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Linda (Kincaid) White
Dear Vicki and Larry,
The John Kincaid’s were at Burtonwood for my 7th through 10th grades-1952-1956. We lived in Leigh, then Hale Barnes, Hale, and finally the infamous Quonset huts. My mother gave birth to my brother Phillip (named after the Prince of course) at Burtonwood. She mainly remembered that she had never been as cold in her life as she was living in England. She was raised in Oklahoma.
I remember the trip to France and Switzerland and the English class trip to see Romeo and Juliet in Stratford-on-Avon. I have loved Shakespeare ever since. I don’t remember my 8th grade English teachers’ name but he had us read Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet and I can never thank him enough for that. I remember Mr. Nuttalls’ French classes. He snapped my bra one afternoon. I was mortified, but in those days I wouldn’t dare say anything about it to anyone.
I have two other brothers, John and Richard. We went from England to RPI in Troy, New York, where my Dad terrorized the ROTC cadets. He was a M/Sgt. He retired in Norman, OK after working in ROTC at Oklahoma University. He passed away in 1995, and our mother in 2006.
John Kincaid Jr. lives in Richardson, TX, Richard passed away in 1998 in Lake Charles, LA, and Phillip lives in Cherryville, NC.
I live with my husband Charles Fletcher White in Cincinnati and have 3 children and five grandchildren, three of whom are in the Air Force, two at Lackland in Intelligence and one in the Air National Guard as an Air Traffic Controller. Fletch is retired from 32 years at Delta AirLines. I am working as HR Manager for a small manufacturing company.
Of course I remember, Florence and Dixie and Loretta and Tom and Jim and so many! I came across a picture of Col. Bell giving my mother a trophy for her poodle in a base dog show. What a handsome man he was.
I am so sorry to read of the death of Marilyn Miller Emmons. She was a dear and kind friend to me in England. I will never forget sleepovers at her house with Carol Naldrich. We had to be up by 12:00 when her dad, the General came down the hall. He didn’t allow anyone to be in bed after that hour. I remember when Marilyn and her mother were presented to the Queen, making tuna sandwiches in the kitchen, hanging out at the Youth Center. She was great fun, charming and endearing to everyone who met her. What a loss for everyone who knew her.
Living in England, in retrospect was a great gift to me and provided me with lessons learned that have benefited me my whole life. However, I have never been as grateful as when I saw the Statue of Liberty in July, 1956 and knew I was finally home.
I would love to hear from anyone who would like to reply.
Linda (Kincaid) White.
6/21/2007 message from Jay Wilcox
Dear Vicki and Larry, June 21, 2007
I was surfing the web yesterday for information about Warrington, Stockton Heath and Burtonwood RAF Station in England, and I accidentally found the connection to the Burtonwood High School Alumni Association Web Site.
To my surprise, there you were. I spent the whole afternoon scrolling through every page and picture. I read all of the memories that have been posted. It brought back wonderful memories. Then I found the memorials and saw where Jim Heider had passed away. He and I had been very close. We lived next to each other when we moved into base housing the summer before the 1958-1959 school year. We lived in the “Tobacco Housing” that was located near the new Teen Club.
Then I dug out all my “Vapor Trails” and read through them, when I got to 1959, I found a bunch of pictures and other mementos. There was Vicki’s picture between the pages. I had forgotten I even had some of this stuff. I don’t have anything from the other schools. My sister has my senior yearbook because she was a freshman that year.
When I returned to the states, I landed on July 4, 1959, so I told everyone that I got my independence from England on Independence Day 1959. It was years later when I realized that those years from November 1956 to July 1959 were the best and most memorable school years I had. We went on trips to the continent, saw Shakespeare’s plays and there was something to do all the time. I spent my junior year in Missouri and Mississippi, and my senior year in Nebraska.
Over the years, I have never come across a single classmate from England or any of the 14 different schools I attended in my 12 years of school. My sister met a Marine in a grocery store Jacksonville, NC, back in the seventies that she had been in school with in Nebraska.
Please let me hear from you, and I will forward copies of the rest of my Burtonwood stuff. I am a beginner with the computer, so please forgive any bloopers.
Your long lost Classmate,
Pat (Tague) Nichols
6/13/2006- Poem submitted by Pat (Tague) Nichols '59 (found among some of her dad's old papers.) Does anyone recognize the author?
TO THOSE WE LEAVE BEHIND
“My Footprints in the Mud”
By Sunny Sansing
Burtonwood, Burtonwood, I bid you farewell,
I take with me many strange tales to tell.
We’ve got our orders and we’re on our way
To the land of sunshine, the Good Ole U.S.A..
Our hold luggage is gone and our furniture, too,
So, goodbye to pills, all sizes and hues,
To mud that you sink in up to your knees
That makes you cough and sniff and sneeze,
To electricity that fails you morn and night
And paraffin that makes your clothes a sight.
To our mansion, the dear old Quonset hut,
Where windows and doors won’t properly shut,
To the big-priced gallon and cars too small,
And roads that aren’t really roads at all.
Farewell to scrip, pounds, shillings, and pence,
Hail to the greenback, the dime and the cents.
Goodbye to the fog, the smog, and the rain,
To driving tests that give you a pain,
To bicycles, trucks and the dear old Bobby,
To folks who collect antiques as a hobby.
To fish and chips and pies and peas,
The shop girls who aim not to please.
No more two-for-ones with friends at the bar,
No more rusted chrome on the car.
Farewell to the pushing, fighting and pinching
To try to get that last piece of Minton.
Our tour in England has really been fun,
But now, at last, our three years are done.
Your turn will come soon and you will know
Why it’s lovely to leave, but so hard to go.
It’s always sad to say goodbyes
To try to disguise the tears in your eyes,
To take off and leave dear friends behind,
But out of sight is not out of mind.
So, cheer up and don’t ever despair.
While it’s wonderful here, we miss it back there.
6/7/2005- Thanks to Gene Wintersole for sending this very true poem.
"Strangers in the Box"
Come, look with me inside this drawer
in this box I’ve often seen,
At the pictures, black and white
faces proud, still, serene.
I wish I knew the people
these strangers in the box,
Their names and all their memories
are lost among my socks.
I wonder what their lives were like
how did they spend their days?
What about their special times?
I'll never know their ways.
If only someone had taken time
to tell who, what, or when,
These faces of my heritage
would come to life again.
Could this become the fate
of pictures we take today?
The faces and memories
someday to be passed away?
Make time to save your stories
seize the opportunity when it knocks,
Or someday you and yours could be
the strangers in the box.
5/27/03 - Memento of Burtonwood -Thought you might like to know where the blackboard (Chalkboard) from the High School ended up. It was transferred to Samlesbury when 635 Gliding School moved operations from Burtonwood to Samlesbury and I believe is still in use today. Best Regards, Sqn. Ldr Peter J McLachlan (Rtd),Ex Officer Commanding, Royal Air Force, 635 Gliding School.
4/2/2003 - Hi, I'm Charlotte Hines and spent 18 months at Burtonwood AFB, 1957 being the last year before going back stateside. We lived in St. Helens, Warrington and Hough Green during that time frame. Never was fortunate to live on base and be near the Youth Center and activities. Had a few dates with Stanley Mortimer to the movies. Went to the sophomore dance with Gordon McDugle.
We had a little green English Ford and it hit every bump along the narrow, winding roads! Most of our social activity centered around the base chapel with Chaplain Johnson. My family visited back and forth with the McDugle and Crocker families. I was very shy and quiet those days so many people may not remember me. After reading everyone's stories online, I too, must add how the fog impressed me. My school bus to St. Helen's passed by me and my brother, Gene, at least once or twice because you could actually not see your hand in front of your face.
When we lived in St. Helen's once the English kids chased us to our apartment yelling "Go home you bloody Yankees!". My brother was so mad. It wasn't the bloody or go home part that upset him...it was the word "Yankee"! He considered himself a southern Rebel from Oklahoma! ha Another time at St. Helen's we woke up during the middle of the night hearing footsteps on the roof. TeddyBoys were running over our roof, probably in the middle of a caper! My mother was always putting her foot in her mouth so to speak.
The difference in the meaning of innocent words made her wonder quite a few times why the double-decker bus conductor or green-grocer looked at her in a strange way! We craved sausage one day, so she went to the local butcher in Warrington and asked him to grind up some pork along with a small portion of fat. Took the mixture home and added sage and spices to make wonderful tasting sausage patties..almost like Jimmy Dean or Owens brands. Remember the black soot on all the buildings? The smell of coal and strong English tea in the air? The cobble stone pavements and roads...we nicknamed them "hobble stones".
The commercial free tele.. they were rolled for a long time BEFORE the daily programs started. "Don't say brown..say Hovis!" Cadbury chocolates. How we gasped to hear cuss words like damn and hell on BBC. The many boring talk shows. Spring in England smelled so earthy and clean. The yellow daffodils and lavender lilac trees. We saw alot of hedgehogs along the road when we lived in Hough Green at "The Lilacs". Gene Wintersole's family lived there before we did. It was a grand two-story house with an orchard, and an upstairs room filled with the landowner's stored antiques. Beautiful glossy-shining mahogany dining room furniture, black top hats, old Pilgrim-looking musket rifles, butterfly collections, opera records in Chinese, books, books & more books, a real trove of interesting treasures. Remember going to the cinemas and hearing "God save the Queen" for the first time?
An English family in Liverpool we visited often had a girl a couple of years older than myself. I went on a double date with her, her boyfriend and his friend. We went to the cinema. After finding out that I was from Oklahoma, he asked if I lived in a teepee..and he was serious! Remember how the English bathed every fortnight? (whether they needed it or not...ha) The commodes had the water tank high above with a long chain to pull... and the tissue..it sure wasn't Charmin! The memories are priceless as well as the friendships that were created.
The best part is that so many of the Burtonwood gang still gather when possible and keep in touch. The Texas branch, Jerry Garza, Louis Berger, Bobby Morgan, Pat Tague, Pat Granger, Jere Kimmel, Aldah Powell, Chuck Heaton, still convene when Gordon McDugle or George Wilson come to San Antonio. After all those years longing for a chance to see someone from that era and past and to finally have it happen after 46 years...can only be a miracle!
Other people who have reunions from stateside schools just don't have the same emotion and connection that we Burtonwood Air Force Brats do! We were a small group but the common thread of our experience holds us together after nearly fifty years. I would say that's about as stupendous as it can get! Let me hear from any of you out there.
Pat (Wedin) Smith
My sister and I went to school at Burtonwood from 1954-56. Our names then were Carole and Jeanie Wedin. We lived off base at Scotia North and I remember the Youth Center and Lulu making sodas ....and the make-out room in the back. Carole has spent most of her life on the West Coast, but I have just moved to the Seattle area a few weeks ago. After we left England our father retired in San Antonio and we lived there a few years. I married a second Lt. in the AF and moved for the next 16 years, including Fairbanks, Alaska. In 1974 we divorced and I settled in Fairfax, Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC. For most of my working life I worked in Real Estate and Relocation and retired in 1997 as Vice Pres of a Sub. of Ford Motors. I have remarried 14 years ago, have two children and two step children. They are all doing very well, my daughter is an attorney in San Francisco and one of our sons is in London, England. The other two sons are in Wash. DC and Raleigh NC. I would love to hear from any old friends, I went to a reunion Veda Rae Richards had in Maryland years ago, and sent cards to Earl and Tom Bell at Christmas but other than those two I have no addresses. I just talked to Bobby Morgan and am planning to attend the Oct reunion in Las Vegas. Barbara Hazus, Karin Schieck, and George Crain were in my classes, we were the youngest ones. Hope to see you all in October!!!
Vicki (Harrell) Ahlemann
I attended Burtonwood my Sophomore and Junior years (1957-1959). We came to Burtonwood from Sacramento, CA. The first year we lived in Altrincham on Dunham Rd. in an old estate called Chomlea that had been converted to apartments. We paid fresh air tax for living two stories up, and taxes on each radio we had and the
"tele". Second year we were able to move from that lovely old mansion with the huge gardens to the indescribable quonset huts on Site 6! Now that I'm older, I often wonder what my mom's first words were to my dad.
Chuck Heaton was my first friend. He and his family lived close by in Altrincham, and he took it upon himself to welcome us to the neighborhood. The first photo in England is with Chuck in front of Chomlea. He introduced me to the other students, and even invited me to the first school dance of the year so I wouldn't be left out. We rode the luxurious English coaches through fog, wind, rain to and from school each day. He was a good friend even though he made fun of my socks!
One of the highlights for me were the equestrian lessons sponsored by the Youth Center. We were bused to the English stables . Nancy Dill, Ann Tague, Chuck and Bonnie Kittel were among the regulars. They fared much better than I, as I ended up on my head three times or more, and my horse ran away with me in the horse show!
One day as we sat in Mrs. Leigh's English class reading Edgar Allen Poe, the thick, black fog could be seen rolling across the fields toward us. It was really spooky. The school quickly loaded us on our buses and sent us home early while we could still see.
So many memories of the trips with Mr. Nuttall, the team and cheerleaders going to tournaments and games, cheerleading for the base team, after school in the snack bar and at the bowling alley. When Larry and I got married in 1998, we made a trip back to Burtonwood. Even though the school and most everything else is gone, all those memories were so vivid, and I could still feel the past as we stood on the ground where our school had been.
I will always cherish my memories of my friends and time at Burtonwood. It was a very special time in my life. I'm looking forward to renewing old friendships and making new ones in Las Vegas in October. I hope when I hear other stories it will jog my memory of things forgotten.
Vicki Harrell- Ahlemann
We stayed off base the first 10 months. We were at a place called Brookfield House in Lymm with nine other Air Force families. Like one big family, lots of fun. The kids there, including I, buried a time capsule (biscuit tin) with stuff in it. When we went back in 1998 for the Burtonwood reunion,
we tried to find it, but no soap.
Boy, remember learning the English money. and how about the English language when you first got there? Fish 'n chips in newspapers, loved it! I believe my best Christmases were in England....felt like Charles Dickens' Christmas. Shopping in the snow in downtown Warrington.
Youth Center, WOW a lot of fun! Bowling alley, setting pins, living on Site 1, 1955-59, airplanes parked in front of our huts, taxiing past on the left, running up engines behind, taking off left and landing left, even the thick, thick fog. Couldn't believe how much the English smoked, even the little kids. Trying to run or ride our bicycles across the aircraft parking ramp to and from Site 1 (where the school was 1956-57) before Air Police caught us. The best was sneaking across in thick fog at night, eerie and fun. Do you remember when no one said anything, and you could hear the quiet in the fog, especially if it had snowed too. Stars and Stripes newspaper route on Site 1 where I lived. Out in the early, early foggy mornings, summer OK, but winter a bit nippy I'd say. Loved the rain and the double decker buses the best.
Remember when school got out early because of fog in the winter, and it was dark by 3PM. WOW!. The hayrides on the Air Force trucks were lots of fun. I believe for a young person, living on Burtonwood and the Warrington area was perfect. Always something to do and places to go. Remember just meeting friends at the Bowling Alley/Snack Bar, or bowling too? The burgers and grilled cheeses and malts probably were not the best compared to Stateside, but since then, I do not believe I've enjoyed the experience of hamburgers and malts as I did with my friends at Burtonwood with the juke box blaring away. I think Burtonwood was still a time in our life when experiences and friendships were paramount in our lives and money had not started running our lives yet. It was a yesterday I will always cherish, and I'm lucky enough to live with Vicki who experienced the same thing. It's great!
was at Burtonwood as a sophomore -- spring 1951 to September 1951 -- we came
there from Wiesbaden High School, a great place in a great town. Burtonwood was
a small school -- maybe 25 of us.
From there I went to Chicopee High School, near Westover Field in MA -- 1300 students. The absolute worst school in the worst town in the worst state in the world. I majored in hooky and pool. Earl and I moved back to Newport, Vermont, to live with relatives the next year...Earl went back to Burtonwood and I went in the Army...guess who had more fun...
got back to England as a GI a couple of years later...got very drunk in Great
Sankey, where my folks lived. The girl plying me with vodka and barley water
used to make sundaes at the snack bar on base. The last time I was there was
Christmas 1955...arrived in a jeep from RAF Shellingford, down in the Midlands.
50 years ago...how time passes when you're having fun. Please add me to your
list...you need an old geezer on there.
regards with fond memories of warm beer and lovely young English girls in
Carol (Camerano) Hedicke
I'm Carol Camerano-Hedicke and we lived in Prescott and went to School at Burtonwood from 1955-1956--Jerry, Jo and I. I looked through some of the pictures and found myself and my brother in them and what memories they brought back. I now live in El Paso, TX and have been here most of my adult life. I remember the trip to France and Switzerland, Mr. Nuttall, the school--the only place I could ever wear jeans to class in that day and age and mostly, I remember the people--LaVerne Coughlan, Patti McDermott, Susie Kirk, Bob Morgan, George Crain and especially Jimmy Flynn--does anyone know where he is now?
I also remember waiting for the bus to
school with the fog so thick you couldn't see 3 feet in front of you. I have
pictures of the activities at the Youth Center and will try to send them. I have
a daughter and granddaughter and am a budget analyst at Ft Bliss--and want to go to the reunion in Las Vegas to compare memories. Burtonwood is the only school I have ever felt any attachment to and even
though we were only there for a year, the people and places have stayed with me.
I Remember... A few times on our daily trips to and from Burtonwood on the school bus from Sealand we had to have a couple students walk in front of the bus to help the driver get through the THICK FOG!!
I also remember... Setting pins at the base bowling alley for sixpence (7 cents in those days) per line to earn the $30.00 needed to buy my first real camera at the PX. I think it might have gone to as much as 10 cents or more per line later!
I was very moved to read ... that alumni still remember my mother, Edna Leigh, who taught at Burtonwood from 1949 until the late 1950s. She then transferred to London Central High where she taught until retiring in 1982. Sadly, she died at the age of 75 in 1991.
Away from school, Edna's great passion was literature and mythology, and she devoted a great deal of time to a ground-breaking study of Homeric epic. The task she set herself was monumental and she was not able to publish during her lifetime. However, a few months ago a book on part of her research was published by John Murray of London. The book is titled 'Homer's Secret Iliad' and there is a web page about it at: http://www.Homer-the-astronomer.co.uk
When I attended Burtonwood High from 1951 to 1956, my name was Florence Reid, but my married name is Florence Wood. I still live about 15 miles from what little is left of the base.
If you wish to post this letter on your web page, please do so.
Regards to all, Flo
Email dated 10/25/99 from Wayne Morris’59 to Bob Morgan’58
and edited with their permission.
Forty-Two Years is a long time. You
were one of the few guys I remember who would and could dance. You would do
the splits on the dance floor - Crew Cut with a D.A., White T-shirt and Blue
Jeans. We played snooker and pool, baseball, basketball, bowling, worked at the
commissary. We set pins at the bowling alley for eleven cents a line. Went
to the snack bar on Site One, stayed at the B.O.Q. on Site one for three dollars
a night and thought we were living a wild life. You would smoke and curse. I am
just remembering some of the times.
I went to England in June of
1955 and left in June of 1958. I rode the bus from Liverpool the first year and
then we moved to Warrington the next year. Then moved onto Site three when they
built the new homes. I remember a B 45 that crashed. One wheel failed as it was
landing and it went into the field straight out from the school, I was watching
out the classroom window as it happened. If it had been the other wheel we would
probably not be chatting. They moved the school the next year. I used to think
of Burtonwood as a really bad experience in my life but I now know we were
really fortunate to do so many things in our lives that others will never
I remember walking in fog so
thick that you could not see your hand. It worked real well if you wanted to
make out with a girl and not be seen. I remember Lt. Lensing (big guy) who
drove a Morris Minor. He was the school officer and we picked his car up and put
it in the ladies room at the school. He thought someone took it until one of the
girls screamed. They made us carry it back out. I can look at the yearbook and
remember so many things. Wasn't George Crain the squadron commander’s
son? He rode a bike to school and delivered the Stars and Stripes on Site one.
Guess I will ask him since he is on the list. I will quit for now. My wife
said that you mentioned grandchildren in Austin. If you come this way, call me
and we will get together.