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Agnes Milne tells of the consequences of sleeping on picket duty during World War 2.
I remember one night we were on picket duty. That's the little hut at the gate with two sort of easy chairs and a stool for you to make your cocoa and that kind of thing. Oh, cocoa was the drink, not gin and tonic; it was cocoa, cocoa all the time. And you were chosen to do picket duty. That's an all-night duty - stay awake and make sure there was no-one coming into camp, you see. So my friend Mary and I, we were on picket duty and we were sitting there with our cocoa. Now, we were not asleep! Slightly snoozing, but not asleep, because we had to stay awake.
All of a sudden, there was the most terrible noise outside, so we switched off the lights and we opened the window. And there were all these military policemen round our hut. So we sort of opened the window and said 'Yes?' They said, 'Come out!' So we came out. Well, there was a prisoner-of-war camp at the other end of the island and two of the young prisoners escaped and they were both pilots. And they stole a car and came up to our airport in the hope of stealing a plane to go home. And they'd parked the car outside our door. Now, this was what we were supposed to be there for, to sort of go out and say 'STOP!' We hadn't heard anything. So I said to the sergeant - a very fierce-looking man - I said, 'We didn't hear anything'. 'Oh no, no,' he said. 'Don't worry. He's shut off the engine and coasted in.' We'd been asleep. However, they caught them, two young men. I was quite sorry for them in a way. I thought, they just wanted home to see their mothers, really. However, you're not supposed to feel sorry for the enemy.
This interview was recorded as part of a War Detectives project in 2005 at Cawdor Primary School.
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