The Leslie Flint Trust
Alfred Pritchett communicates
Recorded: November 4th 1960
Alfred Pritchett communicates
Recorded: November 4th 1960
Alfred Pritchett was a soldier
who recalls the horrors of the First World War.
Alfred talks about how he died
and the help he received afterwards...
He also discusses the help he gave to other soldiers,
as they were killed during the Second World War.
This communication is featured in the book 'Life After Death', by Neville Randall.
Randall explains that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission have records
of British soldiers killed and buried during World War One.
Only four men appear in those records with the name Pritchett
and only one of them fits the voice in this recording:
Private (9023) A. Pritchett of the 225th Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)
is listed as being killed on August 16th 1917 and buried a mile from Ypres,
in the Potijze Chateau Lawn Cemetery, Belgium.
According to Pritchett, his friend Billy Smart had been killed some months before him.
There were dozens killed during WW1 with the name William Smart.
However, only one fits the account given by Pritchett in this recording :
Private (20394) William Smart, of the 1st Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)
died on February 23rd 1916 and is buried at Arras Memorial, Calais, France.
Note: This enhanced recording is over 60 years old.
The noise of the recorder and even some outside traffic can sometimes be heard.
Read the full transcript below as you listen...
Present: Leslie Flint, George Woods and Betty Greene.
Communicators: Alfred Pritchett, Mickey.
I feel a bit, er like an interloper...
...here, this morning, in a way. 'Cause I've often been around here when you've had these meetings...
And...never liked to push my way in 'cause...I know...
Well, it's very nice of you to come...
...I know that you're really, in a way and quite rightly, interested in certain people who... well, who can bear some weight and influence in these recordings of yours. But...course, there are many of us here that...well, we're just ordinary people. As you well know, this is a subject which affects every human being whether they're high up or whether they're low, in the scale of life, you might say.
Course, I was only just an ordinary person and I suppose what I have to say wouldn't be of any real weight to most people - that is who might listen to your records. But anyway, I'm very interested and I often stand 'ere and listen and take an interest in what goes on, and I knows how as you go around and about and you play these things to people and it gives a lot of interest and comfort to people, I'm sure.
Yes, it is.
Course, I never had no truck with this meself when I was on your side. Well, as a matter of fact I never had any truck with religion, as such, 'septing when I was a kid. Like most kids I went to the old Sunday school and learnt a few bits and pieces and it never had much sort of influence on me, especially when I...well, when the First World War...when I joined up and got among the boys and...one thing and the other and...the state of things. I'm afraid what religious, well convictions or - well they weren't really convictions, of course, but what religious inclination I might have had was soon knocked out of me. I know they were my reactions, but anyone at that time in the First World War...oh dear, oh dear ! I thought, 'well, if there is a God he'd never permit all this.'
And as for the church I thought...well, less said the better.
Anyway, still, I've probably...I've changed a good bit since then. There's nothing wrong, in a sense, with the church. Point is, they've got a great truth and they've never known quite how to handle it or how to sort of...well, bring it out to the people to give them that sort of realisation, you might say, and conviction that they should. If you follow the teachings of the Lord - the simple truths that he taught...it'd be an entirely different matter. You can't have the sword in one hand and the Bible in the other can you ?
And yet a good number of them do. Certainly did in the First World War. Cor, dear, oh dear. I'm not saying there weren't good men among 'em, Padres and all the rest of it. Sincere lads, most of them, on the younger side too and they did some wonderful work, in their own way and I have great respect for them. But if you really talk about Christ and what he really meant, what he bought to, into the world - a wonderful realisation of God's purpose - you can hardly associate that with mass murder...I'm rather...I'm afraid that put me right off religion forever that did...the First World War.
Please, may we have your name ?
May we have your name ?
Ah, my name wouldn't mean nothing like, would it ?
Well, we'd like to have your name.
My name's Pritchett.
Yeah, Alf Pritchett.
Don't mean a thing.
Can you give us some idea, how you passed over and your reactions ?
Can you give us some idea of how you passed over and your reactions when you found yourself...?
Yeah, I came over during the first lot.
19...19...er...must have been 1917 or 18. I'm not sure meself now. It's such a long time ago.
Huh! What a time that was. Cor, dear, oh dear ! Last lot was pretty grim wasn't it ? As a matter of fact since then, as a matter of fact, you know, since I came here I mean, during the last war I was helping the lads over. Poor blighters. They were so darn bewildered they didn't know what had happened in many cases. They just couldn't realise they was dead. There they were - one minute full of life and vitality and youth - shoved in, well, terrible conditions. You know, full of hope, thinking and hoping and praying they'd come through it. Course they got a blighty one and there you are, they were over here. Some of 'em were still under the impression as to how as they were still alive. We had a job to make 'em realise, some of 'em, that they were really dead. It all happened so quick and they were blown, you might say, out of one life into the next, in a split second. And there they were, as far as they were concerned, still with the same body and still thinking on the old lines and still, in some instances, even carrying on just the same as if they were in their physical body.
You see, you can't destroy a man, even when you blow him up. He's still the same person with the same instincts, the same thoughts and everything, and he's still carrying on whatever he was doing, in some cases. Death, when it's like that, sudden and - I won't say unexpected, 'cause in war you never know - but er, it's a bad thing. I mean, when a man dies in his bed, after an illness, there's a gradual sort of change taking place. He's gradually, sort of, unconsciously if you like, sort of preparing himself for a new world. He may not realise that, in a sense, but it does give him time to adjust himself gradually to the idea that he's going to leave the Earth and he begins, in a mental way anyway, to make some change. But this business of war or accidents even, where people are suddenly flung out of their bodies and...well, it's a terrible thing.
I don't hold with wars and anything like that...'cause that's the thing that really gets me you know with the church. I suppose I shouldn't be prejudiced but so many of them, you know, they're sword in one hand and the Bible in the other. Blessing the flags and blessing of the ships and blessing the guns and blessing the boys; telling them their fighting for right and all the rest of it. Anything that takes life or anything which is premeditated and organised mass murder, is, to my way of thinking, the wickedest of things and how any Christian, as such, can uphold it or support it or in anyway have anything to do with, it's beyond me. I'm of the firm conviction that if the church ... if the churches really came out, with what they know fundamentally is the truth and say that it is wrong and wicked to take life, I don't think there could be wars quite frankly, because I don't see how there could be. You get all the Catholics and all the Protestants and all the other 'isms' all banding together and saying that it is absolutely wrong and against all the teachings of the church and the teachings of Christ. I don't think you could have a war. I don't see how you could. In any case, when I've seen as I have, the untold thousands of people that are thrust over here, unprepared, it's a most ghastly thing.
Actually, I wish I could do something about it....that's why I feel so drawn to these sort of meetings in the hope that we might get a bit of enlightenment and truth and realisation, you might say, through to people. That's the real reason why I come. Well, you was going to say something weren't you dear ?
Well, I was going to ask you, Mr. Pritchett, exactly what your reactions were when you found yourself on the other side, as you were flung over suddenly, weren't you ?
One moment I was...one moment I was alive and we were...I always remember it so well. We'd been under a heavy bombardment practically all day and I thought to meself at the time, 'if we come through this lot we'll be lucky', you know and then we were...early morning we were given the command to go over the top. Well, I thought, 'this is it, boy,' you know, 'oh well, if I come out of this lot I'll be bloody lucky.' Anyway, I went. I must admit, that it took all I'd got to really get myself over the top.
Anyway, I don't like even going into it, 'septing that, all I know is that I was running forward and I still kept running forward. And the funny part about it is, that some of the Germans were coming towards me and they rushed past me as if they didn't see me. I thought, 'well, that's a funny how-d'ya-do.' All I remember was feeling in a pretty bad state, you know, sweating and, 'oh, crying out loud, this is it,' you know.
But instead of them attacking me or in any way, sort of, taking any interest in me, they were rushing past me. I thought, 'well, good lord ! I can't make this out at all.' And, it took me quite a while to, sort of realise what had happened. In fact, it was some time I think, before I realised what happened. I went on and all I can remember is running and running and I thought, 'well, if they're not going to see me, I'm certainly not going to bother about them. I'm going to try and get into a little cubby hole somewhere and get out of it.'
And all I remember is getting into a hole, in the ground that had been created by a bomb I expect, at some time. Anyway, all I know is, that I got into this hole and just crouched down and thought, 'well, I'll wait till this shindig's over and hope for the best. Might get taken prisoner, who knows ? I don't.'
And I was lying there thinking to myself, 'well, it's a funny how-d'ya-do. They didn't see me. They must have seen me, yet they went right past me.' And I started to think about it and I thought, 'well, I don't know. I'm lucky.'
And, oh, I don't know how long I must have been there. Anyway, I must have fallen asleep or something 'cause, the next thing I know was that, at the time, that was - I remember seeing a bright light in front of me. It was just as if I woke up and there was a very bright light. And I couldn't make this out at all 'cause it was the sort of light I'd never seen before. It was just as if the whole place was illuminated and it was so dazzling that, for a moment, I could sort of, hardly look at it. I had to keep, sort of closing me eyes and having a look. And I thought, 'well, I don't know. Some sort of a trick of the light or something.' I got a bit, a little windy, you know, I didn't know what to think.
Then, all of a sudden, it was just as if I saw, an outline, a shape or figure appear. And, I kept looking and I thought, 'well, I don't know.' I wasn't sure whether it was human or what it was. It was the outline of a human being and it was full of luminos-osity and gradually it seemed to take shape. And I was in an absolute sweat because, eventually I could see that it was an old friend of mine, who I knew had been killed some months before, named Smart - Billy Smart we used to call him - 'Ole Bill'. And he was looking at me and I was looking at him and it was...I don't know how to explain this. It was as if somehow there was a sort of merging, I suppose, in some way or other, of him and me. Most peculiar, I can't explain this.
Anyway, all I know is that I felt myself getting up - and that struck me as odd that I should be conscious of meself getting up. In a strange sort of way, I thought, 'well, here's me been lying here probably all night - all day and night. I ought to be feeling stiff and awkward and uncomfortable.' But I didn't. I felt as light as a feather and I thought, 'well, something's gone to me head. Perhaps I got a whack, you know, or something.'
I didn't know what to think about it. Anyway, I went towards him, as if I was being like a magnet, drawn to him and as I got closer, I could see that he was, oh I don't know, full of vitality, full of life, wonderful, sort of colour in his face. And then, all of a sudden, as I got near to him, it dawned on me that he was dead !
Funny thing was, when I first saw him, I didn't think of him being dead although, I must have remembered and realised in a way he had been killed some months before. Anyway, all I know is, I was drawn to him and he smiled at me and I suppose I must have smiled back. Anyway, he sort of held out his hand and I felt a bit daft in a way 'cause, I know it's natural to shake hands, but there was me - in a dug-hole, a trench, a dugout, whatever you like to call it, crater in earth - sort of shaking hands with someone who was dead and it sort of put me in a cold sweat, in a kind of way and I thought, 'well, what's going on here ? I must be dreaming or something.' Anyway, I could hear him speak and he says,
“All right, nothing to worry about. You're all right, mate. Come on.”
And there was me putting my hand in his, just like a kid. And I thought, 'well, this is damn daft, this is. There's something wrong somewhere.' Anyway, all I know is I got hold of his hand and suddenly felt a, sort of floating sensation and before I knew where I was, it was just as if I was being lifted up in the air, holding his hand too. And I thought, 'well, this is something this is.'
It reminded me of something I saw years ago; Pan - Peter Pan or something. There was me, floating up in the air holding his hand and I thought, 'crying out loud ! This is a funny dream this is.'
There was us, sort of floating - I can't say I was doing anything else but floating, just with my feet off the ground - going gradually higher and higher, as if everything gradually was getting further and further away. And I could see in the distance down below the battlefield. And I could see the guns and the light and the explosions and the war was obviously still going on. And I thought, 'well, I don't know, this is a most peculiar dream this is.'
And then the next thing I remember was, sort of gradually coming in sight of what appeared to me, to be a big city. It was luminous. That's the only way I can describe this, is that it was luminous. It was as if all the buildings, sort of had a sort of glow about them. This glow, by the way, seemed to be something that seemed to be, not only with him, my friend, but - with everything. Even when I remember now looking back, there was a sort of haze or a glow over everything.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I suddenly felt my feet touching ground again. Most peculiar...and...it felt solid. And I remember walking along what appeared to be a long avenue. And on each side of this street or avenue were beautiful trees. And between every other tree, or so, there was, what appeared to be, a sort of statue. That's the only way I can describe it - figures. Beautiful figures they were. Sculptured sort of figures, you see.
And on the sidewalk, I suppose that's what you'd call it - or the path, pavement - people were going about, but dressed in most peculiar sort of dress. I thought, 'oh dear, this is a real corker this is,' you know, 'a real dream.' They looked like as if they might have been Romans or Greeks or something, like you see in pictures. And er, beautiful buildings with pillars and beautiful steps leading up, some of them had. And there were mostly flat-roofed, by the way. I don't remember ever seeing any roofs and gables, like one associates with England, for instance. They all seemed to be, what you call, on the Continental style, you know, sort of beautiful flat roof houses. Beautifully designed and this sort of glow coming from them. All sorts of people there was and I saw horses. I saw several people on horseback riding, beautiful, magnificent looking horses they were and anyway I thought, 'this is quite a-do, this is,' you know.
And anyway, he was talking away to me...
“Course,” he says, “Of course, you know what's happened to you ?”
So I says, 'What's happened to me ?' I says, 'all I know is what's happened or what ain't happened, I am having a good time here. It's better than being down there, in that lot. I shall be sorry to wake up.'
He says, “Don't worry. You ain't gonna to wake up.”
I says, 'What do you mean, you ain't gonna to wake up ?'
“Well,” he says, “You've had it, chum.”
I said, 'What do you mean - had it ?'
So he says, “You're dead.”
I said, 'Don't be so silly. How can I be dead ? I'm here. I can see all what's going on around me. I can see you.' But I said, 'I know as how you died some months ago. You got a packet. But, how is it that um...I don't know'...I said to 'im, 'you may be dead, but I'm dreaming.'
“Ah,” he says, “no you ain't. You really are dead. You got a packet in that charge.”
I said, 'ah, get away ! How can I have had ? I wouldn't be here like this would I ?'
He says, “that's just it,” he says, “you are here. You're dead.”
I said, 'What ? You don't mean to tell me this is heaven ?'
So he says, “well not exactly, but it's an aspect.”
I thought to meself, 'aspect ? What's aspect mean ?'
And then suddenly it dawned on me, that it was a sort of 'part of,' like, you know.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, we went up this nice, very pleasant road in this beautiful city, and we came to a sort of hill. Not a very steep hill. And right in front of me on top of this hill I could see what looked like a beautiful building. Like - well, how can I describe it ? - something I'd seen in the City of London, only much more white and much more beautiful. And, 'oh', I thought, 'this is a nice looking place, what's that ?'
So I said to him, 'what's that place ?'
“Oh,” he says, “you're going there,” he says, “to meet some of your old friends.” He said, “That's what we call a reception station.”
I said, 'a what ?'
He said, “it's like a kind of an hospital.”
I said, 'well, I don't want to go to any hospitals. There's nothing wrong with me. I'm all right.' I said, '...and in any case, I can't get this at all. He said, “don't worry. Just don't [tax] your brain,” he says, “too much at the moment. It'll come to you later. Just relax and enjoy yourself.”
I said, 'well, I'm doing that alright. It's a darn sight better than being down there. In a sense,' I says, 'I don't particularly want to wake up. If this is what you say - true. I have to believe you, but at the same time I can't make head or tail of it.'
Anyway, to cut a long story short, we got to this place, you know, and well, went in and there was all sorts of people there. All kinds. But what struck me as odd...they were dressed much the same as, well, many people that I'd known and what I used to dress like meself in civvie street. Suits and you know, that sort of thing. And it all seemed to be very natural and the funny thing was, that the outside of this place looked like a sort of temple place or something, I suppose you'd call it, but inside it all looked very natural. Most peculiar. It was not exactly like an 'ospital but at the same time it had an atmosphere of peace and tran-tranquillity and all that.
And there seemed to be many rooms, apart from the big entrance there, there seemed to be lots of different rooms. But, lots of light was coming in. That's another thing - I never remember seeing the sun, yet there seemed to be plenty of light. And big windows. And people sitting around talking. There were tables and chairs. I didn't see any beds, and I thought, 'well this is a funny sort of an 'ospital, yet it ain't a hospital, I suppose.'
Everyone seemed to be quite bright and cheerful and happy, all very natural. Some were talking, and others were eating - and that's what struck me. I thought, 'well, I've got him one here. He says as how's this is some sort of part of heaven. I'm sure they wouldn't eat.' So I says, 'ah, look ! They're eating over there.'
So he said, “why shouldn't they ?”
And I thought, 'well, seems odd. If you're dead you don't need to eat.'
So he says, “ah, what you don't realise is, that when you come here, if you feel it's essential to do certain things and you feel it's essential to eat and drink, then you can.”
Then it dawned on me that sounded pretty sensible, after all. 'Cause if you've put someone in a place where they're out of harmony and things don't go on in the way they would like them to go on, then they feel uncomfortable. So it struck me there was something in that.
Wait a minute...
Yes, it's jolly interesting.
Well...sat down around a table with several other blokes and they said,
“Hello. Just arrived ?”
I said, 'yes.'
So one of them said to me, “only just come, ay? Only a few hours innit ?”
I said, 'what ?'
He says, “only a few hours.”
I said, 'is it ?' I didn't know.
So he said, “we heard as how as you were coming.”
So I said, 'what do you mean heard as how I was coming ? You don't even know me.'
He says, “oh well, that's what you think.”
So I said, 'well, how could you know me anyway. I never knew you, not down there, as you call it.'
So he said, “ah, well, we know.” He said. “We have our scouts out, we have our gangs out, you know. Helpers.”
He says, “I was helped in the same way. I've only been here a very short time meself. Couple of days, I believe.”
So I said, 'Oh.' So I said, 'settling in ?'
So he says, “oh yes. Very nice. Much better than what they used to tell us down there innit ?”
So I said, 'how do you mean ?'
So he says, “well, you know what they used to tell us down there, about 'eaven and 'ell, and the last trumpet and all that ? Yeah,” he says. “They've got it all wrong.”
So I says, 'well, it seems like it, doesn't it ?'
So he says, “yeah.” He says, “all that business about, if you're very good, you go up to the top stall and if you're not so good, you'd go down in the old cellar. Ha !”
He says. “They've got all that wrong, mate.” He says, “here we're just the same as we was, only better. Quite happy.”
He says, “Tomorrow, I'm going from here.”
So I said, 'What ? Where are you going ?'
“Well,” he says, “I'm going” he says, “to see my grandparents.”
Of course all this struck me as a bit crackers, but I thought, 'well, I'd better sort of keep in with them,' you know, '...and talk the same sort of language. After all, if I've got to be here, as they say I have, I might as well fit in.' I felt in the most peculiar sort of, state, really, when I come to think about it now.
He said, “yeah, I'm visiting my grandparents.”
So I says, 'well, where are they ?'
He says, “well, I've been told,” he says, “that they're on this plane, as they call it here, but further out.”
I says, 'further out ?'
So he says, “yes.”
So I says, 'what, many miles away ?'
He says, “miles ? They say you don't have miles here. You don't have distance in the same way as you do on Earth. I ain't got meself adjusted to that yet,” he says, “but I shall no doubt be alright. I'm being taken there.”
So I says, 'oh, very nice. Who's taking you ?'
So he says, “my guide.”
I said, 'guide ?'
So he says, “yes. I didn't even know there were such things as guides, you know. That's something that I've only just recently learnt. But there's a very nice fellow here. He's like one of the stewards, I suppose you'd call them. And he's found out a little bit about my background and my people and he's been given the job of sort of, escorting me.”
He says, “by the way,” he says, “did you notice when you came here how odd it was ? How light you felt ?”
So I said, 'yes, I did notice that.'
He says, “wasn't it funny, that sort of floating feeling you had, you know ?”
So I said, 'yes that was rather remarkable. I felt a bit peculiar, you know, sort of floating around. It did seem strange.'
So he says, “well, that's the way we're going, I believe. We're not going to walk. We're sort of going to...I suppose some people would call it flying. I don't know whether you call it that here, but it seems like it. Anyway, I'm going there tomorrow to see my grandparents. It's funny, I remember the old girl - grandma. She was about, oh, 76 when she kicked the...when she pegged out, you know, and I often wonder if they'll really know me, you know.”
He says, “another funny thing is, you'd have thought they'd have met me if they knew I was coming over, wouldn't you ?”
So I said, 'well perhaps they didn't know. Perhaps it's only these higher up ones that have the knowledge beforehand.'
So he says, “it may be that. Anyway that's what's happened and where I'm going.”
He says. “Some of these people have been here for a long time, I believe. You know, and they’re only, sort of beginning to sort of, settle down now. Some are a bit difficult to deal with when they first come.”
He says, “you seem to have taken it all right.”
So I said, 'what else can you do ? You're told you're kicked...you're dead. The best thing to do when you're dead, I should think, is to follow out the instructions and behave yourself. After all, you never know who's going to be judging on you and all that,' I said. 'According to what the old Bible says and what I understood, you got judged.'
“Ah” he says, “get away with that !” he says. “No one judges you, from what I can make out on it. You judge yourself. You sort of...I know,” he says, “since I've been here,” he says, “I've been sort of reflecting, you know.
Going back a bit on the old past and wondering and thinking about things.” He says, “I realise now, like many people of course, I made many mistakes. I was a bit of a fool, you know, to meself and other people.
But,” he says, “I'm gradually beginning to see now. Even though I've only been here a little while,” he says, “there is no such thing as judgment, not in the old fashioned idea that the old church teaches.” He says, “The only thing is,” he says, “you judge yourself. After all, it’s your conscience,” he says. “I've got one, and so have you, I bet. We all have.”
So I said, 'well, I've got a bit of a conscience alright but,' I said. 'Of course, I haven't lived all that long to have done all that much bad, as far as I know.' I said, 'As far as I can remember, the only thing I ever did really wrong was, was drowning a cat.'
I said, 'I can't think of anything else...oh, once I had a pint of bitter and never paid for it because there was a crowd in there, and he forgot about it and I never offered it. I didn't see anything really terribly wicked about that. As far as I can remember,' I said.
'I haven't done anything really bad. I mean, I ain't like some of these people. The only thing I can think of doing anything bad, if it is bad at all, and it's not altogether my fault because I was forced into it, is killed a few Germans.' I says.
'Now you come to think about it, I put them in the same boat as meself. I'm not very happy about that idea, although I realise already that it's not so bad being dead, but after all, perhaps they had a life to fulfil on Earth and for that matter so did I.'
I said, 'but what I feel about at the moment, is the fact that I'm placed in this position. Not that I don't mind it, in a sense,' I says.
'But other people who really, when you come to think about it, don't risk their lives at all. They sit back and more or less in comfort and smoke their cigars and what have you,' I said. 'We're the ninnies aren't we ?'
So he says, “you're telling me boy.”
He said, “you don't want to worry about those financiers and all the rest of it, they're alright, They'll come through alright, but what good will it do 'em ? What will they have to answer when they get here ? You think that one out,” he said to me.
He said, “you've got nothing on your conscience, mate, but by Christ, they've got a hell of a lot on theirs and the others who are responsible for putting us in this position.”
I said, 'well, I suppose we shouldn't have any bitter feelings.' I said.
”No,” he says, “I ain't got no bitter feelings but what...” he says, “annoys me and upsets me, is that these people who are the cause of all this, the mere handful, you might say, compared to the untold millions who have to suffer for it. They're the ones who are really the ones who have got something on their conscience. When they get here, I wouldn't like to be in their darn shoes,” he says.
I said, 'I'm inclined to agree with you there, mate.' I said, 'we're rather like the poor old sheep aren't we ?'
He says, “you're telling me,” he says. “But never mind” he says. “It's going to be nice here, I can feel that.”
He says, “since I've been here everyone's been kind and pleasant and helpful.” He says, “I really feel at home already.”
And he says, “you'll be all right. Don't worry.”
So I said, 'well, you know, I don't really get all this. I...I'll have to accept the fact that I'm dead,' I says. 'But, I still find it difficult to believe.'
He says, “well, it'll be alright. It'll pass. You'll get used to the idea.” He says, “getting used to the idea of being dead becomes a bit much at first, but you soon sort of, cotton on to it. And it's not bad at all,” he says, “I can tell you. You'll really, really have everything here that you want that's essential.”
Oh, he went on telling me a lot of things and the other blokes sitting round there didn't say very much and I thought, 'well, they're a bit of a dumb lot.' But he says, “of course,” he says, “my friends here,” he says, “they're only just sort of settling in like you. They've only been here a very short time. Only just before you arrived, as a matter of fact.”
He says, “they're thinking it all out and they've been worrying, I think. One or two of them anyway,” he says.
And he looked at them and they looked at him and me and everyone's staring at each other, you know, and he says, “they're a bit concerned about the people on the other side.”
Cor ! And I remembered at that moment, I said, 'good gawd, I forgot all about them. Isn't that terrible to think that, you know, with all this happening,' I said, 'I completely forgot about 'em ?'
He says, “well, they will begin to realise one day,” he says. “But erm, you know, they tell me you can go back and see 'em if you want to.”
So I says, 'go back and see 'em ?'
So he says, “yes.”
And I said, 'does that mean you become a ghost then ? Course, that'd frighten my old woman out of her life.' You know.
So he says, “well, people say that but...” He says, “we can go back, you know.”
So I said, 'well, I'd like to go back and see my people and see how they're getting on.
Cor,' I said, 'I wonder if they've heard about my being dead ?' You know.
So he says, “well, they may not have heard yet. You know how slow they are letting things...you know, telling your relations and that. Besides,” he says, “if you want to go back, it can be arranged, you know.”
He says, “one of those fellows who's in charge here. He can probably arrange it and take you back.”
He says, “Course, it'll only make you miserable, I should think, 'cause.” he says, “you go back, but they don't take a blind bit of notice of you - and then what ?”
I said, 'that's funny, you talking about not taking any notice. I remember at the time,' I said, 'when...when I went over the top, I was racing with the rest of the boys towards the Germans,' I says, 'the Germans came running past me like mad, but didn't even see me.'
He says, “that's right. That's exactly what'll happen when you go back to Earth. No one'll see you. No one'll take any notice. You can go bang on the wife's door, if you've got a wife, or you can go and bang on the old Parson's door and he won't take a bloody bit of notice of you - because he's as blind as a bat, like the rest of them.”
So I said, 'cor, dear ! That's a bit much innit ? Not much point in going if they don't take any notice of you.'
So he says, “well,” he says, “you wait and see. Take things calmly, mate. You'll be alright.”
So I thought, 'well, I suppose I'd better do as I'm told. It's the best way innit ?' In any case, if you've been in the army for any length of time, you learn to do as you're told, otherwise you're in for it.'
So I thought, 'well, I'm in a funny predicament here. So the best thing's to keep your mouth shut and listen and say little,' you know.
Anyway, eventually the time came when this friend who'd brought me here, came over to me again and he says,“I want to show you something.” So I says, 'oh, alright, mate.'
So I went with him and we went outside and he took me down another street. There were houses there. Very attractive they was, with little balconies and flowers and, oh, beautiful flowers, I've never seen such flowers. And he took me down the end of this road and we came out to a big square. It was like a sort of street square, off a street, you see. And there was a big fountain playing in the middle. And I could hear music. Oh it was smashing ! Wonderful music it was. Beautiful music. And I thought, 'this is real nice.'
It reminded me of the old days when I used to sit in the park and listen to the band. But this band was something out of the...well, I was going to say out of this world...well it was. It was magnificent. Playing away there. Beautiful music. I didn't know what it was, but it was marvellous music. And I saw these instrumentalists sitting down and they looked real marvellous they did. The funny thing is they hadn't got uniforms on, they'd got this sort of robe business on.
And I thought, 'well, that looks very nice, but I might look odd in one of them outfits.'
But, 'anyway,' I thought, 'it's no good thinking about that now.' And I thought, 'what am I wearing now ?' and I looked and I was wearing a suit again and I thought, 'oh, yes that's right.'
And everything was going on all at the same time in my mind. I was proper sort of bewildered. Anyway, we sat down on a little bench under a beautiful tree, beautiful blossom on it, and I was listening to this music and, I was sort of, being really carried away and my friend said to me, “we often come here and listen to music. It's very pleasant isn't it ?'
I said, 'it's very nice.'
He said, “you'll find it very restful. You just sit there. I'll leave you there for a little while and I'll come back to you.”
So I thought, 'alright.'
So I just sat there and listened to this lovely music and I really enjoyed that. And um...oh dear, I am carrying on aren't I ?
Go on, go on don't stop.
Go on, we like it very much.
...and, anyway I was sat there with me eyes closed, sort of listening to this very nice music. And then, all of a sudden, I had a sort of feeling that there was something...someone sitting next to me. And I opened my eyes and looked and there was a very beautiful lady. She was really beautiful. Beautiful blonde hair she had, fair. Very beautiful. She looked about nineteen or twenty and I was really sort of taken aback. And she says...er...she called me by name, that's right, and I thought, 'well, that's funny. She knows my name, but I don't know her.'
So she said, “are you finding it all very nice here ?”
So I says, 'very nice, thank-you. Er-Miss ?'
So she said, “you don't have to call me Miss.” She says. “Don't you know me ?”
So I says, 'no. I don't know you.'
She says, “my name is Lilly.”
So I says, 'Lilly ? I don't know no Lilly. Sorry,' I says, 'I don't want to appear rude, but I don't know you.'
She says, “you don't know me ? And yet” she says, “that's not surprising, in a way.”
She says, “but I'm your sister. I died when I was an infant.”
'Cor blimey,' I says. 'I remember my mother says...talking about a little girl that died when she was only a few days old or something, if I remember right.' I says, 'but you can't be her. You're grown up.'
So she says, “that's right. I'm your sister. I died when I was an infant and I've grown up over here.”
So I says, 'well, beats me.' I says, 'I'm very pleased to know you and I feel quite happy knowing you, but it's still very puzzling to me that you should be my sister, and I never knew her - oh, I mean...'
So she said, “oh, don't let that worry you.”
She says. “But I'm going to look after you now you're here.” And, er, she says, “you come with me and I'm going to take you home.”
I says, 'home ?'
She says, “yes, home.”
So I says, 'oh !'
Anyway, I went with her and she took me out of this square down a very broad avenue, lined with trees. And we branched off and then we went down a slope, and it seemed as if we were going outside the town altogether. And we went out into the countryside, down a beautiful country road and I could see in the distance some small houses dotted about here and there. Gradually we arrived at a small cottage place - that's the only way I can describe it. It was the nearest thing I'd seen, by the way, to, well, cottages and that, that I'd seen at home in England. And she, eventually stopped at a small place in its own little garden, with a little gate and a little porch to the door.
Plenty of lovely flowers, again, I noticed. And we went in. And we went into this little place and off this little passageway on the left, I remember, was this little room - all very cosy and comfortable. Nice chairs. And I noticed there was no fireplace and I thought, 'oh well, that's odd.'
Anyway, we sat there talking and she started talking about me mother and me father and brother, that I had still on Earth. And she said, she often went to see them and had been going to them - and me - when I was on Earth, from infancy, and that she had been with me all through the war years. And erm, she couldn't co...she wasn't with me when I actually died, but she got everything all ready for me. But erm, she knew I'd be coming and that I'd be brought and, anyway, there I was and I was going to live with her and she was going to look after me and I thought, 'oh, this is nice.'
Then I thought, 'well, I don't know, it's all so strange.' Anyway, I settled in and I stayed with my sister. And, perhaps I'd better come another time and tell you more about it from that point you see, 'cause the time...I'm told the time is up, you see.
Oh, we're very interested.
Well, I know. I mean the point is I feel that, I can't talk to you as intelligently, perhaps as some of the other people...
Oh yes you can.
You're very interesting Mr. Pritchett.
...but it may be of some interest to people if I, sort of told you these things, you see.
Anyway I'm told the power - whatever you call it - is going but...
Did you live in Sydney Street ?
No. No. I must go, dear, I'm sorry but...
We can't give a message for you to anybody ?
No. There's no one. My own people...
What was you're...
...my own people, my own people are all over here now, you see.
Oh I see.
I must go. Bye bye.
Thank you - very much.
END OF RECORDING
This transcript was supplied by a good friend of the Leslie Flint Educational Trust, Mr Simon Lovelock
Edited by K.Jackson-Barnes