him of England.'
So the boy and his mother began to save all the three penny pieces that they could, when they had enough, she had them mounted into a broach, bracelet and earrings and gave them to Jimmy to send home to his wife. She was delighted with them, he said.
As with the course of events in wartime, things have to move on. So came the day when Jimmy said they were moving out, moving out to another camp. Jimmy said, 'Keep writing to me boy, let me know how you are doing in school, look after yourself and your family, I'll let you know when we are going.'
A couple of days later came the move out. The boy waited at the side of the road as the big American trucks passed by in convoy. Suddenly a 'pip - pip - pip' of a horn and a wave. A big truck slowed down and the boy ran and jumped on to the running board, it was Jimmy - a quick shake of the hand.
'Take care Jimmy, look after yourself' the boy shouted and jumped down to watch the big truck speed up to catch up with the rest of the convoy. The convoy drove out of sight, round the bend in the street.
All was quiet, the boy walked home thinking of his rebel pal and hoping he would be okay and return home safe to his wife Julia. It was the beginning of the move south for D-Day, but of course no one knew that at the time.
The boy kept writing to Jimmy who answered every letter saying he was okay but he couldn't say where he was. Then came the announcement on the wireless; 'ALLIED TROOPS HAVE LANDED ON THE CONTINENT OF EUROPE - D-DAY'.
Everyone knew the war would be over soon now, although the boy's father said 'there will be some terrible fighting yet before this war is over.'
The boy kept writing to Jimmy till one day his letters came backed stamped with the words: 'RETURNED BY THE U.S ARMY POST OFFICE.' The boy wrote again with the same result. He asked his Dad why this was. His dad said 'when men are fighting a war things go wrong sometimes.'
The boy never did hear from his rebel pal again and over the years he often wondered whether Jimmy been killed or had he returned home safely to his wife Julia in Birmingham, Alabama. This he will never know.
That boy is now 72 and all he has is his memories of those far off days and a photograph of his rebel pal Jimmy.
He has visited France a couple of times and has been to the American Cemetery at Bloody Omaha to pay his respects.
He has walked the row upon row of white crosses and read the names of those brave young men who made the supreme sacrifice. On his last visit as he was leaving, he turned, looked back and said quietly to himself...
'Wherever you are now Reb, it was nice to have known you.'
Brian's recollections are wholly based on real events. Brian has written them as an outsider looking in to make his memories more accessible to the reader, but he was indeed the little boy and is now an old man (as he puts it) looking back.
Articles - This Has Been Thisisull 2013
By Michelle Dee
The year 2013 will forever be remembered for that magical moment when on a cold wet morning in November crowds gathered inside Hull Truck Theatre to hear the 2017 City of Culture announcement.
We were there thisisull.com all the whooping, cheering and celebration: Cilla, tireless and inspirational editor of thisisull.com and me, Michelle Dee, regular contributor and champion for Arts and Culture in the city.
Articles - Theatre in Hull; A Lifelong Passion
By Michelle Dee
I started going to Hull Truck Theatre in its Spring Street days. I had a very switched on drama tutor at high school and saw
gritty Remould Theatre productions such as Steeltown, In Blackberry Times, Streetbeat and more.
As a young adult I remember seeing dance productions such as Orpheus in the Underworld and then Woza Albert by a Zimbabwean
company, as well as a host of John Godber shows, Wuthering Heights, Up n Under etc.
Articles - Memories of Hull Part 5 By Terry Hood
When I was in my early teens I went to my grandparents in Gypsyville to do any shopping for them.
I remember going to the cinema in Gypsyville but cannot remember the name of it.
It was just a few yards from the corner of North Road towards Dairycoates.
Articles - Longing to Snorkel By Phillip Rhodes.
How do you define an obsession that doesn't dictate your daily routine? That said, how do you put to bed that nagging regret of a life-long unfulfilled dream? We all have aspirations and ambitions - without them we remain stagnant automatons.
But what if others think your interest is insignificant or not worth getting involved? And what if you have to rely on others to make things happen? Yes, Mr. Rhodes is definitely on one!
Articles - Monkeys By Merle R. Stone.
Monkeys. We have all seen them. Monkeys in the zoo. Monkeys on the television. Monkeys in books. Monkeys everywhere. If you want to know something about monkeys, you don't have to go far for information on them.
Why do you suppose thats is? Why do humans have such an incredible thirst for knowledge and understanding of these fuzzy little beasts?
Articles - Finding Nigel ... Can You Help? By Therese.
My story begins on Saturday 8th may. I was working as a bartender in a bar in Kristiansund, Norway when Nigel and a couple of his work friends came into the bar. It was busy, but I saw him right away. We got eye contact and said hello and smiled and all this ''I like looking at you'' out of the way - but since it was busy we didn't get to talk too much.
I was then sent down to the cellar to get some Bacardi Razz (yumyum) and when I came back they had gone.
Articles - End of 2010 By Joe Hakim
Maybe it's because winter is here... Maybe it's because we're here at the end of the first decade of the new millennium... Maybe it's because we have a new government in power... Maybe it's because I'm getting on a bit...
...but just lately I've been thinking about a lot of things; things that have happened, things that are happening and things that may yet happen. I've been thinking about the journey I've been on, both as an artist and a person.
Articles - One Banana Banquet By Brian Hodgins.
The old man stood by the fruit racks in the super store contemplating at what to buy today, 'just for a change'. As his eyes took in the plethora of fruit before him, his gaze fell upon an absolute mountain of yellow and green Bananas. His thoughts flew back over the years, when such a sight would have been absolutely unimaginable ...
Articles - Is This An Article Or A Letter, Or What? By Merle R. Stone.
It is with tremendous trepidation and maybe a tiny bit of panic that I begin this writing. You see, I once wrote with exceptional ease, and had no trouble at all putting my thoughts into print. As of late, though, it would seem that that particular talent has abandoned me. Has this ever happened to any of you (I presume, of course, that somebody is actually reading this)?
Not that I feel that I ever had any real talent for writing.
Articles - Philip Wincolmlee-Barnes By C.B. Tempest.
There are times when a friend's death can be such a surprise, as to justify it being shocking. With Phil Barnes, otherwise known as 'Acker' was just such a moment.
Though never the centre of the action but passing his fine arts degree all too easily, he always lay to the side, carefully rolling his 'baccy' to smoke, dressed in his 'ironic' suit and tie: he never
held down any obvious 'career' jobs, like being a lawyer or banker; rather he was an outsider,
Articles - Memories of Hull Part 4 By Terry Hood
Whilst living in Hull I worked for other companies. They were C.D.Holmes, Blackburn Aircraft and Ideal Standard which is in National Avenue.
We purchased our first house in National Avenue and we found out that when the washing was put out on the line, when it was brought in the items had smut marks on them and had to be washed again. This was due to the smoke from Ideal Standard's chimney.
Articles - All About Sex, the Government Minister, the Dead Boy in the Orphanage and the Cover Up By Tim Roux.
When I am not focusing on Hull (and I have recently completed another 'Hull' book, called Missio, about a boy whose father went down with the trawler The Gaul in 1974) I do sometimes engage with the wider world although, to be honest, it isn't up to much.
However, there is one excellent site I contribute to called Speak Without Interruption Read more...
Articles - Memories of Hull Part 3 By Terry Hood
On 26th January 1955 the nation was stunned by the news of the loss of the Lorella and Roderigo with all 40 crewmen during severe weather off Iceland. This was due to black ice forming on the trawlers. As quick as the crew were chipping it off, it was forming again.
My cousin was on another trawler standing by listening to the radio operators on each trawler talking to each other and then he heard one of them say, 'Give our love to our wives,
Articles - (Belated) End of 2009 By Cilla (Editor).
It's late. This was supposed to be an end of year piece and I guess it's typical of my life recently - there's just never enough time to do everything I want to do - time just passes too quickly.
So, it's 2010. Another year bites the dust. The first decade of the 21st century is over with - gone in a flash and here we all are, shivering with cold and sliding off pavements, sitting in queues of smoke billowing traffic.
When I was growing up, I took it for granted
Articles - Christmas With The Big D By Andrea Longstaff
Well, it's that time of the year again; a time of incongruity that spills over into the blurry edges of surrealism. At no other time but December will you see elves strolling down the street. I fondly recall one past Yuletide playing a game of pool with an elf.
Throughout the rest of the year we tell our children not to talk to strangers, then come December and they're all scared witless
Articles - The Political Show Trial the BBC Just Couldn't Resist By Steve Regan, the King of Hull
Shame on the BBC for giving a platform to people prepared to deny the dignity and worth of fellow human beings.
Yes, the bullying approach adopted by the Justice Secretary Jack Straw, Tory Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Liberal-Democrat MP Chris Huhne and the American writer Bonnie Greer on last night's Question Time was an affront to decency.
And the BBC top brass should not have allowed the show's usual format to be hijacked and used as a nasty and counter-productive show trial of BNP chairman Nick Griffin.