D-Day Telegraph Crosswords
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I’m sure that most of you will be aware of the stir that was created during World War II when several secret code words turned up in Daily Telegraph crosswords. Roger “Rufus” Squires has recorded a short piece that will be broadcast tomorrow, Friday 4th February, during the One Show (7.00-7.30pm on BBC 1).
Anyone who has corresponded with Roger will know that he has led an interesting life and has so many stories that he can tell. The following snippets are reproduced, with permission, from his email telling me about the programme.
“I was a 12 yr-old Sea Scout leader at the time, and acted as a messenger when they ferried the D-Day wounded to our local village railway station – until then only used for freight – when they were distributed around local hospitals. Incidentally, my Dad, who served in the first World War, was then the chief adminstrative officer for 5 of the hospitals. He had been taken on in January 1901 at the age of 12 in the Administration office of the Royal Hospital, Wolverhampton as an office boy – he left THE SAME OFFICE 53 years later on retirement! I think that was one of the reasons I joined the Navy at 15 – I wanted to see something of the world!”
“The war for our age group who lived away from German targets was great – fathers away or busy, so lots of freedom and excitement, and too young to worry. Only missed the food! A close friend used to bring sandwiches to school but rarely finished them. So, having had the school dinner, I ate what was left every day while he showed me his magic tricks, which ended with my getting the magic bug myself. I joined the RN as a Boy Seaman Second Class, there ain’t anything lower, at age 15 from Wolverhampton Grammar School, having gained my school cert (she was a nice girl). At 20 I was a Petty Officer when, fortunately for me, Lord Mountbatten as Sea Lord introduced a scheme whereby lower deck ratings could volunteer for flying duties – the combination of jets taking over from the slower propellor aircraft on ageing carriers was killing too many aircrew. Two groups of 30 started with about 12 of us achieving our wings and becoming officers. I left in 1963 as a Lieutenant. When flying was stopped because of the weather, aircrew often played cards – for money. As then a member of the Magic Circle I was banned, so filled in my time solving crosswords – and when at sea later with no newspapers, started setting. First published puzzle was the Radio Times in 1963.”
“The TV recording was done in little pieces and sometime back in October, I think. I can’t now remember all what was said and done now, and don’t know which parts they will use. The schoolboy who inserted the codewords into the puzzles for Leonard Dawe, the DT setter, had a son who was only told about the circumstances shortly before his Dad died, and he is also featured – it was discovering that he lived nearby that made me track him down and, with the local Wolverhampton Express & Star, produce a feature for that paper.”