Bravery of locals during the war

Jim Ainscough delivered a talk about local people at war at the Probus Club meeting.
Jim Ainscough delivered a talk about local people at war at the Probus Club meeting.

The Pocklington Probus Club held a meeting in the Freemasons’ Hall on Wednesday 11 November at 10.30am.

After a short business meeting, chairman Graham Ball introduced Jim Ainscough, who talked about local people at war.

The two minutes' silence held by the Probus Club at 11am.

The two minutes' silence held by the Probus Club at 11am.

As it was Armistice Day, the club stood for two minutes’ silence at 11am and remembered those who had given their lives for our freedom.

Jim talked about the real concerns that many locals had about the proximity of the airfield to the town.

Low flying aircraft were highlighted and, in particular planes, coming back over the town very close to houses. However, this was contrasted with the sympathy for the airmen who risked their lives. The generosity and kindness of the townspeople was to the fore and Pocklington can be proud of its role and support for the brave servicemen during the Second World War.

Jim talked about the town before the war when it had a population of 2,600 and gave us an insight into the administrative, cultural, sporting and religious life.

It was this diversity and self-sufficiency that enabled it to come together and form the essential back-up to the war and groups such as the scouts, the land girls and the home guard played their part.

The town became united in its determination to face the war years.

During this period, 18 local men lost their lives in service and 922 aircrew who had taken off from the airfield died in service.

Sixty-eight airmen are buried in Pocklington and Barmby Moor cemeteries.

Senior pupils from Hymer College in Hull were evacuated to Pocklington as Hull was targeted by the Luftwaffe.

Accommodation was found for the boys and some stayed at Burnby Hall.

Jim finished his talk by drawing attention to the last sentence of his book, Pocklington at War: “A war which had arisen from the vilest of human behaviours had created a response in Pocklington which was positive, communal and generously kind.”

The vote of thanks was given by Harold Phillips.