IT is sad to learn of the closure of Aldershot's last cinema.

It was 60 years ago, having failed my medical for the armed forces, that I was sent to work in the projection box at the Ritz cinema.

It was July 1943 and the film showing was Casablanca. Mr Fred Blake was the chief projectionist.

Working in the box at the same time was the late Johnny Berry, who had Saturday afternoons off instead of an early night to play football for the Catholic youth club.

He went on to play for Manchester United (The Busby Babes) and England and survived the Munich air crash.

I remember, in the days leading up to D-Day in June 1944, the soldiers being marched from barracks in the mornings to the cinema and being shown a film on how to use their basic food pack of dehydrated meat and vegetables together with a spirit stove that had to sustain them for the first 24 hours ashore.

My wife Jean joined the staff in 1944 and we were still there when married in 1947.

I left in 1950 and have many memories of the times spent there.


St Ives, Cambridgeshire