LET'S start with a TRM follow up from Bob Kettle.

"Hi Jeff…really enjoyed this week's Trawler Corner.

"My grandfather, Bob Kettle, joined the RNVR in November 1915. Following training he was posted to the Auxilliary Patrol Base at Great Yarmouth and from July 1916 until June 1917 served as a crew member of HM Drifter Lord Leitrim. Later in the war he was posted to Milford aboard HM Trawler Volesus."

Thanks Bob. And I'll be returning with another follow-up to the Leitrim piece soon, with gen and help from Katharine East and family.

Now to this week's content, which has a distinct flavour of Milford's Pill area. Firstly, there are some bittersweet wartime memories from a charming lady with whom I chatted this week.

During the war, Gwen Stephens, from Pill's Milton Terrace, was working in Farrows Greengrocers Stores, earning the princely sum of five shillings a week.

Her father, Joseph, had been in the forces throughout the devastating First World War, and was only just over the call-up age limit for WW2.

He was working down Milford Docks, but his passion, and outstanding gardening and horticulture prowess…(he'd already turned an unsightly area of spare land into a beautiful, flourishing allotment,) had not gone unnoticed, Recognising his ‘green-fingered’ ability, he was offered a job as gardener in the RNAD Mine Depot.

Quite naturally, he happily took up the position, one which he described to his family as… “a bit of a doddle”.

But his joy, sadly, was shortlived. Just two weeks later, when asked to help out covering the mines in trucks, he was accidentally crushed, his injuries proving to be fatal. He was 44.

Shortly after that terrible incident, Gwen was invited to go for an interview at the RNAD, for a job as a telephonist, and she was deemed to be an ‘entirely suitable’ candidate for the post in what was, at that time, of course, a hugely important, munitions factory.

The telephone operations room was away from the factory side, and worked on a ‘shift’ basis.

Gwen was on duty when German planes successfully bombed the oil tanks in Pembroke Dock, and, in fact, seemed to be there for many of the air raids, prompting her colleagues to opine…"There's bound to be a raid tonight…Gwen's on duty!"

During the war…"walls had ears" and in the ‘secret’ RNAD establishment, they all had pseudonyms…Gwen recalls hers was…Mary McDonald.

But wartime also generated many affairs of the heart. Gwen met, and fell in love with Joe, a Cardiff sailor, and after a whirlwind romance, they became engaged to be married.

The war, of course, created much uncertainty in the world, not least in the lives of everyday folk, and Gwen, with Joe away, eventually found herself being asked to do all the arrangements to organise her and Joe's wedding. And she had one week to do it! It was to be at St Katharines Church, and Gwen recalled that on the morning of her big day, when the two-tiered cake arrived, it was still warm!

There was also a last-minute hitch at the church, and the wedding took place an hour later than scheduled, as they'd overlooked a funeral service that had been arranged for the same time.

But, despite all the mishaps and pressures, Gwen Stephens married her Joe, and here is a photo of the six RNAD telephonists at the church.

From left to right…Margo White, Marjorie Hill, Gwenda Stephens, Dorothy Payne, Marie Hall and Elma Thomas.

It was a pleasure chatting to the delightful Gwen, and I'm grateful to her for sharing her wartime recollections. I have a feeling there may be more to come!

Last Saturday, it was time to say farewell to Dave Mills, a Vicary Crescent pal from the 1950s and 60s. To his fellow postwar street urchins, he was ‘Migs’...just as Dave Wigham was ‘Wiggy,’ John Morgan was ‘Korky,’ Jimmy Fee was ‘Flogger, and Teddy Evans was ‘Tex’.

Migs was an inaugural member of our ‘Vicaries’ gang, together we went ‘scrumping apples’... played games on our beloved Gunkle…had ‘cattie’ fights in and around Scotch Bay, had crab races on the Depot Bridge…collected newts from the Back Line pond...and I recall he and I, during a horrendous thunderstorm, once squatted together in our Rath bonfire...the one we were guarding from raids from the Milties gang!

When we got a little older, in the summertime, his dad, Glyn, a fish hawker, would bundle us into the back of a scrubbed van, and whisk us off to a variety of beaches around Pembs.

Migs and I shared a love of dogs (see photo)...in fact, in 1971, when I was then married, and living in Trafalgar Road, Carole and I had our first pup (Boots) and he came courtesy of the Mills' Vicary Crescent household.

As young adults, we all still remained good friends, though our games gave way to other pursuits…and I shared many a pint, and game of three-card brag with Migs in the Milford Con club.

There were also memorable ‘holidays’ like our camping trip on Strawberry Field in Little Haven (see photo)…which somehow involved some midnight skinny dipping!

Over the years, our life paths seldom crossed, and I saw little of Dave...occasionally we'd bump into each other while shopping...we'd always chat about our childhood days sharing a laugh or two.

Those memories will last forever, and it was so good to have pals, like Dave ‘Migs’ Mills to create them. RIP my old friend.

I'll leave you with a teaser.

What day would yesterday be if Thursday was four days before the day after tomorrow?

That's it for this week. Ta-ra.