- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Charles Edward Dracup
- Location of story:
- Background to story:
- Civilian Force
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 26 July 2005
This story was submitted to the People,s war site by Wendy Young on behalf of Charles Edward Dracup and has been added to the site with his permission he fully understands the site,s terms and conditions. I worked in the steel works in Sheffield. As my job was a reserved occupation I was excempt from joining up. I joined the Home Guard between 1939 and 1940 when the invasion threatened.
When my morning shift in the factory was over, I'd make my way to the Home Guard Headquarters. One day, a group of us were walking in the street when we passed two officers. We didn't salute them. On arriving at HQ we were told that it was about time we learnt how to salute. We also learnt how to fire a gun.
When we first joined, we had to practise with another unit; we used jumping jacks five at a time. We had to put string to the lever firing point, and tie the jumping jacks on top of the rifle so they all went off together. We also threw thunder flashes at a group of soldiers, which in a real war would be a mills bomb. I was expected to go to the shooting range on a regular basis. On one occasion, there were a lot of big knobs present. One of them came up to speak to me. he praised me for getting so many bulls eyes. All of a sudden I heard a loud voice behind me, it was the sergeant who told me to stand to attention while I was being spoken to.
About fifty of us would have to go on long route marches.
There was a lad whom I knew quite well. We both supported Sheffield United and we'd often go together to the matches.
When we went on these route marches he would always be put to the back. When I asked him the reason, he laughed and said "you know what I do and what i'm up against. I've got a job down the mines and I have to walk on the sleepers so I can't alter my walking capability". He was taking bigger strides than the rest of us so he was putting us out of step.
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