My Nan, Private Irene Walker signed up to the army in early in 1942 she began her training on 1st May 1942. After all the initial training all around the country, it eventually culminated in her being trained to work with the brand new ‘radar’ system at Devizes, Wiltshire and later (at Maker camp) searchlights, which were to assist the gun site. In early 1944 she moved to Gravesend and Rochester during the Doodlebug raids. In November 1944 she went to Belgium, based at Wilder outside Brussels, not far from the Battle of Bulge. After March 1945 she moved to Liege, to assist with returning POW which is where she was for VE day.
My Grandad, Cyril Christmas, we know a bit less about unfortunately. We don’t know when he joined, or his ultimate rank. He was also trained in Devizes (at a different time to my Nan) and there’s a photo of him (middle back) from his training. Grandad worked on the radar at Tregantle, Whitsands Bay. In 1944, Grandad went to the Orkneys doing radar protection, and manning the guns, from the German boats. Grandad was also the entertainment for the base, where when he played the piano for everyone to sing dance and relax to in the NAFFI.
My Nan and Grandad met on base in Cornwall, in 1942 when Grandad was playing the piano and, despite being separated during their respective service, got married in August 1945. They agreed on base that one day they would move and live in Cornwall which they did.
A different element for the war effort was my maternal Great Grandad, Charles Walker who volunteered for the Civil Defence almost certainly as an ARP (Air Raid Precaution) Warden; attached is a photo from his work card, and the letter of appreciate that he received for his voluntary service. Although we don’t have a picture from the time, my paternal Grandad (Harwood) who was only about 12 during the air raids on London, also volunteered for the Civil Defence as a messenger in London, cycling through the streets during air raids taking messages between ARP groups.