2nd Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment

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Recorded Interview
Pte. Kenneth James Wells 14559924
Page 2


Draft Board:
.....Leaving Aylesbury for a Dover posting where I stayed until I was posted overseas in 1943. I happened to be looking at the Draft Board this particular day when Sergeant Major XXXX asked what I was looking at that for. I replied, to see if my name was on it, he said, your not 19 yet, I said well I want to leave here I wont to get away from Dover every bloody night were being shelled in the air raids, I was fed up during the day, bloody old drill parades, dug in on that bloody trench half way up that hill by the Dover Castle, he said you’ll get worse than that where your going, I said I want to go on one of these drafts, he said, do you want to get bloody killed quick, I said, no but you have got to take that chance. He thought for awhile and said; I can put you on a draft if you want to go, and he did, how he fixed it I do not know.

.....We traveled to Glasgow overnight and was to learn a lesson in trust, from one of the galley cooks, offered to tell us where we were going for a price which we all chipped in ten bob to pay for the information, (Slang for ten pound note = 50 pence). He said, well your going to join the 8th Army, and he said you’re going there to invade Italy, of course we never did, we never saw that bloke again, we went straight up through the Suez Canal, through the med, the Indian Ocean and stopped at Bombay.

.....Some of our training was done in a place called Deolali, some of the men referred to it as ‘Doollally tap’ because they couldn’t pronounce Deolali. The reason it was given that name was because along that Deolali, Nasik Road, near Deolali, there’s a mental hospital, for people who were mentally ill, it was a massive place, and as the soldiers would say they’ve gone Doollally, ‘Doollally tap’, well at Nasik we had mule training and everybody had to have about a months mule training, how to load and unload them as they had to be loaded in a certain way because packed properly a mule can carry 90Ib of equipment each side of their panniers a total of 180Ib, some of them were so frisky they used to buck and kick, you’ve never seen anything like it, they used to run like Billy-o up these hills.

.....Leave was in lots, small lots; I went to Bombay for two weeks leave upon my return it was more training, route marches, jungle training and weapons training, then we went back to Madras and we had even more training.

.....While training in Southern India we had two Generals a General Auchinleck and a General Wavell, Wavell was watching us train on this particular occasion and he wasn’t all that impressed, he said, you’ll have to buck your idea’s up when you get into action because half you people are not with it your jabbering away there half the time, maybe he was right I because I remember we had these, Australian officers demonstrating the Owen Submachine Gun, a group of blokes were talking, they were sitting down by these trees and he said look keep quite I’m trying tell you something which just might save your life when you go into action of course some were still jabbering away so he fired a burst just over their heads into the trees, they soon shut up then, those Australians were mad but boy they were good.

.....Auchinleck, also had watched us in training, he watched us train on river crossings, he apparently said, I’m not really impressed at all, you’ll have to buck your idea’s up when you get into Burma because the Japanese will have you for breakfast if you take so long in crossing rivers like you have there. He got a shock because we turned out good, didn’t we.

.....In Madras and before entering Burma, we were told to fill out Short Will forms to our next of kin’s that made me think, it entered my mind that I might get killed. We had to remove all items of recognition, insignia, badges, shoulder badges, photo’s, letters and any other personal items that might give the enemy an edge. Our uniforms were put into a large boiling pot of jungle green dye.

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Pte. Kenneth James Wells
Pte. Kenneth James Wells

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