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HOME GUARD STAND-DOWN PARADE LONDON,
3RD DECEMBER, 1944
PRIVATE E. T. CARTWRIGHT, "A" Coy.
MAY I warn all purists that this is no official report, couched
in military phraseology, for, after all, I have been "stood
down" and can no longer bring myself to write in the accepted
Army "journalese" until I have been "stood up"
The Home Guard Stand-Down Parade in London on 3rd December,
1944, is now a wonderful memory that will remain with me,
and others as fortunate, for ever. It had been arranged that
Lieut. Chaplin should pick me up at 11.15 on Saturday morning,
and precisely at that time he arrived with a fellow private
W. Greenaway, who was to be my companion in the great adventure.
"What about a drink, chaps ?"
Those magic words and we found ourselves tramping down the
marble corridors of the Grand Hotel, Birmingham, and regaled
by our most excellent Lieutenant.
A few moments later we joined the 24th Company and made our
acquaintance with the rest of the Company and our Officers
and N.C.Os. We then boarded a special train which left dead
on time and in which every passenger is a Home Guard and all
with a very comfortable seat. (Perish the shades of war-time
Somewhere en route to London an angel in A.T.S.
uniform, whose sweet smile opened a carriage door, came into
our midst and worked her passage by holding the stakes for
a little gambling.
On arrival at the Empire's Metropolis we were
loaded into special buses and carried away to Kneller Hall,
famous for its music in days of peace, where all Army Bandmasters
receive their training. On arrival we had an excellent meal
served by our hosts, the Queen's Regiment, who gave us service
with a smile. Five of us were appointed to a bedroom and closely
adjacent was a bathroom with piping-hot water, bath and showers.
Later we retired to the N.A.A.F.I. and then to a concert.
After which we visited the "Duke of Cambridgeshire",
who lived just across the road, where we met many of the local
inhabitants who toasted us with beer and song while we returned