Hayward, Geoff (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 18706
Department
Sound
Production date
1999
Subject period
Dimensions
  • whole: Duration 690, Number Of Items 23
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview
Creator
Category
sound

© IWM

Purchase & License
Object description

British motor mechanic served with Headquarters Sqdn, 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry in GB, 1942-1944; served as Sherman tank co-driver with B Sqdn, 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry in GB and North West Europe, 1944; served as ammunition lorry driver in MT Section, HQ Sqdn, 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry in North West Europe, 1944-1946; served as clerk with C Sqdn, 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards in Germany, 1946

Content description

REEL 1 Recollections of background in Slough and Harpenden, 1922-1939: father's work as engineer; education; sport and cycling activities; membership of Young Empire Builders; Boys Brigade activities; interest in mechanics; question of attending university; work in factory storeroom, 1938; work as insurance clerk in London, 1939-1939. REEL 2 Continues: question of approach of war; problems in securing lodgings on move with insurance firm to Harpenden, 9/1939-6/1941; service as motorcycle despatch rider with Harpenden Local Defence Volunteers and Home Guard;, 5?1940-6/1941; strafing from German aircraft; road accidents; examinations for Chartered Insurance Institute. Background to recruitment as trooper with Royal Armoured Corps at Edgware Recruiting Office, 16/6/1941: question of volunteering; rejection as trainee mechanic by RAF. REEL 3 Recollections of conditions of service, lifestyle and daily routine with D Sqdn, 51st Light Training Regt at Hooge Lines, Caterick Camp, 7/1941-1/1942: reception; hut accommodation; kitting out; polishing boots; effects of anti-gas treatment of uniform; kit inspections; guard duty; relationship with recruits and treatment of thieves; relationship with NCOs; food rations; tea; PT. REEL 4 Continues: route marches and condition of feet; drill; eye problem; drill; weapons training including rifle, bayonet, Bren gun and hand grenades; learning to drive lorry and obsolete tanks; method of repairing tank tracks; tank maintenance; wireless and map reading training; canteen; pay. REEL 5 Continues: passing out parade; stories illustrating relationship with NCO including orders to start shaving and punishment routine during route march; revolver training; elementary motor mechanic training in workshops; story of smoking concealed in old tanks; equipment. Attending course at civilian garage in Bournemouth, 1/1942-4/1942: instructional engine cut-outs; nature of syllabus including method of tuning engines; civilian instructors. Attending fitters' course at Armoured Fighting Vehicle Centre, Bovington Camp, 4/1942: trade test; practical demonstrations of problems with tracked and wheeled vehicles. REEL 6 Continues: course notebooks. Recollections of period as motor mechanic with Workshop, Headquarters Sqdn, 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry at Hove and Chailey, 5/1942-8/1942: reaction to swearing; reception as English in Scottish unit; opinion of various ORs and NCOs including Sergeant Dave Findlay and Fitter George Fraser; starting and driving Leyland lorry; question of reduction in strength of Workshop personnel following introduction of Light Aid Detachment; opinion of Colonel Scott and Major Grant; composition of HQ Coy; workshop equipment; comparison of fitters and motor mechanics; tool kits; electrical generator carried in Bren carrier; role of electrician. REEL 7 Continues: role of driver mechanics; routine maintenance and cleaning programmes; characteristics of Matilda and Valentine tanks; story of working on Morris Commercial Van; move to Chailey; story of visit home during exercise; repairing and riding motorcycle during move to East Anglia. Periods at Fornham All Saints and Chippenham Camp, 8/1942-6/1943: characteristics of Crusader tanks; question of superiority of German tanks; relationship with civilians; drinking habits; move to Chippenham, 10/1942. REEL 8 Continues: Nissen hut accommodation; rat problem; guard duty round tanks laagered in woods; fatigues; relationships with civilians and ORs; hospitalisation with pneumonia whilst on leave; reactions to cancellation of unit posting to Middle East; finger accident with Bren gun magazine; food rations; walks. Period at Rudston and Bridlington, 6/1943-3/1944: conditions of service; characteristics of Sherman tank. REEL 9 Continues: driving Bren carriers back to depot; driving petrol supply lorry during Exercise Blackcock including problems with leaking petrol cans, difficulty driving without lights at night, and rum ration; transport role during period at tank firing range at Kirkudbrightshire; role as co-driver in Sherman during Exercise Eagle including method of firing Browning machine gun and story of accidentally firing Browning whilst asleep; waterproofing test; relationship with civilians. Recollections of period at Warbury Barracks, Aldershot, 3/1944-6/1944: barrack accommodation; question of D Day secrecy. REEL 10 Continues: method of waterproofing Shermans and lorries; transfer as co-driver to Sherman commanded by Lieutenant John Darke in B Sqdn; roles and relationships within tank crew including Darke and Driver Ian Penman; nature of environment in Sherman including noise levels, layout, communication, temperature, helmets, seat and escape hatches; question of Sherman reputation for inflammability; reaction to news of D Day, 6/6/1944. REEL 11 Period at Gosport, 11/6/1944-15/6/1944. Voyage aboard Tank Landing Ship to Courcelles, Normandy, France, 15/6/1944-16/6/1944: send off; crossing English Channel; beach disembarkation. Recollections of conditions of service during period at Cully, 16/6/1944-15/6/1944: question of immediate action; cattle corpses; first impressions; camouflage; bivouacs; storage on rear of Sherman and question of possible fire risk; composition food rations; cooking arrangements including use of primus stove by tank crews; issue of biscuits and sweets. REEL 12 Continues: cigarette ration; absence of rum ration; question of looting; visit to knocked out German tanks; question of tank recognition; latrines; rubbish disposal. Recollections of Operation Epson, 26/6/1944-1/7/1944: preparations; role as leading Sherman during initial approach of B Sqdn to Cheux, 26/6/1944; story of talking to French civilian; nature of terrain; difficulty in crossing railway embankments; story illustrating difficulty in firing Browning accurately and capture of German POW; reaction to view of burning Churchill tanks; effects of German shellfire; periscope view; story of not obeying order to remove smouldering canvas from rear of tank whilst under German shellfire and question of personal morale. REEL 13 Continues: story of not obeying order to remove smouldering canvas from rear of tank whilst under German shellfire and question of crew reactions and effects of relative lack of experience as co-driver; reserve role during subsequent attack on Cheux, 26/6/1944. overnight laager arrangements; personal morale; situation, 27/6/1944; story of firing 75mm gun into woods; latrine arrangements in action; question of German booby traps; hull down position; reasons for tanks pulling back to overnight laager; effects of running over mine and workshop repairs, 28/6/1944; move to Hill 112 sector, 29/6/1944; restricted view through periscope of confused tank battle; glancing German shell hit on Sherman; story of firing Browning along hedge line; question of role of infantry. REEL 14 Continues; routine maintenance duties on Sherman during over night laager; situation and withdrawal from salient. Period in Norrey and Coleville, 1/7/1944-17/7/1944: transfer as co-driver in Honey tank commanded by Sergeant Bill Scott of Recce Troop; characteristics of Honey tank including 37 mm gun and use of smoke shells; method of driving Sherman; story of minor accident driving Sherman at Cully, 6/1944; opinion of Sergeant Bill Scott; question of reasons for transfer to Recce Troop; relationship with NCOs; question of removal of Honey turrets; reconnaissance patrols and problems in crossing railway embankments; story of reconnaissance to locate reported German Tiger tank including reaction to Scott volunteering, reputation of Tiger and cautious approach. REEL 15 Continues: story of reconnaissance to locate reported German Tiger tank including cautious approach and discovery Tiger was already destroyed; reasons for removal of Honey turrets; question of other crew members; washing. Recollections of Operation Goodwood, 18/7/1944: preparations and move up to Ranville; view of Allied air raid and preliminary bombardment; Recce Troop positions on ridge and reactions to view of heavy Sherman casualties during attack; casualties; withdrawal to Ranville; refusal to volunteer to remove corpses from tanks; effects of German air attack; renewal of attack, 19/7/1944; question of casualties; minimal role of Recce Troop; lanes through minefield, 18/7/1944. Recollections of period in Normandy, 7/1944-8/1944: re-organisation; exploring Ardenne Abbey; captured German half-track. REEL 16 Continues: status as spare personnel; use of captured German half-track; posting as ammunition lorry driver with MT Section, Headquarters Sqdn; driving Bedford QL lorry; situation; role as ammunition lorry driver including collection of ammunition, shell packs, different types of shells and amount of ammunition carried; travelling with supply column to rendezvous with tanks at overnight laager; water trailer; story of coming under nebelwerfer fire during daytime rendezvous with tanks; ammunition storage in Sherman; special 'sabu' armour piercing shells; origin of nickname 'Ronson' for Shermans; question of taking cover. REEL 17 Continues: rendezvous with tanks at overnight laager; question of maps; opinion of Sergeant Paddy Ryan; food rations. Recollections of advance to Netherlands, 8/1944-9/1944: scene on passing through Falaise sector; crossing River Seine at Vernon, 28/8/1944; convoy discipline and use of back axle lights; opinion of Quartermaster Sergeant Tommy Wilmot; story of losing and regaining column during night drive to Amiens; pre-war visit to Europe, 1937; reception from French civilians at Lens; move into Belgium; problem with oil gauge; reception from Belgian civilians and meeting resident British citizen in Antwerp; move to Nijmegen in failed attempt to relieve Arnhem forces; weather; movements. REEL 18 Continues: story of taking petrol supplies up to tanks; threat from isolated parties of Germans and personal weapons; awareness of necessity for quick evacuation of ammunition lorry; question of mines and booby traps; German souvenirs; reception from Dutch civilians; letter and parcel contact with GB; question of leave and courses. Period at Ijselstein and Helmund, ca 10/1944-12/1944: method of constructing and heating dugout; local leave in Antwerp; reaction to V2 explosion on Rex Cinema; abandoning dugouts; opinion of Major Grant. REEL 19 Continues: handing in Shermans at Helmund, 12/1944. Recollections of period at Ypres, 12/1944: question of timing of move; story of leaving convoy and falling asleep during drive to Ypres; fatigue; wine shop billets; story of meeting future wife; story of missing curfew; storage of ammunition; journey to fetch lorry load of coal; developing relationship with future Belgian wife. Recollections of operations in Ardennes, 20/12/1944-14/1/1945: collection of Shermans; journey to Falmignoul; cafe billet; close escape from German shellfire whilst taking ammunition with supply column to Bure; situation; story of being strafed by Allied aircraft whilst exploring local sector. Recollections of period in Ypres, 1/1945-: driving tank crews to Comet tank firing practice at Grevelines. REEL 20 Continues: opinion of Comet; independent role as lorry driver; Christmas celebration, 21/1/1945; question of rebuilding of Ypres after First World War damage; engagement; issue of medal ribbons and story of being punished by Major Grant for not wearing ribbons; story of Armourer William Paton throwing excess Browning into moat prior to inspection; move to billet at veterinary surgeons; visit by Montgomery, 10/3/1945; question of send off from Belgian civilians. Recollections of advance to Rhine and into Germany, 1/1945-5/1945: period at Montaigu; mobile bath unit and washing arrangements; pontoon bridge crossing of Rhine at Wesel; relationship with German civilians; question of war damage; story of getting bogged down in muddy conditions. REEL 21 Continues: prior use of snow chains; view of air armada, 23/2/1945; wet weather; use of primus stove in back of lorry and problem with constant moves; attack by German aircraft and reactions of nearby German civilians; passing close to Hanover; story of shooting sown German aircraft; story of drive to collect petrol supplies from Netherlands; question of German shellfire; German refugees in Lubeck area; GB leave, 5/5/1945-25/5/1945 including journey via various transit camps, question of VE Day celebration, 8/5/1945, visit to fiancée in Ypres whilst AWOL and subsequently rejoining unit. Recollections of period at Bredstedt, 5/1945-1/1946: question of religion in Germany; billets; question of non-fraternisation and subsequent relationship with German civilians; question of black market. REEL 22 Continues: return to high standards of appearance; extra lorry maintenance; driving troops on liberty trips; local leave on Fohr Island, 8/1945; VJ Day, 15/8/1945; recreations; food supply for German civilians; Displaced Persons Camps; leave in Paris, 8/1945; question of decision to marry Belgian woman and leave in Ypres; educational courses; disbandment of unit due to demobilisation process. Recollections of period with C Sqdn, 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards at Itzaho and Munster, 1/1946-9/1946: work as clerk in pay office; religious course; boredom; marriage in Ypres, 27/5/1946; absence of married quarters; honeymoon; question of demobilisation. Return to GB, 9/1946. REEL 23 Demobilisation procedure at Guildford, 9/1946. Post-war career: prior arrival of Belgian wife and her acclimatisation process; question of choice of career; return to work as insurance clerk; housing problem; change of insurance company and move to Leeds; background to formation of South of the Border Fife and Forfar Yeomanry Regimental Association, 1996.

Associated people and organisations
Associated places
Associated events

IWM Non Commercial Licence

The media for this item are free to reuse for non-commercial purposes under the IWM Non Commercial Licence. Video, sound and images can be embedded with the code we offer here, and images can also be downloaded.

By downloading any images or embedding any media, you agree to the terms and conditions of the IWM Non Commercial Licence, including your use of the attribution statement specified by IWM. For this item, that is: © IWM

  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML