THE children of Salisbury in 1944 had another reason to be fond of the American soldiers who were heading for the Normandy beaches.

As the army trains pulled out of Salisbury Railway Station they often threw their unwanted food, possessions and other equipment out of the train windows, where it was collected by local youngsters, including David Blake, pictured, who lived in Queen Alexandra Road and was 11 in 1944.

“We were always hungry during the war,” he said. “Britain was days away from running out of food and there wasn’t much to go round. The local kids used to go to Skew Bridge where the soldiers used to throw all sorts of things out of the train windows. Often it was tins of food, which were very welcome.

“Then one day I found a quarter dollar and half dollar coin and I’ve kept them ever since.”

Mr Blake, who is a member of the Royal British Legion, has shown his coins to schoolchildren during talks about Britain at war.

He also plans to see if The Wardrobe military museum in the Close wants to display them.

“It was amazing the things they used to just throw away, and local people made good use of them,” he said.

“You’d often find Salisbury’s children standing by the railway waiting to see what they would throw your way next.”