Have you ever as a serviceman been stopped by Customs on return to UK

KnockKnock

Swinger
Years ago, when I was on National Service and sent to the Malayan Emergency, I went there wearing an Oris wristwatch, his watch soon stopped due to humidity.
On a short leave to duty free Singapore I purchased a Tudor oyster self-winding, and following advice on how to avoid customs duty, had it engraved on the back with my name.
The Suez crisis was on and we were sent home over land avoiding Suez to UK by plane rather than by troopship. Customs at Blackbushe searched my stuff and spotted the watch, and told me I had to pay duty and as I had no money, they took the watch saying I could return later when I did have money to pay the duty.
I agued with the Customs Officer that had I not been on low National Service pay, I could have bought the same watch in a UK shop in less weeks pay that I would have then been earning, rather than what the watch had cost in the number of weeks army pay in Singapore. All to no avail and I had to go home and luckily my pal drove me all the way back to Blackbushe to retrieve my watch. I have always resented this, as the watch simply replaced the one I was wearing that went rusty inside due to Malayan humidity.<
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
but of a grudge there, have you had CBT for it?
 
To clarify, you admitted to buying a watch in Singapore and were charged duty on return and have a problem with Customs for doing their job?
 
My answer is yes. Before I got married I drove back from Germany three times in about eight weeks. Third time I was called in at Dover. The car was BFG registered and the jerrycans were empty (I had acquired surplus and was giving them to my granddad for his lawnmower;)).
They questioned me and gave the exact times and dates when I had last been through the port. Wished me all the best and I was off.
That was about 30 years ago, and I was impressed at the data they had on me then.
I wonder if that efficiency has improved?
 
Years ago, when I was on National Service and sent to the Malayan Emergency, I went there wearing an Oris wristwatch, his watch soon stopped due to humidity.
On a short leave to duty free Singapore I purchased a Tudor oyster self-winding, and following advice on how to avoid customs duty, had it engraved on the back with my name.
The Suez crisis was on and we were sent home over land avoiding Suez to UK by plane rather than by troopship. Customs at Blackbushe searched my stuff and spotted the watch, and told me I had to pay duty and as I had no money, they took the watch saying I could return later when I did have money to pay the duty.
I agued with the Customs Officer that had I not been on low National Service pay, I could have bought the same watch in a UK shop in less weeks pay that I would have then been earning, rather than what the watch had cost in the number of weeks army pay in Singapore. All to no avail and I had to go home and luckily my pal drove me all the way back to Blackbushe to retrieve my watch. I have always resented this, as the watch simply replaced the one I was wearing that went rusty inside due to Malayan humidity.<
But you couldn't have bought the same watch in the UK as you were abroad at the time, and if you were in the UK then your Oris wouldn't have broken
 

endure

GCM
I arrived at Gatwick at 8pm on New Year's Eve.

The Customs guy asked if I'd got anything to declare and I told him I'd got a 1000 fags and 4 bottles of whiskey.

'Just paid off a ship have you?'

'Yes'

'Bugger off home then. Happy New Year'
 

sirbhp

LE
Book Reviewer
I have been stopped twice at Harwich back in 70s. first time he said you a squaddie ? an I said yus .
Lets see yore ID he says, so rather truculently i handed it to him. orf you goe he says , winking I was a bottle of scotch over and a sleeve of Embassy over .

The second time the lady opened my suitcase found my photo album and spent 10 munutes looking at the pictures. I wasn't anything over that time .
 
Once when returning to Plymouth.I'd bought binos and a Seiko watch in Gib--------- didn't declare the watch and didn't get charged for the binos.
Also offloading vehicles from Norway,late at night( I didn't go) customs flagged me down( I was driving a mini) all we wanted to do was park up the vehicles and go home---- so I drove straight past.
 
I got stopped in the Falklands travelling home.....

Admittedly the big white Mortar bomb going through the scanner did raise a few eyebrows, but I had the paperwork as it was a dummy one made into a leaving prezzie.
 
Back in 1968 I was attached to 6 Brigade HQ as a lowly Craftsman.
We went to Germany on exercise from Barnard Castle for a few moths each year and I got lumbered with driving a Austin 1 ton truck for the journey back to UK. The only problem was it had all of the bid kit in the back.
I knew it was going to be a good journey when the truck broke down and the armed escort vehicle cleared off up the road leaving me on the side of the autobahn. I was on the end of a straight bar behind a Bedford for the rest oft he trip to the port.
At the port the vehicle electrician repaired it by the simple expedient of punching the dash board. End of my problems I thought. Yeah.
When we disembarked customs stopped me. I don't know, maybe it was because we had small metal guns with ammo. Anyway the nice customs man says open up the back. Sorry says I, we don't have the keys. He obviously didn't believe and wanted an Officer with keys. I got him one but he said he couldn't open the back unless the customs officer had security clearance.
I was fairly sure the back wasn't going to be opened up anytime soon but within fifteen minutes the Orficer turns up produces the keys and opens the back up for a hew customs guy to search around the back! Five minutes later and I'm waved through. Still no sign of my escort as I'm plodding up the A1 though.
 

shaka

Old-Salt
Two that I remember for different reasons. First one 1977 me SWMBO and two pad brats driving back from Berlin knackered and honestly thinking I had nothing to declare stopped at Harwich. A very grumpy job's worth made me unload every item out of the car and charged me a few quid for half a bottle of whiskey coffee and tea bags (part of my get you in pack) as they were over the limit ? I was too tired to argue with the arsehole. Second experience 1979 returning from some Ex in Germany to Aldershot,I was a CQMS and my OC asked me to bring back about 20 boxes of wine for him, he was a good bloke so I didn't mind and he gave me a blank cheque to pay the excess. Pulled over again in Harwich customs guy asked me if I had anything to declare, yes I reply and showed him the wine in the back of my 4 tonner. No problem he said f*** off and have a nice day, my OC was chuffed to bits and gave me a couple of boxes for my trouble.
 
I have been stopped by customs every time but one. Fortunately the time I was not stopped, was at RAF Lyneham. Good job, as I was carrying stuff I shouldn't have been.
 
Many a time and oft.
One memorable occasion was early 1980, Trackpen Jr was born late 79 and for his christening his godfather and wife, accompanied by Mrs T and T Jr went Hook - Felixstowe. On arrival in the early am, they were stopped by a genial HMC chappie who asked if they had anything to declare.
Godfather replied yes, there were two cases of champagne in the boot for the young man’s christening a couple of weeks’ hence. Master T, apparently, gave his best smile and gurgle, and they were waved through with a cheery ‘have a good party’. I learned this in a phone call with the Frau.
Due to ‘service commitments’ I had not been able to travel on the same date but, a week later, I too travelled Hook - Felixstowe, arriving early am.
I, too, was stopped.
‘Anything to declare?’
‘Yes. It’s my son’s christening in a couple of days’ time, and I have two cases of champagne’, I said, hoping I would receive the same gracious treatment as my wife and the godparents had been afforded previously.
‘Ah,’ said the chappy, obviously out of sorts at being on early turn. ‘I let your Missus off last week when she came through with the babe and your friends, so I’m not letting you off!’
I knew he was right, he knew he was right, but we both knew he was being a twwwwaaaaattt!
 
Occasionally they turned up at Brize when we returned from tour, it was a joy to watch as they stopped the first amateurs who picked up their bags and legged it around the corner to the exit where customs were waiting. It was a joy because as the dozy sods were busy getting their 800-1000 cigarettes confiscated and thus tying up the Customs time, I was waltzing past with far, far more.

There was also a telephone, with a sign on it that said something along the lines of, if this desk is not manned (the customs desk) and you have taxable goods then use this phone to call customs. I can safely say, that phone did less work than a Scouser.
 
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