Where you are: Living Memories - Len Kilvington
  Len Kilvington



 (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 …

(Click here for a transcript of the full interview)

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