(Documented on 4 April 2005
- extracts from the full interview which is attached)
Len Kilvington, born in 1920, recalls his service in World
War II in France, Norway, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the
Middle East, Italy and East Germany. He comments that his
family were lucky in surviving the war -
“all four of us went to war and all four of us
came back so we didn’t do bad”
but concludes -
“There is no fun in wars”.
… I was in the Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment for
five years. We first went to Dreux in 1939 then we went down
to the front of the Maginot Line near Rheims. Then we came
back and went all the way to Scapa Flow and then on a destroyer
into Norway. We were in Norway for four days and we never
had a bite to eat or anything. We were lined up on a bit of
flat land in Norway and five Stukers came down the valley
so everybody scattered. There were three of us out of two
hundred that were left and the others went into Sweden. One
hundred and eighty-six went into Sweden and were there for
over a year.
… About three months later we came back and went up
the Persian Gulf to Basra and Baghdad. We had two days there
and then we went up the mountain pass, which was 20,000 feet
out of Baghdad into Iraq, it was fantastic, it was absolutely
marvellous. We then were about three miles from the Russian
border and lived on goat’s meat and rice, there was
no meat on goats, there was only bones. We had a tent, oh,
and it was cold. You used to get a cup of tea and go back
to your tent and there was ice on top by the time you got
back. The conditions were terrible. We had a tent where you
dug a hole 6 feet deep and there were ten of us to a tent.
… The next thing we did was we went to Anzio, Capri
to Anzio Beaches. […] going there was murder with the
shells going over you. We lost 2,000 men. The Germans pulled
out and we went to Rome.
… We finished in Eastern Germany, finished meeting
the Russians. […] Then it came to an end. We got a motorbike
and sidecar and officer took us to Denmark and enjoyed it.
Spent about a hundred pound – came back with ham, booze
here for a transcript of the full interview)