I joined the Royal Signals at her majesty's request on the 8th of June 1960 at the age of 21, I had a deferred call up due to my apprenticeship, I thought that I had escaped the net but no! along came that fateful brown envelope stamped OHMS complete with travel docs and a one way train ticket to Richmond, one way ticket that's like being told there's no way back, I had already had my medical and was passed A1 serves me right for taking an interest in athletics.
We finally arrived at Richmond station amid lots of shouting and bawling and lots of bemused young men, eventually some semblance of order emerged and we were ordered to board the waiting three tonners who delivered us to the cook house of our training regiment for our first taste of army food. Now when you have had your food prepared by the best cook in the world your mother it comes as a bit of a shock to see a rubbery egg and two charred logs which I took to be sausages laying in congealed grease fried bread and beans, I recognised the last item because of their colour and shape not because of their taste and a mug of tea. To this day I must admit if there was one thing the army did know how to make that was a mug of tea, after our 'meal' ? we were taken to draw bedding, and shown where we would be bedding down for the night, after travelling all day we were all very tired but it was very difficult to get to sleep and as I laid there I swear I heard a few sobs., my pillow was a bit damp in the morning "must have been sweating".
Llife now would be considerably easier apart from the occasional railway picket, I'm sure those of you that were at Catterick will remember doing at least one of those, and other essential duties " army words not mine", the weeks passed and I eventually became proficient, at what I'm not too sure but the army thought we was ready to face the real thing and this is where we all received our first posting, I thought there had been some mix up as it was not the posting that I had requested when asked where I wished to go, I still hadn't learnt the army's sense of humour.
"Too late" there was no cooling of period in those days and to top it all a few weeks after them getting my signature I received my second posting and what a posting. I think the camp was designed for keeping you in and not keeping unwanted visitors out, the camp was Fransisca Barracks St Tonis near Krefeld, this is where I met the bane of my life RSM Spence, somehow I survived till I was posted out to Singapore.
Now that posting made up for all the rest, one magic
posting, sitting here looking back and remembering, I've come to the
conclusion it wasn't the postings but the personnel, the lads in the
barracks, the humour and friendship, many of which have endured to
this day, and in my twilight years those memories are very dear to
me, and as this website proves the same goes for every other man who
was called upon to serve his country, he didn't like the disruption
to his life, but looking back he's glad he did it.
Copyright Text & Images: Edgar Weekley