Friday, 14 October 2011

I'm Lobert Leid And I'm Lost!

"Well, the end of the war came along and we had what we called Victory Europe Day, VE Day, and we had a big parade in Hull and all sorts of stuff. Well, my mam took me and Pat to Hull to see things, the parades and that, and I got separated. I was lost so I went to this man and I told him, I said - I couldn't say 'Robert' - I said "I'm Lobert Leid and I'm lost!". So he took me to the police station, and they were very good. Now, you couldn't get sweets and that during the war, and they gave me what was called a 'toffee apple'. It wasn't a real apple, it was like a block of seaside rock shaped like an apple. I got that and I got a cup of tea and they let me play with the air rifles and that, until me mam came and picked me up.

Well, the war was ended and we were rehoused in prefabs (which are instantly built houses) and we lived there for a few months. My dad was still in the Far East - he'd been there during the war, fighting - and he was now a commander for a German prisoner of war camp, so we were called over to Egypt to go and live there with him in 1947. I'd never seen my dad before, and when we got off the ship - we went on a ship from Portsmouth to Cairo, Port Said, and the ship was called The Empress Of Australia - my mam said to me "that's your dad, over there, look," and there was this officer there, a really smart officer, so I ran up to him and hugged him on the knees 'cause I was only little really (I was 7 but, due to the war rations, I wasn't that big), and I stood on his shoe unfortunately and the next thing I know I was getting such a big bang on my ear where he belted me, and that was the beginning of when I met me dad. I never liked him after that."
"Pleasant greetings, eh?"
"Yeah. So, we're in Egypt, and erm.. I was a young lad, I was swimming - I did a lot of swimming - and won races and that. I learnt to swim in the Suez Canal, which was quite.. something people don't normally do, and one of the things me and my friend used to do was swim across the Suez Canal to Palestine and pick oranges, have a couple of oranges, and then swim back to Egypt. That was what we used to do.

Well, things went by, I went to a school in Egypt, we left Egypt, I went to a school at a place called Knutsford, moved from there to Anlaby (we lived in wooden huts in Anlaby, it was called a 'transit camp'), we moved from Anlaby to Tuxford, from Tuxford to Worksop, and then Worksop to Retford. While I was at Retford school I was promoted to a prefect and then head boy. Well, that was the end of my schooling because at 14 and a half I left school. I wanted to get a trade so I wrote to the army and had a medical check up for the army, had to pass an exam in English, maths and physics, because I wanted to be a tradesman. I passed all them so they signed me on, and I was given my ticket to go to Chepstow, where the army apprentice college was."
"Where abouts is Chepstow?"
"Chepstow is in Monmouthshire in Wales, it's in south Wales. Anyhow, I got to Chepstow, we got picked up at the railway station and there was me and about another 100 boys turned up, and we got picked up and taken to the camp. First thing they did was cut all our hair off, took our clothing off us and gave us army denim overalls and a pair of boots, and then we had to go into the office and what we called a 'sausage machine' where they take all your information from you. I went in when it was my turn and they said to me, "Oh, you were born in August, 1940," I said "that's right, sir," and they said "well, you can't come yet 'cause you're not 15," he said, "so you're gonna have to go home again and come back when you're 15.". I didn't like that because one of the reasons I left home was because me dad used to hit me quite a lot."

We're up to 8:56 minutes now. I recorded about 17 minutes again today, so I'm probably going to be transcribing up more tonight so that I don't have too much to do tomorrow.


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