On this Day 75 Years Ago I was 'Embodied'

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by Joe Brown, Sep 1, 2014.

  1. Joe Brown

    Joe Brown WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I remember the 1st September 1939 well. It was a Friday, and as I had worked late on the Thursday evening putting the latest edition of the “Peeblesshire Advertiser” to bed, I had the afternoon off.

    It was a nice sunny day and with my mate John Black decided to get our Raleigh bicycles out and had a cycle run to the village of Stobo some seven miles away, calling in to see his aunt to enjoy cream scones and then as we headed back to Peebles decided to collect our swimming trunks and a towel and finish the afternoon at the Swimming Baths. Our larking around was interrupted when the local ‘know-all’ appeared at the side of the pool and leaning over imparted the news to John and I that the Territorials were wanted at the Drill Hall that evening at 6 o’clock to undergo a medical examination.

    I was passed fit for service and heard of no one who was not!

    Then in groups we were ushered into a room where an officer sat with a copy of the King James Bible in front of him. He briefly explained the oath we were about to take. It was the second time I had undertaken ‘my Oath of Allegiance to the King and all his Heirs and Successors’, and now solemnly undertook to obey the officers and those appointed over me.

    As I left that room, two phrases now defined my position: (a) I was 'embodied', and now a constituent part of the Regular Army (not just the 8th Battalion The Royal Scots) but from this day onwards was liable to be sent to any battalion or unit; and ( B) would serve 'for the duration’, no matter how long the War would last.

    I went to bed that night sadly aware of the worry this 18 years 5 months old son had wrought upon his Mother and Father; they had enough to bear thinking about my three older married brothers, who like me were spending their first night as a Regular Soldier; two of my brothers had young families, not yet school age.

    I remember my own worry as I tried to sleep: that I would be able to do whatever I was ordered to do and tried to fight off the fear of letting myself down.

    The next day I had to tell my Newspaper Owner that I was now in the Army; he received no notice; the break with my old job was instant. My working dress was now uniform and for the first three weeks of the War, we slept at home (unless you were on guard duty) but spent all and every day at the Drill Hall.

    The days were spent drilling, weapon training and route marches to get us fit. We quickly mastered stripping and reassembling our one Bren machine-gun, practised sighting our rifles and regularly practised the 'art' as it was grandly called of crawling across ground, hugging it and keeping our weapons clear of the dirt.

    When we did leave Peebles there were crowds of local people to see us off and tears were shed at our departure. But the tears I have always remembered were my father’s as he stood at the door when I left home . . . I had never seen him cry before.

    Joe Brown.
    Test profile, Buteman, CL1 and 9 others like this.
  2. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Well done Joe !

    They got you nice and young. didn't they :)

    Best regards

  3. hidip

    hidip hidip

    Thanks for posting this, you paint a vivid picture of what it must have been like for the families of young soldiers and worrying of what was to come for you all. Thank you.
  4. Brian Smith

    Brian Smith Junior Member

    Joe, thank you for sharing this. We read so much of the middle of peoples stories but never much on the beginning and the end. Brian
  5. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic


    Thanks for posting and I am sure also a time to remember those in the same position who sadly did not return.
  6. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Lovely account Joe, thank you for posting

  7. gpo son

    gpo son Senior Member

    Thanks for sharing Joe. I'm struck by how aburt the end of your youth occurred. But as you point out clearly it was happening to millions around the world.
  8. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Thanks for the post and sharing the reality that was the Army, loved the bit about sleeping at home
  9. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    Joe thanks for sharing.

  10. Bernard85

    Bernard85 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    good day jo brown,ww2 veteran.yesterday.10:45am.re:eek:n this day 75 years ago i was "embodied"a story from your heart,i feel the sadness of your parents, they would spend years of worry about you. they are the unsung hero's of the war,thank you for sharing your story,regards bernard85.
  11. Joe Brown

    Joe Brown WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    My thanks to Ron, Hidip, Brian, SDP, Lesley, Matt, Oldsman, Paul and Bernard for your kind comments.

    SDP, as you so rightly remind me, it was a moment to Remember those who did not return. I shall always Remember the first Peebles lad who was killed; a boyhood friend and playmate. It deeply affected the town as the horror that faced the country as a whole now affected our little burgh town of some 6000 population: the first of its sons had been killed in action as a Rear-Gunner in the Royal Air Force.

    I was conscious, too, as I look at this photograph taken on the day we left Peebles three weeks after the War had begun, that only one other lad apart from myself have survived the passing of the years.


    gpo son, dbf, 4jonboy and 1 other person like this.
  12. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Joe thank you for posting

  13. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic


    If you don't mind me asking and assuming you are on this particular photograph, which one is you?
  14. Bernard85

    Bernard85 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    good day jo brown,ww2 veteran,yesterday,2:20.pm,re:eek:n this day 75 years ago.#11,it must be sad for you looking at that photo and being one of two only survivors-bless them all,may they rest in peace,my regards to you.bernard85
  15. Joe Brown

    Joe Brown WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    I am in the row behind those seated: as you look at the photograph, fourth from the right.


  16. andy007

    andy007 Senior Member

    Thank you very much for sharing your memories with us Joe.

Share This Page