Last Edited: 18/03/2007

 



 

What Daddy Did In The Second Great War

or

1942 - The Turn Of The Tide

or

Hirohito - My Part In His Downfall (with apologies to Spike Thingy!)

 

     It is all very well for Generals and the likes of them to write airily "at 0400 hours on Monday 28th April 1942, I set out for ...", but the keeping of diaries by servicemen and women was discouraged, and in some cases, absolutely forbidden. Although the flood of memoirs by ex-Generals etc shows that they must either have kept diaries, or have remarkable memories (or imaginations). I suppose it was OK for Generals who never went near the enemy, unlike myself, who once saw a Japanese aeroplane flying over Calcutta. At least, I think it was a Jap. It may have been a Yank, as both struck terror into anyone on the ground! However, the next time I'm called up I shall keep a diary, and carry a camera (if films are available - which they weren't during the war).

What I am trying to explain is that while I went to all the places listed below, the dates given are only educated guesses (highly educated, naturally).

You may perhaps be surprised to learn that I wasn't a volunteer, dashing along to enlist on 3rd September '39. Although I was 18 on 11th October 1940, I wasn't called up until July 1942. There must have been a reason for the delay - my detractors claim that the military authorities were putting off the unpleasant task of dealing with me for as long as possible, but I consider that the King and Churchill were satisfied with the team they already had (Mountbatten, Montgomery, Harris etc) and were afraid that the introduction of another military genius might cause an imbalance or petty jealousies perhaps. The real reason is, of course, that I had great faith in the system, and knew that the King would send for me when the time was ripe.

Accordingly, I waited until the appropriate announcement appeared in the papers, and went along to register at the nearest Ministry of Labour & National Service (the Labour Exchange in the High Street) some time in early 1941. The next thing was an instruction (through the post) to attend for medical inspection and interview at the Lamb Memorial Hall in Southampton - this was early in 1942, I think. I went along and showed my chest etc to the medical staff, all of whom appeared to be naval personnel (ie sailors), so I began to think I was destined for the RN. I felt quite affronted when my call-up papers arrived - (June1942?) instructing me to report to No 7 Primary Training Centre, Ossett, West Yorkshire on a date round about the middle of July, for service in the Army.

 

16th  July 1942 Called up. Sent to No 7 Primary Training Centre at Ossett in the West Riding. Eight weeks basic training.
9th  Sep 1942 Posted to 2 Operator Training Battalion, Huddersfield. Ten weeks training as a Teleprinter Keyboard Operator, which includes a bit of Morse, and how to operate a 50 line switchboard, charge 12V batteries etc.
17th Nov 1942 10 days leave.
27th Nov 1942 Back to Huddersfield for a couple of days, then to a Holding & Drafting unit at Kirkburton, near Huddersfield.
  Dec 1942 Posted to another H & D unit at Colwyn Bay, where about 30 of us made up No 19 Teleprinter Operating Section.
19th Dec 1942 Embarkation leave.
29th Dec 1942 Back to Colwyn Bay.
  8th Jan 1943 By train to Liverpool (or Birkenhead ?). Embarked on "The Duchess of Richmond". Sailed about 1800 hours - rough trip.
9th Jan 1943 Anchored in the Clyde for two(?) days.
11th Jan 1943 Sailed about 2300 hours in a large convoy for where ? Around North of Ireland. Very rough for 3/4 days. Sighted the Azores, and anchored for a day at a West African port (Freetown ?).
12th Feb 1943 Arrived at Cape Town. Knew where we were at last, (but not where we were going!). Disembarked after a couple of days in port, but instead of re-embarking on the same or a different troopship, we were "trained" off to Retreat Camp, about 15 miles outside Cape Town, where we stayed until...
8th May 1943 Train to Cape Town, then embarked on the "Orbita" and sailed in a biggish convoy around the Cape and north to ? Calm seas - two frights!
29th May 1943 Arrived Bombay. Disembarked and spent several days at Colaba Camp, near the docks.
      By train to Calcutta - via Allahabad.
      Arrived Howrah ? Trucks to Alipore.
  Jun 1943 Worked in Signal Centre 221 Group RAF 8 months?
  Jan 1944 Ministry of Supply 1 month.
  Feb 1944 Moved to Salbani -train from Howrah to Khargpur
  May 1944 Left Salbani. Train to Colombo -5 days.
  May 1944 Moved to Kandy. Worked there and at Gangodowila until end Feb 1945.
  Feb 1945 Train to Bombay - 3 days. Worked there 3 weeks.
  Mar 1945 Embarked "Rajula" for Cocos Islands - arrived end March 1945.
  Apr 1946 Left Cocos on the "Monowai" about Apr/May 1946.

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