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JackD

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  1. Page 8. After tea we had a walk round and it was nearly dark and the streets were full of nasty old molls. Two of them stopped Len and me and asked us if we wanted to jig with them. They couldn't speak any more English so we told them in plain Enghsh what to go and do. We know what it is like in the town and most other places because we had lads come back with a touch of the Old Dog -Army slang for VD. It doesn't pay you to go with any of them and yet it takes some resisting. We have got used to that with being away from home for so long and we know that we can make up for it when we get out of the Army and home for good. We left Brussels at eight o'clock for we had to be in the camp for 2200hrs. It took the driver all his time to find his way back because it was very dark and he got lost two or three times. We didn't get back until 2230hrs and, believe me; it wasn't long before I was in bed for I had to be up at 0230hrs. I woke up at 0200hrs with a nasty temper for I was having a nice dream and I had just got to the best part of it when one of the lads shook me in the back and told me it was time to get up. Anyway, I soon got over it for I knew that I couldn't do anything about it. I then got ready for work. I didn't have much to do and I was finished at 073Ohrs -just in time to have my breakfast. I then dashed upstairs and into my old fleapit again and stayed in there until tea time because we had to start night work at 2200hrs. After tea we went out to our friends' house. They were waiting for us with paper and pencil on the table ready to learn a bit of English from us. They are picking it up all right. The old man works at the factory where we are billeted and is a good sort but slow at picking up English. His wife is going on fine and I manage to teach her a few Yorkshire slang words. It is surprising how many slang words there are in Flemish and it is easy for me to pick them up and use them. There are four daughters in the family. The oldest at 18 is Marguerite and there is one, aged 15, away at school in Brussels. I don't know her name. There is Marie-Louise, 10 and then our little favourite -Victoria, aged 4. She is a lovely little kid. Marguerite's young man is rather scared of us and I think he will be glad when we have gone away. Marguerite and her mother and dad are so keen on learning English that they forget about him. I don't believe that they think very much about him in one way. Tonight, Len was opening a bottle of beer and it shot up into the air and some of it hit Old Nick in the face. You should have seen his face with anger. He played merry hell and thought Len had done it on purpose. What made it worse was that the others laughed at him. I thought that he was going to go for Len. If he had have done he would have been sorry for it because I had a bottle in my hand which I was going to open and I think he must have seen the wicked nobody in my eye. He soon calmed down and things carried on as usual. I have not much to say about this week because I am on night work and I spend most of my time in bed. The weather hasn't been too good to go out. It has rained every night and I don't like getting wet if I can help it. On Friday 20/10/44 Len and I went to an E.N.S.A. show and it was very good. The comedian gave a good crack about the Nonnandy Star. He said that it was a piece of red tape browned off at both ends! Our Q.M.said that he was going to ask our Captain to indent for some for the unit. I don't know what the Captain said. I suppose he was like us and had a good laugh. We got back from the show just in time to go to work and what a night it was! I was tired out and most of the other lads were the same. What made it worse for me was watching the moulder go round, because it nearly sends you to sleep at the best of times. I thought I was going to have trouble with the divider for it was rattling like a can of peas. I asked Snakey Phillips to get down on his knees and pray, or else we would have to weigh off and mould by hand. So, down he went on his knees and he started to pray, but he must have said it wrong because it got worse. Well, it lasted until we finished our work and the next shift took over. They managed one run and then it broke down, but, thank God, it was mended for when we started again that night. It is now 21 October 1944 and I haven't been in bed much today because I haven't got to go to work tonight. I spent nearly all the afternoon writing letters and after tea Len and I went round to our friends to take our washing. We hadn't been in the house five minutes before the beer was on the table. We spent most of the night playing music and learning to dance. I don't think I shall ever be able to pick up the dancing. What makes it worse are my heavy boots. It takes me all my time to pick them up! Mobile bakery (inside a factory) Page 9 At about 2000hrs we heard a flying bomb come over and explode nearby. We had got used to them as we had ten or more round us nearly every night when we were back in England. I don't know what it will be like in Antwerp for they say that it is like Hell let loose. We can see the flashes from where we are, because Antwerp is only 30 miles away and Jerry is still there. We hope our lads will soon push him out because he is too near for our liking. The further away he is, the better. This week we are on the worst shift of the lot. We have to start at 0930hrs and work for about an hour or so. We have our dinner and then work until 2200hrs. It spoils us for going out unless we haven't got many dough's on and then, with a push, we can manage to get out for about 2000hrs. Well, on Wednesday, we didn't have many dough's on and there was a dance and we wanted to go to. Our Sergeant had to do a bit of arguing with the Master Baker before he would let us have an early night. He won! We were finished in good time. Len and I took our friends' daughter and her girl friend. The first thing we did when we got into the Dance Hall was to get some beer. I was very dry from working on the ovens. Len and I got four glasses in and we were only sat down for five minutes when the girls went on the floor to dance. Len and I just sat, drinking beer. It is more in our line than dancing! We had just about eight pints then we thought it was about time we went and had a talk to the girls. Believe me, it is a work of art trying to make them understand. We manage to do it and we can understand them just a bit. It is now 21 November 1944 and I haven't been able to write much as I have been very busy. I started work this morning at three o'clock as I am on mixing and what a morning it was. It was very cold. We had to wait until seven o'clock for some breakfast and my stomach was empty, as I hadn't had anything to eat since teatime yesterday. You can tell how I felt and I was just dying for a cup of tea. The rest of my Section didn't start until 7.00am and I was ready for them to start for I had a lot more doughs to mix.. I didn't finish until 10,30am and I had just got upstairs when we heard a flying bomb come over. What a shock it was! I expected the windows to come in any moment. I asked if anyone knew where it had fallen and it was up at Ramsbonk. That's the village where we go, so I got ready and had a walk up there. There was only the windows broken so they had been very lucky. I think myself that they are trying to get the factory that we work in .I am sure that one of these days we shall get hit with one and all the four bakeries will be mixed up into one. On Saturday 4/11/44 we finished work in good time and I spent most of the day in bed. I never heard any of the doodlebugs that dropped near the factory so I must have been very tired to sleep through it all.We didn't go until after tea and we went up to our fiend's house, We were trying to say a word in Flemish when we heard that terrible sound of a doodlebug. Into the cellar they all dashed and Len and I went outside like fools to see where it was. It was just going over the top of us with its flame still burning and we knew that we were all right. It didn't go very long before the flame went out and it dived to the ground to explode. We left the house at 10.00pm and were walking down the road when we saw a red flame up in the sky. Len said, 'here comes a doodlebug!" It was coming straight for us. There we were stood in the middle of the road looking up at it when all of a sudden its flame went out and it started to dive towards the ground. You should have seen us dive to the ground! I had a cold shiver run up my spine for I thought that at any moment the doodlebug would drop at the side of us and blast us to hell. The Lord was with us again and it exploded further up the village. We got up laughing for we had still got life left in us. Len said, 'That poopydoo was near!" I dare not write what I said myself but it would have made the devil turn his head in shame if he had been near me. We were glad when we got hack to the billet and into bed. I would sooner be asleep when there is anything like that dropping about because if anything hits you then you don't know anything about it. I have not had time to write much this week for we are on night work and there are too many doodlebugs flying around at nights now to be able to sit in comfort and write. Last night, it was the nearest we had to the factory for it dropped just at the back of sergeant's biiet and part of it was blown down There was only one got hurt and that was our master baker who had a piece of glass hit him in the head. He is going on all right now. It didn't do any damage to our bakery, thank God, for we were just starting work. During the night every one of us was fully expecting to get one on the bakery before the night was out. We knew that if one did land then it would blow us all to smithereens, but luck was with us. We have not had one as near us since -and we don't want one Having a crafty *** at the railyard. Page 10. On Saturday morning 11/11/44 Len and I went into Antwerp with some of the lads in a lorry for our day off. We hadn't been there long before a doodlebug came and dropped near the station. Len and I had left there only about four minutes before it dropped. It did a lot of damage and killed a lot of people including soldiers. We made our way to a cafe for a drink of wine or beer so that we could get over the shock. When we got into this cafe the chap behind the bar asked us if we were cold and when we said we were he told us to go into a little side room where there was a fire. In we went and we were the only two in the room so we stayed there drinking and smoking. After about 15 minutes two of the foulest girls in Antwerp came in and parked themselves beside Len and me. We realised it must be some kind of a brothel. Well, we had just got our glasses filled but we were going to walk out when one of the girls asked Len if he would buy her a drink They could both speak English so he turned to her and said, 'not bloody likely!" Then they asked us if we wanted to go upstairs with them. Well that did it! I picked up my glass of beer and was going to sling it in her face when Len got hold of my arm and said, "Don't start any trouble, Jack" So with that we got up and walked out. I know it takes a lot of doing for a man to resist a woman when he has been a long time away From his wife. I myself must admit that I like to talk to girls but when it comes to old molls like that I have finished. A man can talk to girls without going too far and I know just how far to go. If I went with a girl and went too far with her there would be a 99% chance of getting a dose of VD. I don't want that for I have such a lot to lose; my wife, my family, my rank and reputation. So I just keep to myself for I know that I can get all the love I want when I get back to England and my wife. Today it is Monday and the sergeant came up to me and told me to take four men and a lorry to fetch some coal from the docks at Antwerp. So off we went and the first thing we did when we got there was to park the lorry and go into the canteen for a cup of tea. The canteen is one of the finest hotels I have ever seen. There are girls to wait on us and a dance-band to play for us while we are having a meal. The name of it is the "Atlantic Hotel". When we came out the driver asked me where the place was that we had to get. I said, "I don't know, we shall have to ask." Well, we were about two hours running about Antwerp trying to find it. It was right in the middle of the docks and when we got down there it was in a mess. It looked as though Jerry had had a rough time. He had only been driven out of there while we have been in Belgium. In fact, we hadn't captured Antwerp when we first came to KAPELLE OP DEN BOSCH and that's only 25 miles away. I hope he is a long way in front of us now. Here I am again and I have been neglecting writing in my book again but it can't be helped this week. On Sunday I felt ill. In fact, I was on the verge of collapsing at work in the morning and I was sick three times within the first hour of being at work but I wouldn't give in. I don't like going to the M.O. in case he happens to send me in dock (slang for hospital). There is also every chance of getting posted to another unit when you come out and I don't want that to happen so I just carry on and take things as they come. On Monday it went up on orders that Len and I were to go on a 48 hour leave to GHENT. Were we glad? We hadn't had any rest for a long time and we were ready for it. On Tuesday we caught the lorry at 12.00 From the bakery and got into GHENT at 2.00. It was pouring down with rain but we didn't care as long as we were getting some rest. The first thing we had to do was to wait until one of the Canadians at the leave centre took us up to our rooms. We were both in a room of our own, and our beds, they did look grand. In fact, I felt like getting on mine at once only we wanted to get out as soon as we could. We just put our kit on the bed, what bit we had, and went for a walk round the city. What a place! It has some very ancient buildings. We went round an old castle that had been built in the 13th century and we enjoyed going round. We were very sorry when the time came for us to get ready to go back to Kappelle for we were just nicely settling down to a bit of comfort. We got back OK and, much to our disappointment we found out that our bakery was going to move again. We were wondering where it would be this time- Holland or Germany? Well, we have been very busy this week and I have not had much time to write. Now the time has come when we must go up to our friends house at Ramsdonk and tell them that we want be seeing them anymore. The bakery driver and me. Page 11 - We were going away the next day, Saturday the second of December (2/12/44). What a time we had for the lady of the house said she didn't believe us. It was nearly an hour before we could make her believe us. When it came to 10.00 and we were getting ready to go back to the billet she asked us if we would write it them. We said that we would because they had been very good to us. The daughter insisted on giving each of us a photo of herself for she said it would help us to remember Belgium. We took it and before we left the daughter and her mother kissed both Len and me. They both burst into tears for they know as well as we did that we should never see each other again. The old man himself was very down hearted for he used to enjoy us going up and having a chat with them. We said good-bye and went on our way to the billet with that same feeling in our hearts that we have had at many a place. Believe me, it's not very nice when you make friends with anyone and then you have to leave them knowing that you'll never see them again. We pulled out of the factory at 8.00 in the morning. As we were passing through Fappelle there were a lot of people waiting on the street to wave good-bye to us for nearly all the lads had had a house to go to. When we were going through Ramsdonk our friends were stood at the comer of the street waiting to see us for the last time. We stood up in the lorry and waved good-bye to them and then settled down to a five hours journey to Holland. What a ride it was for it was bitter cold and raining like hell. We had been going for about an hour when our convoy stopped for us to get out for a few minutes, Len went and got in another lorry to ride with the driver and I stayed to look after the other lads. Well, we had just passed through a place called Tibuny when a jeep caught us up and the driver shouted out to me, "One of your lorries has had an accident." I asked if it was towing anything and he said, 'Yes, the same as you." We were towing an oven and I know then that it must be the lorry that Len was in. There was a lorry in front of us with an oven and Len had an oven at the back of his lorry. I was wondering all the time if he was OK. We couldn't stop to see, for when you are in a convoy you have to stay in it. We landed up at a down and out dump called OSTERWLK, and what a place! We had just been here for about an hour when I saw the lorry that Len was in coming along but Len wasn't inside. The oven wasn't at the back so I started wondering again if he was OK. I asked the driver and he said, "Yes, he is OK. It was only the tow bar that broke on the oven. He is staying behind to look after it until we can send another lorry for it." We were very lucky again for we had got another factory in which to put the bakery. It saves us a lot of trouble having to put the tents up. We also touched for a good billet for sleeping in. I think that is the main thing of all, having a good place to sleep, We were working until darkness came fixing up the bakery for them we had to wait until the next day until there was electric laid on. Len came here about 6.00 at night. He had been OK, for at the place he had stayed it was just out side of a house. The people asked him in to have a cup of coffee and wanted to know if he had had any dinner. He didn't like taking any food from them so he said that he had just had it. I know it's not very nice to think things about people's kindness, but in a way he was a bit afraid that it might have had poison in it. There have been a hell of a lot of soldiers poisoned that way and we were warned about it before we left Kappelle in Belgium. Night time came very quickly and it wasn't long before we were in the old flea pit and fast asleep for we had had a busy day. I was called at 7.30 in the morning and I didn't feel a bit like getting up but it was a case of having to do. It was the 3rd of December (3/12/44) and we started work at 8.00. What a place! We have to walk about in the mud up to our boot tops and our feet get wet through. I didn't know what it would be like up in the front line about 12 miles away. We soon ask how far we are away from the fighting when we get to a new place. We haven't been very far away each time. Page 12. We began to think that we had gone away from all the doodlebugs when we came here but we had only been here about a week when he started to send them over. I am sure he knows that the 119 are after him so he is trying his best to stop us. I didn't think there is one man among us that would take a prisoner if he can help it. I am sure that I wouldn't. I am itching to slit one's throat and I hope I get the chance before I come out of the war. That is, unless Jerry gets me first. It is now Sunday 17th of December (17/12/44) and I have just finished work after having a steady night. I am on night work this week and I can see myself spending most of the day in bed. That is, unless I suddenly feel like a walk out in the afternoon, and I doubt if I shall feel like that. It is now the twenty- first of December (21/12/44) and only four days from Christmas. Every one of us lads is wondering how we are going to spend it. By the sound of the news things don't seem at all too good with Jerry making a push forward into Belgium again. We hope he does not get too far before he is back again, we don't want another Dunkirk and that's what it seems like. We just treat these things as a joke and ask one another if he has got his slippers ready. One of the lads will come into the bakery at night and say; there's a Jerry outside, Jack, and he want's to know if we can brew some tea for him. I just say, "Ask him in and I will make it for him in five minutes," I don't know what we would do if we did suddenly see a bunch of Jerry's come into the bakery with their guns pointed at us. I think we would just freeze on the spot. I know there would be no mercy for us after what we saw in Belgium. I don't think I have mentioned it before -it was at a place called BREENDONK. About 3,850 Belgian people were murdered. Len and I went in that place, it was an underground fort and it had a very sickly smell about it. I have read many a book about torture chambers and how they used to torture people. I thought at the time that the author who writes such books must be partly out of his mind to write such silly things. Now I have changed my mind, for I never thought I would go in a place where those things had really happened, and by men who are supposed to be human and have now filled my mind with hatred. WE went through the gate which was very heavily covered with wicked looking barbed wire, charged with electricity, We then crossed over a moat which was about 20ft deep and 50yds across. It would have been impossible for a poor swimmer to get across and even if he did get across he would have the charged barbed wire up against him. One touch of that and he would be burned to a cinder so it was just hopeless to try and escape. We went down into the underground passages and they were very damp. They had that terrible atmosphere that there were gruesome and decayed men, not yet dead, still moving about in the shadows. It nearly made the hairs on the back of my neck stick up on end and I could feel the cold chill run up my spine as I thought of all those poor men that had been tortured to death in the horrible place. We came to one room, or I should say dungeon and it was as deep as hell. The Germans used to put a prisoner inside and make him stand in the middle of the floor and water would slowly drip on his head. He would be in there perhaps for two or three days without food or water. When they opened the door again he would be dead. Then there were the gas chambers where they would put a prisoner and slowly gas him. All these things were done just because they rehsed to obey Gestapo orders or refused to go to Germany to work. We came across another room that was only as big as my cellar at home. In this we could see, by the aid of a torch, iron chains on the wall and imprints of a man that must have been chained there for days on end. It was all smeared with blood. At one time there had been about 100 men crammed into that cell. They had to stand up to get in and every one was dead when the Germans came to get them out. They hadn't had any food or water and had kicked each other to death in their madness. We came across the room where they used to crush a man's hand or foot, or pull out his toe or fingernail. Then there was the W.C. Oh yes, they had a W.C. for the prisoners, but they had to go through hell if they wanted to use it. On the seat there were nails sticking up all over. A man would suffer a lot of pain using that. I said to my pal Len, 'let's get out of here and have a look outside." Seeing things Like that was turning my mind to want to do the same to Germans. We went outside and came across a large hut. We had a look inside and to our horror it was where they used to store the bodies until they had enough to fill a grave. They would put three bodies in one coffin and when they had got ten full ones they would go and tip them in one big grave. That made a total of 30 bodies in one grave. It didn't matter what sex they were, they all went in together. We could only count about 40 graves but there were some more at the other side of the fort. We next came across 10 stakes in the middle of the yard where they would tie the men and shoot them. Then there was the scaffold where they used to hang them. Well, that's the story of Breendonk, and that name will live in my mind as long as I live. I know the Belgian people will never forget it. I used to think it was all a lot trash when I used to read in the papers about what the Germans did to the people out here; but not any more. I hope to God we can rapay them, for I would love to see one's face as we were trying to put him in the ovens or mixer. I am sure that's what we could do if we got the chance. Well, that was back in Belgium so I had better get back to Holland, the place I have not liked from the first moment I landed here. Any time we might go out and not come back for someone might try to do you in, but Len and I would put up a hell of a fight if it came to that. We both carry daggers with us and know how to use them. With german workers, some were supposed to POWs? Page 13. I have not had much time to write in this book for I have been very busy and now it is 15/1/45. We had a very good time at Christmas and I think it was one of the best dinners I have had while I have been in the army. We had plenty of cigars and wine that had been captured from the Germans but they weren't up to much. All week we were confined to camp for they were expecting Jerry to break through. We had all our kit packed up ready to put on the lorries and we ourselves had to carry our rifle and ammo everywhere we went. This included meal times, for we had to be ready at a moment's notice to be called out to make a fight of it. Believe me, we weren't at all very cheerfull about it for we are only about 20 miles from the front line as it is. One morning I heard one of the lorry drivers say that a Jerry patrol had been up to 6 miles away from us. Believe me, it put my mind off writing for when I started to write my mind would wander away and start thinking of home and wondering if I should ever see it again. I know it sounds silly, but it is funny what goes through your mind when you are a long way from home, and a good chance of being killed so near. We have got so used to it now, that it would be funny if we didn't hear the guns roaring away in the distance and the old doodlebugs going over at night. I have seen enough of these to last me to the end of the war and the sooner that comes the better for me and the rest of the lads. It is now 25/1/45 and what a day for it is bitter and cold. I have just finished work for I was up at 2.00 this morning and the time is now 9.00 and I am going to get into bed. 1 have had a busy time and I am made up with cold. I have had it for about a week now and I shall be glad when it has gone away. Well, I have had my sleep and just had my dinner. It was good! I was laid on my bed reading after dinner waiting until it was time to go for a bath when Len and some of the other Lads came over to my bed and grabbed hold of me. The lads said they were going to shave off my moustache and there I lay helpless with one of the lads each holding my arms and my legs. Len had hold of my head. The other lad could not shave it off because he had not got any water so he just struck a match and burned it off. It didn't get me mad for I can stand a joke and I knew I should get my own back on them sometime. I don't know how the hell I have managed to keep my stripes for I am always playing about with the lads. One of these days I shall get caught and that will be the office for me, but who cares? As long as I get my fUn I don't care what happens. We have been having some very bad weather out here. It has been about a foot deep in snow and very cold but we have got used to all that by now. Well, today we drew out of the hat to see who was going home on leave and believe me, what a time it was. We were all in the bakery and the captain had two lads holdig a tin each. One tin had all the names in and the other had numbers in it. One lad drew a name out and another drew a number. Whatever the number was, the chap whose name had come out went on that rotation. I drew number 14, so I shall be the fourteenth man to go home on leave. It will take a long time before I go because there are only three men to go a month. I think it will be about April when I shall see England again. Believe me, I am ready for it and longing to get the touch of some good money in my pocket instead of the stuff I have got now. I would also like a drink of good beer but I don't think I shall be able to drink much with being without for such a long time. Both Len and I have been spending the nights at some fiends' house playing cards. What a time we have for we played at solo and I had to teach Len how to play it at first. Now, we can show them the way home and it is not very often that we come away without winning. Last night they tried to show us a new game that they play over here, but could we hell as like pick it up. They were talking in Dutch and we only know a bit of that and they only know what bit of English we have taught them. We managed to get on OK talking to one another. Many a time when we are back in the billet we forget ourselves and speak in Flemish. We shall soon forget it all when we get back into England. It was not long before we had to pack and move to another town. We were on the road for about two hours before we stopped at a place called ENCHEDE. When we got out of the truck the Sgt. told us that we were going to be split up into pairs to stay with the Dutch people. Len and I were taken to a small farmhouse. The lady came out to greet us and take us inside. It was very clean. She took us upstairs to a very nice room that had a large double bed with white sheets. There was a wash basin in the comer and she indicated that we could use it and then go down stairs. She did not speak any Enghsh but we managed to understand her. Her husband only understood us when we asked him if he wanted a cigarette. They had two daughters, aged 18 and 16 years, and a son about ten years old. One of the girls could speak a bit of English. It was very nice here because when we were not on duty we could sit downstairs with them and write our letters home. One day, Len and I went for swim in the canal. It was a bit dirty and deep. We were told back at the Base not to swim in the canal again because some lads from another Unit had been very ill after swimming in there. The MO. said it was from some dead bodies that must be still on the bottom. Page 14. While we were in ENCHEDE the war with Germany was over and all the people were in the town square singing and dancing. The men and women who had been collaborating with the Germans were caught. The women were sat on a chair in the middle of the square and had all their hair shaved off. I saw the people stand three of the men against the wall, with their heels up to the wall and their hands above their heads. Every time they dropped their hands they were hit with the butt of a Sten gun. After about half an hour, as I was walking away, I could hear them being shot. One day I saw the daughter stuffing grass into the tyre of her bike. I asked her why she was doing that, she said that they could not get any inner tubes, I told her that I was due to go on leave and that I would see if 1 could get one for her. I went to the office and got my 12-day pass and made my way to the station to catch a train that was going to the Hook of Holland. It was a very long journey and we had to get out half way and have a meal at one of the feeding points. The train was so full that men were laid out on the floor. I even saw one man lying on the luggage rack. When we arrived at the Hook of Holland, we went on board and again had a struggle to find somewhere to sit. The boat sailed down to Dover, where I caught a train to Sheffield. I managed to get a good seat all the way. It was good to be home, to be able to wear my civvy clothes and walk out with my wife, Ivy, and the kiddies. We went up to see my Mother and Dad, and the rest of the family. My leave pasted very quickly. I managed to get an inner tube and brought it back for the girl. She was very grateful. It was not long before we had orders to move again. It did not take long to pack up because we had done it so many times. They were trying to keep us close behind the advancing troops and there were times when would have the tents erected and everything ready to start work the next day when the order would come to break camp and move out. Anyway, this time we stopped at NIJMEGEN where we were attached to the 1st Canadian Army Group. We got on very well with them. We were billeted in a very large school. Each section had their own room. Ours was No.3 section and I was in charge of the room. There was my pal, LICpl Len Andrews, LICpl Henson and eight Privates. They were all good lads and did not grumble much. There was a little pub nearby but it was difficult for us to get a drink because the R.E.'s used to get in before us. Capt. Mason had a word with the landlord and asked if he would let us buy the pub and we would return it to him when we left. He agreed, and a syndicate of the 80 men in our unit bought the pub. This was much better for us because the pub could not open until one of us arrived. One night we had a bit of a dance. Len and I were behind the bar. I had a good few pints and felt merry. I thought I would have a walk outside. The C.Q.M.S. then went up to the bar and asked Len, 'Where is Cpl Dukes?" When Len said that he did not know, he was told, "You had better go and look for him." He found me all right! Sitting in the middle of the road, trying to sing. Len brought Freddie Henson and they put my arms round their necks and walked me to the biiet. The day before Christmas Eve we had another dance -but I wasn't behind the bar! I was just watching them dance. At about ten o'clock I told Len that I wasn't feeling very well and I went back to the billet and got into bed. About half an hour later, Len came in and said that he did not feel too good. Soon four more of the lads came in feeling the same as us. The Sgt came in and asked what was the matter with us. When we said that we felt ill he sent for the M.O. When he came, he looked at Len and me. He turned to the Sgt and said, "Right! These two to the Hospital. The rest are to remain in this room and no one else is to come in here until I say that it is safe for them to do so." We were taken to the Canadian Hospital. I was a bit miserable because I thought that we were going to miss out on the Christmas celebrations, and especially ?he dinner. How wrong I was! Father Christmas came round the ward and gave us one hundred cigarettes, two pairs of socks, cigars and sweets, but no beer. We were allowed out of hospital on the morning of New years Eve. The condition, which we accepted from the Doctor, was that we were not to drink any alcohol for a few days. When we got to the billet we found that the lads had saved our beer ration From Christmas Day. There were six bottles of stout waiting for me. That was the end of our promise to the Doctor . The bakehouse crew. Page 15 I was told that I was due to go on leave on the 16th January 1946 for 13 days. It meant another long journey up to the Hook of Holland, but it was great to be going home again. I travelled with Freddie Hamer who was going to Leeds. It was 13 days of real happiness and I was really sorry when the time came for me to go back. I met Freddie in Holland. When we got to NIJMEGEN we found that our unit had moved. I said to Fred, 'Wow what shall we do?He said, "You are the Corporal. What shall we do?" I said, "The 118 F.M.B. is in the next field. We will see whether they know where 119 have gone." They didn't know where our unit was. The Sgt-Major said that we could stay with them. We had a meal and after that I said to Fred, 'We are not staying here. Come on." We went into town and asked at the Red-Cap Office if they knew where our unit was going. They said, "No, but if you go into the cafe over the road, you will meet some Canadian soldiers who might know. We had a cup oftea in the cafe and eventually a driver came in. He did not know where they were but offered us a lift to the next town. We thought that it would be all right as we had reported to the MPs. So off we went. Atter about half an hour we saw a sign on a gateway to a field. It had a big Popeye painted on it and under that it said, '119 F.M.B.' What luck! I asked the driver to stop and let us out. We thanked him and went to report to the Sgt-Major. We told him why we were late and he just laughed and said, "I bet you thought you were lost." We were at a sman village called WICHEN. There was not much to do there after we had finished work so Len and I would ask if a truck was going into NIJMEGEN. If there was a lorry we would travel in it and go for a few pints. We only stayed at WICHEN for about two months. We were told that we were going to move into Germany. When we left we had to leave the bakery behind. We could not understand why until we arrived at the German barracks. We were being disbanded from the 1st Canadian Army. I wondered what we were going to do now that we have not got any baking to do. I soon found out. To my horror, I learned that we were to do rifle drill, foot-slogging and guard duty. We thought that it was stupid because we had not done any of that since we let? England. The Sgt came to me one day and said that I was on Guard Duty with six of the lads from the section. I said, '1 have never taken Guard duty on a Parade Ground. He just gave a laugh, and said, 'neither have I!" I marched the lads onto the Parade Ground and I could see the Major and Captain watching us from the window of the barracks. Our Sgt was stood in the doorway smiling. I got the lads into line and said to Fred Rose, 'What do I do now?" He had done it before. He said, "They can't hear you from here, so just bring us to attention and march us off to the Guard House." I was glad that it went all right for I was feeling nervous and embarrassed. About a week later, it went up on orders that I was to be posted, with a Sgt and Private from another bakery, to a feeding point at KREFELD in Germany. I had to say good-bye to Len and all the other lads that I had been with for about four years. I met Sgt Cyril Gatland and Private Bill Williams who were going with me. We anived at the station and had to squeeze onto the train. We stood in the doorway with all kit and rifles. I thought that if we wanted a tiddle it would have to be out of the window in the door, because the train was so full. It was very dark outside and when I looked out of the window I was horrified. We were going over a single-track bridge. The river below was running very fast and it seemed to be very dirty. I was glad when we got to the other side. We had been on the train for about three hours when we arrived at KREFIELD. It was a big station. The Sgt had just said that we should find out some one to report to, when a Red-Cap came along. He told us to go to the big railway hotel just outside the station. We reported to the Captain, who said that he hoped that we would get on all right. He directed us to our rooms. Sgt Gatland went to the Sgt's quarters, while Bill and I found that our room had two single beds. After putting all our kit away, we had a wash and went down for a sandwich. I went back up in the lift and got into bed. I was soon asleep. The next morning I felt someone shaking me. I could hardly believe my eyes it was eight o'clock and I was being given a cup of tea by a young frauline. She could not speak English so she pointed to her watch and to her mouth to indicate that it was time to get up and get ready for breakfast. She then woke Bill and went out. I said, "The room service is not bad, is it?" It only happened that one morning, as some of the lads at the feeding point had done it as a joke. After breakfast we were taken to the cook-house it was a very big place for they had to feed all the troops who were either going on, or returning from leave. Trains came through all day bringing English, Scots, Irish, Canadians, Poles, and others. It was only a small bakehouse at the side of the cookhouse because we only made dinner cobs. One night, our Sgt came and asked the other Cpl if he wanted to go to the town bakery on the other side of the rail track. He would be in charge of 12 bakers but it would always be nights. He said that he liked it where he was so I told Sgt Gatland that I would like to take it on. He said, "All right, I'U arrange it. I will be coming with you." Page 16. The following week I went to the civvy bakery. I had to go up in the lift to the third floor. I met the caretaker whose name was Koolan. He could not speak any English so he called one of the lads who could. I told them who I was. They introduced Fritz, the German in charge. He was very tall and just like Boris Karloff I was to draw all the rations from the cook-house for what we had to make, as well as food for the Germans and myself to eat during the night. If we were eating sausage and bacon, the Germans would laugh at me frying it in the oven because they ate it raw. Our work was making bread cakes and sausage rolls. I didn't see our Sgt much because he went out with the other Sgts and he knew that I would cover for him if the orderly officer came round. One night, at about 2am I was feeling tired and the caretaker told me to go to his house on the top floor of the building and have a sleep on the settee. I went up and I had only been asleep for about an hour when the lad who could speak English came up and told me the officer was asking for me. When I got down stairs he asked me what I was doing out of the bakehouse and not having anyone in charge. I had to think quickly. And I did! "I've been up to the toilet in the caretakers house because ours is out of order." He fell for it. He looked at my books to see that I had written down what had been made. He then said, "All right, Corporal." As he went I thought, thank God, I do not do any of the work myself I only see that things are made and I book it down. I then see that it goes round to the feeding point. One night a new man came to work with us. The other Germans knew him and did not like him. They said that he was a bit of a tell-tale and would go round to the feeding-point and gossip to the Sg-Major in the cook-house. About a week later, Cpl Dickie Hatton of the Welsh Regiment came in at about 1Opm. He had been out on the beer and he had had quite a few. The new German started to call Dickie names, not knowing that Dickie could understand a bit of German. That did it. It made Dickie mad. He pulled a revolver out of his pocket and said, "I'm going to shoot you, you poopydoo!" Knowing Dickie, I thought he would do it, so I got in between them and told him not to be silly. He gave me a look and said, "You are taking his side." He tried to shove me away. I grabbed hold of the revolver and hit him on the chin. As he fell he hit his head on the wall and that put him out for a bit. When he came round, I put my arm around him and said, 'Come on, I'll take you home to the billet." We had to be carefull going through the street in the middle of the night as there was a curfew until 6am. When I got him back to the station, he started to cry and said he was sorry for causing me trouble. Sgt Gatland came to me one day and said that he was going to have to appear in front of the Major and that I might have to as well, because they said that there was about a thousand pounds of sugar missing. They wanted to know if we could account for any of it. We both marched into the office and stood in front of the Major and the Captain. The Major asked the Sgt if he could account for any of the sugar. He said, 'no, Sir." The Major went on, 'What about you, Cpl?" I said, 'no Sir. The only thing that I can think is that when we asked the Germans to weigh some sugar up, they weighed it in German pounds. A German pound is a kilo and is about two and a quarter pounds. The Major gave me one look and said, "Very good, Cpl. you can both dismiss." We saluted, turned about and marched out of the office. When we were outside, the Sgt said, "Thank god we got out of that all right." One morning at about five o'clock, I was going round the station when a Cpl from the Welsh Regiment who was on patrol, stopped me and asked for some help. He and a private wanted to bring a Yank out of one of the houses where he was causing trouble with a woman. I could not refuse because of his seniority, so I said, 'There are two of you, why do you need me?" He said, 'Well, if you shout up to him and he sees that you have not got a rifle, he might come out." "That's good, but if he has a rifle, what do I do then?" 'Don't worry we'll have you covered." Trust me to fall for something like this! Anyway, I shouted up the steps to him and after a bit he came to the door and he was unarmed. We went up the steps and into the house. The Cpl told the Yank that he was out of bounds and arrested him. He gave the woman a warning and took the Yank away. I then went to the station to get a couple of women to go back to the bakery to pack the food that had been made. I had no trouble because they had a better time working with me than they did at the feeding point where they had the Sgt-Major from the catering corps to boss them about. I would let them take their time and have a cup of tea with us. They would not get the chance at the feeding point. At seven o'clock I would tell the driver to load up the truck and then take the women round to the station to sign out. I was in bed one morning after night shift when I was shaken awake. I looked up and saw C.Q.M.S. Prior from my old unit-1 19 F.M.B. 'What are you doing here"? I asked. "I am on my way home, and as the train stopped here I thought that I would ask where you were." I got out of bed and we had a chat about the times we'd had together. I asked him if he had had his dinner and when he said that he hadn't i took him to our Mess Room. I told the Duty Sgt who he was and he was taken into the Sgt's Mess. I knew that he would get a better dinner there than at the feeding point. Page 17. About a week later, Sgt Johnson, also from 119F.M.B. came to see me. He was a good Sgt and we all got on very well with him. He told me that Len Andrews was at Dusseldorfwith nearly all the other lads and that Len was going on all right. He didn't stay long because he had already had his dinner and the train was due to leave. One day at the feeding point I wanted to know where I could find a swimming pool. I found a lady interpreter and asked if she knew. She told me that it had been destroyed by the bombs. I told her that she spoke very good English and asked if she had learned it at school. She said that she had lived in England. 'What part of England?" "Sheffield." "That's where I live." I found out that she had lived in Wilkinson Street, the next Street to where I lived. Her father was one of the Germans who started the cutlery firm Richard's in Sheffield. I did not have the chance to talk to her again for she moved away with some officers as their interpreter. I was looking out of the Bakehouse window one morning at about seven o'clock. There was a six-foot wall at the bottom of the yard and I saw a parcel come flying over the top. I wondered what it was and I spoke to one of the Germans about it. He told me that it happens a great deal but that they did not say anything in case they got into trouble. I went down stairs to have a look at the parcel and found that it contained tea and sugar. I was told that someone throws it over the wall and comes round for it after he has fini shed work.. I decided to catch him when he came to pick it up. I rang the station and asked for two guards to be sent round to the Bakehouse. When they came, I told them what had happened and what I wanted them to do. It was a bit dark, so I told them to hide behind some bins in the yard and I would stand just inside the doorway. We didn't wait long before a man came creeping into the yard. He went straight to the parcel and as he bent to pick it up we dashed out and got hold of him. We did not take him back to the station in case they involved any of the other workers. We took him to his flat and told him that we were going to search it to see if he had any more stolen goods. We found some folding umbrellas that were no good to us. We told him it would be best ifhe did not return to work at the feeding point. The Germans were searched when they had finished work each day. If they had stolen anything they would be sacked on the spot. It was very hard for them to find work so it was real punishment. One night wee pipe Hatton came into the Bakehouse with a 7lb tin of coffee. I asked him what he was doing with it. He said that he had swiped it from the officers' Mess and they were looking for it. He asked me to hide it because the Orderly Officer might come looking for it. I didn't know what to do at first, then I told one of the Germans to clear the fire- lighting sticks and paper from one of the ovens that we weren't using. We put the tin at the back of the oven and then replaced the sticks and paper. Even if an officer came to light it he would not think to look back there. No one came, so we gave some of the coffee to the Germans for they were good workers. It was not long after this that it came through that Group 32 was going to be demobbed. I was very pleased to hear that because I was in-group 32. On the night shift one of the Germans said to me, "You look very happy tonight, Cpl." I told him, "I am happy because I will soon be leaving and going home for good." He told the other men and they said that they were very happy for me and they hoped that they would get someone like me to work with. A week later my Sgt came to me and said, 'Well, Jack! The time has come for you to go home. I am the same Group as you and we haven't any more work to do." I said, 'What are you going to do now?" He gave me one big smile and said, 'i'am going out with two other Sgts to celebrate." It was a very nice day. The sun was shining so I thought that I would go for a walk as my pal, wee pipe Hatton was on duty. I got a bottle of gin from under my bed and set off When I came to a field I had a good look roiind and thought how nice and peaceful it was. I went and sat in the middle of the field with my bottle of gin and drank the lot. What a feeling it was to see a field go spinning round me. I slept for about an hour, I think. I then went back to my hotel, or should I say billet? When I got back, I found that I had missed my tea so I went to the canteen and had a good strong cup of coffee. I shall never forget that last day. The next day was Thursday 27th of June 1946. I got up and went to the office Where I got my pass and my papers. I met my Sgt and we both went and said good by to the lads at the Bakery as they had come to see us get on to the train. It was a long journey and the train stopped twice for us to have a meal. We arrived at Calais and boarded the boat for Dover. When we set sail I looked back and thought how lucky I was to be going home alive, when so many of those poor lads were killed. We had a very smooth crossing and how nice it was to see the White Cliffs of Dover. When we arrived we were taken to the station and put into sections according to our destination. I left Sgt Gatland and wished him luck. He lived in the south of England. I went with a group on the train to York. When we arrived we were taken by lorry to Stencil Barracks where we were told to go and have a wash and then report to the canteen for a meal. The next day I had to go before the Captain for my final discharge. I thanked him and he wished me all the best for the future. I am now Mr. JOHN DUKES again. In the afternoon I went to the stores to hand in my rifle and other kit. I then had to draw some civvy clothes. I picked a nice brown suit, a raincoat, shirt, tie, vest, pants and shoes. They were all put into a box because I was still wearing my battle dress. The next morning, Sunday 30th June 1946, I went to catch the train to Sheffield. As I was walking over the bridge to the platform I saw an old pal, Len Farrell, who was in 119 Field Mobile Bakery with me. He was going to catch a train to Nottingham. I left him and got onto the train. I was only on it for an hour before I got out at Sheffield. I caught a tram outside the station to take me home. I walked along Gloucester Street towards No.55 my parcel under my arm; it felt grand to be coming home for good. I went into the house and put my arms around my wife, Ivy and gave her a big kiss, I gave my four children a hug and a kiss. I then thought that I must now start my life again. GOOD-BYE BUT NOT FORGOTEN Now to get out of this uniform.
  2. This is the story dad wrote first, then decided to write the one above. He did intend to write<br>more but he died before he could .But we his family lived it.<br><br> Page 1<br><br> TODAY IS THE 15TH OF APRIL 1941<br><br><br>I have just come home from work having been on night work as a baker. My dear wife greeted <br>me with a kiss, and then gave me a letter, on the top was "O.H.M.S." and inside was just one <br>page in very nice words: <br><br><br>'Dear Sir,<br><br>In accordance with the National Service ( Armed Forces) Act; you are called on for service in the Territorial Army <br>And you are required to present yourself on Thursday 25 April 1941, 0900 hrs -12 noon at the Royal Army Service <br>Corps at Warwick; Reg.; I. T. C. Warwick. <br><br>Travel warrant is enclosed. <br>A postal Order for 4/- in advance for service pay is also enclosed <br>Yours etc.' <br><br>A week went by and I had said good-by to Mother, Dad and family, but on Thursday 24th April I <br>had to say good-by to my wife, Ivy and to my three kiddies; Jack, Christine and Brian. It was very <br>hard and I was scared stiff for I thought I might not be coming back.<br><br>I went to the station and caught the train. Two more lads got in the same camage as I did and <br>they were both going to Warwick to join the R.A.S.C. as bakers. When we anived at Warwick <br>station a L/Cpl was waiting for us. He took us outside the station onto the road. There were <br>about twelve of us and he told us to get into threes. He then marched us up to the barracks. What <br>a Shambles it was: not one of us in step. We could see people laughing at us. <br><br>We reached Budbrook Barracks and were taken into a barrack room. L/Cpl Green told us to <br>stand by one of the beds. After about 15 minutes a Sgt. came in and said, <br><br>"Right men! Gather round. I am Sgt Harvey and I am going to train you for the next month. You do as I tell you and <br>we will get on well together. Don't let me down!" <br><br>After that we drew our kit and were given our Army number. I am S/9265637. The next day we were told we had to go and see the doctor and have the needle for TB.<br>&nbsp;<br>Monday moming came and at 7.00am L/Cpl Green came in and shouted at us to get up and get <br>washed and shaved for breakfast at 8.00am. We had porridge, sausage, bacon, one slice of bread <br>and a mug of tea. One month went by and it had been very hard foot slogging and rifle drill. <br>On the Monday morning we were told to parade on the parade ground to be ready for the <br>Passing-out Parade. We came out of that very well. Our Sgt was very pleased with us. After <br>dinner, Maurice Hides, also from Sheffield, and I went for a walk into Warwick for a pint or two <br>of beer. <br><br>The next morning we had to parade in our own section. Ours was 'B' section. The captain told us <br>that some were to draw winter kit and others summer kit for the Far East. We were the ones who <br>had to draw summer kit I then had a 48hr pass to go home. How nice it was to see my wife, Ivy <br>and the kiddies. How good it was to have some good food, and not have an officer come round <br>and ask if there were any complaints. My 48hrs went very quickly, I had to say my good-byes <br>over again and catch the train back to Warwick. <br><br>After our month's training we left Warwick and went down to Tidworth in Wiltshire. <br>It is a base supply depot. It is also a garrison town for married soldiers, officers and military <br>police. We had to salute an officer every time we passed one or we would be put on a charge. <br>The next day we were taken to the bakery to meet the C.Q.M.S. master baker, Mr Brown He <br>said 'You are now going to show me how you can mix dough.' We stood in front of a trough <br>with 20 stones of flour in it. He then said, 'Right! Put your salt and water in and get mixing. It <br>wasn't too bad for me as I had mixed by hand in Civvy Street. Some of the lads had only mixed <br>by machine and they found it very hard. Mr Brown came looking at us. When he came up to me <br>he said, 'Right, Pte Dukes, that's good. Let me see you mould a cob.' I did that all right and then <br>Mr Brown told me that I had passed my third class. Some of the lads were about a week before <br>they passed. Our time was then spent in doing work in the bakehouse. <br><br>After about a month we were split up into field bakeries. I was put in the 31st Field Bakery. I <br>knew then that I was going to be moved. The next day we got into Army lonies and we were on <br>our way to Bourn in Cambridgeshire. This turned to be a very nice little country village. It was <br>clean. The bakery was in the grounds of Bourn Hall. We were split into four sections. I was in <br>No. 3 section that had a Sgt, Cpl, l/Cpl, and 8 men. We were taken to our billet, a nice little <br>cottage. We had to sleep on the floor. The only lights were candles and there was no fire -only <br>one paraffin stove. <br><br>We had three mobile ovens and each one had two decks and was coke fired. We worked in a <br>large Nissan hut, which had three troughs on each side and a large table in the middle. Three of us <br>would mix two doughs of 20 stones each, by hand. When it was ready it would be cut out, put <br>onto the table, weighed into 2lb pieces, moulded into cobs and put six on a tray to rise. When it <br>had risen the oven man would put it into the oven. <br><br>Week one we would do night work. Week two, we stacked the flour after delivery, cleaned the <br>camp and did guard duty. Week three was day work in the bakery. <br><br>At night, Tich Hides, Freddie Hamer and I would go down to the canteen for a game of bingo or <br>table-tennis. We would have a cup of tea and an apple pie for 3d (three old pence). Sometimes, <br>we would go to the pub for a pint or two. Sometimes on a Saturday, Fred and I would get a day <br>pass and go into Cambridge. One Saturday a Red Cap stopped us and asked for our passes. We <br>gave them to him and he asked where we were from. When we told him that was the 31st Field <br>Bakery at Bourn, he said, 'Its you who makes that rotten bread!" So I said, 'Yes, for rotten <br>buggers like you." He just laughed and took the joke. <br><br>One day our Sgt came to the cottage and told us we had to move out as an officer was moving in. <br>We were put in a farmhouse with a stone floor and no windows. The smell was terrible and the <br>farmer had about 200 pigs. One day, two of the lads got hold of a piglet, tied its feet together and <br>put it into a soldier's bed. He gave such a yell when he got into bed in the dark. Two of the lads <br>used to do little jobs for the farmer and we used to see them going to the post office with big <br>parcels. We found out that it was lumps of pork they were sending home. The farmer did not <br>know.<br> <br>The 83rd Field Mobile Bakery.Im on the 2nd row up 4th from the right.<br><br><img src="http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk18/jackdukes/scan0002-4.jpg"><br><br>Page 2.<br><br><br>We are on the move again, and this time into Monmouthshire. We are at a small <br>village called Bedews, right at that top of a high hill in Rupera Castle. The lad in the <br>next bed is called Len Andrews. We had nothing to do one day so we went for a <br>walk into Caerphilly, which is about a mile away. <br><br>It is very boring here in Rupera Castle just doing guard duty and waiting to be put into Field <br>Bakeries. The day came when we were told that we are going to be made into the 83d Field <br>Mobile Bakery. Yesterday, we were called out to meet our new Captain Bidwell and the <br>C.Q.M.S., Mr B Prior. Today we are off on the road to Louth in Lincolnshire. When we got there <br>we stopped outside a school which had been taken over as a billet for us. Inside there were four <br>rooms. One small room for the Sgt's Mess, a large room for our mess and two other rooms, each <br>with six double bunk beds. Len and I took over our bed and I told him that he was on top as he <br>was younger than I was. It was two days before the machinery came. This consisted of 3 double <br>deck ovens, one 20 stone mixer, one dough divider and six troughs. All of them are on trailers. <br>They were taken up the road into a field. We had to put up the tents and a big marquee ready to <br>start work the next day <br><br>The orders went up after tea to tell our starting times, Len and I were down to start at 8.00pm on <br>dough mixing. LICpl Brown and four other lads came in at 10.00pm when the dough's were <br>ready. Len and I feed the dough into the divider and it comes out in 2lb pieces. It is then moulded <br>and goes down a chute to two lads below who put six onto a tray and then put them on a rack. <br>When it is risen, L/ Cpl Brown takes the rack to the oven to bake the bread. He has a lad to help <br>him. When it is baked it is taken into a tent ready to be loaded onto trucks to be distributed to <br>other units, including the RAF at Manby. When we are finished dough mixing we go back to the <br>billet and wake up the 4.00am mixers for their day shift. We are baking about 30,000lbs of bread <br>a day.<br><br>Last night, Len and I were on guard duty at the bakery from 6.00pm until 10.00pm. At about <br>8.00pm we fancied a cuppa but we had no hot water. I went across to one of the cottages and <br>asked the little old lady if she would boil some water for us to make a cup of tea. She asked me in <br>while it was boiling. I only had a bucket because we got water from the tank in which we boiled <br>the water for the dough. She lent me a teapot and asked me to bring it back in the morning. <br>I was off this morning so I took the teapot back and thanked the lady. She invited me in for a cup <br>of coffee and a bun. I went in and sat down by the fire and stayed for about an hour. When I said <br>that I had better go and write a letter home she said that any time I wanted to write in comfort I <br>could go to her house. I will take her up on that! She is about 80yrs old and her name is Mrs <br>Elizabeth Baker -the very same name as my Mother's maiden name. I did meet her daughter who <br>was about 60yrs old. She was Mrs Nellie Reid, whose husband had been killed in the First World <br>War. <br><br>When we are not baking we have odd jobs to do around the bakery or we do rifle drill. <br>Sometimes, if the Staff-Sgt -Piggy Patterson -is not in a good mood he takes us out on a four <br>mile Route March. Our section Sgt is Bill Kennedy. He is OK as he doesn't bother us much. <br>Occasionally, one of the Sgt.s gets a dance together at Louth Town Hall. He usually asks Len and <br>me to take the money at the door. Some of our lads get in free! There are lads From other units <br>and from the RAF. We get our beer money out of it. <br><br>A few mornings ago, Capt. Mason told us that he had been given orders for us to go into a field <br>and build a jungle bakery just in case we get sent to the Far East. We went up to the field and <br>fixed up some camouflage netting. The Cpl fitter cut an oil drum down the middle to make two <br>mixing troughs. He then laid two drums on their sides so that we could use them for ovens. One <br>of the lads made the scales out of wood and I made the knife out of the fin of a small bomb. I <br>bound one end with string and sharpened the other. We had to make the yeast ourselves by <br>boiling potatoes with the skins on and putting in a bottle of stout and leaving it overnight to <br>ferment. Two lads made the dough and two of us lit the fires in the ovens. When the dough was <br>ready it was taken out, put onto the table, cut into 2lb pieces and mould into cobs. When they had <br>risen we raked the burnt wood out of the oven and put the bread on top of the ashes in the ovens. <br>The drum lid was sealed on with clay for about an hour. Capt. Mason came and said it was very <br>good. Since then we call him Jungle Jim.<br> <br> Dad and his life long pal Len Andrews.<br><br><img src="http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk18/jackdukes/scan0001-12.jpg"><br>Page 3.<br><br>Yesterday afternoon, we were back in our own bakery and I was on my knees washing the trailer <br>floor after we had finished baking when Sgt Stratton came to me. He said, "Go and get changed. <br>The Captain wants to see you in his office.' I asked, 'What have I done wrong?" He replied, "I <br>don't know." I went back to the billet and put on my best battIe dress and went with Sgt Stratton <br>to the office. He marched me in and I stood to attention in front of Capt. Mason. He told me to <br>stand easy and then said that I had been recommended by Sgt Stratton to be made up to L/Cpl if I <br>would accept it. "Yes sir!" He then sent me to the stores to draw some tapes to sew on. I was <br>worried at first as to how the lads would take it but they seem to have taken it in good part and <br>we are getting on all right. <br><br>When I got my L/Cpl tape I had to do Cpl duties ifI wasn't down on orders to work in the <br>bakery. I had to get the lads up for breakfast. After that I would march them up to the bakehouse <br>to do odd jobs. I had to go to Louth Post Office and collect any mail for our unit. I then had to <br>take it to the office, the billet and the bakehouse. I had to return to the billet to make sure that the <br>lads I had left there had cleaned it up ready for inspection by the Orderly Officer or the Staff Sgt. <br>Nothing to do then until after tea when I would book out the lads who were going out. I then <br>despatched the lads on guard to the bakehouse and I could then enjoy myself playing cards or <br>table tennis. I had to stay up and book the lads in. They had to be in by 2400hrs or they were put <br>on a charge. I booked them in myself because I knew that they would not let me down. The only <br>problem was if the Orderly Officer came round. <br><br>On Thursday morning I got the lads outside the billet and marched them down to the baths for a <br>shower. Just imagine! Twenty lads under six showers all at once. What a shout went up if anyone <br>dropped his soap! The swimming baths were in the open air and I sometimes went for a swim. The <br>water was just like spring -very cold. Not many of the lads could swim. I taught Len to swim. He <br>picked it up quickly. <br><br>At 1500hrs it was pay parade. It went like this: -Name called, march into the office, stand to <br>attention, salute the Capt., draw your pay, sign for it, salute, about turn, march out. <br>One day Len borrowed a bike. Capt. Mason's bike was outside the billet and as I thought that he <br>was away for the day I borrowed it. We had a nice ride to Grimsby about 20 miles away. When <br>we got back one of the Cpls. said, "Capt. Mason was asking for you as he wanted his bike." I said, <br>"Oh dear!" I had to take it up to the pub where he was staying. <br>When I saw him, he said, "Are you sure you have finished with it?" I immediately said, "Yes sir! <br>Thank you." By the look on his face I reckon he thought that I was a cheeky devil. <br><br>We had some good times at Louth. There was a Cpl in our room called Alan Wright who worked <br>in the office. At night, after lights out, he would lie reading his Bible by candlelight. Many a time <br>we would spit on the candlewick and he would spend ages trying to light it. One night, I woke up <br>and thought I could hear rain on the windows. When I had&nbsp; turned my head I could see that it was the lad in the bunk at the end of the room. He had been out on the booze and was having a pee in the wellies of his bunkmate above. <br><br>One night we were working in the bakehouse when the L/Cpl on the dough mixer said that he had <br>dropped the thermometer into the mixer and it had broken. We were wondering what to do when <br>one of the lads suggested the well at the back of the billet. We thought that was a good idea. <br>Snakey Phillips went and fetched the handcart on which we canied our rations. We put the 20 <br>stones of dough on it and, at four o'clock in the morning four of the lads pushed it away and <br>dropped the dough down the well. They covered it with rubbish to hide it. Two days later one of <br>the lads went round to have a look and he said that it was nearly at the top of the well. <br>One night, Cpl Bill Petty and I were on night shift at the bakery. At about 0300hrs we had our <br>break and went into the store tent where the bread is kept ready to be sent to other units. I got <br>down onto one of the racks for a sleep. It was a very bad thing to do because when I woke up I <br>felt really ill with the steam from the bread. The next morning I had to report sick and I finished <br>up in the hospital at Louth for a week.<br> <br>Page 4.<br><br>About two weeks later, I was made up to Cpl and Len was made up to L/Cpl. He managed to get <br>a job in the office for a while and I only saw him at nights. He used to get to know all the news <br>from the office. One night he told me that a Cpl was going to be posted to another unit. Since my <br>name was the first on the list, I would be the one to go. The next morning I reported sick. I said <br>that I had boil on my scrotum and that I could not walk with it. I was not posted because I was <br>sick. Good old Len! In a couple of days it was better! <br><br>I was sent to Leeds on a swimming course. Capt. Mason said it would be a good thing if I could <br>come back and teach the lads to swim. When I got there I reported to a big house with twelve <br>other Cpls. We were told to settle down until Monday morning. <br><br>On Monday morning we were marched to the swimming baths. Once inside we were told to <br>undress and stand on the side of the bath in the nude. The Staff Sgt came and told us to dive in <br>and swim to the other end of the pool. I think this was to make sure that we could swim all right. <br>Buster Crabbe was a good Staff Sgt but very tough. One day he made us swim fifteen lengths in <br>full battle dress and with kit. We were told not to touch the bottom with our feet. <br><br>Another day, Staff Sgt Crabbe took us to the river in Leeds. It was snowing when he told us to <br>strip off and wrap all our clothes into our ground sheet and gas cape so that they would float. <br>When we had done that we had to get into the water and swim across with our rifles slung round <br>our necks. It was bitter cold and it was a good thing that we were wearing our swimming <br>costumes. <br><br>One day we had to get to the top diving board, twenty feet high, and then swing on a rope across <br>the bath. Half way over we had to leave go and catch onto a net. Some just fell in. I was lucky: I <br>managed to grab the net. After two weeks of this hard training, the course finished on Friday <br>night. The Staff Sgt told us that we could leave on Saturday morning and call home if we wished, <br>as we were not due back to our unit until Sunday night. <br><br>I caught a train to Sheffield and surprised my wife, Ivy when I walked into the house. I spent the <br>day with her and my three children, Jack, Christine, and Brian after they had searched my kit bag <br>to see if there was any chocolate. How nice it was to have some good food, and cooked well. <br>Sunday morning and the trip back to Louth came all too quickly. It was a good-bye kiss for my <br>wife and kiddies. It is hard to hold the tears when I leave them. When I got back to Louth I <br>reported to the Sgt Major. He said 'What have you come back for? You could have stayed a <br>couple of days, no-one would have known." <br><br>I said, "Can I go back then, Sir?" He said, "get lost!" <br><br>It's back at Louth now doing Orderly Cpl and working in the bakehouse. Capt. Mason told us <br>one day on parade that he had been talking to one of the officers of 119 F.M. Bakery that they <br>were due to go to France. They did not want to go and wondered if we would like to volunteer to <br>go in their place. The Capt. said that he had heard a whisper that we might be going to the Far <br>East but the Capt. of 119 F.M.B. did not know that. All but four of use agreed to the swap. <br><br>One afternoon Len had gone out and I was Orderly Cpl. I thought that I would take a chance and <br>go out myself. I caught a train to Grimsby and went to see my Uncle Harry Dukes. We went to <br>the pub and had just had a couple of pints when the air raid sirens went. I thought, "Here I am 20 <br>miles from where I should be on Fire Duty and my train does not leave until ten o'clock. If the <br>Orderly Oficer goes to the billet I am in real trouble." I told Uncle Harry the mess I was in and <br>he offered to lend me his bike. I agreed to take it back at the weekend and set off to pedal like <br>mad for Louth. I was about five miles away when the all clear sounded. When I got into the billet <br>the l/Cpl said that he had covered for me and the Orderly Officer did not come. <br><br>The next morning I found out that I would not be able to take the bike back. Len and I were <br>down on Orders to go south with the advance party. We had to pack all our kit and be ready to <br>move the next morning. We went to the station at ten o'clock in the morning and caught a train, <br>wondering where we were going. We anived in London and got onto a tube train. We could not <br>see out of the windows as they were blacked out. When the train stopped, a lorry had backed <br>right up so that we could get straight on to it. We set off and still we did not know where we <br>were going. <br><br>We pulled up in a small town and had a boring time because there was nothing to do but wait for <br>the rest of our unit. We could not go out or even write letters home. When the other lads came, <br>the Capt. told us that we were now 119 Field Mobile Bakery (not 83rd). This meant that we were <br>going to France. <br><br>Two days later, 26 July 1944, we were told to get ready to move out. We went under cover by <br>lorry to the docks at Newhaven. We were all lined up ready to board and load the troop carrying <br>ship with tanks, lorries, ammo and food. We were told that our ovens and trailers would be <br>coming on another ship. Very soon we were on the deck watching England going away from us. <br>"Good-bye England. I wonder when we shall see you again." We are now with the 21st Army <br>Group, British Liberation Army. <br><br>Page 5.<br><br>FRANCE <br>24th September 1944 <br><br>This is the first time that I have really had the chance to write about my family in France, 47 days <br>after D-Day. The Day that will go down in history as the beginning of the Liberation of France <br>from the grasp of those inhuman Fiends, the Nazis, who, if they had got across the channel to <br>England would have crushed it like an egg in a vice. There was the time when the British Amy <br>made a retreat from Dunkirk and they cold bloodedly bombed our boys on the beaches. We <br>swore we would return that fight and so we did. After four years waiting we made a beach <br>landing in Normandy. <br><br>I set sail with the 119 Field (Mobile) bakery From Newhaven on the 26th July 1944. I think it was <br>the first time the channel had been as calm for months so it was a very nice crossing and I slept <br>most of the night. I was expecting to hear enemy planes up above us but we never saw a plane or <br>heard any guns. In fact, it was just like peacetime. <br><br>Well, we landed on the 27th July at a French town called Aramanches and we had to stay there <br>until we got the information on where we had to go. We waited in a field until 10 o'clock at night <br>and, believe me, we were all dead tired.We had not had a proper meal since we left the transit <br>camp in England and what food we did have was out of our 24-hour ration boxes with which <br>each man was issued. It consisted of four bars of chocolate, sweets, compo tea, biscuits and <br>oatmeal blocks. I myself did not think we could manage on it, but we did and were very glad to <br>have it with us. <br><br>It was nearly 10 o'clock and everyone was looking out for the lorries that were coming to take us <br>to our unknown destination. We saw a cloud of dust coming along the road and then made out <br>four troop carrying lorries and we were happy when they pulled up along side of us. We all <br>climbed up into the lonies and were soon on the road. <br><br>I could see in the grim faces of the other men that they were thinking of the ones they loved <br>across the channel. I could not speak to any of them for I wanted to sit and think of my dear wife <br>and kiddies that I had left behind. Well, we had been on the road for about half an hour and it was <br>still glum in the lorry and my eyes were nearly filling up with tears. I could see that the other lads <br>were the same so I thought it was time everyone cheered up. I turned to my mate Len Andrews <br>and said to him, 'What about having a sing-song?" So we all started up singing and everyone was <br>happy again. <br><br>It was not long before we pulled up at a small town called Bayeux. Every one of us was as black <br>as coal for we had not had a wash or a shave since we had left England. After we had had <br>something to eat we thought it was about time we made a place to sleep. Three of us, Corporal <br>Brown, LvvCpl Andrews and myself, got out our ground sheets and started to make a bivvy in the <br>hedge. It was nearly dark when we had finished so we just got into bed as we were -in our battle <br>dress. We had only been in the bed for about an hour when Jerry came over and started to drop <br>his eggs. If anyone could have seen us scramble out of our bivvy, they would have laughed their <br>stockmg tops oE I must admit I was a bit scared at first, but I soon got over it. I know that I <br>should have a lot like that to go through during my time in France. It lasted for about an hour and <br>we decided to get back into bed. We found that in our mad scramble the bivvy had fallen down so <br>we just had to get under the best way we could and trust to luck that it would not rain. We were <br>called up at about 9 o'clock in the morning and we made one dash for our breakfast. It consisted <br>of 'Slingers' biscuits and margarine with only half a cup of tea. <br><br>We stayed in Bayeux for about a week doing nothing but go for a walk or go to sleep. We then <br>moved to a place called Luc-sur-Mer. It was there that we first started to do some baking. We <br>were glad to be baking because we had not had any bread since we left England. We did not have <br>such a bad time there because we used to go down to the sea front for a swim in our spare time, <br>though we did not have much of that. Len and I have been walking along the beach in a morning <br>looking to see if we could find any dead bodies washed up. We saw a couple which were partly <br>eaten away. <br><br>It would open anyone's eyes in Civvy Street if they could just come over here and see how things <br>carry on. The French people do not get any cigarettes or soap and it is nothing to have about a <br>dozen kiddies around you saying, "Cigarettes for Papa." If you could only see the damage done <br>by our bombers! The Jerry bombing in England is not a patch on what we have done in France. <br>The people were not too friendly towards us in Normandy for the simple reason that the Germans <br>did not bother them so much. I do not think they liked the idea of us landing there. <br><br>As we got further into France the people changed completely. When we left Luc-sur-Mer we <br>stopped in Rouen for a cup of tea and some dinner. The people there all gathered round us and it <br>was surprising to hear how many could speak a bit of English. It made it a bii better for us to be <br>able to talk to some of the people. We stayed in Rouen for about three hours and then we were <br>on the road again. We finished at a place called Gamanches.<br><br>Page 6.<br> <br>It wasn't a bad little place because we could get a drink of beer -the first since we had left <br>Bayeux. We only stayed there for five days and we were on the move again. You can tell how <br>hard it was to be able to post any letters. It sometimes took a couple of days when we got to a <br>new place to find the whereabouts of the post office, because that moves about just like we do. <br>25th September 1944 <br><br>We stopped at this place called Margurilles and we have been here four days. We can get plenty <br>of beer at 5 Francs a two-pint bottle (about 6d in English money), so our pay goes a long way. <br>Here I am at this moment sat on my spring bed to write this. Len is the best pal I have ever had <br>and I have him to thank for getting the bed for me. He swiped it from a Jerry Flying Bomb site for <br>me so now we can both sleep in comfort. <br><br>This week we are on night work and we start at 2300hrs and work untill 0700hrs. During the <br>night it has poured down and drops keep pouring through the canvas and going down our necks. <br>It makes working conditions a bit awkward because the trailer floor gets wet and slippery, and <br>any of the men could easily go and slip off the trailer and hurt him-self We have got rather a busy <br>night tonight for we have got twenty dough's, which is about six hundreds stones of bread. First <br>thing in the morning, it will all go out to the troops further up in the front line -and they need it! <br>We have just been working about two hours now and I have told the Lance-Jack on the mixer to <br>make us some tea. It would make you laugh if you could see how we make our tea. The water is <br>boiled in the Tempering Tank that is used for heating the water for mixing the dough. We make <br>the tea in a bucket and many a time we use the same bucket to wash in or to wash the floor. We <br>don't care as long as we get a good cup of tea I have just filled my cup and it is good and sweet. <br>We have sugar to put in the dough so we just put the scoop in to make the tea just how we like it. <br>It was now 4.30 in the morning and every one of the fifteen lads is feeling tired, so Len shouts out <br>from the ovens to one of the lads, "Give us the trumpeter, Clive". Clive comes from Lancashire <br>and has rather a gruff voice, very much like a foghorn. Well, he has started to sing it and his <br>voice drowns the roar of the machinery in the bake-house. I am sure that people can hear him <br>about three hundred yards away and it sounds worse with it being night-time. <br><br>The time is just about 6.30am now and I have just finished getting the last dough down. I am very <br>pleased that I can go and get into bed, for that is a soldier's best friend. As long as we have <br>somewhere to sleep we do not care a damn what happens. <br><br>I woke up this aftemoon (26.09.44) and I had to make a dash to get some dinner. I was feeling <br>rather peckish as I did not have any breakfast before I got into bed this morning. It was the usual <br>kind of dinner -Bully Beef -for that is what we mostly live on out here in France. It goes down <br>all right. After we had dinner we went out to the village and were drinking beer and rum all <br>afternoon. When it got to four o'clock we thought it was about time we went back to the billet <br>for our tea, so we set off back. We were both in agony for the beer goes straight through you as <br>soon as you drink it. It is very rare that you see any animals in the streets of France. <br>We had our tea and in about ten minutes we were ready to go out again, as I was already feeling <br>dry. We went up to the other village for a change and we started on beer again. We were trying <br>to have a talk to the girl behind the bar but we couldn't make her understand. In a way a good job <br>she didn't know what we were saying to her. It got to about 8.30pm and some Frenchmen came <br>in and started to talk to us. We could understand them a bit. We were a bit crafty in handling our <br>cigs round to them. It was not long before they bought the drinks. It was wine this time so it <br>finished up being a good night. <br><br>We weren't feeling much like work so we had an hour in bed before we started. I was called at <br>1045hrs by one of the boys in our section -Snakey Phillips. My head was as heavy as lead and I <br>was not in the mood for going to work but, as I could not do anything about it, I had to get up <br>and go. It was pitch black and raining cats and dogs, and when it rains in France it does rain. We <br>had the usual amount of work to do tonight but we soon got going for Len is on the ovens and <br>they were keeping their heat up just to his liking. It didn't give me much chance for a smoke <br>because, as long as he keeps going I have to do so on the divider (the machine I am on this <br>week). <br><br>We had worked for about an hour when I told old Freddie Henson to get some tea made. Bakers <br>can work a lot better when they have had a drop of 'char'. In fact, I do not think there is anyone <br>in the Army who drinks as much as we bakers do. Well, he made the tea in the bucket and I got a <br>cupful. Good Lord! It was just like drinking dishwater. I asked Freddie what he had done with the <br>tea. Had he sent it home and made ours with matchsticks? He gave me an answer, for he is a bit <br>of a comedian. "Yes, Jack, I have sent it home in a letter. I am saving it up till I get married and <br>then my old lass will not have to buy any for a long time." <br><br>There is he, Snakey Phillips and Clive Gawthrop: they keep us awake with laughter; Clive with <br>his singing, Fred and Snakey with their jokes and silly tricks which they got up to. Well, the night <br>is now over and I am going to get into bed for I am really tired out. <br><br>It is now Saturday and I have just come off work and I don't feel like going to bed so Len and I <br>have decided to go to Lille for the day. Well, it didn't take us long to get ready and we made our <br>way up to the main road to catch one of our lorries that was going on to Brussels in Belgium. We <br>weren't walking long before one came along and when the driver saw us he pulled up and asked <br>where we were going. We told him, and we were only in the lorry for a matter of fifteen minutes <br>when we pulled up in the centre of Lille. <br><br>We expected to see it partly in ruins, but we could hardly tell that there had been any war around <br>the place at all. We had a good walk around the town and I thought it was about time that we had <br>a drink and something to eat. We made our way to a cafe and we were lucky because the waitress <br>could speak a bit of English. We had chips and some meat stuff, like haslet, and French bread <br>with a pint of beer. That cost us 30 Francs. After we had had our meal we walked round again <br>and got a bit fed up so we decided to get out of Lille and go to Labasse about 20 kilometres <br>away. <br><br>We went and caught a tramcar that would take us out of town. We didn't know how to ask the <br>conductor how much the fare was, so Len pulled out his *** case and gave him a cig. He never <br>asked us for any money, but we weren't going to give him any inany case so it was just the same. <br>We did about 4 miles on the tram and then we had to walk about a mile before we could stop a <br>lony to take us on to Labasse. It was a civvy lorry that stopped for us and it took us right into the <br>middle of the town. <br><br>Labasse isn't such a big town but you can buy nearly everything you want except cigs, sweets, <br>and soap, in fact, you can get things in France that you can't get in England. I can't see where <br>they get the idea that France is starving for the people look a lot better fed than a lot of people in <br>England. It was nearly eight o'clock when we set off back to the camp and it was pitch black. <br>When we got nearly there we decided to stop and have one more drink before we went in. That <br>was the last night out I had in France for we started to pack up ready for the road again the next <br>day. <br> <br>Getting mobile oven ready for moving out.<br><br><img src="http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk18/jackdukes/scan0011-1.jpg"><br>Page 7.<br><br>It was Monday 2/10/44 and we were all day packing. What a day! Our section always mucks <br>about while we are packing and when old Freddie Henson and Snakey Phillips get going, well, it's <br>enough to drive anyone crazy with laughter. We were packing one of the trailers with kit and <br>Snakey went round tapping the wheels with a 7lb-sledge hammer. When I asked him what he was <br>doing he said, "I am only seeing if it will be fit for the road, Corporal." Then he dashed round to <br>Freddie and they started to do a dance. When they started that, the rest of the section stopped to <br>watch them because they are so crazy. What puzzles me is that we still get the work done. Our <br>sergeant is just as bad as those two and he is the best sergeant in the unit -Bill Kemerly. He <br>doesn't care a damn how we carry on, as long as the work is done. <br><br>We were on the road early the next morning. It was bitter with cold when we set off at about <br>0700hrs for Belgium. There were about ten lorries in our convoy and each section had their own <br>Lorry. We were singing through all the towns and villages we passed. We even sang all the dirty <br>army songs we know for the French people don't understand them. <br>When we passed over the Belgian border we found out how much better the Belgian people were <br>than the French. They looked twice as clean, and were friendly towards us. We pulled up at the <br>side of some houses for our dinner and two young girls came out with a large basket of pears, <br>they were as big as sweet William's. I only had about six in my pocket and I did enjoy them. We <br>passed through Brussels on our way and nearly all the people stopped to wave to us. <br><br>We landed at a small town called KAPELLE OP DEN BOSCH and we put our bakery up in a <br>large factory. It is one of the best factories I have seen in my life for being clean. We sleep in <br>another part of it and it is nearly as good as a hotel. It is five storeys high and we are on the third <br>floor. We can go up in two lifts to our floor if we want to and that just pleases us. Yesterday as <br>we were going up, Snakey Phillips was at the buttons to take us up, he said, "What floor do you <br>want, ladies and gentlemen?" And as we passed the second floor, "Second floor for ladies <br>knickers!" When we reached our floor, "brothel on your right, French letters on your left and <br>MOs in the centre." <br><br>It is now Thursday 5/10/44 and we are sat on our beds wondering what time we have to start <br>work for we weren't told last night. It's not, like No. 3 section to go and ask, so we just waited. <br>At 0930hrs our master baker came up and asked me to take some men down into the bakery to <br>move some flour. After a bit of grumbling we went down into the bakery. I didn't take Len with <br>me because he was writing a letter and I had just finished mine. He had to start work at 11OOhrs <br>and we hadn't to start until three o'clock, well, that is what we thought. The master baker has got <br>it in for our section so we had to move the flour and then we had to finish taking the fitters kit up <br>to the other end of the bakery to make room for another bakery that is coming in. I don't know <br>how we are going to go on for room because we haven't got much for our own bakery but I <br>suppose we shall manage somehow. After we had finished moving that stuff we went upstairs to <br>our billet to get changed into our whites ready to start work at three o'clock. <br><br>I was hoping that Len had made some good dough so that I could bat on with the ovens and get <br>finished so that we could go out at night for a pint. I was very disappointed for I had to wait for <br>the dough's to prove because the bakery was as cold as ice. It made me have to wait on the ovens <br>and they were red hot so when I pulled my lirst batch out they were as black as coal. I got the <br>usual old shouting from the lads up on the trailer. Snakey said, 'Who's dead then?'That's as <br>much as to say whom are you mourning for? It doesn't make any difference to us because we are <br>used to it. <br><br>Well, I didn't get finished in time to go and have a drink, so I went and had a shower bath <br>instead. I did enjoy it for the water was nice and warm, and I felt a damn site better afterwards. <br>Then I went and got into my good old spring bed. <br><br>I was told when I first came into the army that my rifle was my best friend but I have changed my <br>mind about that. I think it is my bed. There is nothing in the world to beat it while you are in the <br>army, yet there is a better bed waiting for me back in England and a wife to keep me company in <br>it. That is the day I am looking forward to, when I shall be able to go home to her and my three <br>kiddies for good but when that will be I don't know. The sooner it comes the better it will be for <br>all the lads in the army because it is the best part of their lives getting wasted. Yet there are men <br>back in Civvy Street who keep going on strike for more money. I don't know how they would go on if <br>they had three and a half years away from home like me; or five years like a lot more lads. Then <br>they would have something to grumble about. <br><br>If I had my way I would bring all the lads out of the army who came in at the beginning of the <br>war and make the others take their places. I won't say myself because this is the first time I have <br>been abroad and I haven't had to come up against any of the hardships like a lot of the lads. I <br>hope I don't because I am no hero and I want to go back to England in one piece. The farther <br>away from the fighting line I am the better. As I have said before, I have a wife and three kiddies <br>to keep after the war. Who would keep them if I got bumped off, She couldn't manage on what <br>she would get from the government. <br><br>It is now Friday 6/10/44 and I have just got up from a good night's sleep and I am going to make <br>a dash for my breakfast before I am too late. I used the lift to take me down because I haven't got <br>the bed out of my eyes yet and I don't feel like walking down all them stairs. After all, that's what <br>a lift is made for. When I got to the cookhouse I saw that we had got a change for breakfast. It <br>was Slingers instead of bully, and I knew then that it would be bully for dinner, tea and supper. <br>In fact, we have eaten that much bully, instead of walking now -we gallop! <br><br>I have been thinking of my wife nearly all day today as she is expecting a baby. It makes a man <br>think more of his wife when he is away from her; more so when he is overseas and can't get any <br>mail through. I know that there are some letters for us but we can't get in touch with them. I am <br>beginning to think that the army post office has forgotten that the 119 F.M.B. is over here. I <br>haven't had much to say to anyone today for I was in one of my quiet moods. <br><br>When I am like that I can soon be upset. Len had finished work early and I knew that he would be <br>going out while I was still working. It couldn't be helped because he started three hours before <br>me. Still I always know where he has been to if he goes out without me, and that's very rare. <br>I have had rather a busy week and I haven't had much time to write. We finished work early on <br>Friday 13/10/44 and we went to Brussels for the day. What a fine place it is. I would sooner <br>have it than London, for it is a lot cleaner. I can't understand why Jerry didn't damage it<br>before he left because there are some shops bigger than those in London. We had a walk round a <br>shop called AU BON MARCH and the first thing we saw was a place to have our photos taken. <br><br>We had to have a go at that and it was only 6 Francs for six.I was the first to have mine taken and <br>the shop assistant, which was a very nice young girl who was stood at the side of Len and me at the <br>other side. She kept saying, "Cigarette for papa,"Chocolate for mademoisene," and "Kiss me <br>quick," for that was all she knew in English. Len said, "She is nice, isn't she? How would YOU like <br>to take it back to the billet?" Well I couldn't stop laughing at that. I must admit, she would have <br>been OK to keep anyone warm in bed. Then it was Len's turn to have his photo taken and believe <br>me, I had my own back on him.
  3. Page 13 September came and the Prime Minister, Mr. Chamberlain, declared War on Germany. Every one then had to start and black out their windows at nights or else you would get a fine fiom the A.R.P. Warden, even if it was just a ***** of light. Every one had to go and get a gas mask. And learn how to use it. All women had to go and Register. Women with no children were called up into the forces, the land Army or the steel works to take the place of the men who had been called up. Then came the ration cards and the Identity cards. If the air raid sirens went while I was on night work I would go and open the shelter under one of the shops in Glossop Road for some of the people who lived nearby. Then back into the bake-house and see to Earnest Poole, because he was a bit scared, as he knew what it was like in the last war, 1914 to 1918. I then carried on working until the 'all clear' went. I was not brave, just that I thought you only die once. After all that I would go and get the people out of the shelter and close it up. When I got home in the morning I asked Ivy if she had been in the cellar. She said she had. I had made it so that there was a bed and lamps and a stove for her and our young jack. Another big day came for Ivy and I, when, on the 7th of February 1940, our next baby was born. That was another excuse for my mother to go and have another good drink. Mick Kerman said to me, "You are good now, for it takes a man to make a girl. "I felt good after that." The young lad in our yard who was called Christopher Taylor used to help Ivy across the yard in the snow and called in every day to ask how she was going on He was a very good lad and then he got called up into the Army. So when our baby was born we said we would call her Christine after him. We also named her after my mother Mary. She was christened MARY CHRISTINE DUKES. On Thursday night the 12th December 1940, I was asleep in bed when the air raid sirens went and it was six o'clock. I got out of bed and got into my fire service uniform, dashed down stairs gave Ivy and the two kiddies a kiss, and then made a dash for the fire station. When I got there, I was sent with Sgt. Marshall and three more firemen to St. Mark's Church Broomhill. The Church was in one big mass of flames. A lot of incendiary bombs had been dropped on to it. Sgt. Marshall told us to try our best to put it out. There was not much we could do for it was just like looking into a fumace. We managed to get some of the fire down I was told to go to another part of the Church and up a ladder onto the roof. I stood there pouring water onto the roof and I could feel my feet getting a bit warm. I looked down and I could see smoke coming through the slates and then all of a sudden the water stopped coming through the hosepipe. I then began to get a bit worred, and thought, 'Jack, you had better get down quick, or else you are going to get fried.' When I got to the end of the roof I found that the ladder had gone. I thought, "Oh to be a fireman and get into a mess like this." I managed to climb down the drainpipe and found out why the water had stopped a car had skidded down the road and knocked the standpipe out of the ground. The leading fireman came up to me and said, "I can smell gas. A pipe must have burst. Let's hope the fire does not get near to it." I told him that I would go down into the cellar and try to turn off the gas tap. I had to go round to the back of the Church and down some steps and found that the door was locked so out came my axe and I had to smash the door in. When I got down the steps, I found the gas meter was at the far end of the cellar but there was about three feet of water. Like a fool I went in to turm the taps Off The water came up to my waist and it was very cold. I went back up the steps and was called into a room with two more firemen to have a cup of tea. Two Church women had come over to make it for us. As we sat there we could hear the bombs dropping. One must have dropped near for it burst the room door open. When we went out we could see the searchlights trying to find the German Bombers. We could do no more to the Church so the Sgt. told us to pack up. I met some people and they told me that it was very bad in the City. A lot of tramcars all burnt out. The Marple's pub had been hit and a lot of people had been killed. Many people could not go to work because there were no trams or buses. The biggest shock to me was when I got down to Gloucester Street and found that it was all roped off. I went under the rope and near my home there was a huge bomb crater. It was about 100yards from my house. Four houses on each side of the road were in ruins. I went up the passage to our house and I saw that all the windows in the yard had been blown in by the blast. To my surprise, I had not got one window broken: only the door had got a bit twisted. I went inside and had a look to see if everything was O.K. Page 14 After that I went into the street and an A.RP. Warden shouted out to me and asked me what I was doing. I went up to him and told him that I had just come down from St Mark's Church, and I was now looking for my wife and two kiddies, as well as my sister-in-law, Mary. He told me to go and have a look in St Mark's Schoolroom on Brunswick Street as a lot of people had been sent there. Off I went to see if they were there. When I got there I couldn't see them anywhere. I was worried when, I met Mr. Collins, my boss, who was also the AR.P. Warden at St. Marks. He told me that he had taken Ivy and the kiddies to his house. After a while, Ivy's brother, Bob had come and taken them to his house. Then, her mother had been to Bob's house and taken them to Woodhouse. I could not get to Woodhouse because there weren't any buses running out there. I went up to my mother's, to see if they were all right. When I walked into the house they gave me one look because our Charlie had told them that I'd been killed. He said that he saw me go out on one of the Fire Engines that had been hit by a Bomb. What he didn't know was that I had been taken off that one and sent up to St Marks Church. I stayed at Mr. Collins' house for about a week, as the buses were still not running out to Woodhouse. I went up to Gloucester Street, but found that it was still roped off, I took a chance to go to our house and get a model Spitfire that I had made for our Jack. I wanted to take it to him when I went to Woodhouse. It was two or three days before I could get a bus to take me to Woodhouse to see my family. When I got there it was the same as when I went to see my mother because Ivy's sister and husband told them that they had heard that I had been killed. They thought that it must be right with not seeing me. I then had to go back home to Sheffield and get ready for night work. I left Ivy and the children in Woodhouse for we thought that it would be a lot safer than being in Sheffield. I stayed at Mr. Collins' house because I could not go and live in my own house until it was safe, and the unexploded bombs had been de-fused. Mrs. Collins looked after me very well and always made sure that I got some good food. On the Sunday night the sirens went again, so once more I had to get ready and dash out to the fire station. This time I had to go down to Burdals Warehouse in the Railway stockyard at Attercliffe. What a mess that was! I could smell burnt sugar, and then I saw some of it running out of one of the windows that had blown out. We managed to get the fire out after about an hour. We then made our way back through the yard. When we got to the gate, another fireman said, "You took a chance, didn't you?" We said, "Why?" He told us that there was an unexploded bomb inside the building. "That's great!" we said, "It's a nice time to tell us now!" We then went back to the fire station and I went to work on nights. I called in at the air raid shelter to see if the people were all right. I could not see a young woman who used to go in with a little baby. I asked one of the women if she had been in. She said, "No! On Thursday night she was working at the Marple's Hotel in town when the sirens went. She came home, but then found out that she had put the wrong coat on. She went back, but then she got killed in the hotel. " Page 15 It was then about a month before Ivy and the children came back to Gloucester Street. We then had to start cleaning all the house up and mend the door so that I could lock it and make it safe. It was a long time before they got the hole in the road filled in and all the rubble cleared up from the ten houses that had been demolished. It was now Christmas and I wondered what kind of Christmas dinner we were going to have, for I did not have a big wage. Both Ivy and I were very independent and liked to stay on our own for Christmas dinner. It turned out to be very good for Mr. Collins cooked us a big turkey and gave us a pork pie and a big bag of nuts. We managed to get a few toys for Jack and Christine. Then we had to start saving once again for our new baby who was due to be born in March. I was due to be called up into the Army any time. I was dreading that time to come. I used to wait for the post every morning to see if my call up papers had come. I was hoping that they had forgotten all about me because some of my kiends had been killed. Fred, who was married to May Taylor in our yard. He was a very nice lad who was killed on a submarine. Chris Taylor was taken prisoner by the Japanese and died in a prisoner-of-war camp. He used to help Ivy across the yard when she was expecting Christine. Robert Burton was killed in the Commandos in Holland. Eric Wood was taken prisoner in France by the Germans. Later on he got back home. Sometimes my brother-in-law would come down on his motor bike and sidecar and we would go for a ride up to the Three Meny Lads pub at Red mires. His bike was just like a police bike and we would be in our A.F.S. Uniforms. We would go up behind a car that was going a bit fast and they would thii it was the Flying Squad behind them and would slow down. You should have seen their faces when we went past them and saw that we were not the Police. We would only have a couple of drinks and then back home. Ivy and I did not go out much. On a Saturday night we would splash out and send Jack on the street to a little house window shop for a six pennyworth of chocolate miss-shapes and a bottle of lemonade. We would play cards with the kids or listen to the wireless. It was great to sit in the front of the fire and listen to a good programme. It was now March 1941 and we were waiting for our new baby to be born. On the 28" of March at about 8 o'clock at night, Ivy thought she was going to have the baby. I dashed round to Mrs. Fuller and told her. When she came round to tell me that the baby was born and that it was a little boy I went round to have a look at him and he was just like a little red beetroot. Then it was of to work for me. We called him BRIAN DUKES. The next morning I could not wait to get home and have a good look at him, and see that Ivy was going on all right. I asked her if there was any post. She said there wasn't, but not long after that, I came home froom work and found a letter waiting for me. I thought 'THIS IS IT!' My three little angels,Jack,Christine and Brian. Hope everyone enjoyed his short story. Dad wrote another short story from the diaries he kept while serving in France, Belgium,Holland and Germany.If it please's the Admin i will post that on here as well --
  4. Page 10 Another Saturday night we went into the fish shambles and bought a big Finnon Haddock for six pence, because the market sell their fish cheaper late on a Saturday night. On our way home we called at the pie shop in Corporation Street for a pie and gravy with plenty of relish and a cup of tea: all this for six pence. That was our last call every Saturday night. When we got to Ivy's her mother said, "What is that smell?" It was the fish, so into the dustbin it went. When Ivy's sister, Mary was thirteen her mother gave her a party. Bill got a nine-gallon barrel of beer and it was a good night. There was Bill, his three pals out of the pit, and Tom's girl friend. The women went to bed and we stayed up all night playing cards and drinking beer. I was just about shattered because I had not had any sleep as I had been at work all the Friday night, and then playing cards all night. I had to go home after I had had some breakfast and get some sleep ready for work on Sunday night. It was now 1937 and I said to Ivy, "We shall have to see about getting married." So, I had a word with my mother and she said, "Oh!" Then I went down and told Ivy's mother that we were going to get married. She said, "We will have to go and make all the arrangements." We went to see the vicar at St. Michael and all Angels Church, at Neepsend about reading the bans. When we rang the doorbell, the maid came and she stuttered a bit in her speech. She asked us what we wanted. I said, "We have come to see the Vicar about putting the bans in to get married. When he came to the door, he also stuttered a bit. His name was Mr. Foster. He was very nice and he told us that we could get married on the sixth of November if it was all right. We said, "Yes!" We then went home and told both our mothers. Ivy's mother went up to see my mother and they both said that we could hold the reception up at our house because we had two big rooms. Bill asked his girl fiiend if she would be Ivy's bridesmaid and I asked my brother Charlie to be my best man.I told Mr. Collins that I was getting married, and he said he would make us our wedding cake for a present. On the Friday night the fifth of November at 8.30pm I had to go to work. Earnest Poole kept on saying, 'it won't be long now before you are walking up that aisle." It was a very long night and I did not finish work until 11.30 on the Saturday morning. I then went to pick up Ivy from the Bay Horse Hotel where she worked. I took her home and her mother went mad when she saw me. She said, "You will never have any luck seeing each other on your wedding day before you go to the Church" Then I went home and I got the same from my mother when I told her that I had taken Ivy home. She said, "Get up those stairs and get changed because you have to be at the church for 3 o'clock." I went upstairs and was feeling very tired after working all night. I also had a very bad cold. Two thirty came round and it was time for our Charlie and I to go and get into the car. My brother-in-law, Mick was driving it. He said that he wanted to make sure that I got there all right. It was belting it down with rain as I stood there in the church waiting for Ivy and her brother Bill who was giving her away. She looked smashing walking down the aisle. We stood in front of the Vicar, Mr. Foster and I thought to myself, 'I hope he does not stutter, because I do not want to do the same when I say, ''I will." We stood there and both said, "I will," and gave each other a big kiss. We went into the vestry to sign the wedding register and certificate. Then back down the aisle. When we got home I took Ivy upstairs to get changed. When she took her veil of I put my arms around her and said, "You are mine now and no one is going to take you away from me." We then went downstairs to have a drink with the family. I did not have much to drink because I was feeling a bit rough and tired after being up for twenty-six hours and my cold was worse. Ivy came up later when all the family had gone home. We sat down for breakfast the next morning and Ivy was a bit shy with it being her first morning of married life. She also felt strange being away from home. My dad wished us both good luck and hoped we would get on all right as we started married life. Many a newly married couple would be going on a honeymoon, but not Ivy and I, because I had to go to work again on the Sunday night. We stayed at home with my mother for a while, and then one day our Charlie told me that he had got the chance of a house in Conduit Road. He asked if we would like to share it with them Ivy and I had a word with my mother, and she said that it would be all right. I told Charlie that we would move in with him and Eileen. The day that we moved my dad said to me, 'i will only give you one month together." It was a nice house and we got on well together, but we bought our own food and made our own meals because I was on night work and Ivy was working. Ivy did not have her tea until I got up at teatime, about six o'clock. One day Ivy made a meat and potato pie before she went to work and she asked Eileen if she would put it in the oven and cook it for us for when she got home. She said, "Yes." When Ivy got home she called me up for my tea and I sat down at the table. When she got the pie out of the oven and came to cut the crust it was just like cutting into concrete. We found out that Eileen had let the fire out and the oven had gone cold. That was the first and last time we asked her to cook any thing for us. One day we went up to see my mother and she asked us how we were going on together. I told her about the pie. Then she said to us, "Did you know that Charlie and Eileen have got another house and are going to leave you on your own in that big house? I told her that he had not said anything to me and asked what we were going to do now for I could not afford to pay the rent all on my own out of my small wage. Page 11 When I got home I asked our Charlie why he had not told us that they was leaving us on our own. He said they had got the chance to be on their own and thought we would want to be on our own. They were moving in January. MY DAD WAS RIGHT. It was a week before Christmas when Ivy and I went down to see Mrs. Fuller in Gloucester Street. We told her that our Charlie was going to leave us all on our own. She told us that a lady in the yard at the back of her was going to move on the Monday. The next morning I went down to the landlord of that house and asked him about it. He looked at me and said, "It's not empty." I told him, "I know but it will be on Monday morning." He then said, "Just tell the lady of the house to pass the key on to you and it will be all right." I then said, "Thank you very much, sir." I couldn't get up to Gloucester Street fast enough to tell the woman of the house to hand me the key. Then it was as fast as I could back up home to tell Ivy and my mother that I had got a key to a house of our own. She was very pleased for us. My brother-in-law, Mick was in the house and he turned to me and said, "I will ask George figgot if he will lend us his lorry to move you." When I told our Charlie that we were going to move, it came as a shock to him for he knew now that it was them who were going to be left in the big house all on their own. Boxing Day morning came and Mick and I got all our furniture onto the lorry and moved down to Gloucester Street. It was only a small house, just one room down stairs, one bedroom and an attic. Mick took the tallboy up the stairs and when he got to the top he shouted down to Ivy, "Where do you want me to put it, Ivy?" She shouted back, "Leave it on the landing and we will move it later." He shouted back, "Where is the bloody landing?" Ivy said, "You are stood on it." What a laugh it was after, for the landing was only about two yards square. I asked George how much he wanted for lending us his lorry. He said, "With it being Christmas just give me 10/-. It was the best Boxing Day we ever had: getting our own little house. Ivy and I had to dash about getting things sorted out because, as usual I had to get the bed made so that I could get some sleep before I went on night work. I got up at 8.30 had my supper and went to work. It was a very long night and I was thinking of our little house most of the night, and how great it was to be all on our own and start our new life just like my Dad said. Well, we were now in our own little house and it was going to be a bit of a struggle. I only got 27/-a week wages and out of that we had to pay the rent, 1/-a bag for coal, 6p a week insurance, 1/-for the gas and electric. The rest was for food and we had to cany on all by ourselves. We had to be very careful with our money for Ivy was expecting our first baby in June. We would sit in front of the fire and listen to the wireless, or sometimes go mad and splash out and go to the pictures. That would cost us 3d each. We had some good neighbours in the yard. They were Mr. & Mrs. Taylor. They had two sons,Christopher and Ronnie. They had a daughter called May. On the 5* of June Ivy had to go into Jessops Hospital for our baby was due. .I kept on wondering how she was. On the Whit Sunday Night I laid in bed and could not sleep so at about twenty past one in the morning I prayed that she was all right. That was a thing I had never done before, as I never went to Church. On the morning of the 6th of June I went to the hospital to see Ivy and they told me that I had got a son who had been born at twenty past one in the morning. I think that my prayers had been answered. My mother went down to the hospital to see how Ivy had gone on and they told her that she had got a grandson. That made her day. She then called into the Leaveygreave pub to wet his head, because he was the fist grandson to carry on the name of DUKES. She must have done a lot of wetting for she had to get a taxi home and tell my dad and sisters and that made them all happy. Every morning when I had finished work I would call round at the hospital and whistle the tune of, 'In my little red book.' The nurse would hold my son up to the window for me to see him. They would look down at me and wave, then it was home to have my breakfast and go to bed. I felt great now that I was a dad, and Ivy and the baby had come out of the hospital. We took him up to my mothers and they made a big fuss of him and I thought he was going to get spoilt just like I was. My sisters said that he must be christened at the Shefield Cathedral. He was, and was called JOHN DUKES, after me. Me and little Jack in the field behind The Three Merry Lads. Page 12 All the staff at work kept on calling me, "Dad." It was great, and made me feel more like a man now to have a wife and son to look after. It was a bit bad at first when, on a Saturday night he started to cry in the middle of the night and it was my only night off work. One Saturday I asked Cedric Collins and his brother Victor, Flo Gibbons, Reg, Woody and Buddy to come to our house for a drink. We had a very good time. It was the first time I had been together with the lads for a long time. Victor had had a bit too much to drink and was chasing Flo up and down the yard with the mop. Flo had to stay the night because it was a bit too late for her to go home. She had to sleep downstairs on the couch. Then, after breakfast she went home. It was not very often that I went and had a drink with the lads now because I could not afford the pay for a round back. They said it did not matter, as they did not expect me to pay for one. I did not like that so I stopped going with them. Later on my old pal George Bower and his mother and dad came to live up on Gloucester Street. What fun we used to have. Old man Bower would come out and have a row with one of the neighbours. Then Mrs. Bower would come out and a real row would start: but it never got to any fights. Mrs. Fuller was sister to Mrs. Bower but she never got on very well with old mad Bower. She was now a widow and only had a daughter called Jean. She used to call us Auntie Ivy and Uncle Jack. So did most of the kids on the street. Another family came to live on the street called Luscombe. They had about eight kids. The father was an ex-Sgt. Major in the army. He was an Irishman and she came from London. Sometimes on a Sunday the Salvation Army would come on the street and stand out side the pub playing their band. Nearly everyone came out to listen to them until they came round with the collection box, then everyone would vanish. Ivy told me one day that she was expecting again, so that meant we have to start and take things easy with our money once again. It was quiet on the road with not many cars. The kids were able to play on the road with not much worry about them getting run over. It was great to see them playing with their battle board and shuttlecock. Best of all my favourite was whip top. Some of the girls would play hopscotch. Many a time the women would come out and take up all the road with a skipping rope and everyone would have a turn at skipping. It was what we called orange rope, which came from around the boxes of oranges. They had such good fun and we did, just watching them. Ivy's mother told us that she was going out with a man called Mr. Bailey and that they were thinking of getting married. It was now 1939 and there was a lot of talk about war because Germany had declared War on Poland. Our Government had called up all men at the age of 21 into the Army and Cedric Collins was one of them. Eric Wood was the next. I wondered when my time would come to get my call up papers. I had to go down to the Labour Exchange and register to be called up with the age group 23. While I was waiting, I went and joined the A.F.S. and I used to go at nights about 7 o'clock to the central fire station. I got on very well with two of the men and we came under a Sgt. Hany Marshall. We had to learn how to climb the ladders to the top of the hose drying tower and then jump down into a Safety sheet held by four more firemen. I wasn't very keen on that. Me in the uniform of the Auxiliary Fire Service.
  5. Page 6 Many a night the policeman on night duty would call in for a cup of tea and a bun. One night Earnest and I had run out of cigarettes, so I said to him, "Joe, if you are passing a machine will you get us a packet? He said, "Yes, I will be back this way in about an hour's time." When he came back he threw two packets on the table. I told him that I would go and get the money for him. He said, "It does not matter, because the shop up the road has been broken into and they won't miss two more packets." We thanked him very much and after that we gave him a cup of tea and a couple of buns. Then he had to go back on the beat before the Sergeant came round to see if things were O.K. On Friday nights we started work at 8. 30pm as we had a lot of bread to make for the weekend. When it got to 10 o'clock I would say to Ernest, "It's bath time!" We would go to the door and look up at Eric Rose's bathroom window. If the light was on we knew that his sister was having a bath and any time she would go into her bedroom and draw the curtains still in the nude. We would whistle and she would look down at us, and we, being gentlemen, would wave back. When it got to about 2 o'clock, we would have our supper of boiled ham or tongue that had been left out for us. We would have mixed the dough so we would get down for a sleep until it was ready to rise. We put some empty bread tins on the top of the dough so that when it was risen, it would knock the tins onto the floor and wake us up just like an alarm clock. Mr. Collins would start work about 4 o'clock and take over the ovens from me. Cedric started at six and the rest of the staff at seven. We would have our breakfast of bacon, egg and tomatoes. Mr. Collins made sure that we had good meals. After that it was home to bed. My mother would call me up at teatime. With it being Saturday, I would then go with my brother-in-law, Mick Kerman, down to the pub and have a game of darts and a few pints of beer. I only had two shillings and sixpence spending money. Cigarettes were four pence for ten and a pint of beer was three pence. I would only have three pints and save the rest of my money for my fags for the rest of the week. We moved from 11 Filey St. to 90 Monmouth St. The bath was in the kitchen with a big hard board to cover it. There was no electric light up the stairs in the attic, which is where I slept. It was very cold and damp. My dad got up one morning to go to work and he found blackclocks all over the kitchen floor. When he put his hand in his pocket to put his pack-up in he found more blacklocks in there. He then said to mother, "That's it." We moved again to 11 Havelock Square. That was not a bad house as it had plenty of rooms. My sister, May and her husband Mick, lived with us. There were also my sister Winnie, and my brother Charlie. Winnie got married later on to Jim Rabjohn. Page 7 I used to get up at about teatime and go down to see my old pal Charlie Bower. We used to have a game of cards with his dad and brother George. I had to leave for ten o'clock. That was the fault with night work; it was all work and sleep. One day, when I went down to see Charlie, George said that he had gone out, and would I like to go out with him. I said, "Yes, where are you going?" "I am going up to my Aunts who lives on the Woodthorpe Estate. We got on our bikes and set off. I had never been on that Estate before and found it very hard riding up the steep hill of Granville Rd. When we got there he introduced me to his Aunt and Uncle. Standing near the fireplace was a lovely looking girl with a baby in her arms. I thought some one is lucky to have her. After a while she said that she had to go. Mrs. Fuller told me that it was her brother's baby she had in her arms, and that she came up every Sunday to see her. I was glad when the next Sunday came round and I went down to see George and ask him if we should go up to see his Aunt again. He said, "Are you sure it's my Aunt you want to see and not Ivy?" "I hope she will be there," I told him. I did not tell him that she had been on my mind all week and that it was the fist time I'd that feeling for a girl. We went up and when we got there I said hello to her and told her that my name was Jack. We all sat down and had a game of cards. After that, Ivy had to go because she worked in service. I asked Mrs. Fuller if I could go up the next Sunday. She told me I could. I left then because I had to go home and get my overalls and go to work. The following Sunday came round and my mother wondered why I was all dressed up to go out and not on my bike. I did not say why. I caught the tram up to Intake and went to Mrs. Fuller's on my own without going for George Bower. After I had been there about half an hour Ivy came and as soon as I saw her there was a warm tingle in my body. If I had been a thermometer the mercury would have shot to the top of my head. We sat down and had a chat and a cup of tea but I could not keep my eyes off her. When it was time for Ivy to go home, I thought, 'Dare I ask her if I could walk her home.' My mind said to me, "Go on Jack, don't miss this chance, ask her." So I did and her answer was, "Yes." I felt a lot better after that and thought, 'I have done it at last.' We walked very slowly down to her house and did not talk much for Ivy was very shy, and believe me, I was stuck for words. We were stood talking at the front gate when her brother came out and he said to Ivy, "Don't stand there; take him into the house." As we were walking up the path I thought, 'What shall I say to her Mother and Dad for Ivy had been my only real date with a girl.' Her mother told me to sit down and asked me my name. I told her it was Jack: and then where I lived I said "Havelock Square, Broomhall, the other side of Sheffield. I looked at her Dad and I thought he looked the same as my Dad, gentle and quiet. Her Mother looked like my Mother, good hearted, but I did not want to upset her or else, "Watch out!" I did not stay long, as I had to go home and get changed for work. I said good night to Ivy and I asked if I could see her again next Saturday. She said, "Yes." When I got home my mother said, "Where have you been Jack, you look happy?" I said '1 have met a girl and I like her very much." "Oh!" she said, "So that is why you got all dressed up. On the Sunday night I could not wait to tell Earnest that I had got a girl friend. He said, "Its about time." When I told Cedric and the other lads they said, "We shan't be seeing much of you now, shall we?" "I don't think so." I said. None of the lads had any girl fiends. All they did was go to the dances and just chat the girls up and then after that it would be the pub. I did not go to the dances with them with being on nights. When Ivy and I had been going out a few times my mother thought it was time I asked her to our house for tea one day. I did ask Ivy if she would come home and I think she was a bit nervous about saying yes, because she was very quiet and shy. But she did say yes. On the following Sunday I took Ivy to our house to meet my family. My mother and dad were very pleased to see her. My dad said, "She is a very nice lass, Jack. I hope you get on together." My mother said that she could hardly believe it that her "Baby Jack" had got himself a girl fiiend. My sisters and brothers in law liked her very much. Mick, that is May's husband, said to me "You have got a nice girl there, little Jackie, and she has got some nice legs." Both my sisters could not believe that I had got a girl, because they spoiled me and they did not think I had got it in me to go out and get a girl. Page 8 I went up to see Ivy as much as I could and on a Saturday when I had finished work I would go home and have a few hours sleep then have my dinner and go up to see Ivy. We used to go and have a walk through Bowen Homestead Woods. How great it felt walking arm in arm:it made me feel the happiest man in the world. Ivy had three brothers Bob, George, and Bill and two sisters, Violet and a little sister called Mary. I t was Bob's baby that Ivy was holding when I first met her. Violet was married and lived up at Crookes. It wasn't long after we had been going out together that her father died. He was only 53. I got on very well with George and Bill for they were both miners. George used to torment his Mother and she would get mad with him and call him, "A Pink Eyed Mare." I had to laugh at that because I had never heard that saying before. I liked her very much and it was just like being at home with my own family. Now and again we would go up and see Mrs. Fuller and have a game of cards with her and Fred. After all it was through them that I had met Ivy. I shall never forget them. The time came for me to have my holiday from work. I told Ivy that I would not be seeing her as I was going to Ireland with my mother and dad. I said that I would write to her. We got on a train to Manchester and had to change stations for a train to Holyhead. We then caught the night mail-boat for Kingstown in Ireland. It was a very rough crossing. Some of the passengers were bending over the boat side, blue in the hce. I was all right and I just sat watching the cases sliding up and down the deck as the boat was rocking up and down. It took us about four hours to cross the Irish Sea. We landed at Kingstown at about seven o'clock in the morning. Then we had to catch a train to Bray where my Aunt Emma lived. It was no.3 Belton Terrace. A very clean Whitewashed Cottage. My aunt soon had a very nice big breakfast ready for us. Bacon, egg and small boiled potatoes covered in butter, with slices of her soda bread. Then we went to bed to have a good sleep for a couple of hours after travelling all night. The next day I had a walk down to the sea front with my aunt's grandson. His name was Tom He was about two years younger than I was. We thought would go and have a walk up on the mountainside called the Eagles Nest. It was great to look out to the sea from the very top. In the afternoon I went to watch my dad fishing in the river just up the road from my Aunt's. If he managed to catch a salmon trout he would give it to me and then I would dash back to my aunt's with it because you were not allowed to keep them out of season I had been there for about four days when I thought I had better write to Ivy, so I sat down And wrote her a very long letter! Dear Ivy, Having a good time. Lots of love, Jack XXXX When I got home Ivy thanked me for the letter and hoped that I managed to spare the time to write. That letter was never forgotten, and things were never the same with us after that. We both thought it would be better if we split up, because I only went up to see her at the week ends. My mother and dad wondered why I had stopped going out with Ivy. I told them that it was with me being on night work and too tired to go up in the week. I told mother and my brother-in-law Mick that I was fed up with night work. . Mick said that he would have a word with his fiiend who was a haulage contractor and ask him if he wanted a mate with him on his lorry. He then told me I could start with George Riggot at £1 a week. I said yes, so I then had to go and give my notice in at Collins. I went to Collins and told them that I was going to leave and Mr. Collins said that he was very sorry that I was leaving. Cedric did not like it for he knew that he would have to go on nights in my place until they got someone else. Page 9 I started work with George Riggot. It was a bit strange at first, just sat in the lorry. We got to Carlton near Worksop where we had to shovel sand out of the quarry onto the lorry. When the lony was fill we would go into one of the huts and sat down to have our sandwiches and flask of tea that we had brought with us. Then it was all the way back to Sheffield to the steelworks and deliver the sand. It was used to make moulds to pour molten steel into. After that it was back to the quarry for another load of sand and this time we had to take it to the building site of Bradfield Road Flats. When we got there George asked me to go and have the sheet signed by the Foreman. I asked one of the men were the Foreman was and he said, "Up there." When I looked up about six stories high and the ladder was nearly straight up I thought to my self, 'I am not going up that,' so I asked him if he would sign it and he did. How glad I was! The run I liked best was going to Worksop and fetching hops back to Stones Brewery and getting there just in time when they dished out the beer rations. I always had a two-pint bottle with me. My mother had that. Sometimes we collected a load of steel from the works and took it all the way to Birmingham. That made it a good day out. If we got back a bit early I would wash the lorry down and fill it up with oil and water ready for the next morning. It was very strange finishing work at five o'clock at night, going home and not knowing what to do after tea. I would just sit in front of the fire and listen to the wireless or go to the Aberdeen pub with Mick and have a couple of pints. That was another day. We left Havelock Square and went to live up at Broomhill in a big house at no 10 Highnam Crescent Road. It had ten rooms so my sister May, Mick and Winnie, Jim, my brother Charlie and myself all had our own room Mick and I still sometimes went down to the pub. That was O.K. for a while, until I started to think about Ivy and how I had missed her. One night I went down to see George Bower and asked him if he had been up to see his Aunt and if he had seen Ivy. He told me that his Aunt had moved from Woodthorpe and had gone to live in Gloucester Street, Broomhall. He said that Ivy had moved down to Neepsend but he did not know her address. The next night I went down to see his Aunt to ask her if she knew Ivy's address. She was very pleased to see me and she told me that Ivy would be coming up to see her and would be leaving her house at about 9.30. That night, I stood waiting at the end of Gloucester Street until I saw Ivy come out of Mrs. Fullers house. Then I followed her. I knew which way she would have to go home as she started to go down St Philips Road. I went down Robertshaw Street and knew I would get to the corner just as she got there. We nearly bumped into each other but not a word was spoken. That was that! I felt a lot better now that I had seen Ivy again and it felt like a new piece of life come back into me. A week later Cedric Collins came to our house and said that his dad had sent him to ask me if i would like to go back and work for him. I said to my mother, "What shall I do?" She said, 'it's up to you what you do for you know all the staff there." I told him to tell his dad that I would go back. I got a bit more but I was back on nights again. That was after being away working with George Riggot for about eight months. Time went by and I thought I would have another try at seeing Ivy. I went down to see Mrs. Fuller again and she told me that Ivy was coming up to see her. I asked her if i could come up as well. She said. "You know very well you can.It would be very nice to see you both together again." Well, we met once again and I still had that same feeling again as when I first saw her. Me and Ivy. All was forgotten, even when she found out that I had left Collins for about eight months and then gone back to work on nights again. When I told my family that I had got back with Ivy again they were all very pleased. My brother-in-law Mick said, "Good old little Jackie. Make sure that you keep her this time." I went down to Ivy's house on Wallace Road at Neepsend and met her Mother and brothers again. They were very pleased to see me. We would go for nice long walks over Parkwood Springs and then on our way back call at her cousin's pub -The Red Dragon. Sometimes Ivy's mother would be there. We would both have a glass of beer at 3d a pint. Ivy did not drink but she would go behind the bar and help to serve. Then, at ten o'clock we would take her mother home. One Saturday night, Ivy and I, her brother Bill, his work mate, Tom Chapman and girl friend May went and caught a train to Manchester and went to the Belle Vue fair ground. That cost us 2/-each for the fare there and back and the price to go in Ivy and May begged us to go on the Big Dipper. After a lot of torment we gave in. We got on and when it started to go down the steep slope my heart nearly came out of the top of my head. It was going up and down like a yo-yo. I was not at all frightened; I was just scarred stiff! My face was a very dark green when we came Off Never no more Big Dippers for me. We caught the train back to Sheffield and it was that full we had to travel in the Guard's van. It was about midnight when we got back home and I had to stay the night at Ivy's. cont....
  6. Page 3 STARTING WORK. The Years went by and I was 14 years old. The four weeks August holiday arrived and I had left school. That was the last time I had to be able to play about with my pals because when the holiday ended I had to go down to the Labour Exchange to try and get a job. When I got there I had to sit on a row of seats until it was my turn. There must have been about forty other lads there. It was about two hours before my turn came. The man at the desk gave me a green card and told me to go to a razor blade firm.When I got there, the Forman told me that he had just set a lad on. I was very pleased with that because I would not have liked it. I then had to go back to the labour exchange and hand in my green card, which the Forman had signed to show that I had been and kept the appointment. We did not get any dole money or any other financial help in those days. One day, I was sitting at home when my mother came in from shopping and she said, "Come on Jack, get your coat on and go to the Pikelet shop on Hereford St. They have a sign in the window that they want an errand boy." I ran down to the shop before it was too late. A Mr. Fox owned the shop, and his two daughters ran it. I asked the older one if the job had been taken. She said that it had not. She then gave me a look up and down to see if I was clean and tidy. She then told me that I could have the job and I would start on the Monday morning at eight-o clock and that my wage would be 7/6 a week. That was a good wage for a lad of 14. Mr. Fox only had one arm and I liked to watch him turn the pikelets over because he was very fast at it. I used to deliver to a lot of big shops, cafes and Picture houses. They would give me my tram fare to take some pikelets up to the Star Picture House I would ask the Conductor for a half fare and he would give my a look for I only had short trousers on. . I would run all the way, back to the shop and keep the one and a half pence for myself. I used to go to John Walsh's in the town and I had to go to the very top floor to their bakehouse with the pikelets. One of the men used to give me some buns or a cake to bring home. I was only at that job for about six months because they do not do much trade in the winter so I had to leave. That made me out of work again. One day the doorbell rang and I went to the door to see who it was. It was the lad from across the road who worked at John Walsh's up in the bake-house. He asked me if I wanted to go and work with him in the bakehouse. I said, "Yes please!" He told me to go with him the next day and see the Manageress. Her name was Miss Barlow. That was another look up and down to see if I would pass. She took me to see the foreman in the bakehouse. His name was Mr Harold Gooing. She told me that I would be working with Mr Walter Glaves. I started work the Monday Morning at seven o clock. I only got 5/-a week but I had my breakfast and dinner. All the staff had their meals up in the big dining rooms. There was a Swiss Chef in the kitchen, a very nice, big bonny lady who was the Cook, and about six more Staff worked with them There were five of us in the bake house. Harold Gooing, the Foreman and Walter Glaves, Jack Ramsbottom, Alf Tingle and me. My job was to help Walter with the bread rolls and teacakes. After dinner I had to go down in the lift to the cellar and get four big bags of coke and bring them up to the bake house ready for the oven fires for the next morning. After that I had to get down on my bare knees, for I only had short trousers, and scrub the bake house floor. Believe me, that made my knees a bit sore. After that I got a flour bag to kneel on. One day the order came up from the Restaurant to send a trifle down for Mr. Walsh. I went into the kitchen, and got a basin of cream out of the fridge, and piped it on to the trifle and sent it down. After about ten minutes, Miss Barlow came dashing into the bake house all red in the face shouting in a rage, "Who sent that trifle down?" I stood there all of a shake. "I did, Miss." She gave me one look that could have turned me into stone. She said, "Do you know what you put on the top of that Trifle you sent down for Mr. Walsk I said, "Yes miss. cream." "Oh no it was not! She shouted in a voice that shook the entire John Walsh building. "It was HORSERADISH!" I had only got the wrong basin out of the fridge and I had never seen horseradish before. After that I used to think of Miss Barlow as a witch and I don't think any one liked her. Page 4 When I got to the age of 16 they wanted to keep the stamp money out of my 5/-a week wage. When I got home and told my mother about it, she said to me. "Oh no they are not I will come down tomorrow and have a word with them" The next morning she came down and had a few nice words with Miss Barlow. Then she came into the bake house and said, "Right jack get your apron off and get your coat on, you are coming home with me. That was the end of me working at John Walsh There was I out of work once again. My mother could only give me sixpence a week to spend now instead of one shilling and sixpence when I was working. For in those days we did not get any dole money. I was getting a bit fed up with being at home sitting about and only doing a bit of shopping for my mother. One day I thought I would go and see if my pal Cedric Collins had finished work. He worked for his dad who had a baker's shop on Glossop Road. I used to go and wait for him and his dad knew that I used to work at Walsh's. When I got there, Cedric had not finished work, so I said I would wait. After a few minutes his dad came into the bake house and said, "What are you doing lad? Why are you not working?" I told him why I had left. He then said to me, 'How would you like to come and give us a hand here with it being near Christmas? It would be a bit of spending money for you." I said, "Yes, sir. Thank you very much when can I start?" He then told me seven o'clock Monday morning and that my wage would be ten shillings a week. That was twice as much as I had got before. When Cedric had finished work I said to him, "Do you mind if we call home and tell my mother that I am going to start work with you in your dads bake house." When we got home and told her, she had a very happy look on her face. She knew that I would feel a lot better than hanging about the house. I started work at J. W. Collins on the Monday morning at seven o'clock. My First job was to clean some pastry tins for a lady called Miss Zena Cohen so that she could line them with short paste for the jam or lemon tarts. She worked in a room at the back of the shop with Percy Collins. In the kitchen was a lady called Violet Platts and she cooked all the meals for the staff. We always had a good breakfast and a very good dinner for Mr. Collins said you could not work if you didn't get some good food down your stomach Page 5 The bake-house was at the back of the yard and up six stone steps. Cedric and a girl called Flo Gibbins, who was a bit older than me, worked there with Mr. Collins. Later on. I went to work in the bake house and Mr. Collins taught me how to mix dough with my bare hands and how to mould dough into loaves. It was very hard a fist but I soon got used to it. One day the errand boy left and Mr. Collins asked me if I would like to go and deliver the orders for a while until they got a new lad. I said, "Yes!" because it would be a change eom working in the hot bake house. I had to ride a biie with a little wheel at the front and a big basket full of bread to people's houses. Some women at the weekend would give me a tip, but not some of the people up in the big houses at Fulwood. Sometimes I would meet the butcher's errand lad and we would sit on the grass and have a chat and a smoke. We would then have a race all the way back to Glossop Road There was not much traffic about in those days. One day I was going down Hanover St with a big basket full of bread and going a bit fast. I was just about to turn up Wilkimon St. when the bike slipped from under me and I went flying over the handlebars and hit the wall. Then the bike hit me in the chest. I picked the bread up the best way I could, and pushed the bike back to the shop. I told them that I had skidded on some oil and come off the biie. Miss Pallister, the manageress in the shop, asked me if i had hurt myself. I said, "My chest hurts a bit." She told Mr. Collins and he made me go to the Royal Hospital for a check up. The Doctor told me that I was 0.k. At the weekend if there were any cakes left in the shop Miss Pallister would share them out among the staff Sometimes I would take a basket full and bread home to my mother. It was not long before they got a new errand lad. Then it was back into the bake house for me. The new lad was an old school pal of Cedric and me. I used to play some tricks on him. We would put sticks under the bike saddle or tie the back wheel so that he would have to untie it before he could set off. There were six of us went out together at nights when we had finished work. Cedric, his brother Victor, Reg Stanniforth, who worked next door at the fruit shop, Eric Rose, who lived at the sports shop, and Eric Wood. We had some good times. Many a Saturday night when Eric (Buddy)-Rose, Mother and Dad had gone out we would go into his house at the back of the shop and Reg would get on the piano and we would have a singsong. We would then go down into the shop and get some air rifles and go into the yard and shoot at tin cans. One night, Reg came into the yard with a sandwich in his hand. We said to him, "Where have you got that from, RegT' He said, "I saw a joint of meat in the kitchen and thought how nice it looked so I cut a piece off it. What will my mother say? In the summer we used to go camping at Ughill near Bradfield on a Saturday when we had finished work. It was great having a good campfire and a singsong until midnight. We would then turn in for a good sleep, and believe me, it was a struggle with five of us in a small tent. Reg would not come until about two in the morning because his Mother did not like him to go camping. He had to wait until she had gone to sleep and then climb out of the bedroom window and get onto his motorbike then all the way up to Ughill and across the fields in the dark. That was one thing Reg was scared of. We would hear him come up the field so that meant we had to try and make room for him to squeeze in the tent with us. The next morning we all had to muck in to cook the breakfast. One would have to go down to the river for the water, two had to go and get some wood for the fire. We had some good times but that came to an end for me because Mr. Collins told me that they were having a new man start on night work, because they could not get all the work done on days. He asked me if I would like to go on nights with him and that it would be more money for me. I said, "Yes." I started work on the Sunday night at 10.o.clock. I then wasn't able to go camping with the lads anymore. The man who started work with me was called Earnest Poole. He was about 33 years old. It was strange at fist working on Nights. When it got to about two in the morning my eyes started to close and then Earnest would bang on the table. That made me open my eyes. Later on we got a mixing machine and it was a lot better than mixing by hand. I did not get much time to go out with the lads now, and they had started to go out on Saturday nights dancing. I was too tired for that. One Sunday night we were working at the bench and about two in the morning I looked round at the door and only the top half was open for it was like a stable door. What I saw was a skull. I nudged Earnest and he turned around and when he saw it looking at us his face went white. I noticed that the hat it had on its head belonged to Eric Wood. They had been to Butlins at Skegness and brought it back with them
  7. I reckon the school photo was of 5 year olds (1921)?. and the first photo of dad may have been about 7 (1923)?
  8. This is my Dads story wrote when he was in his eighties, completely from memory. Dr Peter Mitchell was called to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Smith Dukes to deliver a baby. When the baby was born the Doctor said, 'lt's a boy!" He put it on the bed and told the father that it would not live. And that he should go to the surgery and he would give him a Death Certificate. However, a Mrs. Cook picked up the baby and gave it a good smack and it started to cry. THAT BABY WAS ME! My Father was a furnace man in the steel works. Later on he we moved to a Public House in Eldon St, called the Exchange Hotel. There were my Father and my mother, my brothers Alex and Charlie, my sisters May, Winnie and Emma: And little me, John. My sister, May, looked after me when my Father and Mother served behind the bar. The years went by and it was time for me to go to School. I went to Springfield School. I did not like it one bit and wanted to go home. But I still had to go. Sometimes my Mother and Dad would go to the theatre. My sisters May and Winnie would look after the Bar. Many a time when they were not looking, I would creep into the Bar and dip a mug into the overflow tank and fill it with beer and then take it back into the kitchen to my friend from across the road. She was about the same age as me and we would go under the table and drink it. One time they found us both drunk. After that I was forbidden to go behind the Bar. There were a lot of stage artists stayed with us when they were at the Theatre. One time, at Christmas we had about twelve young girls stay with us. They were in the Pantomime and they were about ten or nine years old. On Christmas day, I went up to their bedroom to help them to open their presents. There was I going from one to the other getting a kiss and chocolates from all the twelve girls. Dad with two girl friends. I had two good friends in the street and we could play there because it was pretty safe because there was not many motor cars about in those days. Men came round with horse and cart selling coal. Some had handcarts with fish, and another man came round with big blocks of salt and he would saw lumps off it for a penny. One man came shouting 'Kippers penny a Pair.' One rang a bell, shouting, 'Oatcakes and Pikelets.' We used to go round the street shouting the same as them and they would turn round and chase us but we could run faster and knew were to hide. We had to make all our own games to pass our time on. We used to play football in the street and look out for the copper. If he caught us he would just give us a clip across the ear. And we made sure he did not catch us again. One day my Mother and Father had gone out, so my two pals and I stayed away fiom school and went to play in our back yard. In the yard was a big wringing machine with thick wooden rollers. My sister Emma used it when she did the washing. We thought we would have a game at being in the rolling mills at the steel works them through the cogwheels. It was my turn to put them through the rollers. As I was putting the can through, my pal at the back shouted, "Stop! I can see Blood." When I pulled my hand away I could see that I had squashed my third fmger on my right hand down to the second knuckle. I did not feel anything just then. I ran into the house crying to my sister, May. She took me up to the Royal Hospital. The Doctor told her that he could not stitch it as it was too badly squashed. I had about a month off school. When I went back I would just sit there when there was any writing to be done because my teacher did not think I could write with my hand all bandaged up. By the end of the week she noticed that I was left-handed. After that I had to start to write again. In the year 1926, during the General Strike, there were a lot of men out of work. Every lorry had to have a big notice on the side of the door saying that it was carrying food. If it had no notice on, it would be stopped. Sometimes they were carrying food. Sometimes they were turned over. Lots of people took their clothes, rings, bedding and other things to the Pawnshop. Dads first school photo (Springfield school) , he's 2nd row up 5th from the left. cont.....
  9. JackD

    Humour

    Lesson 1: A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbour. Before she says a word, Bob says, ’I’ll give you £800 to drop that towel...’ After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob, Bob hands her £800 and leaves.The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs.. When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, ’Who was that?’ ’It was Bob the next door neighbor,’ she replies.’Great,’ the husband says, ’did he say anything about the £800 he owes me?’ Moral of the story: If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure. Lesson 2: A priest offered a Nun a lift. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg.The priest nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg. The nun said, ’Father, remember Psalm 129?’ The priest removed his hand. But, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again.The nun once again said, ’Father, remember Psalm 129?’ The priest apologized ’Sorry sister but the flesh is weak.’ Arriving at the convent, the nun sighed heavily and went on her way. On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129. It said, ’Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory.’ Moral of the story: If you are not well informed in your job, you might miss a great opportunity. Lesson 3: A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp.They rub it and a Genie comes out. The Genie says, ’I’ll give each of you just one wish.’ ’Me first! Me first!’ says the admin clerk ’I want to be in the Bahamas , driving a speedboat, without a care inthe world.’ Puff! She’s gone. ’Me next! Me next!’ says the sales rep. ’I want to be in Hawaii , relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life.’ Puff! He’s gone. ’OK, you’re up,’ the Genie says to the manager.The manager says, ’I want those two back in the office after lunch’ Moral of the story: Always let your boss have the first say. Lesson 4: An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing. A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, ’Can I also sit like you and do nothing?’ The eagle answered: ’Sure, why not.’ So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it. Moral of the story:To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up. Lesson 5: A turkey was chatting with a bull. ’I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree’ sighed the turkey, ’but I haven’t got the energy.’ ’Well, why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings?’ replied the bull. They’re packed with nutrients.’ The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree. He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree. Moral of the story: Bull sh*t might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there.. Lesson 6: A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field. While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him.As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him. Morals of the story: (1) Not everyone who sh*ts on you is your enemy. (2) Not everyone who gets you out of sh*t is your friend...(3) And when you’re in deep sh*t, it’s best to keep your mouth shut!
  10. What about the Rickshaw, i think it was in eldon street?
  11. We move back to Sheffield next month after five years in Cornwall. Top of the shopping list at Morrisons, HENDERSONS RELISH. JackD.
  12. The sign above the gateway (Karpol car repairs) is that a clue?
  13. I remember the POW camp at lodgemoor,next to the hospital.Iwas in the hospital with diphtheria. Which i understand was an epidemic at the time, i was classed as a carrier, so was kept in isolation. The prisoners also used the hospital, i can remember them entertaining all the kids in the ward.
  14. That was the first pub i took my then girlfriend to(now my wife),she hated it said it was rough!, (she came from the wyburn??).that was about 1960.
  15. I now live in Cornwall,but shortly we will be moving back to the area. I once saw a list of sheffieldeese sayings years ago, i wondered if anyone might have a copy so i can show it to my Cornish friends, before i come home. If so could it be e-mailed to me. Thanks. Jack.
  16. Hi CeeGee,i used to live on JAMES ANDREW Crescent quite near there, and i understand that he/his name had something to do with that area. I also understand he was famous for something to do with Canada? Jack.
  17. A bit more info,just below the Weston was a tripe shop/bleaching house. And below that the Albany pub. JackD
  18. Tsavo,thanks a lot for the info. Jack
  19. Dobberd, well done,also went as "poorRichard"with his many many quotes/sayings. I did intend to give more clues as time went on, but you were to quick for me. Cheers JackD
  20. Bayleaf, thanks for that. I did know there was some controversy about the guns, JackD
  21. Tsava, the Weston (bug hut) was near the top of St Phillips rd,on the right hand side going down.It was directly across road from my aunts newsagents shop, was our local, along with the Scala and the Star picture houses. JackD.
  22. One of our favourite walks as kids, going onto Endcliffe woods. We used to climb onto the bear pit wall and jump in to the leaves the keepers put there to rot down. There were two large cannon stored in the glass houses,don't know what happened to them,maybe someone on here might have an idea. Jack.
  23. What was Richard Saunders real name? clue....".Fish and visiters stink in three days"
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