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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Almost a Soldier

by tommych

Contributed by 
tommych
People in story: 
Thomas Christie
Location of story: 
Lisburn, Northern Ireland
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
A2729586
Contributed on: 
10 June 2004

During the war I was employed at the Ulster Transport workshops in University Street, Belfast. My job was to assemble bus and truck engines prior to their installation in vehicles in another workshop. Volunteers were called for to patrol the premises at night in case of intruders. Nothing much happened in the early stages so I decided to join the Army or Navy as some of my friends had done. I was not accepted as I had a bad knee injury caused by an industrial accident way back in 1937, so eventually I joined the Home Guard in Lisburn as I lived there.

Not long afterwards came the air raids and in Lisburn we were able, if we were on the Belfast Road area to watch the bombing as we had a good view over much of Belfast. We could hear the planes overhead and could see and hear the explosions. It was quite alarming even though we were seven miles away, so what is was like to be there in Belfast we could only imagine.

In the Home Guard we had shop assistants, a bank clerk, farm workers, bush drivers and many others. We had drill nights and also shooting practise at indoor and outdoor ranges. To my surprise I became a very good shot. We had battle dress uniforms, steel helmets and gas masks, and so it happened I turned out to be Almost a Soldier.

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