How Grandad Went to War

   Philip Brewin recalls his part in the early part of WW2

How I Went To War - 17

The weekend of Friday 21st June to Monday 24th June was spent at my parents home in Wolverton in celebrations, then a card arrived through the mail recalling me to Borden camp complete with a Travel Warrant.

Leaving home after lunch and travelling to Waterloo station I met Ted and Alf and at 8 pm we caught the train to Borden camp for a good night in comfortable quarters.

Tuesday 25th June: Reveille at 07:45 hrs followed by a filling breakfast served by ATS girls.

At 09:00 hrs with our kitbags packed, we were off to Euston station to get a train to Blackpool to rejoin our Unit.

Arriving at Blackpool at 21:00 hrs we waited until Lt. Ellam came to march us and several other returnees in to the town to find billets for our stay of nearly four weeks.

Ted, Alf, ‘Chick’ Riley and I were all sharing a room at 78 Ribble Road with a Mr. & Mrs. Revell who looked after us really well.

During the four weeks of our stay in Blackpool the weather was wonderful and each day after Roll Call and P.T. on the beach we were able to swim; explore the town with its shops and fine park; go to shows (free), amongst which were ‘Bandwagon’ with Arthur Askey and ‘You lucky people’ with Tommy Trinder as the main star turns. The view from the Tower was really spectacular.

There were many R.A.F. lads around, including Polish airmen who smelled of perfume and were attracting all the girls.

People generally seemed happy and carefree, but after France it felt unreal and one could not help but remember the tragedy of the loss of life when the ‘Lancastria’ was sunk (nearly 8000 lives).

At last, it was time to get back to business and on the 28th July we were off on the long train journey to Aberporth firing camp in Cardigan Bay, Wales, to sharpen up our gun drills before occupying gun sites around Swansea in time for the heavy German blitzes on the South Wales towns.

The Elements of an AA Gunsite

One site at Llansamlet near Morriston was to provide cover for the huge oil refinery at Skewen, whilst the other site was down on the sandy area at Jersey Marine close to the sea and here we stayed engaging the enemy from time to time until well into 1941.
[APB Comment: The Jersey Marine gun-site was actually on the Swansea Golf Club. I believe that that my father worked on both the Llansamlet and Jersey Marine gun-sites. Accommodation at each of the sites was canvas: i.e. tents, which accounts for my father's love of camping later in life.]

Slant view of the Swansea area
Around Swansea

At this point I was now a Lance Bombardier and left the Unit on being posted to Shrivenham, and onward to serve in other Regiments in the ADGB (UK) area.

Shrivenham Officer Cadets
At OCTU, Shrivenham in 1941
Watson Unit, 133rd O.C.T. Group R.A. (A.A.)

View from my window
View of part of Shrivenham College


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