Tag Archives: RASC

John Giles RASC 1947-49

4 Apr

Hi Alan

Just a short letter about my national service
My name is John Giles and I was hauled in to do my National Service at Canterbury with the RASC on the 20th February 1947.When training was complete. I was stationed at various camps in England for the first year. I must admit the time certainly seemed to drag
Then the powers to, be sent me to the Middle East Land Forces Egypt on the S.S. Franconia. As luck had it, I was sent on to Kabrit which was an intelligence Corps depot. This is the camp where the British Commandos trained many years earlier.
I was a white kneed clerk when I arrived, but due to the hot climate that was not for long and after a boring six months, I was sent on to Salonika in Greece for my last six months in the army. The Salonika detachment was a great improvement, even though we were in the middle of a fierce civil war. The unit was Salonika Interrogation Centre and we were billeted in a large private house and yes there were girls around
At one time 40,000 British troops were in Greece; too stop Greece being taken over by the communists. American President Truman poured money into Greece to help the poor financial state of the country. That was the beginning of the end for communist rule in Greece. All British servicemen who served in Salonika were on active service and indeed my last six months in the army soon passed by and I got my demob in 1949.
I would like to send all my friends who served at Kabrit and Salonika all my best wishes
Best of luck
John Giles S/19136378

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Letter to Alan from Brian Sutton ex RASC.

28 Feb

Hi Alan

I have read through your story and although not being a national serviceman, I managed to associate easily with your adventures. My service was always on the home front until the Suez Crisis broke out in 1956. I remember so well being on the dock side ready to embark for Aden.
Suffice to say I was yanked off both postings due to me being a member of the swimming squad and as well as the battalion football team. At the time I was stationed at 1st training battalion R.A.S.C. Yeovil and I was there for quite some time.
My claim to fame was I managed to spend almost 7 months of this time and the only item of army clothing I wore were socks. The rest of my uniform was an army issue track suit and running shoes. Oh I forgot to mention I carried the most potent weapon one could handle in the R.A.S.C. and that was a clipboard with the names of either the football team or the swimming squad signed by Captain Birrel O.C. of the football team or Major Morrison O. C. of the swimming. I also managed to get away wearing a civilian crash helmet whilst doing a stint as the Company Despatch rider. I found myself on 7 days confined to barracks for ignoring the Adjutants orders to get army issue head gear. However later I did revert to wearing the civvie gears again through the courtesy of Major Morrison, who happened to be the Medical Officer. He issued me with a chit stating unfit to wear regulation headgear due to headaches! I must admit it was a trip to the R.E.M.E. workshops to get my bright red helmet painted yucky khaki
I cannot complain about the grub, because I happened to be the junior NCO in charge of the kitchen general duty hands (usually national service guys) who came on after meals to clean out the mess hall.
As a driving instructor of sorts it was our duty to take out the territorials from the billets next door to our camp. If you are familiar with the camp at Yeovil, you would know this happened to be the girls who were doing their training. What a detail this was in the summer months as a fresh batch was turned over every three weeks.
There are many more stories I could go into over the tree years I did service in the R.A.S.C. One thing I am certain about is the facts that like you and all who served. The experience and training given in those times has been invaluable ever since.
I would like to wish all my ex- comrades and friends all the best wherever you are

Take care

Brian Sutton

Letters to Alan 4 – Mike Woodford RASC

14 Dec

Hello Alan

My National Service number was 23004494, from 1953 to 1955, I was stationed at 62 Company R.A.S.C in or very near to Spandau, in fact many a time I drove past Spandau Prison when they were changing over guarding the only prisoner in the prison – Rudolf Hess
I always found it strange the way the russians drove away with their guards sitting in the back of their vehicles, the tarpaulin sides down on every lorry preventing anyone seeing the russian soldiers and of course to stop the russian soldiers from seeing how the west lived
I also remember driving to Gatow when requested (or is it ordered) and able to see the russian soldiers in their guard huts on stilts behind the wire fences, looking at me and my lorry through binoculars and there was always one of them following you pointing their rifle in your direction in case you drove through the fence into the forbidden russion zone………………now two very true stories if I may
True story No. 1
In 1956 I had emigrated with my younger brother to Southern Rhodesia and I moved to Bulawayo, I am in a nightclub on my umpteenth bottle of Lion Lager, when I saw ‘Jock’ across the room, (Jock was with the Argylle & Sutherland Highlanders, and I was involved in making many a journey from Berlin Station to the Montgomery Barracks transferring soldiers and all manner of their equipment to their new home) and I had many, many a glass of Schultheis in the Berlin NAAFI with Jock.
As we old soldiers do, I through my arms around him saying how good it was to see him, only to be told I had my arms around his twin brother.
Lucky I did not receive a glasgow kiss

True story No. 2
Still in Southern Rhodesia, this time 1957, I am in a bar in Gwelo, midday and only two customers drinking, eventually we started to talk and I recognised a scottish voice and a while later national service was mentioned, he said he was with the Argylle & Sutherland Highlanders in Berlin, I told him I had been involved in moving his Regiment to his barracks
He told me that the RASC driver driving the lorry he was in had reversed into a very very large crate containing the Dress Kilts of the Regiment, yes it was me, I heard a very loud shout from a CSM of the Argylle & Sutherland Highlanders, wearing his regiments dress who came, I swear, from the east end of London

Trying to make an excuse for my bad driving skills, the CSM recognised I was somewhat local to London and following a real b******ing. let me off

Just to close, I remember 2 officers in our company, 2nd Liutenant J.E.T. Ray and Captain Barton (Dick)

Regards and best wishes

Mike Woodford

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