Lost And Found In Bristol

A Memory of Bristol

Our family had returned to England at the very end of 1948 from a short overseas BOAC posting in Montreal. My father, a BOAC pilot, was due to begin training to fly Boeing Stratocruisers at Filton in 1949, and along with other crew families we were placed on a new housing estate in Westbrook Road. Shortly before Christmas 1951 my older brother (8) and I went shopping in the Centre travelling in by bus, I was nearly five (imagine allowing that in 2013!) We were told to stick close together, and did so until we entered a crowded store in Broadmead (I think it was M & S, but it may have been different in '51.) My brother told me to hold onto his raincoat belt, but the crowds were so packed I lost my grip, and lost my brother. He'd told me to wait by the doors if we became split up, and I did so for nearly an hour before realising there were doors at both ends ! I assumed he'd given up and gone home by bus to Brislington, which he had. I wandered around the Centre for ages, trying to find somewhere I recognised. In the meantime my brother finally arrived home, nearly two hours after we'd separated, and announced that he'd lost me in Bristol! In the meantime, I was still wandering, and bought a large red balloon for 2d from a street balloon seller in Baldwin Street, hoping that it would help somebody spot me - and not long afterwards I spotted Bristol Bridge and St Nicholas Church and thought I recognised them. So I stood on the street corner immediately opposite the bridge, with my back to the Church, and hoped that somebody would come across the bridge from Brislington to rescue me. A Policeman just around the corner kept peering round at me, but I smiled and tried to look innocent in case he arrested me (!) Nearly three hours after my brother and I had been separated, I spotted my father's distinctive Morris station wagon coming towards me across the bridge, and I leapt up and down waving my balloon like fury - He spotted me, and I was rescued! - Lost and Found !

A memory shared by John Liles , on May 20th, 2013.

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