6 thoughts on “Army Years in the Middle East and Germany

  1. There must be many interesting stories from the last lads to be called up to do their National Service from the Stockton area, 1958 was the year it ended. I was sent to Kenya on a three year posting on the troop ship Dunera with no leave to come home. Our leave was mostly down to Mombasa. I also spent six month in Bahrain, I served in the Coldstream Guards and had a great time visiting the game parks, I climbed Kilimanjaro and the aircraft I flew in were propshaft Blackburn Beverleys we called them flying boxcars. That’s my small story a wonderful time. I had a cushy job company storeman, the NS men will no what I am talking about. Cheerio.


    • Peter those stories should be told. I met a few local lads and lasses in my travels a lot of them had experiences they would not have had without NS. My own Sisters Husband served in Kenya and the Sudan, my Son served in Kenya building Bridges with the RE’s.
      We called the NS six week wonders, they got six weeks initial training then posted to Units who may or what was more probable not give them extra training and send them overseas.
      In 1947-8-9 the last of the Wartime soldiers were going home, there was a severe shortage of trained men to take over, few lads of my age 18 had ever driven a car and for a truck licence you had to be 21 which meant we who did drive spent time teaching those who could not, in our case it was 1930’s Albions, Scammels, Leylands.
      I went into the Guard room one night to take a patrol out and was horrified to find two had only ever fired a rifle on the 30 yard range and the other six had loaded the rifles ready and put one up the spout, one had not applied the safety catch. My language was definitely not diplomatic.
      Our Medic at Shandur was from Norton, I went to school with him, I was hauled onto the jetty off the lighter bringing us from the troopship to Cyprus having hit the deck as a wave washed over the bow and washed me into the scuppers and nearly overboard, wet and bedraggled I heard a voice, hello Frank another local lad come to drive us to Larnaca.
      I was in the Guards Depot Pirbright in 1958 learning Arms drill with the then new SLR, all SNCO’s from REME, they were a bit miffed at me asking where I learned the drill, the DLI was the answer we never sloped arms. Even more miffed when the G, WO’s wife and I took all the prizes at the Mess whist drive. Happy days.


      • Frank – snap I was at Pirbright 1958 learning the new drill with slr after 12 weeks at Caterham with the 303. What a change.


        • Peter, REME often tested new equipment including weapons and we got the Belgium FN rifle to test on Luneburg heath where we trained with 7th Armoured about two years before. They got well and truly tried out in the mud and dust of those training grounds. That weapon had Single shot, Rapid fire and Automatic modes you could empty the 28 round magazine in seconds.
          When we were finally issued with the SLR L1A1 then the A2 they had taken the Automatic mode off it. As a SNCO I carried a Stirling sub machine gun but always had a SLR in the rack of my Rover. It was a lovely weapon and very accurate.
          Pirbright was a button stick posting for us free and easy REME chaps, I stopped speaking to anyone below my rank as they snapped to attention and barked out yes Sir no Sir to everything. In the Mess they called us grease monkey’s mainly because we were paid a lot better than them, as an Artificer WO1 I was well above most of them. We also won the darts and billiards competitions, the whist I already mentioned and though they put up a lot of obstacles we passed out on the drill course as well.
          As punishment they posted us to the Blues and Royals at Fallingbostlel, when they tried to inflict discipline they found half their vehicles off the road, they got the message, do not mess with REME.


  2. Hi Frank
    Interested to know the type of motor cycle and year of manufacture, telescopic forks probably makes it mid fifties. My national service was served with the Green Howard’s from Oct, 1956 until Oct, 1958. Wouldn’t have missed it, however, delighted when demobbed.


    Tom T


    • Tom it was a Kawasaki and those are Teledraulic forks as the picture was taken in the 1970’s. My first army bike in 1947 was a grid iron BSA then a Norton, meanwhile searching among the captured enemy stuff from the desert war I found a German Shaft drive BMW. With the help of a wartime soldier we stripped it and from the heaps of bits made it go again and what a beautiful bike to drive. I drove round the base until the ASM a bike addict saw it and confiscated the bike, in return he gave me a brand new AJS dispatch bike with Telescopic forks, it was better to ride than the grid iron’s but when we all shot off on duty the old Nortons and BSA’s left me standing.
      I always had a bike for my own use and have photo’s showing the progress up the ranks.
      I was a WO1 ASM when I had that bike and also a long wheelbase Land Rover as personal transport, the bike went in the back of the Land Rover much to the annoyance on my wireless operator who was somewhat cramped. I went one better in 1974 in Cyprus, we were with the American Marines, the first time I ever met Americans who had no money. We fed and watered them gave them transport and in return they put a Helicopter at my disposal. I would drive anything on wheels but never tried to take over from the pilot in that, hanging on to my stomach as he beat up the area was more the way.


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