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On Invasion Watch

by Isle of Wight Libraries

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Archive List > World > France

Contributed by 
Isle of Wight Libraries
People in story: 
Les Russell, Major Horsley, Captain Bentley
Location of story: 
Chillerton, Isle of Wight
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A7613651
Contributed on: 
08 December 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bernie Hawkins and has been added to the website on behalf of Les Russell with his permission and he fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

When the War started I was living at Whitecroft Corner, and as soon as I was old enough, in 1940 at the age of sixteen, I joined the Chillerton Home Guard. We had a regular night duty on Ramsden Down. Seven of us would be stationed up there in a small wooden hut, with one person at a time on watch outside on the look-out for German paratroopers landing. The signal if anything happened was to bang on the side of the hut and shout, “Paratroopers!” They never came, but one night when I was on watch I decided to have a test run. I banged on the shed and shouted. Nothing happened. Eventually, after about 20 minutes, the men inside finally roused themselves, got their boots on and responded!

I was put on a charge for raising a false alarm. But the officers, Major Horsley and Captain Bentley reckoned I had done a good training job and let me off. Shortly afterwards they promoted me to Lance Corporal, and eventually to full Corporal.

During this time my day job was as an apprentice plumber with R Taylor & Sons in Scarrotts Lane. After serving with the 1st EastRiding of Yorkshire Yeomanry, I returned there after the War and worked for them for 29 years.

Les Russell's account of his service with the 27th Armoured Brigade from 1941 to the end of the War can be read at A7613822.

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