Interview with Donald Chinery


Interview with Donald Chinery


Don Chinery was born in Upper Sherringham on the 14th August 1921, and after working as a Baker, he joined the Royal Airforce in 1942 serving as a Rear Gunner.
His first station was RAF Bircham Newton, where he did his training, and flew in Stirlings and Ansons.
He tells a story about how his Stirling landed and the undercarriage did not work, he mentions how he went over the A10 and landed in somebody’s ‘cabbage patch’.
After training, he went straight to 196 Squadron at Waterbeach, and then moved on to 61 Squadron, where he served on Lancasters.
His first operation was the ball bearing factory at Schweinfurt, but also completed operations to Antwerp, Bonn, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Essen, Heysel and Monchengladback, as well as taking part in operations on D-Day.
After completing 51 Operations, Don returned to his first job as a baker.




Temporal Coverage





00:56:09 audio recording


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AChineryDR160824, PChineryDR1601


JH: My name is Judy Hodgson and I’m interviewing Don Chinery today for the International Bomber Command Centre’s Digital Archive. We are at Mr Chinery’s home, and it is the 24th August 2016. Thank you, Donald, for agreeing to talk to me today. Also present at the interview is Roger Winter, Don’s son-in-law, and Pam Winter, his daughter.
JH: Don, can you tell me when and where you were born, and something of your family and early years before the war? Can you tell me when you were born?
PW: When were you born?
DC: Well, I was in a little village called Upper Sheringham, that was just up the hill from Sheringham.
JH: And what date? What’s your birth date? Your birth date?
DC: If I told you, you’d know as much as I do [laughs].
RW: Give it a try, Don!
DC: 14th of August 1921, that was when I was born.
PW: He knows!
JH: And what did you do before the war? What were you doing before the war?
DC: Would you believe it, I was a baker.
RW: At Lushes, Lushes in Sheringham.
DC: Lushes at Sheringham which was right on the corner of [unclear] Street.
RW: And they had a tea room, didn’t they? Lushes Bakery and tea room.
DC: Yeah.
JH: OK, and did you have family at home, did you have brothers or sisters?
DC: I’ve got 2 brothers and 2 sisters.
JH: Were they in the family business?
DC: I don’t know where they are now, mind you.
JH: No, so you were the only one who was the baker? You were the only baker?
DC: Yeah, when I left school.
JH: Right.
DC: That was what I straightaway went to do.
JH: And so how old were you when you joined the war?
DC: When I joined the Air Force?
JH: Yes.
DC: Oh, I dunno, 20-odd?
RW: Yes, what year did you join?
DC: I joined in, er [pause], once I got in the air.
RW: No, this is only your flying, when did you actually join the RAF?
DC: I joined in 1960.
RW: No.
DC: 60 something.
RW: No, it would’ve been 1939, 1940?
DC: In 1940, I reckon, I joined up in 1942.
RW: Right.
DC: I reckon it was.
RW: Yep, and what did you do when you first joined up?
DC: [laughing] Got up to anything I could!
JH: Where did you do your training?
DC: I was trained the right way.
RW: Yeah.
JH: Where did you do your training?
RW: Where was your first station? Where was your first aerodrome?
DC: My first aerodrome was in Norfolk, RAF station Bircham Newton.
RW: Yes? Oh, North Norfolk, North Norfolk near King’s Lynn.
DC: I forget, it was in North Norfolk.
RW: Yeah, near King’s Lynn, near King’s Lynn.
DC: Yeah, next door. Just over the border actually.
RW: Yep, yep.
JH: And what did you do there? What did you do at that station?
DC: What did I do?
JH: Yes, what were you doing there?
DC: Like everybody else, nothing [unclear] [laughs].
RW: But was it basic training, was it? Basic training?
DC: Yeah [pause], I had several different aerodromes I was on, I forget half of them.
RW: Yeah quite. So what did you do before you became an aircrew?
DC: Well I was just an ordinary AC plonk, and I volunteered then for -
RW: Aircrew.
DC: Aircrew [pause].
RW: Yeah, so that’s early in ’43 then, [pause] so your first log entry is in August ’43? August 1943? [pause]. Up in an Anson, an old Anson?
DC: An old Anson.
RW: Yeah, yeah?
DC: I remember [unclear], I can.
RW: When you were flying in a Stirling. When you were flying in a Stirling.
DC: When I was flying.
RW: Stirling, the Stirling Bomber.
DC: Yeah.
RW: What happened?
DC: Bloody old thing!
RW: What happened?
DC: I got out of it.
RW: What happened before that?
DC: Well, [unclear] the old Stirling?
RW: Yeah, you were coming in to land with the Stirling.
DC: Well, come in, just touched down, and the undercarriage just packed up. So it landed, finished up on its belly and we finished up in somebody’s cabbage patch! Is that what you were getting at?
RW: Yeah, and did you go over - it went straight over the A10 I think, didn’t you?
DC: Yeah [pause], er, I had some good times.
RW: Yep, and was the aeroplane OK after that? Was the aeroplane OK?
DC: Yeah, apart from the undercarriage [laughs].
RW: It says in your log book you wrecked it, wrecked the aeroplane it says here.
DC: Yeah [pause] bits and pieces, here and there [laughs].
RW: Are there any other?
JH: What positions was he in, in that airplane?
RW: Where were you in the aeroplane?
DC: Where was I when? When it went down?
RW: Yeah, when you were flying.
DC: I was rear gunner, what was known as ‘Tail End Charlie’ [laughs].
RW: Where - so when you done your training, you then went straight to 61 Squadron?
DC: No, I was at, er -
RW: 196 Squadron? 196?
DC: 196 Squadron, yeah, that was at Waterbeach.
RW: Right, ok, and then from Waterbeach, you went onto 61 Squadron?
DC: Yeah.
RW: OK. What was it like being on an operational squadron for the first time?
DC: Bit scary.
RW: And you met lots of new friends?
DC: [unclear] Bit scary when I got onto squadron work, I mean before you got on a squadron, you was doing square bashing out here and yonder [pause].
RW: Yeah, so there was nobody shooting back at you then? There was nobody shooting back at that time before then?
DC: [laughs].
RW: Hmm, can you remember your first operational trip?
DC: My first operational – I think it was [pause],[unclear], I don’t remember which me first was .
RW: Schweinfurt? Schweinfurt?
DC: Schweinfurt, that’s it yeah.
RW: Ball-bearing factory, ball-bearing factory [emphasis].
DC: Skellingthorpe.
RW: Right, and you had some bombs catching fire on that trip? Your log, it says you had some incendiaries on fire, do you remember?
DC: Oh, I forget all that.
RW: Right [pause], can you remember the rest of the crew?
DC: I can remember the- er mid-upper gunner as though it was yesterday.
RW: What was his name?
DC: His name was Miller, Jimmy, Jimmy Miller and we had a terrible time one day, and we got diverted, and we got diverted up Scotland, a little place called Ayr, and ‘course we got – we got stuck there with the weather. And Jimmy Miller, my mid-upper gunner, he originated from Motherwell, which was just down the road from where we were diverted to, so of course we got stuck there and he asked if he could go home, ‘cause he only lived down the road, he said from here to Motherwell and they said ‘yes’. And I shall never forget his old father, the old man, we sat in a pub in Motherwell, couldn’t have knocked a pint back, Jimmy, I said to mid-upper gunner, the old fella looked at me and said [adopts Scottish accent] ‘Jimmy don’t drink’ ‘cause I had [unclear] quick. I said ‘no, he don’t drink anything alcoholic – I like a pint meself’, I said, ‘he’ll always have a glass of lemonade [unclear]’, the old man looked and said [adopts Scottish accent], ‘I’ll tek you doon ma clog’ so he took us to his Working Man’s Club, took old boy as well – Jimmy.
RW: How old was Jimmy at the time? How old would Jimmy be?
DC: He was my mid-upper gunner.
RW: Yeah, how old would he be, mid, early twenties?
DC: Same age as me.
RW: Right.
DC: Round about, you know, give or take a week or two. I shall never forget his old father, [adopts Scottish accent] ‘Jimmy don’t drink!’ [laughs].
RW: So did he buy Jimmy a beer?
DC: I think it was a long and straight one! ‘He don’t drink any alcohol’, I said, ‘I love a pint meself’, I says, ‘he’ll always have a glass of lemonade’. Old fella looked, ‘I’ll drink him down the club’, he says [laughs], so he took us down the Working Man’s Club, bought me a pint (which I loved) and he bought [laughs] a glass of lemonade for Jimmy!
RW: What did Jimmy say afterwards?
DC: Well, what did he call me afterwards, Jimmy [laughs], I’d hate to repeat his words!
JH: Did you play darts? Darts, in the pub? Did you play darts in the pub?
DC: Did I [unclear] play anything
RW: What
DC: I shall never forget that pub in Waterbeach
RW: In Waterbeach?
DC: Yeah, when I was stationed there. Went in this pub and [pause] ordered what I wanted to drink, [unclear] we was up Scotland at the time. Our man looked at me and said ‘Jimmy don’t drink?’ I can imagine him saying it now. ‘Course I had [unclear], I’d like a pint meself and he’ll always have a glass of lemonade, ginger beer. Old fella says ‘I’ll take you down me club’ and he took us down the Working Man’s Club. He bought me a pint and he got a glass of lemonade for Jimmy.
RW: Are there any of the Operations you done that really stand out? Are there any of the Operations that really stand out to you?
DC: You had all sorts of courses that you had to go through before you really started on Operations, but I shall never forget that time we went up Scotland.
RW: Are there any of the raids that particularly you remember?
DC: Remember?
RW: Any of the trips you did?
DC: Did I remember any [unclear] trips I done?
RW: Well, you got one here where you were badly shot up.
DC: Practically remember them all .
RW: Mmm, yeah, and is this the one where you couldn’t get over Beachy Head? When you’d been to Toulouse?
DC: Where?
RW: Toulouse? In France.
DC: Yeah, we didn’t mind them little trips, we always reckoned we got an easy one if we got a little trip over – just over Channel
RW: Yeah [pause] Do you remember having a collision over the target? Do you remember here you had a collision?
DC: That one, yeah.
RW: In France again, in Tours.
DC: [unclear] mess up then [pause].
JH: What happened?
RW: Can you remember what happened?
DC: No.
RW: Right, but you bent the aeroplane it says in your Log Book. It says you bent the aeroplane.
DC: Er, when I finished up in the allotments.
RW: Yeah [whispers] different one [pause].
DC: In the middle of these allotments and they sent a bloody tractor out.
RW: Right.
DC: An old-fashioned tractor.
RW: That was at Waterbeach?
DC: Yeah, and they hooked us up and pulled us off his cabbage patch [pause].
RW: Do you remember getting diverted to Exeter?
DC: No, we got diverted to Exeter didn’t we.
RW: Yeah, do you remember that?
DC: Yeah [pause] but I told you the one at Waterbeach was the best [unclear].
RW: [laughs] Right.
JH: Did you see Jimmy Miller?
DC: I was once at the bar and he [unclear] the other.
JH: Oh right.
DC: And I was well known at this pub and they says ‘tell you what, you can’t pull a pint from where you are’, ‘I know I can’t but I can still get one and I’m going to pull one, I’m gonna lean over the counter and put the pump’, I says, ‘I’m going to push it, I’m gonna push one’ and that’s the only time I remember pushing a pint.
RW: What – can you remember the first time you went to Berlin?
DC: First time I went to Berlin, can I remember?
RW: Yeah.
DC: No I can’t, not offhand.
RW: But would you have been apprehensive about going? Going all that distance? It was a long way to go wasn’t it?
DC: It what?
RW: A long flight.
DC: Yeah, I shall never forget Jimmy’s father, I shall [unclear] old fella [adopts Scottish accent] ‘Jimmy don’t drink’. No, no Jimmy didn’t drink, he’d drink me under the table.
JH: When you went up in the aeroplane, was it cold? Were you cold?
DC: That was bloody cold [laughs].
JH: Right.
DC: [unclear] when you got all your flying gear on, you got, er, an inner suit which was, er, more silk than anything, then you got another one on top o’ that, and then you got another one on top and you finished off you’d got about five layers of clothes on before you got all your flying gear on.
JH: And you were still cold, still cold?
DC: Bloody cold [laughs].
RW: He reckons his flying helmet made him bald! Is that right? Your flying helmet caused you to lose your hair.
DC: That’s what took me hair away.
PW: There’s a picture of him and my mum getting married there somewhere and he hadn’t got much hair then!
RW: He was the only one in the family with no hair!
PW: He’s still got more than you, Rog!
RW: No comment! Can you remember anything about D-Day? Can you remember about the trips you did on D-Day?
DC: D-Day?
RW: Yes.
DC: I don’t remember D-Day, I remember VJ-Day.
RW: Yes, but on D-Day you were involved in two Operations and it must’ve been very busy with all the ships landing and lots of noise, ships firing salvos. Can you remember anything?
DC: No.
RW: No? [pause]
JH: What do you remember then, do you remember VJ – VJ Day?
DC: [unclear] of equipment, I was [unclear] when we was getting demobbed they was asking for different things and you just sat them on the counter and pushed them to one side and when it come to the Log Book, I slapped mine on the counter and instead of pushing it over the counter. I pushed it back and it dropped in me kit bag.
RW: Is that how you managed to get Jimmy’s as well. You got Jimmy’s Log Book as well. You got Jimmy Miller’s Log Book as well. So did you do the same with Jimmy? [pause].
RW: He’s got no idea how he got it.
PW: No, he’s never sort of said.
DC: He has [unclear] Jimmy Miller
JH: Why, why have you got his book? Why have you [emphasis] got that?
DC: I haven’t got his book.
RW: No, you’ve got his Log Book.
DC: This was his.
RW: Yes.
JH: Why have you got it?
DC: Well, it was a souvenir as far as I was concerned and remembers old Jimmy Miller.
RW: Yes.
DC: ‘Cause he was, he was.
JH: Your friend.
DC: He was a good mate o’ mine [pause] and I told you when he took me home, I shall never forget that.
PW: So he obviously died then.
JH: Did you see Jimmy after the war? Jimmy, did Jimmy see you after the war?
DC: I lost all touch wi’ him.
JH: You lost touch?
DC: Yeah.
RW: Shame.
JH: He went back to Scotland! [laughs].
DC: [unclear] lost – lost touch with one another [pause], but there was just this – I remember this – old Jimmy Miller [pause].
RW: Can you remember the trip you did in the, in the [pause] -
DC: Old Jimmy Miller.
RW: Yeah.
DC: Never forget him.
RW: Do you remember the trip you did after the – after hostilities had finished you went on a sight-seeing tour, you took a Wimpey with Flying Officer Ratcliffe and you went on a sight-seeing tour, to Cologne? And you took ground crew I think, did you? Did you take some ground crew with you?
JH: Do you remember? [pause]
RW: The top one [pause].
PW: Has he got his magnifying glass?
DC: They – they was er trips we done after hostilities ceased, we took any member of ground crew and then let them go over and see the -
RW: What had happened?
DC: Devastation and so forth.
RW: And you took a photograph of Cologne Cathedral didn’t you? [pause}.
DC: I tell you where you not said anything about this, [spells out word] K O L N.
RW: Yeah, Cologne, spelt in the German.
DC: That’s how it was spelt there.
RW: Yep.
DC: But that ain’t how we spelt it!
RW: No, No, but you took a photograph, I think, of the cathedral? You took a photograph of Koln Cathedral?
DC: I, I [pause] I remember after the war finished and we was there taking people, ground crew, air crew, anybody over to see the devastation, various places, I [unclear] down here but can’t read them properly, there’s Antwerp, Bonn, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Essen [pause] Monchengladbach, [pause], Heysel and Tottenbank I think, [laughs], that’s worth a bob or two that is.
RW: A lot of memories there Don. So how did you end up at Bassingbourn? How did you end up at Bassingbourn?
DC: How did I end up, I dunno, I just ended up there when they asked you where you’d like to be stationed, you know, these places, I put in for Bassingbourn.
RW: But wasn’t that an American base at that time? Weren’t the Americans there at the time?
DC: [unclear].
RW: No, Bassingbourn, was it, I thought the Americans were there.
DC: Oh yeah [pause] they were dead funny they was. You went in [unclear] the mess hall, ‘course you queued up and got your grub, sat down, these Yankees used to come in and get their, mixed the bloody lot together, slinging [unclear] banging on the table, [unclear] the table and they just got down – you never, never think people be like eating grub, they used to go tackle it, go into it as though they’d never seen a plate o’ grub at all [laughs].
RW: So.
PW: Why would he have got stationed there if it was an American base?
RW: I dunno. So what were the Air Force doing there with the Americans there? What was the RAF doing on an American base?
DC: I know we went to the American – they were stationed there, we went to visit.
RW: Yeah, oh right.
DC: Of course when I went to visit we, well they got their plate of grub there, bang [emphasis] their bloody knife down stuck in the table [laughs].
PW: But he was stationed there, wasn’t he Roger?
RW: Yeah. How long were you at Bassingbourn? How long were you there?
DC: At Bassingbourn?
RW: Yeah, were you demobbed from Bassingbourn? Were you demobbed from Bassingbourn?
DC: Yeah and you know where I went then, where I went for demob.
RW: No?
DC: I went to Wembley.
RW: Right.
DC: We went to Wembley Stadium and went down and all your clothes were laid about, and you took what clothes you want and home you went.
RW: Right.
DC: Oh I – [pause] people have asked me many, many, many times if I enjoyed it, I enjoyed every minute I was in the Air Force because I wanted to go in the Air Force when I was a child, as I told you before I think [pause].
PW: I think he was the only one in his family that went in the Forces.
RW: What was it like when you qualified and went on to 61 Squadron and were given the best aeroplane in the world to go and fly? How did that feel?
DC: Well, you can’t explain it really, you got in the aircraft – I might’ve told you before you slid down a – like a plank which was over the rear wheel and into your turret. You get in the turret and let your legs drop in, and then you had to feel behind you, you could shut the doors, close the doors behind you and they’d lock and you was stuck in there [pause].
RW: What did you do before you went on an Operation, what did the crew do before you got into the aeroplane?
DC: Sat there smoking.
RW: Then what happened? When you got to the aeroplane?
DC: When you got in the aeroplane?
RW: No, before you got to the aero – before you climbed aboard you all stood round –
DC: [laughs] you know [unclear], put a bottle on your feet [unclear], your feet one on top o’ the other and you sat there, and you got to light a candle and hand it out o’ the bottle. If you didn’t light the candle, you had to pay for the next round [laughs] not [unclear] me.
RW: But what happened when you all got to their aeroplane before you went up the ladder, you all stood around the wheel?
DC: Having a natter and then you got up and you walked round the back, and you looked at the old tail wheel and you just had a piddle on that! All piddled on the tail wheel.
RW: And that was the whole crew did that? The whole crew did that?
DC: Yeah.
PW: Well, I’ve never heard that before.
DC: Lovely [pause] - I’d go back again, I will never forget it as long as I live when we landed in Scotland, when Jimmy took me home.
RW: What about one day when the phone rang and you answered the phone, you answered the phone one day? What was the Group Captain’s name?
DC: What was the?
RW: Group Captain, when he rang you up, you answered the telephone [pause] do you remember?
DC: No.
RW: You answered the telephone and pretended you were somebody else.
DC: No.
RW: No? What was the Station Commander’s name? Station Commander on say 61 Squadron? Who was the Station Commander?
DC: Bomber Harris.
RW: [laughs] yeah.
DC: He was the Station Commander [pause], wouldn’t ask any member of the crew to do anything he wouldn’t do himself.
RW: Yep and I believe you met Churchill once? You met Churchill once?
DC: Went where?
RW: Winston Churchill.
DC: Oh.
RW: You met him once .
DC: Oh Winston, he was a good old warmonger he was.
PW: Didn’t you meet Douglas Bader as well? No?
RW: Did you get in the hoops at Bassingbourn? Did you get in the hoops at Bassingbourn?
DC: Yeah [pause].
RW: And was it the Waggon and Horses, the Waggon, that used to be –
DC: Waggon and Horses .
RW: Yes? Just outside the aerodrome. It was a pub built at the same time as the airfield.
DC: We never used to go to main gates, had to go there, we used to nip through a gap in the hedge, straight in old boozer [laughs].
RW: So what was it like when you’d finished with 61 Squadron and you were out of all that danger? How did all that feel?
DC: Well, felt great relief, you ain’t got o’ go through all that again. I said, I enjoyed every minute of flying.
JH: How many tours, how many missions did you do?
RW: How many trips did you do, how many operational trips?
DC: How many did I do? Actually I done one too many [pause] instead of doing thirty, I went on to do another twenty, carried straight on, so I done fifty like that, and our governor, he said we want you to do one more trip, there’s an extra-special one. Well it was extra-special, we went to Peenemunde I think it was, that was the name of it and that was, er, Hitler’s birthday but when we dropped the bombs he’s scarpered, he’d gone into Berlin.
RW: Was that, did you overfly that and go to North Africa? Did you overfly and then go to North Africa?
DC: Yeah [pause].
RW: Can you remember that, look – where you’d been to Tours and you’d had the collision and went to Exeter. What does that say there? In your Log.
DC: Two engines out of commission, port main plane bent [pause] awarded a DFM. You know what that is?
RW: What’s that?
DC: DFM, Distinguished Flying Medal.
RW: Right, any idea what happened to that?
DC: That’s about here somewhere.
PW: I don’t think it is, that one’s missing isn’t it Roger?
RW: Hmmm. Who presented you with the medal Don?
PW: Hang on Roger, he’s looking for it, there’s a box there with three in there I think, but not the one Roger’s mentioned.
DC: Load o’ ol’ rubbish that is.
RW: What, the box? I made that! [laughs] That’s his darts box.
RW: Don, who presented you with the DFM? Who gave it to you?
DC: Can’t hear you.
PW: How many medals are in that box, Roger? Four, yes that’s all I’ve ever seen.
RW: They’re only just ordinary – [background noise]. Can you remember who awarded the DFM to you. Can you remember who pinned it on you, who presented it?
DC: Whatsername got the DFM, yeah, can’t think of his name now, he was a Welsh boy if I remember rightly.
RW: What, who got the DFM? Who won it or did you get it? [pause]. We can’t find any record of him receiving that. When I spoke to the chap about the Legion d’Honneur, he told me what medals he’d been awarded and that wasn’t one of them, so that’s a bit of a mystery, but Pam seems to think her aunt had it and turned it into a brooch, but we don’t know.
RW: When you were demobbed what did you do after that?
DC: What did I do after I got demobbed? I went back down in the baking trade for a time and then I got talking to a bloke in a boozer, he was a manager of the Atlas and I got [unclear] and he says,‘you’re a silly fool doing what you are, why don’t you come down and work [unclear]’, I said, ‘I don’ wanna come down to work as I don’ wanna do no shift work’. He said, ‘you come down here and I’ll give you a job, you won’t have to do shift work, I’ll put you straight on day work’ and he did put me straight on day work.
RW: That was the local asbestos cement factory. And you ended up there over 25 years, you got a long service award. You got a long service award at the Atlas?
DC: I got a – we had a bloke what worked down the Atlas, we used to call him Flipper, he used to walk [makes hand slap noise] and one foot used to - slap, slap, slap – but if you was walking behind him on any day you got [unclear] bloody water.
RW: [laughs] He wouldn’t creep up on you, would he? You’d hear him coming!
DC: Slap, his old foot used to go.
PW: He worked at the bakers in Royston when he first came out or when they first got married, he used to get up at four o’clock in the morning, and cycle four miles every day to get to the bakers, and unfortunately the habit of getting up at the crack of sparrows has never gone away. He’s up here and they’re supposed to help him get dressed and stuff in the mornings, they come to get him up, he’s up and dressed and sometimes –
RW: When he worked at the Atlas, he was always there over an hour before he need be in the morning, always.
PW: Habit of a lifetime.
RW: But he doesn’t remember being married or anything really.
PW: Well, he never, ever talked about my mum after she died, it was like he totally switched that bit of his life off.
RW: So then, didn’t you do ten-pin bowling when you were at the Atlas, they had a ten-pin bowling team.
DC: When I worked down the Atlas.
RW: You went ten-pin bowling.
DC: Yeah.
RW: You had a team from –
DC: Used to go down Mill Road.
RW: And Stevenage, Stevenage?
DC: We used to go to Stevenage then we got in at Mill Road
RW: That’s now a John Lewis store, it’s one of the depots.
PW: Warehouse.
RW: Is it still?
PW: I wouldn’t have thought so now they’ve got the big one at Trumpington.
RW: But you were quite good at it, you were quite good at ten-pin bowling, you were quite good at it, ten-pin bowling.
DC: Yeah.
RW: Did you win any trophies?
DC: Tom Burgess was manager there and I used to go fishing with his son, and he got on to me, why bike up Rawston, all [unclear] when you could have a job down the works, why don’t you come down works. I said, ‘I don’t want shift work’, he says, ‘you come down there you won’t do shift work, put you straight on day work’ and I went straight on day work.
RW: Better money as well, more money? Paid better than baking? Pay was better than baking? The pay was better than the bakehouse?
DC: It was.
RW: And nearer home, closer to home as well.
DC: Yeah, it was on my doorstep, weren’t it.
RW: Yep, what else did you do when you retired, no, before you retired, you were something to do with the church lads’ brigade at one time.
DC: Yeah.
RW: Do you remember any of that?
DC: I remember that quite well [pause].
RW: Can you remember any stories?
DC: I had a – they gave me a peaked cap, which I’d never worn in me life, this very peaked cap on, these church lads got marching down road and I had to walk infront.
RW: But you had the swagger stick, you had a cane.
DC: Yeah [unclear] a little stick.
JH: Ask him if he remembers any of his church lads.
RW: I was one of them! We’re all quite incestuous because my uncle is Pam’s godfather and my uncle played the - pumped the organ for their wedding, drinking a bottle of beer whilst he was doing it [laughs]. What about – you played football as well.
DC: I remember Jackie Woods playing football. We always called Jackie Woods when he was playing football – we used to call him the ‘ankle tapper’, oh he’d be a devil coming up behind you, get your foot out and he’d just give a tweak of his foot and hit yer ankle.
RW: His wife lives here now.
JH: Oh.
RW: And her granddaughter is one of the carers [laughs], amazing! And she’s in her nineties, yep. Do you remember any of the football outings or anything? Football outings?
DC: Do I remember any outings?
RW: No?
DC: No, can’t remember anything.
RW: There was a lot of people from the British Queen used to be in the team I think.
DC: British Queen?
RW: Yeah.
DC: Where’s that?
[everyone laughs]
RW: You spent enough hours in there [pause].
DC: Norman Clark, I remember him.
RW: Bert Gibson? Bert Gibson?
DC: [laughs] Bert.
RW: He was the landlord.
DC: Used to bang on the back of that old seat, Miriam would look in. ‘Bring us a lump of bread and cheese’, that’s what he used to tell Miriam, she [unclear] ‘here y’are father’, bring him a plate, got a great slice of bread about that thick and a bloody great onion, he used to [unclear] have a lump [unclear] bloody great onion and -
RW: But he was a landlord during the war and he wouldn’t serve Americans.
JH: Oh dear.
RW: He didn’t refuse them, they would come in and say ‘can I have a pint of beer?’ he’d say, ‘I’ve just sold the last pint of beer’ or ‘my last pint of beer’ which he was correct, he had just served a pint of beer, so he didn’t refuse them he just the wrong or different words so they assumed he hadn’t got any beer left, but he refused to serve Americans [laughs], yes [pause].
PW: What’s he doing Roger?
RW: He’s just had his drink.
JH: I’d like to thank you, Donald, for allowing me to record this interview today, thank you.



Judy Hodgson, “Interview with Donald Chinery,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 25, 2024,

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