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parade, to the Aldridge Police Station, three miles away, where they are locked in a police cell for safe keeping. We acquire .303 dummies and clips by private means, we practice loading in all positions and checking aim against an aiming disc, meanwhile bitten to hell by the gnats. We relearn parade-ground stuff, sloping and ordering arms by numbers, an N.C.O. correcting. The first time we do this, after correcting one particularly bad slope in every way possible, the "victim" remarks with considerable heat :  "Do you want this *** rifle, sir?" and walks off the parade ground. We never see him again.

We parade with drill in threes, field work, patrols, cover and camouflage, the latter prompted by the thought that a man may live a little longer unseen. We get to know our territory and our O.P., which is now manned at dawn and dusk with a section on duty each night. We construct a strong point amid many divergent views on the subject of siting. We acquire maps and set up a plate with cardinal points of the compass on our O.P. on the Hall roof, but later, observing that the sun is setting in the north, we realise that either a miracle has happened or our orientation is at fault. We make the most of every available minute and arrange parades every night, but as the same men turn up every time we drop to three parades per week and get satisfactory attendances.

We issue a training programme, on 14th June, 1940. Musketry covering all essentials, rudiments of squad drill, knowledge of the country including contact with military authority, telephones, etc., patrols and their duties, scouting and the use of cover. The programme ends :
"On completion of this course the volunteer will be regarded as competent to carry out full duties."  Such is the urgency of the time as illustrated by Operational Orders No. 1 received by telephone from Battalion H.Q. at 23.15 hours on 5th July, 1940, reading as follows :


Reliable reports state that attack on this country is imminent. Attack may take the form of intensive aerial bombardment, landing by paratroops or landings from troop-carrying planes, and attack by sea.


(a) Companies will obtain and report definite information of any such attempt.

(b) Companies will pin down, defeat and destroy any enemy who may land, by active attack with every weapon available, whether lethal or improvised. Defence will always be active.


2(b) does not mean attacks by small patrols and/or posts on large posts of enemy, but by surprise effect of controlled fire from carefully pre-selected positions. The observation posts, patrol posts and barriers, will be defended with vigour and determination.
There must not be and will not be any question of retirement.




(Images of the Platoon can be seen on this page)