Thornley Band in 1941

'I was 20, I was 21 nearly. I was working on the air raid shelters. No it wasn't '40, I was at Middleton St George then. No it was '41. John Luke was working on them. Why, John was in the band. I was working with John. Why, we used to get to talking. I says, "I've always fancied playing the trombone." So, anyway, it was April time and they were starting these night classes. Old Kitto, if he could get a class of say 30 young 'uns, he used to form this class. He used to get paid off Durham County Council. So John says, "Why, have a go. He's gettin' paid. Thou's gettin' learnt. I'll see about it." So anyway, he says, "The hasta gan down." I went down, saw old Kitto and he says, "Come down on a Thursday night," and he showed us how to go on, how to clean it, things like that. There was a couple of little scales to play. Away you go and that was it. And he used to write bits of tunes out for us and I bought a couple of tutors. I played out in the band before I went away. It was in '41, that summer.'

Your father wasn't keen on it.

'No! I wanted to join the band when I was 12-years-old but he wouldn't let us. I had the chance. I used to knock about with Teddy Kitto, young Teddy and I wanted to join the band then. But they went on about, "Going away and coming back rolling drunk" and all this. That was the attitude they had.' That was your mother and father? 'Aye. Why, there was a few of the buggers used to do that, like! Drummer Brown! Used to live out our back when we lived in School Square. He used to play the drum. He used to come back from Durham and you could hear him. Yer bugger! He used to be rolling all over the bloody place! Aye, Drummer!'

Thornley Band in the Summer of 1941. Tom Tunney is standing at sixth from the left in the second row, with the trombone.

For a left side enlargement click here. For a right side enlargement, click here.

Full caption by my father as follows:

Standing at extreme left (civilian clothes): 'Menta' Thompson. Standing at extreme right (civilian clothes): Billy Waite.

Third row, left to right: George Kiam, Gordon Kitto, Ernie Murray, Ernie Moore, Ken Thompson, Alfie Hood, Mr Hood (Alfie Hood's father).

Second row: John Luke, Jimmy Mitchell, Alfie Mason, Billy Hutchison, Tom Tunney, Dickie Robinson, Billy Whitehead (a plumber from Easington), Tommy Baldersera, Lloyd Saunders.

Front row: Tommy Goy, Norman Race, Billy Thompson (in the Scottish uniform, from Shildon, lodged in Thornley), Edward Kitto, Mr Kitto Snr, Joe Wilson (in RAF uniform, later moved to Hartlepool), Davey Stainthrop (from Quarrington Hill), Bob Mitchell, Norman Stokoe.

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THORNLEY BAND IN 1941