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Jack Castling

Jack Castling

Jack (John James) Castling was born at the mouth of the Tyne, South Shields in 1927. He was evacuated to Wigton, Cumbria in late 1939 but returned to the North East in 1940.

Eventually he was evacuated again and this time billeted in Hodge Howe, near Windermere and attended Windermere Grammar school until 1944. HE returned to the North East to work, but continued to maintain his links with Cumbria. 25 years ago he and his mother bought the house in Staveley where he lives today.

Jack remembers the variety of birds in the area at the time, and the widespread interest in egg-collecting. He recalls using gull-eggs to supplement the post-war rations. He notes the loss of cuckoos, yellow-hammers and spotted-flycatchers amongst many other common birds of the time. Jack also tells of the influx of newer species such as the collared-dove and the spoonbills at Leighton Moss.

“…you could hear the nightjars going on, never found a nest but … there were woodcocks flying about … now, from records, I’ve never heard anybody mention a nightjar actually being in existence or being heard in the Westmoreland, Cumbrian area.”