VE DAY: THE letter from EA Moralee (HAS, May 18) is true. Those who fought in the Second World War are getting fewer in number. I am the last member of a Lancaster bomber crew apart from the wireless operator, who is an Australian.

Reading AE Moralee's letter and that 75 per cent of 11 to 18-year-olds do not know what VE Day meant, I think it would it be a good thing if the children knew just what it was like in the briefing room prior to a 1,000 bomber raid or an attack on Berlin.

And that 900,000 German servicemen were pinned down defending their cities, which made a difference to the German attack on Moscow.

There are many other things which happened on bombing raids on Germany which few people know about.

If the Germans had won the war I wonder what the children would have been told about the history. - E Reynolds, Wheatley Hill.


AS part of Volunteers' Week 2005, Save the Children UK would like to thank all the volunteers who run its charity shop in Northallerton. Every year it raises many thousands of pounds to ensure more children in the UK and across the world have a happy, healthy and secure childhood.

This year, due to the fantastic public support for the tsunami appeal, the shop volunteers had to pull out all the stops to cope with unprecedented levels of donations of clothing, books and bric-a-brac, as well as many generous financial donations.

If you can spare any time to help run the Northallerton shop, please phone Iain at our regional office on (0131) 5278216 to find out more. With your help we can continue to expand our work to make real and lasting change to children's lives worldwide. - Jayne Cartwright, Northern Retail Operations Manager.


I READ with utter disbelief our latest Chester-le-Street Council environmental service team leaflet which arrived today. I had to look at the calendar to check that it was not April 1.

They are not seriously suggesting that council taxpayers will be unable to put their bins out if the lid is not shut tight?

It is absolutely ridiculous and wholly unreasonable for a family household to attempt to squeeze their weekly refuse into a bin and shut the lid tight, even when using the fortnightly recycling service. The system totally discriminates against households who do not have transport (like some pensioners) and are unable to dispose of extra bags at the oh-so-easy-to-get-to waste centre at Hett Hills.

I presume the council wants rotting waste in everybody's gardens and yards, or of course, to make even more money from us by paying £5 to get it removed. Do they realise that we end up paying the council twice in those situations?

I am also astonished that we are now unable to put garden waste in our bins, but, unlike other better managed and customer friendly environmental service teams, we have not been given alternative containers and separate collections for this waste.

No, we have to provide our own bags and not only have rotting household waste around our houses, but bin bags full of garden waste too. It's a total disgrace. What on earth is our council tax being spent on? - Name and address supplied.


THERE has been recent concern over the nation's youth, particularly those nicknamed "hoodies".

This is understandable because not only do they have their own sub-culture: music, style of dress etc, but a minority of them have been involved in criminal activity: some carry weapons, take drugs, get involved in anti-social behaviour.

These actions are no different from those former rockers, Teddy Boys, mods, hippies, skins and metal-heads, punks, Hell's Angels, ravers, football hooligans etc, who now condemn them for doing what they did as youths.

Except none of these so-called "hoodies" have started a riot or turned a seaside town into a battleground.

Troublesome youths are not the problem, but a symptom of problems created by the pursuit of greed and the self interest of those in power.

Many feel disenfranchised with little hope, an insecure future and an ever reducing stake within their own country, leaving them ripe to exploitation by those with a darker agendas, such as criminals. - CT Riley, Spennymoor.


SINCE my retirement I have been organising reunion visits to the canal zone area in Egypt.

I was called up for National Service in 1954 and was posted to Egypt, where I stayed until 1956 working in GHQ Fayid Canal Zone. We organise visits to the canal zone every September and the next one departs on September 15 for ten days, returning on September 24.

The visits are limited to 50 places (20 doubles and ten singles) and we cannot cater for children due to us visiting the Egyptian military zone.

I am sure that, in your circulation area, there will be many ex-service people who were stationed in the canal zone and would like to make a return visit.

We visit Cairo, Fayid, Ismailla, Moascar, Tel-El-Kebir, and stay the first and last night in Cairo, visiting the pyramids, sphynx and Egyptian museum.

The rest of the week is spent at a hotel on the shores of the Great Bitter Lakes. We organise these group trips on a non-profit making basis and the average age is between 60 to 75 years.

We have arranged more than 20 of these groups and have agents in Egypt who arrange the coach transfers and hotel accommodation in Cairo and Fayid.

For further details contact - Alf Avison, President, Middle East Land Forces Association, PO Box 99, Spalding, Lincolnshire, PE11 2NS.


BILL Luke's efforts to persuade us that relatives of servicemen killed in Iraq have no cause for complaint cannot be allowed to succeed (HAS, May 24).

The Second World War was unavoidable; the consequence of not fighting would have been oblivion. In contrast, the Iraq war was morally indefensible (at best) or illegal (at worst).

The case made for military action in Iraq has been exposed as utterly untrue. What right then does the Prime Minister have to order troops to do their duty when he has so demonstrably failed in his?

After this precedent, will future leaders even bother to give reasons for deploying our armed forces?

I accept that, deep down, troops must know they may die, but I always thought we would have the courtesy to tell them the truth before sending them to potential doom. Unfortunately, it appears I was mistaken. - David Griffiths, Darlington.


I READ in The Northern Echo that plans are being made to build a pub next to Alderman Leach Primary School, on the West Park Estate, Darlington.

What is worrying some people is that there are only 16 car parking spaces provided.

And don't you think that what we really should be worried about is not putting children under temptation to start drinking by building a public house next to their school? - Margaret A Greenhalgh, Darlington.