10th May 2020

10th May 2020

David Scott's very excellent book about Torquay in the Second World War has now given me the inspiration for three songs. The latest one came to me after reading the end of chapter nine describing a mock invasion of Torquay in which the Home Guard of the town were the defenders and the regular English army the invaders. This took place in 1942 and honestly it sounds like it was an episode very similar to those portrayed in the brilliant Dad's Army TV comedies.

David Scott and his book

Colin Ross was a school boy at St Olaves School which was closed in London during the Second World War and evacuated to Torquay. Sixty Five years later he wrote an account of his time in Torquay for the St Olaves school magazine. With several other pupils of St Olaves he watched the fake invasion taking place and apparently the civilian population of Torquay largely went about it's normal business while the battle was going on. This probably infuriated the army much more than the antics of the Home Guard. Colin and his school mates took the side of the Home Guard and kept them posted on the movements of the regular army. Colin felt that the regular army cheated quite a bit and needless to say won the battle. There was one ambush in which a platoon of the Home Guard were very successful but the referee disallowed it for some reason. Colin remembers that a biology teacher who was part of this platoon was very unhappy about it.

If you would like to purchase a copy of David Scott's book then please contact him via his email address <dscotttorq@aol.com

There are a few other Torquay wartime memories of school children of St Olave's which can be found on the internet and here is a link to an interesting one

https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/12/a2326312.shtml

Some of the national newspapers very unfairly portrayed Torquay as a bit of a funk hole during WW2.


The Funk Hole Myth


There was a pretend battle in nineteen forty two

The Torquay home guard knew what they had to do

To defend their town from a mock invasion

For the regular army it was a strange occasion


A weekend long defence of the town of Torquay

Colin Ross remembers the event quite clearly

The residents of Torquay carried on regardless

The antics of the army were considered harmless


The funk hole myth you had better not believe

The national newspapers were out to deceive


The pupils of St Olaves sided with the home guard

For the regular army they had very little regard

Being quite annoying as they mingled with the troops

The schoolmates spying on the men in many groups


Amongst all the tragedy there was farce

Like a scene from Dad's Army common sense was rather sparse


Colin thought the army cheated quite a bit

He remembers how one teacher complained about it

A referee disallowed a home guard victory

A successful ambush in the town of Torquay


The funk hole myth you had better not believe

The national newspapers were out to deceive

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