I TRADED WITH THE SHOPKEEPER

social enterprise history perth elderly war musician

Our final excerpt in this series takes us to the end of the war, when our storyteller was eventually demobbed back in the UK.  We hope you enjoyed this special series.

"At the end of British activities in Egypt we went from Egypt, right across France to Lyon.  Even went through Monte Carlo.  We went by train. 

I went around all the music shops during that time; many were damaged.  I remember going into a shop full of music.  The music was in good condition, brand new.  I traded with the shop keeper 2 bars of luxe toilet soap for a Chopin étude, opus’ 10 and 25.  I managed to get the music back to England on 2 bars of soap!  2 bars of soap was really something valuable.  It was rare, not in great supply.   I still had that music when I got back to England.   

Eventually I was transferred to the army reserve to perform piano for the armed forces through ENSA (the Entertainments National Services Association).  Right at the end of the war, when arrangements were being made to send troops back to the UK from France, we found ourselves in the extreme north of France and I was told I had to go join a unit in Dartmouth, where I got demobbed."