British gunner and NCO served with 467 Bty 72nd Regt Royal Artillery in GB, 1938-1942; officer cadet served with Officer Cadet Training Unit in GB, 1942-1943; officer served with 8th Bn Middlesex Regt in GB and North West Europe, 1943-1945; served with 8th Bn Middlesex Regt and Cheshire Regt in German and GB, 1945-1947
REEL 1 Background in Richmond, GB, 1921-1938: family; education; civilian work. Aspects of period as gunner and NCO with 467 Bty 72nd Regt Royal Artillery in GB, 1938-1942: joining of Territorial Army; uniform and kit issued; details of unit and searchlights; make-up and roles of searchlight team; weapons issued at start of war; pattern of training; background of NCOs and officers; physical training; annual camp, 1939; knowledge of approaching war; posting to Slough Trading Estate; reaction of mother to war; accommodation; rations; background of battery members; atmosphere in battery; guard duties in Slough; separation of battery and posting to East Anglia; promotion to lance bombardier; spread of battery; changes to equipment including further promotions; details of battery transport and site; contact with officers; air activity including use of searchlights; application to become officer including opinion of reason for selection; posting on wedding day to pre-OCTU. Aspects of period as officer cadet with Officer Cadet Training Unit in GB, 10/1942-5/1943: fitness training at pre-OCTU in Wrotham.
REEL 2 Continues: details of camp and staff at Wrotham; coping with course; background of cadets; cadets returned to unit; reveille; assault courses; reaction to end of course; posting to Heysham Towers; pattern of training on OCTU course; role of training; exercises on Lancashire Moors; story of accident; method of digging trenches with grenades; tactical training including learning about structure of army; friends in unit; application for regiment; later opinion of decision to apply for Middlesex Regiment; leisure activities including details of Morecambe; passing out parade; buying of uniform. Aspects of period as officer with 8th Bn Middlesex Regt in GB, 5/1943-6/1944: posting in Margate area; reception on arrival; accommodation; settling into battalion; role and make-up of battalion; posting to and make-up of machine-gun platoon; details and use of Vickers machine-guns.
REEL 3 Continues: background of platoon members; selection of platoon members for different roles; training of platoon including courses personally attended; spread of battalion through 43rd Division and platoon through 214 Brigade; activities when in action; details of exercises; knowledge of future role; opinion of training; fates of troops in North West Europe; relationship with troops; period in sealed camp at Hastings; visits from and opinion of Montgomery; reactions to approaching action; journey to Tilbury including scenes of V-1s and reception from civilians; loss of 43rd Reconnaissance Regiment; details of wait offshore; atmosphere among troops; continued contact with platoon members; relationship with troops; problems with impetigo during wait offshore; voyage to beach. Aspects of operations as officer with 8th Bn Middlesex Regt in North West Europe, 6/1944-5/1945: scenes on beach including treatment of collaborators; movement up beach.
REEL 4 Continues: movement inland; forming-up area; first night in France; explanation of O Groups; memories of Platoon Sergeant Stickler; details of brigade and battalion O Groups including opinion of maps; start and finish lines; reactions to situation; movement into positions; description of first action including casualties and medical support; preparations and activities before first action; situation in Normandy including opposition faced; activities of Hitler Youth SS including removal of rank badges; knowledge of success; support given to Canadian troops during attack on Carpiquet Airfield; positions taken in Normandy; mention of platoon in dispatches; results of attack on Carpiquet; conditions during period in Normandy; casualties; reactions of troops to situation; details of reinforcements; examples of open sight firing including at Hill 112.
REEL 5 Continues: smells and scenes in Normandy and at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp; situation and casualties at Hill 112; shell shocked troops; scenes of tank warfare; breakout from area; scenes and events in Falaise Gap including clearance of roads; advance to Seine; earlier rest period in Bayeux including reactions on return to front and absorption of reinforcements; arrival and situation at Vernon; support fire given for crossing and bridging of Seine; visits to Paris during rest period including relationship with civilians and treatment of collaborators; problems with supply lines; period in Brussels including briefings on Operation Market Garden; journey in column to Nijmegen; scenes of landings; crossing of Nijmegen Bridge; opinion of reason for not reaching Arnhem including terrain; role of 43rd Division; scenes of withdrawing Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade.
REEL 6 Continues: opposition faced; terrain; withdrawal to and state of Nijmegen; German attacks on bridge and river including Monty’s moonlight; posting in Ardennes including relationship with civilians; posting to Brunssum; relationship with civilians; details of advance into Germany; story of destruction of wood positioned in including reactions; withdrawal from positions and mental state; loss of fellow officer; contact with senior officers; story of barn fire; crossing of Rhine; advance beyond Rhine; first knowledge of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp; journey to and arrival at Bergen-Belsen; scenes and smells in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp; attitude to Germans; later visit to an Aryan breeding camp; reasons for fighting.
REEL 7 Continues: mopping-up of final opposition in Hannover-Bremen area; attitude to and of surrendering German troops; changes to behaviour during active service. Aspects of period as officer with 8th Bn Middlesex Regt and Cheshire Regt in Germany and GB, 5/1945-1947: arrival on River Elbe and orders received from Montgomery; knowledge of Russian troops; offer of permanent commission; posting to Colchester, 6/1945; training given to ex-POWs including attitude of students; posting to Cheshire Regiment at Mold, 8/1945; wait for demobilisation. Aspects of period as civilian in GB from 1947: decision to use leadership skills; civilian work including further education and process of demobilisation at Chester; mental effects of service; elements missed about army life; physical effects of service; opinion of treatment of veterans including involvement with Christchurch British Legion; effects of stress on troops; writing to families of casualties; mail received and sent; contact with displaced persons.