THE FAMILY of a soldier who served in the Middle East in the Second World War have come forward with further information after reading about him in the Wharfedale Observer.

A brief article about Albert Sydney Rhodes appeared in the Across the Years column on December 13.

The piece, from 1943, said:”We have received an airgraph from L/Cpl. A. S. Rhodes, serving with the Middle East Forces, in which he expresses appreciation for the way in which the ‘Wharfedale’ has helped to keep up the morale of ‘at least one member of H. M. Forces during an enforced absence of over three years from home.’ Since going to the Middle East in the summer of 1940 he has received regularly the local paper. ‘You have no idea,’ he says, ‘how eagerly the local papers from home are awaited by the lads here; they come from all over the British Isles, all kinds of queer titles, but what a grand link with home.’

After reading the piece Albert’s sons Ian and John contacted the Wharfedale Observer to give more details of their father’s life.

Ian said: “I am the youngest son of Lance Corporal Rhodes and I thought you might be interested to know some of the background to his story.

“Sydney served in the Eighth Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment in the Middle East. In the article Sydney expresses his appreciation of him and his colleagues being given support, whilst overseas and away from his family, by receiving the Wharfedale and Airedale Observer on a regular basis whilst his colleagues received similar newspapers from their home towns.

“All though his life after returning home from the war, Sydney still faithfully read the paper and when I and my sister moved away from Yeadon, still posted a copy on to us in other parts of the country ie Cambridge and Brentwood in Essex. After Sydney’s death I continued my subscription with your paper and so for at least over 75 years there is continuity, with your paper still being read with pleasure in the family.

“When Sydney returned from the war he took up local politics and became a member of the Liberal party. Subsequently he became a local councillor for Henshaw ward - from 1955 to 1967. He served on a number of committees and in various offices and in 1965-66 he became Chairman of Aireborough UDC. He also served in many offices in the Methodist churches in Yeadon and was an active member of the Chapel Hill Methodist Church and St Mark’s. “