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Roger Turner
Torksey
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151 of 177  Sun 30th Apr 2017 1:26pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2014  Total posts:448

LesMac and Kaga. What a super thread this is developing into. It`s not often we onlookers hear it "as it was". Thanks for the reminder of the blue suits, white shirts and red ties of the wounded. As a youngster evacuated to Polesworth and Measham and being about in the area in between, plus being in hospital in Bromsgrove, Tamworth and Leicester, I remember seeing these men about and being told they were wounded (recovering), but as I say I was a youngster, relatively "safe" and knew little of the war or what it was about or the day to day lives of those fighting at the front. It was reading your reference of those "uniforms" Kaga that gave me a moment (or two) to reflect on my war and where I was at the time - I suppose you call them bitter sweet memories.
Our Kaga
Midland Red

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152 of 177  Sun 30th Apr 2017 1:47pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4136

For us youngsters amongst the members Wink (born post-WWII) Oh my any anecdote or memory is SO interesting Thumbs up
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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153 of 177  Sun 30th Apr 2017 5:09pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1535

Before D-Day happened nearly every inch of ground was used as a training ground by the Forces, so it was obvious that some live explosives would be left behind, but the army supposedly cleared these sites before releasing them back to the public. But rider on a horse was badly injured on one of those areas in Surrey, The horse was so badly injured it had to be put down, of course it caused a stink in all the papers. So the Army sent about two hundred men to go over the land and clear it again, this time I was roped in along with about twenty other friends that had only two weeks before returning to civilian life. So, as the line advanced there were twenty of us trailing some way behind the line.
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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154 of 177  Mon 1st May 2017 2:34pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1535

So I was laying in a hospital bed expecting to be visited by Military Intelligence. Instead I was visited by a middle aged English woman. One of two who had our welfare in mind, offered to help with writing letters home, or talk through any problems I had, even read a poem to me. But they also sold pillow slips and cushion covers, etc with designs and patterns of butterflies, flowers etc on them, little skeins of coloured silk to sew into the designs. There were three or four lads from my regiment in the ward, so here we had three or four guys of a top trained combat unit sitting in bed SEWING.
Our Kaga
LesMac
Coventry
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155 of 177  Mon 1st May 2017 4:18pm  
Member: Joined Dec 2011  Total posts:221

I was never injured badly enough to warrant a hospital stay. As far as mines are concerned the only experience I had was with the American M18A1 that we used in Oman to secure the airstrip that lay between Salalah and the mountains. A rather nasty bit of kit that when detonated threw about a thousand steel balls at the intruder. To the west was the SAS but they were looked after by the SAF so they were safe enough. The war was started as the Dhofar Rebellion but it seemed to us that every man and his dog was getting involved, even the Russians.
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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156 of 177  Thu 4th May 2017 11:24am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1535

Roger Turner. Around 1936 there was trouble in Europe and for the first time people were talking of war. If war came then the government and the councils had some massive planning to do - evacuation, ration books, blackouts, shelters. And Coventry would need some protection. By 1939 most of those were ready, but the real eye-opener for me was that we had two soldiers billeted in our house (were we the only street in Coventry?) and the field opposite that I had played in for 12 years was out of bounds and wired off. We quickly learnt that some people were hostile to these young soldiers. These soldiers levelled and took the turf off the field by hand spade and barrow, built huts and everything needed for a gun crew - the council had to provide water, electricity etc. The turf heap was bigger than the two houses we and grandparents lived in. But I got to pick up a .303 rifle and to learn the basics of a soldier's life. Later we learnt much about the big gun, which really helped when it was fired, we knew it was friendly and knew most of what was happening on the site. It was awfully loud and scary. The government also knew they would have to recruit millions of people into the armed forces and send them round the world. This was called mobilisation, and at the end of the war they would have to bring them all home and this would take time (three years) and space, demobilisation (demob). So as every recruit was signed up he was given a demob number, the government would announce the date and number as each batch was cleared. This affected me. I was in the Middle East, entitled to six weeks leave. I sailed home to Southampton with about 7 other guys from Coventry or abouts, Warwick, etc. I stood on Coventry Station with my three mates, we all had the same instructions to report to Liverpool, catch the same boat to return in six weeks time. We wished each other a good leave and we would meet up in Liverpool. Four weeks later I received a telegram from the Army to report to Aldershot when my leave was up. I only had a another three months to serve, it was a waste of time and expense for me to sail back. I never saw my mates again, never even bumped into them in Coventry any time after.
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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157 of 177  Mon 8th May 2017 11:45am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1535

Until about the time I was born in 1927 the peaceful, plodding pace of life to which the human had been geared since the beginning of time was dictated by the limitations of the speed of horse-drawn traffic. But there was something in that steady pace that entered a man's heart and made for a leisurely frame of mind. And these qualities are now in danger of joining the growing list of lost arts, for the very nature of speed precludes gentle thought or graceful movement. Time was, when steady progress allowed time to greet a fellow worker in the field, to hear the sound of a bird song, to smell the sweet-briar in the hedgerow. He who has ridden on wagon load of hay behind a team of horses along the tracks of Warwickshire has indeed ridden to the sound of hooves and jingle of harness, felt the wagon lurching beneath you is to have travelled for a while in Anglo-Saxon England. It really was remarkable how closely cottage life went on then, very much the same as it had for centuries, the speed of transport, the speed of thought and speech, the speed of progress was still geared to that of the horse and cart. But the world was changing, we knew we were poised on the threshold, ready to step forward into the new world of speed.
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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158 of 177  Thu 18th May 2017 4:37pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1535

On 17th May 2017 09:17, Midland Red said (on another thread): To me, cross country running always seemed to be a punishment rather than a sport Oh my
On 17th May 2017 11:51am, Roger Turner said: I`m with you all the way MR on that, would run all day with a ball in hand or at my feet, but hated the dreaded cross country run. Mind you, I`m on for a spot of cross country walking - specially with a suitable companion on my arm. Cheers
Roger Turner. I liked nothing better than to be out on the hills running. We started a race at 9am on the Saturday, were still running at 1am Sunday. This was not on the flat, but the South Downs Way, 80 miles across the downs, and recorded as the hottest day of the year 1983? Took me 22 hours and I lost a stone in weight. I was 56 years of age and I loved every minute of it. Especially when I saw teams of police, firemen, etc. drop out. I think it was the last time it was run, as they couldn't get the stewards and drinks organized again.
Our Kaga
LesMac
Coventry
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159 of 177  Fri 19th May 2017 11:41am  
Member: Joined Dec 2011  Total posts:221

Try a 30 mile forced march while carrying a full backpack and a rifle.... But then I was not 56 years old in those days.
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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160 of 177  Sat 20th May 2017 1:23pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1535

LesMac, yep, done that, and I can beat you by 2lb, we had the old 9lb model rifle, and 18 inch bayonet, changed to 7lb in 1945/6. Our ten mile run, full kit, the greatcoat was the biggest handicap, everything, had to be inside 1 hour 45mins. Failure meant you were out of the regiment. The SAS adopted the same test and the same rules when they re-started the regiment. Now my dumb brain takes its time to tell my feet to move off the ground.
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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161 of 177  Sat 20th May 2017 3:04pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1535

LesMac. Not sure how to put this. As you're the only guy I have heard talk of that served in Oman, I would like your opinion on the book 'The Feather Men' if you can obtain it from the library. It's about four ex-SAS officers, murdered by hit-men, paid by a Sultan, all made to look accidental. If this is no interest to you then just ignore this, or if the mods think this is out of order, then delete. Thanks anyway for your posts.
Our Kaga
LesMac
Coventry
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162 of 177  Sun 21st May 2017 12:20pm  
Member: Joined Dec 2011  Total posts:221

Hello Kaga. The Oman war had been dragging on for many years. What the original dispute was about I have no idea. I was in the Royal Marine Commandos and our job was to protect Salalah and the Sultan. Also to clear out insurgents who were in control of the east of the town, house to house fighting similar to Falujar. In my day the dispute was known as the Dhofar war. We never had much faith in the SAS, they were miles to the west, defending a port and our flank. We had very little contact with them. In more recent years SAS members have been churning out fiction and calling it fact. I am a bit pushed for time today but will, hopefully continue with this tomorrow.
Our Kaga
Midland Red

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163 of 177  Sun 21st May 2017 12:45pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4136

Kaga, LesMac (and others) - do keep these interesting memories coming, for those of us who weren't there or weren't around then, and don't have other access to first-hand experiences like you have It's not every day that REAL history is so accessible for us to enjoy - and wonder at Thumbs up
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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164 of 177  Sun 21st May 2017 8:06pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1535

Midland Red, then if you think people are interested, this is the way I saw it (briefly). The First World War, on the Western Front, was mainly trench warfare, but the Middle East was run by the Germans and the Turks. But a young British Officer with a couple of others and scores of Arabs raided behind enemy lines, blew up trains, supply depots, etc, then vanished into the night (Lawrence of Arabia). The Turks put a huge price on his head. The Second World War fighting was going on in North Africa - a young British officer named Stirling, with a dozen or so men, copied Lawrence, drove a couple of trucks behind enemy lines, blew up supply depots, airfields and planes, etc. then vanished into the desert. But the top brass would not give him a regiment, so they called themselves the Phantom Brigade. Churchill's son was one of them. But with more modern advances, they decided the parachutes would get them farther behind enemy lines, do more damage. Churchill agreed, gave them a regiment - the Special Air Service - but Churchill wanted a larger force of the same standard, the Parachute Regiment. So training began. Dragged off the back of a plane, then through a hole in the bottom of the plane, then through a door in the side of the plane. This took time, lives, and experiment - Churchill's son was one the first to have a bad landing, had horrible injuries. But Stirling found, where previously he had a dozen men together in lorries, he now had the first man out of the plane to the last man out, spread over miles of the countryside. They were 'forced' to march to the rendezvous with the equivalent of a hundred weight of gear. So they trained men to be equal to the task, peak fitness, and stamina. 60% of recruits failed, and were sent back to lesser trained units. They introduced a kit-bag, strapped to the leg, to carry the ammunition, explosives, etc with a quick release tag and attached by a rope in a sleeve, that lowered the bag to swing underneath just before impact with the ground. With two regiments equally trained the SAS then looked for special qualities, like languages, explosives, etc until what they are today. But in peak fitness they were equal, and the method spread to other units.
Our Kaga
LesMac
Coventry
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165 of 177  Mon 22nd May 2017 12:08pm  
Member: Joined Dec 2011  Total posts:221

Hello all. Kaga, did you know Jack Downs? In the post war years he lived in one of those more modern houses just before the path to Wyken Slough. Telephone box outside his house. Jack was in the LRDG whose job it was to transport the fledging SAS and join with them in acts of sabotage. I believe that Spike Milligan also served in the Western Desert. As for Oman it's not likely that you will meet anyone from that war as between us and the SAS there was nowhere near a full battalion although I don't really know what strength the SAS were. It was while clearing out insurgents that I got shot, for the first time. I was on the ground watching a window when I received a huge whack, left side of my ribs. Totally blew the wind out of me but body armour had stopped the round from penetrating. I could guess what window it came from so started watching that window for a head to pop up. Wanted revenge but I had to leave that to my mate PB. The round had passed through my upper arm without me first noticing the injury. I was take to the Sultan's palace where he had his own well equipped mini hospital. That was the first time I had met the Sultan. In his headdress he had a large ruby big enough to choke a horse, rings on every finger full of precious stones. I wanted to tell him that just those jewels would help remove the poverty from his country. Thought better of it though, anyone criticising the Sultan would probably find his head on a stick next day. Edited by member, 22nd May 2017 2:46 pm
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