Letters to Alan 1 – Brian Phillips National Service – Royal Signals

12 Dec

Hi Alan – Thanks for providing this interesting site

I’m Brian Phillips – 22442400 – Called up for N/S – R.Signals, to a freezing Catterick in January 1951 – To reside In Barrack Room 40 top floor. We had a whip round for a wireless and were able to drop off to sleep listening to hits of the day that included ‘Goodnight Irene’ – ‘On top of Old Smokey’ – ‘My heart Cries for You’ – Later we went from the luxury of a heated barrack block with hot water on tap – to those dillapidated ‘Spiders’ that were a half mile walk from the cookhouse and said to have originated from the Crimea war era – Freezing, damp, and cold water ablutions ! – After passing out as Teleprinter ops we were posted to Singapore District Signal Regt – via Pocklington for tropical kit, followed by 2 weeks embarkation leave, Overnighting at Londons deep underground accommodation at Goodge Street station , then on to Southampton to board HMT Dunera – (same boat that a young schoolgirl name of Joanna Lumley also sailed on) – being a very amateur dance band trumpet player I was allowed to join the ships band for ‘entertainment’ – thereby escaping all ships chores and duties ! – On arrival at S’pore we lived under canvass at Calcutta Camp – that later would become the palatial Princess Mary Barracks and still exists- Being ferried out to Fort Canning – communicating by teleprinter with our units up country
in the jungles of Malaya. Most of the Singapore that us young lads then knew has mostly dissappeared under the bulldozer, being replaced with council style housing and concrete almost coast to coast. Events during our time included the assassination of the Governor Sir H Gurney, when his car was ambushed by bandits on a remote jungle road, And the tragic death of our young L/Cpl pay clerk – accidentally shot with his own revolver in camp . I often think back to those carefree days of our youth – Sadly we seldom appreciated the good fortune of being posted to such an exotic and interesting land with so much spare time for leisure in a superb climate. It would be good to hear from former comrades and friends who also served in those places – Best wishes to all – Brian

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