At the onset of WWII, my Dad and a few friends went to “Sign Up” as an alternate to waiting for the inevitable “Call Up Papers”. As voluntary registrants one had the opportunity to choose between: the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
My Dad and his friend Chalky had a “cunning plan” they would select the NAAFI. Great plan, get into the supply chain, life is good! Chalky (nickname, last name of “White”) was hopeless at spelling .. ended up putting down: “Navy” as his elective. Dad a bright scholar got it in one: NAAFI, Bob’s your uncle.
Chalky, ended up with a “Home Posting” as a sentry at Greenock shipyards only a few miles from home in Hamilton, spending WWII sleeping in his own bed, eating Mum’s home Cooking.
My Dad: sand, bloody sand and more sand, slogged all through the North African campaign. (he never had a good word for: Monty) He spent a few months in Cairo, where the Slade Club was commandeered as an NCO’s mess. An ideal place for a young entrepreneurial lad. Bartering Whisky for all forms of trade items. Let’s just leave it at that.
I’m lucky to have been able to listen to my Dad, and various family members, recount endless tails from their WWII exploits. Interesting that the “Bad Stuff” was seldom or ever discussed. My Dad’s stories from this time as; Staff Sergeant and manager of the Slade Club / NCO’s mess were particularly colourfull, much to the annoyance of my Mum.