- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Alfred T. W. Booker
- Location of story:
- South East England
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 26 August 2005
This story was submitted to the People's War site by CSV/BBC Radio Nottingham on behalf of Alfred Booker with his permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and condidions.
When war was declared I was in church. My Dad was down at the sewerage farm in oilskins, practicing for a possible gas attack! My mum told me to take him his sarnies. When I arrived he stopped everything, took all his gear off and ate his sarnies.
At the start of the war the local Territorial Army was called up. They marched through the town to the station with the Town Band playing. The kids followed behind them. They caught a special train to France. When they returned home they straggled back. There were fewer of them. I felt pretty aweful about it.
I left school at 14 at the start of the war. I was too young to enter the Forces so I got a job in an electrical engineering factory.
A bomb fell on a local graveyard. There were bones everywhere! I took a couple of skulls to work and put them on a bench with a cigarette in each mouth. They were very old bones, so there didn't appear to be any harm in it at the time.
When I was 16, I volunteered for the Navy. I originally wanted to join the Air Force, but I would have had to wait until I was 18 for that. I could join the Navy at 16 and a half. I was warned to sign up as 'hostilities only,' so that I could get out when war ended.
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