- Contributed by
- BBC Radio Norfolk Action Desk
- People in story:
- Stanley Seago, Lt. Col Gates, General Von Arnim
- Location of story:
- Derbyshire, North Africa, Italy
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 01 July 2005
This contribution to People’s War was received by the Action Desk at BBC Radio Norfolk and submitted to the website with the permission and on behalf of Stanley Russell Seago
I joined the LDV later known as the Home Guard in 1940 when I was 17 and stayed in it until January 22nd 1942 when I enlisted in the RASC at Matlock, Derbyshire. This was a training Battalion, where the discipline was unbelievably strict, the Commanding Officer was Lt. Col Gates of Cow and Gate Milk.
I was then sent to Scotland where I embarked on a troop ship to Algiers, in those days we had compulsory church parades and since I could play a church organ I had the pleasure of playing the cathedral organ. The native Kasbah was out of bounds for us for obvious reasons. We were then transported in cattle trucks to a place called Gare de ben Bachir near Medjez el Bub supplying food and ammunition to the forward lines where we were often strafed from the air by enemy planes. When we were in Africa I can recall we frequently had to wash our clothes in petrol.
When the Germans surrendered at Tunis I personally saw General Von Arnim and others taken to the POW Camp. We were then all seated in the Carthaginian Amphitheatre when Mr Churchill and Eden came to thank us all for the victory. We then landed at Taranto moving slowly up the Adriatic Coast where we were halted for some months South of Pescara. In Bari I was given 7 days leave where I had the pleasure of playing the organs in the churches and the cathedral.
After Monte Cassino was bombed I had to escort German prisoners to Taranto in trucks to be shipped over to POW camps in Africa. As we advanced up Italy I had some leave in Florence where once again I had the opportunity to play organs, this time at the Santa Croce cathedral and the Annunciate.
When the War ended I was in Klagenfurt, Austria in the army of occupation, sent to Dover Castle as a clerk and then demobbed at Aldershot in December 1946.
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