‘I ran into the house and called everyone out to look. You had the feeling as it went across the sky it was going to smother everything’
DID an airship ever fly over Huddersfield?
That was the question posed by Mrs N Clarke of Almondbury who said, “As a young child in the early 1930s, living on the outskirts of Almondbury, I was sure I had seen an airship flying in the direction of Castle Hill.
Over the years, I have thought this must have been a figment of my imagination but recently, I read an account of how the famous Hindenburg flew over Keighley in May 1936.
“This set me thinking there may have been others flying and I really did see one.”
So did an airship fly over Huddersfield in the 1930s?
Well, the Graf Zeppelin flew over Huddersfield Town in 1930 – but that was the football team when they were being beaten 2-0 by Arsenal in the FA Cup Final at Wembley.
Margaret Midgley, 81, of Rowley Lane, Lepton, believes she saw the Hindenburg as a 10-year-old school girl in 1936.
She said, “We used to dash home from Whitley Upper Council School for dinner. I remember being on Denby Lane and looking over my shoulder to see something above Grange Moor. It was like nothing I’d ever since and I’ve not seen anything like it since.
“People used to say I was telling fibs, but I know what I saw.”
Mrs Beryl Aitchison of Cowcliffe says her mum liked to tell the story of how she saw an airship over Sheepridge but she says it was earlier than 1936.
“We always used to tease her when there was mention of one on the news and ask her if they were really as big as they said they were,” said Beryl.
Mr George Tullett, of Almondbury, aged 84, has a definite memory of seeing an airship pass over Huddersfield. He was around seven at the time and thinks it took place in 1931 when he and his family lived in Duke Street, near Huddersfield Fire Station.
“I was out in the street which, I recall, was deserted at the time. I was in the middle of the road and it was a grey day. But it came suddenly much darker and I looked up and saw this huge thing going across the sky – it was either an R100 or R101.
“I ran into the house and called everyone out to look. You had the feeling as it went across the sky it was going to smother everything.”
John Crowther, 80, of Lindley, a retired plumber’s merchant, has a vivid memory of seeing it when he was a child living in Birchencliffe.
“It was an R101, from Howden in East Yorkshire, and came across in a south easterly direction. I would have been around five or six at the time. I had never seen anything like it at the time. I was only a kid.”
Miss P J Hawkins of Huddersfield also said it was either an R100 or R101 and the year was 1929 or 1930.
“My family was in quarantine because my elder brother had scarlet fever. I remember being taken along the lane at the back of 57 Cleveland Road, Marsh to see the airship go over.”
Love is blind but marriage an eye-opener
EVERY four years we get an extra day to keep the calendar in line with astronomy.
This produces people who live until they are 360 and ladies of a desperate disposition dashing around demanding that men marry them.
Not that folk actually do live into their fourth century except Methuselah who was 969 when he popped his clogs. Mind you, after Methuselah, God put a limit of 120 on man’s age so I’m only halfway there. Which is nice.
A leap year is when we get a February 29 which means contemporaries who were born a year before me on this date can smile smugly and say they are today celebrating their 17th birthday.
Really? Well they shouldn’t be drinking then.
It is also traditionally the day when women are permitted to propose to the man of their dreams. (Sorry, ladies. Me and Brad Pitt are taken).
This, of course, is an ancient custom dating back to when maidens were seen, seemly and not heard. Today they are loud, louder and not backward at coming forward if they fancy a member of the opposite sex.
“Get your coat, handsome, you’ve pulled.”
It is also quite likely that what they propose on February 29 may have very little to do with a long term commitment to 2.3 children and a family dog and is likely to be exactly the same as they might propose on any Friday night after a shelf full of Baccardi Breezers.
Still, it’s tradition, isn’t it?
And there will be ladies in relationships that have been sealed only with a kiss and not a certificate.
So today girls, go for it and give the man in your life the shock of his life: propose.
But remember, love is blind but marriage is an eye opener.