EARLY LIFE of William James Hunt #4 continuing
There were lots of naughty things we got up to but I keep them to myself. I must say though, we were in no way as bad as some of the young people of today. When you read this, you may not agree with me. When we were growing up, people could go out and leave their doors unlocked and nothing would happen, day or night. You certainly can't do that anywhere today and everyone was so friendly, I never heard of anyone causing trouble, if there was trouble it was always from people from outside of our village.
Well I think I have gone on long enough about my younger years, I could go on and on, but this is only a short version of my life from being in the infant school. I realize that I had a very good upbringing, and I was blessed with a very good Mam and Dad. I also realized that I was very fortunate, and in those days I did not realize that I was in the hands of our good Lord God. As you read through my life story you will begin to realize how I was guided for better things, and it will happen to you if you believe in Jesus Christ right from your young days, or even later.
Remember to ask God for help when you say your prayers; remember it may take a long time for God to answer your prayer, if you have read my story so far, look how long it had taken to get me out of the coal mines when at the time I was not ready to come out. God knew it was time for me to get out and I realized years later that God was absolutely right. I eventually did give my best to the job God had chosen for me, you will see how well I got on and ended up being promoted each occasion, always giving my best to any job.
At last my Dad's friend, was able to get me into the training centre in Birmingham, England. I started on the 4th of November 1940. The trade I went into was Bench Fitting, and Tool Making. I learned to read the Blueprints and all the Precision Instruments. There were four of us boys on a bench, we had now been training for around three months. I would like to say first, three of us were from out of town, and another one lived in Birmingham. Three of us were in digs found by the centre. This lady was very bad to us. We worked on the afternoon shift. After breakfast each morning we had to go straight out and was not allowed to return until 1 p.m. and we had to be at the training centre for 2 p.m. It did not matter what the weather was like, rain or snow we still had to walk up to the Bullring to get a cup of tea, to pass the time away, if we had any money left to pay for the tea, otherwise it would be a case of just walking around. We did find a nice cafe and always manage to call there every Sunday. I was very annoyed with being treated this way when we did not deserve her treatment.
This went on for the first two months and I said to the other two, "I'm not putting up with this,"
"What are you going to do?" they asked.
We were discussing this when the waitress came to take our order. I told her we could only afford a cup of tea and a biscuit. Then the other two said to me they were not going to stay with her either. Then the waitress came back I asked her if she knew of anyone who took in lodgers. I told her what we had to put up with everyday.
"I don't know at the moment" she answered.
Then when she came back again she said, "I don't know of any at this moment, will you be here next Sunday? I may have some news for you."
Boy we three were so happy with knowing some one was listening to us. I quietly said my prayers that night and asked God to help us.
We were there the next Sunday and she placed us on a table next to a man sitting, on his own. When the waitress came he heard me ask her if she had found a place for us. She just said, "I will be back in a while, are you having the same again?" I said, "Only a cup of tea, as we have not been paid." She came back holding our tea and also a biscuit for each of us boys. I reminded her that we did not have enough money for a biscuit, but she replied, "I know, have it on me." We thanked her for giving us the biscuit, we were so very grateful to have met that lovely girl! What a very nice waitress. Then this man came over to me and asked if he could sit down with us. "Sure," I said. He then said to me, "I just heard you say to the waitress that you were looking for 'digs.'" I then went on to tell him the reason why we were seeking other "digs." He offered us boys to come with him, he had a home with four bedrooms, and he was willing to drive us to his home for us to see what a place he had. His wife was in the service so he lived on his own. I explained to him that I would have to see the manager and let him know next week. He drove us over for us to see his home, then he drove us back to our digs for 1p.m.
I was the leader once more, I was the one to do the talking, and when we got to our "digs" I told the landlady. She started on to me and said you are the troublemaker, but I have a contract and you can't do a thing about it. It was a Sunday, so we again, had to go straight out after dinner and not return until 5 p.m. When I got out I again asked the other two, "What are you going to do?" They both said, "We are with you and will not stop with her." I was now ready to see the manager as soon as possible.
We are now ready to go to work on the Monday afternoon. I was going to see the Manager during our first tea break, but when we had just started, we three got called up to the office. I was the first in and the manager said, "Hunt, the landlady as been to see me. She said you are making trouble for her."
"Sir,"….. I went on too tell him the story and…. "if you do not let us change then I will not be stopping! I will not put up with that kind of treatment!"
He asked the other two what they had to say, and they both said, "We are the same as him." I told him about the man that offered to have us if he was willing for us to change. He said, "I will look into that. Okay, go back to your bench and carry on your job, I will be in touch with you later."
It was now two days since we got called up to the office. It was two days later that we got the call to come to the office again. I was once more the leader and spokesman, when we got to the office. There were two other men with the manager. I thought they would try and talk us out of moving; the manager spoke to me and asked me to repeat to them, what I had told him about that landlady. I went right through what I had told the manager. Then after having a little discussion with the other two the manger said, "Hunt, we have had a lot of trouble with that Landlady and you have been the first one to stand up to her." Then he asked the other two if they agreed with me, they both said, "Yes, we want to move with him." He then said to me, "Would you get that man to come and see us and then you can move at the end of the month."
I sure got in touch with him by phone the very next day!
That night when we got home at 10 p.m. the landlady would not give us the usual cup of tea and a biscuit. She was very mad with us and told us to get to bed! We did what we were told! Next morning she got on to me, saying it was my fault! I just said, "If you do that again I will report you to the manager." She soon kept quite, but all that week we had to stay with her, even though she only gave jus bread and jam for every meal! I went to see the manager on the next Monday afternoon and told him what she was doing. He must have phoned her and told her what I had said, because after that she gave us a dinner, but it was cold the rest of the last week. We did not say any more what she had done, we were happy to leave. During that weekend we did go up to see the waitress and then she told us a friend of hers told that man and he came that Sunday to talk to us. We thanked her and said sorry we could not give her a tip. "I did not expect you to do that" she told us. She was a very lovely girl, and we appreciated what she did for us. I only wish I had taken her address so I could have send her a tip that she deserved, when the war was over. Now do you believe how God was still looking over me, and how he brought the lovely waitress and Bob into my life, and once again got me away from that very bad lady we lodged with.
At the end of that last week we were off to live with that man who was living away from the centre. We had now to get the bus to get to work as the man was also working, we were still working afternoons, otherwise he would have taken us to work. We had to look after ourselves during the week. He got everything in that we wanted for our breakfast, and a little lunch before we went to work. We had a big meal at the centre, and at night when we came home we could have whatever we liked. At the weekend he cooked all the meals for us, and believe me he was a very good cook. He always had a sweet for us to finish each meal. Boy! Did we enjoy our stay with him! We had four months to finish our training. Unfortunately, we did not know then, what would happen to make our stay so short? He was so good to live with.
We had been with him six weeks and really enjoyed that stay immensely and so sorry we had to leave him. We were into our last sixth weeks at the centre. That first Monday afternoon when we started back to work, about two hours into our first job of making a movable spanner, we were reading the blueprints and our first time using the precision instruments. These two men with the manager were watching us working for over two hours. Then they went back to the office. We four boys on that bench were called up to the manager's office. I was the leader once again, they always let me go in first. Those two men started asking us if we would like to come to work for the "Air Ministry." They then went on to explain what they wanted us for. They asked us what we thought about it. I came up with this, "We have another two months to finish our training Sir,"
"We have been watching you work and the main thing is we want you as inspectors. All that you need is that you are able to read a Blueprint and the Precision Instruments. The rest of your training does not matter,"
So, in essence, we were put in the "right place at the right time" in order to have God's will done in our lives. I said, "I would like to work for you." He asked each one what they wanted to do. The other two said, "If he goes we are with him." We were told that if we went with the "Air Ministry," we would not get "called up" for the services. I was pleased when I heard that, and so were the other two boys.
The fourth man, who lived in Birmingham, said, that he did not want to leaved They sent him back to his bench. They started to tell us three boys that we would be moving to Coventry, which was the next town away from Birmingham. We were only a few miles away from the border of Coventry when we moved to live with Bob and went to train at the firm H.M. Hobson Ltd., Coventry, England,, the Aircraft firm that produced component parts for Aircraft. We were told that we would have to leave the following week, we would stay in Coventry for the next month and all we would be doing was just watching how the inspectors did their job. While there we found out that they were going to take over this unfinished school, in Knighton Radnorshire, to start producing parts for the Aircraft.
Our biggest disappointed was having to tell Bob that night we got home, that we would be leaving the following weekend. He was very nice about it. He still looked after us like he had been doing, good meals and all! The last night we were with him he gave us a wonderful meal and we had a good talk. He had written a poem for me to send home to Edith (my wife) as I was the only one married, (I still have the poem to this day).
My darling I love you, you know it is me.
I dream of the day, when I shall have you,
to cherish and fondle, to call all my own,
so think of me sweetheart, when your all alone.
(End of the first verse.)
I could read the rest but will come back to this later as I can't remember it all now.
When we had been transferred to Coventry, they found us "digs" with a young woman for the month, and she had one child. Her husband was in the service. She also was very good to us, and fed us very good for all that month we were with her. Reg and I did not drink but David did go out drinking. We enjoyed that month we had with that young lady.
We were now getting ready to leave for Knighton, on Saturday morning at the end of that month - 1st of March 1941. We are now into the Friday afternoon and we were all "packed up" ready to leave in morning. Reg and I stayed in with the lady and her two children, we enjoyed playing with them until it was their bedtime. After having our tea and a biscuit we were ready to go to bed because we knew we had a long day in front of us - travelling as we had three changes to get to Knighton. Reg and I thanked the young lady and told her we were sorry we had to leave her. We went to bed at 10:30 p.m. and David had not come home. We got a call at 12:30 a.m. from the lady telling us David was in terrible pain could we come down, we asked her if she would phone the doctor for us. The doctor came and gave him a Morphine injection. Then we all got back to bed. In the morning he was still unfit to travel. So Reg and I went on our own to Knighton together. We did not have a very good night with our friend being so ill, and the doctor told us that he should not travel all that way to Knighton for a few days. We thought they would send him later but he did not arrive and we never found out why he never made it.
TO BE CONTINUED