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Interview with Bill Morgan - 9 June 2005
Born in Fletcher Street Barracks, Bolton.
My father was in the Army, but we lost him in 1935 at the age of 44.
I'd be 10, roundabout 10.
No, he was in the TA at the time, the Territorial Army at the time.
He was a Company Sergeant Major and more or less in charge of the barracks in Bolton.
Oh yes, Jack, George, Jim, Tommy. Five brothers, two sisters, one of which was also in the Army.
The middle aged.
St Gregory's in Farnworth.
Well, we used to live next to the Greyhound Hotel on Bolton Road there, and from then the house was too big and we had to move house. We moved to Cemetery Road in Kearsley.
It was near, yes.
I went into the mills to start off with for about six month. Then I went in the coal mines.
Mosley Common, Number Two.
I was there about six month and then, I think I joined up from there. 1942.
I did, yes.
Well it was more or less excitement.
Certainly, yes. My brother was in the Navy. Brother Jack was in the Marines, along with me, he was older than me but I joined a fortnight earlier. Tommy, Tommy was in the Navy, and a sister who was also in the Army in the ATS.
You had an identity card during the War. Say I'd lost mine and I used my brothers, only I went and I got a kick up the backside - get out.
Until I was seventeen.
Volunteered, yes. Oh yes.
Mawdsley Street, I think.
Oh, I were told to go to Stonehouse Barracks, Royal Marines when I were just over seventeen.
I did yeah, at the time, yes.
Well, I don't know, just thought I'd join them.
Trained for about eight months in actual fact, in them days.
I went to Stonehouse Barracks, Plymouth.
It was rough... It was rough.
(laughs) Food and the work itself. You had to be fit!
I remember that. Full of German E boats, then they were shooting their own men...
Not really no. Some, but it never touched the barracks.
After training I went to that landing craft, LCGL Large, landing craft guns.
From Plymouth, yeah.
First one was Sicily, Salerno, Normandy, Walcheren, out the Far East to Rangoon and on to Singapore. I finished up there at the end of the War. Then I joined The Guards - first place I went to was Singapore! (laughs).
It was a quick one in actual fact. That didn't last very long.
Salerno's Italy yeah.
Well, it was rough. It was rough...
Well there were some on that boat there that were killed, yes.
It doesn't now.
Yeah, oh aye.
Like these photos there, if it were six inches higher I'd of been a goner. That were at the Walcheren Isles, at Walcheren .
Just off the Belgian coast.
Lot of islands round there.
Well it did aye. That's not me smoking at the back, it's where we got hit! I was on that when it got hit.
Aye, 1st of November.
Yeah, that's right, yeah.
I was, I was, on the other side, where the smokes coming from.
An 88, German 88.
Yes, I managed to get off at Sword beach because I was on this landing craft, right up close to the shore, very shallow draft.
No, stopped on the beach.
Yeah, we took the ships in.
Then we came back to Southampton and had a re-fit and went back out again and that's when we got caught.
We were taking ships in.
Well, I think it was all dangerous really. We got hit there, could have got hit anytime, not many people seen that type of landing craft. Two 4.7 inch guns on it, that's what it was called landing craft guns.
More or less, yes. I mean at night time you'd work on what they call the ‘trout line' which is defending the ships in the Mulberry harbour.
We did the same type of job as what that was doing. Going out at night time coming back in daytime.
Well not really, no. (laughs)
We'd some yeah.
It was great obviously, having a bit of leave... not much.
In the Marines I was just a Marine.
LCG - Landing Craft Guns... LCGL which is Large... guns
Well we had our attacks and things like that and we were looking for them.
Well, I'd say so yeah.
I went back, when was it? Last year, aye, my three sons took my, my three sons and my brother, Jack.
I was abroad when War finished, yeah, we was on our way to Singapore.
Ohh, dirty, scruffy then. Its probably a lot cleaner now than what it was (laughs)
Oh yeah, we also, the Japs... we also sent them packing and they came through a big drill tent type of thing or a hanger, and we took off them what we wanted. Finish up you'd have a bag full of kit and you'd get another bag full of kit - take it off them.
Not really, no.
No, you just settled down.
I was out for a month. Got de-mobbed in '46 and joined the Guards in '46.
I joined the Scots Guards. Yes.
Back to Singapore!
Bandits, Malayan bandits, Malayan People's... something... I forget...
I got my Military Medal out there.
Yeah, in the Guards.
I remember that, certainly. A shame, I mean they killed three of ours. Now n my mind they shouldn't of been killed, they shouldn't have known what they did.
Yeah, name on it somewhere, on the side.
I was always down south. Children were all born while I was in the Army.
I did, yeah.
What, Scots Guards? 23.
1969, yeah, I came out.
Well I got a job. I went for an interview for a job, which was at that time was health foods. The bloke who was doing the hiring , he wore the same tie, he was Irish Guards, so I got the job straightaway (laughs)
(laughs), Yeah. Well probably so, but I don't know!
I think the King was ill at the time, it was just presented on parade down in Pirbright, yeah...
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