The reminiscences of Cyril Phillips . . .
The unit certainly had a cross section of personalities. On one occasion, after a raid in London, a church had been damaged, but one of the drivers found the organ still worked, so he played it whilst the rest sat around drinking beer. Another detachment in the West Country got stuck in a ditch having been to a local pub. A couple of the other drivers got out and with the use of the power winch got lorry out. It was only when they got back to Tring that Capt. Thomas called the driver in charge to the office. “Do you know you pulled down a statue with the winch cable?” That meant a shilling a week as a penalty until the damage was paid for. One driver lost his brakes down a hill in Kent and finished up in a Pub lounge. There were too many to go through all of them. I finished up with a lorry and gun about midnight in a front garden in Kent. The owner of the cottage was not best pleased.
The unit had two sections A and B. I belonged to A Section; we had one duty on and one duty off every twenty-four hours so that guard duty and the necessary administration could be carried out, whilst during the day maintenance and repairs could be done. After 5pm we were free to go into Tring or Berkhamsted.
As we were only sixty people, we did not have a NAAFI canteen so when we were off duty we set up a small bar and shop in the dining room where we played darts, board games or cards. The pubs we usually used were The Bell or The George in Tring, and the Royal Hotel at Tring Station. Dances were held at the Victoria Hall which is where I met Joyce Goodman my wife; three of us married girls from Tring. The Regal Cinema was another haunt. The unit moved out of Pendley Manor sometime after D Day.