Mexborough & Swinton Times May 25
Nazis Poor Fighters
Yorkshire Soldier´s View
Norway to Conisboro´
L./Cpl. David Piggott, who returned this week from leave spent with his wife and her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Colbear, The Dale, Station Road, Conisborough, thinks the Germans are “poor Fighters”, and he should know – for this Regular Army instructor was in Norway for just over three weeks fighting them. They are very “brave” fellows, he tells the “Times”, when they are in bigger numbers than the opposition, but it is a very different matter when the position is reversed. Then they keep well away and very quickly retreat.
L./Cpl. Piggott, 31 years old, whose home is at Bradford, was with the York and Lancasters before the war, but on the outbreak of hostilities he was transferred to the Hallamshires, and is loud in his praises of the Sheffield lads stamina. At the beginning of the war his wife, who had been with him in his depot, returned to her home in Conisborough.
This bronzed, young soldier has very decided views about the campaign in Norway and declared: “Give us some planes of the Royal Air Force and some artillery and we could have had more than a little fun. If our aircraft could have got a base we should have been as safe as houses. We did our task and it was finished”.
L./Cpl. Piggott, who first enlisted in the Duke of Wellington´s Regiment in 1926, related that they had a lovely voyage to Norway, but it was a different story when they approached the coast. They were convoyed by English destroyers and as they got forward to disembark German aircraft came over and they had a lively time. “They dropped bombs and tried to sink us, but as our fellows said `they were poor marksmen´. All the lads were in the best of spirits”. Every minute or two the sailors kept being called to `action stations´. The sailors were a grand lot. They came up smiling every time – even though they had to leave their meal just when it was ready for eating.
L./Cpl. Piggott stated that while they were disembarking the German planes began swooping down on them and bombing them. When they landed they were conveyed by Norwegian lorries to their billets, little wooden huts, in which they stayed for the night. From there they took up positions guarding supplies, but later moved forward to another position.
“We could not put our heads out of our billets without Jerry coming over. He seemed to come over every minute of the day, and the only time we could get out was at night about 9 p.m. Our next move was to Steinkjeer to take over front line positions, but we did not get into action; we held the front line. The Sheffield lads did very well, particularly during the forced marches. They certainly had some stamina”.
When the withdrawal order came through they covered a 16 miles march to the coast and when they reached Namsos they found it still burning. A ship was ready to take them away. On the way back a French ship was sunk.