In 1938, I was a Corporal in 5th Battalion, Cinque Ports, Royal Sussex Regiment. That year, the government doubled the TA strength, so each unit doubled its numbers and then divided the units into two. So we were 5th and 7th and the 4th, maybe the 6th. I was sent to Hythe Small Arms school and achieved the near impossible and obtained a ‘Distinguished’ in small arms instruction!
I joined the 7th Battalion in Brighton in October 1939, having been with the 5th at Hastings since August 1st. I was classed as a regular then. When the 7th went to France in 1940, I was sent on a Platoon Commanders’ course to Groombridge. Before the course was completed, the withdrawal had started.
So much transport was being left behind that much civilian transport was requisitioned. I was in command of a Transport Company, 60 assorted vehicles, and we served units in the South East, many of them on fighter airfields, on Ack Ack defence.
It wasn’t until Christmas 1940, that the Regiment traced me and I rejoined them at Bedford.