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Pull Up A Sandbag
Sandbag Reminiscences of Paul Treen Sandbag
More Said And Did!
I think I saw the same Junior Leaders advert as John Thompson [See his sandbag stories] - the smiling youth with full kit, steel helmet, rifle slung, vaulting over the 10 foot wall - I suddenly wanted to be one of these supermen. My father, who had done 26 years in the Army, was well pleased and took me over to the Recruiting Office. You all know the rest! Dad, in conversation with the Recruiting Sergeant, mentioned that when HIS father had taken HIM to sign up, his Dad had offered the Recruiter "2 bob to make sure that he got in"
"We don't do that now sir!" came the rather frosty reply........
I still got in.
Later on, when I received the reporting instructions - "Tonfanau! Where the hells that?" - I went to the station to find out the times of the Tonfanau train changing at "MA, MAR MACK-IN-LETH" (Machynleth)
"I think you mean MA - HUNT - LETH!" sighed the Welsh git behind the counter.
In 'R' Company we were introduced to that indispensable item THE STEAM IRON - essential for those sharp creases in practically every item of kit we were issued with. With 1 iron per room, they soon became battered - especially the plugs which always broke, leaving the bare wires. The wiser(?) lads would get a toothbrush, jam it into the top of the electric socket and then insert the live and neutral wires from the iron flex into the other two socket holes. Whip out the toothbrush, switch on and hey presto. Iron on! Most of us used this little trick until a lad in another Platoon tried it with a metal object and flew across the room.
Funny stuff that Welsh electricity!
"Were any of you in the TA or the Army Cadets?"
On our first day in 2 Platoon we were having a get to know you chat with Sergeant Gracie. When he asked this innocent question, a few of the lads put up their hands, looking a bit smug, as if they'd cracked it already.
"WELL, YOU CAN FORGET ALL THE BOLLOCKS YOU LEARNED - THIS IS THE PROPER ARMY NOW" bawled Sergeant Gracie.
When we left Tonfanau, four of us were posted to 16 Light Air Defence Regiment RA in Singapore. We arrived at Nee Soon camp early one morning after a 24 hour flight from the UK. After a brief stop at RHQ, we were sent to the cookhouse for breakfast. The first thing I noticed on entering the cookhouse was a large sign above the service counter which stated "Do not take more than you can eat. You can always return for more". After the mean "portion control" of Tonfanau, this seemed like HEAVEN. The food was good if I remember correctly, in those days we would always want roast dinner, pudding and custard, even in that climate. Don't forget that these were the days when Vesta chicken curry and rice from a packet was considered exotic!
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