Pre-demob And Home
Extracts from an unpublished book
L/Cpl. William Joseph Lowe 14640525
.....A few days later
I was selected for a 6-week pre-demob course. Turning and General Machining.
First 7 others and myself were sent to Rangoon to Army H.Q. from here we were
sent to various places for our course, four of us were sent to a R.E.M.E. Unit
(5 A.B.W.) at Insein about 400 yards from the Civil Jail, in the Burma Technical
College. Here I spent 8 weeks in all picking up again my job for Civvy Street.
My time off was spent playing football, cricket and swimming in their own Bathing
.....On Wednesday morning of the last week, we were told to pack and get ready to go back to Regiment, as our demob group was moving off very shortly into transits. On the Saturday morning, we said farewell to our pals in the Battalion. The band led us out of the Camp on to the main road for the last time. Three long weeks were spent in the transit Camp waiting for our boat. Fresh rumours went round every day of boats coming in. On the February, our dreams came true, and orders were issued for the following morning. Everyone being ready one hour before the time ordered, and ready to be off.
.....Taken by transport to Rangoon Docks, we got into the tank landing craft and were taken to Monkey point about 3 miles down the river to our boat, as the River was not deep enough for it to pull into the Docks.
.....In pre-war years the Irrawaddy Delta area was dredged every year after the Monsoons, to keep it navigable to the larger ships. The Japanese had not bothered, as they had not been able to get any boats into the docks because of the blockade by the R.N.R.I.N. and the planes of Coastal Command flying from bases in India and Ceylon.
.....By dusk on the 29th all passengers were aboard, about 9 o'clock on the morning of the 29th with the high tide we started on our homeward journey. The following day, Sunday, a Church service was held on deck. The Band of the “Royal Scott’s” provided the music.
.....In about 5 days we went round the southern tip of India, across the Indian Ocean into the Red Sea and then the Suez Canal, most of the time was spent on deck, as it was quite a change to see land again. At Port Said we stayed a short time taking on water, supplies and a few civilian passengers. Leaving Port Said the weather changed and the troops fetched out their Serge Battle Dress.
.....A few days later we reached Malta. The Royal Scott’s band left us to go on tour of the Island, and we were joined by the band of the Manchester Regiment. We stayed in the harbour for about 6 hours and we had visits from numerous vendors. The Band played us out of the harbour, a very much better band than the previous one.
.....Two days out we were hit by a violent storm, and nearly all the troops were seasick. We passed through the Straits of Gibraltar and came up the Spanish Coast, seeing lots of their fishing boats.
.....Next came the Bay of Bisquay, and the English Channel, and so we saw the Isle of White early in the morning, and slowly steamed into Southampton docking about 11 o’clock.
.....We watched the Civilians disembark. We were not due until the following morning. So everyone was up early and had returned their bedding to the stores in good time, and up on deck with their kit ready to go off.
.....About 9 o’clock we moved off through the customs and lined up ready for our train, and the W.V.S. gave us tea and biscuits, and a paper to read. So off we went changing at Basingstoke for Reading. Here we were met by transport from the Depot, and we were soon having our kit checked.
.....Just about 4 o’clock we got paid and off we went on our different ways home. Four of us catching the train from Reading to Leamington, here I got off and carried all my kit from the G.W.R. station to the L.M.S. where I got a train straight through to Longford.
.....From here I carried my kit home, and met my wife and saw my baby daughter Glenys for the first time.
L/Cpl. William Joseph Lowe