War Hero
To all you old buggers, like me, out there, what are your memories of the Toc H?

I remember it as being an addition to the NAAFI. They used to go round in old vans dishing out tea and butties on ranges and on the outskirts of camp. Usuall run by nice old ladies with blue rinses, and the clubs had a youth club atmosphere. They also did a good line in bible bashing, and good luck to them. I also remember that everybody liked to go to the Toc H instead of the NAAFI, because they were cheaper, friendlier, and generally a better atmosphere, instead of the usual NAAFI with a pads fat and miserable cow of a wife behind the counter, lol.

I've been asked what the TOC H is, so it might be worth telling some of the ynger members here what they are and did, a long, long time before the NAAFI.

I think it died a death when the NAAFI decided 'it' was the squaddies best friend, and also when the NAAFI went profit making and started building fancy shops and bars, with professional managers and the likes.

You've all heard the saying, "About as bright as a TOC H lamp." But do you know what a TOC H Lamp is? The symbol of the TOC H is the Lamp of Maintenance, a kind of Ali Babba affair that isn't very bright, and TOC H actually stands for Talbot House, and is an acronym created by the signallers of ww1. The organisation, a charity, was created by ex-squaddies after ww1.

Any other memories? Mine are pretty vague now as they were virtually gone when I was in but for a few small places and the wagon that used to come to the ranges.
Remember doing a site guard in Munster in the mid eighties and the local Toc H van was the only one prepared to come out to us. The NAAFI van couldn't be arrsed as there wasn't that many of us (off stag in the local school), no profit you see.
Toc H in Spandu, Berlin. Excellent massive old house which was the place to go on a Sunday morning for bacon butties and newspapers !!

I was in London, summer of '95.  My mate wanted to go on a tour of I think was either the Tower of London, or some Royal Palace.  I couldn't be arrsed, so I waited outside for him.  Across the street was a church, so I thought I'd pay it a visit as it looked old, etc, blah (I was bored).  Inside I noticed one of the stained glassed windows had the words Toc H inscribed, and the old Toc H symbol.  I was surprised to see this, as the last time I'd seen it was in the Toc H, Berlin, six years beforehand!  I asked one of the church workers why this was inscribed on the window, and he told me this was the Toc H church !  I told him about the Berlin one and I was given an excellent tour of the whole church and its history !!  

These organisations were a welcomed change to the usual NAAFI crap.  Can anyone remember the one in Palace Barracks?  At the back end of the camp, across the road from the Pads quarters.  Was that a Toc H?  Did an excellent Ulster fry with lashings of tea for under 2 squid.


Pink Floyd had an instrumental song called "Pow R. Toc H".

And searching for info on it lead me to....

Toc H - An interdenominational Christian fellowship of men and women of every social background, with branches throughout the world, which seeks to promote an understanding of the meaning and purpose of life through unreserved involvement in the community. Founded in 1915, it started its work in a soldiers' club at Talbot House (Toc H was the army signallers' designation of the initials TH) at Poperingtie, Flanders. Incorporated by royal charter in 1922, it is organized in groups and maintains residential houses called 'marks'.
Toc H are involved with ex-servicemen and war pensioners, and fund days out or transport for hospital appointments etc. when other agencies such as social services won't.


Memories of TOC H

We were on the ranges at Soltau doing AOP when the van pulled up with much needed tea, pies and more pies. In the queue one of the troops (Bob G****k for the AAC types) was telling a joke with a very colourful punchline. When he'd fininshed, the nice lady in the van rattled the swear box and said "that'll be 50 pfennigs for swearing", Bob said "here's a Mark - fcuk off!"



Excellent location in BMH Berlin, to skive away from the CSM, he couldn't find his arsse with both hands! Superb tuna rolls and hot chocolate.
Superb tuna rolls and hot chocolate.

QMan, what a blast from the past !  BMH Berlin, Jan 1987.  My first duty was as duty driver from Gatow to BMH for a week.  It was harsh winter in Berlin at the time, but can remember arriving at BMH after battling through the snow just in time for the tuna & onion rolls and hot chocky drink!


QMan, what a blast from the past !  BMH Berlin, Jan 1987.  My first duty was as duty driver from Gatow to BMH for a week.  It was harsh winter in Berlin at the time, but can remember arriving at BMH after battling through the snow just in time for the tuna & onion rolls and hot chocky drink!

I would have been the spotty 'erbert on the desk, about as much help as a cat-flap in a elephant house!
I've just about dried out!
We lived at 4/4 Kisseln Allee when I was with 38 (Berlin) Fd Sqn. 1975-1977 Toc H was only just up the road. I was posted back 1978-1980 we then lived at Swift Weg. I was wondering if anyone knows of a Toc H in Sutton On Sea in Lincolnshire. It is a small brick building, shuttered front with a Toc H sign above. Every time I go by there it seems to be closed so I cannot ask anyone. But I agree with the others, it was certainly more friendlier than the NAAFI and better staffed.


Verden, 1970 to 1976, the TOC H was just over the level crossing on the right on the way into town. As someone else has stated it was the best place on a Sunday morning for a brew, bacon sarnie and the papers.


A distant relative mine, now deceased, was involved with them, they used to have seats at the Albert Hall, or it may have been a box.
If you are visiting Ypres, take a swing over to Poperinghe. Visit Talbot House, the condemned cell in the town hall and "Ginger's". The town itself gave us the expression "going out on the Pop".
I knew an old chap years ago well 1988, Lieut/T/Capt. Manchester Reg, who was a founder member of TocH, he lived to 100, and was still working as an archivist for the institution I worked for,at that age, a grand old man I was proud to know.


War Hero
TOC H Rhine Centre, Dusseldorf another excellent place to get a breakfast and a paper on a Sunday morning.
Wasn't the TOC H something to do with the "Sally Army" or have I got my wires crossed.


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