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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Contributed by 
Wakefield Libraries & Information Services
People in story: 
Leslie Cross
Location of story: 
Featherstone, Yorkshire
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
A2671102
Contributed on: 
27 May 2004

I was in 4 platoon of the LDV -Look duck and Vanish!- as well as my job in the pit. We were given denim uniforms first with leather gaiters;only later did we get proper uniforms Our major was Maj Fleming, a boss at the pit, and the Capt was Capt Batten a headmaster; the Lt was Joe Bradbury a rent collector when he could get them ! The Sgt was Matt Dexter and his son Arthur with me in school. We used to guard the muckstack, which was very slippery in the snow and you fell down it. We had Canadian Ross rifles-303s- delivered to the pit yard covered in grease which we had to cleanoff, and we had a sten gun which could be set for single shot or burst but we only had 3 rounds; later there was a light machine gun but I didn't get to use it, We did rifle practice in the brickyard quarry and threw molotov cocktails at the tubs (tanks). There was an exercise with the army when they came to capture the pit which we had to defend I had mutton sandwiches in my knapsack-the exercise started at 0600 and I'd eaten up by 0630-shortly after we spotted the army down the side of the quarry being issued with blanks my pal and I shot one but after that their Sgt called them back then they rushed us and i was "shot" in the shoulder; my pal was "shot " point blank in his face and his face was all pitch black- I thought he was dead. Joe Johnson hid in one of the colliery trucks and popped up to shoot 2 of the army; but then they rushed him and chucked him out of the waggon We went to the snooker hall to be "bandaged" and have a cup of tea. The same exarcise we had potatoes for grenades and the "shot" people refusedto be "dead"!Later we went to 4 Lane Ends to guard the road and stopped Brookes of Normanton's ice-cream cart; he hadn't got his ID so we captured him but let him go after he gave us 6 ices called hokey-pokies!On a different time, there was a big invasion scare-all the electric power across the country was down because it was a stormy night and the barrage balloons with their trailing cables fouled the power- we had to report to HQ Regent Street for ammunition then they marched us up to Golf Links (we were all scared!) we got the order to load up and then to fix bayonets, prodding the backside of the man in front! We had a password- it was all deadly serious even though we laugh at it now. He asked for 2 volunteers so me and my pal went to the door of a lone house. As we went in he trippedover the gate going in and then knocked on the front door with his revolver about 2am; the upstairs window opened and the chap inside asked what we wanted; we asked if he'd seen any German parachutists and we got a right mouthful; then he tripped over the gate again on thee way out! Same morning we had to be in work!On another occasion we were in Nostell on tactics and a big red setter was running about chasing sheep ; when the farmer came he asked whose dog it was (one of the Home Guards) told him to take it away but got a mouthful and a few minutes later we heard a shot -the dog was no more!

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