- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Lorenzo Michael Mason
- Location of story:
- France & Belgium
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 18 May 2005
Laurie aka Mick circa 1962
Bor Lorenzo Michael Mason (1918-1983)
159 Battery H Troop
53rd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment
Below are entries from my father’s diary from 1939 and 1940. Laurie (as he was known by his family) was awarded medals but sadly these were stolen during a burglary on his home. My father was badly affected after the war and suffered severely from clinical depression. These notes give a brief glimpse into the life of a gunner during his service in 1940.
3 Sept War was declared on the 24 August 1939 — called up.
We came out to France on 24 September 1939.
Sat 17 Feb Came home on leave from France for 10 days.
Tues 27 Feb Went back to France. Left Mexborough at 3.21 am; arrived with troop at 11.15 pm.
Wed 28 Feb Went on gun position.
Thurs 29 Feb Gun position.
Fri 1 Mar Came off gun into Billets. Leslie going firing.
Sat 2 Mar Started fitting again in Leslie’s place.
Tues 5 Mar Went firing Bofor and Bren.
Wed 6 Mar Fired Bren and Bofor. No 1 Section hit target with Bofor and No.2 of H troop.
Thurs 7 Mar Returned to Billets. Officer promised us party for hitting target.
Fri 8 Mar Overslept. All No.1 and No.2 section in a ?. Lost next two half holidays.
Sat 9 Mar Went to a big town.
Notes: We are the only ones to hit the target out of our regiment.
Sun 10 Mar Have been put on a charge by our Sergeant.
Mon 11 Mar Went for a bath.
Tues 12 Mar Went in front of our OC and severely reprimanded.
Wed 13 mar Half holiday. I had to work. Orderly NCO for today.
Thurs 14 Mar Had three teeth pulled out.
Fri 15 Mar Pay up. Stayed in bed all day with my mouth.
Sat 16 Mar Half holiday.
Sun 17 Mar Half holiday. Raining all day. Playing at cards.
Mon 18 Mar going for a bath. Orderly NCO for today.
Tues 19 Mar Building shed on gun position.
Wed 20 Mar Building shed.
Thurs 21 Mar Went to dentist again to have 3 more teeth pulled.
Fri 22 Mar Stayed in bed till 12 o’clock.
Sat 23 Mar Received parcel from Leicester and sister.
Sun 24 Mar Went to football match. Our regiment won. Received cigs from Bakers.
Mon 25 Mar Went through gas chamber (tear gas).
Tues 26 Mar Orderly NCO.
Wed 27 Mar Went with a pal to fetch a radio. Half holiday.
Thurs 28 Mar Went to dentist to have two teeth filled.
Fri 29 Mar Pay day.
Sat 30 Mar Put on a charge for being out late with a truck.
Note: Taking charge of No.1 section. Our Sergeant in dock.
Sun 31 Mar Half holiday
Mon 1 April Gun drill. Bath.
Tues 2 April Went out to take charge of gun. Received photos from home.
Wed 3 April Half holiday.
Thurs 4 April Went sick to MO. MO had gone on leave.
Fri 5 April Moved. Pay up.
Sat 6 April Went on gun for 3 days.
Tues 9 April On gun. Hitler invades Denmark & Norway.
Wed 10 April On gun. Had bath.
Thurs 11 April Moved again. One slice of bread and jam for tea.
Fri 12 April Pay day. Went on gun.
Sat 13 April On Lewis guns. Ready for moving again. Did not move.
Sun 14 April Gun. Came in at 7.30.
Mon 15 April Bath.
Tues 16 April Gun. Came in at 12 noon.
Wed 17 April On gun. Came in at 8.15 pm.
Thurs 18 April On gun. Came in at 8.15 pm. Rained like h***.
Fri 19 April Pay day. (Fine). No mail for a week.
Sat 20 April Birthday in France. Air raid at 10.20 am (Fine). On gun. On garde.
Sun 21 April Moved again.
Mon 22 April On gun, making position.
Tues 23 April Staying in billets. Had bath.
Wed 24 April Out on gun, building hut.
Thurs 25 April Out on gun again. Raining. Transferred to No.3 section.
Fri 26 April Stayed in billets. Pay up. Raining.
Sat 27 April On garde. (Fine).
Notes: Started building Befor positions. They have took the guns from us.
Sun 28 April On gun, building bunks.
Mon 29 April Out on gun.
Tues 30 April Orderly NCO. Raining. Went for a bath; did not have one.
Wed 1 May Orderly NCO (Fine).
Thurs 2 May Took over ORs duties from Careless. Fine.
Fri 3 May On guard. Troop Commander for half-day.
Sat 4 May Orderly NCO from 12 noon.
Sun 5 May Orderly NCO. Went sick with sceptic finger.
6 & 7 May Orderly NCO.
Wed 8 May Moving again.
Fri 10 May Moved into Belgium.
Sat 11 May On guard.
Sun 12 May Air raid. Three planes over dropping bombs.
Mon 13 May Believed to have brought down German plane.
Tues 14 May Nothing of importance. Started cooking our own food on gun position.
Wed 15 May Moved again. On guard.
Thurs 16 May Moving again. Droves of planes came over. Due for leave again.
Fri 17 May On gun. Covering troops. Moved again.
Sat 18 May Came on first position.
Notes: The people are very good to us but the soldiers are cowards. They sold us to the Germans.
Sun 19 May Moved three times.
Mon 20 May Moved again. Fairly profitable day. Saw dog fight, England won. Injured enemy plane 13 rounds. (No luck).
Tues 21 May Two planes over every hour. About 12 more planes over.
Wed 22 May Moved again back to France.
Thurs 23 May Guarding bridge. Moved again.
Fri 24 May On gun. Nothing exciting happened.
Sat 25 May Pay up. No pay. Moved into Belgium again.
Notes: Buried 4 English lads near us at 12 noon. On morse at 4 pm. Heavy casualties in the British Infantry.
Sun 26 May Guarding bridge. We heard that we are going back to England.
Mon 27 May Six planes brought down by H Troop.
Tues 28 May Plane hit in nose, engagement this morning. Moved again.
Wed 29 May Waiting to move again. We are the last to go. It is just like waiting for death. The Germans are about a mile away.
Thurs 30 May Fired 8 shots. Gun out of action. Moved again. Under heavy shell fire 12 pm.
Fri 31 May Moved onto beach. Six German planes brought down; one British plane. Four more German planes down.
Sat 1 June Had to swim for ship. Getting on the boat at 4 pm. We were gunned while we were swimming for the ships but we landed safe!
Notes: Nearly all H Troop gone back to England. Just a few left manning the guns. The food is terrible.
Sun 2 June Landed in camp at Bordon near Aldershot. Pay up 10/-. Received another 10/-.
Mon 3 June Moving to Frome. There were only about 12 men left in the Troop. We cannot trace the others. Went to Frome, from there to Nottingham.
Tues 4 June Arrived Nottingham. Expecting to set off home. Arrived home at 6.30 pm.
Fri 7 June Went sick to doctor.
Notes: We are breaking up all guns. The Germans have got our division cornered. We are having to run for it!
Reported to doctor with scabies.
Tues 25 June Going back to unit but Doctor would not let me.
Mon 8 July Received £4 ration allowance.
Fri 16 Aug Admitted into Pontefract Hospital with septic spot.
Mon 26 Aug Discharged from hospital at Pontefract at 9.30 pm. Caught the 10.10 train to Sheffield and London.
Tues 27 Aug Arrived London 6.30 am. Travelled to Dorking from there to Northbury Park but could not find unit. On the phone to Army. They sent me to Mitcham Jnc. The unit wasn’t there bit fed up and returned to Mexborough. They gave me no food to set off with. Had only about 5/-.
Thurs 5 Sept Received word to go back 10.30 from Mexborough. 10.55 from Doncaster. Arrived with regiment at 5.00 pm.
Fri 6 Sept Moved to Sandy.
Mon 9 Sept On guard.
Tues 10 Sept Received letter from Dot (wife).
Thurs 12 Sept Pay up. Moved to Gatwick.
Fri 13 Sept Admitted into hospital at Featherhead, Surrey 6.30 pm with boils on leg.
Tues 17 Sept Still in bed.
Sat 28 Sept Discharged from hospital at my own request. Returned to unit.
Sun 29 Sept Went down Horby.
Mon 30 Sept Went to Horby for new suit. Came home to work.
Tues 1 Oct Landed home 1.30 this morning. Had to pay 9/- for taxi from Doncaster.
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