A message popped up after 65 years. Of course he remembered his old Bulwell friend

John Teasdale (L) and Christopher Lawrence (R), smiling at Trent Lock pub
John Teasdale (L) and Christopher Lawrence (R) met at the Trent Lock pub for the first time in 65 years -Credit:Supplied

The year was 1959. World War II had ended just some 14 years before. The Beatles didn't yet exist. No one had been to the moon, and smoking was still thought to be healthy.

A photograph of John Teasdale and Christopher Lawrence in June of that year could have them as brothers. The Bulwell boys, with an uncanny similarity and a shared love of aircraft, were on a trip to a London airport.

They pose in a faux aeroplane door with John's mother and smile. Both were unaware at the time that, not much more than a month later, they'd see each other for the last time in 65 years.

Having both attended Cantrell Infants - now Cantrell Primary - and later Highbury Junior School - now demolished - in the Nottingham town through the 50s, the pair were virtually inseparable. John, who lived on Henrietta Street, would go for tea at Chris's house on Highbury Road and, when not under their parents' watchful eye, would play table tennis and billiards and get up to all sorts of mischief.

But at the end of their last junior school year and as John was shipped off to Scotland to stay with relatives for the summer holidays, the pair waved goodbye and went their separate ways. In September, John started at Ellis Bilateral School and Chris at People's College.

Black and white photo of John Teasdale (L) and Christopher Lawrence (R) aged 11 with John's mother at London Airport in 1959 posing with one hand raised holding bags that say "Airways" on, in faux aeroplane door
John (R) and Chris (L) with John's mother at London Airport in 1959 -Credit:Supplied

The boys made separate friends and, despite their proximity, never knocked on one another's doors ever again. "We were great bosom friends," says John. "But once we left junior school our paths completely separated. But I always remembered him and the strong friendship we had."

It was June 2023 when John, now 75, decided to sign up for a Facebook account. The chances of Chris, also 75, being a Facebook user weren't too high.

But his was one of the first names John typed in. And there he was: less hair, more wrinkles, but undoubtedly the same face.

The last time John had seen Chris was 65 years ago. So he was understandably tentative when he drafted a message to his old friend - while optimistic he would respond.

A week went by. Then a message came through. Chris remembered. Of course he did.

"He's always had a kind nature," says John. "That's why I liked him as a friend. I was very happy and really overjoyed. It was so easy."

Chris was still living in Nottingham and had done all his life, working as his father had in engineering at the Royal Ordnance Factory in Chilwell, making armaments. John, on the other hand, now found himself in Somerset, having relocated after 14 years teaching abroad in the 1970s and 1980s.

So it would be 10 months before the duo finally met again. John, who had published a book called Diary of a 60s Teenager, was to make a trip up to his old hometown to speak to students at the Ellis Guilford school about his tome.

When that opportunity arose, so did the chance to meet up with Chris - and it was one he wasn't going to pass up. The pair swiftly agreed to a pub lunch at the Trent Lock near Long Eaton with their wives.

It was April 23 this year that they finally made it happen, when John and his wife came for a three-day stay. "We both arrived at similar times in the car park," explains John.

"He got out and waved. He'd grown quite tall. It's quite an event to meet someone after 65 years."

The quartet enjoyed their meal together before returning to Chris's house for a cup of tea and a chat, exchanging old photographs and reliving memories of pupils in their class and things they'd done together. But perhaps the most heartwarming part of their visit was the pair's choice of clothes.

They'd both turned up in similar stripy jumpers for the occasion, which they both had in their wardrobe from years before they'd reconnected. Maybe they were brothers of a sort after all.