Corbould, William Robert (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 23216
Department
Sound
Production date
2002-06-14
Subject period
Dimensions
  • whole: Duration 420, Number Of Items 14
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview
Creator
Category
sound

© IWM

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Object description

British private served with 70th Bn The Buffs in GB, 1940-1941; cadet at Royal Military College, Sandhurst, GB, 1941; officer served with Training, Holding and 6th Bn Coldstream Guards, 33rd Guards Bde in GB, 1941-1942; served with 2nd Bn Coldstream Guards, 1st Guards Bde in Algeria, Tunisia and Italy, 1942-1944; served as ADC to Field Marshal Alexander in Italy, 1944-1945; served with 2nd Bn Coldstream Guards in Italy, 1945; served as adjutant of Officer Training School, Bangalore, India, 1945-1947; served with 5th Bn Parachute Regt in GB and Germany, 1947-1948; served as adjutant of Airborne Forces Depot, Aldershot, GB, 1948-1958; served with 1st Bn Parachute Regt in GB, 1958-1959; served as staff officer attached to 38 Group, RAF in GB, 1959-1961; served with 10th Bn Parachute Regt in GB, 1962-1963; served as regimental adjutant of Parachute Regt in GB, 1964-1965; served as staff officer with British Defence Liaison Staff in Australia, 1966-1969; served as staff officer with South East District Headquarters at Aldershot, GB, 1970-1972; served as Commandant of Sennybridge Ranges, GB, 1973-1977

Content description

REEL 1 Background in GB, 1922-1939: family connections with Coldstream Guards; training with OTC at Westminster School; memories of Peter Ustinov; degree of anticipation of Second World War. Aspects of period as private with 70th Bn The Buffs in GB, 1940-1941: medical examination and state of fitness; coastal defence duties in Dover area; mixing with other recruits; deployment in sections; defence of RAF Hawkinge; opinion of RAF fighter pilots. Aspects of period as officer cadet at OCTU at Royal Military College, Sandhurst, 1941: accommodation; parades and lectures; character of training; physical training exercises; two occasions when was punished for breaches in discipline. REEL 2 Continues: method of assessment; passing out parades; use of batman. Aspects of period as officer with Training Bn, Coldstream Guards at Pirbright Camp, 1941: reception on arrival; joining young officer's course; importance of knowing everyman in platoon; opinion of his Guardsmen; establishing command over platoon; character of NCOs; field training and battle drills; emphasis on shooting; emphasis on shooting. Aspects of period as officer with Holding Bn, Coldstream Guards in GB, 1941-1942: public duties in London; guard duties at Chequers; impressions of Winston Churchill; breach of security at Chequers; defences at Chequers; question of security at Chequers; Guardsmen's appreciation of importance of their guard duties at Chequers. Aspects of period as officer with 6th Bn Coldstream Guards in GB, 1942-1943: posting to unit; unit duties; attempts to get onto active service; training on Wanstead Flats; role as anti-tank officer. REEL 3 Continues: use and opinion of 6 Pounder Anti-Tank guns; opinion of Boyes Anti-Tank Rifle; attachment to 33rd Guards Bde headquarters as liaison officer; use of Bren Gun Carriers; staff of brigade headquarters; hazards of riding motorcycle; brigade exercise on Salisbury Plain. Recollections of period as officer with 2nd Bn Coldstream Guards, 1st Guards Bde in Algeria and Tunisia, 1942-1943: character of voyage to Algeria; arrival in Bone; attending platoon commander's course and anti- tank course; demonstration of parachute drop by 10th Bn Parachute Regt; state of health; role censoring letters; effect on morale of receiving mail from GB. Aspects of period as officer with 2nd Bn Coldstream Guards, 1st Guards Bde in Italy, 1943-1944: move to Italy; promotion to full lieutenant; impressions of Italy; opinion of guardsmen; move north from Naples in transport. REEL 4 Continues: relations with Italian civilians; training in San Petito. Recollections of operations as officer with 16 Platoon, 2nd Bn Coldstream Guards, 1st Guards Bde at Monte Cassino, Italy, 1944: nature of fighting at Monte Cassino; approach on foot to positions at Monte Cassino including use of dead bodies for direction; move into positions; wounding in German attack on positions; living conditions; nighttime visits to section; patrolling; visibility; distance from German positions; daytime activities; re-supply; further details of wounding; walk to regimental aid post; evacuation to Benevento and return to unit; positions in castle; effect of direct hit on box of grenades; positions above Germans in town; platoon spirit; story of return to unit after wounding; night approach to castle; German positions in monastery; fall of Monte Cassino; bombardment at start of Operation Honker; sight of Polish troops returning after capture of monastery; behaviour of German POWs. REEL 5 Continues: Recollections of operations as officer with 2nd Bn Coldsteam Guards, 1st Guard Bde in Italy, 1944: incident of improper German behaviour at Arce; advance with tanks; terrain and German positions on ridge at Monte Piccolo; method of officers communicating; character of fighting for Acre; German counter attacks; problems using grenades; lack of casualties during attack at Acre; performance of Bren gun; personal weapons carried; officer's use of pinafore to disguise badges of rank; German withdrawal; travelling on Sherman tanks including communication with tank commanders; entry into Rome; narrow escape by officer during attack in cornfield north of Rome; countering German delaying tactics; outcome of action in cornfield; period of rest out of line; surrender of German sniper near Arezzo; wounding on start line at Arezzo,15/7/1944; evacuation by stretcher bearers. Aspects of period as ADC to Field Marshal Alexander in Italy, 1944-1945: background to taking over role at headquarters Caserta; duties looking after VIPs; memories of Field Marshal Alexander; operations at Caserta; impressions of Field Marshal 'Jumbo' Wilson. REEL 6 Continues: renewing acquaintance with Winston Churchill; security role at headquarters during Churchill's visits; Alexander's accommodation at headquarters; military visitors; memories of Harold Macmillan; memories of General Anders; visit to Tito's headquarters in Yugoslavia; Field Marshal Alexander's views on women; security measures for conference with Tito; relations with Yugoslavian Partisans; amusing story relating to Lyman Lemnitzer on visit to Yugoslavia; background to return to unit; opinion of security at headquarters; opinion of Italians. Aspects of operations as officer with 4 Coy, 2nd Bn Coldstream Guards in Italy, 1945: crossing of River Po; unit casualties after German 88mm hit on unit transport, 4/1945; role as second in command of company; victory celebrations at Monfalcone, 5/1945; dealing with Yugoslavian threat at Montfalcone; impressions of Yugoslavian Partisans; attitude of troops to Yugoslavian threat; posting to India. REEL 7 Continues: Recollections of period as adjutant at Officer Training School in Bangalore, India, 1945-1947: reaction to news of dropping of atomic bomb; arrival in Bombay; impressions of India; mixed Indian and British cadet platoons; syllabus training; emphasis on fitness; incident of cadet dying during course; problems with Indian Nationalist instructor; question of officers' wives; relations with Indian civilians; tensions caused by nationalism in Bangalore; strong measures taken against racism; lack of disciplinary problems; his command style; conduct of Gurkhas on Partition. Recollections of period as officer with 5th Bn Parachute Regt in GB and Germany, 1947-1948: keenness to join airborne forces; character of parachute training; reasons why reserve parachute became popular; joining unit; posting to Germany; strength of unit; proposed role in Germany; role as commanding officer of B Coy; relations with brigade commander. REEL 8 Continues: prior recollection of attending dinner with King George the Sixth in Algeria, 1943; repercussions of clash of views with commanding officer in Germany. Recollections of period as adjutant at Airborne Forces Depot, Aldershot, 1948-1958: duties as adjutant; duties running Recruit Coy; incident of unpromising recruit who became champion recruit; training syllabus; selection of recruits; role of regimental wives; character of recruits; dealing with reservists during Suez Crisis, 1956. REEL 9 Continues: breaking ankle during drop on Frensham Common. Aspects of period as officer with S Coy, 1st Bn Parachute Regt in GB, 1958- 1959: joining unit; improvements in equipment; exercises in Norway. Recollections of period as G2 Airborne with 38 Group, RAF in GB, 1959- 1961: number of deployments around world; relations with RAF colleagues; selection of dropping zones; reconnaissance of potential dropping zones; impressions of situation in Cyprus; lack of practical drop zones in South Arabian Peninsula; attending Pakistan Air Force Staff College; obtaining transport from RAF. REEL 10 Continues: conduct of staff meetings; liaison with RAF officers to draft operational orders; restrictions on flying time of aircrews; character of Exercise Starlight in Libya; capacity of Blackburn Beverley as parachuting platform; response times of airborne forces for rapid deployment. Recollections of period as training officer with 10th Bn Parachute Regt in London, 1962-1963: posting to territorial unit; character of unit; clash with commanding officer; catchment area for recruits; location of headquarters and companies; levels of skills and training; exercises in Cyprus and Germany; mobilisation role of unit; performance of unit in field; character of duties; training programme; weapons training in Aldershot area; style of discipline in territorial army; importance. Aspects of period as Regimental Adjutant of Parachute Regt in GB, 1964-1965: appointment and duties; selection of officers. REEL 11 Continues: memories of visit to Arnhem, 1964; qualities required of potential officers; visit to Bahrain; sources of officers for regiment; visit to Trucial Oman Scouts at Sharjah; visit to Netherlands with massed bands; recruitment and training of musicians; lack of problems in recruiting officers and men; regimental spirit. Recollections of period as staff officer with British Defence Liaison Staff in Australia, 1966-1969: background to posting; role as military adviser to High Commissioner; rule against British military involvement in Vietnam; visits to Australian battalions preparing for service in Vietnam; Australian criticism of Americans in Vietnam; reaction to offer of transfer to Australian Army; importance of establishing social links. REEL 12 Continues: British battalions on jungle training in Queensland; visit to New Zealand; differences between Australians and New Zealanders to military; visit to Papua-New Guinea; role of Pacific Islands Regt; state of hospitals; arrest of British military personnel in Fremantle; number of British personnel in Australia; attitude to serving in Australia. Story of commanding three month military tattoo tour of US and Canada, 1969 including demonstrations by Irish Americans in New York. Recollections of period as G1 with South East District Headquarters in Aldershot, 1970- 1972: duties; development of Civil Defence role and contacts with London District; number of staff at headquarters. REEL 13 Continues: conduct of duties; struggles against Inspectorate of Establishments; reasons for new emphasis on Civil Defence; relations with Fire and Ambulance services; relations with Women's Royal Army Corps; casualties and damage from IRA bomb attack on Parachute Regt Mess, 2/1972; difficulties of implementing counter terrorist measures; personal security measures; liaison with police; security implications during Queen's Review of Household Division, 1972; story of encounter with Lord Louis Mountbatten and Field Marshal Templer's reaction. Recollections of period as Commandant of Sennybridge Ranges, 1973-1977: situation on arrival; removal of quartermaster; concerns for guns firing over main road; visits to impact area; incident of finding woman and child on anti-tank range; effect of his purge on staff. REEL 14 Continues: story of receiving threatening letter; technical improvements to ranges; scale of training possible. Career on leaving army. Attitude to having served in British Army.

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