The First shock to the system when joining up.

After arriving at Richmond Stn. in 1969, I approached an immaculate Lcpl to ask "how do we get to Helles Bks." his reply was cordial, even jovial - "There is an Army Coach in the car park, take a seat and we'll soon be on our way, son"

Sitting on the Coach with numerous others, I thought "well this isn't too bad, I will hack this, no probs"

Said Coach pulls up outside a Sandhurst Block and immac. Lcpl turns into a fcuking Whirling Dervish, I was told in no uncertain terms that " You are not effing Zapata, get that effing tache off, NOW"

The first of many thoughts ran through my mind, these thoughts would continue for the next 22yrs, the thought was "Oh, fcuk"
My first morning at Bassingbourne Barracks in late October 1976 - I nearly p*ssed myself when the duty Nco switched on the lights at what seemed like the middle of the night and started shouting...

I think everyone else was just as scared as well.

...and breakfast was sh*te as well.

My first morning at Bassingbourne Barracks in late October 1976 - I nearly p*ssed myself when the duty Nco switched on the lights at what seemed like the middle of the night and started shouting...

I think everyone else was just as scared as well.

...and breakfast was sh*te as well.

The sound of a flourescent light capacitor buzzing and the 'tink tink' noise of the light kicking in can still send shivers down my spine after 25 years!!
Day 1 in depot, I made the near fatal mistake of calling my sect comd mate.

Needless to say I didn't do that again....:oops:
I didn't mentally accept that I was in the army until I heard the phrase "Only one sausage each! Help yourself to beans" from someone who couldn't tell the difference between "cooked" and "burned to a fucking cinder."

Every time I smell baked beans I get a Cookhouse flashback.
Trying to double back to the block with all the kit we had been issued including the mattress. I hate moving mattresses to this day. Then being shown how to press the kit, getting changed and our civvies (less a suit, shirt etc) being placed in our bags and them being locked in the store room with the immortal words "You wont be needing these for a while".


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I recall arriving at Richmond station too, ( in my mind it was a very small place, almost like a halt with just a shed) in very early 1962, almost 1961 to be honest. It was cold and miserable and the only people there were two girls in uniform. Turned out to be WRAC waiting to collect an hofficer who hadn't arrived, so when I asked how to get to 11 sigs, as it was, they gave me a lift. Dropped off at guardroom and recieveing a semi-standing to attention from one of the staff, I saw a corporal as far into someones face as it was possible to get without being behind them, screaming unintelligible crudities. I did then wonder whether I had made a good choice.
Stood outside the troop office in Gib Barracks, loosely in three ranks having just debussed.

The duty Cpl hangs his head out the window and shouts, 'You on the end, why the fuck are you wearing a shirt in the colours of the Argentinian Flag!'

My heart sank as I looked down at my light blue and grey striped shirt only a few years after the Falklands War.

It went downhill from there really...................................
First shock? The mustachioed DL in stone shirt, shiny capbadge and wielding a pace stick at Commando Halt, he wasnt half as nice as the kind chap who picked us up for the PRC.

Second? 2 minutes later watching the staggering, snot blowing blokes in full CEFO being fragged on bottom field by the big black PTI who got pinged by the Sun stripping on the weekends.
Nice one Arters. This thread has only just started and I can see it already has the potential to rival "Memories of Kenya" as one of the best threads of all time.
stating my number as XXXXXOOX and being told at full blast that they wern't "o"s, they were fucking zero's

that and finding out that most northern monkeys couldn't read....
07:00 hrs Sunday morning wet through and freezing being told ' It will never get worse than this, cold wet tired disorientated and a little bit scared.

12:00 the Saturday before being told 'Go to your rooms, relax and don't worry training start on Monday".

05:30 Sunday 'Let's go break your boots in'
Watching my best boots go "Wheeeeeee" down the leg of the spider on kit inspection.
I arrived at Farnborough station and enquired of a bloke in army uniform if there was transport to Southwood camp. Certainly, he said, outside in the car park is a bus and a couple of trucks jump on whichever you like. The bus was full so I jumped on a truck. We drove to the camp through a pleasant village of cottages with verandas like those that used to be inhabited by retired Colonels from India. A cricket pitch pleasant and green, a pub called the Potter Arms. The camp gates closed behind us. The pleasant chap in uniform turned into a devastatingly unpleasant, screamingly incoherent Glaswegian Jock: GERROTHEMFUCKINGTRUCKSYOUSEIDLECUNTS. He made us line up and carrying our suitcases and bags, we set off for a guided tour of the camp. At the double. Southwood was huge and after 20 minutes the route (heres they fuckin cuickhouse, hers they fucking med centre, etc) was littered with dropped bags. 40 minutes later we arrived back at the guardroom and had to set off and do it all again to pick up all the dropped baggage.

Lcpl Mitchie you were an ocean going cunt. But you turned me from a knife carrying back streets Sheffield yob into a soldier. Thanks mate, I hope to buy you a beer one day.
First evening at Dettingen bks, being told only 1 person allowed to the NAAFI from each 12 man room, making a list with everyones choccies, cigs etc then standing in the queue for about 2 hours waiting to get served behind everyone else with long lists. Also being told to store our duvets as we couldnt have them until the 3rd term, and being shown how to make bed blocks - then watching it fly out the window in the morning as the blankets were not a uniform size and it wasnt tight enough.
De-training at a tiny halt on the North Wales coast, with a load of other 15/16 year olds, in the Autumn of '59. It was dark, there was gale blowing in from the sea driving freezing rain horizontally across the platform. We were formed into an untidy column of threes on the road outside the station and marched across the road into the dark, cold, bleak camp.
My thoughts then were, 'Why the fuck did I turn down the RAF apprenticeship at Halton in the nice, warm south?'!

(I'd turned it down because I wanted to do 'Electrical/Instrument Fitting' or 'Weapons' and they'd offered 'Airframes' or 'Engines')
Sitting in the gym in Stanley Bks, Bovington waiting to be processed through several tables full of forms to sign etc. looking out the window when a absolutely chinned troop caked in mud and crap returns from a log run in the pissing rain and half of them collapse with exhaustion.

"Yep!" I thought "This is going to be shit!"


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Realising that as a tiny 16 year old my SLR was bigger than me.
SLR? You had SLRs? We had to make do with a rusty Brown Bess and a frayed longbow! Bloody kids today. Don't know they are born!

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