School-trip to docks on anniversary of Titanic tragedy

AS the 40th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic (pictured) approached in April 1952, Kenneth West, one of my teachers at Hucknall National School, was busy helping to arrange our outing in May of that year to Liverpool.

The trip, which was by rail, cost each child 12 shillings and sixpence (about 62p these days!).

After lunch on the day of our excursion, Mr West took a group of us down to the docks and I remember him with a wistful look as we and other onlookers waved to passengers aboard the deck of the Empress Of Canada as she departed.

Mr West had learned to fly in Canada at the beginning of the Second World War and served from 1939 to 1940 with the Fleet Air Arm.

He often spoke of his wartime experiences and only a couple of years after our visit to Liverpool, he emigrated to London, Ontario.

Mr West often remembered a former Hucknall curate, the Rt Rev Michael Coleman, Bishop of Qu’Appelle, in Canada. While serving as a young curate in Hucknall during the 1920s, Bishop Coleman was noted for his unorthodox methods, and for a time, he lived in a hut, which he called the Blasted Oak.

The curate toured a wide area with a barrel organ to raise funds for Hucknall National School, and when he left the town in 1930, for Salford, he left behind a tremendous influence for good among the young people of the parish, some of whom later followed him to Canada in search of a new life.

During the Second World War, Bishop Coleman (a former student of Kelham Theological College, near Newark) was a priest in London, where he did air-raid patrol duty and helped as a firefighter when his house and church were bombed.

He later became a parish priest in Canada. He was Dean of Vancouver when, in about 1950, he was appointed Bishop.

MAVIS ELLIS,

Enniscorthy,

Mansfield Road, Papplewick.