I met GG and his wife outside the Budgens shop at Codford. After we had exchanged greetings and how are yous, leaning on my car for support, he said:
“I’ve read your book” I could tell what was coming so I interjected, “I expect you’ve found mistakes?” “Well”, he said, “I expect you got the information second or third or even sixth hand?” I nodded wanting him to continue and get it over with. I knew he was referring to the escapades he and his brother got up to in WW2, which I had indeed heard about from someone else, and I silently kicked myself for not checking the story.
“It wasn’t a skid bomb that me and my brother found and chucked down the well, it was a mine. We rolled it over the ground and dropped it over the edge of a very deep well. We heard it knock the sides of the well as it tumbled down to the bottom.”
“You were lucky!” I said, “where was this well? Was it a Field Barn well?”
“No, I expect it was one used for watering the cattle out on the Plain. Anyhow, it’s all filled in now and safe.”
Warming to his theme, he went on: “Another time me and my brother found a spike sticking out of the ground in a wood, it had a device attached to it and wires going into the ground. My brother said: ‘I like that’, and he took out his pliers and cut through the two wires and stuffed it in his pocket.”
“Another time we walked through a minefield! We came across an area out on the Plain surrounded by barbed wire entanglements, with a little wicker gate in it. So through the gate we go and we are walking across the area when we hear these shouts. ‘Who’s shouting at us? We’re British and we live here, nobody can stop us’, so we carry on towards the wood several hundred yards away. When we reach the wood these American soldiers grab us and shake us, cussing and shouting, terrible language, I couldn’t repeat to you the words they used, my teeth were rattling!”
“Do you know where you’ve just walked? Across a minefield!” They said.
“I suppose we must have picked our feet up and not shuffled, or we would have set off the trip wires.”
I said to his wife: “He’s lucky to be alive!” she said: “he’s got nine lives, this one!”