From VE Day to the virus….emotional times for one Sale resident

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T he 75th anniversary of VE Day brings memories flooding back for Ron Tomlinson, a former secretary of Ashton-on-Mersey Golf Club and a Sale resident for almost five decades.

Now 86, Ron has been sharing his war recollections and talking about coping with the modern day war against coronavirus…

VE Day

It was such a joyous time with dancing and singing in the streets. Schools and factories were closed so we could all celebrate. We knew we’d won the war long before VE Day and for an 11-year-old there was a certain excitement when the search lights were on and ‘ack-ack’ guns were firing at German planes.

My father Eric was a warden in the Second World War and blew his whistle when the sirens went off urging everyone to retreat to air raid shelters.

Eric Tomlinson during the First World War.

He had been lucky to survive the First World War. He rode horses just behind the front line in northern France, taking messages between Army commanders. Three times horses were shot dead from under him by enemy gun fire. Fortunately, he suffered only shrapnel wounds, though unsurprisingly was reluctant to discuss these horrific experiences in later life.


I’ve lived through the dangers of a world at war, the threat of atomic annihilation, pending climate pollution and even health epidemics. But I’ve never experienced the impact coronavirus is having on the world’s population.

I’m in the more vulnerable group, yet am one of the lucky ones. I’ve a great loving family and kind neighbours and in order to protect myself it was agreed I’d self-isolate with their support, albeit from a distance.

True to their word, I’m never short of food or provisions and they’re in daily communication remotely – I even know how to join a Zoom meeting for our family quiz night!

Ron Tomlinson at home in Sale.

I won’t pretend I don’t have my low moments when I lack the motivation to get up in the morning or get dressed.  I recently lost my wife and after many years of happy marriage I miss her love and companionship.  However, I try to avoid these low points by setting daily tasks such as house cleaning, gardening or an exercise routine.

I enjoy reading, watching TV and cooking.  I do miss, though, the physical closeness of family members; going out for family meals, socialising with friends and the odd short drive to the shops or places of interest.  At 86, I’m also conscious of wasting what’s left of what has been a good life.  There are, however, so many people worse off than me and my heart goes out to them.

My hope is that when we get through this troubled time we’ll all be more tolerant.  We must thank, repay and always remember those who helped us survive in so many ways.

We thank, salute and clap you all.

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