British NCO served with with 9th Bn, Manchester Regt in GB, North West Europe, Iceland, North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Greece and Austria, 1930-1945
REEL 1 Recollections of background in Hurst, Ashton under Lyme, 1916-1939: social circumstances; education; sporting activities; Boys Brigade activities; recruitment and service as band boy with 9th Bn, Manchester Regt at old Street Drill Hall, Ashton under Lyne, 1930-1939, including band practice, annual camps and difference between brass and military bands; playing in village brass band; various jobs; mobilisation, 1/9/1939; interest in promotion; outbreak of war, 3/9/1939. Period at Whitley Bay, 9/1939-12/1939: tent accommodation; training as stretcher bearers; promotion to corporal; first aid training; guard duty; opinion of Major Hall; posting as stretcher bearer to C Coy. Periods in Norfolk and Suffolk, 1939-1940: German bombing raid on Southwold.
REEL 2 guard duties; reaction to armylifestyle; taking over camp from Polish unit; crossing to France. Aspects of operations in France, 1940: prior learning to drive lorry; movements; personal morale; situation; acting as stretcher bearer; Stuka attacks on beach at La Panne; move to Dunkirk; German shell fire on Dunkirk mole; story of treating casualty and evacuation aboard HMS Wolsely to Dover. Various aspects of periods in GB and Iceland, 1940-1943: reorganisation of unit; movements; question of recommendation for MM; guard duties; period in Shetland Islands; move to Iceland; question of pro-German sympathies of Iceland civilians; arrival of US troops; move to Scotland. Various aspects of operations in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Greece and Austria, 1943-1945: voyage to Algiers, Algeria; movements; promotion to company quartermaster of B Coy.
REEL 3 Continues: invasion of Sicily, 7/1943; role supplying B Coy; nature of fighting in Italy; German shell fire and personal morale; story of death of Major Durham-Reid at Coriano Ridge; duties on promotion to company sergeant major and regimental quartermaster; relationship with Italian civilians; situation at Monte Cassino, 1944; period on internal security duties at Athens; advance into Austria, 1945; question of remaining in army as quartermaster. Demobilisation, 1946. Post-war career: return to work; attending Victory Parade; brief return as territorial regimental quartermaster sergeant with 9th Bn, MR; old comrades association; effects of war service; father's war service.
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.