Letters to Alan 2 -National Service – Ron Green – Royal Sussex Regiment

12 Dec

Hello my name is Ron Green and my National Service began with a call up in July 1947 to report to
Chichester Barracks, Royal Sussex Regiment for basic training.
At the time I was in my second year of a Mechanical Engineering Diploma
from Wimbledon College and was not very happy when I found out that I
could not continue under distance learning.
At that point I was employed as a Mechanical Engineering Draughtsman in
London but my current home was in Lewes Sussex courtesy of Adolf. I
was working on interesting jobs that included repairing bomb damage at
Buckingham Palace and the Bovril and Robertsons Marmalade factories. (I
had earlier spent time doing the drawings for the Mulberry Harbour for D
Day.)
But deferments over I was off to Chichester like it or not. Basic
Training was – well basic training by ver loud infantry NCO’s. Lots of
10 mile hikes in full packs and finally live ammo drills.
Then the army in their wisdom decided I had no mechanical skills??
(despite my education and experience!! ) – so I was posted to the Royal
Regiment of Artillery at Woolwich Barracks. There we did every chore
from polishing the mess silver to taking inventory of shells. It
served to instill some regimental pride in us while we waited for more
permanent posting..
.
Then it was off to 111 HAA Regiment at Gosforth Park After learning
Predictors and aircraft recognition I was seconded to Radar Training and
then back as a Radar Op.. After which we had some enjoyable times
training Aussises, and not so enjoyable times chipping ice off
Parabaloids on the Canadianm made 584 Radar Sets and the 3.7 guns.
Gosforth Park was inherited from the Poles and took some cleaning up.
There we also saw the last of the German prisoners repatriated. Also
had some fun towing the 3.7s with Matadors (Out transport mob were from
the Gorbals and though they were a right shower they did a great job and
always got me a ride to the station to go on leave

After a while I was seconded to the Captain Quartermaster, and
eventually I found myself responsible to collect all the Radar Stores
from gun sites in Northern Command and centralise the stock as we moved
to Fenham Barracks, Newcastle. Then came some duty in Norfolk where we
were sent to try out some new ordnance developed at Larkhill (which
wasn’t very successful bu gave me a chance to learn command HQ Long
range Radar and Plotting). This had its hilarious moments as we manage
to shoot off the tail of the RAF wallah towing the target. Needless to
say he was not amused. Fairly happy memories remain of that time
which saw part of the Regiment taken off to Malaya, part to Palestine to
complete the British pull out. Also saw us become the 81st (Mixed)
Field regiment. Then normal service resumed as we moves to Fenham
Barracks where we became the 83rd Regiment, interrupted only by a short
sojurn in South Shields evicting bombed out squatters from deserted
Quonsets.

The other major event at Fenham was fighting the pit prop fires at West
Hartlepool – memories of standing on top of a pile of pit props while
the firemen hosed us down as well as the logs. Almost lost some
searchlights and pumps we had put on the beach to draw water when the
tide changed.!! 2 days and nights were enough of that..

Finished my service with a temporary six week attachment to the Military
Police. I well remamber leaving Fenham to go to Aldershot for demob
in September 1949. As I got to the gate I looked back and there was the
RQMS Oggy Price standing at the door to the QMs office and yelling at
me that I would be back. How wrong he was!!

All in all, it wasn’t such a bad experience and I often think national
service would do a lot of good for some of the Yobbos we see
today. I went back to civilian life and eventually came to
Canada in 1956 (just as I got a Z rezerve call up to go Suez – no thanks
– left the mechanical construction world and put my radar experience to
use when I started a ultrasonic company. I’m retired now in British
Columbia but often wonder what happened to some of my mates in the RA.
Enjoyed your site very much.

Good luck for the future

Ron Green

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