A RECENT article about local airfields has prompted a moving reply from reader John Nunn. He had attended Poulton Village School during the Second World War.
Describing it as an exciting time for children.
John writes of the local roads being full of military vehicles and the sky full of aircraft.
This is not surprising as close to Poulton were Fairford, Down Ampney, South Cerney and Bibury. There were active airfields in all those places.
There were gliders at Fairford and Down Ampney and John remembers seeing two crashed, but not badly damaged.
John remembers one afternoon in 1944, when he was eleven.
One afternoon through his classroom window he could see the sky was full of parachutes.
When school ended he rushed out into the village and discovered about fifty or sixty paratroopers.
They had discarded their parachutes and were busy digging trenches.
The soldiers chatted happily with the Poulton children and gave them sweets from their 24 hour ration packs.
Subsequently John realised these troops were practicing for Arnheim.
This exercise was not a success as anyone who saw the film “A Bridge to Far” will know.
All his life John has wondered how many of those Poulton parachutists survived the Arnheim disaster and he has visited Arnheim cemetery to pay tribute to those cheerful men he met after school one afternoon.
In some aspects life in the Cotswolds was not affected by war. Gardens were cultivated, crops were harvested and schools continued but you could not ignore the world conflict.
New words came into our vocabulary such as evacuees, blackout, gas masks, rationing and even at the village shop one had to be a registered customer.
They came rejoicing VE day celebrated victory in Europe and VJ day victory in Japan.
We were all remorseful and like John Nunn and his Poulton paratroopers they are still with us.
My lasting memory is hiding under the stairs at Sheepscombe as German bombers headed for the Midlands.