Bill Livett was from Buckden and left school at 14, working on his father's farm. At age 24 he went to live with his sister's family in Potters Bar and took a job with London Transport. He had been a member of the London Transport Flying Club, but had not been a member long enough to finish learning how to fly solo, which would have seen him join the RAF.
|Unit or location||Role||Posted from||until|
|Combined Lincolnshire Scout Section||Scout Section Corporal||Unknown||1943|
Church School, Buckden, Huntingdonshire
Bus Conductor, London Transport
He joined the Royal Engineers in June 1940. Three weeks into his training, he was digging trenches to defend the outskirts of London, living under canvas, when he was strafed by a German aeroplane, with three of his party killed. He was then stationed on the south coast at Portsmouth, then Southampton. Again he came under German bombardment, his billet suffering a near miss, just yards away.
In 1943 he asked for a posting elsewhere as his was getting fed up with military discipline and he was posted to Auxiliary Units. He travelled by train to Swindon, where he was met by a Corporal in Utility light truck. He was billeted in the Nissen Huts in the courtyard at Coleshill House and was surprised to wait for two weeks doing notihing but eating meals and sleeping. At the end of this time, he was told that he and has family had been vetted successfully and his was then told what Auxiliary Units involved. He was shown the operational base, with its bunks, telephone, rifles, knives, explosives and various accessories to make up charges all in place.
He was then sent to Dalby Hall serving along with the Combined Lincolnshire Scout Section. As the Royal Engineers Corporal he was a member of the Intelligence Officers Headquarters Staff. He was responsible for training in explosives.
He was shown their OB where a rusty bolt was picked out of the ground and pulled, an attached cable opening the hatch. A ladder led down inside and it was fully stocked.
In July and Aug 1944 he posted adverts in the Lincolnshire Standard and Skegness Standard papers to sell his 18 month old pedigree Alsatian bitch because he was leaving the district. He gave his address as Aux Units, c/o GPO Spilsby.
At the end of the war, Bill Livett was sent one of the Stand Down badges in a small box with an accompanying note. It seems that some Regular Army Personnel did receive these as an issue. He was not aware of the significance of the numbers on the badge, but did know that it was given in recognition of his Auxiliary Units service.
IWM ref 12513
Lincolnshire Standard 29 Jul 1944, 5 Aug 1944 Skegness Standard 26 Jul 1944, 2 Aug 1944