Monday, 4 January 2010

Royal Signals 'Wire' magazine Jun-Jul 72

Settling in
During February we all said our fond farewells to Shoeburyness where we had been so well looked after and enjoyed our seaside holiday. Then by cars and trains and ships and planes we made our various ways to this green and pleasant land to relieve 5 Bde besieged in Lurgan. Now spring is here and we are well and truly settled and watch over our concrete garden with a jaundiced eye. The instant peace we knew would settle on this unhappy land on our arrival has so far eluded us so we are digging in, rebuilding our knicker factory from the inside out. The OC lives in Ladies' Underwear according to the old office plan. We hope he's comfortable.

Our factory home

The D.O.E. and their band of Irish contractors, who have strikes and breaks and holidays for saints you've never heard of, are somehow managing to construct new offices and conference rooms, rest rooms and a comcen. Short cuts are barred by new walls, telephones ring in offices without doors (no holes in the walls either), windows bang, hammers hammer, drills drill, saws saw, labourers swear and then the lights go out. The electricians are here again or an officer has his electric blanket, kettle, television, gramophone, radio and heater on in his room while he does a bit of ironing. When the lights go out the pumps don't pump the water to the roof, the showers stop, the lavatories block, the place begins to smell and we know it’s going to be another good week. The plumber just called the Second-in-Command Corporal.

We do have some sport
Meanwhile back on the factory floor among the 'pigs,' petrol and holes in the ground, a gymnasium is being built. A very welcome addition when sports fields are so difficult to come by, though we have had some sporting success. We have beaten 233 Sig Sqn at basketball 36-24, with Staff Sergeant Dunbar leading the team. At hockey we beat 233 Sig Sqn 2-1, Banbridge Road Girls 1-0 and drew with 39 Bde Sig Sqn 1-1. Alas a tale of woe, we have lost our football matches – with 8 Bde 2-3, 13/18 Hussars 1-11 and the U.D.R. 0-7. Signalman Crick and Signalman Egan have both played consistently well and we hope, with a bit of training, to improve the situation.

Fishing too
The Fishing Club has got off to a great start – a competition was held on 7th May with enthusiasts lining the banks of the River Bann as far as the eye could see. F. of S. Jackson settled down to a bit of 'cultured' spinning while Sergeant Hamilton tried his special worms. Corporal Smith of the Pioneers won the competition easily, though the R.S.M. was convinced he would have done if someone hadn't enlarged the holes in his keep net.

Major Ryding and R.Q.M.S. Waugh slip away to the golf course at the finish of work (?) for an afternoon of relaxation. The M.T.O., W.O.2 Walton, got wise to this and insists on driving them there, and then waiting for them at the 19th.

Girls pour in
We have discos and dances in the canteen about once a week and girls pour in from miles around to savour the delights. They have heard the rumours of long-haired soldiers, put about to encourage volunteers for Northern Ireland. Corporal Brooks and Signalman Warner wear their wigs (to encourage the myth) while R.S.M. Thornton has a barber in his pay who comes into the factory three times a week (to destroy the myth). These discos are a great success, ably organised by Lance-Corporal Hill of the A.C.C. ' James Bonds ' abound, shoulder holsters bulge and people have to leave the dance floor to adjust their weapons.

Sergeants’ Mess improvements
All the more senior contractors seem to be honorary mem­bers of the Sergeants' Mess so work on the rebuild of their bar has gone like greased lightning and a beautiful refurbished Mess is emerging. Let's hope that when it's finished they won't all sit back with their pints in their hand and forget the rest of the factory.

A vet for the ‘pigs’?
Finally we hear Corporal Quaile of the R.A.V.C. is posted in – presumably to look after the 'pigs'!

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