War can be a career killer.


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I was just recalling an elderly shop labourer at a factory in which I once worked - Plessey, Beeston. It also brought to mind a labourer called Harry Spouge, who worked in the same factory. Harry was a footballer and began playing for Leicester City just before WWII. Sadly the war interrupted his footballing career and during his service he was hit in the back by shrapnel and forever afterwards had a stoop from the injury. Of course, it ruined his career and being poorly educated, he ended up as a labourer in the factory. He used to take shop orders for morning breaktime and always tickled us with his "How many want Codycola?". For some reason he was unable to say Coca-Cola. He was a nice bloke and it was very sad that he had suffered and had his life spoilt, fighting for his country.

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My father grew up in Chapel Street,Beeston. It no longer exists but was a closely knit community of families whose children all went to local schools. Dad had many friends among the local lads and they all went to Church Street Schools together.  When they turned 18, they all received their call up papers. Dad joined the Navy and, despite volunteering for DEMS duties, spent most of his war lounging around the Pacific, Australia, Far East, India, Middle East, etc.  He openly admitted he had a good time.  When he returned to Chapel Street in 1946, he discovered that he was one of the few among his childhood chums who had survived.

 

One of his friends, John L Warner, a year older than dad, had been repeatedly rejected for military service due to flat feet and low vision problems.  He eventually got into the Army who put him in a supply warehouse and he never left the UK. In his case, his disabilities may have saved his life.

 

Dad often spoke about those lads he knew in the 20s and 30s and, although he never admitted it, I believe he felt guilty that he emerged from the war unscathed and they didn't.  Such is life.  His father could have told the same story from 1914-18. Another lucky blighter who lived for decades with the memory of many who weren't.

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My Dad was in a similar situation Compo, he was on Notts County’s books when war broke out but was also serving his apprenticeship at the Royal Ordnance Factory.  He joined the RAF a month before his 21st birthday, as soon as he finished his apprenticeship in December 1942.  He was in the RAF football team so that side of war was enjoyable for him, stationed in Italy, North Africa and Greece. However by the time he was de-mobbed he was 26, had met my mum and needed to earn some decent money, footballers didn’t make a lot in those days.  He chose to go back to the Royal Ordnance Factory but also played semi-professional football for Minor Counties League teams such as Spalding United and Bourne Town.  He was paid £2 a week plus travelling expenses, not at all bad for late 40s/early 50s and a nice supplement to his regular wage.   I have an album of photos and newspaper cuttings that Dad assembled relating to his footballing career it’s such a pity that war came at the wrong time for him. 

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My dad's family lived at Alpine Cottages Beeston during WW1. I think that's somewhere near the now Acacia ave. Grandad worked at Humber cycle factory. There was 11 children of which he was youngest. His older brother lost his life aged 14 learning to swim near Beeston weir. His older sister married a farmer and they ran Padge farm. His other brother was a WW1 casualty and is buried in beeston

Edit. I've wandered off the thread's theme, sorry.:Fool:

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