Tag Archives: border regiment

Michael Robinson Border Regt. 1957-59

3 May

Hello Everyone, Michael Robinson wrote to me a few years back on my old site and it is certaimly appropiate to put it on my Blog. Michael has is own site on http://www.mysiteandme.co.uk

My name is Michael Robinson and at the time soon to be known as 23434963 Pte Robinson, and to my new Army mates as Robbo:, I started my national Service with the Border Regiment at Carlisle Castle in November 1957 for ten long weeks training, where in the first two days I had all traces of civilian life removed from my mind and had to think the Army way. our Intake was made up of lads from Cumbria and Lancashire, and was split into two platoons most of the lads in my platoon were from Cumbria with one or two from Lancashire. Our sergeant was called Hewitson and although he was a Cumbrian himself. he would call us a load of hayseeds. He was a hard man during training but would often come to our billet after duties and explain things that we all had, been having difficulty with during the training sessions.
Our company sergeant major was a CSM Smalls he had a way with words when he was drilling you that could turn the air blue, but he could also come out with some remarks that were quite witty and funny. As you are aware you don’t burst out laughing on the parade ground. One of his favourites was, when I give the word of command to come to attention I want you to lift your foot of the ground twelve inches and plant it down eighteen inches! The army will pay for the hole in the square.
After passing out after the ten weeks training we went to join the 1st Battalion in Berlin which was stationed in the Spandau district of the city. This journey would take two and a half days; we travelled by train to Liverpool Street station London. From there to the Port of Harwich to cross the North Sea to the Hook of Holland on the troop ship the T.S. Wansbeck. This was no luxury ferry by today’s standard, just bunks hanging from chains and dust bins for the seasick among us.
The ship left Harwich around 23.00 and arrived at the Hook of Holland early morning where we disembarked got our breakfast in a very large transit shed and then boarded the military train which would take us to Berlin. This was a military train that was routed to all the British army bases in west Germany (BAOR) dropping troops off who were going back to their units after being on leave. Berlin was the last destination and we were on the train all day until we got to Hanover where we had to change. The train from Hanover to Berlin was only allowed to travel through the Russian Zone into Berlin at night. This train had an armed guard on-board and all the carriage doors were locked. All the lighting in the carriages had blue bulbs; also the blinds had to be pulled down. The train left Hanover at 23.00 and arrived in Berlin at around 7am. This arrival depended on how many times the Russian Army stopped the train on its way through the zone, which was about a hundred mile journey.
On arriving in Berlin, we travelled by truck to Wavell Barracks in Spandau where the 1st Battalion was stationed. All the draft were all put into C Company for extra infantry training, However as the MT section at that time was losing a lot of drivers through demob, myself and some of the lads who had been in the same Platoon at Carlisle got told to repack our kit and get over to the MT Section HQ Company. This was great news for me as I had wanted to get into the MT section, but as the sergeant at Carlisle told me, everyone wants to drive and telling me the only thing I drive was him daft!! So I was now driving and continued to do so until the battalion moved back to Barnard Castle for the amalgamation with the Kings Own Although it is a long time ago there are a lot of memories that will never leave me of my time in the army, and on the whole it wasn’t a bad two years and the comradeship was great
Best wishes too everyone
Michael

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Other National service Story – Derek Ormerod – KORBR

2 Feb

Derek sent this story to me a few years ago which I published on another one of my former of my sites

My name is Derek Ormerod from Accrington soon to be 23435361 Pte Ormerod in the November intake 1957 at the Border Regiment Depot Carlisle Castle After ten weeks training under C.M.S Smalls I was presented with a rifle shooting cup at the passing out parade. We had a few days leave then sent to Berlin to join the regiment via the port of Harwich. The sea trip to the Hook of Holland on the T.S.Wansbeck was quite unforgettable with the sea being rough. From the Hook of Holland to Berlin we were transported on a long slow train.
On arrival at Wavell Barrack in Seekt Str, Spandau a western suburb of Berlin I was put into (D)Company and became a rifleman later a L/Cpl Apart from the rifle training, square bashing, guard duties and obviously plenty of bull. The time spent in Berlin was military exercises in the Grunewald Forest, riot duty with the German police. Not forgetting train guard duties on the overnight train from Berlin to Hanover and back. Also two Queen’s birthday parades, first at R.A.F. Gatow airstrip, then on the big day at the Olympic Stadium complex.
I also did ski training at ST. Andresburg West Germany. The most interesting job was the guard duties at Spandau Prison. The prisoners at the time held there were Albert Speer, Hitler’s Armaments Minister; Balder Von Scrach head of Hitler youth and Rudolph Hess, Deputy leader of the Nazi Party
Free time was spent drinking with the lads in the mess dodging the Military Police patrols on the streets, travelling on the trams along Her Str. To the NAAFI Club and visited the pictures at the Jabor Theatre. Out with the lads we had some fun at the bars in the Kurfusten Damm in the City. I also took trips into East Berlin in civilian clothes (illegally) crossing at the Brandenburg Gate and along the Unter Den Linden. At that time the currency was three East German Marks for one West German Mark. To be honest there was very little to spend it on in the East Sector of Berlin. On odd occasions we were allowed in the Eastern Sector officially wearing our military uniforms.
Our stint in Berlin soon came to an end and the Border Regiment returned to England and based at Humbleton Camp Barnard Castle. Not long after the regiment returned I was spotted by Colonel Gillen doing a bit of sign writing for some body. He made me the Battalion sign writer. I had no choice in the matter because they had been looking for one to change all the signs and Divisional boards in the camp prior to amalgamation with the King’s Own to form the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment. I did not attend the Amalgamation parade, because on completion of the sign writing. I was sent to the Army School of Civil Defence at Millom for yet more training. It was here at Millom I celebrated my 21st birthday
I was demobbed and it was back to civilian life. Looking back over the many years I have to say I had a great time in the Army. I was also very lucky to be based in Berlin and as the years roll by I often wish I were back in those times

Best wishes to you all

Derek Ormerod

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