sets. They were inspiring lads to work with -- young men and not so young -- but all were very keen and eager to learn and clearly ready to fight to defend their locality.

The battalion meantime was in and out of 'front line beach positions' whilst in between times we trained and were generally at notice to be ready to move as a mobile reserve to repel whatever form of German attacked was launched, either by sea or air. Churchill at this time was advocating the strategy of keeping mobile reserves in readiness to deal with any attack no matter from where it came. The most likely invasion area was believed to be in the region of the south coast rather than the east side of the country which was thought to be a formidable undertaking for an attacker.

Late in 1941, the Battalion Signals Officer (S.O.) told me about a letter sent to all company commanders asking them to submit the name of anyone considered suitable to go to an Officers Selection Board. He said he would like to put my name forward, kindly saying he believed I would be a good officer. Such a thought had never occurred to me. It seemed miles above what I could ever aspire to, however after he had mentioned the possibility my mind raced forward excitedly at the idea and later replied that I would be agreeable. However, before being called to the Officers Selection Board I was selected to go with a small cadre being seconded to the Royal Air Force for the training of what proved to be the first echelons of the RAF Regiment. This followed a decision by Winston Churchill in June 1941, after the fall of Crete, that Air Force ground personnel at aerodromes should have to undergo "sharp, effective and severe military training in the use of their weapons and in all manouvres necessary for the defence of the aerodromes." I went as a corporal with an officer and two sergeants to train the ground staff at Waterbeach Airfield near Cambridge, a part of Bomber Command.
The idea of this assignment was to give me a chance to gain more experience as an instructor in basic weapon training and field tactics before appearing in front of the Officers Selection Board. It was just what I needed as most of my experience lay in signalling, and shows how well the Army plans things; clearly the 8th Royal Scots wanted me to succeed and my success would reflect on them. However, the assignment also proved to be dangerous. One day whilst assisting the training of senior RAF warrant officers to throw Mills 36 grenades, one Warrant Officer whilst aiming at the target let his grenade leave his hand sideways which struck me on the side of the head.

 


Page Links ~ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20,

21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30,

31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43,

44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50 Index