The reminiscences of John Bowman . . .
In the autumn of 1943, the country was split into two areas of operation, roughly on a line north of London in a north westerly direction to Lancashire north of Manchester. North of the line were the Blue Force, south of the line were the Red Force. That is if I remember rightly, or perhaps vice-versa. The local Home Guard were also involved, but only at weekends.
These manoeuvres involved in excess of 40,000 troops. The local area was in a line marked by the Grand Union Canal running north, with the canal forming an obstacle.
I myself was a Sergeant in the Army Cadet Force, the 5th Hertfordshire Regiment (Tring Company). We were used, at the time, as scouts by 7C Company, Home Guard. I and my section were attached to No. 1 Platoon, based at the ‘The Grand Junction Arms’, Bulbourne. We were not in the pub, but in the outbuildings.
One regular army unit, I remember, was a battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry, who were bivouacked in the avenue of lower Tring Park. Supporting units were over the hill at Wigginton, towards Cholesbury, wherever tree cover could be found.
The action continued for about two weeks or so.
I hope this will give you an idea of local disruption, which we, as young lads, thoroughly enjoyed.