3 thoughts on “8th Battalion DLI c1943/44

  1. Sig Mason as we called him (Sigmund) was a good friend, he certainly stood head and shoulders above most of us, the big base drum was his to command and he did.

    I am sure that was taken at Catterick Tigris Lines, they were tank training areas only empty in summer 1944 as all the troops had gone South to relieve the troops in Normandy and strike out for the Rhine. The year before we had been in Richmond as Catterick was full to overflowing.

    The Major of the training Cadre told us our time would come as once we had finished the Germans sometime in 1945-6 (that was the thinking at the time) we would have to go to the Far East and take back the land the Japanese had captured. His words stuck in my head, “the training Cadre may seem very hard to you but they are trying to keep you alive not kill you”, we all thought we would end up in the war and the training was rigorous.

    The Battalion had a full complement and a waiting list for every Company, we were “A” Coy Norton and drilled at the William Newton School, the other Coy’s were Stockton Billingham Thornaby and Haverton, we only met up on big Parades and Camp.

    My stand out memories were helping the maintenance crew on a Churchill Tank used for training. It had a flat twelve Bedford engine I knew about Bedfords as Dad had one or two and I often did the plugs points and Carburettor. Then we went for a long test drive around the Tank Roads flat out at 8MPH. I thought it cured me of Tanks only to serve most of my Military time with Armour.

    The other stand out memory was one of the ATS cooks discovered I could dance, the Naafi had Dances in several lines so she took me to them all. That went round the unit, a girl friend old enough to be my mother. She was probably around 20 but to a 15 year old that was old.

    My Memories of the Cadet Force from 13 to 18 when I joined the Army were happy times, a wonderful group of lads and real Infantry training with weapons and live ammo after all we were the next people who would fill the ranks and some of the local infantry battalions had 300% casualties throughout the war, our main worry was it would be over before we could get in it. Once most of us got our wish we would far rather have been elsewhere, we live and learn.
    Frank.

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