64 Training Regiment, RA, Oswestry
Two weeks later I was transferred to 64th Training Regiment RA, which was also located at Oswestry and where I spent the next four months. Basic training continued, but in addition I was classed as a trainee TA (“tech ack” in army parlance) on 25 pounders. This for me was being driven around the country in a quad tractor which towed the ammunition limber and gun, and practising the gun drill of deploying in and out of action.
Sometime during this period we were interviewed as to whether we would undertake further specialization. I was among the few who requested and was accepted for the RA survey course.
Early in my time with 64th Regiment, I with others who had not entirely wasted their school years to mark us out as potential subalterns wore a white band on our shoulder epaulets. (It also meant that so adorned we became more obvious and could be closely scrutinized for suitability to the military life, attitudes and ways along with potential soldierly attributes. No low profile here.) Then we went by train to Barton Stacey in Hampshire, where the WOSB (War Office Selection Board) was located. Here we were involved in both individual and teamwork tasks. This provided a nice break from our basic training at Oswestry and it was interesting exchanging experiences with members of other Regiments and Corps.
To conclude the selection process, we were individually interviewed by a panel of officers. Their questions and my responses went very well until the chairman, a Colonel White, asked me to explain what advantages I would have enjoyed had I attended a public school. When I replied “none at all” the poor fellow almost had a seizure! Obviously I failed my WOSB, as did my friends who were also looking forward to gaining meaningful army survey qualifications. The journey back to camp was celebrated by stopping in London, staying overnight at the Union Jack Club. (Almost “civvies” for a few hours!) The following morning we returned to Oswestry by train.