Forces Reunited

Members Memories

Hong Kong -Wanchai in 1962
written by David Commerford

Wanchai 1962--- As 79 Coy R.A.S.C. Water Transport, as we were then known, was based in Sham Shui Po we were more used to the bar areas of Tsim Sha Tsui on the Kowloon side than the better known Wanchai district of Victoria. The Suzy Wong area held a fascination for us, especially when the film came out, and so a trip to the ‘Wanch’ was something in the nature of an event as suddenly every bar had a Suzy in it. We would usually start in the Black Cat Bar by the Mong Kok Ferry from where it was possible to see the Macao steamer set sail, Gradually we would drift from bar to bar until somewhere around eleven we would arrive at the China Fleet Club, those of us who made it that is. It was quite normal to have to pick each others brains to try to piece together the events of the latter part of the previous evening, but one morning I found myself in an entirely different situation altogether. Hong Kong was full of out of bounds areas so naturally these were the places everybody made for if only to find out why. The added fun of outwitting the Military Police patrols added to the excitement and this it seems is what must have happened and accounted for what happened next.

I awoke quite slowly, consciousness creeping back at a pace not to be hurried. The whole world shone with a curious blue light and try as I might the only part of my body that seemed to obey me was my eyelids. No matter how often I blinked the scene remained the same; I felt no sensation from the rest of my body and seemed to be floating. Then I heard them –Trumpets. They sounded far away but seemed to be getting closer, my first thought was that I was dead and for the few seconds this thought took to form I lay perfectly still. Suddenly realisation of what I had just thought hit me and my body leapt unbidden to its feet. Somehow I had found my way to a rooftop very close to the big Mercedes sign. At that time the big blue star was the most prominent neon sign on the Hong Kong waterfront and this was the source of the all pervading blue light. The American ships in the harbour were playing reveille, unlike the Royal Navy’s pipes they used bugles and that was the source of the music I had heard. I must have been in the first stages of hyperthermia as I suddenly realised how cold I was and began to shiver uncontrollably. Picking my way past the Chinese families who actually lived in the stairways of these tall buildings I regained the street and returned to the Fleet Club for a wash and brush up still part convinced I’d died and come back again.

If any of the old gang read this give me a call, unfortunately I heard ‘Slim’ Griffin is no longer with us. Mick Banthorp ‘Max’ House ‘Chalky ‘White ‘Benbow’ Rogers 'Munch'Mason And others I can’t remember.

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