‘Where are my dear wartime friends from Luton?’

The salvage collection group
The salvage collection group

A Luton MBE and octogenarian is on a mission to find old friends from his wartime years thanks to a special photograph.

Raymond Aldous MBE, 84, of Luton, is wondering if any Lutonians may be able to put him in touch with his former companions from the 1940s.

The group, comprised of children from Hurst Way, Willow Way, Marsh Road and River Way used to meet and collect salvage in their local area.

Raymond said: “I remember being part of the team and I think the photo was taken in the late 1940s; if you look at the car you can just see the ‘Blackout’ shutters on its lamps.

“The lady is ‘Mrs Beesley’ and she instigated the group and I’m on the far right of the image - I must have been about ten years old.

“I’ve had this photo in my pack for years and years and years!”

Raymond used to live on Hurst Way and grew up with his mother, a housewife, and his father, who used to work as a machine operator in Kent’s of Biscot Road, for the war effort.

Raymond said: “I was an only child but I had friends who lived in the street. We enjoyed ourselves but in Luton we were fortunate that we didn’t face much in the way of bombardment; the nearest bomb was in Limbury Road. A big bomb destroyed a house.

“Vauxhall got hit and I know a bomb dropped on the railway which wasn’t too far from where I lived.”

After the war ended, Raymond grew up and held jobs as a pattern maker and as a radio mechanic.

He has two children and two grandchildren, while his late wife was called Sylvia.

Raymond’s greatest achievement to date was being awarded his MBE in 2015 for services to young people and scouting, enjoying many happy years with Icknield District Scouts.

If you are one of the children - or think you may recognise someone - please get in touch with reporter, Jo Gravett, via 01582 798505 or joanna.gravett@jpress.co.uk.