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15 October 2014
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Memories of Plymouth Blitz

by Pat Carter

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Pat Carter
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Alfred Smith
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19 November 2003

My father Alf Smith joined up as a 15 year old band boy with Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry in December 1937. Once war was declared and bombing began he found himself in more danger during his home visits than he did playing his clarinet! As home was the city of Plymouth he had personal experience of bombs falling. Dad's memories may not be in chronological order but are as he recalls them. His scariest moment was in 1941 as he was walking along a street which led off King Street towards the cathedral. All of a sudden a salvo of bombs whistled down the street and he actually thought that they would hit the back of his neck. On another occasion he was standing with his brother Ted watching as Jay's(a large store) in The Octagon was burning.Imagine his shock in the past few years when he was reading the book "Blitz of Plymouth". There on page 10 was a photo of the shop burning. dad says the photographer was actually there at the same time as them. Immediately before joining up dad had been a billiard marker at the "Devon County Club" in Coburg street. I believe this club was flattened during possibly the same raid.
We have always joked that Dad went through the war carrying nothing more dangerous than his clarinet. He still feels a little guilty that he spent many hours drinking Muscatel and eating fruit salad in East Africa. His only contact with the enemy was in North Africa. Some of the captured German soldiers had escaped. dad and his fellow musicians were expected to go after these troops to re-capture them.The only problem was that they were to be armed but given no ammo! As can be imagined they were not too keen. My dad was one of the lucky ones who survived WW11 and he will be 81 on the 6th Decmber 2003.

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Message 1 - Re: Memories of Plymouth Blitz

Posted on: 21 November 2003 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Hello Pat

I'm afraid you've posted your contribution on the wrong page. This is at the Army Research Desk.

The Army Research Desk is where members can seek help or ask questions relating mainly to the British and Empire armies in WW2; it is unlikely that your story will be read here.

Look in the left green column here. See 'Personal Story' under Contribute? Click on it. That will take you to the right page.

If you don't have a copy of your submission, just highlight it all. Then copy and paste it in.

Once you've finished your story, you can submit it to the Editorial Desk, where the People's War team will give it a quick check and then categorise it so that it's easier for other people to find it.


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