Eleven did go into nine !

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by dbf, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    This is from a newspaper article that my Dad had in his scrapbook. I'm not sure of the publication or of the date, but would guess it was from either the Belfast Telegraph or Down Recorder in the 1980s.

    You don't have to be a mathematical genius to realise that the figure nine cannot be divided by eleven.

    So much then for a logical utterance, yet James BLYTHE, of KILLYLEAGH, will tell you that he has no special facility and managed to do just that.

    James was born in PRESTON, LANCASHIRE and when he left school at the age of 14, he went to work with a farmer at a wage of ten shillings a week, plus his food.

    But working on the land wasn't his life's ambition, so he left the farm and took a job in a nearby cotton mill which, after a few months, appealed even less to him than farm work, so he made up his mind to don a uniform.

    It was towards the end of the 30's he told the recruiter he was 18 when in fact he was only 16, but nevertheless he managed to bluff his way into the BORDER REGIMENT.

    Shortly after his initial training had been completed, he was posted to PALESTINE which was building up to a state of open rebellion, in fact just a little short of a minor war.

    "To be honest, I didn't dislike being out there at all. In fact i got on well with both Arabs and Jews."

    However, he served there for something less than two years before he was posted to INDIA and stationed at FORT WILLIAM, CALCUTTA, for a time.

    Life in the army in those days was more like a gave of draughts not only were you on the move constantly, but you were not always sure of the move until a short time previously.

    One task he does remember very clearly was escorting a contingent of German prisoners to various places in AUSTRALIA.

    "The trip back home took just a little longer for, when on that journey SINGAPORE fell and our ship had to constantly zig-zag on course the whole voyage taking us six weeks. And no sooner were we back in camp than we were on the road again, this time to ASSAM and BURMA."

    His next passage he no doubt looked forward to, as he was returning to ENGLAND but he was still in the army and still part of the draughts game.

    It was in 'Blighty' he got the second move. He subsequently moved to nine different regiments in his service of over 11 years.

    "To tell the truth there are regiments I spent a short time with that i have actually forgotten. However, I was on this occasion transferred from the BORDERS to the LOYALS and and shortly I was on my way to KILLYLEAGH.

    When we arrived there we were billeted in a coal store belonging to Mr. GOURLEY."

    Plans for the second front were well advanced and the regiment billeted at KILLYLEAGH were soon to shoulder their packs and step out to play their part. Eventually they halted at a depot in the central Belgian town of LOUVAIN, where a most unusual thing occurred to James, of course it was all of his own doing.

    "Quite close to us was the 2nd BLACK WATCH, who belonged to the 51st HIGHLAND DIVISION. Well, I made friends with a number of the 'Jocks' including a chap named DOHERTY who came from DUBLIN.

    After a rather hilarious night out, instead of returning to my own unit, I went back with DOHERTY and his friends, and remained with them, and believe it or not, I was eventually transferred to the BLACK WATCH."

    So the young Lancashire lad who originally joined the BORDERS, was transferred to the LOYALS who had now successfully assigned himself to his third group - the 2nd BLACK WATCH; and his soldiering jigsaw wasn't over yet.

    "The extraordinary thing about all this was i was going into action with the BLACK WATCH actually before my transfer came through.

    In our dash towards the SIEGFRIED LINE in 1944, I was wounded and taken to the 5th CANADIAN GENERAL HOSPITAL and from there to a BRITISH GENERAL HOSPITAL in BRUSSELS. It was there I met a chap from the IRISH GUARDS who, after the war, operated a garage in Co. Down for a time."

    After six weeks convalescence, he was sent home to Killyleagh on a short leave but by the time he returned, his division had split and he was then attached to the ROYALS and in double quick time to the BERKSHIRES and the DORSETS and the OX and BUCKS LIGHT INFANTRY. "There were two other regiments but I just cannot recall them at this time."

    So, James had so far during the last war served with the BORDERS, LOYALS, ROYALS, BERKS, OX and BUCKS, DORSETS and BLACK WATCH.

    Demobbed in 1948, James BLYTHE believed he had worn an army pair of boots for the last time and settled in KILLYLEAGH. But he got a bit of a gunk when he was recalled to the colours when the KOREAN WAR broke out and reported to the depot at SALISBURY.

    Perhaps the powers that be at the War Officer thought that James had done enough, for he was once again demobilised missing the 'Korean Do' altogether, which did not embarrass him in the least.

    James is not alone in KILLYLEAGH. He has raised a family of ten, nine of whom are married and a few of his soldier pals have also settle in the area.

    Every now and then they meet socially to have a bit of a chat about the old days and no doubt the fact that he served in nine regiments in eleven years will be recalled.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
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  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    During a conversation a few years back Dad recalled that it was the 112th British General hospital in Brussels where he met James, but upon checking Sue's excellent website, it seems that it may have been the 108th.
    British General Hospitals - Scarlet Finders

    108 British General Hospital
    Woolwich 7/43 to 3/44 then to Naburn;
    Naburn 3/44 to 7/44 then to Ranchy;
    Ranchy 7/44 to 10/44 then to Brussels;
    Brussels 10/44 to 18/6/46 then disbanded.

    112 British General Hospital
    Westbury 11/43 to 1/44 then to Barming Heath;
    Barming Heath 1/44 to 1/45 then overseas;
    Avadi 1/45 to 15/4/46 then disbanded.
  3. Mark Blythe

    Mark Blythe New Member

    Hi Dbf, James was my father, I recall him talking about a guy he met and worked at petrol station, as far as I know it was Dundrum would I be correct.
    von Poop and dbf like this.
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Hi Mark,
    Yep, that'd be my Dad.
    Small world!
    von Poop likes this.
  5. Mark Blythe

    Mark Blythe New Member

    It is indeed, do u still live in Dundrum and what was your father's name.
  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Sending PM

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