The History of the Book, "Guns and Bugles".
My dad died
in 1990. He never talked about the war much, only small anecdotes
about the Army in general, but nothing specific. He always commented
when he looked at maggots, how he'd seen millions of them consuming
dead soldiers in the war.
When we were kids, one of our neighbours was an old soldier who always
talked about the war and I used to sit and listen in amazement. As
my knowledge of the War increased I spoke to this old boy at length
in his old age and discovered he was a sniper. His name was Vernon
Thomas 1st Bn the Welsh Guards, a regular soldier at the outbreak
of War and a Dunkirk veteran to boot.
Amazingly, I discovered during my research that he and Dad fought
under the same banner when the Guards Armoured Division came under
command of the 15th Scottish Division at Monchamp in Normandy. When
Dad had a bit too much to drink with Vernon he would bring up a story
of three boys who died, but on these occasions he ended up fighting
tears back. So I guessed he must have a few ghosts in his head.
I got to wondering about in his war service after sending for his
medals, and became interested in research years later after tracing
my Family Tree. I discovered that one of my customers (I had a shop
at one time) was a Military Researcher; he opened the door really.
I got a copy of my Dads outline Army service, was introduced to another
guy, Dave Gimes; he too had a vast knowledge of military history and
in particular The King's Shropshire Light Infantry. He guided and
advised me on the sources of information I could tap into.
One of the first things I did was get hold of a copy of the History
of the 15th Scottish Division. I was stunned to discover that far
from being on the fringes of the fighting, my father's Division had
been at the very heart of the heaviest fighting from the breakout
of Normandy right through to the fall of Germany, very often coming
under heavy fire and bombardment for days, enduring poor food and
foul weather conditions for weeks on end.
My Dad was just an ordinary bloke, he never talked of the heroic deeds
of his Regiment or Division who had died, taking his secrets with
him so that I could never share them with him. Never a day goes by
when I don't regret that.
There were hundreds of Regiments and Battalions that were formed for
the War, whose men were taken from "civvie street", turned
into soldiers, performed heroic deeds, and were forgotten when they
returned home. Told to move forward and put the War behind them, their
stories were never recorded for history.
I wrote to the museum in Shrewsbury for the history of the 6th Bn
KSLI; it arrived on an A4 sheet - the whole history!!
I then wrote the Royal Artillery Institute for the history of the
181st field Regiment RA. There was no history!!
So, I set about trying to find out what my had been up to in the War.
It has been a labour of love.
I have met many of his old comrades from all parts of the UK, had
letters from many more, and compiled a catalogue of around 200 unique
I've sifted through pages of Regimental orders, documents, and War
The story evolved itself and has resulted in the publication of my
book. In a way it represents many of those unsung units whose war
service has never been recorded.
I hope you enjoy reading what is written here and find it interesting.
If you would like a copy of the book itself, you can use the "Contact"
Page to request one.