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British Service Overseas, Home Guard and Observer Corps

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posted on 2024-06-05, 19:42 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

My Dad had a lovely carved wooden box, 6 "x4". He told me it was made by a soldier convalescing; it may have been from the Suffolk Regiment. We had it at home and then, when Dad became churchwarden, he gave it to the church for the hymn numbers. Much later, I looked around the church and found the box. The current churchwarden agreed it could go to Woolpit Museum. At the 2022 Remembrance Service, the Vicar said that even during the War, things of beauty can be made. I felt that giving this box to the museum was, perhaps, the last thing I could do for my Dad.

Dad was in the Suffolk Regiment, 'Glorious Twelfth' - 'Speed the Plough' was the Suffolk Regiment's march past. He was in the anti-tank division and eventually became a sergeant instructor. He didn't go abroad, probably being more valuable at home instructing new recruits. He did a broadcast for British Services Overseas (British Forces Broadcasting Service) radio on Minden Day because the Suffolk Regiment was a key battalion in that battle; two or three individuals took part in the broadcast from each of about four or five regiments. I have the script at home. They spoke of harvest, sugar beet, Moyses Hall clock still being 2 minutes out (another story). They played 'Speed the Plough'. Then the other regiments' members spoke about their home counties and life at home.

His second broadcast for the World Service was a propaganda broadcast where he had to say what good soldiers the Russians were. He had to stay at a hotel overnight, and nearby hotels got bombed.

Frank Jermy - I, Derek Nunn, had met this man. My Dad was at Woolpit School with him. If they had 100% attendance, then Friday afternoon could be football, but Frank Jermy (a German sympathizer and a member of the Black Shirts) said, "Well, you won't because I'm not coming back this afternoon."

Once, when I was at home in Woolpit, a blackened limousine drew up and Frank Jermy got out and said, "I'm looking for Bert Nunn." So I ran in and told Dad, and he told me to keep out of the way; it scared me.

My Mum was a hospital auxiliary during the Second World War. Jaycette Whittaker (in Buxton during the war) wrote illustrated articles in the Bury Free Press, and she did a drawing of the ward with my Mum doing the washing up. It was presented to my Mum one Christmas (1943/44). I still have the original, and the West Suffolk Hospital Museum curator has a copy.

My Grandad was in the Home Guard during the Second World War, based at Woolpit. He told a tale: they were on night patrol in case of a German invasion, up near Haughley Park, and they could hear some tapping. Thinking it was the approaching enemy, they jumped into a ditch and got soaking wet! It turned out to be a dripping field drain.

Grandad Baker was an art catcher and had a Land Army girl working with him. He had to sign the Official Secrets Act because he went to American air bases for cargo planes which had rats in their holds. He would have been able to see all that was going on.

My maiden aunt, Linda Baker, was in the Observer Corps at Bury St Edmunds. She was one of the spotters but wouldn't talk about it - she'd signed the Official Secrets Act too. There's a special plate in Bury Guildhall, but she wouldn't share her memories. She lived to 93 and died in 2022.


Person the story/items relate to

Burt Nunn, Linda Baker

Person who shared the story/items


Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

Father and Aunt

Type of submission

Shared at Wetherden Village Hall, Suffolk on 11 November 2023. The event was organised by Wetherden History Group.

Record ID

102377 | WET010