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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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My Army Service

by Lawrence Weston Library

Contributed by 
Lawrence Weston Library
People in story: 
Mr Denton
Location of story: 
Yorkshire, Belgium, Germany
Background to story: 
Army
Article ID: 
A3818513
Contributed on: 
22 March 2005

I was in Huddersfield when the war started. I was 14 and still t school. I stayed at school until I was 16, then I started work making intermediates for high explosives. I wasn't old enough to fight. At 18 and a half I was called up to fight, on 1 April 1943. I spent 6 weeks at High Green in Sheffield with the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry for basic training.

Then I went to Bramley in Hampshire to the school of ammunition Royal Army Ordnance Corps to train for 6 months as an ammunition examiner.

After completing the course I went to an ammunition sub-depot in Thorpe Perrow Snape near Bedale in Yorkshire until October 1944 when I was sent overseas. I went from Newhaven to Dieppe on a landing craft. We then got on a train for 3 days and went into Belgium to a holding unit. This was situated in a tannery in St Amands near Antwerp.

On New Year's Day 1945, a German aeroplane crashed into the local restaurant. We were detailed to remove the bodies from the restaurant.

After a short while in this holding unit, I was detailed to take lorries and an armed escort to collect ammunition and explosives which had been used by the local resistance and was collected in various police stations, such as Mennem and Ypres. Much of it was very old and included materials from WW1.

I was then sent to an ammunition depot near Brussels and shortly after that I was sent to join a mobile ammunition repair unit. Shortly after the crossing of the Rhine I joined them at a place near Wesel, on the Rhine. We advanced through Germany via Osnabruck, Niemburg, Hanover and were at Soltau on Luneberg Heide when the war finished.

We went through the ruins of Hamburg to Schleswig Holstein, where we colleced ammunition from German troops and the surrounding countryside.

After this I returned to Germany to an ammunition depot at Liebenau. I went from there to an ammunition depot at Espelkamp to dispose of ammunition.

On 2 February 1946 I was badly injured when some ammunition in a shed exploded. I spent about 3 weeks in hospital whilst my burns to hands and face and other injuries healed.

I then returned to Espelkamp for a short while before the unit returned to Liebanau. By this time I was a sergeant and became chief clerk to the senior inspecting ordnance officer responsible for working parties in the depot.

I was subsequently promoted to Staff Sergeant and shortly after that became Chief Instructor in ammunition and remained there until December 1947, promoted to Staff Quartermaster Sergeant (Warrant Officer Class 2).

My military service actually finished in May 1948, a total of 5 years.

During the early summer of 1946, whilst at Number 3 base ammunition depot at Liebernau, I met Ursula Wandlovsky, who was a waitress in the Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' mess. Eventually we were married in September 1946 and lived in married quarters in the camp. We returned to Huddersfield in late December 1946 and lived there until 1952.

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