World War 2 - Cyril Henry Brock
|Memories of World War 2
Cyril Brock of Tytherington spoke to the Local History Group about his military service in World War 2.
I was born on 30th July 1922 at Grovesend, moved to Woodlands, Tytherington in 1926, then to Baden Hill in 1927. I attended Tytherington Village School, leaving at 14 years of age and was apprenticed to Taylors of Woodford to train as a vehicle mechanic.
In November 1941 I was called up to serve in the forces and joined the Second Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment (Service No. 5193722). At the time I was a very shy young man who had only ever travelled to Bristol, Weston-Super-Mare and Gloucester!
In May 1942 I transferred to the 1st Battalion 4th Essex Regiment. I was given one weeks leave and then told to go to Temple Meads Station and board a train to Greenock. We were then transported in small boats to the Queen Mary, not knowing where we were going. After 28 days at sea calling at Freetown and Durban in South Africa, we went on to Port Said in Egypt. We then joined the 4th Indian Division where I became the heavy goods driver. We drove through the desert, where I had my 21st birthday, to Tunisia. Whilst there I saw Ernie and Tom Cotterell, both from Tytherington. We then went back to Cairo where I was ordered to the Commanding Officers headquarters. Wondering what I had done I found behind the desk Tytherington's Canon Kitson's son, Major Harold Kitson, and we enjoyed a whiskey together!
In September 1943 we landed in Taranto and then fought our way out through to Naples, Monte Casino, and Rome In Rome, outside St. Peter's, standing with a friend we were approached by an Airforce Officer who asked us if we wanted to go inside. He got us into the service and the Pope was present. Afterwards the Pope came over and talked to us and shook our hands.
The next stop was Florence and then to Milan where we trained for the D-Day landings, but were sent to Greece because a civil war had broken out. I was promoted to Corporal at this time. After seeing service in Greece I was given 28 days holiday in the United Kingdom. Then I went back to Greece and also Palestine.
I was finally demobbed in 1946 at Colchester barracks, issued with a suit, hat, shirts, underwear, shoes, kitbag and money!