AT WAR WITH THE ROYAL
ARMY MEDICAL CORPS
1941 – 1944
by Paul Morrell
This is the story of Albert Morrell`s war, my Grandad`s war. My Grandad and I never really spoke about his war, very much to my regret now. When the subject did come up, as a youngster I only found it a passing interest. Albert was a man of few words, though thinking back I do recall him talking of his war on one occasion in particular.
I can see him in my mind`s eye now, talking of the Sweetwater Canal, the Great Bitter Lake, the wounded being unloaded off the boats and the young Captain. I smile fondly at the memory of my Nanna nodding in agreement, as at that time she would have been thousands of miles away in Derby.
I have grown up with the names, Port Said, Suez, the Sweetwater Canal and even Singapore mentioned only occasionally, but being firmly planted in my memory for the future. My interest in Albert`s war began to take shape in 1991, sadly the year he passed away, he was 87. I was given his medals by my Nanna, I was very touched, especially as I am one of twelve grandchildren, I treasure them still.
I wanted to learn more about Albert`s time in the Army and about his war. The more my interest has grown, the more fascinating his story and my research have become. I have been lucky to have had a few small pieces to start, what has become quite some jigsaw puzzle, his Army Pay Book, medical records and his “crossing the line” certificate, thanks to my Nanna and my Dad. Without these, I would not have got very far at all.
During my research there have been many questions that I would dearly have liked to ask Albert, there still are. Sadly he left no diary of his wartime thoughts and experiences.
So to try and build up a picture of his Army days and of the times in which he served, I have complemented Albert`s story with the recollections of many friends, the majority of whom I have been lucky enough to contact through Channel four`s teletext service, “Service Pals”. I am very grateful for their kind help and generosity, they have filled many gaps for me, without their help I could not have completed the jigsaw. Some were there at the same time in the same place, others at different times, each experiencing their own war or National Service and I would like to think that this book as well as being my Grandad`s story, is in my own small way a tribute to them.
So this is the story of an ordinary soldiers war, my Grandad`s war, this is Albert`s War.
Welcome To Cape Town
The Road To Singapore
Sun, Sand and Shitehawks
Epilogue - Sing Something Simple
The British 18th Division
Convoy William Sail 12X
First and foremost, I would like to thank my Wife and my Daughter, Karen and Lucy, for their patience, help and understanding during the writing of Albert`s War.
To my Mum and Dad, Linda and Ken, for my inherited love of history and to my Dad for the safekeeping of Albert`s Medical Records and Army Pay Book.
To my Nanna, Josephine, for passing on to me Albert`s medals and to my Grandad, Albert, for my early introduction to the world of the Sweetwater Canal, Suez and the Great Bitter Lakes.
To Mrs. Ivy Beswick, Albert`s Daughter and my Auntie, for her time and the kind loan of her photo album, on more than one occasion.
To all my “Service Pals”, I would like to say a sincere thank you, for sharing your thoughts and recollections, for your kindness, generosity, help and encouragement. It really would not have been much of a book without you. It has been a privilege for me, thank you.
Jesse and Joyce Adams. Alec Adamson. Norman Albon.
Eric Bardsley. Arthur Bates. George Bould. Tom Bradley.
Derek Buxton. Les Bird. John Castle. Nobby Clark.
Ron Dodman. Tommy Evans. Olive Guy. Albert Homes.
Mr.C.N. King. Alec Leete. Mr. R. McFarlane. Norman Mallins.
Frank Munro. Les Pearson. Bill Pope. Les Powell. Ken Roberts. Alf Robinson. Tom Sims. Wally Wren.
Finally I would like to say a big thank you to Mr. Ron Taylor for his time, patience and hard work in placing Albert`s War on the Britain At War website.