1. RMA – Royal Military Academy (Woolwich), training school for military engineers and artillerymen.
2. Imperial Empire – refers to the Roman Empire at the time of the Emperor Tiberius.
3. BEF – British Expeditionary Force. The event referred to here is the evacuation of the British Army from Dunkirk following the collapse of the French Army in Northern France.
4. Later recorded as killed in action – see newsletter of September 1942.
5. Refers to the daylight raids on the Filton Aircraft Factory and other parts of Bristol that took place between June and September 1940 that formed part of the Battle of Britain.
6. Initially entitled the Local Defence Volunteers, the Home Guard was made up of part time soldiers who volunteered to help defend the country when the threat of invasion was at its highest. Also known as “Dad’s Army” on account of the high average age of its members, they assisted the local military commander by guarding vital installations in their area and also helped prevent looting of property damaged by the air raids. Later in the war they manned the anti aircraft batteries in and around the major towns and cities.
7. Written at the height of the Bristol Blitz, the raids themselves were virtually over by June 1941 and the last bombing raid on Bristol took place on the 28th April 1942, although a nuisance raid on the night of the 14/15 May 1944 did result in the death of a member of a searchlight crew.
8. In fact the United States of America did not formally declare war on Germany until after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on the 7th of December 1941, although at this time it was providing all the aid it could give Britain short of war. The Lend Lease arrangements introduced at this time helped to stave off bankruptcy and enabled Britain to carry on the war until the Americans could join in.
9. In the First World War many troops marched through their home town on their way to the battlefront led by their Regimental Band. This was done partly to boost morale but mainly to encourage the crowds and boost recruitment.
10. Jugoslavia – i.e. the former Federation of Yugoslavia (comprising the present day states of Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina). Formerly an ally of Germany, a coup d’état installed a new Government which voted to leave the Axis and join the Allies. Unfortunately the whole country was overrun in a few weeks when the Germans invaded the Balkans and Greece on the 6th April 1941.
11. OCTUs – Officer Cadet Training Units.
12. AFS – Auxiliary Fire Service.
13. Michaelmas – the feast of St Michael & All Angels, which in the Western Christian Calendar occurs on the 26th of September and in the Northern Hemisphere is associated with the coming of winter and the shortening of days.
14. RA – Royal Artillery.
15. Golden Cords & Bushmen’s Thongs – the former were awarded to scouts who had gained over 25 proficiency awards, while the latter insignia were worn by holders of the King’s Scout award.
16. Singapore was captured by the Japanese on the 15th of February 1942 after a short campaign down the Malayan Peninsula, which had begun on the 8th of December 1941. It resulted in some 130,000 British & Commonwealth troops being taken into captivity, many of whom were to die of the privations suffered at the hands of their captors in the years prior to their liberation in August 1945.
17. Refers to “The Microtones” – a group of 5 singers led by Jimmy Wright in performing close harmony singing. They were very well known in the West Country before the war and had several engagements with the BBC. Jimmy Wright’s death in a flying accident in Canada was later published in the Bristol Evening Post on the 20th of October 1941 – see the Parish Roll of Honour (1939-45) for further details.
18. CLB – Church Lads Brigade.
19. HMS Eagle – a former Dreadnaught Battleship brought from the Chilean Navy in 1918 and converted to an Aircraft Carrier. She was sunk on the 11th of August 1942 escorting a convoy that formed part of Operation Pedestal designed to relieve the besieged Island of Malta.
20. Bengahzi – a small port on the Libyan coast that changed hands several times during the Desert War. At the time of writing Bengahzi was in German hands following the retreat of the British 8th Army from Gazala to El Alamein in June 1942.
21. HMS Prince of Wales – a 35,000 ton George V Class Battleship built in March 1941, which was sunk by Japanese Aircraft on the 10th of December 1941 off Singapore, together with the Battle Cruiser HMS Repulse.
22. Refers to the Second Battle of El Alamein, which took place over 23rd October to 5th November, in which the British 8th Army under Lt Gen. Bernard Law Montgomery inflicted a major defeat on the combined German and Italian Armies that led to their eventual capitulation in Tunis in March 1943.
23. It later transpired that Arthur Baldwin was captured and taken to Greece from where he was repatriated in the summer of 1944 – see the footnotes to the Newsletters dated January 1943 & September 1944.
24. ARP – Air Raid Precaution
25. Paiforce – on 1st September 1941, after Persia was secured, the Iraq command under Lt Gen Edward Quinan was renamed the Persia & Iraq Force or “Paiforce”. Quinan’s HQ was redesignated as 10th Army in February 1942.
26. YWCA – Young Women’s Christian Association.
27. Refers to the capture of Tunis & the final defeat of all the German Forces in North Africa on 13th of May 1943.
28. HMS Achilles – a Leander Class Light Cruiser, she took part in the famous Battle of the River Plate on the 13th December 1939 and was later badly damaged by Japanese counter battery fire off the Island of Guadalcanal in the Pacific on the 5th January 1943, resulting in the death of Frank Saunders who was serving in as a gunner in the X turret at the time.
29. Al Hamma – a major engagement forming part of the flanking movement by the 8th Army around the German defences on the Mareth Line that led to the capture of Tunis at the end of March.
30. YMCA – Young Men’s Christian Association.
31. Rapido River – this battle formed part of the 4th Battle of Monte Cassino under Field Marshall Harold Alexander otherwise known as Operation Diadem, in which the allies finally managed to break through the German defences & capture the city of Rome. In the battle British troops from the Army’s XIII Corps successfully established a beachhead over the Rapido River through which the breakthrough was achieved.
32. D Day – Allied invasion of Normandy in France also known as Operation Overlord.
33 “In the Mood” was the theme tune of Glen Miller’s Dance Band, of whom Frank Norman was obviously a fan.
34. Sir William Beveridge – author of the report that led to the setting up of the Welfare State in Britain after the war.
35. Athens – after the Germans had evacuated their forces from Greece shortly before the end of 1944, troops from the British 8th Army were transferred to Athens to help forestall a potential coup d’état threatened by the Greek Communist Party.
36. BLA – the 21st Army Group under Field Marshall Bernard Law Montgomery was also known as the British Liberation Army and was later renamed the British Army of Occupation on the Rhine after the war had ended.
37. FAA – Fleet Air Arm
38. DFC – Distinguished Flying Cross
39. Battle of Arnhem – a major attempt by General Montgomery to use the 1st Airborne Army to outflank the German Army and advance to Berlin across the Rhine. Unfortunately the attack failed to secure the Rhine bridges at Arnhem and supply difficulties made it impossible for the British Army to bring enough force to bear to break through to the stranded British Airborne Division.
40. Toc H – an international movement instigated by the Rev Philip Thomas Byatt (Tubby) Clayton to perpetuate the fellowship developed in Talbot House (a soldier’s club run by him during the First World War). It is from the military phonetic alphabet for TH (Talbot House) that Toc H takes it unique name.
41. VE Day – Victory in Europe Day.
42. ATS – Auxiliary Territorial Service, a women’s branch of the Territorial Army during the Second World War.
43. At this time scouts were awarded different coloured cords according to the number of proficiency badges they obtained, with gold being the highest award.
44. Dodecanese – islands in the Adriatic that were occupied by the Germans and were the scene of a number of clashes between the respective light naval and air forces.
45. Mustangs – the American P51 fighter aircraft. A very versatile aircraft used for escorting heavy bombers over Germany and strafing enemy lines of communication in the later stages of the war.
46. Rangoon – capital of Burma which was captured by the British 14th Army on the 6th of May 1945.
47. SEAC – South East Asia Command covered Allied forces in India, Burma, Ceylon, Malaya, China, Siam, French Indo-China and the Dutch East Indies and came under the command of Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten in October 1943.
48. VJ Day – Victory over Japan Day.
49. Territorial’s – part time soldiers who enlisted in the Army before the war began in 1939 and were consequently first in line for demobilization when the war ended in August 1945.
50. DSM, etc – Distinguished Service Medal, MC = Military Cross and MM = Military Medal; DSO = Distinguished Service Order & MBE = Member of the British Empire.
51. CMF – Central Mediterranean Forces – the British component of the General HQ for the Mediterranean Theatre established on the 1st October 1945.
52. ENSA – Entertainments National Service Association
53. BAOR – British Army of Occupation on the Rhine.
54. ARCO – Associate of the Royal College of Organists.