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.