by JULIE-ANN SPENCE
John Leishman outside Nicholson Memorial Hall where John slept while his regiment was billeted to Lisburn in 1940/41. Included are Maurice Leathem (Past Branch Chairman of Lisburn Royal British Legion) and Norman McMaster and David Walker.
Sylvia Eskins is pictured providing refreshments for 90 year old war veteran John Leishman as he shares some of his wartime stories with the Rev Paul Dundas (left) and the Rev John Pickering (right) at the Coffee Morning in Christ Church Parish, Lisburn
90 year old war veteran John Leishman paid a visit to Christ Church Parish this week, some 60 years after he was billeted there during the Second World War.
Whilst in Lisburn Mr Leishman paid a visit to Christ Church for morning coffee and shared stories of his time during the war.
John was met at the church by Norman McMaster and David Walker, who last May were all on the same holiday to the D Day Landing Beaches in Normandy.
John, Norman and David were joined by the rector, the Rev Paul Dundas and senior minister the Rev John Pickering.
Over morning coffee, John recalled that his visit to Christ Church was a particularly poignant one for him for it was in the adjoining Nicholson Memorial Hall that he slept while his regiment was billeted to Lisburn in 1940/41.
John went on share some of his wartime stories including his escape in a small fishing boat from Dunkirk in June 1940; The Battle of El Alamein, where in October 1942 he fought with Montgomery and the 8th Army 'desert rats' against Rommell in the deserts of North Africa; and also his experiences at Sicily; Italy and the D Day Landings at Sword Beach, Normandy in June 1944.
Born in Falkirk, Scotland in May 1920, John enlisted in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders at Sterling Castle on Sunday September 3, 1939, the day that war was declared. He was stationed at Moira (July 1940 - November 1940); Lisburn (November 1940 - May 1941) and Waringstown and Donacloney (May 1941 - 1942).
While based in Moira his Regiment attended worship at St John's Parish Church and it was there in July 1940 that he met Moira woman Florence Lennon, a member of the church choir.
He recalled that the first time he saw her he thought to himself, "that girl would be a perfect wife for me".
They got engaged in October 1940 and married in July 1941- After he was demobbed in May 1946, John and Florence lived in Moira and when Florence died in May 2008 John moved to Dundonald.
John recalled that his first thoughts of Florence proved to be very true 'she was the perfect wife' - they were together over 67 years.
Each Tuesday morning (Market Day) Christ Church Parish ladies provide morning coffee from 10-00am to 12noon for just £1-50 with all profits going to the church renovation fund.