An experience, which had to be of a supernatural nature which continues to colour my life and an event was also featured some months after in the official army magazine called â€˜Soldierâ€™.
What happened was this.
Whilst serving with 6th Batt. Royal Anglian Regt. D Coy and after a days training several of us went into the mess for an eveningâ€™s lubrication and having secured clear glasses of amber nectar we sat on stools exploring areaâ€™s of common interest and perhaps inevitably touched upon matters of a supernatural nature. Comparisons were made and experiences exchanged, and the subject soon attracted a fair degree of interest and enthusiasm.
Whilst voices raised enthusiastically the bar person overheard part of our conversation and interceded to tell us to introduce a story that had unfolded in the very room next to where we were sitting.
Then, rather than going into detail which might influence natural response to the environment, he suggested we prove the extent of our interest by entering the room to see if we felt or sensed anything out of the ordinary.
We didnâ€™t need asking twice, so five enthusiastic people made their way to a room that was large dance floor extension to the bar. As we went through the two double doors, we could see that the room was illuminated by the bar lights that shone through from where we had been sitting.
The bar itself was shuttered off by folding railings with the hall itself housing a good number of tables and chairs which looked a great deal more comfortable than those afforded to the other bar. These in turn were dispersed around a large tiled dancing area in the centre of this quite expansive room.
Adjusting our eyes to the faded light we walked carefully, silently due to restricted vision deep in thought around the whole area, not knowing what to look for or what to expect.
Excluding the occasional prank of someone tapping another on the shoulder, or shouting out from a darkened corner, nothing really came to light. But, having said that, in the opposite corner was another double door that served as a fire escape and, out of curiosity, I wandered towards it, to see where it led.
Barely two metres from the doors I noticed a distinct drop in temperature and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up to such an extent I actually asked if my companions could see it.
Confirming that they couldnâ€™t, I walked deliberately around the close proximity to determine the exact source of this feeling and isolated it to one distinct and precise area. There was no logic whatsoever to its location, it being in a very open section of the room with nothing nearby whatsoever.
The ground had parquet flooring, with the roof supported by pre stressed steel girders, and for all my consideration, I could not detect any explanation for the sensation I felt distinctly in this one area which was little more than the size of a human being.
None of the others detected even the slightest hint of temperature change and I became determined that someone else should confirm the feelings I had most certainly experienced and somewhat frustrated, suggested we walk in line, each man leading the other by placing his hands on the one in fronts shoulders and so on.
Acting like some form of transmitter, several of the lads claimed, whether true or false, to have felt the difference as we entered and left the spot from different directions. Resolving that this must be what the barman had meant, we re-entered the bar and told him of our experience, and asked him for a more detailed explanation.
It appeared sufficient to just tell him of the approximate location for him to confirm that we had indeed discovered the source of his story, and he began to relay the history of the enigma with some enthusiasm, leading to what he hoped was an acceptable explanation.
Apparently during the Second World War, the building had been used as a military morgue for bodies being returned from the D Day landings at Normandy. Centrally appointed, it was a dispersal area for returning the dead to their home towns, and family burials.
Like many unsavoury jobs during times of war, the task fell mainly to the so called weaker sex to conduct this gruesome preparation. Cleaning, repairing, sometimes rebuilding bodies was a thankless task but spared to family and friends the sight of such wanton destruction of their loved ones.
Some few days after the sixth of June, the bodies were being wheeled in in large numbers and with some speed and dispersal became almost automotive in order to make it bearable. However, as fate would have it, one of the auxiliary workers uncovered a corpse only to discover that it were her fiancÃ©e, lifeless and cold. No one could have imagined what must have gone through her mind, it must have been unbearable.
This experience, along with everything else that was going on tipped the balance of her sanity and ability to cope. She simply cracked and without any airs or graces, she tied a piece of cord to the steel girder in the roof space above, stood up on the trolley upon which her man now lay, and kicked it from under her feet.
She was discovered the next morning hanging lifeless from the rafters next to her loved one. That structural beam was directly over the spot where the temperature had dropped so radically. Anyway, some months later, the official magazine of the Army â€˜Soldierâ€™ magazine featured an article on this incident.