A TRIP down memory lane was on the cards for a number of former servicemen and their wives when they returned to Warrington to take part in a special celebration.
The reunion, organised by the Burtonwood Association UK, invited members from both sides of the Atlantic meet and share a cup of traditional English tea for old times’ sake and reminisce about old times.
Friends of 61 years, Steph Duncan nee Shifflett and Valerie Edwards nee Nelson, who both married Americans, joked that the dress code of the officers and workers was one of their fondest memories.
“It was the uniform which first attracted me - and then his charm,” laughed Valerie, aged 75, about her husband George, aged 76, who worked on the maintenance of parachutes.
“I met him in the Pelican and went in for a drink and then we went up dancing at the casino and that was it from then on. We just dated and married a year later.”
Steph and Valerie, who have been friends since the age of 15, have both celebrated many milestones together.
Both succumbed to the ‘irresistible charms’ of an American, before both marrying and moving to the States within months of each other.
Steph, aged 75, from Edge Hill, said: “We were instantly friends. It was a sheer accident that we both met Americans at the same time. It was fate.
Steph married instrument technician, Carl, aged 77, who was working at the base at the time.
“I met him in Warrington Central and I was sitting on bench and he asked for change for the chewing gum machine.
“I said I haven’t got any change and I wasn’t interested but then he came looking for me and we started dating.”
The two friends, who are so close they finished each other sentences, have enjoyed returning to their old stomping ground.
Mum of two Steph, who has one grandson, said: “This today has been very special. The lady singing today just brought back so many memories.
“All the songs we heard today, we used to sing in the pubs. It’s been a lot of fun,” added Valerie, from Kensington, who has two children and four grandchildren.
Lou Robbins, who moved to California in 1958 from Grappenhall, never misses a reunion.
The 92-year-old, who was ‘top choir boy’ in the Grappenhall Church Choir, said: “I was employed by the air ministry as a heating engineer.
“My job was the maintenance of boilers and I had 10 steam boilers to look after on site two, which I worked on for eight years.
“Then, when they built the main warehouse, I was in charge of the maintenance and heating of that warehouse.”
Motorbike-mad Lou, who also worked as a dispatch rider, enjoyed his time working on the American Air Base and remembers the boat journey on White Star Liner, the Britannic, to the States like it was yesterday.
He added: “It took five days. I was only leaving England because of the weather.”