BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in February 2012We've left it here for reference.More information

29 July 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
WW2 - People's War

BBC Homepage
BBC History
WW2 People's War Homepage Archive List Timeline About This Site Print this page 

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


War Diaries: Armed And Ready - With Brushes

by ateamwar

You are browsing in:

Archive List > British Army

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Arthur Cope, R. A. (T. A.)
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
02 August 2005

The following story appears courtesy of and with thanks to Arthur Cope, R. A. (T. A.) and Richard A. Cope.

September 3rd, 1939 - Sunday morning and our battery was ready to parade on the barracks square, having been mobilised with the Territorial Army just a few days previously. We were soon to march off for church parade, to join the mayor and councillors. Our buttons and badges gleamed and our boots shone brightly after much 'spit and polish'.
The sergeant-major bellowed: "Fall in. Tallest on the left and shortest on the right". Being over six feet tall, I was on the left, which meant we would be at the rear of the column. The order was given: "Right turn", but just as we were ready to move off, the sergeant-major detailed the last six to 'stand fast'.
The others marched away, whilst we were ordered to inside. Later, as the time drew closer to 11 0'clock, someone switched on the wireless. Shortly afterwards, the chimes of Big Ben rang out and Alvar Liddell announced:
"This is London. Here is the Prime Minister".
Solemnly, we listened to his voice as he gave the fateful news that Great Britain was at war with Germany.
A call to arms! We were prepared to fight for our King and Country. We were prepared! We were armed! Half-a-dozen soldiers stood there 'armed and ready to fight the enemy'. Oh yes - with long-handled brushes as we swept the barrack room floors!
Oh, what a feeling of utter frustration and dejection!

'This story was submitted to the People’s War site by BBC Radio Merseyside’s People’s War team on behalf of the author and has been added to the site with his / her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.'

© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.

Archive List

This story has been placed in the following categories.

British Army Category
icon for Story with photoStory with photo

Most of the content on this site is created by our users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please Contact Us.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy