Feature Page
Dave Ince

18 year old lad, joining the LFs from Chorley in Lancashire
and being sent to the 6th Holding Battalion at Berwick on Tweed
and then Hunstanton in Norfolk.

Fusilier Dave Ince
Photo taken in 1945


Dave Ince who still to this day lives in Chorley, Lancashire
has provided the following stories / anecdotes of what is was like to be an

Army Conscript during the latter part of World War 2.

They give an interesting insight into times past.

Dave wrote out the stories in long hand but in the interests of clarity they have been re-written as typed documents

1945………by Dave Ince

Despite having been badly burned on both legs by burning Aviation Fuel in October 1940, I was passed A1 for the Army at the
Medical Board in Pole Street, Preston and was called up on Thursday 7th December, 1944 and
reported to "56 PTW ,then 6th Infantry Training Centre ,Magdalene Camp Berwick on Tweed.

For the first 4 - 5 weeks we were in the General Service Corps, before being posted to various units for further training.

Food :- For breakfast we were rationed to 2 slices of bread, with 3" square Dog Biscuits available in a dirty laundry Wicker Basket.

Christmas Day 1944 was not very pleasant, but we got a good dinner, served by the Officers.

We suffered for that during the next 2 - 3 weeks food was in very short supply.

On going to see the Army Dentist for a check up I had the biggest fright of my entire life. Whilst sat in the hallway
awaiting my turn from one of the rooms came loud screams and crying. When the door opened out came a guard
and an Italian Prisoner of War crying his eyes out, blood pouring from his mouth, what a sight. As he passed by me
my name was called out. I entered the room; the dentist was waiting, "Sit down Ince, open your mouth".
He then said, "That will give him something to think about, a bit of cold steel!!"

I nearly wet myself. Next thing I remember was a faint voice a long way off and my shoulder being shook.
It was the dentist. I could hear shouting at me and no wonder I had one of his fingers fast between my
closed jaws which were shut tight. No he did not give me cold steel to get his own back,
but his language was enough to turn the air blue!

The wooden barrack rooms we slept in only had 10w - 15w bulbs, but the Corporals we had were kind gentlemen,
out of the goodness of their hearts to help us young lads if we had a whip round they would buy us some bigger bulbs,
but we had not to tell anyone, they would be in trouble. Yes we fell for it we were green, as all previous and future
intakes would be the collection was for their beer money. The bulbs being changed with each intake.

At least we were better off than the lads in the next hut, their Sgt came in after midnight most nights as drunk as a monkey,
got them out on parade in full uniform in front of their hut, take a look at them then left them stood there in the dark and cold
while he went to bed, till someone else turned up.

One week in the army we had a chance to get out if we volunteered for the Palestine Police, to fight the terrorists
who came over from Cyprus by boat at night. Who were the terrorists? Jews from the USA and Europe funded
by the Yankee Jews. They had already blown up the King George V Hotel in Tel Aviv plus many more explosions
causing death and destruction to all.

This was in a country called Palestine no country called Israel existed. Although the pay was out of this world
around £20 per week against our 8 - 9 shillings (today 40 odd pence). No one volunteered.
This was the beginning of Terrorism, as we know it today, was Hitler the only baddy. I know what I think NO

Apart from the G.S.C. Section the camp was divided into three other sections, One for the LF, one for the
West Yorkshire Regiment and one for the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, K.O.Y.L.I's, which also means
Keep Out of Young Ladies Insides.

Officers kept to their own Regiments but NCO's were mixed. We had a Lt. Jeap, Sgt Atherton LF, a KOYLI Cpl and an LF L/Cpl

We were still in the wooden barrack rooms, which in Jan, Feb and March 1945 were like a fridge.
We had 2 solid fuel stoves and a tiny coal allowance each week. Under orders a party of 4 was sent out with empty
sandbags every night to the nearby railway sidings to pinch coal from the parked wagons. The huts were so
cold every morning there was a small frozen lake outside the hut door where all the lads including me had gone for a pee.

I nearly got put on a charge for this by the KOYLI Corp who slept in our hut. He accused me of being responsible
(I couldn't pee that much!) but luckily I had the answer. When called up my dad being a WW1 veteran with the 'Loyals'
gave me a lot of good advice, one was take a torch. I used to stand this in my boot at the night, easy to find
but it turned out all the lads unknown to me borrowed it as well hence the light starting and finishing at my bed
Only one lad did not use it, he peed in bed.

One night we were near the stove when 2 lads from another hut came in, lifted the stove lid and dropped
something in and were off. When asked what it was they laughed and said "5 live rounds". We didn't believe them
until the five bangs and 5 holes appeared in the stove casing. I forget how that ended.

It was very cold both day and night at Berwick but even so we had to go in the North Sea every day
at least up to our knees. They said it would harden our feet and stop blisters. Did it stop blisters? No.

Every morning after Reveille the KOYLI Cpl who was still in bed used to shout "Ince there's only you and me in
bed and I had better be last". Yes he was.

Before breakfast my job was to scrub the barrack room table and form outside in the cold and dark.
On return from breakfast they were frozen to the ground.

Every Saturday morning we had a kit inspection in the barrack room so on Friday night we had to polish with
Brasso our two zinc plates. The little food we could eat tasted terrible for the next few days. Till the money was done
I used the NAAFI. One lad slept on the floor every Friday night along with his kit, to keep it dry, the lad in the
bunk above wet his bed every night and it drained onto the bunk below.

One Saturday was a special inspection so on the Wednesday night previous we had to paint all the barrack room
ceiling and walls with water paint(no emulsion in those days). Being a painter unlike the others I kept my self clean,
or so I thought, until I took my denims off, my back was full of paint. I never found out if it was an accident,
but I know what my view was.

Another way the Army saved on food apart from Brasso plates was to take us into the Gas Chamber once every week
last period before tea. By the time we had been sick and panned out on the ground who wanted anything to do with food.

Beginning in spring another racket was for the PT Instructor to take us to a private estate near the banks of the River Tweed
where we had to pick daffodils, stick them inside our jackets. On the way back we called at the Station Hotel, again beer money.
All we got was a promise nothing else.

We were only 18 but they always told us Gen. Montgomery (Monty) said "Play them hard, work hard, they won't get in trouble".
They did just that.

There was a Major Cox from B Company who used to ride round on a big old bike (cycle) mainly the barrack square,
waiting for side hats to fall off during drill time. Any that fell he made sure the lad got 7 days CB. If his cap badge
touched the ground it was 14 days CB minimum.

We had many lads from Liverpool in our platoon one of them was scared to death of hand grenades.
The first time he prepared and then had to throw one he threw it without pulling out the pin so he was made to
go out and dig around in thick mud with his bare hands till he found it. He did it right after that.

In those days we had PIAT Guns (Personal Infantry Anti Tank). They were about 4 feet long and must have
weighed at least 1 cwt (112 pounds). We used to load ours on the back of the biggest lad in the Platoon. It took
two of us to lift it up and put a rifle sling over each shoulder to enable him to carry it. You had to stand it on its end to
cock it and it took two hands to pull the large trigger. It had a kick like a shire horse.

On one occasion along with a lad called Bailey (now dead) we dug a slit trench in which to lie to fire the gun.
He wanted first go so I loaded the bomb, which was about 2 pounds in weight. He pulled the trigger but the bomb
just fell out in front of us. At 18 you don't see the danger so I re-cocked the gun, loaded the same bomb and fired.
It exploded as it passed through the target, a steel sheet. Over the years I have thought what could have happened.

After one of our night periods I was a rich man. Lt. Jeap gave 2/6d (12 and a half pence) prize money for the best
and quickest at dismantling and re- assembling a Bren Gun, blindfolded in given stages. The 2/6d was spent in the NAAFI.

Due to the fact we had been training and got soaked with rain the day before Passing Out Parade we were
the only platoon on parade in Battle Dress. The LF's Band led the Parade through Berwick

Near Alnwick, Northumberland

We moved from Berwick by Troop Train at 3.30am. The train just stopped on the line and we got off and marched to
Brunton a tiny village. Our destination a large country house (now a hotel) farm buildings and Nissen Huts
The one Cpl in charge of us took a shine to me because I came from Chorley. He knew Chorley because
he had been a prisoner in the Glass House there previously.

One Saturday night whilst at Alnwick someone who stayed behind decided to ' make my bed up', Tin Hat,
Rifle, you name it. On my return after lights out on getting ready for bed I found what had been done.
I wasn't pleased then a lad called Bob from Blackburn laughed out loud. So thinking he was the culprit
I tipped him out of his bed onto the floor. We then had a right set to which only finished when we busted the chimney
for the stove and moved the stove. The following morning I found out it wasn't him but we fixed the stove etc.

We had a well-loved Lt. whose name I forget in charge of us (what a bastard). We all made up our minds if we went to
Burma as expected he would get a .303 first day! To try and escape the draft he crashed a 35 cwt Morris Truck.
All he got out of that was a broken arm and made to carry on. This officer was also well liked by the other officers.

"One day on the Firing Ranges he offered to have a shoot out against a decent officer always referred to as
" The Duke" ( was he a real Duke ? ) for 2/6d. The Duke replied "I will shoot you for nothing".

One night out on maneuvers we slept in a barn. When I woke up the following morning I had a hole in the front of my
Field Dressing pocket bitten by rats to get the chocolate I had in there. I never felt a thing.

"One of the lads borrowed my rifle to go over the Assault Course one Saturday morning. The explosives Sgt , who was as daft as a brush due to Indian Sunstroke, blew him and my rifle up. Thompson was in a state and went to hospital.
But what about my rifle? We eventually found it in a mud bath. I wasn't a happy little bunny, what a job.

All the food we got came out of tins to prepare us for Burma

The War in Europe (VE Day) came to an end whilst we were there, we got the day off. We needed it.
Shortly after that I went to Newcastle Infirmary to see a specialist about my legs. He recommended down grading,
so I was put in the cookhouse. The water for brewing tea was boiled in three coal fired boilers outside the
cookhouse in the yard which had been stables. One day the cook sent me to brew some tea in the aluminum
bucket kept for that job with the warning one of the boilers had washing soda in the water. Do not use that one
but also I had to re-fill the one I used. It must have been good tea only one lad complained to the
Orderly Officer that the tea tasted funny.

Yes, I had used the wrong boiler but no one ever knew because as a good lad I had filled it up as told.
After my pals had gone the remaining food in the cookhouse was shared out amongst us before
the next intake arrived who were Paras.

My share of the food I was taking home for mum and dad to help their rations, never got there.
On being posted to Hunstanton I managed ok but on being posted to Exeter I could not carry my kit,
rifle and two kitbags, the one with the food in being so heavy I had to drag it along the station platforms
and the underground platform. What a mess when I opened the kit bag!! The tins of milk, butter, tea,
beans etc had all rubbed through a complete waste and it would have done so much good for mum and dad.

6th Holding battalion
LF's…West Yorks…KOYLI's

With the help of many old soldiers I quickly grew up at Hunstanton, from a green 18 year old to one of them.

We lived in house commandeered from the civvies before the expected German Invasion. On arrival
I was reading the notices on the Company Office notice board when a hand grabbed my shoulder and
I was dragged into the house next door, the regimental barbers!!! The riot act full of fruity words was thrown
at me by the Orderly Sergeant who had dragged me in. He would not allow me to speak but gave the barber
instructions and waited till they were done.

After that I remembered him and he would certainly remember me as time would prove. I soon found out he
had no name, always referred to as 252 (the number of the Charge Sheet).

Being the only young lad there I was christened "Chico" (Arabic for kid) by all the old sweats there.
Shortly after my arrival a new 48 hour Pass came into force so of course I applied.
I was up early when the Saturday arrived and went to the Company Office to collect it at 6am.
Who should be there but 252. In no uncertain terms he told me to clear off I could not have a pass.
So I went to the Railway Station to tell another LF I could not get a pass.

Whilst I was telling him who should arrive but the CO. I approached him and explained the situation.
He suggested I try again next week. Having grown up by now I gave him a story of how ill my mother was
and that she might be dead by next week (she was not ill). I don't know if he fell for the story or not but directed
his driver to take me back to the Company Office, this he did, to tell them I had to have my pass.
It made not the slightest difference, 252 again said no and clear off.

The driver left and so did 252. I was left alone then I spotted the book of blank passes,
so I whipped one and went back to the station to catch the next train, filled in the form and
got an RAF lad on the train to sign it.

I had to be back before 10am Monday morning but on the Sunday night I met another LF who I did not know,
he was on the same 48 hour pass. Although my dad went mad I agreed to meet this bloke at Chorley Railway Station
at 0625 am Monday morning. He had it all worked out that we would be back ok.

Oh yes!! We got back, at 7 pm Monday night!! He got 7 days CB. Chico (me) met 252 on Tuesday morning.
He greeted me with "Come here Chico, where were you yesterday". My reply was the truth, "I went home".
His reply was "You couldn't, you had no pass, don't be fly with me or I'll have you inside".
Some of the words were again fruity. Looking back, not a bright thing to do but it worked.

At the old Light House on the cliffs some 2 miles outside Hunstanton was the Guard Room and Detention Buildings,
what a place that was for a young lad. Each guard was for 24 hours. On my first one I was in a Nissan Hut all night
with about 30 male prisoners. Armed only with a pick axe shaft with orders "any trouble, sort them out".
Luckily for me my age helped me they were like lambs I even got a bit of kip.

On another occasion again with the pick shaft I was ordered to escort 2 prisoners to Hunstanton for their kit and
bring them back. Unfortunately for me they lived in two separate houses in two different streets. One wanted to
do a bunk, but luckily for me the other one talked to him and asked him what about Chico?. So he was a good lad
and they both went back ok. These two lads had smashed up a pub

The real hard cases, deserters etc they were kept in a concrete Pill Box (built for the German Invasion) next to the light house.
Talk about Belsen, they were allowed their shirts and one blanket nothing else. The concrete floor was their bed, latrines,
the lot. If the Provo Sgt was in a good mood they would get out for 10 minutes for something to eat then back.
If he wasn't in a good mood they stayed lockded up with no food or water.

Next after me on Pay Parade one day was Frank Jefferson who won his Victoria Cross at Monte Casino, Italy.

One day another unknown LF moved into my bedroom with his kit. He only did Pay Parade and leave,
the rest of the time was spent dodging everything!! After having my dinner one day I went back to my room.
There as usual was this lad on his bed. I started to get ready to on parade (such as it was) when he said,
" bed down Chico", so I thought I would give it a go, we would be alright after 4.30pm.

At around 2 pm there was such a noise and banging downstairs. The Regimental Police had raided the house and
we were on the third floor, to high to jump out. Suddenly the door opened, it was the Cpl from next door who had just done
48 hours Guard Duty We followed him into his room and he hid us in a built in wardrobe. He had a pass from Guard Duty.
So we got away with that. This same Cpl when up at Berwick threatened to run me round the barrack square with an
ATS skirt on till it dropped down. From going on PT Parade with my vest over the top of my shorts, how things had changed,
I was now one of them!! Apart from us, the wardrobe was full of fittings he had pinched from LNER Pullman Carriages parked nearby.

At the end of our street was the cemetery. I spent many happy hours there when I found out the Regimental Police
did not go there. Another Corporal in the house with us from Lancaster was a smashing bloke. Unfortunately he had
what they called 'sandfeet' through serving in the Western Desert with Monty's 8th Army.
The skin on his feet peeled off when he took his socks off.

Another chap had been in India and came back after suffering sun stroke. He could never find his kit and at break time every morning
he went to the house which had been turned into the NAAFI and collected any bits of food, put them in a bag and
fill pop bottle with dregs of tea, coffee or cocoa all mixed up, he then went off. The rumor was he had a women somewhere.

Another ex India, Burma veteran also came into the NAAFI every morning and ordered 2 cha's ((2 teas) and 2 wads (2 sandwiches)
and sat there waiting for his mate, finally saying he's not come again, I had better have them.
His mate had been killed in action next to him. That still brings tears to my eyes as I write about it.

There were many more similar cases with disabilities, which never came under the classification of wounds, so no pension.

One day some bright spark in the Company Office decided to organize a competition on the range, first prize 3/6d.. I doubt if the lads
who had been in action were trying. Yours truly won the 3/6d

We had to Parade after tea one night in the pouring rain under our groundsheets in the street in front of the Company Office
some 30 - 40 of us. They just left us getting wet, wet and wet. The bloke next to me put up with it for quite some time some
then said to me " I'm Off" They must have been watching us for as soon as he moved an upstairs window shot up
and the Company Sergeant Major shouted something like " Where are you going? " The reply was " I'm off mate".
The CSM had a fit and pointed to the crown on his uniform and shouted " This calls for more than mate,
you want to get some service in!

This caused a riot of laughter from all the parade, why? this fusilier had good conduct stripes from his wrist to his elbow,
a real old soldier with more service than the CSM. The outcome, he took his hook,
the CSM disappeared and so did we. End of story.

I was there on VJ Day a young lad, no money, hungry and home sick my celebration was to be in bed by 8 pm,
sleeping killed the hunger off.
Shortly after that a Selection Board arrived and some old soldiers with single figure demob numbers were offered
demob but many said no, they thought it was a trick and had to be convinced!!

When my name appeared on the notice board off I went. I can see the officer behind the table now,
"Your Ince?" "Yes Sir" " You come from Chorley, I come from Leyland you're a painter and decorator",
" Yes Sir" , "Well I'm an executive at Leyland Paints". I said " I thought local boys makes good,
either stay with the LF's or get out". " Oh no you can't be Class B Release, you have not finished
your apprenticeship and you are no use to the LF's!!" That's how I came to be in the Royal Army Pay Corps
for another 2 years 8 months!!!

I finalised the demob payment for the bloke who was commissioned in the LF's after training at Berwick
(see photo later). Pay Corp demob was later than LF.

This is an after thought hope it gives you a laugh:

After my stay at Hunstanton life in the Royal Army Pay Corps was a new world, a piece of cake!
I served at Exeter, Bradford (Yorks) and Manchester where all the officers accounts were done.
For a time at Manchester the Officer in Charge of our section was a Belgian, God knows where they had dug him up!

He thought he was a strict HARD MAN, he knew nothing about me previously to working for him,
either LF or Pay Corp. Actually he was just a PALE PUSSY CAT shadow of my old foe 252,
but like 252 he did not like me and I didn't like him! But at least I could fall back on my Hunstanton University Degree
and apply it to the different situations he threw at me!!! He did not like that, but I had worked to
the book making sure he could not NAIL ME!!

At that time, 1947 many drafts were going to the Canal Zone, a fly's nest hole from all accounts.
One day I had to report to the CSM's office, on my way I thought, "he's got me, here I come……….. CANAL ZONE!!!"

I knocked on the office door, a voice shouted enter, there in front of me sat behind a desk was the Belgian.
He looked at me for what seemed like half an hour and then said "Ince, I have some good news for you.

I obviously kept quiet but was thinking "Anywhere you go is fine by me!!"

I like to think back on it as a unique moment, a British Army Officer told a lowly private soldier some GOOD NEWS. I felt real chuffed!!

"The LFs at Hunstanton had an unwritten code of moral conduct, unlike the Yanks in the area.
They had not to get involved in any way with women whose husbands or boy friends were serving in the forces, but if they were in civvy jobs, they were considered fair game.

An update on the Dave Ince Feature

Berwick On Tweed.
The beds in the freezing huts were all wooden units of 4 transit bunks,2 up and 2 down,divided in the centre.
Our bedding consisted of a Palliase and pillow of sorts, which we had to fill with straw.
My father's advice came to me to use plenty of straw,as it will flatten with use.
How right he was, at the end of 4 months mine were not too bad, a little bit flat, but most of the other lads finished up after 4 months with just bags of dust.
We were issued with 3 blankets which were filthy,they were never washed from one intake to the next.
Every Sunday morning ,no dodging it,after which we were lined up for fatigues.
We had a very fat Padre who we saw once every fortnight, a very nice chap.
After coming into a warm room from out of the cold, the lads soon started to doze off , me included, and the Padre did not mind, he simply requested that we did not snore !
Once a fortnight if you got there early enough, you could get a bar of soap from the Sally Army, and even though we had to pay for it ourselves, it was like a God sent manna from Heaven.

The beds were single plywood beds with 3 biscuit mattresses, no pillows and 3 blankets.
Here there was no time for anything but training.
We did the assault course every Saturday morning.
If you were in the first group to go through, you nearly got drowned by the depth of water which would be flowing through after they had opened the sluice gate.
The bonus was that you were first to the showers which would be piping hot.
If you were the last lot to get through, then the water level in the river was very low and quite slow, but the downside was that the showers by then would be cold water!

Beds again plywood, but with a full length mattress and 3 blankets.
On Sundays, we could choose Church or fatigues.,there was no actual Church parade so me and a Methodist chap used to alternate every 2 weeks.
Much better than fatigues.
We had a Captain there (I cannot recall his name ) he had his arm in a sling from Monday to Saturday, but would take it off for Church, I never did find out why ?

Once an LF always an LF

The following colour photographs were taken by Dave during a recent visit to the east coast.
The black and white photos of course relate to the war years