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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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With The Home Guard in East Cowes and Anglesey

by Isle of Wight Libraries

Contributed by 
Isle of Wight Libraries
People in story: 
Keith Whitting
Location of story: 
East Cowes, Isle of Wight
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
A6080816
Contributed on: 
10 October 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bernie Hawkins and has been added to the website on behalf of Keith Whitting with his permission and he fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

I was twenty-two years old in 1940, working as a draughtsman in East Cowes. I joined the Local Defence Volunteers, later known as the Home Guard.

When the air raid siren went, I raced for my motor cycle, grabbing a rifle on the way, and with a companion on the back dashed up York Avenue at 60 miles per hour to Osborne House. I then climbed one of the towers, from which I had to look out for a parachutist.

On another occasion we had to man a road block at Whippingham opposite the blacksmiths. Beyond this was an anti-aircraft battery. We saw German Stukas flying back from a raid on Portsmouth and they flew at low level right under the guns which were pointing up to the sky. On looking round, we could see more German aircraft flying just above the River Medina towards Newport.

I was moved to Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey where Catalina flying boats where flown in from America and serviced. Subsequently one of these aircraft found the German battleship Bismarck in the Atlantic, which led to its final sinking. By this time I had become an officer in the Home Guard.

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