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WW2 - People's War

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Contributed by 
Market Harborough Royal British Legion
People in story: 
Bernard Hallsall MC
Location of story: 
Background to story: 
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Contributed on: 
24 May 2005

This story is submitted to the People’s War site by a member of Market Harborough Branch, Royal British Legion on behalf of Bernard Halsall MC and has been added to the site with his permission. Mr Halsall fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

In March 1939 I reached my 18th birthday. War seemed inevitable, and as I had done some time with the local Cadets, I decided to try to join the city (Liverpool) T. A. Regiment, which was affiliated to the glamorous Queens Own Cameron Highlanders, kilts and all!
So I reported to the local recruiting office, and after a few questions and answers with the Sergeant I was given a questionnaire to complete. This form was a good foolscap in size, and seemed to reflect in some way the size of my problem of getting into this T. A. Regiment. But I was able eventually to complete all my answers - except one.
“ Have you any property in Scotland?”
The truthful answer would be, “No”, of course. I had no property anywhere, let alone in the Highlands. Would this prejudice my chances? Should I put down a false answer? Was I destined to be a Bevin Boy? The prospect of marching through the city centre to the railway station, en route to T.A. camp, with fixed bayonets and wearing the kilt, seemed to be fading. After a sleepless night I decided I would offer my honesty against my lack of property and, armed with my application form reported to the CSM at the Drill Hall the following night.
The CSM (he was a tram driver during the day) carefully scrutinised my application form, put it down on the table, looked straight at me for a second or two and asked, “Have you any property in Scotland, boy?”. “No Sir”, I replied. He looked hard at me again. “Have you got another pair of trousers?”. “I have, Sir”, I answered, completely perplexed. “Right boy”, the CSM pronounced. “ You take those trousers, tomorrow morning, for cleaning at Pullars of Perth in Castle Street. Now boy, put yes to question 15”. I was in!!

2nd Bn. Liverpool Scottish, Queens Own Cameron Highlanders. No. 2930957.

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