Our Life After X Troop
We were confined to barracks for weeks on end due to the fatigues, the guards, the infantry and the 48 hour Internal Security duties. And often time we spent many consecutive weekends on duty. The departure of X Troop also meant we were spread more thinly so a fair rotation through the various fatigues meant your number came up more frequently. For relief, but not regularly, we were trucked to Repulse Bay for afternoon swimming, a real delight. But with there being a restriction on the use of vehicles for recreational purposes, our swimming trips to to Repulse Bay or into Victoria were to be infrequent.This was because the troop transport was not available, being like us, held at 30 minute and 2 hour standby.
Amid all this there were two distractions that lightened our day. On one occasion a RN destroyer just off shore got engaged in a duel with Communist guns on Lamma Island which we watched from our vantage point on Stanley. On the other in the night a shell, or missile of some description went through one of the empty floors above our barrack room. What it was or where it came from we never knew.
Sports and Recreation
I cannot recall any organized recreation or sport. Our unit was not “sports mad,” nor was I that way inclined. In this we were unlike Stanley’s previous occupants who had covered a large area of the parade ground with sand for hockey games. On leaving they perhaps thought they were doing us a favor in providing this amenity to us. Instead our “sport” was in removing it and carting it away.
Stanley was equipped with tennis courts and on these we enjoyed many a game, organizing these among ourselves. Of an evening the AKC the Army Kinema Corporation 1 – the film unit – turned up fairly regularly to show their old films in the cookhouse. The quality and the content remained as bad and as ever, and as usual, the audience’s coarse comments were the best entertainment. We did have one live show put on by the crew of an RN ship HMS Kenya. It was excellent and the humor very broad. Apart from these there was no other recreation or entertainment provided at Stanley.
Lottery to Japan
Toward the end of our time with troop ships carrying their cargoes to Korea, leave at Kure in Japan became a limited option. Troops disembarked at Kure and then were sent on to Korea. A lottery was instituted, and if your name came out of the hat you could travel out and then had a few days ashore while the ship prepared for the return voyage. I was never a winner, but Tim Tate-Smith was and went to Kure. And I suppose others won too.