A Soldier’s Story

From the Wine Cellars of London to The Isles of Orkney
Contributed by John Clarke

William  Charles Clarke

William Charles Clarke

My father, William Charles Clarke was born on 3rd June 1921 in Bethnel Green London, and grew up with his parents William and Florence. He spent his youth as an apprentice wine blender at his father’s place of work. He recalled memories of transporting crates of wine via way of an old wooden conveyer system through the cellars and loading the crates on to the horse drawn carts to transports to various parts of the city.

In 1941 William was called up into the services and was assigned to the Territorial Army as an Electricians mate. After his basic training William was told he would be moving to the Isles of Orkney on the northern tip of Scotland. His first experience of traveling on the boat to the Isles was something he could not forget and recalled seeing a regimental sergeant major cry due to the rough seas. He worked in the REME and trained on the radar locking device systems for search lights and anti aircraft guns.

After a year in service he traveled back home to marry his fiancee Dulcie in 1942 and then left her to return back to Orkneys where he served his time in the army until 6 months before discharge. At that time he was reassigned to the south coast of England to shoot down V bombs.

He was discharged from the Army 6th August 1946 to return to Coventry to be reunited with his wife

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