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Author Topic: Post WW2 “Peace Time Conscription” National Service Memories 1948 to 1963  (Read 26654 times)

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Offline Dave Smith

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Barry5X. You are so right, it would be sad to lose these memories for they can never be duplicated for future generations. I suppose Kyn is the best person to clarify the current situation. When I joined KHF a few years ago, there was quite a lot going on on the " Wartime Memories" thread- PeterC & self & a few others. I, like Grandarog, was a regular( ex Halton Brat) & met many National Svce. bods. Some were in the "right" trade- much the same as civi job- others nothing like! Those who approached it with the attitude " I'm in & can't do anything about it apart from make the most of it" enjoyed their time, whereas those who said " I shouldn't be here & I'm not going to enjoy", didn't! Personally,I think it was a good thing. People met others from all over the country- places only known 'cos they had a football team!- some with "funny accents" or unusual jobs but they all got on ok & were the better for it. Sport was very important in the services & for young lads, allowed a lot of "steam" to be expended on the pitch- rather than causing mayhem on civi street!

Offline conan

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Can't really help with date Bryn Clinch but it would be pre 1950

Here's another one outside a pub in Huntington Chester

To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

Offline Bryn Clinch

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Conan, your photo brought back a few memories. I too was in the `Signals` and did basic training in Baghdad Lines, Catterick Garrison, where I think it is possible that your photo was taken. Have you any idea of the photo`s date? 

Offline conan

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I can't help with with any memories, but here's a photo of my dad whilst on his two years national service in the Royal Corp of Signals.

To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

Offline Barry 5X

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In November 1960 the last National Servicemen entered service as call-ups formally ended on 31 December 1960. At the end the age range for call up was between 17-21 and the period of service required was 2 years. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Service_Act_1948

As It was decided that those born on or after 1 October 1939 would not be required to do National Service, today, the youngest surviving ex National Servicemen will likely to be aged around 78.  According to the BBC website Richard Vaughan was the last National Servicemen to be discharged – he is now 79 years old having joined at the age of 22.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-32929829

I am so pleased that this forum has provided a platform for my late brother-in-law’s account of National Service to be accessed.  As can be seen it has been 3 years since the last the post on this topic, however the topic has now been viewed over 20,000 times.  I had hoped that other tales of National Service may have been added from both men of Kent and Kentish men, but although not wishing to be the messenger of doom and gloom, one must realise that numbers who can recount their memoires of national service and have the ability and/or desire to upload their memories to the Internet are rapidly diminishing.

At the time of Derek Bean’s death in November 2013, although just 600 people had seen the topic, it was rewarding to see his undisguised pleasure then on realising his personal account of National Service, which had taken so long to write on a secondhand and outdated PC he had purchased from a charity shop and which he had learned to operate (with great difficulty), had been viewed by that many people.  I was so pleased that I took the time to scan his story from printed A4 pages (his only copy - he hadn’t saved it on a storage device and his computer had by then been thrown away) using character recognition software and to edit the text for its suitability and format to be uploaded to the Kent History Forum.

On a personal note, we have seen the Internet develop into a wealth of information and a source of memories, which can be simply retrieved from a variety of devices from mobile phones, tablets to PC’s.  However what I have noted is that wonderful web sites which were full of photographs and had detailed events such as being evacuated as children during WW2 with just a suitcase and a label around your neck, recalling doodlebug landing sites and bombing raids, witnessing H bombs exploding in the pacific, recollecting school memories etc. are gradually disappearing and can no longer be found on internet searches.  This is because people pass and their Internet accounts (and thus web sites) die as well. 

It is with concern that one hopes that web sites and excellent forums such as this are either being archived or protected for future reference or the important information is being replicated on applications such as Wikipedia.

Offline peterchall

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  • 25.06.1929 - 12.03.2016
Yes, I do remember. Arrival could be spun out into a nice little skive, with frequent NAAFI stops.

But to my recollection the Cycle Section was my last port of call when I was demobbed from Stoke Heath - it would have taken ages to get round otherwise. I also remember the Sergeant i/c making me clean an already clean bike before accepting it, with the time ticking away before my train home. I wasn't really safe until I'd collected my travel docs and was on the train, so I couldn't say what I really thought of him!

And so, as from 12th November 1952, the RAF had to manage without me.
Was I glad to be out?. Yes. As the son of a regular soldier until I was 6 perhaps I should have been more military minded, but I was newly married with no prospects of getting into married quarters.
Was I glad I'd been in? Definitely. Knowing what I knew at the end and given the choice of going in or not at the beginning, I would have said "I'll give it a go".

Thanks for the info
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

John38

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You may recall, Peter, that when you 'Arrived' or 'Cleared' a station, you had to go around the station with a 'blue card'. Here each section on the card had to be visited (Stores, Pay Section,  Library, Armoury etc) Here they either checked that your docs were in from the last camp, or that you had nothing that should be returned before you left the camp, and they signed the card accordingly.

From pre 1959 to post 1983 the 'Bicycle Store' had to be visited. But they no longer existed. Nobody would sign your form unless the people above had signed, and the bicycle store was near the top of the list. It was always some erk in the SWO's office that would sign it off and moan the whole time.

I'm sure you all know this but you can send free of charge for all your records whilst you were in the RAF. Only you, your Next-of-kin, or someone authorised by you, can send for them.

Enquiries about officers' records of service:
RAF Disclosures, Rm 221b Trenchard Hall, RAF Cranwell, SLEAFORD, Lincs, NG34 8HB

Enquiries about airmen's records of service:
RAF DPA, Rm 220 Trenchard Hall, RAF Cranwell, SLEAFORD, Lincs, NG34 8HB

For records of decorations and citations:
MOD Medal Office, Building 250, AFPAA, RAF Innsworth, Gloucester, GL3 1EZ

Offline peterchall

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  • 25.06.1929 - 12.03.2016
I bet you had lots of documents when you came out. Not fair! :)

Actually I did 'survive two 'two-five-twos'
The first was related to Stoke Heath being a wartime built dispersed station where we were all issued with bikes. A mate and myself were stopped by SPs and charged with failing to stop at the exit of one of the sites. My defence was that it was dark and the SPs were too far along the road to have seen us properly. Fortunately my CO was fair minded and we cycled together to the place - whether I convinced him I will never know, because I casually commented on the mate who was charged with me. When we got back he asked the Sergeant whether there was a 252 for him; on being told ‘no’ he made some remark about SPs efficiency and dismissed the charge – phew!

The second occurred when being taken in an RAF truck from Stoke Heath to Shrewsbury Tech College for evening classes. When about 4 of us came out at 9:30 pm the truck had gone and the other 3 bods said that I, as senior rank present, should do something about it. I phoned the Orderly Officer who told me to ask for accommodation at the Police Station. There we were told that the only way we would get beds for the night would be to break a shop window. Another call to the OO gave me the impression that we were unpopular, and eventually a truck turned up with 2 SPs who put us under arrest. Back at the guardroom we were charged with “Misappropriation of Service Transport”, but heard no more about it, we think because it was discovered that the driver had left with those people whose classes finished at 9 pm – again, phew!

But one of the poor sods with me got charged for wearing a civvy scarf with his uniform!
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

John38

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I never had or saw one for, as explained earlier, I went in Nat Serv but came out 25 years later

Offline peterchall

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  • 25.06.1929 - 12.03.2016
You're welcome :)

Then all we NS Bods got by way of thanks was this.

Note what a good boy I was. Conduct 'Exemplary' simply meant I didn't get caught.
Actually I did 'survive two 'two-five-twos'
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

John38

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Great mementos, Peter; thanks for sharing.   

Offline peterchall

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  • 25.06.1929 - 12.03.2016
My Flight got copped for guard duties and fatigues at Christmas 1950. Not getting home was a bind, partly compensated for by having Christmas dinner served by the Officers and NCOs (1st and 2nd attachments).

3rd attachment is  the 'two-nine-five' for my first leave, at the end of 'square-bashing'.
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

Offline Wardy

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A salute to Major M Warren of the First Battalion Royal Fusiliers, City of London Regiment, H Q Tower of London.
I was in the last intake of National Servicemen to carry out basic training and have our passing out parade at the Tower in 1960, we then went to Colchester to join the regiment. 15 of us were selected by, then, Captain Warren to make up the first ever Recce Platoon in the army, one of the best moves I made. We were made up of six Land Rovers and trailers with a vehicle commander, driver and wireless operator in each. Our role was to move forward and scour the area in front of the battalion. We were in constant radio contact with each other, Battalion HQ, Brigade HQ and fighter aircraft, very interesting in peace time but would be the first to go in the event of conflict. For this reason my thoughts are with the troops and their families in today's war zones.
It's the funeral today of Major Mike Warren following a long fight with cancer and dementia.
Four of our original platoon will be attending as seven of us our still in constant contact with each other. Sadly three of us will not be able to attend due to either location or family commitments but again our thoughts are with Mike's family.

R I P Major Mike

http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=16520.0

Offline Wardy

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I don't know why "Arthur" is keeping so quiet, he spent his National Service time in the RAF in Hawaii, must have been hell.

John38

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Really interesting posts Barry 5X and grandarog, many thanks, "Steady The Buffs!"

 

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