- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Ashley Leather
- Location of story:
- Background to story:
- Royal Navy
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 07 June 2005
This story was submitted to the Peoples War site by Anastasia Travers from CSV Action Desk on behalf of Ashley Leather and has been added to the site with his permission. Ashley Leather fully understands the sites terms and conditions.
1st and 2nd parts of Starborad Watch were stationed in the R.N.Barracks at Chatham. We were on weekend leave from 12 midday Saturday to 07.00 hours Monday. There was insufficient time to travel to my home in Ossett (West Yorkshire) so my pal Jeff Clements whose home was in Annerly (London suburb) invited me to go home with him. On arrival his mother immediately informed us there was a rumour that the Glen Miller Orchestra might be passing through London on the way back to an American airbase. The destination and time was not known but she thought that the Hammersmith Palaise seemed a likely venue.
After tea we duly set forth, I hadn’t a clue which direction I was travelling, just trusted Jeff to lead the way. People were gathering in small groups so the whispers had travelled far and wide. Eventually a large coach (American style) was seen approaching. A band with instruments at the ready soon piled into the Palaise and straight onto the stage. With their attractive vocalists and their overcoats still on, it soon began to feel like a Wembley football crowd.
No sooner had the orchestra struck up with ‘In the Mood’ I grabbed the young lady standing beside me and pulled her quickly onto the floor with the words ‘come on girl lets make history’. ‘Wha Eah’ (typical cockney girl) she replied. We only managed to dance once around the floor but it was of no consequence. We had danced to the music of the Glen Miller Orchestra. I said to the girl ‘stand still where you are and don’t attempt to move off, you won’t get on the floor again.’ Dancing was now impossible due to the increase in crowd. Within 45 minutes the Orchestra waved the crowd goodbye. I dragged the girl to the nearest exit and we were able to watch the Orchestra mount the coach steps one by one with a smile and half salute/wave from each member.
I believe this route of the orchestra was a deliberate attempt to raise people’s morale. On reflection, so much for the slogan ‘careless talk costs lives.’ I was pleased to think that my impulse to pull a young lady onto the dance floor had given her an experience to talk of for the rest of her life.
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