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Sandbag Reminiscences of Rod Burns Sandbag
What A Smashing Time...
I joined AAJLR in Sept 1963 at the relatively mature age of 17 yrs and 3 days. I was then J/Gunner 'Bob' Burns. I joined 'R' Company (OC Maj. Stone RMP) and a CSM whose name I can't remember but who was in the Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment. I was in 2 Platoon commanded by Lt. Paul Webb, Royal Signals, with Drill Sergeant Tom Gracie, Royal Signals and Admin Sergeant Paddy Finlay, Worcestershire Regiment. Amongst others in the platoon that I remember are J/Pte. Paul Barrett D & D Regt, J/Sig. Ray Francis from Huddersfield who was a Dusty Springfield fan, J/Sig. Ken Durrant from Marsden, Co. Durham, J/Gnr. Brian Carver from Seaham Harbour Co. Durham who arrived as a Teddy Boy complete with Drape jacket, crepe soled shoes and DA haircut, and J/Sig. Dave Truelove from Blackpool who achieved the distinction of rising to J/CSM in three terms and commanding the Graduates in Dec 64. During our time in 'R' Company I remember we had a pillow and knotted towel fight during which the full length mirror in the block entrance was smashed!!
After our training in 'R' Company we went to our respective companies, in the case of Dave Truelove and myself we went to 'C' Company (OC Maj Galbraith R. Sigs), Rhine Troop. I can't remember who our troop commander was at that time but our Sergeant was 'Chubby' Chambers R. Sigs, a fellow Brummie. Later Capt. Costello R. Signals became troop commander before taking over as Adjutant.
During my time in Rhine troop I had two particular good mates, J/Sig. Neil Horton from Bristol and J/Gnr. Spike Whitehouse from Monica Road Small Heath Birmingham, just round the corner from where I lived. I recall we lived in fear of being caught by the Regimental Police (L/Cpl Fagg ??) for wearing gaiter elastics and weights!!
I graduated in December 1964 and by this time had decided to transfer to the Royal Signals and together with Dave Truelove, Ray Francis and Ken Durrant we were posted to 8 Signal Regiment at Catterick to train as Telegraph Technicians. I failed to make the grade and re-trained as a Comcen Operator serving at HQ 4 Div & Sig Regt in Herford , BAOR and at HQ SHAPE in Casteau Belgium before returning to Civvy Street via 30 Sig Regt in Blandford in 1970.
I would love to hear from any of my old mates again.

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