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Our Kaga (The Life and Times of)

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Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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766 of 777  Wed 2nd Sep 2020 9:54am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3810

Thanks Rob. In June 1944 the Allies launched D-Day, but about 10/15 miles from the coast lay the mighty Panzer Corp in the Ardennes Forest. The allies needed to stop them from crossing the bridges to give D-Day a chance, so they dropped the 6th Division of the Parachute Regt to take and hold the bridges. It was a mighty battle, huge losses on either side. In September they dropped the 1st Division of the Paras at Arnhem to take bridges so the 2nd Army of the Allies could cross - a success for the Paras but the 2nd Army failed to reach and cross. February 45 and I was one of thousands being trained to replace the lost men. Hitler had come up with new weapons, the doodlebug and the V2 rocket - no need for crews, they flew over the fighting below and hit London etc with devastation. Now it is my theory (with a lot of knowledge) that the Army needed to drop special small numbers of highly skilled men to knock these sites out of action, with or without the help of Free French people but they would have to make contact, to cross no-mans land after, either to get to the advancing army, or home. I was almost trained and ready, but I needed to be able to cross enemy territory, so the Army devised some small tests that they thought would fit the bill. Chesterfield was the first one for me. So three of us had to find and bring back a message - we had no money, from the south coast to Chesterfield was around 400 miles, there and back. One lad set off hitching, one to the station - his father worked on the railway. I set off the other way to Folkestone - there was a transport cafe. On the forecourt I looked at the lorries, and got lucky. I walked into the cafe and said loudly "Who is the driver of the Coventry van?" He was middle aged. He said, “Me”. I said, “Are you going to Cov or Folkestone?" He jerked his thumb north. “Get a tea, I'm not quiet ready.” I hunched my shoulders, "No money, but I've just had breakfast, thank you". “I'll be a min, and you obvious don't have a train voucher.” He got up to go, we got outside the door, stopped. “You jumping ship?” He was about to refuse me. "Look I'm on a manoeuvre, that's why I have no money." He walked a few paces, stopped again. “Look, never heard of a manoeuvre that takes you home”. S**t! I desperately needed the lift. “No, I'm travelling farther on, this will be a big help." He hesitated. I pointed to my badge, and said, "You heard a few minutes ago”, pointing to the sky, “someone’s got to find them, and...” He said "Jump in". I had a lot to think about. After about an hour I said, "Will you visit that cafe again?” “About every month, six weeks.” "Do you trust the owner?” "I'll buy you a meal, for the Coventry kid, that ok?” He smiled. “No need to do that, but thanks.” From then on we were fine. He lent me a fiver, to repay at the cafe. We stopped a few times, and just outside Cov he got me a lift with a guy going to Manchester. I think it was about 6.30pm when I walked in the Queens Hotel.
Our Kaga (The Life and Times of)
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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767 of 777  Wed 2nd Sep 2020 11:54am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3810

Chesterfield - two receptionists, one twentyish, the other middle thirties at a guess. I asked, “Do you have a guy called George work here or know someone named George?” They glanced at each other, both smiled. “Yes, we do. I'll ring him”, said the young one. ”Do you want a drink?” asked the other. “Don't suppose you have tea?” “Yes, I'll make you one”, and she skipped off. I was laughing and buoyant, only the name of the town had been really difficult, and two of us knowing spires, had that been the clue. The receptionists asked questions. George came, it obvious he had been military of high rank, but he smiled and offered a “well done”. He went into an office, came out with an envelope, handed it to me, asked a few questions about the camp and about the other two, shook my hand, and left. I asked the receptionist if there was a chip shop near. “Yes, in the same street”. I said goodbye and left. I was eating a few minutes later in the chip shop and in walked the older receptionist. She had a nice figure and lovely shiny eyes. She asked, “What’s this all about?” I said “Sorry, I can't tell you”. “May I sit down?” "Yes, have a chip”. I was on top of the moon, I had completed my mission, all I had to do was return to camp. She asked, “When do you have to return to camp?” “I have to be back the morning after tomorrow”. She looked uncomfortable, blushed slightly. “Look, I have a spare room. Don’t get me wrong, you could have a night's sleep, before returning”. “Thank you”. We walked to her place, a small terraced house. I had been travelling all day, She was 32 and single, her husband had been killed at Dunkirk. We exchanged names, drank tea. Next morning I left about ten am, hitch hiked back, taking my time. The message was a half playing card that fitted exactly to the one that the sergeant had, the other hitch-hike lad was also successful, but the third one only got as far as Shorncliffe railway station, was picked up by railway police and handed to the MP. We never saw him again.
Our Kaga (The Life and Times of)
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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768 of 777  Thu 3rd Sep 2020 9:42am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3810

We were taken to a mock village “Listen up. The Germans are in that block of buildings across the road. You two, take some cover down there and you two, just down there [pointing], and fire into the block when I shout ‘fantail’. Give him cover.” He tapped me on the shoulder. “How many mags you got?” I said, “Four”. He said, “And you, race to that corner. Once they start firing, lay on the pavement, flat position, and fire rapid fire down the streets. Alternate, close to the doors, but don't do it so they can read it, and remember, you all have live ammo. Right, you four go and get into position”. A few minutes, he shouted and guns erupted. I sprinted with a Bren gun, and started firing. Fired about two mags and the gun stopped. I inched forward to check the gas regulator, and did the classic stupid thing of touching the red-hot barrel - like touching a boiling kettle. But I fixed it before the corporal returned. Five years later, I'm in the Coventry fire brigade. The officer tells me to check the upstairs of a burning building, full of smoke. Race upstairs in all the smoke, put my hand out to touch the landing wall and put it straight on one of those brass plates that were all the rage in the fifties!
Our Kaga (The Life and Times of)
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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769 of 777  Thu 3rd Sep 2020 11:16am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3810

Rob, is this the sort of book? My name is Craig Simms. I'm an ex-Army MP, now a private detective. I pulled out of the Major’s drive, the envelopes that his wife had just handed to me tucked in my inside jacket pocket. I had a feeling they were my army records, couldn't think what else they could be. My mind going over the past. I had known Major Weston for two years of the four I had served in the Military Police and the last year and half since, until he died three days ago. Today, I attended his funeral. I turned right out of the Major’s drive, my Riley cruising in the tree-lined street. I glanced in the mirror - a red Hillman Minx was on my tail. I turned left suddenly, getting a lot of stick from a lorry driver. A mile further on, the Hillman was back on my tail. I accelerated, the tail did the same. I slowed, the tail did the same. Now I was annoyed, either the guy was an idiot, or he wanted me to know he was tailing me. I felt under my seat to make sure the Luger pistol was safely there. The rear view mirror told me he was alone. Why, why is he following me? I accelerated, headed out of town, he was now two cars behind me. I needed open country to convince this guy he was making a big mistake. It was a year since I had done a 'hit', maybe it had something to do with the envelopes? I increased speed, shot down a country lane, large hedgerows on either side. I knew the area well, the Hillman dropped back a little. I knew what he was thinking, just enough to keep me in his sights. Hell! I could have lost this guy easily, but something told me to play along. I put my foot down hard and screamed round a bend, pulled up sharp on the grass verge in a field gateway, pushed open the passenger door wide, then shot out my side, sprinted fifty yards back, dived into the dry ditch, covered by a large bush just as the Hillman turned the corner. The driver stopped almost opposite from where I was hiding, peering at the gateway, confused as to where I had gone. I was at his car in a flash, my right hand through his open window. I had him in a vice-like grip around the throat, his head pushed hard against the back of his seat. A clatter as a small pistol fell to the floor of the car, at the same time a cap fell and long golden hair cascaded down her shoulders. I yanked her roughly out of the front and into the back seat, her left arm twisted behind her back. She was gulping for air, breathing heavily. I relaxed my grip a little. I glanced around, no one about. I frisked her pockets, let her arm free. She struggled to sit upright, her face pale. I emptied her handbag on the back seat, her driving licence gave me her name. “You followed me, you had a gun. Why?” “You killed my husband, you and that Major, you wanted the code”.
Our Kaga (The Life and Times of)
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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770 of 777  Thu 3rd Sep 2020 10:03pm  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1604

I'm intrigued already Kaga - yes, I'd read that sort of book. I wonder if you've ever read the book I finished most recently - The Bruneval Raid: Stealing Hitler's Radar ? A fascinating true insight into the development of radio detection and range finding equipment, culminating in the secret raid by parachutists organised to pinch one of the German radars installed in France, so we could learn how advanced they were in that field. (Not quite as advanced as were were at the time, fortunately!)
Our Kaga (The Life and Times of)
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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771 of 777  Fri 4th Sep 2020 9:12am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3810

Yes Rob, but it was a long time ago, so probably not the same book. But Coventry was spared the doodle-bug bombs in the last few months of the war - their fuel did not reach that far. This flying bomb gripped the public like no other - you heard it and you saw it, if the fuel ran out you were more-or-less done for, but you just had time to realise that, and that's what terrified people. If not, it passed harmlessly overhead to someone else's troubles. Rob, may I make a suggestion? We have a topic on coins. The coin and story I showed on there is the most famous of all of war stories - if you can get a book about it then that's the one to read. Without that raid, D-Day would have collapsed and we would have lost the war.
Our Kaga (The Life and Times of)
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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772 of 777  Fri 4th Sep 2020 10:00am  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1604

Thanks Kaga. I've found your post about it - do you think this book on Amazon would be a good one to read?
Our Kaga (The Life and Times of)
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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773 of 777  Fri 4th Sep 2020 10:36am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3810

Yes Rob, I do.
Our Kaga (The Life and Times of)
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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774 of 777  Fri 4th Sep 2020 10:54pm  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1604

Cheers Kaga - I've ordered it! Thumbs up
Our Kaga (The Life and Times of)
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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775 of 777  Sun 6th Sep 2020 2:42pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3810

Annewiggy. Have moved to this topic, from Weavers. The book I have now is a more recent edition of J Gutteridge, this also has the diary of W Andrews and other discrepancies. There is much in common with Gutteridge and myself, we both enjoyed walking and knowing plants. With the 1927 strike and the coal pits of Wyken closing, it had the same effect as in his day. Little had changed the poverty line. The bosses knew it was coming and had the money to stock up with food, not so the workers, so the strike failed when the kids got hungry. We had the farm to help us, and the remains of our coal business, but even so my father repaired shoes, made rugs from old hessian bags and old pieces of clothing cut into small three inch strips and sewn into the hessian pieces, money boxes from old tea chests at three-pence each. We were still poor. I would wait for a school chum, sitting on an orange box, his mother would sit him on the dining table and wash his knees while I waited. The table-cloth only came out on Sundays, or when the vicar called round. For sweets we ate raw carrots, or rhubarb with a sprinkle of sugar, and all the stale bread made bread pudding. Foremen and supervisors still received meat as a Christmas box, my uncle a deputy at Keresley pit received a goose every Christmas until about 1936. The population in Coventry always fluctuated. In good times they widened the roads, in one period they even built a new town in Hillfields district to accommodate the influx of new workers, but one year the slump was so bad that hundreds sailed to the USA, settled to make a new town called Paterson, became the best silk seat in USA. Coventry silk factories dropped from eighty to less than twenty.
Our Kaga (The Life and Times of)
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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776 of 777  Mon 7th Sep 2020 11:03am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3810

This planet suffered its worst upheaval in history 75 years ago. Everyone on the planet took notice and millions of lives altered their path, the world learned new words, and new fears. We had all seen pictures of destruction like London and Coventry but here cities more or less vanished off the map, even the rubble. We had no television in those days, but pictures and stories came to us, and words like atom and radiation were bandied about. It had taken us six years of war to defeat Germany, but less than six days to beat Japan after the atom bomb, and millions of lives changed direction, including mine. Around this time I was headed for the Far East, but the Army were confused - no longer needed out there, they had to send us somewhere while they now had the problem of bringing millions home into civvy street. I had now completed my training, so from Manchester Ringway airfield I was sent home for two weeks, then on to Dorset and transit camp. Here my luck changed - on Coventry Station I met a schoolgirl 'crush' dressed in Land Girl uniform, also going to Dorset. There was going to be the County Agricultural Show, and the Army wanted to put on a little skit. All through our training we had used logs to exercise - we were completely at home with them, so a dozen of us trained in a little PT routine. Came the Saturday, the two teams and sergeant boarded a lorry and we’re taken to the show, another lorry detail would bring the logs. We were given a tent to change in, then went to collect the logs. OMG! They were wet through, completely soaked, and we could hardly budge them, definitely not the logs we used in training. It had to be cancelled, and the crowd booed. Two days later I went to hospital with glandular fever - I probably spent more time in bed than was needed, but my Land Girl was helping me to recuperate. Back at camp, the whole lot had departed, only about a dozen of mifits like myself remained. We would go out with the next batch, but two days later I was sent on another crazy and strange event. The Army spent months getting us fit, at the same time they gave us a tin of fifty cigarettes every week.
Our Kaga (The Life and Times of)
Midland Red
Cherwell
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777 of 777  Fri 18th Sep 2020 7:36am  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:5639

Kaga. Check your emails for one I’ve sent you. MR.
Our Kaga (The Life and Times of)

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