- Contributed by
- Warwickshire Libraries Heritage and Trading Standards
- People in story:
- Joanne Heritage
- Location of story:
- Bude, Sheerness, Isle of Sheppey
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 01 June 2005
I was conscripted for military service into the A.T.S. on 20th November 1942. After passing my medical (A1) at Coventry, I travelled to Pontefract in Yorkshire where I was issued with my uniform, given vaccinations and completed a basic training programme. After the passing out parade I was sent to Aberfield, near Reading, where 628 Battery was formed. Here I was trained as a spotter, to be able to identify our own and enemy aeroplanes. The Battery then travelled to Bude, in Cornwall, for firing practice at what we called a sleeve trailing behind one of our planes. After this training was completed the Battery was stationed near Sittingbourne, in Kent. There were ten spotters, of which two were on duty at any one time in the Command Post. We used a long telescope which gave us bearings and heights for the guns to target enemy planes. When there was no firing practice or air raids we had a log book into which we had to record the details and height of any of our own planes going over. The first time that we had to fire at an enemy plane during an air raid, there was a terrible accident when the shell from one of our guns backfired and killed one of our own gunners. He was only a lad of twenty-one years of age. The accident was fully investigated and we were assured that it was unlikely to happen again. It was a small consolation that we had shot down the enemy plane. As the war progressed the Battery was moved to the Isle of Sheppey, Sheerness. The Germans began to send the V2 Doodle Bugs over, and we had to sleep in tents alongside the Command Post to be ready for the constant shifts of night duty. A severe 'flu epidemic hit the post which ended up with most of us in the sick bay. I was taken to Sheerness Hospital to recover. In December 1944 I passed a refresher course at White Waltham, and then in 1945, after the war had ended on VE Day, 628 Battery was discharged. I was posted to Bramley dispatch unit, near Reading, on 2nd September 1945, and then demobbed on 9th May 1946. After enjoying a holiday in Blackpool, I returned to Rugby to work at the B.T.H. offices (British Thompson Houston).
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