Two Halliwell “Alberts” meet again

How strange it is, that despite the passing years from the war, amazing ‘occurrences’, ‘happenings’ and ‘meetings’ take place in the most unusual of circumstances; and though this little episode is not linked to Halliwell history as the Society records, I should like to think it would take its place, as a most amazing Halliwell coincidence.

I am a member of the ‘First Army Association’, a national organisation consisting of ‘old comrades’ who took part in the landings in North Africa and who fought in the ensuing battles in Algeria and Tunisia in 1942 and 1943.

Our numbers are naturally dwindling as old age takes over, but at intervals we hold gatherings in different parts of England, and we keep alive the spirit of friendship and fellowship, and the bond of comradeship that existed in those turbulent times.

Our last gathering was at Folkestone, when we visited France to see the deep entrenchments in the Pas de Calais area from where the Germans fired their infamous rockets on our country.

During our stay at the Burlington Hotel in Folkestone, we were given name tags listing our name and the Unit etc., in which we served, and were also allotted places at the tables in the fashionable dining room. Imagine my surprise when taking my seat for the first meal of the gathering, the gentleman taking his seat next to me, pointed to his name tag and then mine, and said he recognised me. His name was Albert Howarth and then I recognised him, and we both realised it had been more than seventy years since we had last met as Halliwell schoolboys, moreover, we had lived within 200 yards of each other.

Immediately we talked about Halliwell and our schooldays and OH, a hundred things, two ancient Alberts just talking and talking. Both of us had gone our separate ways throughout the war, and to experience this most amazing meeting again.

In keeping with the traditions of the ‘gathering’, there was a church memorial service to remember ‘old comrades’ who had died in the war, and the Two Halliwell Alberts stood side by side, wearing our medals with pride, each of us with our memories. Perhaps also, there was a touch of sadness, as Albert Howarth was a twin, and his twin brother had been killed on active service, as also was my own elder brother.

Naturally now, after such an amazing reunion we shall always keep in touch and recall other Halliwell days.

By Albert Winstanley