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John Giles R.A.S.C. 1947

2 Jul

Hello Everybody,

My name is John Giles, on the 20th of February 1947 I was called up to start my national service at the Howe Barracks in Canterbury. It was here I undertook six weeks square bashing and bulling. I was then thought to be officer material and I was posted on to Buller Barracks at Aldershot to be a potential OR1 or possible officer. The training and studies were hard, but I got through it. I was selected to report to Chester and be interviewed by a War Office Selection Board. I was much too young and my father was not a General. As you can guess I was not selected and I was passed onto the R.A.S.C at Aldershot and sent for further training at Blackdown Camp in Camberley.
At the time no one of authority seemed to know what to do with myself and a few others who had failed the officer selection. Eventually I was shipped out to Port Said Egypt on the SS Franconia and onto the RASC School at Gebel Maryam. Later with a detachment I was sent onto Kabrit. We were there to guard German Prisoner s that had been rounded up after absconding and living with the local good time girls. They were all later shipped off to European POW camps. The Camp at Kabrit I later found out became an S.A.S training camp. I was now a Sergeant and was posted to Salonika in Greece. I was on detachment to the Salonika interrogation Centre, as a Sergeant Chief Clerk. I was billeted in a lovely three storey house by the sea. The house had been owned by a Jewish family who had fled when the Germans invaded Greece. I have often wondered what happened to that family and always hoping they reached safety. As you are aware this was a good posting, the area is known as Thessaloniki now.
As my Two years national service was coming to an end, I was shipped home on the Eastern Prince This converted troop ship had sustained a lot of damage during the war, but was refitted back into service. The ship was later named the Empire Medway. I was like all national servicemen looking forward to demob and getting on with my life. It was quite strange after demob, all my social like friends had moved on. I felt very uneasy and it was difficult to settle down and eventually I resigned my job in a bank. This turned out to be the best thing I ever did. I met Shirley who became my wife and we had fifty beautiful years together, before she died three years ago. Losing her was a big loss as you will understand, but nothing can douse the memories of our life together. Mine and Shirley’s legacy lives on in our two great children and our four lovely grandchildren.
I am now 84 years of age and still in good health, I don’t believe in wasting what time I have left, because as you know life goes on.

Good luck and best wishes to you all

S/19136378 John Giles

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