Just Reminiscences

I have spent a few months lurking and reading the posts in this forum and over those past months I have come to realize that the Esprit De Corps here could not be stronger.
Called up for national service in 1952 the only way I could guarantee joining the Royal Engineers was to sign on for a third year which I did. I haven’t made many good choices over the years but that was one of them.

My Sapper training was done at No 8 Training Regiment RE based at Elgin in Scotland lasting 16 weeks before being posted to Minden in Germany (BAOR 29)
I attained the rank of Corporal in my 3years but these were the only postings I ever had. I was an only son and my father badly wanted me to join him in his small building company and so because of this after those 3 years I left the army.
I had come from a very small Wiltshire village and had seen very little of life until I joined up. In those early days of the 1950’s the only real means of travel was bus or train and to go where? Bath, Bristol, Southampton or Reading were only around 40 miles away but might just as well have been 100’s of miles away. Listening to the wireless in those days you never heard a regional accent, just the posh voices of the BBC. So those first days in a wooden barrack hut hearing Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle accents was a major introduction to real life.

In those first few weeks of training we all formed friendships, which grew closer as time went on. It was a very difficult time when, at the end of training we all split up to go to our various postings. This was my first real feeling of comradeship and on reaching our new camps we had to start again. I don’t suppose things are much different now for the newer recruits.

My purpose in writing this is to say that, that same comradeship is reflected in these pages and whilst for many years I hadn’t really thought much about it, but on reading the humour, the help sometimes given, even some sadness I can only say that I am very proud to be a Sapper and proud to be part of this forum although not such an active member.

All you members of this forum do so much to keeping the RE spirit alive. I so wish that the Internet had been born all those years ago so that we of those days could have remained in touch. You Sappers and ex Sappers in no small measure are helping to recruit new Sappers. The MOD should be paying you as recruiters. It makes me a little sad that after leaving the Corps other than paying the RE association for a life membership I have had no further contact. Just recently however I have purchased an annual subscription to the Sapper magazine.

To those serving take care, to those ex Sappers like me, remember the saying “ We were there when they were needing them not feeding them,” doesn’t really ring true any more.
Good job you weren't a postie, or you'd be saying nice things about the RLC!

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