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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Schoolboy's Memories

by WRVS Volunteer Conwy Area

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Contributed by 
WRVS Volunteer Conwy Area
People in story: 
Kenneth Graham
Location of story: 
Macclesfield
Article ID: 
A4281518
Contributed on: 
27 June 2005

It is 1942, and Ken aged 16 is on his way home from Macclesfield Grammar School proudly wearing his Cadet Force Uniform and his proudly won, just presented, school colours for shooting. He bumps into the local Home Guard Sergeant who shows interest in his prize and tells him to report for duty at the local drill hall next Tuesday 'the Country needs bright young lads like you' arms training at 7 p.m.'
Having an interest in all types of firearms he jumped at the chance, and duly reported at the drill hall the following week. Expecting to get trained and practice with the latest weaponry he was somewhat disappointed to be presented with old world war one American P14 and P17 rifles. Not to be daunted he asked the Quartemaster Seargent if he could take one home to practice with,and yes, believe it or not he was allowed so to do. Thankfully for drill purposes only, no ammunition, the local cat population thereby keeping their full nine lives.
They did have one Thomson Machine Gun, kept locked in a box and considered very lucky if on practice days you were allowed to try it out, but with ammunition in such short supply there was no serious practice, and in the event of invasion would have been overrun in five minutes flat!
Following Churchill's famous 'fight them on the beaches'speech it was deemed necessary to have a stock pile of pikes for instant use, and it was a proud moment to be told that their armoury had such a stock ready. A 'don't panic'mood settled on the assembled force when confronted with said pikes though, as they consisted of bayonets welded to six foot scaffold poles and would have taken an Arnold Schwarzenegger on steroids to have even moved one from the stack, let alone fight with one!
Spirits were always high though and even the regular wiping out by the East Lancs. Regiment on manoeuvre days, the officers, still wearing the flour bomb stains on their uniforms, would retire to the Bull's Head for a pint, refight the battle, and plan Hitler's inevitable demise.

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