- Contributed by
- Peoples War Team in the East Midlands
- People in story:
- Thomas Hatton
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 25 July 2005
"This story was submitted to the site by the BBC's Peoples War Team in the East Midlands with Thomas Hattons permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions."
Catterick Camp, train to Liverpool boarded orcades and away during the night. In the morning we were in the Atlantic with huge convoys. After a time we had to go into Freetown West Africa owing to German U Boats — we stayed for a few days. The next stop was Cape Town but we did not land, then we went off to Durban. When we got off the ship we were taken by train to Clarwood camp up the coast for about 3 weeks, then off again to Port Tufic, Egypt, we stayed at a camp near the pyramids. After more battle training I was given a battle truck filled and with more men we went to the desert and joined 30 corps signals. After a short time we were in the 114 battle of Anaheim which is hard to explain. We then went on through the desert, losing many of my pals. We then sailed again to Malta to camp outside Valetta for about 3 weeks and then sailed again, not knowing where we were firing our guns at mines in the sea.
On reaching land in Sicily we fought our way up the East Coast Catania to Masia Streets. We could see Italy at the end. We had a break and I drove Major Lightolle to Paleryo for a few days and then back to Taormina for a few days break A nice place. We knew this could not last. We were told our 30 corps were going back to England — not over to Italy. After leaving we sailed through the med out into the Atlantic. We had a rough ride into Scotland, by train to the camp in the South of England and home for 2 weeks very tanned at Christmas. We trained, driving in and out of the sea in the battle wagons . June 5th came and we were taken to the docks and boarded a ship in the dark and was away to the unknown. Hours later all hell had let loose. We climbed down the side of the ship on to landing crafts (and me a non swimmer) was in the sea up to my waste. You can’t explain the horror which never leaves you in your lifetime. We pressed on to Brussels we were held up by Jerry, and then we saw the airborne lads landing airmen in the distance. We had very heavy fighting and was given help by the tanks. We were then packed of to the Ardens as the Germans had broken through the enemy lines. The snow was very deep there. We pushed the enemy back up north to Hamburg. I went to Belsan right through the bamp with Major Lightoler on to Brunswick, Hanover. We went with another officer down to a mountain camp in the Hate Mountains. On our return to our unit we had a serious accident. I was taken to Hanover Hospital which I don’t remember at all . I was then taken by plane to Brussels and on to England. Then by hospitals train to South Wales where I stayed for four months before being transferred to the city hospital and the discharged.
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