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Had Hitler known!

by CSV Solent

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Archive List > United Kingdom > London

Contributed by 
CSV Solent
People in story: 
Mr C Humphreys
Location of story: 
Truro, Cornwall
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
24 August 2005

This story has been added to the People's war website by Marie on behalf of Mr Humphreys with his permission. Mr Humphreys fully understands the sites terms and conditions.

Early in 1940 - aged 18 - I had just left school and was in temporary employment, realising that sooner or later I would be in the military. Near to my parent’s home was the HQ of the newly formed Local Defence Volunteers. I joined this and was soon involved in drill etc - but of greater significance was the various patrol duties we undertook on a rota basis. I was paired with a neighbour - a mature man. He was issued with a WW1 Lee Enfield rifle and five rounds of .303 whilst I was entrusted with a large pitch fork!

The main railway line through Cornwall passes through a longish tunnel just before crossing two viaducts into Truro Station. Our four hour patrol stint involved defending this tunnel and/or the viaducts against impending enemy saboteurs. With my pitch fork over my shoulder and my adult companion with his rifle (and five rounds) we patrolled the dark tunnel, leaping into side refuges as the steam trains thundered through. Next day my mother was faced with the smoke/soot soiled clothes I’d been wearing.

So it was that the (then) Great Western Railway was defended against Hitlerian hazards!

Later in 1940 I took employment for four months in Coventry - to experience the November 14th blitz on that city; my job fell apart and I joined the RAF in March 1941.

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