THE SYSTEM WORKED WELL

social enterprise history perth memories boxing war

Here is the second in our three-part August series about time serving in the British army during WWII, from a man with so many stories that we can't wait to sit with him again to hear more.  We love his frankness, his dry wit and his cheeky behaviour! 

"In our off time, a rugby club had been organised by a major, or someone high up, because the morale in the army was going down as we seemed to be losing all the time.  We played against the French army.  They beat us - they beat me – because I was carried off the field!  I was transferred from where we were playing in France to the 63rd General Hospital in Alexandria, Egypt, needing an operation on my knee in order to be able to walk.   All because of a rugby game!

I was then transferred to be a first class clerk for an officer in Suez.  As a clerk I had a recognised lunch hour.  During lunch hours I tried to keep fit.  We went swimming in a roped off area in the ocean in Port Tewik. We took possession of a dhow boat moored there and we used to dive off the mast into the water.  A trainer took me under his wing and taught me to box for maybe 2 years.  I did weight lifting as well.

At that time I had a good deal of freedom.  I could hitch hike if I wanted transport.  Just went down to the road and signalled to get someone to stop.  You could get practically any kind of transport.  The system worked very well.  I played the organ at a wedding in Cairo and turned up at the wedding in an army truck.  No one thought that was particularly strange, they just accepted it."