It was about 1941 the Regiment having returned from Norway and the Battalion now based in Northern Ireland. I was detailed to collect a prisoner from Belfast police station and escort him back to Regimental HQ at Glen Parva Barracks, Leicester. Prior to embarkation he had gone AWOL and now subject to a Court Marshall for desertion. For me it seemed a golden sent opportunity to pop in and see my wife and family who lived not too far from the depot in Quorn and who I had not seen for the best part of two years.
Following an early start the long tiring journey by sea then steam train south was not unpleasant. Indeed, my prisoner seemed a decent well spoken fellow with not the slightest hint of causing trouble. It was near dusk when approaching Leicester so decided to risk spending the night with my wife and family before continuing our journey the following morning to Wigston. With promise of a good home cooked meal and spare bed in the front room my prisoner was grateful and promised not to let me down. During the evening he was extremely polite to my wife and kind to the children. My mother-in-law thought he was a wonderful chap and very sympathetic of his plight caused apparently, so he said, by domestic circumstances. Even so, when going to bed I took his coat, trousers, shoes and socks upstairs with me to be on the safe side.
Family awoke the following morning to find my charge had disappeared, dressed in my best BD Sergeants uniform and shoes pinched from my kit-bag, having raided the pantry and escaping on Granny's sit-up-and-beg bike. Leaving me, in more ways than one, to suffer a severe reprimand!
4848174 Sgt Jacko' Newton. Royal Leicesters.
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