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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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1939 - 1945 Wartime Experience: W H Smith and the Royal Fusiliers

by sydsteers

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People in story: 
Sydney John Steers
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12 November 2003

When the war broke out in September 1939 I was 16 1/4 years old and residing in a railway cottage in Islington, North London. Living in the cottage was my Father,Mother and myself. My Father was a railway employee with the Great Northern Railway, working at Kings Cross goods department in York Road, Islington.

The railway cottage backed onto the great northern main line railway, which ran from Kings Cross to Edinburgh. The railway employees employed at the Holloway cattle dock were requested to form a small detachment of home guard to guard the main line railway should parachutists be dropped in the vicinity of the railway. As I resided in the cottage which was located on the cattle dock I was asked whether I would like to join the home guard, which I did, the regiment was the Royal Fusiliers.

During the day I worked for W H Smith on Kings Cross station and at nighttime I took up my guard duty aside the railway line.

In October 1942 I was called up to serve with the army and was drafted and joined the Royal Fusiliers. I served with the 12th, 8th, and 2nd battalion in Egypt, Italy and Greece. The cap badge I was issued with when I joined the railway home guard remained with me throughout my army service.

I was demobbed in Greece in October 1946.

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