- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Dorothy Colston - Stook
- Location of story:
- Plymouth and Normandy
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 30 January 2006
My boyfriend was Alfie, many years ago, when we both were about nine or ten years old. He was a London boy and he used to go to his Auntie and Uncle for holidays and that is how I met him. In time I got engaged to someone else, because we fell out over a lady. She wanted to take him away from me. It was my best friend’s cousin and she said to my best friend ‘I am going to get him from her, I like him.’ And she stayed around the house until he called for me then said to him ‘ I understand you and Dorothy are going to a show tonight. Would you be kind enough to take me as well as I would like to see but I can’t go on my own?’ Without thinking he said, ‘I don’t see why not!’
Well! When I came out all ready to go. I found her there and said ‘Hello!’ My boyfriend explained to me that she had wanted to come with us. So I turned and spoke to her. ‘I don’t really know you do I? I have only ever met you once but, I don’t see why you shouldn’t come.’ After which, she made herself a nuisance all evening. She caught hold his arm and laid her head on his shoulder during the show. By which time I had enough and got up and walked out. They both followed me out and when I was walking home with them, two soldiers passed us by. They cried out ‘ Hey! Chummy, You got two for one and we got none! Can’t you spare one tonight?’ So I looked up and said, ‘ Yes! He can spare one, he can spare me!’ I turned around and caught hold of their arms. It was something I would never have done, had I not been so upset. We walked some way along Union Street and then I turned to the soldiers and said ‘I am very sorry to have used you.’- then explained what had happened. When they offered ‘Well let us at least see you home?’ I replied ‘No thank you I will go home the back lane way.’ In which I did.
This incident caused Alfie and I to be parted for two years. However his mother wrote to me requesting if I would please write to him, as he had my photograph in his cabin, now that he had joined the NAAFI. The reason being I was told, he didn’t want to stay in Plymouth without me, yet didn’t want to go back to London either. Alfie joined the navy and was aboard ship HMS Kenya - attacked twice, once by air and once by submarine, but came through it ok.
Alfie came off ship. I was writing to him again and he was docked in Plymouth. He then went back home to the Aircraft factory in the office department and then suddenly he was called up in the Reconnaissance, for the army. Reconnaissance meant front line action — like commando’s, a secret second army.
Alfie and I continued to write to each other, yet I was engaged to another called Desmund - and all due to our falling out and not seeing him. Alfie though, begged me not to marry saying, “Please don’t marry him, you belong to me”. When Alfie came home on leave again, I had broken my engagement, leaving poor Desmund quite ill over it. Desmund did get married, had two children - a boy and a girl. Fortunately we remained friends and he loved me until he died. His daughter came to see me about six months ago and plans to come again. I did eventually marry Alfie, but he was killed in Normandy two days before our first wedding anniversary.
When Alfie was killed the fighting there was ferocious. It took place amongst apple orchards and when the guns were fired the apples would bombard the men as well as the bombs because they were shook from the trees. I remember Alfie laughing about it.
Going back again to when I was ten years old, I can recall Alfie and I strolling along Plymouth Hoe with my mother and father who were talking in French, to two French sailors there at the time.
I couldn’t understand a word of it. But after my father ceased talking. I turned to Alfie and said ‘You know Alfie, you need to learn all the French you can learn, because when there is a war (no thought or mention of war at this particular time) you, I said will be sent to France in the army and if you don’t keep your head down, you will be injured in your head and you won’t be coming home again.’ I wondered after I said that, if I had a head because my mother gave me such a hiding for saying it. My mother insisted I apologise to Alfie but I replied that I couldn’t because it was true.
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