Harry Turner's Episodes of Personal History
RAF Service : Hitching, 1942    | HISTORY Page | Obituary Page |

Hitching, December 1942
Manchester to Birmingham


It was a surprise when the very first lorry I thumbed pulled up, a milk lorry that went through Knutsford. We picked up a fellow-traveller, making for Cosford camp, outside Wolverhampton, who commented on the dearth of traffic—it seemed we'd chosen a bad day for hitching lifts.

We ambled along the main road after our transport turned off into a farm, and peace descended over the countryside. Just as we ran out of conversation there was the welcome sound of approaching traffic from behind us. This time it was an RAF vehicle, with a 60-ft trailer holding a wingless bomber.

I found a padded seat in one of the gunner positions, and had a very comfortable ride. Soon there were half a dozen of us occupying strategic positions in the fuselage, out of the way of drafts and the occasional downpour of rain. The miles zipped painlessly by and we arrived in Stafford shortly after 2 pm.

Having got halfway to our destination in so short a space of time, we were optimistic, hanging about hopefully between short walks, but no further vehicle materialised. We decided to set out walking to Cannock, about ten miles off. We toiled on until an RAF van pulled up alongside us and gave us a bumpy but welcome lift for about seven miles before it had to turn off the main road to get to a drome.

We continued walking, reaching Cannock about 4.15, in time to board a bus about to depart to Wolverhampton. We passed nothing on the road and commented on our luck in catching that generous lift to Stafford and speculated on how far we'd have progressed if we'd missed it. By which time we'd arrived in a dusky Wolverhamption and parted company.

I gave up any thoughts of hitching and went in search of a Birmingham-bound bus, arriving in Five Ways just as it was getting really dark. ■

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