Spencer Netherstreet

Photo:RAF Wireless Operator L.A.C. Spencer Netherstreet aged 23 in 1946 at the end of his five year long service.

RAF Wireless Operator L.A.C. Spencer Netherstreet aged 23 in 1946 at the end of his five year long service.

Spencer Netherstreet

Photo:Spencer with his friend Bill Woolverson during the winter 1945/46.

Spencer with his friend Bill Woolverson during the winter 1945/46.

Spencer Netherstreet

Photo:'The end of the road' in March 1946. Luftwaffe base adjacent to Braunschweig.

'The end of the road' in March 1946. Luftwaffe base adjacent to Braunschweig.

Spencer Netherstreet

The Home Guard

Spencer Netherstreet talks about his time in the Home Guard.

Joining the Singal Corps

Spencer Netherstreet talks about joining the Signal Corps.

Mugs of tea

Spencer Netherstreet recalls arriving in France in July 1944.

'The most awful experience'

Spencer Netherstreet recalls visiting Bergen-Belsen at the end of the war.

Recollections of service life in the Signal Corps.

The Signal Corps

Living in Romford with his parents and twin brother Jack at the outbreak of war, Spencer recalls the first day of war:‘We were sixteen years old and in the garden on September the 3rd, my father took us out as he was very shattered because he’d been through the horrors of the First World War and really badly scarred by it. He said, ‘I want you boys never to volunteer for anything’, so we did.’

Too young to join the Armed Forces, Spencer initially joined the Home Guard in Reading, to where he had been evacuated with Jack as part of their work. Once old enough he joined the Signal Corps of the Royal Air Force. But it took some time before his service could commence, ‘I was on deferred service due to the fact I think that the signal schools were full up. They badly wanted signallers and they’d taken in quite a lot so you just had to wait your turn before you went in.’

Mugs of tea

Following the invasion of Normandy, Spencer was as part of a mobile signals unit posted to France:

‘You didn’t know what you were going to expect when you landed in Normandy but this was in July, I mean, long past D-Day itself and it was as peaceful as a picnic, really. It was amazing, the sand had been dressed with a very large mesh, wire-mesh curtain over the surface so that it would take vehicles, beautifully thought out...When we got up the top believe it or not, there was the army catering corps there handing into...our vehicles mugs of tea to welcome us. Well, I’m blessed, you know, this is amazing.’

'The most awful experience'

The unit passed through France and Belgium and eventually reached Germany. In Germany Spencer came face to face with the horrors of the holocaust, ‘My pal decided we shall have a look at Belsen. He pinched...the unit’s motorcycle on pretext of having a little spin round and...took us to Belsen and I rather wished I hadn’t. That was the most awful experience.’ After a few months in Germany Spencer was demobbed and returned to England.

Downloads

Interview with Spencer Netherstreet
Interview with Spencer Netherstreet (241k)
To read the full transcript of Spencer's interview please press the above link.

The Home Guard
The Home Guard (73k)
Transcript of video clip with Spencer Netherstreet.

Joining the Signal Corps
Joining the Signal Corps (79k)
Transcript of video clip with Spencer Netherstreet.

Mugs of tea
Mugs of tea (77k)
Transcript of video clip with Spencer Netherstreet.

'The most awful experience'
'The most awful experience' (89k)
Transcript of video clip with Spencer Netherstreet.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 03/02/2012.

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