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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Shipbuilding and night manoeuvers

by AgeConcernCheshire

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Ronald Ashbrook
Location of story: 
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
16 June 2004

In July 1936 I left school and started work at Pimblott's shipyard, receiving the huge wage of 6s 2d! When the war broke out we began working 12 hour days, returning at night for fire watch duties in the yard. We built a number of vessels for the planned D-Day Invasion, including small ammunition carriers which were flat-bottomed for beach landings. These were called 'puffers'. Alongside coasters and tankers, we built two small motor torpedo boats, powered by Rolls Royce engines. During the testing of the first of these on the River Weaver, huge quantities of water were dispelled from under the craft and deposited on the river bank, much to the astonishment of the Royal Navy testing crew who were unused to the power of Rolls Royce engines. The second torpedo boat was therefore tested on the River Mersey.

In 1940 I joined the Home Guard and used to patrol the railway tracks of the Cheshire to Manchester line on the viaduct over the River Weaver. One night I was patrolling the right flank along Saxon's lane when I came across a pair of khahi legs sticking out from under a hawthorn bush. I pointed my rifle and ordered the person to stand and identify himself. He did so, proving to be a young soldier of the Royal Gloucester regiment. He was quickly joined by a muddy faced pantry maid from Hartford Manor who had been beneath the bush with him. I don't know who was the more embarassed , them or me!

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