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|I did my “square bashing” at Bridgenorth in February/March 1957 and I was billeted in Hut 292. Our drill instructors were Corporals Parnell and Fowler: the former being the hard one and the latter soft –I wonder whether they swapped roles with each intake! Only recently I learnt that RAF drill instructors were trained by the Brigade of Guards at Pirbright, which explains a lot. We spent a very frosty night camped out somewhere near the Welsh hills, with only our cape/groundsheets for shelter. The only member of our intake I can name is Mike Bradbury and I know that he was stationed at RAF Wellesbourne Mountfield at one time. He and I used walk down to the River Severn on Sunday afternoon for a welcome break from the camp and genteel afternoon tea!|
The arrival at Bridgenorth was a rude awakening as the few days at Cardington were pleasant enough and we were watched over by an avuncular corporal, who must have been near demob. The train journey seems to last for hours as we were diverted into sidings to allow other trains past. On arrival we were shouted at and ordered to get into a lorry with our kit, as it pulled away. I was not sure whether I had joined the Guards or been sent to Colditz!
I really understood the reason behind the stern discipline when I was posted on active service to Cyprus- if you stopped to question an order, you could end up with a bullet in your head: acting together (even if the order turned out to be wrong)was far safer than everybody doing their own thing.