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Commissioned Officer

by WMCSVActionDesk

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Archive List > British Army

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Arthur Musson
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Background to story: 
Civilian Force
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Contributed on: 
10 August 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Jabulani Chwaula from WM CSV Action Desk on behalf of Arthur Musson and has been added to the site with his permission. Arthur Musson fully understands the sites terms and conditions.

Periodically we had major exercises at the weekends. On one occasion we were defending Birmingham against the army and the Americans. I believe this exercise got pretty rough at times.

Our company stopped one officer at a check point and found that the photograph on his pass was of Hitler. He had already been stopped many times before, and it had not been noticed.

On another occasion we were attacking Coventry. After been taken by bus to the outskirts of the town in the early morning, we debussed in darkness and with all signposts having been removed due to the war, we had not a clue as to our whereabouts.

Our Battalion intelligence officer noticed a telephone kiosk nearby, so he contacted the operator and gave the kiosk number and asked if she could give him the location, which she did without hesitation.
Security had broken down again.

The battalion wanted to recruit more commissioned officers. Our battalion commander, Lt,Col.Walker decide to organise an Officer Cadet Training Unit (O.C.T.U) the first in the area. I applied and was accepted. After we were well advanced on the course, Zone, who controlled all the Home guard Battalions in the midlands area, decided it was a good idea and started their own training programme to which we had to transfer and start again.

I eventually got my commission and was appointed Company Intelligence Officer and later acting Battalion Intelligence Officer.

Officers did one night duty about every three weeks staying at Battalion headquarters on the Lichfield road near Aston railway station. During the night when on duty we had to visit all of the factories in the Aston area who had home guard units in D-company, call out their guards and inspect them. There were 10 to 12 units in all.

During this period I gave lectures on intelligence and security, Stun guns and map reading.

We had a weekend training exercise at Ettington Park, Warwickshire under canvas. A dawn exercise had been planned, but as the weather was so dreadful we hoped it would be cancelled. I was duty officer on the day and at about 5AM, the Major came round to tell me to get the men up. I went round all of the tents in pouring rain getting everyone up.

I am sure I was not the most popular person on site that morning.

Having got all the troops up I was then informed that the exercise had been cancelled and that I had to go round again to tell them that they could go to the kitchens and get a cup of tea.

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