Tuesday, 3 July 2012

put your gong on

My last day in St Helens with the project 'text from grandma' was very productive and informative. The  morning was spent at Mayfield Care Home, with the group of regular attendees. As ever there was a constant flow of reminiscence, that was in turn selected from to create one-off badges. The shaky handwriting, the accidental splatters, they soon become miniature works of art.

I started the session with the theme of accessories, Vinny soon inspired a change in the conversation with his memory 'had my brothers wrist watch, hidden it away when he went in the army.' This flowed into a conversation about military medals, and war time memories. 

Norman's badge, ink pen and pencil. 

'The Military Medal the MM, for being a daft fellow, doing something daft. I got mine in the Middle East, 20 and daft enough, got carried away. You wouldn’t do what you would normally do. Was brought up in the Bluecoat School, so more or less ready for the army. Put your ‘gong’ on, that’s what we used to say.

I was totally blind, enough to frighten me, they flew me to Israel, famous hospital for taking blind people. Was looked after by Suzie Baxter (funny the things you remember) A bomb to close blinded me. Playing soldiers.

I was in Berlin at the end of the war. In my tank, an American tank, the Stuart Tank’ was very good if you like that kind of thing. Alright till you were in battle then it was different. It was normally quite comfortable, but frightened you often. You had to get stuck in. Was brought up in the Bluecoat, semi military anyway, it made a difference what school you went to.' Ernie


'The most significant part of the war, landed early morning on D Day, landed on the beach, quite exciting. Came day light, 6.30 in the morning, that was it, D Day. They told us about it, to keep quiet about it. Was in the Royal Artillery, that was it. Got called up, conscripted, told to go. Posted to the Far East when I was in Germany, spent the last 6 months in the camp. A tropical place, always hungry, best years of my life' Norman

Ernie's badges, name, initials and MM/MC award. Ink pen on paper.

No comments: