67 Training Regiment Royal Artillery, Oswestry, 24 June 1949
So I left home for the training regiment, Royal Artillery, Oswestry.
After a train journey from Paddington Station in London through the Midlands and parts of England I had not seen before I arrived at Oswestry, Shropshire, at about mid-day. Outside in the station yard there was a military presence and it was not long before I was in the back of a truck along with many others being taken to Park Hall Lines, a hutted camp on the outskirts of the town. There I have to say they were well organized and ready for each two weekly intake. Within what seemed minutes of arrival I had my number, 22152933, my AB 64, the army identity document and pay book, and not long after that I was in uniform. And I became a Gunner, the lowest rank in the Royal Regiment of Artillery, at four shillings, 4/- (20p or 30 cents) a day. I was in the Army for good or ill for the next 18 months. Or so I thought then.
Introduction to Military Life
I was also given a standard printed letter to report my safe arrival and brown paper and string to make a parcel of my civilian clothes to return them home. I did not see those again for a while. I was also allocated to a hut and put into a squad with whom I spent the next 14 days.
Each squad was in the care of a Bombardier and Sergeant. They became our masters over every action and minute of our time. They did the initial breaking in and as our mentors introduced us to the mysteries of our kit and army life.
I was with a very mixed bunch; from public schools, grammar schools and some hardly educated at all, from every background imaginable and from all over the country. None of us knew anybody else. Tumbled together into a wooden hut holding about 40 and here we began our army life. I have to say a sense of comradeship developed. Then, and as I was to find through the whole of my service, I never saw or experienced any bullying nor petty crime involving one’s personal belongings or money.