Sandy wartime memories

Our article on Biggleswade World War Two soldiers who returned to the town after Operation Dynamo (published on May 29, 2015) sparked memories for Fred Punter of Sandy who was born in 1932. He said: “I was a lad of eight years living opposite Sandy Church in 1940. I have vivid memories of at least two (there may have been more) Carter Paterson’s removal lorries coming to a halt outside my parents’ shop.

“The tail boards lowered and out climbed about 30 or 40 soldiers, some with bandages around an arm or a leg, others with only part uniform. They looked a very bedraggled bunch.

“They were taken into the two empty shops next to us (now Gilbys). They told us that they had been evacuated from Dunkirk and only had what they stood up in. My mother washed some of their clothes for them whilst they stayed wrapped in blankets.

“They had bulk ration packs but no cooking equipment but my mother came to the rescue with pots and pans. They were all gone within about a week.”

Until then, Fred had been completely unaware of events at Dunkirk so the event has always stuck in his memory. Fred’s mother was a well-known charitable soul and any visitors would know they would be given a cup of tea and something to eat. Fred can recall his school friends saying that they didn’t get pies like that at home and he never remembers going hungry during the war years.

Many thanks go to Fred - who has been married for nearly 60 years and has had a “very full life” - for sharing these Sandy memories with us.