How Grandad Went to War

   Philip Brewin recalls his part in the early part of WW2

How I Went To War - 11

12th May
Turned out to be a lovely day with clear sunny skies.  During my stint on the spotter telescope I watched a Jerry plane out to the east followed by a parachute falling from it - someone had got a shot at him.
We camouflaged the Command Post “to look like a dung heap” as one of the gun numbers remarked and there was a ‘stand to’ all day.
There were several alarms that turned out to be French Bloch planes landing.
(Great news - I have found my greatcoat)
We received reports of massed Jerry parachute landings up North.
13th May
Started with a heavy mist at 04:30 hrs when we did our routine ‘check dials’ drill before an all-day ’stand to’
Ted and I stood in as ammunition numbers on No.2 gun and later manned the Bofors gun before guard duty from 22:00 hrs to 23:59 hrs.
14th May
Another hot day and after the routine gun drills and the maintenance work until noon, Ted, Alf and I went down the cliff path to the beach for a much needed bathe in the sea.

Beach map
The beach is about 2km from the gunsite.

In the evening, being off duty, we caught the ‘Liberty Wagon’ into town to see a film at the Rex cinema: “Murder at Arsenal Stadium”, followed by fried egg sandwiches at Les Mouettes cafe.
16th May
Camp fatigues and piquet for us.  Ted had sunburn.
17th May
More reports of Jerry parachute landings and we manned extra machine gun posts around the site.  Many ‘stand to’ calls during the day.
18th May
At 05:00 hrs there was some gunfire from the direction of the airfield as a friendly plane was landing.  For us, cookhouse and guard duties occupied much of the day.
19th May
This was the day when things began to ‘hot up’ as far as action was concerned.  It turned out to be a fine, clear morning ideal for the regular Jerry reconnaissance plane, once again too high for us to have a go at him.  By 21:30 hrs we have an ‘alert’ followed by a full Jerry raid on the French airfield lasting three hours.
We were firing continual barrages until the ‘stand down’ at 04:30 hrs.  Then followed the frantic replenishing of ammunition and re-setting of fuses on the shells by moonlight.   I became deaf in my right ear.

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