Keith Manns

Duties of a warden

Keith Manns recalls his duties as an air raid warden.

'The noise'

Keith Manns talks about the dangers on the Home Front.

'War is no heroics'

Keith Manns talks about how the war affected his life.

Mutiny

Keith Manns recalls an incident when a Chinese crew mutinied.

Wartime memories of service in the Merchant Marines.

Of his experiences of war Keith Mann observes “the thing…strangely I regret is that I lost all my young teen life and my education.”  A poignant observation that serves to reinforce that for many people like Keith the Second World War was overwhelmingly a time of great loss.

At 17 with war just declared Keith was living with the early “nuisance” bombing raids over London.  Bombs fell in Charlton, where Keith lived and he recalls how on one evening “a couple of bombs fell across the area and one fell in Wellington Gardens and I was first on the scene….I could hear this chap calling out and I finally located him….after 3 hours a doctor came and he said it won’t be long and I went back and stayed with him until he died.”

The Merchant Marines

In addition to experiencing firsthand the raw brutality of the bombing raids on the Woolwich dockyards and the surrounding area, Keith later found himself drafted into the merchant marines as an engineer [despite being unqualified, his 3 years of study in engineering at Woolwich Polytechnic was counted]. He recalls, “…we had a rough time really….. We used to sail on our own quite a lot, you know. Believe it or not. It was not always in convoy. That was me ‘muggins’ when he was at sea."

In a remarkably matter of fact way Keith recalls his involvement in many of the key maritime activities of the war – the Atlantic convoys – the North Africa invasion  – the invasion of Italy – the relief of Greece. Clearly, there are few better qualified than Keith when he observes “War is no heroics. It’s no place to be at all.” 

Downloads

Interview with Keith Manns
Interview with Keith Manns (198k)
To read the full transcript of Keith's interview please press the above link.

Duties of a warden
Duties of a warden (72k)
Transcript of audio clip with Keith Manns.

'The noise'
'The noise' (72k)
Transcript of audio clip with Keith Manns.

'War is no heroics'
'War is no heroics' (73k)
Transcript of audio clip with Keith Manns.

Mutiny
Mutiny (74k)
Transcript of audio clip with Keith Manns.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 13/03/2012.

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