The departure (Arthur)

The departure (Arthur)

A Chapter by Wild Rose
"

Leaving to join the forces (RAF)

"

Arthur

Monday

When the train left station Arthur stood by the open window in the door looking back at the station; until May and Harry were out of sight. 

Then he watched the town go by identifying the various landmarks; the gas works immediately outside the station and the little house where they had moved to following dads death on the Somme and they were forced to move to when their house in Upper Batley was sold, 

Stubley’s where he had worked until a couple of days earlier, sewerage works, 

Taylor Street, the skating rink, The ‘Coal Rally’ where coal trucks were coupled together as a small train, coupled to a loop cable; and sent by gravity from a mine up on Soothill down to the dock on the canal side; pulling a train of empty trucks back up to the mine. 

As the train passed into the Dewsbury area he found an empty compartment entering he put his case up on the rack before settling himself into the seat underneath, sitting by the window facing forwards (it was said to be safer facing the direction of travel if there was an accident). It fitted his character to look to the future, rather than keep looking at the past. He had to make the best of whatever came to pass.

His thoughts went back to May and little Harry. How would the manage on their own, they had May’s parents; Mary and James to fall back on; But James had problems at times with his war wound received on the Somme, when a shell exploded in their dug out killing all but two of the squad, James had been in the makeshift kitchen preparing drinks for the squad and the shrapnel caught him in his back, missing his spine by fractions of an inch otherwise he would have been paralyzed, instead he now had spasms as pieces of the metal worked their way out.

He had little idea of what to expect. When he went away with Leeds United they were going as a team with managers, coaches, physio’s; to care and look after their needs. Now he would be on his own, He had been told by old soldiers that he must take care of his gear and not to trust anyone, don’t answer back, also don’t volunteer for anything. Just obey orders and keep your head down.

The train stopped in Wakefield where a section was added from Leeds.

As it travelled through the countryside Arthur's thoughts kept going back to home and how May would manage,

He hoped she would keep the strored food in the cellar sealed and dry; keep ordering coal and buying stuff as normal. Better not to tell people of what was in store, or give them any reason to think she had a store.

His mind was in a daze; in 'no mans land' being transported through the unseen countryside; to what?

At Birmingham they had to change trains for Bedford. again more unseen country.

On arrival in Bedorfd; they were met by RAF Police, who barked out orders; to climb aboard some trucks. There were three trucks in all each full of men, too cramped to be able to count how many, each man had a parcel holding his spare clothes & toiletries. from all parts of the country. Arthur could pick up a few northern accents. cramped between a Cockney and a Scot.

Once the truck was full they closed the canvas back and set off they had no idea in which direction, The journey took about twenty minutes.

Arriving at RAF Cardington they were ordered to disembark and to line up. Arthur paused to look at the two air ship hangers from which the R101 Dirigible had flown on 4 October 1930 only to crash outside Le Bourget France early the next morning. “Come on get out! All of you! Line up in three lines �" Bring your gear with you lad, we have no servant here to run after you”

The sergeant walked up and down chivvying them into line, when he was satisfied that all was correct. Right turn into a column of three! Which is your right hand boy?

Quick march! Left, right; Left, right: Keep in step there; Left. right. They were marched round into the front of three huts.

Listen for your name! When it is called out fall out and take you gear over to the right hand billet. Names were called out; then when the first hut was filled; the centre one; followed by the left hand were filled.

The inside the room there were beds down each side, none of the beds had sheets or blankets, The floor was covered with Highly polished lino, in the centre of the floor space there were two coke burning stoves for heating ad two sort of racks one had two brooms and two what looked like broom sticks with lumps of metal at the bottom. The lads filled in an dropped their gear onto a bed, it was fairly obvious that this was where they would be living for now.

A corporal marched in followed by a sergeant “Stand by your beds” the corporal barked he went on; when an NCO enters the room you will stand by the side of your beds; understand? Yes the lads murmured. Yes what? These (he pointed to the stripes on his upper arm) these are stripes which signify that I am a corporal. ‘Corporal Jones’ When you answer me you will say “Yes Corporal” understand? “Yes corporal” the lads answered. “Louder I can’t hear you”

Yes corporal” they now shouted. Good now don’t forget that will you? “No Corporal”

This is to be your home for a short while. First we must get you some eating irons, Then something to eat and then get you some bedding. All outside and line up in three lines”, GO!

The lads filed out and lined up. Corporal Jones followed them out “What a shambles! There are more people in the two front ranks than in the rear rank! Fall out and we will do that again” “Fall Out!

You! Corporal Jones picked on one of the lads “You stand here” pointing to a point on the ground. “You two! Come over and stand behind him! Put your arm out and touch his shoulder to the first lad. Now you to the second, picking another lad out “you come over and stand alongside him, Put out your left arm to touch his shoulder.” “That is how I want you to line up in future. Now the rest of you get in line”

Right turn” “Quick March, Left, right ----- Right wheel, forwards” they were marched to a hanger and formed up in single file as they passed through each was given: a knife, fork and spoon and a china mug. Outside they were lined up again “Mug and irons in your left hand. Put your Left hand behind your back. Now as you march you will swing your right arm. Like this” He marched back & forth swinging his arms shoulder high.

When we reach the mess you will form single file to go for some food. Afterwards you will line up outside again and wait for me”

They picked up a warm plate from the servrey, upon which a scoop of a meat stew was dished out, followed by a dollop of mashed potato and another of peas. Picking up another plate then were given some sponge pudding and custard. One lad forgot to pick up the second plate and received his sweet on top of his meat stew.

Following their meal they were marched back to the billet, told to put their ‘Mug and Irons’ on their bedside locker and to form up outside. Marched back to the hanger and lined in single file outside a door marked ‘Bedding Store’ once inside they were given: four blankets, two sheets, one pillow and one pillow case. Then carrying these they were marched back to the billet, where they were given instruction how the make up their bed and how their mug and irons should be displayed every day

Tuesday day

After breakfast they had ‘Daily Inspection’. This being the first day it was to ensure that everyman had shaved, then as they were issued with items of uniform the inspection extended to cover this, clean collars, polished boots & badges. Then they would be marched to the duties for the day.

Tuesday was the day for filling in forms it is here where they received their identity number, haircuts. Were issued with a side cap (or trench cap) one cap badge, one housewife sewing kit, one pair each boots and shoes and one kitbag stencilled with their name and number.

Wednesday they had their medicals and received an issue of: three shirts, six collars, six pairs of socks, three vests, three underpants, two each gym shorts & singlets and a pair of gym shoes.

Thursday Now dressed in issue shirts and ties, they were taken for photographs for their identity cards

Friday They received their identity cards (1250) one battle dress jacket and one pair of trousers; also a great coat, a jumper and a pair of gloves* these were paid for out of public funds and thus not part of their uniform. When orders said great coats could be worn it also included the gloves, the jumper was worn at the personal wish, but the tie had to be worn outside the jumper

Also on Friday they were told what trade they had been assigned to.

Saturday they did some basic drill and received a roll of labels which was printed with their identity number, these had to be cut into individual labels and sewn into all items of their uniform, Ready for inspection on Monday morning.

Sunday was a day of rest, but they were confined to camp

Monday Morning they had a full kit inspection then following lunch they were issued with a leave permit (295) for seven days, and two travel warrants, The first to their home address the second to their new unit; loaded into the trucks and taken down to the rail station

They had to report to their new stations on the following Monday morning.






© 2019 Wild Rose


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Featured Review

First, I apologize for reading your long epistle in a haphazard way. My internet has been dying & my attendance has been spotty lately. Can't remember what I've read or not, hit & miss. But each of your chapters is fully contained & interesting, even without the benefit of reading this in order. This is one of your most well-detailed pieces that I've read so far, balancing your penchant for technical details with a generous helping of the more "touchy-feelie" details between people. I'll stop here before my internet drops (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

2 Years Ago

Apology accepted Margie - We are understanding of internet problems here > They may be out of phase .. read more



Reviews

Excellent stuff Wild Rose! You must have been there to write so accurately about life in the Army. I know because I was in as a National Serviceman. and yes I've had to queue up for food disguised as something else!

Posted 3 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

2 Weeks Ago

Yes I have done my time
But I earned a place on the RAF cycling team so I after basic trainin.. read more
My apologies. I've finally caught up with my reading. Your writing evoked many memories for me. I did National Service and I can remember certain details. Your writing certainly captures the mood!

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

3 Months Ago

Thank you Augustus
I was three, I can remember mum storing nonperishable food in the cellar (.. read more
Wild Rose

3 Months Ago

Sorry I have answered the wrong item > its early morning > This is for The departure
No > I .. read more
Today you will get a number. If you don't die you will remember it for the rest of your life.
Strangely enough, numbers are very important in military life. Chaos ensues if numbers are not followed to the number. The first basic rule of military life. Running miles laden down with kit will not kill you. Not running laden down with kit will definitely be the death of you. Liking your story.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

2 Years Ago

1234 SIR !

They never managed to tame me

You will run across the moors.. read more
First, I apologize for reading your long epistle in a haphazard way. My internet has been dying & my attendance has been spotty lately. Can't remember what I've read or not, hit & miss. But each of your chapters is fully contained & interesting, even without the benefit of reading this in order. This is one of your most well-detailed pieces that I've read so far, balancing your penchant for technical details with a generous helping of the more "touchy-feelie" details between people. I'll stop here before my internet drops (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

2 Years Ago

Apology accepted Margie - We are understanding of internet problems here > They may be out of phase .. read more
I enjoyed the story! It was nice and I liked the detail.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

J-Suk's Hyeongni

2 Years Ago

Or her? Is Harry a boy's name?
Wild Rose

2 Years Ago

Harry is a boys name > I will send you an invite to read the book so far
J-Suk's Hyeongni

2 Years Ago

Thank you!
You did good.
Put your punctuation marks to good use.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

2 Years Ago

Thank you Meth
I think the military regime came as a great shock to many lads (and girls now.. read more
Wild Rose

2 Years Ago

Oh another part when May and Harry (his wife and son) were left on the railway
platform watc.. read more

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Added on July 22, 2018
Last Updated on August 24, 2019


Author

Wild Rose
Wild Rose

Lake Disrtict, Cumbria, United Kingdom



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BA (Hons)Management studies Open University Full tech Cert. Marine: Aviation & Industrial Instrumentation and Conrtol Retired engineering lecturer Ex racing cyclist: fell walker: Camper more..

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