In those remaining days we handed in our tropical gear and that checked off our records, and the remaining kit brought back inspected, checked against the record of its issue to see its condition. If anything were missing. it had to be accounted for, and if from loss or negligence by deduction from one’s pay. Any deficiencies were made up so that when I reported to my TA unit, the 880th Forward Observation Battery (Airborne) RA, and taken on their strength I was all ‘present and correct’.
No doubt too there were further official documents concerning our release to be signed and like matters. So long as they were done we had no interest in them. And at some point we would have been paid, and travel warrants issued for our journeys home. All this was done in military fashion with a Depot NCO shepherding us between these various offices and QM stores. I think we were kept occupied with these activities. They did not hinder or prolong the time for final release, they were part and parcel of what was necessary to ensure it, nor can I recall itching to get away for each was toward the longed for end that was definitely in sight.
Free Time at Woolwich
I do not recall we were required for guard duty or for fatigues. How we spent our days otherwise I have no idea except for our time remaining we lay quiet and kept out of the way of the RSM. There seemed to be a tacit acknowledgement and an understanding we had done our bit. The army is good at that kind of thing. It is an integral part of the comradeship.
After duty, the evenings were our own, London was not far away and with my father working there I’m sure he and I met on at least one occasion. On other occasions I have dim memories of visiting the site of the Festival of Britain being held on South Bank and a visit to the theater, but of nothing else.
Goodbye to All
It then came for us to finally leave Woolwich say good bye and go our separate ways. How we did I have no re-collection whatsoever. That may sound a little sad but we had been long enough in each others company, and now it was time to leave it behind and step into our civilian life, but-and a big but-there still remained our TA commitments so were not entirely free of the army.
Ian Styles and I had a little different experience as we traveled together to report to the 880th. My Discharge Book shows the BQMS confirmed my arrival with a final signature, and afterward Ian and I went, as we had with the others, our separate ways.