British gunner served with 57th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regt, Royal Artillery in GB, 1939-1941; NCO served with 69th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regt, Royal Artillery in North Africa, 1941-1943
REEL 1 Background on Isle of Wight, 1919-1939: family; education; reasons for joining Territorial Army. Recollections of period with 57th Heavy Anti-Aircraft, Royal Artillery in GB, 1939-1941: background to joining unit; guns operated by unit; role with radar section; stationing on Hayling Island; his voluntary work pulling down dangerous walls during Portsmouth Blitz, 1940; German Air Force attacks on Newport; public morale; influence of Winston Churchill's speeches; technique of box barrage used against German aircraft; reasons for move to St Boniface Down near Ventor. Recollections of operations as NCO with 69th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regt, Royal Artillery in North Africa, 1941-1942: background to posting to unit, 3/1941; character of route march on arrival Cairo; relations with Egyptian civilians; contrast between Italian and German POWs in Egypt; move to Tobruk aboard HMS Abdeil; disembarking in Tobruk harbour; character of tea; move to J Site.
REEL 2 Continues: terrain on Tobruk perimeter; anti-aircraft defence of Tobruk; attacks from German aircraft and long-range artillery; premature in barrel of his gun; living conditions on gun site at Tobruk; discovery of Royal Navy rations; supplementing water ration and bathing; attitude towards water; lifting of siege of Tobruk, 12/1941; effect of departure of 9th Australian Div and replacement by Polish Bde; relations between Australians and British troops; attitude of Polish troops towards Germans; dockers stealing of food at Tobruk; avoiding capture during fall of Tobruk, 6/1942; attitude to Lady Astor's censure of British troops using Egyptian brothels; impact on 8th Army's morale of Montgomery's arrival; role of anti-aircraft defence at El Alamein; nature of El Alamein barrage; sight of Axis POWs after El Alamein.
REEL 3 Continues: route westwards, 11/1942-1/1943; effect on guns of rain storm, 11/1942; story of arrival of beer during siege of Tobruk, 1941. Question of effect of rates of pay in Territorial Army, 1939. Aspects of operations with 69th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regt, Royal Artillery in Tobruk, 1941-1942: infestation of fleas; presence of wild cats; nature of sandstorms; attitude to service in desert; issue of beer on retreat from Tobruk, 6/1942. Story of propaganda photographs taken of Bechuana and Basuto servicemen in Syria.
Over two million American servicemen passed through Britain during the Second World War. In 1944, at the height of activity, up to half a million were based there with the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). Their job was to man and maintain the vast fleets of aircraft needed to attack German cities and industry.