Recorded interview of Tony North by Peter Foulsham (MC 376/510a)
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Recorded interview of Tony North by Peter Foulsham


MC 376/510a

1 compact cassette

nd [1998]

2nd Air Division Memorial Library/Oral History Project

Peter Foulsham, Tony North

Glen Miller music at start and end (00mn 02s to 00mn 24s and 38mn 23s to 39mn 01s) of recording has been redacted for rights reasons.

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Tony North of Lakenham discusses various subjects including his father's work for the Post Office telephones. Describes local contact with Americans, including his parents responding to an American Red Cross advertisement to house servicemen at Christmas, 1942, and neighbours adopting 'stray' Americans. Recalls an engineer, Johnny [surname not given] from the 458th Bomb Group, who visited mostly at weekends. Recalls having a Morrison, rather than Anderson, shelter where Johnny sometimes slept. Discussion of conscription in the American military and their rapid departure from the European Theatre. Recalls Johnny taught him to play bowls. Discussion about the briefing Americans were given about not taking rations from local people and how they brought extra rations from the airbase cookhouse when visiting the family. Recalls cycling to Horsham after school and popularity of aircraft spotting as a hobby. Describes witnessing air crashes in Norwich and cycling to the scene. Comments on aircraft spotting potential at Rackheath and Hethel airbases. Discussion about friendliness of American servicemen. Comments on increased security around RAF stations. Talks about his notebook for aircraft observations and its confiscation by an officer. Talks about involvement with the 2nd Air Division Association which published the notebook story. Talks about getting to know ground crew at Hethel during summer 1944. Discussion about identifying aircraft. Recalls that there were no signposts and children had to explore, with reflections on attitudes of parents to sending their children out to explore. Refers to visits to Hardwick, RAF Oulton and a Mosquito airbase at Swannington. Discussion about use of language and arrival of American culture. Comments on the aircraft nose art (especially the pictures of women). Foulsham talks about his cousin, Pat, who worked for the Church Army, married a pilot, went to the United States, and was painted for nose art. Foulsham also talks about his own work with the Church Army in canteen vans, aged 13. Discussion about good behaviour of Americans in Norwich. No recollection of 'coloured GIs' who he believed were few in the area, or not allowed off the airbase, and most were in transport sections. Story about a boy with an Aunt in Ipswich who went for a holiday there and shared a train compartment with an American officer, Maj. Larry Graham, who invited him to spend a day on the airbase with dinner in the officers' mess. Talks about involvment with the 2nd Air Division Association and reunion with the Major in Norwich. Discussion about problems of and methods for tracing veterans. North comments on his National Service, and becoming a draughtsman. General reflections on impact of loss of Central Library in the fire and rebuilding collections. Recorded on side A only. For tape insert, see MC 376/510b.