How Grandad Went to War

   Philip Brewin recalls his part in the early part of WW2

How I Went To War - 13

27th May
We have an early ‘stand to’, then Ted and I spend most of the morning heaving ammunition around.  The guns fired at the morning recce plane and again at the afternoon one whilst we were on the spotter.  Later I have a chance to be No. 3 gun layer and later No. 5.
We have a raid at 19:30 hrs when we drive Jerry away, then it pours with rain and there is no further enemy activity.  We got paid at 22:00 hrs.
28th May
Our Section moves down to Le Havre once again, this time to help move ammunition on ‘Toc’ site beside the docks, then to ‘Pip’ site on the Mole near the harbour entrance.
Later, nine of us were taken to BHQ at the Villa Maritime, Sainte-Adresse, where we occupy a large room using our straw-filled palliasses to sleep on.  The bathrooms are rather grand and include bidets - something new to us!

BHQ Villa Maritime
BHQ, Villa Maritime, Sainte-Adresse, Le Havre

29th May
Morning duties on the gun site at ‘Pip’ then cookhouse fatigues at BHQ followed by a luxurious hot bath.
30th May
Another fine day on the gun site.  Jerry recce plane comes over at 15:00 hrs but we do not fire.
31st May
On sentry duty at various times until 14:00 hrs.  then a stroll along the beach where some of the locals are bathing.
Some guns in the area open up on the afternoon Jerry recce plane.
During the night there was some Jerry activity outside the harbour but the planes were too low for us to engage.  What were they up to?
1st June
Fine hot day.  I am on guard duty in the morning then man the guns during the afternoon.  Jerry comes over as usual but no guns fire.
2nd June
A lovely hot sunny day with people taking their Sunday stroll along the promenade and bathing in the sea.
After squad parade, Ted and I go into town to buy a few knick-knacks to take home eventually.  We met one of the crew of an oil tanker in one of the bars who was not at all happy about Jerry lurking outside the harbour entrance.  We have a shoot at the recce plane at 16:00 hrs and are baptised with a shower of shrapnel from other guns firing in the area.
It is quite amazing how quickly the crowd of onlookers around the site fence disappear when our guns open up.
We take our Predictor to the RAOC workshops on the other side of town for some adjustments to be made then return with it to the site.
At 01:50 hrs we have a call-out as Jerry planes are once more outside the harbour, too low for us to engage.

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