My Life Story 1940-1946

Sgt Albert Figg 1940
Albert Figg in around 1940 when he earned his Sargent’s stripes

The reason I decided to write my Life Story was three fold. First I wanted everyone of the younger generation to understand what living conditions were like in my days. In my youth. For example, we had bucket toilets, we now have flush ones, water from taps, instead of bringing up it from a well. Electricity, instead of candles & paraffin lamps. Gas cookers, microwaves, TV, computers, and many more items. Secondly, the vast improvement that has come about since the end of the war, with living standards, housing, incomes which enables you to afford to buy your own, I could go and on.

 

gun crew Kent
Albert (far left) with his Gun Crew, Sgt Ted Keogh, L.Bdr Ted Hughes, Gnr ‘Lofty’ Brown, Gnr Tom ‘Swill Bin’ Parsons and Gnr Sam Nelson on exercises in Kent

Secondly, it was the war years that effected most of us young ones, in the matter of a few months it made a boy into a man. So many different folks each with our own accent; Welsh, Scottish, Irish, South West to North East of England. The camaraderie of the war years was so important to us and I know that all veterans miss it today, more is the pity, it hardly seen now.

Thirdly, when we landed on the beaches in Normandy, and fighting started in earnest, far different than the training we had been doing during the last five years. This was for real! Operation Epsom, the first attempt to capture the strategically important Hill 112 outside of Caen, was our first battle which started on the 25th July supporting the 15th Scottish Division, which lasted only six days, as told in my Life Story.

Short interview with Albert Figg on his perspective of the Battle for Hill 112, courtesy of Annie Darling

Then came Operation Jupiter, on 7 July 1944, Caen was bombed, and on the 9th the Canadians had captured it.

field artillery
Field artillery in action in Normandy 1944

On the 10th Operation Jupiter started, a second attempt to take Hill 112. This was carried out by the 43rd Wessex Division, of which I was in, as a Sergeant of the 112 Royal Artillery Field Regiment, to take Hill 112 and start the break-out from Normandy. I have no intentions to go into details, as it is all in the Book.

However, it was without doubt the most important battle of the war, although it took the combined operations [Epsom and Jupiter] two and a half months to complete. It was the start of Victory in Western Europe when Germany surrendered on the 7th of May although it was not officially announced until the 8th 1945.

THE UPS & DOWNS OF A GUNNER.

Albert Figg - The Ups and Downs of a GunnerOut Now!

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