|| the Northover in
a mobile role, and there were demonstrations in the throwing
of all types of "live" grenades and even anti-tank
mines. These last were somewhat more spectacular than had
been planned. Whether the zeal was all attributable to Major
Hodgkin or C.S.M. Harris is not quite clear, but sundry pieces
of iron which had been placed on top of the mine to increase
the effect were lifted with some force and not only landed
uncomfortably near the main strength of the spectators, but
also considerably surprised certain officers who had withdrawn
to what they considered a safe distance. However, no damage
was caused and a day of concentrated activity and noise finished
without any casualties.
Shortly after this, Major Hodgkin was appointed "H"
Sector Weapons Training Officer and the Battalion had to
look for a suitable replacement. Again we were fortunate
in the selection of Lieut. Fox.
Fox, except in size, was a similar man to Hodgkin; he possessed
the necessary pluck, organising ability and inexhaustible
energy to carry on the good work of his predecessor. C.S.M.
Harris was still with him and he had the assistance of a
team of instructors from "A" Coy. Such men as
Long, Buck, Markey and others whose reliability and efficiency
was due probably as much to Harris's example as to the influence
of their genial Company Commander.
| There was much
to be done at the time, for instruction had to be given not
only on grenades 36, 68, 69, 73, 74, 75 and 76 but also in
such weapons as Spigot Mortars, Northover, E.Y. rifle and,
later, Boyes' A/Tank Rifle, Mines, Fougasse Tank Torpedoes,
Demolitions and Booby Traps. Fox tackled this job with his
usual thoroughness and tenacity of purpose and with his assistants
had a busy time teaching, demonstrating and conducting "live"
In addition to the Company and Platoon instructions and
training he ran "instruction" Courses at the Beacon
Hut and did turns of instructional duty at the Sector School,
Aldridge Lodge. It is no wonder that his H.G. duties overlapped
his civilian life and that his wife, like so many other
H.G. wives, said she wondered whether she was divorced,
separated or just deserted.
For various reasons outside anybody's control, the Spigot
Mortar teams became dispersed to some extent, and to look
after the training of fresh teams and to carry on the training
of existing ones the C.O. gave permission for a Battalion
Spigot Mortar School to be opened at Foden's Farm, Mill
Green, Chester Road. Second Lieut. (now Lieut.) G. C. Richards
was put in charge and in a short time we had a self-contained
instructional unit complete with lecture room, stores, inert
firing range with static and moving targets. This was due
to Richards's keenness and to the ready assistance given
by the Foden family. They had been our good friends since
the "early days" and it was with genuine sorrow
and regret that we learnt of Mr. Foden's tragic death while