- Contributed by
- People in story:
- William Standage
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 24 June 2005
The author of this story has understood the rules and regulations of this site and had agreed that this story can be entered on the BBC’s People’s War website.
I was aged 17 when the war started and living in Middlesex, UK.
I was 18 years old when I received my call-up papers. I had to report to Carlisle, Cumbria. Upon arrival I found I was to live in a tent, under canvas — in the middle of winter — it was not the warmest welcome by any means.
The first thing I was given to do was to assemble a lock for a gate. This had been dis-assembled into many small parts; and this proved to be beyond the abilities of many of the ‘Rookies’ as we were called. Then came instruction, in many different ways, of providing a service to all aspects of keeping the army and its equipment in first class condition — hence the Royal Army Service Corps, as we were to be known.
After being moved to South Wales, Barry Island, I was then moved on to Nottinghamshire — Bottesford, where there was a large fuel store. For moving this and other equipment, we used a mono-rail type of railway, and I was instructed in driving the engine; and today — still have the licence issued to me.
I remember also the ‘Blackout’ regulations, and like everyone else, getting used to being out in the dark and negotiating all the different obstacles etc. out on the pavements and roads.
Soon after this I became the Despatch rider for the Company and then, of course, had to cope with the lack of road signs and directions, which were disposed with in case of Invasion. You really did need to know exactly where you were going.
I was then moved on again — this time to Egypt — Alexandria — and remember well the sight of the sea and feeling the warmth of the sun — and being told, in no uncertain terms — ‘If you get sunburn in any degree — you will be PUT ON A CHARGE’. Well — you just cannot win sometimes!
All in all — I did meet some very good friends and also learned a lot about life.
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