Everyday life at Larkhill had a pattern to it. What else would you expect in the Army. Wednesday afternoon was reserved for sports, and if it was not a visit to an open air pool outside Salisbury we chose to go cross country running. This always was along a track past numerous tumuli to Stonehenge which then was a few large stones in a field next to a coffee stall which provided tea and cake. We took advantage of going to Stonehenge on the summer solstice to mingle with the Druids at sunrise.
Thursday was Bull night with the huts having the floors bumped, windows cleaned stoves blackened, coal dusted and the curbs whitened (a bucket of chalk steeped in water resided under the hut at all times). Having prepared everything for the Friday morning inspection, it was off to NAFFI for beans on toast and a Pepsi.
Guard duties were quite frequent and required patrolling the ammunition dump about 200 yards away. One of the guards duties was to light the fires for the cookhouse and the ablutions for hot water. As the ammo dump contained bags of cordite it was easy to remove a couple to use as very effective fire lighters, except if it was packed in too tight, it blew the cowl off the top of the chimney. It did guarantee hot water in the ablutions a cold, wet place with everyone trying to wash and shave with the staccato sound of a Rolls razor being stropped in the background.
Fire piquet duties consisted of getting a two wheeled cart from a shed pushing it downhill towards the huts, chocking the wheels, running out a canvas hose connecting it to a hydrant and to the cries of ”water on” preceded to spray anyone in sight. On one occasion although six started pushing only one was left and he was virtually horizontal before he let go. The cart ended up in the side of a hut with a broken wheel with hose pipe and equipment strewn around like a discarded Roman Chariot. Barrack room damages increased that week.
Friday, either meant the start of a 48 hour leave – a bus into Salisbury dashing along a back road to the station for a train to Waterloo – or a walk to the crossroads on The Packway with a crowd around a telephone box where by prearrangement reverse charge telephone calls were accepted and the receiver passed to the lucky individual. It must have owed the GPO a fortune. The alternative was a 36 hour pass from Saturday noon until 23:59 hours Sunday night.