Your first day in the army

I thought the barber was Bert but memory fades with time , I never bought anything off him as his haircuts were shit anyway. The guy who supplied the Red /Blue /Green tracksuits from his sports shop must have retired a millionaire .
The JLRE was of it's time superb in what it did ,but in this new tech savvy generation it just would not work can you imagine mobile phone cameras in my /your time there
You are right it was Bert and memory does fade in time. In my second year there in 1972 they decided to let JL's have square neck haircuts and sideburns down to the middle of the ear instead of the convict haircuts. It was pretty radical for a Junior Leaders Regiment even if it was the seventies, so it paid to keep Bert on side.
 
My main memory of the first few days in the Army is haircuts...

I attested at Ipswich recruiting office on Aug 15th 1972. I was given a day's pay, a rail warrant and orders to report to Sutton Coldfield Recruit Selection Centre (RSC) on Aug 19th. I was also advised to spend some of the day's pay on a haircut.

I got the train to Sutton Coldfield on the 19th, found the truck taking everybody to RSC and, on arriving at RSC, was issued a pair of coveralls, a pair of plimsolls and then ordered to get a haircut.

Having attended all the briefings and passed all the aptitude tests, I was accepted for REME as a potential electronics tech. I was given a rail warrant for travel to Wokingham, along with about ten other guys, and eventually got to the REME depot at Arborfield. We were marched to the spider (ancient wooden hut) that was to be our home for the next few weeks, drew bedding, mug, KFS and went to the cookhouse for something to eat. The following morning we drew kit and were then marched to the barber's for a haircut!

Luckily, I don't have so much hair these days and don't have to get it cut so often.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
My main memory of the first few days in the Army is haircuts...

I attested at Ipswich recruiting office on Aug 15th 1972. I was given a day's pay, a rail warrant and orders to report to Sutton Coldfield Recruit Selection Centre (RSC) on Aug 19th. I was also advised to spend some of the day's pay on a haircut.

I got the train to Sutton Coldfield on the 19th, found the truck taking everybody to RSC and, on arriving at RSC, was issued a pair of coveralls, a pair of plimsolls and then ordered to get a haircut.

Having attended all the briefings and passed all the aptitude tests, I was accepted for REME as a potential electronics tech. I was given a rail warrant for travel to Wokingham, along with about ten other guys, and eventually got to the REME depot at Arborfield. We were marched to the spider (ancient wooden hut) that was to be our home for the next few weeks, drew bedding, mug, KFS and went to the cookhouse for something to eat. The following morning we drew kit and were then marched to the barber's for a haircut!

Luckily, I don't have so much hair these days and don't have to get it cut so often.
Those are Princess Marina College in the mid-80s will remember Vidal...
 
Washed and scrubbed pots ( 26.06.83)

I got pished up and went AWOL with a mate, hitchhiking and drinking all the way from Germany to Lille's Le Citadel to join the FFL.

I thought they were very nice to us.

They gave us tracksuits and a meal; I can't remember what it was but the baguette that came with it was the best I'd ever had. Perfectly crunchy on the outside, but moist and succulent on the inside.

They weren't so nice the next morning when we woke up hungover and sober and said we needed to get back to Germany because our sergeant major would be wondering where we were. A big German Legionnaire got a bit shouty with us and we were kicked off the barracks (it was a nice looking barracks too; a dry moat around it).

Anyway, we both got 4 days close arrest and I got 21 days unit nick and my mate got 28 days in Colchester because he'd been AWOL before, and I think they wanted to split us up because we looked like we were having too much fun in close arrest.
 
Absolutely agreed. CS had me in shit state, but my first TA sqn’s NBC instructor was completely impervious to it. He didn’t even bother with a respirator in the chamber. Truly a bloke that found his vocation :)
Seen that once as well...... bloody weird.
 
I got pished up and went AWOL with a mate, hitchhiking and drinking all the way from Germany to Lille's Le Citadel to join the FFL.

I thought they were very nice to us.

They gave us tracksuits and a meal; I can't remember what it was but the baguette that came with it was the best I'd ever had. Perfectly crunchy on the outside, but moist and succulent on the inside.

They weren't so nice the next morning when we woke up hungover and sober and said we needed to get back to Germany because our sergeant major would be wondering where we were. A big German Legionnaire got a bit shouty with us and we were kicked off the barracks (it was a nice looking barracks too; a dry moat around it).

Anyway, we both got 4 days close arrest and I got 21 days unit nick and my mate got 28 days in Colchester because he'd been AWOL before, and I think they wanted to split us up because we looked like we were having too much fun in close arrest.
We had a lad decided to visit his Austrian relations from BAOR Germany....we had to pack up his gear and put it in storage as it appears that he had been picked up and was overdue doing his 2 years conscription service in the Austrian Army.... the British Army was very decent and suspended his service time till the Austrians were done with him.
 
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I got pished up and went AWOL with a mate, hitchhiking and drinking all the way from Germany to Lille's Le Citadel to join the FFL.

I thought they were very nice to us.

They gave us tracksuits and a meal; I can't remember what it was but the baguette that came with it was the best I'd ever had. Perfectly crunchy on the outside, but moist and succulent on the inside.

They weren't so nice the next morning when we woke up hungover and sober and said we needed to get back to Germany because our sergeant major would be wondering where we were. A big German Legionnaire got a bit shouty with us and we were kicked off the barracks (it was a nice looking barracks too; a dry moat around it).

Anyway, we both got 4 days close arrest and I got 21 days unit nick and my mate got 28 days in Colchester because he'd been AWOL before, and I think they wanted to split us up because we looked like we were having too much fun in close arrest.
My brother was on Snow Queen in Bavaria sharing a chalet with the Anglians.. some drunken one kicked him out of his maggot and dissed the RGJ.... to which my brother horizontaled him. In the morning he was been sent back to Celle to be punished, so they put him on a train unescorted..... his attitude was "I've had to use a weeks leave.... I might as well stay on the train and go to London via Hamburg".

PS, His final punishment was one day nick for every day he was AWOL.... but piss easy as he had being defending the Regiments Honour.
 
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First day in the Army.... I hope Sutton Coalfield doesn't count.

First night at Helles, 539 Brown was on the left and went on to became a professor... and Geordie Murphy in the pit space in front.... probably dropped dead of cirrhosis years ago.

Plus, Everyone got issued nice modern (1974) PT shorts.... I got the old ones that Spike Milligan took the piss out of where you had to take 3 steps before the shorts started moving.
 
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And I’m a Cumbrian living in Wiltshire. Typical ex Squaddies! :smile:
All my family, and the wife’s family live in Staffordshire (with a Worcestershire offshoot). And we live in Hampshire.
It‘s because we don’t like them, and they can’t “pop round for a brew”.
 
You don't come from Northern Ireland perchance? Bogside or the Creggan?
No. When I left and joined the cops we got issued the CS spray. I say spray, it was more of a jet, and you had to get it right. First time I didn’t, and took the consequences.
Second time I used it was enough to gain an advantage. Luckily my ex RN Marra and myself effected the arrest. Driving back in the Ford Escort with the windows down cleared the air (that dates it). I was driving and couldn’t see a thing.
We got enough out of our prisoner to learn he worked in a spray shop for a living and “CS ain’t that bad”. Hmmmm....
I recall it was early in the summer, my last job, and when I went home my super excited dog shunned me.
Evil stuff, CS.
 
CS...It's like a super fine powder.... emery cloth for the eyes.... just the delivery systems are different.

It is not a gas...... no wonder your dog shunned you!
 
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March 3rd 1987, I got on the white elephant bus at Bath train station and headed off to JLR RCT/RAOC at Colerne.
TBH, I don't remember much about the first day as it was a blur of paperwork filling and interviews.
Given the size of the intake (160+) the first week was more of an admin week, form filling, kit issues, talks etc. with the main curriculum beginning on the following Monday (where I also went to jail on the first locker inspection, along with a large chunk of my troop).
What does stick in my mind on the first day was that as the accomodation was old RAF 'H' blocks, the troop above us was in their third (senior) term and I recall seeing them looking down on us from the stair balcony and thinking about how much older they all looked than us, even though many were the same age.
It also wasn't nice seeing them getting all the beastings that the third termers got (march and shoot comp, battlecamp for example) and being agahst at the state of them when they returned. It kind of made me realise just how far we had to go.
The main thing that even today sticks in my mind was on our first morning there when the room lights came on at 6am. They had strip lights with starters in every room and the starters made a terrible clacking noise as the lights fired up. I've only once since leaving there heard the same noise and it really made me shiver. A horrible noise that signalled the start of a hard day and to abandoning the land of nod.
Oh! And kit issue. You were issued your kit in a hanger about 3/4 of a mile from your block and you had to unpack it all from the holdall and sasuage bag, lay it out on the hanger floor then hold up each item as it was called out to ensure we all had the full issue.
I don't think any of us could get it all back in the two bags and we had to march back wearing or carrying much of it.
I'm glad I saw that year through!
That sound of the strip light starter motor haunts me once again. I've recently moved house and have a slightly delapidated concrete Martley garage, complete with fluorescent strip light. When you flick the switch there's that old crackle and hum for 2 seconds before any light appears. Just like at 0530, or much worse, when some drunken cpl staggers in at 0200 and puts all the faharkin lights on...
 
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That sound of the strip light starter motor haunts me once again. I've recently moved house and have a slightly delapidated concrete Martley garage, complete with fluorescent strip light. When you flick the switch there's that old crackle and hum for 2 seconds before any light appears. Just like at 0530, or much worse, when some drunken cpl staggers in at 0200 and puts all the faharkin lights on...
I think that one still gets most of us instantly wide awake.:salut:
Would be a great sound for an alarm clock. :oops:
 

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