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War Diaries: Armed And Ready - With Brushes

by ateamwar

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Archive List > British Army

Contributed by 
ateamwar
People in story: 
Arthur Cope, R. A. (T. A.)
Article ID: 
A4666845
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!

Continued.....
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