Kanyu Camp - Working Men -2b

Sketch by Jack Chalker

Britain at War
Fepow Community
Far Eastern Heroes
Private 5776807
My Youth
Sailing to War
Under Siege
Death Railway
Going Home
Enlisting and Training

The day brother Jack got married to Ivy, October 19th 1939, I was on my way to Chelmsford to enlist in the Royal Norfolks for six months training. I now became Private 5776807 with full army kit, we were then put on a train to receive training at an unknown destination. The train journey seemed to fly as there were new faces to greet and friendships to form, amongst these were Jimmy O´Connor, Jack Symon, William Underwood and Teddy Tubby. When we were told we were at our destination, would you believe it was the Vauxhall Station, Great Yarmouth, the same station I had left earlier in the day. We were billeted in houses in Great Yarmouth, so later in the day after a three mile walk, I poked my head into mum's kitchen in Gorleston, my earlier threat of running away from the army if I didn't like it did not help the situation, she became hysterical, it took a lot of calming and reassuring her before I was made welcome. After two days we were moved to Gorleston Holiday Camp were the six months training took place, during this time pictures of the 4th Battalion were taken. Yarmouth Race Course stables then became our base camp, from here we laid mines on Gorleston and Yarmouth beaches, the engineers would then follow putting in the detonators, I was number one on the bren gun and my mate Doggie Hanton number two, we were on full alert waiting for Jerries supposed invasion.

WeddingThere was no leave, but talking to Sergeant Major Algy Mann he allowed me a day and night off to get married, it had completely no connection him being a Yarmouth football referee. So on 6th July 1940 Phil and I got married at Gorleston Parish Church, because of the bad weather our photos were taken at the Photographers on Lowestoft Road, opposite Springfield Road, our honeymoon night was spent at Phils sister Violets house, by 9am next morning I was back on duty.

Two of my army mates, Doggie Hanton and Stanley Frost, came to reception, Stanley at 6 ft 3 inch played in goal for Notts Forest before being called up for service.

Army trucks then took us to Langley Park, Loddon on the 18th September, for more training, here we camped in tents. Acle was our next stay and my billet was the Kings Head public house, this wasn't too bad as I could walk the Acle Strait to visit Phil, then walk back, about 26 mile round trip, good training for the army. Burgh Castle was our next stop we were billeted in private houses and we route marched twenty to thirty miles every day (it seemed like it). The trucks arrived again and took us to Blackburn where we still route marched but had hills to climb, I began to love and miss the flat lands of Norfolk. Brother Jack was a regular soldier with 18th Divisional HQ, having joined up before the war, he was a typical older brother and wanted me to join him, I think he wanted to keep on eye on me, an older brother can claim a younger brother in our countries services. Sergeant Watts asked me to stay, he didn't want to lose his right half in the 4th Battalions football team, but after considering the situation I joined Divisional HQ as bren gunner, Doggie Hanton took my place as number one on the bren gun for 'A' Company.

Phil by this time had been moved to London, because of the bombing of Great Yarmouth, were she was waiting the arrival of our first born. Major Auld at Divisional HQ let me out on compassionate leave to visit her at Park Royal Hospital where on July 30th 1941 we where blessed with our first born Patrica. I decided to get them both back to her sister Beatys at Burgh Castle as London was then being bombed.

Mum_Pat_monthsThe loving memory of her standing on Guyton's Bridge, Burgh Castle, waving as my train from Yarmouth to Blackburn went past, stayed with me throughout the nightmare of the four and a half years that followed. From Blackburn we where taken to Stobbs Camp, Rocksboroughshire in Scotland were the hills got bigger and we got fitter.


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