Gilbert Ham L.Cpl. R.E.M.E. 1958-60

30 Jan

Hello my name is Gilbert Ham I did my National service with the R.E.M.E. from 1958 to 60. I started my 2 years national service at Blandford in Dorset. After my initial training I was sent to do a trade test at a factory in Portsmouth. While there I was billeted at Hilsea, I remember it so well for the worst Grub I had ever tasted or ever likely to do again. Most of my barrack room compatriots at Hilsea doing the trade tests were a different breed of men that I ever encountered in my life, then and since. The learning and experience being with these men stood me in good stead throughout my national service and beyond of which I am grateful for. After all my tests etc, which I passed. I was posted to a remote part of Yorkshire at a receiver base named Hauxwell Moor. While here, my wife left our hometown Bristol and came up to Yorkshire too stay
I obtained a living out pass so that I could be near her, which was also better for me as well. As a soldier’s wife and her being pregnant, she was well looked after by the Queen Alexander Nursing Corps, and I must say very well indeed. One aside to the story is at the time in civvy street doctors were prescribing Thalidomide to pregnant women and the terrible outcome to that we all know. It appears the military doctors did not use this drug and we and others are forever thankful for this.
Later while stationed in the Catterick area my first daughter was born at the Military hospital in Catterick. With flowers in hand and visiting my wife and newly arrived daughter. I was met by the midwife who was a Captain and she said she would take me to see my new daughter. The Captain briskly marched me down a long corridor to a room where all the babies were kept and wheeled out a cot for my perusal. My first impression was that my baby girl had a very small chin. The Captain on seeing my facial concerned expression, asked what I thought. I hesitatingly said is her chin okay. Of course, it is barked the Captain, let’s face it you are certainly not an oil painting yourself. As a lance corporal I was too outranked to protest and crept away with my tail between my legs.
Finally, I wish all the men and women who I had the good fortune to meet during my National Service (including the Captain) good health and best wishes for the future.
Gilbert Ham.

One Response to “Gilbert Ham L.Cpl. R.E.M.E. 1958-60”

  1. Stephen h king January 30, 2019 at 11:47 am #

    I was stationed at the QA depot when I done my training in the RAMC a very rough time for us men 30 men and 300 women that was 1958 to 1960 not a bad time when you look back but not at that time


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