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- Roy Clark
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- 12 October 2005
COMPARED TO SOME FOLKS, I HAD A RELATIVELY EASY WAR
I was called up on 23rd April 1932 in Prestatin, North Wales. I was sent to the 2nd signal Training Centre (which was previously a holiday camp) to train as a wireless operator.
January 1943, from the Operation Training Centre, I was sent to Liverpool to travel on a liner at Glastongraving Dock and waited for a formation or a convoy. We sailed from the Clyde in the middle of January in the worst January gales across the Atlantic. We changed direction, South to Cape Town, calling at Legos to take on water. On the way to Cape Town, one man died from measles and was burned at sea. We disembarked and went in transit to Beuna vista transit camp. We missed out onward convoy in South Africa, so then spent 13 weeks there.
We eventually sailed in convoy to Bombay, India in early June 1943 and moved to a training centre on the sea coast, Bandra. I was sent on a detachment in less than 3 weeks, collecting saws in Agra, which were used for sending up signal sections. I was fortunate to be able to see The Taj Mahal, which was very impressive. I went back there in 1993 and it was just as wonderful as the first time I had seen it. Twelve months later I re-married.
I trained with various divisions and was stationed outside Madras. I always travelled with the natives, and there were bed bugs and a horrible smell. I went backward and forwards, training, across India.
When we went into action we invaded and island called Ramree, with airfields used for bombing. It was vital we captured the island. Two operators were sent back up coast to await instructions, but the monsoon was due to start, so they were sent back on a destroyer across the Indian Ocean.
We were back in training waiting for the next move when Lord Louis Mountbatten visited, that was after V.E. Day. I was then sent to another base in Madras. We were having dinner waiting to invade Malaysia — this was August 1945, and half way across the Bay of Bengal the convoy split in two, and I had to jump ship. I was posted back to a transit camp in Beuna Vista, and got a job in the transit camp office. An air-raid siren sounded and the Japanese were bombing, there were a few casualties when they bombed a hospital. We spent the night in a ditch hiding.
We sailed back from Singapore on the Cape Town Castle and I was demobbed at the end of November 1946. Compared with some folks I had relatively easy war.
This story was submitted to the People's War site by June Woodhouse (volunteer) of the CSV Action Desk at BBC Hereford and Worcester on behalf of Roy Clark and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
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