Leeds nostalgia: A tale of two Leeds weddings... in the spring of 1948

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A touching tale this week of a former prisoner of war from Selby who married the Italian nurse who risked her life to hide him and helped smuggle him over the border to safety. They were married at St Mary’s RC Church, Selby 70 years ago today.

She was Miss Bragbini Sotterina Ernesco, whose farmhouse was near Milan, Italy. He was Private Joseph Hullican, the only son of Mrs and the late Mr Peter Hullican, of Tennant Street, Selby.

Hullican was a regular in the Yorkshire Regiment and after serving in Palestine, Egypt, the Sudan and Eritrea, he was captured in the Western Desert and sent to a prison camp near Milan. But he was not one easily thwarted and together with some others, escaped.

He managed to make a break for it after the Germans took over control of the camp, following the Italian armistice. He was then sheltered for a whole year by Miss Ernesco at grave risk. The fugitive and his protector fell in love during that time and after he returned home, they were said to have written to each other every day.

On the same page, there was the story of another wedding, although this one was involved a fugitive from English justice and one who found himself not at the alter but in the dock before a judge, after being accused of stealing lead from a building site.

And finally, Alderman The Rev Charles Jenkinson, described Leeds as “a city of back-to-back houses”. Speaking at the North Midland branch of the Institute of Housing, he said the city council had a programme to demolish 44,000 of the homes as soon as possible, followed by another 12,000 to 13,000.

He took some on a tour of Leeds, taking in Quarry Hill Flats, Shaftesbury House and Tinshill Estate.