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The Corps In The Cameroons

20 Aug

When the King’s Own Border Regiment sailed on the troopship Devonshire to the British Cameroons, many Corps from the services was attached to the regiment. Out of all those Corps, who was attached to our regiment? Below I have listed in my opinion the top five
First on the list is the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. This Corps was responsible for sending all the essential supplies to the various camps where the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment Companies were stationed, such as Buea, Kumba and Bamenda. They had their own small camp near to the dock area of Victoria where all supplies that came from the UK were stored and then sent out. They never got any slap on the back for their work in the Cameroons or indeed for anywhere else they served in the world. The RAOC just get on with their job, which they do magnificently. One thing you can say the British Army are very well organised. I can vouch for that first hand
Next Corps on the list was the Royal Army Service Corps. I never had any dealings with them until the Cameroon venture. It was in the deck hockey tournament I first began to notice them. What a tough bunch of lads they were. They reached the final and played against one of our platoons in only what I can describe as a no prisoner match. Both teams knocked hell out of each other with their sticks and after the bruising battle the RASC lads won. All who played in that final limped around the ship for about a week. During (S) and (A) company’s stay at Bamenda, the RASC drivers kept the convoy of supplies coming to the camp. The drivers had to endure terrible conditions on the roads, I say roads but they were red clay tracks. These tracks in the early days due to the constant rainfall made the 10 hour journey from Buea to Bamenda very treacherous. To their credit the drivers did it and believe me they were most appreciated by one and all.
I also must mention two of our King’s Own Royal Border Regiment MT drivers, who drove 3 Ton Lorries constantly to our camp and surrounding areas over the 10 months we were there. They were Jack Simmons from my home town of Barrow-in-Furness and a lad named Holt, both national servicemen. Sterling work in all weathers by both men
Next was the Royal Army Medical Corps. I can speak for all who have served in the forces and indeed for the lads who are serving now. They are very much appreciated for the work they do. When one is sick or injured, the medics are there. This speaks volumes for all the lads in the RAMC.
Next were the Royal Engineers. In the early days at the Bamenda camp, the conditions everyone endured was absolutely terrible. The constant rain and thick mud everywhere made moral among the men sink a bit low as you must try to understand. The brave men who fought in Burma in horrendous conditions must smile when they read this. Well the Royal Engineers eventually rigged up showers, made a bakery, fitted a generator for electric lighting between the tent lines. All this took a few months but it was fully appreciated by one and all. This was at the main camp only, not the outposts. The Royal Engineers had their own camp just up the road from ours, because they wanted to keep themselves independent. Two of their sappers leniently got 28 days in our camp jail for killing a bull. They made such a mess of it; the bull had to be shot to put it out of its misery. They got what they deserved and most surely let their fellow sappers down. That was only a blip in the magnificent work the Engineers did in making life a bit more comfortable for the KORB in the Cameroons.
We had at the main camp of Buea, a detachment of Queen Alexander’s Royal Army Nursing Corps. If I hadn’t been ill, I would not be able to write how wonderful caring women they were. The QARANC’s were above the normal nurses and held a commission. When one is ill, there is nothing like the feminine care and kind words of which they did with a degree of professionalism. Don’t get me wrong they were strict and when they told you to do something you had to do it. Not many troops come into contact with the QARANC’s, but those who have like I, can only speak very highly of them and indeed I do.
There was other Corps in the Cameroons attached to the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment who also did good work, but again in my opinion the above were the top five.

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