Tag Archives: Kings Own Royal Border Regiment

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.

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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