Private Stan Blay, of 2/6th and 2/7th Battalions, the Queen's Royal Regiment recalls a lucky encounter after his call up in 1942.
Stan Blay
Private Stan Blay

So when the trouble with Germany started did you have a choice of which Regiment when you got the call up? No, we went for our medicals down in the Holy Trinity Hall and they said you will hear in due course. Well as time went on we were hoping they had forgotten about us but of course they had not and we, I think it was just after the Christmas of 1942, I or we got the buff coloured envelope which came through the letter box and I opened it and I said "Oh well, I have been called up, I have got to go, I did not want to but I am glad it is the Queen's" and I thought, it is out in the barracks, it might be handy. Well when I read on a little further down, we will congregate at this particular platform at Liverpool Street Station and there would be a special train on this platform. Which of course there was and I remember, I suppose I was a shy boy really, walking up and down this train trying to find a compartment, empty carriage, empty train sort of thing and I went the length of the train and there was one chap who stuck in my mind and there was only him sitting in there so I came back to where he was and I thought, well, I will get in there, got to get in somewhere, got to get in with somebody any way, and this chap said to me, he had never been to London before and he said this is Ron Velvet and he comes from Blackheath in Guildford. Well I said "I come from Guildford too" and we became friends straightaway. Well it is amazing how things work out. Somebody had done their homework or something. When we got on the train we did not realise it was three battalions they were replenishing but when we got to Colchester we were taken in trucks, I believe, to these barracks and first of all we had our first pint mug of tea and a bully beef sandwich and it went down very well. They sorted us out then. Took a few details and ticked us off on the sheet. When we finished I turned around and there was this chap and he was still with me and I said "Oh well we have survived the first sort out" I said. Any way eventually some coaches came and we were all loaded on them and off we went. We were taken to just outside Ipswich to Shrublands Park Camp and that was the home of the 2/7th Queen's.