- Contributed by
- Stockport Libraries
- People in story:
- Joe Carley
- Location of story:
- Background to story:
- 71st Manchester Heavy Ack Ack (Home Guard) Battery
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 19 February 2004
This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Chris Comer of Stockport Libraries on behalf of Joe Carley and has been added to the site with his daughter Miss M. Carley's permission. Miss Carley fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.
Joe Carley wrote extensive diaries throughout his life and some, covering his war service in the Home Guard, were typed up and bound into a manuscript volume which was loaned to Stockport Libraries by his daughter.
This is Joe's account of the Official Stand-down Parade in Manchester, on Sunday, December 3rd 1944 copied from that volume.
"At the Gorton Town Hall, we met many old colleagues and after steel helmets had been issued we boarded special double-decker buses which took us to the region of Central Station and we joined hundreds of Home Guards who were lined up in three ranks in a street called, I think, Windmill Street. We had an extremely long and boring wait in drab surroundings under a persistent, and at times heavy, fall of rain......this was the end. No more training, no more lectures, no more demonstrations, no more Sunday morning parades, no more manning, guards, piquets or patrols, no more manoeuvres, weapon training or drills - it was all at an end as far as we were concerned."
"Eventually we were called to attention, orders were barked, the band struck up and we moved out into Peter Street, then marching via Mount Street, Albert Square, Cross Street, King Street, Spring Gardens, Charlotte Street, George Street and thus past the saluting base on the blitzed site. Immediately following the band, were a number of officers in a compact phalanx followed by the Home Guards (A.A. Section) marching in sixes. I was on the extreme outer edge of my particular line. On the command 'eyes left' ....I realised the fact that the lines were not, I am afraid, as straight as they might be - I noticed a few 'bulges' here and there."
"We then passed along Market Street, where to my surprise, part of the parade turned along High Street, Cannon Street, Deansgate to tack themselves on the rear of the columns which had proceeded directly along Market Street. In spite of the earlier rain, there had been comparatively large crowds in the vicinity of the saluting base and at spots in the earlier part of the route, but as we proceeded along Deansgate on the final stages, there were but few people about, and they took little or no notice of the Home Guard Farewell, but sauntered the pavements, looked in shop windows etc. and only occasionally cast superficial glances in the direction of the representatives of England's 'cheap' Army."
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