Henderson, Litton, aged twenty, was on the troopship Neuralia
outward bound from Malta to China inNovember 1930. On arrival
in the territory his first impression, again like Henderson's,
was that "it was darned cold". Stationed at Tientsin
and Peking, in company with international garrisons composed of
Italians, French, Japanese and Americans, he was pleased to find
that sport played an important part. The Americans, strange to
say, were anxious to learn how to play soccer and this was definitely
Litton's "line of country". As a qualified referee himself,
he was sent by the Commanding Officer to teach the Americans the
rules of the game which they soon assimilated. (There is no indication
of the British showing any similar enthusiasm for baseball).
Severe winter weather saw the fur hat and coat routines mentioned
by Henderson but another climatic hazard was the amount of sand
and dust blowing around - the nearby Gobi Desert being the source
of the trouble. The summer station of Shanaikwan provided welcome
relief in the way of warmer weather and the presence of the sea
in which to bathe. Another favourite pastime was riding hired
ponies in the area of the Great Wall of China, an experience sometimes
soured by sights of Japanese unpleasant attitudes to the Chinese
- foretastes of things to come.
By the latter part of the Second World War Litton was back in
England and preparing for the Second Front. Landing in Normandy
in 1944, as part of the 1/6th Queen's (7th Armoured Division),
he was pleased to find that the Americans on his right were the
same regiment who had been with the Queen's in China. Presumably
there was no time for football at that stage. The "pitch"
was too hard, nevertheless the company of the "home supporters"
Charlie Litton finished his service as a Captain Quartermaster.