On April 10th 1942 Pte T Tunney was posted from Brancepeth Camp. The transcript below is transcribed from a 1995 taped conversation and follows on from the Colliery Village to Call-Up section of the website.

By the Spring of 1942 you'd all be posted from Brancepeth?

'No, I went on an MT course. They wanted to give me a tape and stay on on NCOs' cadre, but I said 'I want to be on MT.' I wanted to be a driver--so I had another six weeks at Brancepeth. I went up to the MT lines at the top of the camp, moved up there and did six weeks. On trucks, Bedfords, driving around Durham. I passed my test in Durham. I was through the bugger about four times, backwards, forwards, different ways.'

And meanwhile, the others?

'They all went to the 16th, or the 14th. Because our battalion had just been formed in 1940. Anyway what was left of us got posted. I had to go down to the 16th Battalion, that was at Rye on the South Coast, I went down there.'

With anyone else you knew?

'Oh aye, there were a few of us and then we got sorted out into platoons and sections and I got put into C Company. Why C Company was up at Winchelsea, up along the coast from Rye. That was HQ Company. C and D Companies were there. B Company was in another little village further along and A Company was somewhere else.'

Pte Tom Tunney became a Bren gunner in 15 Platoon, C Company. For an explanation of how a World War Two British Army infantry battalion was organised, click here.

'Oh aye, everything was organised. We were all together. When you're in a platoon like that you were together all the time. A platoon was 28 or 30 men, that's including the NCOs and then you have an officer. Lieutenant Duck was our platoon officer. And then Sergeant Forsythe. There was three or four platoons in a company. Sergeant Rennison. Corporal Edgar. Then there was two or three Lance Corporals. And then the three sections: Bren gunner. Number Two and riflemen. In theory, that's the way it worked. Grenadiers? We never used to bother with them. It was Bren gunner, the Number Two and riflemen and after that every bugger had their own grenades.'

Can you remember the names of the other men in your Section?

'Eeeh hell! They kept changing. Well, my Number Two was a bloke called Forster. And then I had a bloke called Poole, Eddie Poole and then there was Rowley, a bloke called Rowley. That's the bloke I had to go up on escort to bring back, me and the Corporal. Little Rowley. Aye. There was Kershaw--he got killed. There was--I forget his name now. Duck got killed.'

Describe the accommodation?

'Billets. Private houses that had been evacuated. They were mansions, some of them. One of the houses was the cookhouse.'

And the furnishings?

'Nothing. Bare boards, they'd taken everything away.'

And the routine?


C Company, 16 DLI at Winchelsea, Pte T Tunney
Pte Tom Tunney 1942
Pte N Cook of Wheatley Hill

Above Pte Tom Tunney, photographed in 1942. Below, Pte Norman Cook of Wheatley Hill, Co Durham, was in the same C Company platoon and was taken POW on the same day, March 2nd 1943.
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