|Private Stan Blay
So you never went back to Stoughton in uniform?
I never, ever, ever, went to Stoughton Barracks. When we had to go to Chester which was this medical headquarters of this medical unit and they said "Where do you want to get demobbed, where do you live? "Well there is a demob centre at Guildford". "All right, fair enough". Everyone else seemed to come from the north and I came down to Guildford by myself and all the others went somewhere up north but I came down there and when I got down to the, well the billets were in Queen's Camp so I said, "Can I go home?" and they said "Where do you live?" They said, "We will get you processed". I said, "As the crow flies about a mile away". They said "Away you go", sort of thing. So came back the next day, medical, demobilisation papers one thing and another and you know the Ordnance Depot, I think it was built between the two camps, between Stoughton and Queen's Camp, that was used as the civilian clothing unit and I had never worn a hat in my life and I remember coming out of there with a pork pie hat on. Anyway they took us down into Guildford and we went off. Most of them went off by train. I got on the bus and there you are.
… and then you settled down to life in Guildford?
Yes I settled down and as I said I was working at the Co-op in a greengrocery shop and I was anxious to get back. It was November when we got demobbed and I said "I cannot come back till after Christmas" so they said "You could not come back before and help us through the rush?" so, yes all right, fair enough. But as soon as I got back there I thought no this is not for you. I don’t know whether I wanted something a bit more exciting or what but it was a bit of a job as I had not got a trade to come back to. Anyway I went down with Ron. He did not seem to want to go back to Vulcanised Fibre I think it was. He worked at Shalford so I said why don’t we go down the Labour Exchange. So we went down the Labour Exchange and there was an old boy in there, well I had known him for donkeys years. He lived just along the road from us but I did not know he had gone off all done up but I did not know where he worked. "Oh, come down the end of the counter" he said, "I will see what I can find for you". So he got this huge book out and said, "No, that is no good, the money is no good", turned the pages over and he said, "Ah, see you through the winter. How would you like to do a bit of stoking". "Well, we have got to make a start somewhere". "Well, look", he said, "I will give you a card, go and see the Clerk of Works. Go in the Queen's Camp and it is the Royal Engineers". So I went up there, saw this bloke, he said "Yes we want some stokers". He said "Do you know anything about it?" I said "No". He said "Well that is all right others don’t as well".