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IN November 1939 my fiance, aged 24, volunteered for the RAF.

IN November 1939 my fiance, aged 24, volunteered for the RAF. After four days of marriage he returned to barracks and was posted to Singapore and captured by the Japanese.

He was forced to work on the Burma Railway and he returned home in 1946 a broken man.

In 1940 to help the war effort and to pay the rent and buy food I joined Solihull MBC to work five days per week on a lorry picking up old newspapers for recycling.

In 1941, as more and more men were sent to the war I was moved to work on the dustcarts, a backbreaking and filthy job in those days. I was 21 years old.

On each dustcart were two men and two women. One man drove the cart and the other three collected the bins. As a dustwoman my job was to work five days per week 7.30am to 5pm for a weekly wage of £2.90!

Each bin was emptied every six weeks and each was a heavy metal bin full of ashes (often hot) from the coal fires.

We worked on a three day rota:

One day fetching bins from the back gardens

One day carrying lifting and tipping the bins into the dustcarts

One day taking the empty bins back down the gardens

Sheer physical effort, especially for women.

When it snowed our manager, Mr Bacon (we called him Streaky as he was so thin) gave us shovels and sent us to Solihull centre to clear the snow, we were not sent home on full pay!

There were about 20 of us women on the dustcarts. I wonder if I am the last one left?

I survived, so did my husband, with no war pension.

I am now 91 years-old and disabled but I still have to bring my bins out of my back garden to the back gate of my house.

Name and Address Supplied


Don’t do it

IN the same week I received my new recycling calendar for 2011, I read in the Solihull News that councillors are discussing changes in collection frequency. If any changes are to be introduced I suggest they wait until 2012 otherwise the cost of printing the 2011 calendar will be council tax payers’ money down the drain.

I believe that any changes will still cause confusion as some residents will still not know which week to put out their recycling, calendar or no calendar. The only way to prevent this would be to collect weekly, which is uneconomical.

In addition, I have received a new white bag, for plastic items, that I don’t need. My existing bag is still in excellent condition. I understand some white bags have deteriorated due to exposure to sunlight. I note the new one states on it not to expose it to sunlight as well. It appears to made out of exactly the same material as the old one. How long will it be before we get a third white bag?

Mike Rogers, Castle Bromwich


Fly tipping

WE are absolutely sick of plastic bottles being left to blow all over the place. They were tipped out by kids from a resident’s bin bag that was left out all night long. In our eyes it’s fly tipping.

H Harwood, Coralin Close, Solihull


Get on with it

AFTER having received several near identical letters from the planning department regarding the proposed yet another takeaway on Dovehouse Parade,

I couldn’t believe my eyes to read in last weeks ‘News’ that the planning officers had not had the opportunity to visit the area! May I ask why not?

D James, Dovehouse Court, Grange Road, Solihull


To the rescue

can I thank the group of boys and teenagers who came to assist an injured man lying in an isolated spot in Sheldon Country Park last Saturday afternoon.

I was out walking with my family when I saw someone lying on the river bank. When I approached it was obvious he was in difficulty with pains in his chest and what seemed to me to be a broken foot.

He had no idea of his location and was having difficulty telling the ambulance service on his phone where he was. I took over the phone and gave clearer details but after 20 minutes the ambulance had still not arrived. Thankfully a group of young boys on bikes had, along with two teenagers on a quad bike.

While I stayed with the casualty whose injured foot was being supported by using the wheel of one of the bikes the others split off to the entrances around the park to find the paramedics. They found the paramedics and directed them to the injured man who, after nearly an hour, received medical help. No names were exchanged but through your columns thanks to them for their help.

Name and address supplied


Off the menu

HAVING seen Gordon Ramsay in Shark Bait, (Sunday, January 16, Channel 4) I do hope that anyone who orders shark fin soup should choke on it, well done Mr Ramsay.

Ray Dyke, Longford Road, Solihull



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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