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zyph

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PostSubject: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptySat Apr 05, 2014 2:27 pm

I don't know what some of you older posters think....but I find that I remember certain things from my past at the most odd times.....maybe that's what happens when your threequarters of a century old.

Something popped up the other day about Singapore......and it took me back to the early 1950's.

My mothers two sisters and their mum lived in a big house in Embankment Road.......one sister upstairs with her husband and family and the other sister and her son down stairs with my gran.

My parents and I used to visit most summers for a week or so.....and as a kid I never wondered why my aunt downstairs brought up my cousin without a father.

One day this cousin mentioned that he had been born in Singapore....and he and his mum had left when he was only months old.

I asked why his dad hadn't left with them.....he couldn't really explain why his dad had stayed behind....and as kids we moved on to the next thing...as you do as kids.

Years later I discovered the reason why........he and his mum had got out of Singapore Feb 1942 on one of the last boats out of Singapore before the Japs over-ran the place....and the Japs took 80,000 prisoners into literally slavery, some dying in the notorious Changi Jail other sent to working parties all over the far east.

It seemed that his dad had waved goodbye to his wife and their little baby son from the harbourside....and they never heard of him or saw him again.

His father was a serving RAF man and that's why he had to stay and fight.........never hearing of his fate could have meant that he might of ended up on the Burma Railway....as the Japs built a railroad through literally jungle conditions........under fed and worked till they dropped.the Japs would just have the bodies of those that died thrown into the undergrowth beside the tracks....no dog tags or records of names of those that died where ever kept.....no body to bury for those families who had lost their menfolk....no grieving process to lay to rest the memory of that loved one.

It made me realize why my aunt was always bitter and grumpy when I was young.....her two sisters had happy families....she had only a pathetic war pension to bring up her son....who never knew his father.......funny how things trigger off memories of when you were young.

Have you memories of the past that come back at certain times?
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Sir Francis Drake

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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptySat Apr 05, 2014 5:21 pm

It's said that each sleeper on the Burmese railroad represents the death of a British PoW.

On a similar theme my Uncle Frank survived being a Japanese PoW after being caught when Singapore surrendered and when he returned to Britain he was little but skin and bone.

He wouldn't ever talk about what happened out there but he wouldn't have any Japanese goods in his house or permit his sons to own any (they were both bikers so this was a bone on contention for several years until they settled on British bikes) and wouldn't watch any war films, documentaries etc.

Saying something like "it must have been awful" seems completely inadequate but what else is there to say?
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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptySat Apr 05, 2014 5:45 pm

My father spent six years in the Burma jungle, conscripted as a Burma Star teenage front line radio operator. He killed, they killed. It ruined his health. He talked a bit about it. The reason for my pacifism.
He never boycotted Japanese goods. He always said they were no more warlike than we were. When he was there, who started it was irrelevant. He admired the German soldier for some reason. Probably because they were fellow Europeans with a culture he half understood.
My father could always be rather angry, but I put that down to his relationship with his mother, rather than the Japanese.
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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptySat Apr 05, 2014 5:57 pm

Spent a lovely couple of hours last week listening to my 90 year old Uncle Jim telling stories about the war. He was RN, served all over, tales of him and some about my Dad too.
Tales of football specials from Whitleigh to Home Park and 26000 crowds.
Those young men saw so much death and despair, I am always amazed that the world is still so willing to fight over anything.

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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptySat Apr 05, 2014 7:15 pm

I have a friend who is 90. His stories about the war amounted to a period working with land-girls near Launceston plus sunbathing & swimming in the RN.

Whereas the mother of my first proper girl-friend ( I love you ) had a brother come back so damaged by his experience as a Japanese POW that she was vitriolic about anything Japanese. This was a woman who was very calm & quiet otherwise (though she did come in & kick the record-player when it was belting out "Why Don't We Do It In the Road" from the White Album).

Unimaginable what lots of the people in that generation went through.
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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptySat Apr 05, 2014 7:26 pm

The programme on Beeb 4 about thr railway made me cry a tad.. it does make you wonder why we all put up with idiot politicians on all sides  Sad 
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zyph

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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptySun Apr 06, 2014 11:26 am

With my father being in the RAF all my childhood, it meant that we lived on RAF camps all over England.
 
So visiting family in Embankment Rd was some of my earliest memories.....if my memory serves me right there was a school just up and across the road,possibly Princerock Junior School ?
 
During some of my early visits......war years.....I remember there was a Barrage Balloon anchored in the playground....and as a little kid a was gobsmacked at how big it was...and rather jealous that my school hadn't got one.
 
In later years 1950ish I can remember one of my aunts taking me with her across to the school during the summer hols....it was her job to organize the school milk....remember.... a third of a pint bottle for every kid.....it was delivered even during the school holidays....some kids still popped in to have their free milk....but many didn't....so my aunt allowed me to help myself....I can still remember sitting in the playground on a hot summers day with a crate of milk to myself....drinking bottle after bottle till I felt quite queasy.....I also remember the Thatcher women stopping school milk when my kids were at school....never forgave her for that.
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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptySun Apr 06, 2014 11:37 am

Thatcher the milk snatcher, I remember the little bottles of milk, in the summer they would be about twenty degrees by the time they got to our school.
I had a great uncle Will who was a brother to my Gran. He got captured by the Japs and spent a couple of years in a Japanese labour camp, he was beaten, starved, had all his nails pulled out and his teeth kicked in. He suffered with dysentery and had scurvy when he was released. He was a broken man. If he heard a loud engine of motorbike he would start trembling and shivering and crying, very sad and made a huge impression on me as a young boy. He would never have anything Japanese in the house, you could understand why as well. He fought in Europe before this and had no problem with the Germans, he did say as many of his generation that the Japanese had a propensity to cruelty that the Europeans didn't. (I guess he managed to swerve the SS).
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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptySun Apr 06, 2014 12:24 pm

Living on RAF camps as a kid I came into contact with German pow's quite often.
 
My father was the camp SWO (similar to an RSM in the Army) and it was his job to look after their needs.....you can imagine after the war many of them where desperate to trace their families that had been scattered as Germany collapsed into chaos after defeat.
 
They used to be so grateful when he successfully traced relatives for them through the organizations that where available in Europe during the after war years....some of them were Bavarians who were known for their woodcraft skills (whittling etc) they used to show their appreciation by making me toys.....train sets.spitfires etc...they were very skilled....at the end of the day they weren't all in the Nazi party.....just enlisted men....some stayed on and and made a life in England.....Bert Trautmann was an example. I also had a German POW dentist make a brace to straighten my teeth at Catterick a large army Camp nearby.
 
The Japs of course where a different kettle of fish as my Aunt losing her husband in Singapore could of told you.
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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptySun Apr 06, 2014 12:32 pm

I've just finished reading the Book thief written about a little girl who lost her brother and parents in Nazi Germany during the war, she was adopted by a pair who hid a Jew in their basement. Very thought provoking, depressing but also uplifting when you see how strong the human spirit can be.
Obama and Cameron should be made to make the first assault in any war or conflict that they start. They should also be made to personally apologise to every parent of every soldier killed on both sides of said conflict. When will they ever learn?
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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptySun Apr 06, 2014 2:06 pm

I used to play in a brass band and we'd play for Burma Star and other veteran groups, very moving and a privaledge to be allowed to entertain them. My Uncle Dennis was caught by the Japanese, that's all that was ever mentioned.
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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptyMon Apr 07, 2014 10:27 am

Having lived on RAF camps all my childhood meant that we were on the move every year or so.
 
Schooling unfortunately was not best served living the nomad life of a service family.
 
One posting that my father had was RAF Cardington just outside Bedford......this was reknown for it's two huge airship hangers....this is where the ill-fated R101 Airship was based with it's sister Airship (was it R100 or R102 escapes my memory at present)....there is a memorial grave to those that died in the village around the back of the camp.
 
With my fathers senior roll as SWO on the camp it allowed me to get to places other kids couldn't generally get to. These hangers were so big that they had two football pitches marked out in each hanger. It also housed the only Airship during my time there which was called  'Bournemouth' I can't remember if the RAF owned it or not....but it was far smaller than the two pre war Airships and only took up a corner of one hanger.
 
The RAF used the hangers for various things...including parachute training from inside the roof from a cradle slung under a balloon. It was the only posting possible for RAF personnel in the balloon section.
 
Being next to the twin hanger doors when they opened was an experience for a young kid like myself....the doors had huge wheels which ran in a railway style track and where electrically opened and made a very loud rumbling noise as they slowly rolled the doors apart.
 
The Station used to hold parades inside one hanger when the weather was lousy and the Station Scouts and Cubs actually camped in one when the weather was atrocious.
 
Years later I came back to Cardington for a few days to be kitted out when I did my National Service after finishing my apprenticeship.
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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptyMon Apr 07, 2014 12:31 pm

Yes was there in 1960 being kitted out for National Service.  When we got our uniforms we all went round looking for an Officer to salute.  We worked out that if we were 20 paces apart you could get his arm going up and down like a windmill.
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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptyMon Apr 07, 2014 1:12 pm

pepsipete wrote:
Yes was there in 1960 being kitted out for National Service.  When we got our uniforms we all went round looking for an Officer to salute.  We worked out that if we were 20 paces apart you could get his arm going up and down like a windmill.





Sept 1960 for me pepsi....then on to Bridgnorth for basic training.....then Kirton Lyndsey for trade training, then Aden.

Deferred for three years whilst I finished my apprenticeship....if I had been three months younger I would of missed call-up altogether.

By 1960 call-up was finished...so us deferred ones got the crap jobs....unless you signed on for three years...not likely with me,having lived on RAF camps all my life.

I assume that you had been deferred as well pepsi ?
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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptyMon Apr 07, 2014 1:24 pm

zyph wrote:
......
Sept 1960 for me pepsi....then on to Bridgnorth for basic training.....then Kirton Lyndsey for trade training, then Aden.

......

I had a good friend who did his national service in Aden. When the jocks with Mad Mitch were in the crater duffing up the arabs, his regiment were sat doing nothing, getting bored. It was then that he had his only gay experience. "It was something to do." he said.
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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptyMon Apr 07, 2014 1:45 pm

knecht wrote:
zyph wrote:
......
Sept 1960 for me pepsi....then on to Bridgnorth for basic training.....then Kirton Lyndsey for trade training, then Aden.

......

I had a good friend who did his national service in Aden. When the jocks with Mad Mitch were in the crater duffing up the arabs, his regiment were sat doing nothing, getting bored. It was then that he had his only gay experience. "It was something to do." he said.




Luckily I had been demobbed well before that.......became impossible to safeguard thousands of families by then.....high rise blocks down the Ma'alla Strait were easy target for letter bombs etc.....all families repatriated to the UK was the only answer.
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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptyMon Apr 07, 2014 4:22 pm

zyph wrote:
pepsipete wrote:
Yes was there in 1960 being kitted out for National Service.  When we got our uniforms we all went round looking for an Officer to salute.  We worked out that if we were 20 paces apart you could get his arm going up and down like a windmill.





Sept 1960 for me pepsi....then on to Bridgnorth for basic training.....then Kirton Lyndsey for trade training, then Aden.

Deferred for three years whilst I finished my apprenticeship....if I had been three months younger I would of missed call-up altogether.

By 1960 call-up was finished...so us deferred ones got the crap jobs....unless you signed on for three years...not likely with me,having lived on RAF camps all my life.

I assume that you had been deferred as well pepsi ?

Yes deferred until May 1960 then Cardington, Bridgenorth and Melksham training as an Armament Mechanic ended up on Bomb Disposal which was interesting.
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zyph

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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptyMon Apr 07, 2014 5:32 pm

pepsipete wrote:
zyph wrote:
pepsipete wrote:
Yes was there in 1960 being kitted out for National Service.  When we got our uniforms we all went round looking for an Officer to salute.  We worked out that if we were 20 paces apart you could get his arm going up and down like a windmill.





Sept 1960 for me pepsi....then on to Bridgnorth for basic training.....then Kirton Lyndsey for trade training, then Aden.

Deferred for three years whilst I finished my apprenticeship....if I had been three months younger I would of missed call-up altogether.

By 1960 call-up was finished...so us deferred ones got the crap jobs....unless you signed on for three years...not likely with me,having lived on RAF camps all my life.

I assume that you had been deferred as well pepsi ?

Yes deferred until May 1960 then Cardington, Bridgenorth and Melksham training as an Armament Mechanic ended up on Bomb Disposal which was interesting.



I ended up being on statistics.......plotting graphs and charts to show how components were despatched on time (or not) on 114 Maintenance Unit,Steamer Point,Aden Colony,.... for instance V-Bomber on Ground (Vulcans) the MU had two hrs to receive and dispatch a part for a grounded Vulcan......if that showed on my chart that it had missed that window....someone would be in deep trouble (not me)....there was always at least one Vulcan air born flying over the Middle-East at all times......on the otherhand a bar of soap or a tent peg....had a window of ten days.

Not always easy drawing charts up in a clammy 95/105F temperature with a ceiling fan blowing all your paperwork away.
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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptyThu Apr 10, 2014 7:29 am

I can remember during WW11 as a very small kid...how danger wasn't part of my world.
 
My father was stationed at RAF Manby in Lincolnshire, we lived in a cul-de-sac of married quarters
 
At the end of the cul-de-sac was an Anderson style shelter that we all used, which was used very regularly....seeing we were under the Germans usual flight path to the midlands....Coventry etc.
 
My mother obviously got side tracked for a few moments....so I wandered outside to look at the bombers and the lovely searchlights in the sky.
 
It couldn't of been too long but mum got very upset when she couldn't find me....she wasn't too pleased when she did find me....and my feet didn't touch the ground as she yanked me back into the shelter.
 
I bet some of you older ones can remember air-raid stories in Plymouth ?
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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptyThu Apr 10, 2014 9:27 am

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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptyFri Apr 11, 2014 7:55 am

Yes a different view of the war Iggy.
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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptyFri Apr 11, 2014 8:44 am

And this thread does remind me of Ripping Yarns a little.  Very Happy 
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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptyFri Apr 11, 2014 4:36 pm

Iggy wrote:
And this thread does remind me of Ripping Yarns a little.  Very Happy 


But this is real life experiences.....not a comedy film.
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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptyFri Apr 11, 2014 5:34 pm

I think Iggs was trying to be a little light hearted, Zyphers. Admitedly, I did have a little chuckle at this thread, and though of Uncle Albert and his 'During The War' strapline. Wink 
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PostSubject: Re: Past Memories.   Past Memories. EmptyTue Apr 15, 2014 8:36 am

One of my ' I woz there ' moments in football has to be Feb 1st 1958....Highbury....Arsenal 4-5 Man U......my mate and I, teenagers at the time decided to go to this one.......a great game with nine goals.....63,000 crowd....the surge of the crowd up and down the terracing every time a goal was scored was quite scary.

But what happened following this match I found hard to deal with.....the Munich air disaster the following mid-week. I was on nights at the time and my mum woke me up to tell me what had happened. Just thinking of some of those players that weren't much older than me having died,others injured,some would never play again....others like Bobby Charlton would survive and be a great player,eventually winning a World Cup.

I had the programme which is highly prized now....but my mum had a clear out of my bedroom whilst I was away doing National Service and it was gone forever.....dear mums don't you just luv em.

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