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Letters to Alan 4 – Mike Woodford RASC

14 Dec

Hello Alan

My National Service number was 23004494, from 1953 to 1955, I was stationed at 62 Company R.A.S.C in or very near to Spandau, in fact many a time I drove past Spandau Prison when they were changing over guarding the only prisoner in the prison – Rudolf Hess
I always found it strange the way the russians drove away with their guards sitting in the back of their vehicles, the tarpaulin sides down on every lorry preventing anyone seeing the russian soldiers and of course to stop the russian soldiers from seeing how the west lived
I also remember driving to Gatow when requested (or is it ordered) and able to see the russian soldiers in their guard huts on stilts behind the wire fences, looking at me and my lorry through binoculars and there was always one of them following you pointing their rifle in your direction in case you drove through the fence into the forbidden russion zone………………now two very true stories if I may
True story No. 1
In 1956 I had emigrated with my younger brother to Southern Rhodesia and I moved to Bulawayo, I am in a nightclub on my umpteenth bottle of Lion Lager, when I saw ‘Jock’ across the room, (Jock was with the Argylle & Sutherland Highlanders, and I was involved in making many a journey from Berlin Station to the Montgomery Barracks transferring soldiers and all manner of their equipment to their new home) and I had many, many a glass of Schultheis in the Berlin NAAFI with Jock.
As we old soldiers do, I through my arms around him saying how good it was to see him, only to be told I had my arms around his twin brother.
Lucky I did not receive a glasgow kiss

True story No. 2
Still in Southern Rhodesia, this time 1957, I am in a bar in Gwelo, midday and only two customers drinking, eventually we started to talk and I recognised a scottish voice and a while later national service was mentioned, he said he was with the Argylle & Sutherland Highlanders in Berlin, I told him I had been involved in moving his Regiment to his barracks
He told me that the RASC driver driving the lorry he was in had reversed into a very very large crate containing the Dress Kilts of the Regiment, yes it was me, I heard a very loud shout from a CSM of the Argylle & Sutherland Highlanders, wearing his regiments dress who came, I swear, from the east end of London

Trying to make an excuse for my bad driving skills, the CSM recognised I was somewhat local to London and following a real b******ing. let me off

Just to close, I remember 2 officers in our company, 2nd Liutenant J.E.T. Ray and Captain Barton (Dick)

Regards and best wishes

Mike Woodford

Letters to Alan 3 -Staffordshire Regiment – Jeff Sherwin

14 Dec

Hi Allan
Thanks for the memories, in may 1959 I reluctantly reported to the Staffordshire regiment at Litchfield. There were about 90 of us, by far the majority had served apprenticeships and were over 21. eleven weeks later half of us were transferred to the Cheshire regiment stationed at Selerang barracks Singapore we travelled on a comet 4 commercial jet, after a little over a year the malayan conflict was at an end and we returned to southampton on the troopship Devonshire, after 3 weeks leave we went to Carlisle for a couple of weeks before going to Ballykinler N Ireland. As the end of my service approached We were told that national service was coming to an end, we were discharged a few weeks early on april 7 1961. Looking back my army experiences were very positive. My service changed me for the better. I found it difficult to settle back into my previous life, within a few years I had a wife and a couple of kids and was living in British Columbia. In Malaya we lost a corporal in a rafting accident his nickname was Elbow, God bless him.
Thanks again, Regards Jeff Sherwin L/cpl retired (Hyde Cheshire then.-Abbotsford BC Canada now)

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