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Reminiscences of Launceston


Launceston is lucky that several of its residents of  its  past, have recorded their memories to paper, and these memories give a good insight into life during the last two centuries, particularly the nineteenth century. These recollections have now been transcribed and are now available here for the benefit of all. On starting the Facebook page to sit with this website I noticed some amazing stories, memories and discussions taking place. I thought that it would be a shame to lose all this in the ether of Facebook, so here I am sharing those wonderful reminiscences for future reading…………………………


bullied-naming-ceremony-at-launcestonFrances Morrell commenting on the naming ceremony that took place in 1947 for the Bullied Locomotive at Launceston:
My Dad Stanley Tout has a great story of that day. He bunked off school to go down to the Ceremony, horrors Headmaster, Teachers and all the School come to Station for the naming so he has to make a hasty exit. Never saw the naming, though when he left school he started on the Railway age 15 and retired age 65.




On a picture of Coronation Park swings and swimming baths.
Donna Ronan Omg and the open air pool in the background….
Julie Butler Fell in that open pool once, fully clothed…wet walk home and got into trouble !!..
Liz Clarkson Swimming on the first day they opened for the ‘summer’ – water just about above freezing……….
Janet Tucker Used to hate swimming lessons it was always so cold and you had to change in little cubicles around the pool !!
Steve Martin I’ve still got a scar over my left eye from walking too close to those swings!
Gary Down Spent the bulk of my childhood in that park!
Graham Parnell Remember the cold shock delivered only too well and that was from changing in the little huts even before tentatively dipping a toe into the pool!
Gary Down Imagine the uproar today if there were unisex changing rooms with three quarter height doors!
coronation-park-swimming-pool-1958Roger Pyke My god was it ever cold in there!
Ian Smale Apart from 1976. The only time I remember going to the pool to cool off and feeling refreshed and not coming out with an ear ache!
Roger Pyke Even in the height of summer you would never thaw out after going in there!
Ian Smale The slide used to be pretty cool. Can still remember seeing the jets of water streaming down the wooden plank.
Roger Pyke Can remember one lad who was an inexperienced swimmer getting so cold that he got cramp in the deep end and Colin Chegwin having to dive in fully clothed to rescue him.
Ian Smale Was he wearing his shell suit?
Roger Pyke Yeap. Quick acting on his part though, the lad was in trouble.
Ian Smale Bumped into Chegger’s about 7 years ago in what was the Baker’s Arms. Hadn’t changed much. Had a good chat with him.
Roger Pyke Yeah, he’s still around.
Ali Rowe There was also a diving board, wasn’t there – and the pool was nowhere near deep enough. I remember several cracked heads.
Dave Cottrell Many a nightmare with Mrs Baracklough (who was a lovely lady) swimming through hoops and diving for bricks! It was so cold!! Do you remember in the Cafe that the sweets were under the glass counter? Your right Ian ’76 was such a hot year!
Ali Rowe I can remember going to Leigh Blake’s Birthday party in the cafe – we must have been 7? so that would have been 1961ish
Dave Cottrell Ali – were you at School with my brothers Derek or Richard?
Ali Rowe I remember their names, but do recall actually being in a class with them. Were your brothers builders or have I got the wrong family?
Dave Cottrell No, nothing as useful as that! Both teachers. Derek is 60 and Richard is 65 and I’m 54! Blimey seems like yesterday that we were just kids!!!
Roger Pyke Where did that time go Dave?
Ali Rowe Was Derek at Windmill? Because if he was, we would have been the class together.
Ali Parkin I used to spend the whole summer holidays in that pool! Used to have a season ticket! Cost about £2.50 and sometimes I’d be there for afternoon session and evening one! Loved it! Never thought it was that cold either! Lol
Roger Pyke Very Warm blooded then Ali
Ali Rowe Us Ali’s are built of strong stuff, I was always in all summer too!
Jane Packer I remember those summers well Ali Parkin, going through the old wooden hut to pay or show your season ticket and racing down those stone steps to get round the pool and into your favourite changing cubicle. Susan Dinner and I were always up there…. we were almost fanatical about it xx
Ali Parkin Haha! Soo true Jane! I remember it like yesterday! We had so much fun! X
Dave Cottrell Hi Ali – no we were all St Stephens boys! Only time that we went to Windmill was for cycling proficiency!
Ali Rowe Ah Dave Cottrell – then although Derek would have been in the same year as me at College, he would have been 1x and I would have been 1z – alphabetical you see!
Susan Gould Remember it well had such fun in there, they don’t make them like that anymore
launceston-youth-football-sideOn a picture of the Launceston Football club youth team from the mid 1970’s.
Tamsyn Hairs Adrian Davey back row lol aka dibs
Roger Pyke John Tozer back row 23rd from right.
Roger Pyke Is that you Les Barriball front right?
Steve Baker Is that Dick Knight the goalie ?
Jackie Quirk Goalie Dick Knight
Steve Martin My Dad Brian Martin far right and is that Jeff the Ref Rutherford in the parka?!
Adrian Davey Launceston youth team from the mid seventies.Geoff (the ref)Rutherford.cant remember. …Adrian (Dibs) Davey. Graham Friend. Martin Earl. John Tozer. Alan Flockton?.Brian Martin (manager).Stuart Luxton?. Jeff Tregarthan. Anthony Roos. Dick Knight. Grenville Rowe. Phil Hall. Les Barriball.Good team,great days.I don’t need a headband now!
Julie Butler Alan Flockton or Tony Seagers.
Dave Cottrell Are you sure this isn’t Tillitsons? I played for Lanson Youth – can’t remember Les being in our team – he was never young enough!!!! We lost one year 17 – 0 to the old boys and beat them 1-0 the following year with a young 34 year old Dave Collins playing for us!!!!
Leslie John Barriball Yes it’s the youth team Dave I was young once a long time ago granted but there are a least 3 people older than me in this one.
edymead-house-tavistock-roadOn a picture of Edymead House, in Tavistock Road,the former Launceston British Legion.

Kerran Parish My Grandad Was the caretaker here for The British legion from the early 50s until 1973, he, my Gran and mum all lived in the property as well. Mum got married from there in 1971.
On a discussion about the 1942 ‘Battle of Launceston’.
David Perry I have heard this fracas was between black servicemen and military police. Is it true that one or two of the black protagonists were later taken back to USA and hung?
Charlie Hilson David I heard the same story,have never been able to find out if it was a fact or otherwise.
Roger Pyke The US military have never confirmed whether anyone was hanged, but considering how they behaved towards the black service men I would be very surprised if they didn’t carry out the judgements handed down at the Court martial.
Paul J Gregory While working in a nursing home in Launceston a old guy told me this story and he believed it to be over a woman that the white and black Americans were both seeing leading to various arguments which eventually led to the gun fight…if this is true am not sure…but was also told that somewhere in the square you are allegedly able to see bullet marks dating back to that time never seen them my self and doubt if this is true.
Roger Pyke There is a wide belief that it was over a woman, but there was also alot of bad feeling towards the segregation policy that the US army implemented, and apparently there were bullet marks left in the White Hart wall facing the square, but over the years they have been painted over so are very hard to distinguish now.
Valerie Tout What about the BULLET HOLES in the SHOP WINDOWS?
Jane Packer Yes I heard about the bullet holes as well and I thought I’d seen them on Lloyd’s bank but I looked today and couldn’t make out anything significant…. maybe I dreamt it.
Paul J Gregory Thought somewhere in my memory some one told me they were around a door in the square.
Jane Packer Perhaps I was looking too high…. I shall try again.
Paul J Gregory Can’t remember what shops are in the square now but think it is one facing back towards the west gate inn with the white heart on the left….now getting on a bit so my memory may be a bit sketchy but am sure thats where some one told me you can see………….funny thing is I never actually looked ….

launceston-fire-brigade1952Commenting on his Grandfather (Bris Gomm) who served with Launceston Fire Brigade and can be seen standing far right.
David Gomm Ha ha! My Granddad back row on the end on the right. He had a bike to get to the station when the alarm went. There is a very funny story about that bike, my Uncle Pete, a set of missing brake blocks and sparks going down Race hill from Granddad’s hobnail boots. He bailed off the bike at St Mary’s and Peter didn’t go back to Trecarell for days!



andrew-blackies-40th-birthday-trip-to-st-ivesSteve Martin’s photo of Andrew Blackie’s 40th Birthday trip to St. Ives brought a lot of memories back.
Andy Blackie’s 40th birthday trip to St Ives back in the 90’s, there are a few fresh faced Westgate boys here some now sadly passed away including my Dad Brian Martin and God Father Ron Lankston.
Jo Davey your dad was a star Steve, knew him well.
Valerie Gerry I recognise Brian Martin , Roy Phillips and Harry Willis.
Steve Martin Thanks Jo, he was a top bloke and still known for his “can’t blow the candle out!” gag!
Bernie Robbins Brilliant picture! Lanson characters!
Robyn Murton Ron was my grandad.
Jo Davey and Leslie John Barriball Kevin Dickinson Terry Hatch Roger Willis.
Lauren Farrer George Quirk xx
Ruth Gray My dad’s there as well Mike Tout xxx
Jo Davey and loads more I havent mentioned.
Robyn Murton We have this picture framed in the westgate now.
Ruth Gray I got it framed for dad xxx
Robyn Murton Its a great one
Steve Martin Dougie Ellacott, Spiv Hodge, Steve Martin Simon Marie Benning Paul Hambleton, Bonz Peter Sandercock to name but a few!
Jo Davey Gary Phillips, Selwyn Basford, John Martin, The Vicar !
Valerie Gerry I remember going to a lock in at the White Hart with Brian Martin Roy Phillips , Harry Willis never laughed so much , those were the days !!
Sharon Jayne Hicks Brilliant photo.
Leslie John Barriball Sorry Jo I’m not in this one but what a bunch of characters.
Jo Davey Oh god no it’s not you Leslie but it looks like you 3rd from the left at the back. Sorry Les lol.
Steve Martin That’s Spiv Hodge third from left!
Robyn Murton I must see this picture everyday and i can’t bloody remember! Bit blurry for me on here
Steve Martin Spiv was a good friend of my Dad and Rog Willis, ask Rog next time he’s in the Wessy he’ll give you all details!
Jo Davey I can’t think of his name, 2nd row down – in the middle ?
Steve Martin Dick Knight.
Jo Davey That’s it!
Jo Davey Brian, Roy and Dick made a fantastic trio!
Leslie John Barriball Sorry Robyn it is Spiv oh well same family as me Jo
Dave Cottrell Your Dad was a wonderful Man Steve – he never had a bad word to say about anyone and was a massive supporter of the youth in Lanson – always smiling and always positive.
Steve Martin Cheers Dave Cottrell!
Emma Chapman Yeah, I confess that I am also in the Brian Martin fan club. He was a wonderful, gentle, humorous gentleman who always made me and my Mum smile. Unforgettable.
Valerie Gerry Who’s the chap front row with the hat ?
George Quirk Wally Drury !!!!
Peter Sandercock All legends!
Jeff Tregarthen Hi Steve, just like to add on here as well that I was a great fan of your Dad. He was great with us at the Football Club and a brilliant laugh.
Tamsin Spong Fond memories of Brian Martin. He lived a few doors down from me in St Johns. What a laugh he was x
Steve Martin Thank you for all of the nice comments about Faaather!
Kev Abbott I see Harry, roger and Manton Willis, who’s the guy top left, I remember him but forget the name?
Valerie Gerry I’m surprised Brian Saunter isn’t in this group !!
Emma Chapman Can anyone name all the people?
Kevin Dickinson Mike Robbins top left kev
Valerie Gerry Is that Roger Sleep with the dark hair and moustache , come on someone name them all !!
Catherine Striplin Brian Steer, 2nd row from bottom, 2nd in, (between Harry Willis and Roger Willis)
Kevin Dickinson All except one Valerie and Emma , here goes mike Robbins, Colin hooper, Pete cross, ray gerry, Bill Graves, spiv hodge, Dick knight, George quirke, doug ellacott, Terry hatch, Roy Phillips, Gary Phillips, Paul Hambleton, Simon benning, ?, selwyn basford, Pete sandercock, John Martin, Steve Martin, manny Willis, kev dickinson, Harry Willis, the vicar, Paul rushbrook, Roger Willis, Colin Gregory, Ron Langstone, Brian Martin, Andy blackie, wally drury, and nearly forgot mike tout.
Valerie Gerry Thank you Kevin
Kevin Dickinson Who have I missed?


egloskerry-school-outing-in-the-1930s-with-stan-wooldridge-driving-the-charabancOn a picture by Chris Gynn and its of his Grandmother Edith Mary Gynn (nee Jenkin) with her 7 children clustered at the front, all wearing hats. One of the children is Garfield, his Dad. He is the boy on the extreme left of the cluster, with his mother, Edith, directly behind him. The picture was taken in about 1935. The bus driver, extreme right, is Stan Wooldridge. This picture is taken at Egloskerry.
Nick Hairs fantastic
Nick Hairs is Chris on the book of faces ?
Roger Pyke Not yet, but have invited him
Roger Pyke Wouldn’t be able to stand there nowadays!
Charlie Hilson What a great picture
David Perry Hats off to Chris Gynn, haven’t seen him in while.
Chris Robbins Fantastic image!
Helen Sapp Wow
Jim Nancarrow My mother is next to her brother Garfield at the front. They lived at Killicoff opposite the gates to Penheale. Now only 2 of the Gynn family of 7 children are left. Jane Nancarrow
David Perry It’s a very lovely picture Jane.
Liz Eagle Brilliant photo!
Dave Cottrell Wow! Just as if time stood still – amazing.
Carrie Julian Brilliant photo of my grandad (garfield) & siblings, my dad has never shown me this one!
Ken Ripper Was Stan, the bus driver, related to the Gynn family?
Roger Pyke Not sure Ken, but he is pictured in many pictures of excursions at Egloskerry during the thirties so probably he was just posing as the driver.
Ken Ripper I think that Stan’s middle name was ‘Garfield’, as was Garfield Gynn (b1923), one of the children.
Stanley Tout Superb record of old Lanson family history.


2nd squad 2nd platoon company e 115th infantry reg in 1944 at Pennygillam, Launceston.
2nd squad 2nd platoon company e 115th infantry reg in 1944 at Pennygillam, Launceston.

On a photo of 2nd Squad 2nd platoon company E 115th Infantry Reg 1944 at Pennygillam Launceston.
Roger Pyke The picture was taken just before they set off for D-Day.
Vivien May Thanks Roger
Jane Plumb O’Mahoney Wow, they don’t look like this in the films, do they?
Chris Fox I wonder how many in the photo made it through god bless them!
Julian Gould Great picture of those guys
David Hillman Viv, one of these guys might be our mum’s boyfriend. I am told he was killed (drowned?) on D Day. She was left pregnant and managed for two years to bring the baby up on her own (the White Hart helped her with some work and a room) but it became impossible and canon Steer arranged some kind of adoption.
Alan Mitchell What a sad story.
Chris Fox Im sure E 115 infantry , the E standands for easy company who battled at market garden and battle of the bulge were the film saving private ryan, was an E company !! Maybe not the same men in the picture but same regiment ,brave men heros every one of them ,less we forget!!
Vivien May Yes that’s why I was excited to see the pictures, wondering if one of them was him.
Roger Pyke The son of one of them wrote a book on their service, ‘The Oracle’ helped him with his research.
Carol Wenden Heartbreaking, Vivien
Roger Pyke Such a sad story Vivien.
Liz Eagle Wow! All human lifestories are on this site. Really brings home what war meant on a personal level.
Stanley Tout Some where over in the USA there is a large number of photo’s of Lanson boys and girls,for along with my Brothers and dozens of others photo’s were taken by US service men at Hurden and Pennygilliam.
Roger Pyke A treasure trove, Stanley, if only we could locate them now.
Stanley Tout‎

launceston-squareFor traffic buff’s.As well as three Royal Blue coaches,note the red and green Shell-Mex lorry. Driven by Garfield Gerry I will wager. Garfield came on the railway around time of photo. He was a signalman at Ashwater he be- came a good friend of mine. When on a visit to Lanson the Wife and myself along with our children went and visited Garfield and his Wife at their home at Tower Hill. Garfield was always known to my children as the model roundabout man. Dinky’ Gerry shunter/guard at Lanson was his Brother.



Stanley Tout
I must tell you about a five pound note. Late 1943 the gang and myself found a white five pound note in Bouncells Lane,lets take it to the police said one. Spend it I said. Right in late 1943 sweets of a sort were appearing in the shops. The nearest was Sillifant’s corner shop opposite the Westgate Inn. What do you boys want said Mr Sillifant have you any money,yes I replied waving the fiver like a flag he reached out and almost snatched it away. Come back he shouted for now we were heading out. Next stop Cotteralls fish & chip shop in Tower St, same thing this time Mervin Cotterall almost had it. After a couple more go’s we headed for the Police Station and handed it in. It was claimed stated the station Sgt.
Tony Hillman This was Walter & Sillifant mum shopped here regularly. Called in every morning on the way to work and weekly delivery on Fridays. I always looked forward to my Jap Desserts.
Ann Caddick My Mum, Ida Rockey in St Stephens, had her wartime rations delivered by Walter and Sillifant. Very few sweets available, barley sugar was the only one I remember.
Peter Gilbert Remember going in there on the way to Windmill School, used to buy Zamberee bags.
Jane Plumb O’Mahoney Jamboree bags. They were a rip-off.

roman-catholic-procession-down-western-road-2On a photo of a Roman Catholic Procession heading down Western Road, Launceston in the late 1940’s.
Charlie Hilson That parade was a sight to behold,it was really an annual pilgrimage
Tarry Barriball I remember those parades well. It was held annually and the front of the procession was invariably arriving in the Castle Grounds as the end of the procession was leaving the field which was where Maine & Cuthbert Closes have been built. The Barratt Developments . Crying shame it ceased. People used to travel from all over the world to take part in it and all the different Churches, Districts or whatever carried their own standard. They were always reciting the Catholic Rosary “Hail Mary mother of Christ etc.” as they processed. A whole piece of Launceston History just gone. I never did know why it stopped I know it was after I moved to Surrey in ’68
Vivien May That’s just as I remember it, with all those little girls looking like mini brides. I used to be fascinated by it, I think awesome is just about the right word.
Jane Plumb O’Mahoney They’re wearing their First Communion dresses and the procession ended up on Castle Green with a Mass commemorating Cuthbert Mayne who was caught at Golden Manor and hanged, drawn and quartered right outside Boots!
Stanley Tout I was one of many who watched, wonderful sight.
Ann Caddick The clergy were very dramatic in their colourful robes; a spectacular sight.


altarnun-in-the-1940s-photo-courtesy-of-ray-boydOn a photo of Altarnun Post Office.
Charlie Hilson Unfortunately no longer the case
Tarry Barriball Real shame that these rural post offices are closing left right and centre. I remember back in 1967 that I was in that Post Office when my eldest son was born. I had a sudden pain in my back and asked the Postmaster of the day, Mr Pearson, if I could if I could use his phone to ring Old Tree Maternity Home (most people today would know it as Trebursey) and told him why. He allowed me to phone, rather reluctantly, he could be rather awkward at times, and my son had been born 15 minutes before that telephone call. Member it well and he then allowed me to call him by his first name which, if I remember correctly was Charlie.
Tarry Barriball Member it well should read Remember it well!
Helen Sapp It is a lovely place,,,,my mom used to tell me,,,Nothing or no one ever stays the same…
Charlie Hilson Helen Sapp that unfortunately is so true, but Altarnun Village has managed to avoid too many major changes over the years, and the buildings where the old post office was are still there,but no longer used for that purpose.
Clare Richards Charlie Pearson was my maternal grandfather and yes he certainly could be awkward at times. When he retired he and my Granny moved next door (cottage in photo) & my Great Aunt and Uncle took over the running of the Post Office.

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