World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

         William Trevor Dennis Brown

Away From It All.

By actiondesksheffield

People in story: William Trevor Dennis Brown.
Location of story: Oundle, Nr. Peterborough, Northants.
Background to story: Civilian Force


This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Julie Turner of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of W. T. Brown.

As I was at public school in Northamptonshire, the war did not really touch my world, apart from the occasions when I saw Flying Fortress bombers returning from their daylight raids over Germany to the U.S. airbase nearby. Some had only three engines, one engine being shut down; another had part of its tail missing.

What did make the war real to me was an occasion when another boy, with whom I had played in the same rugby team, and who had left the year before I did, returned one day to visit the school with his head all bandaged up. He had been called up, trained as an infantryman, been commissioned, joined a Scots regiment, had been sent to France and in the fighting there, had been shot in the head. As he could well have been killed, it affected me more, I think, than anything else in the war.

On another occasion, I was walking alone one Sunday, across a gravel pit, when I heard machine gun fire directly above me and heard what I thought were bullets coming directly towards me, splattering the gravel. I flung myself to the ground and they passed close to me. It was quite frightening until I realised that they were not bullets but empty cartridge cases from bullets being shot by an air gunner in one bomber, into a drogue being towed by another plane. Needless to say, if the empty cartridge cases had hit me they might well have done some damage.

One week of every term was spent in workshops and in the woodworking shop, we made or repaired grenade boxes.

I left school and joined the Army, even though the war had ended, I had to do National Service as did everyone else.