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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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The Home Guard in a small village in Lancashire

by NcRttr

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Arthur Rutter
Location of story: 
Eccleston, Lancashire
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
07 May 2005

My father told this story about his time in the Home Guard during the War. He was invalided out of the Army but wanted "to do his bit."

The Home Guard in our small village met in one of the pubs, the Farmer's Arms, and staffed fire watching points on the church tower and manned a pill box just by the river at the north end of the village.

Some of the men were in reserved occupations, others beyond call up age. Pop soon made friends with some of them and watched the antics of some others.

He didn't like it when they managed to get a trick past him, but he told one story of about 1943.

Arriving for duty one December night he was asked to join in the raffle for a goose for Christmas, which he won. By this time his first wife was ill and in hospital so Pop determined to share the goose with another single man. They plucked it and stuffed it with an onion and put it in the oven to roast.

After four hours the two of them realised that it was never going to become tender and buried it in the garden.

That night they arrived at the pub as usual, to be confronted with a question about whether the goose was still laying. Father's pride didn't allow him to admit what they'd done, but another goose was brought back from Manchester on his next trip to the market there.

A few tins of meat (Poppa was a salesman for a Manchester company) and the bird was theirs. It went on to provide us with eggs for at least another seven years, and the "wide-boys" in the pub were none the wiser.

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