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procedure". Our instructor
professed himself satisfied with our keenness and our efforts.
Before long we were allowed to practice with the men on
an exercise, and everyone was very happy when, having become
proficient enough to do this, the Colonel conferred on us
the honour of manning Headquarters as signallers.
We took part in several exercises, and there
were no shirkers on these Sunday mornings. Indeed, there
was competition among us as to whom would be chosen, and
at times it was really a sacrifice to stand down in favour
of someone else, everyone was so anxious to be really proficient.
Does this sound like "trumpet-blowing"? Perhaps
it does, but it truthfully outlines things as they were.
We were broken-in the hard way. Two empty
rooms were placed at our disposal at Crossways, vacated
by men of "E" Coy. and from which every vestige
of comfort (if ever any had existed) had been cleared. Our
furniture was just a couple of trestle tables and a few
hard and narrow forms - nothing else. Somehow we never got
round to the "feminine touch" here. The place
suited our purpose, which was to become, to all intents
and purposes, Home Guards. We had no pin-up men on our walls.
Morse was a fascinating subject to us all,
though it did prove a stumbling block to a few. It is not
necessary to go through the various forms of our training,
as it is so well-known to those who may read this book.
That we did train hard, and profit by it, is proved by the
fact that, when we, with the men of Signals Section, went
in for a competition against eighty-nine other battalions,
the 32nd came third from top, with 84½ per cent marks. The
four of us chosen to take this test were very proud to be
so chosen, and we made up our minds to act as a team
and not to "let the side down".
We were all genuinely sorry when Sergt.
Callow had to leave, in the early part of 1944, and, as
a token of our appreciation, we combined to present him
with a book on the Home Guard.
One evening in particular stands out as
being pleasant. It was summer and the weather had actually
been hot. So much so, that Lieut. Hampson, who was to take
our parade that evening, decided to take it in the open
air, and the rendezvous was Stubbers Green. We must have
looked like evening picnickers perched on the rocks there.
In reality we put in some good work, for Lieut. Hampson
handed us all a question paper, and the sun was sinking
and the air becoming chilly when we eventually came down
from the heights.
It was Lieut. Moore who, personally, took
us in hand after the departure of Sergt. Callow, and we
are grateful to him for his unfailing good temper and forbearance.
There have been times when a deal of "chattering"
has developed, but with his well-known smile and a quiet
"Now, ladies", he brought us back to the matter
in hand. Miss Morris, too, has been deservedly popular.
She has never displayed the "heavy hand", but
has been comrade as well as leader. (......continues.....)