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Pull Up A Sandbag
Sandbag Reminiscences of Mick Thomas Sandbag
Scoring With The Girls
Butlins by the sea where only the elite were allowed to holiday in the late 50's and early 60's is where I, Mick Thomas, aptly named Chunky by Sgt. Gracie for being at that time in the Royal Pie and Ears spent my early years.
I remember that you had a choice of pastimes; there was sport, the Corps of Drums and things like model making. Over the 2 years I was there, I think I did most of them. You soon get bored at that age. I read Paul Treen's article about static water tanks and their uses where he states that they were round as some may have been. The one outside the AKC was certainly of an oblong shape as the model boat club frequently used it to sink their new balsa crafts in it. I recall it being square as with no radio controls in those days, not even for hush-hush guided missiles, the rudder had to be set by hand and away it would go. If the tank had been round it would have come back to you eventually and you would not have had to go over the railings after it. There was one other problem with that tank that I recall, and that was the 1000's of soft drink bottles that floated on the top, remnants of a few nights at the AKC.
The Corps of Drums was another hobby of mine. One night a week plus the odd week-end we spent practicing, just to make funny noises at local fetes and on the odd trip to Butlins for the day. I remember they decided to have additional instruments in the Corps and decided on flutes, which no-one was any good at. The Drum Major had a good idea and said if you can't play the thing, go through the motions and bloody well whistle the tune. This was a great success as not only the flutists whistled but the whole bloody band started doing it.
My final pastime was the sport, Hockey was my thing and I took it with me for the rest of my army career, playing in not just local games for my battalion and ultimately inter service matches against anyone who would give us a game. At AAJLR the permanent staff had a good team as I recall and used to grab me to play in goal for them as no-one wanted that dangerous position, no face masks or crash helmets in those days. The star of the team was Padre Williams, who on entering the pitch could swear as good as the next man, (and had the prettiest wife who every next man fancied). We had a scratch match against Towyn Girls High school one year which I remember ended with the score at 10-1. In fact we scored all 11 goals as I scored the one for them because I was feeling very sorry for them so I turned round and smacked it into my own goal! I soon wished I hadn't done it as I was barracked all the way back to camp.

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