A Friend Called Jack

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by Kieron Hill, Nov 22, 2004.

  1. Kieron Hill

    Kieron Hill Senior Member

    Hi all,

    I have just got back from an afternoon that will remain in
    my thoughts always.

    A few weeks ago my wifes Auntie came round to visit and
    one conversation led to another like they do and we got
    chatting about history and WW2 etc...etc...she then said
    that her Dad was in WW2 but did not know much more,
    she suggested that I should meet him one Sunday for a
    cup tea, a cake and a chat (very civilised here in the North).

    To cut a long story short today was that Sunday. I turned up
    with my tape recorder, my computer and a bucket nerves
    (never interviewed anyone before).
    I was introduced to Jack and within that split second all my
    nerves had vanished, I guess the warm smile and kind eyes
    made me feel so welcome that I felt I had met someone
    I had known for years.

    For the next three hours we sat and chatted and chatted and
    chatted and the time...well the time flew.

    It started with his time in Dunkirk in the 11th Brigade (4th Division),
    then upto Scotland for training for Operation Tourch as
    part of the 78th Division, the landings at Algeria, the
    race to Tunis and all the places on the way Longstop Hill,
    Djebel Ang, Tangouccha and Heidous to name but a few.
    From there it was on to Siciliy and Italy...Sangro River,
    Cassino, Rome, Gothic Line, Ferrara the list of places
    went on, then onto Austria all the time bits more were
    coming back to him while he was looking at the maps that
    I had taken round, at one stage he removed his glasses and
    wiped his eyes, I could'nt help but think have I touched on
    something that he would rather forget about.

    He then got out his papers and photo's. There were photo's
    that looked liked they had been in a fire...they had his
    truck had been hit by German artillery but he managed
    to go back later to retrive his wallet, there were secret
    road movement orders, 78th Division broadcasts, call up
    papers, demob books, passes...I could go on and on.

    Jack served with the 662 Armoured Troops Workshop
    REME his job was to go out at night in a Scammel truck
    with three others and retrive knocked out tanks etc...
    A motorbike would turn up with map references and
    off they would go into the night never knowing what
    they might come across, if they could not be retrived
    then they would strip the parts and then clear them
    from the roads.

    There was so much to take in and I am sure I'll be
    going through my notes for a couple of weeks to

    I would recommend anyone who knows of someone
    who served during WW2 to have a chat with these
    remarkable people I guarantee you'll cherish the
    experience forever...because I know I will.

    Its Jack's 85th Birthday tomorrow so a BIG
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY from me.
    (Attached a picture of Jack)

    Sorry if I bored anyone but I had to tell somone.

  2. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    Great stuff. I look forward to the story. Remember the REME's motto, "This looks complicated...I'd better get a bigger hammer."

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