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MyStory - WWII Tobruk: Rommel and Churchill

In 1939, Ronnie joined the Royal Marine Commandos and in this story he recalls a serving in Tobruk, fighting in the deserts of Egypt, encountering Rommel's forces in the Egyptian deserts and Churchill visiting the troops in Cairo. Firstly, Ronnie recalls being positioned in Tobruk and being directly involved in the raids at the time. Two large ships were launched from Alexandria and sent out to execute a raid on Tobruk, only to come under unexpected fire from the enemy following the news being leaked to the Axis Forces! Ronnie and his Commandos continued on their mission to circle Tobruk in their endeavour to secure the precious harbour. Ronnie describes trudging through the unforgiving desert terrain of Tobuk and meeting enemy soldiers face-to-face, however with the enemies with their backs to the Commandoes they did not shoot but relinquished their artillery and sent them on their way,. Ronnie also excitedly recalls the responsibility given to him to accompany a Hurricane pilot whilst fighting in the desert as means of locating the exact position of where Rommel's troops were positioned and advancing from. Despite the undoubtedly frightful situation asked of Ronnie he obliged and carried out his mission, returning unscathed and with the necessary information gathered which subsequently aided in unearthing Rommel's advancement tactics. Following from this, Ronnie recalls a few days of a lull in the fighting in which his squadron were given a couple of days leave to visit Cairo, the capital city of Egypt. Unbeknown to the troops at the time, this also coincided with a Churchill's trip out to The Middle East, and consequently Churchill formally addressing Ronnie and the Commandos stationed there. After what Ronnie recalls as the briefest of announcements, comprised of general commandments on how well all the British Troops were performing out in the desert, Churchill and his safeguard soon disappeared, much to the muted jeers of a number or Ronnie's Commandos!


MyStory - World War Two: Entertaining the Troops

When the Second World War broke out in 1939, Ronnie joined the Royal Marine Commandos and in this story he recalls travelling to India, and the horrendous conditions travelling on ships to these faraway lands -- although, unlike the majority of his compatriots, Ronnie actually quite enjoyed the journeys across the seas. After arriving in India Ronnie recalls being stationed near large intimidating jungles in order to train for the possibility of enemy attacks within the jungle environment. Ronnie has vivid recollections of crawling through jungles whilst training and encountering giant snakes and other life forms which inhabit such a climate. Fortunately for Ronnie and his squadron they did not encounter enemy forces whilst billeted in the Jungles in India. Ronnie then describes how the troops were occasionally subjected to local entertainment events in the evenings whilst away on service with the Commandos. He remembers one particular formal event in Poona; and dismissing the lavish event as dull and boring, (no dancing or morale boosting merriment), Ronnie and his friend (Fritzie) took it upon themselves to get up in front of the troops, cracking jokes and causing general mischief, which would no doubt land them in hot water later with their Sergeant Major, regardless of the other troops' amusements! It was whilst in India that Ronnie and the Commandos were called back to England, having being given the brief that they were to now embark on the invasion of Holland. As a Royal Marine Commando it was the duty to be first in line for such invasions and the distress and disgust on Ronnie's face when recalling what it was like during those unimaginably traumatic times, is plain to see.


WWII memories of Dog fights, the London Blitz and Doodlebugs

Jackie Usher was nearly 9 when war broke out and she has vivid memories of wartime London. In this film she recalls standing in fields watching dog fights; witnessing the Second Great Fire of London, and describing how her grandmother was the last person in London to be killed by a Doodlebug. Her grandmother foresaw her own death by reading playing cards, and insisted everyone kept away from her!


Tales from Tanganyika - fond memories and ghost stories!

Marjorie recalls various memories of living as a Civil Servant, out in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanganyika just prior to, and during independence


The benefits to Young People of being involved in story telling

Young People explain some of the benefits they gained from interviewing older people during the MyStory project.