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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Home Guard Memories

by cornwallcsv

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Ray Stephenson, Arthur Stephenson
Location of story: 
New Whittington, Derbyshire
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
06 July 2005

This story has been written onto the BBC People's War site by CSV Story gatherer Jessica on behalf of Ray Stephenson. They fully understand the terms and conditions of the site.
My father was a deputy working down a coal mine in Derbyshire and had joined the ranks of the home guard, becoming a corporal. Two of his stories - of a lighter nature, that spring to mind are as follows:
One evening as he stood by the only public telephone box at the village bus terminus he saw a mother with her fretful baby in her arms waiting for the last bus. It was my father’s duty to wait by the telephone for any orders that might come through from head quarters. The baby was still crying and the mother attempted to pacify it by putting it to her breast. Baby was now noisily unimpressed and the now tired and exasperated mother told the baby “If you don’t want it … I’ll give it to that Mester (Derbyshire for Mister) over there!” And poor Dad had to continue standing there until they had boarded the bus and gone. He was very embarrassed and didn’t know where to look!
Anothyer night the village, in blackout, was shrouded in thick, freezing fog. The home guard men were responsible for patrolling a section of the village, stopping anyone who appeared, through the gloom with a brisk, “HALT WHO GOES THERE?” Dad knew all of his men, mainly from the pit and decided to check on one whom he felt was the weakest link in the chain and may have nipped home for a cuppa and a warm. As he approached in the dark, cold fog the quavering, weak voice of the ’sentry’ asked “Is that thee, Arthur?”
Thankfully the Germans never got there!

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