National Service 1 (V2)

National Service 1 (V2)

A Story by Wild Rose
"

Events leading up to and travel to the kitting out station -

"

National Service

27 March 2019

15:39

Kitting out station Day 0

24 March 2019

13:17

Following WWII every male had to do national service from age 18 year old unless they had an exemption, that was for study at a higher level University students; Apprentices following a trade; Those studying for a religious qualification, etc.

They were exempt until 21 year old; for doctors it was until age 26 year old for medical studies.

 

April a letter from the Labour Exchange "If your 18th birthday falls between May 1st and October 31st of this year you are obliged to report to the Labour Exchange to register for National Service

Those with surnames beginning A to E report between 08:00 and 17:00 on Monday  ------

If you think you have an exemption fill in the enclosed form and return to us at the above address ----------

Form duly filled in and signed by the personnel officer at work

 

Time came to report to the Labour Exchange: Name? Date of birth? Employment? Which service would you wish to join?

Neither of the last two were taken into account

 

Report to Royal Air Force Cardington on Monday 24TH July; enclosed travel warrant 

 

Look on the map where is Cardington? Bedford. Oh yes he remembered riding past this place on holiday two years previously, some really huge hangers, much bigger than any others he had seen.

 

He handed in his notice "I still have three weeks to work" "That's fine we can make plans"

The Friday before he was due to leave he was offered the chance of weekend overtime on the nylon plant

'You have to start an hour early both days, you will get just under a weeks extra pa, Dont be late'

Saturday morning he reported to the nylon plant workshop with his tool bag

The chargehand and two labourers were there "You know Billy and George? You have to remove all the instrumentation completely and send it to the central workshop; Billy an George know the best order to work in > You must leave before ten o'clock, even if you haven't cleared every thing, you must be back in the workshop by ten o'clock"

 

There were  two men in dust proof suits and breathing equipment in the autoclave scaping off the process residue 

Following orders from the two labourers all the instrumentation was removed and placed on  the two hand carts for transportation by twenty minutes to ten.

George left them at the workshop doors to take his cart to the central workshop and put the kettle on for tea.

Billy proceeded to make the tea for them and two other instrumentation workers

The chargehands came round for a head count, all were present, the shift foreman informed, He called the nylon plant

The four of the sat having their break; their was a loud bang followed by a rush of air, a rumble like falling bricks a few seconds later a dull thud.

The foreman's phone rang, the chargehands came out.

The autoclave had exploded and both process workers were killed.

 

 

 

Monday morning dad walked him to the station he had a bag containing toiletries < change of underclothes and socks and clean shirt.

He didn't want an escort, to him it was just another journey, only this time on a train instead of by bike but he didn't complain just put up with the situation

 

When the train pulled they walked along the platform together to find a seat, dad carrying his bag, an empty compartment came up. Harry got in took the bag and entered the compartment put his bag on the seat then opened the window

"Take care, dont give them any back chat, just follow orders"

The guards whistle, The train began to move, "Bye" "Bye take care"

He watched back at the station, dad waving. He waved back then closed the window, leaving his bag on the seat sat facing forwards watching the town go by all the houses climbing the hillside, church spires and towers reaching up to heaven, the burnt out skating rink, how long has it been like that? Still untouched? The bike shop, the viaduct where the lines parted, off to Huddersfield and through the tunnel to Lancashire;

He changed trains in Wakefield from the London train to one crossing the country to Bedford and beyond

Watching the countryside pass by Chesterfield with its twisted spire, built with unseasoned wood they say; His thoughts drifted to all the wise words he had been given 'always obey the last command' from Maurice Mullen [Corporal Mullen they would call him an ex Grenadier Guards corporal] He was one of the labourers, he had an army pension nearing retirement from the chemical factory, send him on an errand he never forgot anything he was sent for

 

The train arrived in Bedford. Outside there were several other lads waiting with two RAF Policemen

"Are you for Cardington? "Yes" "Wait here"

Another train was heard to stop and leave, more lads came and joined the throng

Four truck were driven over from the park "Twenty to a truck, Get in" they were counted in. "All sit down and dont stand up on the way" The back covers dropped down the trucks set off

 

The trucks stopped "All out , come on move it, we haven't all day"

"Come on over here; that means all of you; line up, form three lines" A different corporal

"Now listen when I call your name line up on the left in three lines"  he went through his list

"Right listen again this time line up on the right" another list

Two more corporals had joined them each took over a group

 

"Right form three ranks, Right turn, pick up your bags, we will now march to your billet"

They walked, rather than marched; each lad clutching his bag stopping outside three huts.

Two more corporals appeared out of one of the huts carrying some papers.

"Sqaud! When I call your got to the hut I tell you and find yourself a bed. Answer Yes corporal to show you have heard"

Each bed had just an empty mattres

 

They lounged on their beds tired from their journeys and disoriented by the events.

The corporal came in through the door, he shouted "Stand by your beds" turning to the lad on the left by the door "When I enter the room you shout "N C O present, you will all stand to attention by the foot of your bed, whatever you are doing YOU will stand to attention, Understood" replies of "yes" "Yes What/ It is YES corporal"  "That applies to all of you when an N C O enters the room you will shout N C O present you will all stand to attention"

"I am corporal Wright I an here to take you through kitting out,. You do as I say and everything will go smoothly. If you dont things will be difficult for you. Understand?

The squad answered in unison "Yes corporal"

"Good that's how it should be. Right carry on squad" he turned and left the room

 

Corporal returned five minutes later "N C O present" was called out all except one lad stood by their beds

" You airman why are you not standing"

"Dont know corporal"

"Dont know do you have some ear problems"

"No corporal"

"well remember net time"

"Form three ranks outside we will march to stores then on to the mess room for a meal"

"Outside Now"

 

Outside they were taught how to march

"Squad will stand to attention, Wait for the instruction, Attention, Squad will turn to the right, wait for it, Right Turn" they turned counting the time "One, Pause, Two"

"Leading by the left foot squad will march to the stores. Squad Quick March"

"eft, eft , eft oight eft, swing those arms" "eft wheel, straight ahead"

So the reached the stores were given one knife, fork and spoon and a china mug.

"Outside"

"Form three lines"

"Hold your mug and irons in your left hand and hold it behind your back - Right turn - Quick march"

 

They stopped at the Airmens mess - marched in; in single file to collect their meals

Take a plate and hold it for the meal choice to be served

Sausage and mash or cold roast beef with mash and a choice of peas, carrots or beans

For sweet sponge and custard or rice pudding

 

After the meal they were marched back to the billets

"Leave you mug and irons on your bed side locker and form up outside"

They were now marched to the bedding store and issued with Blankets, sheets, pillow case and pillow.

Back at the billet with their bedding Corporal Wright followed them in

"Take one blanket and lay it on your bed; tuck it in using hospital corners"

He demonstrated on the nearest lads bed   

They were shown how to make a 'Bed pack'. A sandwich Three blankets separated by the folded sheets > B,S,B.S.B. With the fourth blanket folded and wrapped round to enclose it.

 

Before he left they were told breakfast was from 06:30 they had morning parade at 08:00 - Late comers will be punished. 

Also a warning not to go near the two hangers which were dangerous and out of bounds - Court Marshall if found near them

The rest of evening was free time




© 2019 Wild Rose



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Featured Review

interesting piece providing a taste of what it must have been like back then after the war. Still a stark existence. I enjoyed the history lesson. There are a few typos unfortunately and a lot of missed punctuation. Here are the ones I spotted:

1 you will get just under a weeks extra pay
2 here were two men in dust proof suits and breathing equipment in the autoclave scraping off the process residue
3 The four of them sat having their break;
4 When the train pulled out they walked along the platform
5 The guard's whistle
6 He looked back at the station, dad waving.
7 More reading of lists this time they filed in to the huts and selected a bed.
8 "No corporal" "well remember next time"
9 So they reached the stores were given one knife, fork and spoon and a china mug.
10 Late comers would be punished.


This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

John Alexander McFadyen

1 Month Ago

Yes I felt the stark reality of it. Many thanks WR.
Wild Rose

1 Month Ago

Think I will take it down and rewrite it
John Alexander McFadyen

1 Month Ago

Perhaps 'crafting' is a better term?



Reviews

A soldier life. Never a easy life. If you follow the rules. You were left alone. You shared some good information and I liked the detail described in the story. Thank you dear friend for sharing the interesting story. I did enjoy.
Coyote

Posted 3 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

3 Weeks Ago

Thanks Continuation on its way
we have only covered part of the kitting out process
B.. read more
I enjoyed this look into how things are/were done on your side of the Atlantic. It used to be much the same here. Possibly, you've cleaned up the description of basic training? I say that because my experience back in '67 was a lot less gentle. Cussed at, shoved and slapped around, marched until our feet were covered with blisters, I'd been there a week when it occurred to me that I hadn't yet taken a crap. A sad statement, I guess, but having come from poverty, all those new, free shoes and uniforms made me think it was Christmas. One thing I'll bet we can agree on is that the experience was unforgettable.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

1 Month Ago

Thanks Samuel So far he has only reached kitting out camp . Most of this is from my own experiences .. read more
I can tell there was distraction in this write, as you mention below to J.A.M. It's a little hard to follow becuz of the choppy lines, but it's worth digging into, despite that, for the value of telling these old stories. To be honest, I have no interest in military writing & this piece does seem to drone on with minutiae quite a bit. But I still feel everything you've included is an important part of presenting an honest accounting . . . military life CAN be boring & regimented & you show that with realism, which I very much honor in your writing (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

1 Month Ago

Thank you Margie
You will appreciate some of the problems of being a carer
interesting piece providing a taste of what it must have been like back then after the war. Still a stark existence. I enjoyed the history lesson. There are a few typos unfortunately and a lot of missed punctuation. Here are the ones I spotted:

1 you will get just under a weeks extra pay
2 here were two men in dust proof suits and breathing equipment in the autoclave scraping off the process residue
3 The four of them sat having their break;
4 When the train pulled out they walked along the platform
5 The guard's whistle
6 He looked back at the station, dad waving.
7 More reading of lists this time they filed in to the huts and selected a bed.
8 "No corporal" "well remember next time"
9 So they reached the stores were given one knife, fork and spoon and a china mug.
10 Late comers would be punished.


This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

John Alexander McFadyen

1 Month Ago

Yes I felt the stark reality of it. Many thanks WR.
Wild Rose

1 Month Ago

Think I will take it down and rewrite it
John Alexander McFadyen

1 Month Ago

Perhaps 'crafting' is a better term?

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Added on March 26, 2019
Last Updated on March 31, 2019

Author

Wild Rose
Wild Rose

Lake Disrtict, Cumbria, United Kingdom



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BA (Hons)Management studies Open University Full tech Cert. Marine: Aviation & Industrial Instrumentation and Conrtol Retired engineering lecturer Ex racing cyclist: fell walker: Camper more..

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