Even Mum and I paid on Dad's bus

ONE of Suffolk best loved characters, Albert Aldis, ran a bus service in Felixstowe. The service came to an end in the 1970s when Albert reluctantly retired.

ONE of Suffolk best loved characters, Albert Aldis, ran a bus service in Felixstowe. The service came to an end in the 1970s when Albert reluctantly retired. Readers have told legendary tales of Albert on the pages over the recent weeks. Albert sold fish from the bus. He would wait for his passengers at the Triangle in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, until the cinemas were closed. On the ride back to Felixtowe Ferry he would stop at the fish and chip shop so they could get a fish supper to eat on the journey-Albert included.

He was a lifeline for RAF personnel based at Bawdsey. If the last ferry across the river Deben had gone Albert would leave the bus open all night close to the jetty so the stranded airmen and women had somewhere to sleep.

His daughter, Jean Sexton (nee Aldis), of Valley Road, New Costessey, near Norwich, has been following the memories of her father in Kindred Spirits. Jean said “I have very fond memories of my father, including some amusing happenings. Dad would park his bus outside our house 'Deben View', at the Felixstowe Ferry, and many times his dog would lay in the bus and be taken for a ride to town; he would then sit up front with his master. I recall many times getting on a very crowded last bus at 10.30 p.m. and my mum and I had to sit on the steps. Albert would always stop anywhere along the road for people and I had known him to make a special trip to Felixstowe if anyone got stranded at the Ferry. He used to take a bus load to Ipswich football for two shillings (10p) each, no one went free, not even his family, all his fares would go in an old tobacco tin and there were never any tickets handed out. It was a sad day when he retired at 69; we hated seeing the buses go”.

Thanks so much for printing the memories about dad, it have brought back memories and a few tears.”

The perils of living on credit are not a new problem. How many of us have looked at our credit card bill at the end of the month with a shock. Few though have run up a bill behind the bar of the local pub and had to hand over the keys of our home to pay the bill for beer.

Felix Newson of Shotley Close, Felixstowe, tells us more amusing tales of Albert Aldis and life at Felixstowe Ferry. Felix said, “Albert Aldis was born in Felixstowe on March 3, 1903. He came to the ferry when his father Ernest became landlord of the Ferry Boat Inn in 1906. My father Billy Newson, a Trinity House pilot at the Ferry, was born in 1905 and grew up with Albert. They became great pals.”

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“Albert liked to bet on the horses and he often left a bus load of passengers sitting in his bus while he dashed into his house to watch a race on television. Anybody who rode on Albert's bus knew he was not the fastest driver. He was also on the 'careful side' where money was concerned. Possibly to save his brake linings I have seen him slip his bus out of gear approaching a stop and coast to exactly the right place without applying the brakes at all!”

“Albert lived in “Deben View” a cottage once owned by my great grandfather Tom Newson who was skipper of Edward Fitzgerald's yacht “Scandal” in the 1860s.

My grandfather and his twin brother owed Albert's father so much money for drink at the Ferry Boat Inn they had to give him their cottage in payment.”

“When Albert died on February 11, 1977, Felixstowe lost a great character.”

The villages around Ipswich had their own community life in the days before being part of the greater Ipswich sprawl. Life was remote with only the occasional visit to town. There were all the shops and services needed. Most had a blacksmith, wheelwright, post office and village store. Recently in Kindred Spirits Tony Adams recalled how in the 1930s he walked home from school every day from St John's School in Cauldwell Hall Road, Ipswich to Rushmere St Andrew. Homes had outside toilets and were lit by oil lamps.

J Goodchild of Castle Hill, Ipswich, also has childhood memories of Rushmere. “

I was born at the Church Cottages, Rushmere in 1920. The houses were demolished in the late 1940s; they are now the car park at Rushmere Church, where I was in the choir for several years. The cottages had one room up and one down, a 'Bumby' toilet, which was partitioned off so your neighbour sat the other side!”

“We moved to the Falcon Cottages on Playford Road. We started school at the Kesgrave Area School in 1931. All the children from surrounding villages attended. If you lived over a certain distance from the school you were given a brand new bike.

I used to caddie on the golf links. The professional there was a Rushmere man, Tom Rush. We used to walk through Bent Lane on to the heath looking for golf balls.

I recall we used to pick blackberries and sell them to Coopers at the hop gardens.

I wonder if any readers can recall Edgar Day the rag and bone man.

I recently featured the amusing memories of former Ipswich Borough Policeman Ted Girling of Maidenhall Approach, Ipswich. Ted was with the force for around ten years in the 1950s and 60s. He has now published some of his stories, poems and cartoons in a book 'Poetic Justice'

One of his stories, which sums up a policeman's lot, features an American serviceman who was stopped driving in Ipswich the worse for drink. Ted arrested the driver and took him to the police station, which was then under the town hall.

Ted takes up the story in his book “On arrival at the police station my prisoner remained in a drunken stupor. The police surgeon was called to the station, a retained doctor who acted in all such arrests for the purpose of medical examinations. He would supervise the obtaining of urine etcetera.”

“It was noticeable that the arrested was gradually getting to realise where he was and did not like it! He was becoming progressively aggressive, mostly directed at me. He was a physical training instructor with the American Air Force. It was when he stripped off for his medical I could see he had rippling muscles. He was sobering up and becoming more unmanageable. When he was asked to give a urine sample for the umpteenth time he grabbed my helmet from the desk and provided the sample within. Now I knew he did not like me!”

“He was over powered by a few of us, well a lot of us, handcuffed and put in a cell, for our protection. He said he would be out of the cuffs in no time. The handcuffs were the old type and I had never known a prisoner to get free. He did remove them as he had threatened. After a lot of banging from the prisoner I opened the small viewing window on the cell. As I did so a hand came through the hole and tried to throttle me. “Surely all this could not be personal, I hardly knew him, certainly not well enough for him to use my helmet in that fashion!”

Copies of Ted's book published by Martel Books are on sale at the Ipswich Tourist Information Office, St Stephens's lane, Ipswich for £4.95.

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