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Pull Up A Sandbag
Sandbag Reminiscences of Mick Thomas Sandbag
Rabbit Tips Over 3 Tonner
It must have been September 1965 when a convoy of 3 tonners full of lads fully kitted out for war manoeuvres were heading into the hills around Cemmaes. The convoy had to pull over to let an ageing furniture van pass. The lead truck moved over so far that the nearside wheels were on the grass verge at the side of the road. (It later transpired at the hearing into the accident that this verge had been undermined by numerous rabbit warrens).
I recall the scene to this day; I and a couple of others in the truck behind were perched in our favourite position, standing behind the cab with the tarp rolled back, when we suddenly saw the lead 3 tonner start to roll over sideways. The hill went down quite steeply with a railway embankment at the bottom. It did not just roll on its side but continued to 'rolly polly' all the way to the bottom where the embankment stopped it. As it careered down lads jumped or were thrown out of the back, and as the canopy supports broke were thrown out of the sides as well. This appeared to be really weird as it seemed to me to be happening in slow motion. It was not just bodies being thrown out; kit of every description was following them down the hill.
Suddenly it all came to a halt. Everything froze for an instance. The lorry lay upside down, canopy flattened to the tailboard. Under the lip of the tailboard a Junior Leader was pinned with what looked like the whole weight of the vehicle on top of him.
The whole company scrambled down the hill to try and assist. The priority was the lad under the tailgate (his name evades me) who obviously could not get out. To make matters worse he was being drowned by diesel escaping from the now upturned fuel tank. Some bright individual plugged the flow with his beret and attempts to lift the lorry off the pinned lad were started. It was all in vane, even with lads shoulder to shoulder all round that vehicle we could not lift it one inch. Eventually with a lot of pulling and shoving from the inside (someone had managed to crawl in to free his legs), he was at last got out. The amazing thing about it all was that apart from nose bleeds and a few cracked ribs none of the lads appeared to be seriously injured. The only really bad injury was the civilian driver who had gone through the windscreen of the 3 tonner, had broken his jaw and swallowed his bottom set of dentures.
Three ambulances attended the scene (which must have been half the Welsh National Health Service fleet) and all were taken to hospital for check ups. The worse cases stayed in hospital for a week or two, the unlucky ones were returned to Tonfanau medical centre, where the healing process involved bumpering the corridors and making your own beds.
Thus ends this tale of woe.
Now, can anyone remember when we had the really bad winter with the train line washed away, and everybody was trucked to Shrewsbury to catch trains for home leave, or was that just another PIGMENT of my imagination. This and other stories to bore the pants off everyone to follow.
Cheers for now, Mick (Chunky) Thomas.
The nickname which outlasted my Pioneer Corp days, followed me into the Royal Army Ordnance Corps and even into the Worcester, Sherwood Foresters (Woofers) T.A. were I served in lieu of my reserve obligations.

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