Saturday, February 02, 2008

Thursday 4th November 1937

The night of the east coast black-out.

Number One Gun of the 193rd Battery was stationed at Eastern Avenue, Southend. It took us hours to get the gun through the mud and into position. Then we “stood by”, huddled in greatcoats, munching sandwiches, sipping cocoa from our water bottles.
At midnight the lights all went out and the glow in the sky above the town disappeared. Boom of sirens. The mock air-raid was commencing. We heard raiders droning overhead in the thick low clouds. Saw no sign of them – searchlights revealed nothing – but fired our twelve rounds just the same! Blanks, of course.

Then back to the drill hall and the mud. The men all sleepy, weary and dispirited.
Incredible toil, struggling through the mud with our gun. The lorry could not tow it, so we had to man the drag ropes. It was 5 o’clock when the bloody awkward “instrument” wobbled clumsily into the gun shed. And then we heard that the second crew had also had trouble (at Canvey) and were just arriving with their gun.
More toil? “Bugger em!” I thought, and came home with several others of Number One Section who still remained.

Left Number Two to do their own dirty work!


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