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National Service

Ray Griffiths

master brummie
If you were lucky you ended up fully trained after 6 months and fit as a butchers dog ready forView attachment 143358 your posting to a Battalion in my case 1 Coy 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards stationed at Bradbury Barracks Krefeld Germany.
These pictures bought back frightening memories of that day in Sept 1959 when I arrived at No 3 Training Regt Royal Engineers at Cove Hampshire. We was pick up at Cove railway station by the most the gruesome WRAC female with speach I’ve never heard before or since and transported to tha camp in in a lorry converted for carrying squadies . On the journey to the camp I heard they ain’t getting me in a uniform and the ain’t cutting my hair, it took 30 minutes to change All that.We was marched to the Cookhouse for evening meal a round of toast with a kipper and tinned toms we was marched to and from with knives, forks and held behind the back and a Provo Staff NCO shout sapper left left swing that arm. The nightmare continued for 3 months early morning cold water to wash and down to the lake for training to bailey bridge building which we had to march the frozen lakeside to brake the ice and if you dropped a pin in the water you went in after it. The squad had to build a bridge double tier 6 men to panel at the double capable of taking a tank all in 4 hours.
How would the snow flakes of today handle it would they claim human rights you wouldn’t have been heard.
These pictures pictures are so true life and the threat of been back squaded a enduring another 3 months of sheer hell.and then the last 100 days of the 2 years demob chart days to do and they are few. You went in as boys but you come out man, bring it back it would sort the snowflake society we have become


A Brummie Dude
Then the dreaded "Square Bashing" started under a Squad Instructor usually a L/Sgt who "rifted" us mercifully if you survived a 4 week inspection without being Back Squadded you went on to 8weeks and then the final 12 weeks with the ever threat of being Back Squadded. If you passed muster you went to Pirbright and the Yorkshire Moors for Battle Training buts that's another story.View attachment 143356
Hold that weapon straight that man:grinning:


master brummie
I was just thinking about some of the songs we sang, usually after having a bevvy or two!
Songs we squaddies sang.
10 green bottles
knick knack paddy whack
we are the rasc (or whatever regiment you were in )
My eyes are dim i cannot see
Kiss me goodnight sgt/major
A scottish soldier (for the Scots )
Danny boy (for the Irish )
Can`t think what the Welsh sang?
Some of those songs would have a rather rude interpretation


master brummie
Hear hear Ray Griffiths what a great post our experience of Army life during that period was much about the same, but we came out at the other end better for it which stood me in good stead throughout my next career.


master brummie
And the comradeship continued at Association Days. Feeling the weight of the Bren Gun I wonder how I managed to carry and fire it for mile after mile in all weathers.Screenshot_20200325-232029_Photos.jpg

paul stacey

master brummie
I saw him at Pirbright, he was out then, a civvy, he was guest of the Depot RSM, he visited the AADW, and showed that his famous voice was't lost with old age. I believe he served longer than any other Brigade RSM, the reason was often spoken about, was that "NO ONE, dared tell him he had to Retire. It would have been around 63/64 time. Paul


Ex-pat Brummie
Far too hard a regime for me, Paul, I spent my two years repairing radio compasses and playing in the station band. :)
And on permanent night shift at that - it suited my "don't get up too early & go to bed late" style! It was a dirty job, but someone had to do it......... o_O

Maurice :cool:


OldBrit in Exile
I wasted two years in the RAF but got to ride 29512869_1306599202773446_769177821898696276_n.jpgmy bike a lot. Was a BATMAN!! to the sports officer worked in the officers mess lots fun

paul stacey

master brummie
Sounds like a "Doddle", Maurice, but you had no option, I was a regular, with family connections with the Guards, so I kind of knew what might happen, still a culture shock though. Paul


master brummie
I wasted two years in the RAF but got to ride View attachment 143385my bike a lot. Was a BATMAN!! to the sports officer worked in the officers mess lots fun
It has been interesting reading your posts about National Service. I am researching my family history and came across a link with the RAF camp in Sutton Coldfield 1949/50. I wondered if any BHF members were stationed there at that time.


Ex-pat Brummie

I was in from 1955-7 and am now 83 so you talking about someone who may be 89 years old. I serviced stuff for most of the active flying stations in the RAF and don't recollect Sutton Coldfield, and to the best of my knowledge there was nowhere you put an airfield there.

Maurice :cool:


Super Moderator
Staff member
There was an RAF M.U. there during the war but I don't know how long it lingered post-war.