- Contributed by
- Stockton Libraries
- People in story:
- Joan Horner
- Location of story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 19 July 2005
I went in in 1943. Within 12 months I was a sergeant and a depot superintendent of CSD. There were 40 men, 10 POWs and 8 girls to work with every day. We fed 73,000 troops, it was very organised with transport and things like that. It was very work-related, a very organised job with transport and things like that. Every day was like a trial, it was all different every day.
We did the rations, which worked out as a 64th of an ounce. That was the way that some of the tins worked out, especially if it was a foreign tin.
There were mishaps all the time. We had the first doodlebug and the first rocket. The doodlebug, I watched it come down, and the first rocket came just over the top of us and shattered all of our windows and doors, we didn’t know whether our time was going to be up.
On a daily basis, we went on parade at 7.45 in the morning, and I had to manage all of the men, telling them what they had to do – they didn’t like being bossed around by a woman but that’s the way it had to be. The CO, when he first promoted me, I had two stripes and he called me into the office, giving me a big long lecture about how he had the best depot in the London district, and how he intended to keep it like that, and he gave me a lecture about it, and he said “I want you to be the depot superintendent.” I said that I didn’t want the job and he became very cross. He picked his cane up and brayed on the desk, his Alsatian dog was growling at me. He said “I’ve been trying for six months to get you that job, and you will do it because I tell you you will do it!” So that’s how I started looking after all of these men.
After parade, each day was different. Different people came every day for different rations. Some were due a week’s worth, others were due more. The prisoners were German POWs and they also came every day, doing a lot of the manual work. We all had to pitch in with the manual work. Everything went through us, D-Day and things like that, but we couldn’t divulge anything at all. I worked there for three and a half years.
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