- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Jim and Sid Ost
- Location of story:
- Garston,Liverpool and Naples,Italy.
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 01 June 2005
My two brothers, Jim and Sid, were in the Territorial Army in
1938 and attached to the Royal Army Medical Corp (RAMC).
As soon as war was declared in 1939 they were immediately
called up for service and underwent intensive training in a
number of places in England and Scotland before joining the 8th
Army in North Africa. They served throughout the whole
campaign and were then sent with the invading troops to Italy.
Jim remained with the RAMC but Sid transferred into the Military
Police and was eventually moved to Naples. He was stationed in
an old cinema building.
From the outset of the war and throughout the whole of their
service, Mother insisted that they sent home their washing. She
would wash, press and do any mending necessary. After that she
would then return the clean clothes (including a few sweets or
chocolate) to wherever the boys were stationed. At the very
beginning it was hard finding the necessary paper for wrapping
the parcels, but Mother managed to procure a good-sized piece of
light pliable canvas, which was ideal for the purpose.
One side of the canvas had our home address in Garston, Liverpool
printed a number of times and on the other side was written the
many addresses that Jim and Sid had used during their travels
(as they moved from place to place, the old address was crossed
out and a new address written). When Sid joined the Military
Police and separated from Jim, the same piece of canvas was used
which necessitated a new fold and new address.
The day came when Sid received his clean washing and, on looking
at the canvas covering, decided it had done good and faithful
service but was ready for disposal. He therefore threw it in the
A few days later as he was walking through the streets of Naples
he saw a charming little Italian girl coming towards him wearing
a lovely patterned dress. Imagine his utter surprise when he drew
nearer to the girl to discover that the dress was actually the canvas
(complete with addresses) which he had discarded a few days
earlier (the caretaker at the cinema had recovered the canvas from
the dustbin and his wife had used her skill in making the dress!!!).
He, naturally, wrote home and told Mother about the incident
where upon Mother asked Sid to try and get the dress as a souvenir
of the story. But despite promises of payment and the replacement
of a brand new frock, the little girl was so proud of her dress she
would not part with it under any circumstances!!!
One must give praise to the postal services
during the war as I do not think any parcels
ever went missing.
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