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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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On Guard at Sydney Street West

by JohnJackMartin

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Archive List > Home Guard

Contributed by 
JohnJackMartin
People in story: 
John Martin, Colleagues and The Visitor!
Location of story: 
Local Defence Volunteers/ Belfast, Northern Ireland
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
A4123829
Contributed on: 
27 May 2005

I joined the Local Defence Volunteers in the early 1940s later known as the Home Guard. At that time we were fitted out with denim uniforms, navy blue with brass buttons. My sisters used to always polish the buttons and my boots for me. I can remember one evening we were on guard at the power station on Sydney Street, North Belfast. Our weapons were single shot rifles. If the round was 'up the spout' (loaded) and you hit the butt on the floor it could fire - one man standing to attention got his ear badly damaged standing to attention! This night we received an unexpected visitor at the plant. The guard at the gate stopped him to find out his business and then took him down to the guard house, telling me to stand by. Later the visitor left and upon relieving me at the gate he told me there had been no need for me to worry all along because he had a round already in his gun. Since the gun was so easy to fire I almost died because I realised he could have shot me by accident any time so easily! I had never had a live round in my weapon because it was so dangerous.

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