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Discussion in 'Sappers' started by teddytats, Nov 13, 2007.

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  1. teddytats
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    teddytats Swinger

    I just thought that I'd jog a few memories for those of you that served in Old Park Barracks as a mighty Junior Leader. Let me explain how I came about to write this ditty......The other day I happened to be visited by a DII so called expert, who came to view the handy work of the installation team. My ofice is a shrine to the Corps (even though these days I'm a member of the Royal Signals, had to be commissioned outside of the REs due to my unsuitability...tut tut.) So the said DII expert looked around my office (or annex to the RE Museum) and pondered on the various Regimental shields, presentation pieces and Sqn photographs that I had gathered over the years. The guy then explained that he was once a member of the REs and had recently left the Corps after 24 years, man and boy. We then ran through the various Regiments that we had both served in and found that we where at Dover at the same time. It came to light that he was infact in 54 Sqn but a term above mine and therefore the more senior intake. This was in 1981, he joined in June and went to Rhine Troop and I joined in Oct and went to Salerno Troop.

    We talked for a few hours about the harsh regime of the day and the various members of the Permanent Staff. We both remembered the RSM who was a man mountain of a bloke who used to scare the shit out of us kids and when ever we heard his massive foot steps in his hob nailed platformed shoes we used to turn and run, as he would always corner you and find some reason why you should spend the next 2 hours being beasted in the Guard Room. He was a geordie and ex Corps rugby player who was banned for life after biting off the ear of an oppossing team player and his name sounded like owl ( you know who I mean!).

    The bullying was horrendious and the Troop Staff new it went on, but turned a blind eye, as it weeded out the weak. It was like Tom Brown School Days, the term above storming into the rooms at night beating the shit out of us with the towl rails that where fitted to the back of the small bedside lockers. They dressed in flasher macs, S6 respirators and tin hats so that you couldn't recognise them. There where many torture routines that were practised....one of them to have a broom handle pressed against your bear nipple and turned, whilst the torturer screamed..'Whats brown and turns anti-clock wise?... Your nipple!' As we tried to stand up-right as the pain of the skin was twisted 180 degrees. I remember attending a medical examination and standing outside the MO's office along with the other members of my Troop. Standing to attention with our skiddies and nothing else. The Doc looked at us all and wondered how we all had purple bruises over our chests. It was from the broom twists, but we never grassed.

    The room inspections were notorious and many times you would see whole rooms set up on the parade square, including lockers, bed packs and kit layout, ready for inspection, due to the fact that their standard of cleanliness was not acceptable for inspection in their rooms and therefore had to be inspected in the open air!!!!!!

    That said, I will always remember my 12 months at Dover as one of the best of my entire career. I remember running up the hill and through the back gate to get in my room before lights out. Getting pissed on 3 pints of beer in some shit pub in Weymouth whilst on bridging camp. Spending a freezing 2 weeks on external leadership in Halton Camp, Preston and having to complete a swimming test in the canal that ran through the camp and breaking the thin ice prior to jumping in.

    Having a fantastic 3 weeks in Tunisia, completing an engineering project and desert trek, whilst having 2 tins of tuna and a pack of chocolate biscuits to last for a week.

    I think I cried when I marched on to the buses which took us to Gibraltar Barracks, onto the second phase of our Combat Engineering. There where many times that I wanted to throw in the towel during that first year, but it was the comradeship of my fellow Juniors that kept me going. Most of them I never saw again after being posted to my first unit in Germany (26). So if you were a Junior, I hope that this has installed some pride, in what was truely an establishment of excellence and remember as I, it was a great moment in the Corps. :cry:
     
  2. creepy
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    creepy Old-Salt

    Well said.
    visit

    www.juniorleadersre.co.uk

    the website of ex boy service lads, mostly ex Old Park, some Beachley and Malta barracks.

    Bullying? Possibly, character building? definitely. I was there in 1986, and it was pretty tough going sometimes, especially for southern shandy drinkers like me from comfy backgrounds. A great deal of ex and serving Warrant Officers and Corps characters are ex Boys, which was the whole ethos of the junior service I think - shame the playstation generation couldn't handle it nowadays ( not to say that the young men and women of the Corps currently don't do a fantastic job in harder times than we knew)
    Hurrah for Old Park and the CRE.
     
  3. thedobo
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    thedobo Old-Salt

    Sorry, but I could not dis-agree with you more. The bullying regime that existed when I was ther [a little, not much, before you] imho bordered on the criminal. It for sure would not be permitted today.
     
  4. Leccy
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    Leccy Old-Salt

    I was there from 83 to 84 did not consider what we did or was done with us as bullying.
    Definately character building and weeding out some who were tempermentally
    unsuitable and a lot of fun
    (not many left my troop. Two failed to arrive, one medical discharge, one charged and discharged from army (the reason for the medical discharge))
    Can honestly say I enjoyed my time at Dover and like most others left with some trepidation for Gib (or Cove as we still called it even though it had moved)
     
  5. A_Knocker_Till_The_End
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    A_Knocker_Till_The_End LE Moderator

    86-87 loved it.
     
  6. megadeth
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    megadeth Old-Salt

    83/84 best character building of my life
     
  7. 105AVRE
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    105AVRE War Hero

    Mega and Leccy...what intake? i was there 83-84... 82 sqn...strawberry mivvie as of last year...but only met a handfull of ex junior bleeders from same intake during my last few years..would be interesting to find out how many finished the full whack. :wink:
     
  8. megadeth
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    megadeth Old-Salt

    82 sqn , Dawson Tp. oct 83 till the beatings and running around in army daps finally ended , left regs in 92 . many happy memory's of Dover ; bed blocks , quick change parades , beasting in the guard room ,, ooh what fun ! Criminal NEVER , just character building :)
     
  9. Leccy
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    Leccy Old-Salt

    1 Tp, 66 Sqn, June 83 then 1 Tp, 55 at Gib in 84
    Civie as of April :)
     
  10. Clerk_of_Jerks
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    Clerk_of_Jerks Old-Salt

    1989-90, Knox Tp, 82 Sqn, Dover. Hated it.

    1997-99, Returned back 82 Sqn, but this time in Arborfield as a Cpl and loved it.

    C_of_J
     
  11. 105AVRE
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    105AVRE War Hero

    Knox Tp June 83-84 and 3Tp 55 June 84...which means you got fecked around just like me on that first day we arrived at Gib after pass off from Old Park hahaha :twisted:
     
  12. Leccy
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    Leccy Old-Salt

    Ah the joys on the bus at Dover off the bus at Gib kit chucked off of the billy bedford the screaming instructors grab your kit red pt vest, lightweights, boots and do a BFT to sort out Troops and Squadrons what fun
     
  13. Knox Tp
    82 Sqn
    Oct 88 - Oct 89

    Almost loved every moment
     
  14. CharlieBubbles
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    CharlieBubbles LE

    As one who went in on the 13th September 1966 (C Sqn), I still recall the momment we stepped off the train in Dover! All HELL broke loose, much to the amuzement of the civvies on the platform.
    Although we did have omething to say when one of A Sqn was stabbed by the NAAFI, the whole regiment marched into Dover, did extended line and the Police Shore Partol and RMP did little or nothing about it.
    I agree it was not bullying, for those who did not become team players, WE tried to reemind them, they had a duty to that team (Regimental Baths) for the grotty ones, Quich Change parades if one of you FCUKed up.
    Mess tin order!!
    I recall in section 8 we had BIG S/Sgt Stubbs, ex Armd Engr, he was an animal, but he was fair!
    For those who left, it was for many reasons, some were just not cut out to be in the military, for others, they did not have THAT sense of humour!!
    Of course there were times when I had real doubts, but your mates got you through and like many others, went onto complete a 22 + year career.
    I hear that in 2009, they are having a shindig in Dover Castle for all those who went through Old Park Barracks, that could be something very special!
     
  15. creepy
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    creepy Old-Salt

    there is indeed a tenth anniversary ( of the branch formation) in 2009, but we have a REunion every year, and usually at Dove. The tenth one will be a biggie, but probably not at the Castle as we first thought, due to massive costs involved - but it will still be in Dover, our spiritual home.

    www.juniorleadersre.co.uk

    for all the details and joining instructions.
    Once a Sapper, always a Sapper
     

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