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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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The White Family at War

by ivorwhite

Contributed by 
ivorwhite
People in story: 
Graham White, Joyce White, Mabel White, Percival White and Ivor White
Location of story: 
Battle Abbey Lodge
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A3021760
Contributed on: 
20 September 2004

The White Family in 1942. It was to be the last meeting of the whole family until the end of WW2

I suppose that being born on the site of one of the most famous battles in history I was destined to become a soldier. In fact by 1942 when this photograph was taken in the Abbey grounds in Battle, Sussex, the whole family had volunteered for one service or another. My dad Percival was the first to join the Queen's Regiment, followed by my brother Graham who chose the Grenadier Guards, then his wife Joyce joined the ATS and I lied about my age (15) to become a member of the local Home Guard. Mum Mabel determined to do her bit became a Firewatcher and was subsequently issued with an armband and a steel helmet.
The photograph shows the last meeting of the whole family until 1948 when I returned from serving with the Irish Guards in Palestine. During that time my Mum had survived the many raids by Nazi bombers and Doodlebugs, Joyce had been involved in tracking enemy aicraft approaching London, and brother Graham had fought from the D-Day landings in Normandy to Luneburg Heath with the Guards Armoured Division.
Dad had somehow avoided most of the conflict stationed somewhere in Wales and was reluctant to tell us much about it.
Mum spent many nights on the roof of the local cinema where she shared her usheretting duties with her firespotting skills. I have many memories of my guard duties with the Battle Home Guard from 1942 to 1944 when I was enlisted by the Irish Guards to join my brother in the Guards Armoured Division in Germany
I have a certificate from George VI which reads:
"In the years when our Country was in mortal danger Ivor Noel Morgan White gave generously of his time and powers to make himself ready for her defence by force of arms, and with his life if need be".
I was very honoured to be chosen to carry the very first official "Home Guard" wreath to the Cenotaph in November 2002. For some reason the Home Guard had not previously been included in the Armistice Parade in Whitehall and it was difficult to find enough surviving members to attend.
Having joined within several days of my 15th Birthday I have reason to believe that I am the youngest member of the Home Guard alive today.
Unless you know better ?
Ivor White
P.S. Visit Ivor's personal website at: www.battle-abbey.co.uk

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