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15 October 2014
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Gosforth Park Training Days: 9th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers

by ambervalley

Contributed by 
People in story: 
George Thomas Smith known as Tom Smith
Location of story: 
Gosforth Park
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
24 June 2004

Me aged 17 during training

When I joined the army at the age of seventeen, to join the fortnights camp that they had, it took me onto being in the army full time.
1st September 1939 I was called up, my 21st birthday.My training for the army took place in Newcastle around the racecourse, it was called Gosforth Park. We were in the barracks and the airmen were also stationed there although we were seperate, we used to call them the brill cream boys.

Whilst I was there manning the guns around the aircraft, there were old fashioned two winged Gloucester Gladiators and that was where I saw my first German, I was only there a month and this plane came and flew over the harbour, our aircraft shot him down in Durage Bay and they took a photograph of the German Pilot on his single wing of the airplane whilst it was still in the sea. The RAF boat went out into the harbour and picked the soldier up and they marched him up the town to the drill hall, where we were, then they transferred him up to the airport to the guard room and they did ask me personally as well as a few other newcomers to go up to have a look at him because we had never seen the enemy before. He was just the same as us young and smart.

This was where I got my nickname which was Mesh and I got it because when the plane came over I shouted out look out lads here comes a mesh short for Mechaschmidt, the equivalent to our spitfire.

We used to go out with the lorries from Gosforth Park, all around the county, I was also a dispatch rider on a motorcycle, we used to do a little bit of everything.

Within a fortnight we were in France.

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