Item MC 376/509a/1, AC4 - Recorded interview of Phyliss Smales (née King) by Peter Foulsham, part 1 of 2 (side A of cassette)

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MC 376/509a/1, AC4


Recorded interview of Phyliss Smales (née King) by Peter Foulsham, part 1 of 2 (side A of cassette)


  • nd [1998] (Creation)

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Extent and medium

1 side of a compact cassette

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Archival history

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Scope and content

Starts and finishes with Glenn Miller's 'String of Pearls'. Phyliss Smales describes working at the American Red Cross [ARC] Club at Rackheath airbase from the time it was built. Recalls being interviewed by Field Director Ralph Adams and Gladys Richards (manageress of British staff). Recalls starting in kitchens with Mrs Gwen Kenton (head cook). Describes moving to live on airbase from October 1944. Short discussion about the behaviour of the American servicemen. Describes warmth in Nissen huts and food. Recalls cooking breakfast for Major Paul [surname not given] and Richard Adams away from airbase. Recalls helping to cook pastry. Describes favourable working conditions and pay. Recalls taking inventory of kitchen before opening and describes the cooking range and fridge. Describes some of the men who worked nearby, including those detained by the Military Police and those working to deliver coal. Recalls cycling to friend's house in Salhouse where servicemen visited, including Don Snyder and Earl Keifer [ground crew]. Anecdote about getting lost returning to airbase with Don Snyder and getting in trouble with Military Police. Recalls dances with WAAFs, WRNS and ATS girls from Yarmouth. Talks about more recent friendship with Col Shower and remembers his drivers who used to take her and her friends out in the car. Reflects on leaving the airbase and Americans leaving equipment behind when they left. Describes moving with the ARC (with colleague Doris Randall) from Rackheath in July 1945 to Tidworth, Hampshire. Describes Tidworth as processing station for returning infantry and then GI bride reception centre. Describes accommodation with Americans Miss Juneman and Dot McLennan (club directors). Reflects on different attitudes of infantry to air crew. Describes move to the 103rd General Hospital, a hospital with German prisoners doing construction work. Describes GI bride processing and dances. Refers to English girls Molly Farrelly, Joan Spanswick and Jane 'Lizzy' Parry. Describes some German prisoners and the Austrian singer Ralph [Richard] Tauber. Describes food and entertainment provided for American servicemen. Describes another English employee, Gladys Keep. Reflects on her enjoyment of parties and attitudes towards American-British relationships. Talks about leadership at Rackheath, including Col Shower, Ion Walker, Maj Woodward and English manageresses. Anecdotes about dancing, invasion warnings on airbase and comments on rats eating candles in accommodation.

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Conditions governing access

There is no public access to the original recording because of preservation reasons. All access is provided by using copies. Glen Miller music has been redacted from the start and end (00mn 12s to 00mn 36s and 45mn 11s to 45mn 46s) of the recording for rights reasons.

Conditions governing reproduction

Restrictions apply. Contact NRO for details.

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Physical characteristics and technical requirements

The quality of archive sound recordings may be poor. Duration is 45 minutes 49 seconds.

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Existence and location of copies

This recording has been digitised. Follow the link to listen to an MP3 copy online.

Related units of description

For tape insert, see MC 376/509b. For administrative records relating to interview, see MC 376/512.

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Created 17/08/2010 by Drojd. Modified 06/03/2019 by Drojd.


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