Witnessing the End of an Era

We were one of the last families out of Aden, the old man stayed on for 6 months doing his stuff issuing blankets to THEM and doing disposal of stuff in the Gulf of Aden. Dropping concrete topped oil drums filled with shiny stuff like Rolex watches overboard. He has some stonking photos of the place after all the families moved out and it all turned a bit more wild west outside the wire. And just look at Aden/Yemen now.

I was there when the British Military pulled out of Singapore, the hole was partially filled by ANZUK a smattering of Aussies, Kiwis and Brits. The old man was fortunate enough to get a posting from the supply depot to an ANZUK job so we stayed for a further two years after the handover. Barracks and garrisons were more or less handed over to the Singaporeans for token payments. The night before the handover of the Britannia Club opposite the Raffles Hotel the guard were told to take a walk. Bags of cement were dropped down the toilets, concrete benches pushed into the 50m swimming pool and quite a bit of other damage. It took them a couple of years to fix the damage and the place later became the Singapore Armed Forces Warrant Officers Club.

We visited Kenya too courtesy of HM Forces, a few years after the Mau Mau problems.

End of an Empire, bit by bit.
 
On a personal note.......

Watching my old man leave the Army back in 1990 was like witnessing the end of an era.

No more moving house every few years, no more Training Exercises/Detachments for him, no more living on Army Estates for us (l can honestly say that the Army Estates l/we used to live on were better places to live than the area we moved to).

I still miss all the areas we used to live in 30 years on.
Totally agree, like you I lived the constant change new quarters and whilst at boarding school the exotic post cards from far flung outposts. In the 1960s very few Civilians went further than Scotland for their holidays yet we were transiting in Belfast's, VC10s when they were new and called after the VCs all over the world
26 postings many UK barracks which are now defunct and in many cases like The National Defence College Latimer now very exotic executive residents. We were there when the IRA blew it up, well blew the lecture theatre in in 1973/4ish.
What happened to RAF Gan, amazing the number of frogs on that atoll!
 
The night before the handover of the Britannia Club opposite the Raffles Hotel the guard were told to take a walk. Bags of cement were dropped down the toilets, concrete benches pushed into the 50m swimming pool and quite a bit of other damage.
Sad hearing that British Forces did that to the Singaporeans who wanted us to stay...but given that similar behaviour happens today when battalions move out of barracks, I should not have been surprised. It's weird behaviour which I never saw happen in the RAF.
 
Spent a fortnight in Osborn Barracks, can see why you miss it. Lion Peak was the one place I didn't miss, it was a forced march route for us before we went to Brunei.
I used to clamber to the top of Lion Peak. Just as the sun was starting to go down. Boeing 747's flying over in the circuit to Kai Tak with the sunset in the background. A fantastic site, never to be forgotten. The same with having breakfast and dinner in the junior ranks mess at HMS Tamar looking down at the junks and ships in the harbour. The skoff was first class as well. I wondered how much a civy was paying for the same view in a top restaurant in a five star hotel like the Peninsula.

There was a real 'end of empire' feeling about HK then with 1997 a decade away. I remember having to go to a Gurkha barracks in the NT for a briefing before going on exercise with them in Malaysia. The camp was in the foothills. It was like going back in time to British India in the thirties. Especially as the military culture of the Gurkhas was still rooted in that time.

I have been back to HK a few times in the last few years. Seeing the PLA in Osborn barracks. You no that feeling you get when you go and have a look at a house you once lived in and feeling a bit indignant at the new occupants in there. It was exactly that feeling.
 

Bardeyai

Old-Salt
I made the mistake several times in the 1990s of going into Metropole and pitching up at a room and realising I was meant to be in the other one on Northumberland Ave.
The interestingly named Northumberland House, now an apartment hotel. And metropole Bld is the Corinthia hotel and looks far better than it ever did as a MOD building
 
I used to clamber to the top of Lion Peak. Just as the sun was starting to go down. Boeing 747's flying over in the circuit to Kai Tak with the sunset in the background. A fantastic site, never to be forgotten. The same with having breakfast and dinner in the junior ranks mess at HMS Tamar looking down at the junks and ships in the harbour. The skoff was first class as well. I wondered how much a civy was paying for the same view in a top restaurant in a five star hotel like the Peninsula.

There was a real 'end of empire' feeling about HK then with 1997 a decade away. I remember having to go to a Gurkha barracks in the NT for a briefing before going on exercise with them in Malaysia. The camp was in the foothills. It was like going back in time to British India in the thirties. Especially as the military culture of the Gurkhas was still rooted in that time.

I have been back to HK a few times in the last few years. Seeing the PLA in Osborn barracks. You no that feeling you get when you go and have a look at a house you once lived in and feeling a bit indignant at the new occupants in there. It was exactly that feeling.
A couple to take you down memory lane, fantastic evocative place I loved it and it was back in 1981.
We were the course after the one that trashed the Wanchi on returning from Brunei so got it tough on our return, they occupied us with trips to the border, on the China fleet and up to the New Territories to see the Gurkhas and to collect our Kukris!
The last photo was through the wire into the Border up at the border station, the Chinese kicked off and as OIC bus (white 48 seater) we had to do a hasty retreat.
 

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A couple to take you down memory lane, fantastic evocative place I loved it and it was back in 1981.
We were the course after the one that trashed the Wanchi on returning from Brunei so got it tough on our return, they occupied us with trips to the border, on the China fleet and up to the New Territories to see the Gurkhas and to collect our Kukris!
The last photo was through the wire into the Border up at the border station, the Chinese kicked off and as OIC bus (white 48 seater) we had to do a hasty retreat.
They pretty much rebuilt the barracks after 1981 and just about finished it in 1984. A few of the old nissen huts were left though and you can still see them today. I recognise the statue of CSM John Osborn.
 
I used to clamber to the top of Lion Peak. Just as the sun was starting to go down. Boeing 747's flying over in the circuit to Kai Tak with the sunset in the background. A fantastic site, never to be forgotten. The same with having breakfast and dinner in the junior ranks mess at HMS Tamar looking down at the junks and ships in the harbour. The skoff was first class as well. I wondered how much a civy was paying for the same view in a top restaurant in a five star hotel like the Peninsula.

There was a real 'end of empire' feeling about HK then with 1997 a decade away. I remember having to go to a Gurkha barracks in the NT for a briefing before going on exercise with them in Malaysia. The camp was in the foothills. It was like going back in time to British India in the thirties. Especially as the military culture of the Gurkhas was still rooted in that time.

I have been back to HK a few times in the last few years. Seeing the PLA in Osborn barracks. You no that feeling you get when you go and have a look at a house you once lived in and feeling a bit indignant at the new occupants in there. It was exactly that feeling.
I had to 'safehand' some documents out to Hong Kong in 1992 and got to spend a few days before taking the 'trooper' (BA) back to Hesthrow. I stayed in Kowloon and explored HK and the NT. Absolutely fascinating and one of my colleagues was posted there and had to be dragged kicking and screaming to Hong Kong and I tried to swap postings; alas to no avail.
 

Bardeyai

Old-Salt
Both were requisitioned during the Great War, I understand.
In 1917 by Churchill, when Minister of Munitions. Both contracts stated that they were to be returned to the same condition they were when handed over. We used to chortle and say that would cost a few fortunes.
Metropole was renowned as having had one of the best sprung dance floors in London. The ballroom was rediscovered during a refurb in the mid 90’s. It’s still there, in the Corinthia, but they’ve put a crappy carpet down on top of it.
 
After the Vulcans finished at Scampton and the future of the place was in doubt, AOC 1 Group (AVM Knight) visited and addressed the assembled people remaining and said "Whatever the future for Scampton, the airfield will remain. The RAF has learnt to its cost, the dangers of giving up runways". Looking at that list, no-one listened to him.

Wildenrath, Wyton(?) and Cottesmore can be added to the list of the closures.
its not even like they were kept in a care programme, ripped up for hardcore and turned into solar farms, even HAS,HPS and HES knocked down
 
its not even like they were kept in a care programme, ripped up for hardcore and turned into solar farms, even HAS,HPS and HES knocked down
Runway at RAF Greenham Common long since grubbed up, but the one at Manston is still there. Will probably still smell of Polish truck drivers' piss when they get planes landing again.
 
That went in about 2009. T1 finally closed in 2015.
Just to cheer you up, Custom House* has been flogged off and apparently will be turned into some poncey hotel.

As parts of it are Grade 1 and 2 listed, expect some mysterious fires breaking out...


* Not the one you lot set alight.
 
The past is a different country. Try looking at your old units on google earth and see what's left. Depressing.
 
Churchill School that I attended in Verden is now a German school, the camp and the pads quarters have been handed back.
Windsor school that I attended has been abandoned on JHQ when they handed it back.
Deepcut where I did my phase two is in the process of closing down.
My first unit 16 Regt RLC was disbanded in 1999 (or 2000).
My second unit 2CS/2LSR was disbanded in 2015
I did 3 stints in Germany 2CS once and 6 regt twice, the camp has now been abandoned after being handed back.

I swear Thanos is following me around clicking his fingers and erasing large parts of my past.

You know something........you're a fuc@#g Jinx.
 

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