Wartime Trains

Trucks and Carriages

By Thelma Oliver

I vividly remember the increased traffic of trucks and trains rattling along at the end of our garden on the way to Southend Pier. The siding rail ended at our property and one night I woke up crying to mum "there's a lot of men in our garden shouting" but it was troops in carriages shunted until a bit later on. All day trucks loaded with big tanks, guns vehicles etc. went past ready I think for D-Day, very frightening. During this period no one was allowed to travel by train without a special pass. As we had relatives in Pitsea and Wickford we got round this by bicycling through the woods over Primrose fields to exchange eggs, fruit etc. No telephones then! So we carried news as well. It was very noisy. Our neighbour was a ganger and he was in charge of laying fog warnings, so on occasions there were bangs at night and early morning but good old LMS kept going.

This page was added by Thelma Oliver on 21/03/2014.
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Further to Thelma's comments in respect of the rail traffic.  Not being present in the country at the time I had never before heard of Southend pier being used in connection with the D Day landings.  Would these tanks and guns have been off loaded at Southend Central and run via the High Street and down Pier Hill or would the trains have gone through to Shoebury Garrison  and the armour run back along the sea front.  Also  I am surprised that tanks would have been run along the mile or so of boardwalk when it would have been far more simple for the LCTs' to load them from the beach.

By W.H.Diment
On 25/03/2014

Further to the comment by me.   For those interested the tale of the return journey was previously recorded in the archives stories of Laindon people under the heading of  "The Name Garnish".

By W.H.Diment
On 22/03/2014

The headline of wartime trucks and carriages brought back a memory of my own from 1945 although the war had finished some months earlier; Quite obviously it would take time to process and demob the bulk of the army, so it was agreed that those who had served a long time overseas were to be allowed home leave under a scheme called LIAP. It was in December 1945 when I was granted Christmas leave at home. The latter part of which was an overnight train journey from Milan to Calais and entailed crossing the Alps in the middle of winter in old rolling stock which had wooden seats and with no glass in the windows. Luckily we were crammed in twelve to a compartment, otherwise we would have frozen. Still it was worthwhile to see home after years. The return journey was even more farcical, but I did have the company of two other Laindon lads, Vicky Findlay and Walter Riches, which I had previously posted in the archive under the heading of a Wartime Journey.

By W.H.Diment
On 21/03/2014
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