Brancepeth bus. Brancepeth Castle. Got off there and straight into the big hall. You had to go in and sign on, register and all. And then they took us up to the camp just up the road. You got allocated into huts. Might be about thirty men in a hut, I'm not sure.

There were a few familiar faces in the intake.

‘Oh aye, Mickey Hubbard, he belonged Murton. He was a bricklayer as well. We were all bricklayers and joiners and painters and plumbers. Anyway, we got took up to the camp and got allocated into these huts. Why, Mickey Hubbard got allocated into the next hut to me. I don't know whether we were allowed into the NAAFI or not. I believe we were, the first night. So we were confined to camp, couldn't get out of the camp. So we all went up to the NAAFI and we were drinking pint bottles of Amber Ale all night. It wasn't strong beer that, Amber Ale. I think we got a hat a piece. We all had to wear a. hat.’

Eventually the new recruits were also issued with their individual Army Numbers. Pte T Tunney’s DLI membership card and his original identification tags are ;pictured at right and enlarged on the following page. I’m also in the process of compiling a consecutive listing of numbers in the range of Pte T Tunney’s number 4469365, starting on this page of my associated DLI POW web site. This specific December 1941 number sequence seems to run from around 4469100 to 4469400, thus providing an intake of nine 30 man platoons, as indicated above. Though unfinished, this listing already and gives a fascinating snapshot of some of the men who were literally standing alongside him in the queue at Brancepeth in December 1941. If anyone knows of any further names and numbers for this and the other sequences in the listing, please get in touch.

Kit Issue

'You used to have to go to the stores, line up and they'd just look at you, pick a tunic and a pair of trousers and chuck them at you--boots, socks, shirts and underwear. If they were too bad, you took them back and got them changed.'

And then it was everything according to the Army's rule and routine.

'Reveille. I think Reveille was at half past six. You had to get your kit away. There was a special way of stowing it. You didn't have a bed, you had three 'biscuits,' like three cushions as big as this. You used to lay them on the floor. Four blankets--there was a way of folding them up. And your spare boots, things like that. It all had to be done. The floor had to be buffed shiny. It was an ordinary floor, but it used to shine and your buffer it used to shine it all up. And then you used to go and get your breakfast about eight o'clock.

'We used to get porridge and then you might get a couple of sausages and fried bread or summat or maybe a piece of bacon and sometimes an egg, with fried bread. You could get ordinary bread as well if you wanted. Used to queue up in the dining hall with your plates and then come back and sit down and eat. And then you used to get your dinner, one o'clock, you know the usual thing? Tatties, vegetables. Oh, it was canny, decent and then you used to go and get your tea about five. This was in England, at Brancepeth. But if you wanted any supper, everything that was left that day, they used to cook it up again, make broth with it, things like that. And if you went up to the cookhouse about half past eight you could get a plate of soup and a couple of slices of bread. But if you had the money you used to go to the NAAFI.'

What could you get there?

'All sorts, beans on toast that was the popular choice, it was cheaper. Used to get a couple of slices of toast and a couple of spoonfuls of beans on top.'


click to enlarge, DLI Membership Card 1941
click to enlarge, Pte T Tunney 4469365 identity discs