A little bit of history.

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by hotel_california, Jul 26, 2012.

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  1. hotel_california

    hotel_california LE Book Reviewer

    Gentlemen,
    To introduce myself, I am involved in a project to get older people to learn and use IT skills. One of the projects I try to encourage is to write and publish stories. As many of the people I teach are well on the wrong side of sixty, may have amazing tales to tell. This is one story from an old and bold para. I have more of his stories, and I will share them if I get a good response. He joined in 1942 first jumping from the Whitley. He's getting on a bit so please dont crayon over his grammar and spelling.

    1942 RAF Ringway.

    Now my first jump, we go up in a balloon after you are sent to draw chutes from a window inside a hanger (you not allowed in the main hanger). This is a part partitioned off , the area where the chutes are dried out and packed . It is a very clean place and the benches are highly polished (or were then in my days) , and the WAAFS packed the chutes then .
    Now our SGT RAF Instructor was a Welshman , SGT Evans. Now at the time I was going through Ringway he had done over 500 jumps so that gives you a little up lift. But as soon as he said “OK gentlemen , this morning you draw chutes” well, from that minute your belly has now got bloody great elephants in it all wanting to get out at same time . So off to the toilets (yes and many others follow you ) Sgt Evans laughs his head off . “Well lads that's OK , that's perfectly normal for that to happen , but after today you do not go to the toilet again , this is the unknown to you , so we all make it easy for you”.
    Right off in a lorry to Tatton Park jumping area , a big open park area with lakes in it. Two balloons all readied by the RAF. We disembark and five to each balloon and jump master Sgt Evans up with us. Now down on the ground is all hell let loose , everyone chatting away , when on-board the balloon it’s a side door exit . Sgt numbers us off , I'm last to drop . Sgt shouts “up 800 and 6 to drop” , I look there's only five of us, but the Sgt has a parachute as well and he going to do another drop. Right up we go and, within a few feet off the ground ,it becomes very silent . Only the wind going through the cables , and then as you say the jokes start by Sgt Evans; no one cracks a face , we are too bloody scared , but he keeps this up till he looks down and there's a red light, then a green, No 1 stand in door , go! , with a mighty shout well he’s gone , then No 2 and so on till me No5, stand in door then a pat on the back and a shout go! And I am gone. Now I am dropping at 32 feet per second per second so the next second you have now dropped 64 feet and so on for at least 150 feet and then your chute cracks open , you look up and it's a lovely sight , then a tannoy , shouts get out of you seat straps of the chute (yes done that) , you are coming forward , feet and knees close together , legs slightly bent , do not reach for the ground all this is being tannoyed to you , right in you come forward , hit the ground , roll like a bag of shit , lovely down all in one piece , chute to clasps so pull on one of lift webs , till chute flat , on ground , then stand up , and roll up chute take to lorry , for repacking , well one down , 7 more to go , and yes it was OK , Now the next jump was from an aircraft but you are not so uptight everything is under control , and yes there's always that little bit of fear , which the Sgt says is good , it keeps you on your toes. He said a man without fear is dangerous, that's why you are put through this training.
     
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  2. This is good stuff. It would be a really good idea if everyone persuaded Ww2 veterans to write down their stories or record thembefore its too late.
     
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  3. The mrs' dad was a tankie in WWII. You have to get him pissed and he spins some gritty yarns.

    More of these stories please.
     
  4. maninblack

    maninblack LE Book Reviewer

    I heard second hand stories via my mother from her late brother: ex SAS and Para signaller. They sounded just like this.
     
  5. sirbhp

    sirbhp LE Book Reviewer

    I met a chap from the OSS later CIA a few years back at a function . He reminded me of Benny out of top cat .
    Any way just after the war he was posted as a field op to Ringway where his job was to buy Whores drinks and bung them a poind or two each week. The idea being that he would get tabs on people nicking , booze , tool kits etc from the base and fuelling the black market with uncle Sam's goodies.

    The odd Jeep went diffy as well but the shit hit the fan when a whole Dacota engine disappeared. ( Possibly to Israel )
     
  6. hotel_california

    hotel_california LE Book Reviewer

    Another short story from the very old and the very bold......

    I was 17 years old when I joined the Army, but the Army thought I was 18 - that was until ‘till my mum sent me a birthday card with the 18 on it! My officer put me in front of my CO and yes, I got a bollocking from him. But it was too late as I was 18.

    After I done my basic 6 weeks to sort the wheat from the chaff at BRITANNIA BARRACKS NORWICH, I volunteered for The Paras, so off to Shorncliff Barracks , Kent for 6 weeks then off to HARDWICK HALL. Well that was when they did sort you out . We called them bearded wonders who tested you if you to see if you would jump or not, and about one third were RTU’d . After that six weeks, off to RINGWAY then to PIDDLEHINTON CAMP DORSET, not far from LULWORTH COVE for cliff climbing, then off to the ISLE OF WIGHT BARRACKS.
    Now they want 300 men for a job that we did not know what for, but they came and picked men that they thought were a bit above the rest. Well, off we go to Sloan Square and Baker Street in London the then home training for the SOE, but we were sent to learn a language; Malayan (a crash course). That done we had good idea where we were going so off to RAF BORNE for transport in B24’s, bomb bays sealed for seating. It took 24 of us and full kit as well. So 13 aircraft off to INDIA we go, 5 days flying. First stop was MARSEILLES, it just been captured and had German writing on the signs like “shizenhousen” . Next stop is CASTLE BENITO then CAIRO WEST, KARACHI, then POONA where we kitted out with jungle kit. We then set off by train for 2000 miles to CHUKLALA for parachute training again, then BILPURPOR for more jungle training, then in a Dakota C47s, we are off to drop at then BATAVIA. We are now FORCE 136, POW Rescue and as the Japs have said they are going to kill all POWs, Mountbatten said to us save as many as you can. We are now hundreds of miles behind enemy lines. After that we were on policing JAKARTA for a little while, then back to Singapore for the war crime trials. We then joined then the 12th battalion Para as they had taken over CHANGI JAIL (that's where we hanged them 9 a day!).
    [FONT=&quot] War is over on our way home! But coming through MALACCA STRAIGHTS, we are told you are now diverted to PALESTINE so we ended up there. 12 battalion Para got disbanded so we are posted to the 6th Battalion Para and that's where I stayed till demob .In FORCE 136 ,we went to BORNEO , SARAWAK , FRENCH INDOCHINA , then SINGAPORE, I say I was a lucky one to have travelled all over that area, for free, and INDIA , then the unholy land , Palestine [/FONT]
     
  7. HC, is there a link to your project? My uncle is a 'silver surfer' and an ex-RA National serviceman who did time in Cyprus during the EOKA troubles. I'd love to get him to contribute to this.
     
  8. hotel_california

    hotel_california LE Book Reviewer

    I will PM you my email address. I will be loking to put any stories on a dedicated website.
     
  9. These accounts a great,keep it up if you can.
     
  10. One of my uncles was 6th (Royal Welch) Bn Parachute Regt...
     
  11. Red and green lights, in a balloon.

    MMmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
     
  12. hotel_california

    hotel_california LE Book Reviewer

    he looks down and there's a red light, then a green. What could that be? You cynic.
     
  13. Oh, I see. The Welsh sergeant, Evans (Taff?) looked down and saw a red and then a green light.
    Uh-huh.

    It could be fiction.

    Will any details like names, numbers, ranks, etc., that could distinguish this from stuff assembled from the internet, be forthcoming? Those would be essential to make your project of some historical value.
     
  14. I always listen to the old boys when they can be persuaded, usually after a few beers, to tell you about what they did or what happened to them. My old man suprised me with a couple of things that happened to him as a national serviceman in Cyprus in the very early 60's, i for one am glad his reflexes were good as a youg un . Keep em coming please.
     
  15. For those wanting more of this type of the stuff the BBC project is a good starting point:

    BBC - WW2 People's War
     
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