Tag Archives: royal signals

George Andrews Royal Signals 1956-65

6 May

This letter was sent to me by George Andrews a few years back and was on my old website. George certainly had to grow up very quickly
Good on you Parkie,
Just been reading through your experiences during your early life and your time in the army. It’s a jolly good read and probably typical of the story of many a young fellow of that era. I enjoyed it immensely. These social histories can vanish so quickly. Our generation is starting to get near the end of the plank. My own case was slightly different in that I was one the thousands of kids evacuated from London in 1941 and as both parents perished in the war, consequently I never went back to London
At 17 years of age I was persuaded to volunteer for the army and I signed on for 9 years in the Royal Signals. That was in 1956 and coming from a series of boys homes, Army life was a doddle. I came out in 1965 despite great attempts to make me re-enlist. I then spent the next 10 years in the Merchant Navy. For the first five years or so of service, National Service guys were everywhere they used to call us “thick regulars” and not always in jest.
There was a wonderful cross section of the British nation, every one of the national service lads moaned about having to do it. Since, I have never met one ex-national service man who told me that he regretted having done it. I’m sure there may be a few, but they are hard to find. The national servicemen were a great credit to their country and in Australia; I believe they are being recognised with a National Service medal and that is how it should be.
I’m glad you still meet up with a few of your old mates; you’ve got plenty to talk about. I personally think we would do many of our youngsters a favour, if we re-instituted a form of service for them. It doesn’t have to be military, it could be fisheries patrolling, anti- drug custom work or even work to do with global warming. Anything, that got youngsters into situations of adversity and discipline. I bet you that they would thank us for it, afterwards of course.
Good luck mate
George Andrews

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Other National Service Story by Brian Owen – Royal Signals

29 Jan

Hello Alan
Your Story was very good and engrossing for an ex N/S man. I will spend many an hour reading it through and the other stories.
Do you know I could write a book on the many experiences I had in my 2 years in the royal signals.
If only only I had expertise and know how.
I was defered from military service until I was 21&6months. Now because I had just served my apprenticeship at a steel heavy fabrication works has a plater ( boilermaker ) I thought I had been forgotten, but I was looking foreward to doing it. Many a time I would listen to the older lads talking about their experiences abroad in the different mobs and be disappointed I coudn’t join.

So I got my brown envelope at last .I reported to I think it was Zion St. in Liverpool along with
hundreds of others and had a full M.O.T. that we all passed.
There must have been at least 5 or 6 Doctors including a lady doctor,she of course was the drop your trousers cough expert.
Then it was the selection board for us, I think that was in the same vicinty. The Royal Navy was on the
top floor,The RAF was on the middle floor,and the Army was on the bottom floor.
So I headed for the top floor and the Royal Navy. There was no chance of becoming a jolly jack tar.
unless you had been a member of the sea cadets or the sea scouts or your dad was an ex rear
admiral, or you signed on for at least 3 years. So I headed for the middle floor and the RAF. I thought
people were joking when they said the officers had handlebar moustaches like Jimmy Edwards, but the
one I saw did.
He said in a very posh accent. “Why do you want to join the RAF ” and I said .”because I can’t get in the Navy.” His face went crimson .”GET DOWN STAIRS TO THE ARMY”.
So I went down stairs to the Army. They asked what mob I wanted to be in. I said The Royal Amoured Corps.Or The Royal Tank Corps.
On June 4th 1959 I was summoned to Catterick in North Yorkshire to do my squarebashing in the Royal Corps of Signals.

All the best Brian Owen. Northwich Cheshire.

Letters to Alan 1 – Brian Phillips National Service – Royal Signals

12 Dec

Hi Alan – Thanks for providing this interesting site

I’m Brian Phillips – 22442400 – Called up for N/S – R.Signals, to a freezing Catterick in January 1951 – To reside In Barrack Room 40 top floor. We had a whip round for a wireless and were able to drop off to sleep listening to hits of the day that included ‘Goodnight Irene’ – ‘On top of Old Smokey’ – ‘My heart Cries for You’ – Later we went from the luxury of a heated barrack block with hot water on tap – to those dillapidated ‘Spiders’ that were a half mile walk from the cookhouse and said to have originated from the Crimea war era – Freezing, damp, and cold water ablutions ! – After passing out as Teleprinter ops we were posted to Singapore District Signal Regt – via Pocklington for tropical kit, followed by 2 weeks embarkation leave, Overnighting at Londons deep underground accommodation at Goodge Street station , then on to Southampton to board HMT Dunera – (same boat that a young schoolgirl name of Joanna Lumley also sailed on) – being a very amateur dance band trumpet player I was allowed to join the ships band for ‘entertainment’ – thereby escaping all ships chores and duties ! – On arrival at S’pore we lived under canvass at Calcutta Camp – that later would become the palatial Princess Mary Barracks and still exists- Being ferried out to Fort Canning – communicating by teleprinter with our units up country
in the jungles of Malaya. Most of the Singapore that us young lads then knew has mostly dissappeared under the bulldozer, being replaced with council style housing and concrete almost coast to coast. Events during our time included the assassination of the Governor Sir H Gurney, when his car was ambushed by bandits on a remote jungle road, And the tragic death of our young L/Cpl pay clerk – accidentally shot with his own revolver in camp . I often think back to those carefree days of our youth – Sadly we seldom appreciated the good fortune of being posted to such an exotic and interesting land with so much spare time for leisure in a superb climate. It would be good to hear from former comrades and friends who also served in those places – Best wishes to all – Brian

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