Carpenter Harold (‘Harry’) Postill, from Fangfoss, reveals how his father Harold was captured at the Battle of the Somme and held prisoner for about nine months, but managed to survive and return home.
If I tell people that my dad was captured at the Battle of the Somme, they usually say “you mean your grandad don’t you?” Well no, because my dad was born in 1899 and didn’t have me until 1948.
My dad, Harold, was a farmer’s son from Manor Farm, East Lutton, the youngest of five children. I’m not sure whether he was called up or volunteered.
His first barracks for basic training was Durham Gaol where, as well as learning basic drill, they were presented with a bayonet an officer would pass down the line, with the words “this is to kill or be killed.” The sergeants, during training, would bellow insults at the new recruits such as, “you’re like a lass in pink socks” or “you might break your mother’s heart, laddie, but you won’t break mine.”
I think that, as was the case with many who have experienced the horrors of war, my dad managed to block much from his mind but during our conversations over the years, he would recall bits and pieces of memories and events to me.
Read Harry’s full article in this week’s (18 September) people’s paper.