Anecdotes

Bob Morrison's picture

Whatever became of Fowler ?

In my time at Port Camp from 63 to 64 there was a West Indian Sapper named Fowler. who was the cheeriest and friendliest person I think I have ever met. He called out and waved to everybody, whatever their rank and he smiled hugely and continuously. I think he was a squadron ‘runner’, but I may be maligning him here. Nobody ever dare take his ‘leggie’ (bicycle) as he had ‘FOWLERS ROLLS’ painted on the crossbar. Anyone else remember him ?.

Bob Morrison's picture

The Journey

I joined the Royal Engineers in January 1960 . The medical examination I remember vividly. I was ‘requested’ to report to a recruiting centre somewhere in Glasgow. It turned out to be an unheated T.A. drill hall, just the place to strip off to your birthday suit. On entry I saw, at the other side of the hall, 2 large trestle tables. One table displayed a card bearing the word ‘Volunteers’, the other a card ‘Conscripts’. There was a long line of several dozen glum looking individuals at the latter table but no-one at the former.

Bob Morrison's picture

One Dive Too Many

Anyone who remembers the Rock will never forget being ‘dive-bombed’ by Frigate or 'Gooney', birds. These were not your average British seaside type of seabirds but big fat things with a huge wingspan of about 5 or 6 feet as I recall. They were expert aerobats and could rip your bait or catch from the end of a fishing line whilst the hook was still airborne. These kitehawks would also menace moving vehicles at certain times by swooping down in front of them in a kind of Kamikaze manoeuvre, for what reason I know not.

Bob Morrison's picture

It Was Just Before Christmas........

......... When a really hot rumour began to circulate around Port Camp in 1963. Now - rumours were not unknown on The Rock, and every crazy notion known to mankind was circulated as Gospel - honest! You soon got to know that 99% were probably a figment of the fevered imagination of a Rock happy blue-job - no squaddie would ever start such silly tales!. But this story, particularly at this time of the year when wives, girl-friends and family were in our thoughts more than usual, had a certain element of spice in it that made us hope that it might just be true, after all, it was possible.

Bob Morrison's picture

Things Remembered

Swimming at Virg Inn. ** The lung-stifling pong driving past the S**t lagoon. Stickies in the afternoon.** Fishing at the Spit - incredibly easy to catch anything. Watching the massive waves at Bensons Point. Blue Lagoon downpours. Spear-fishing in the big lagoon with sharks around. Tombola nights at the RE Club. My mate Bruce rambling on and on and on about his Kharman Ghia!. Being dive-bombed by Gooneybirds whilst fishing.** Pacific sunsets. Hiding from Freddie.

Bob Morrison's picture

Fancy A Shower ?

Well, this is what you did on The Rock. First you rummaged in the bins at the back of the cook-house until you found a tin about the size of a Heinz soup can, preferably with no crustacean inhabitant. Secondly, you cut the tin in half and threw away the top bit. Next you drilled a hole in the centre of the bottom. Then you got a piece of stiff wire, coat hanger type was perfect, and you cut a length about 10" long. You stuck about an inch though the hole in the tin from the open (top) end and bent it over. You then got the hard bit.

Bob Morrison's picture

Shady And His Amazing POLYTHENE Dream Coat.

For the benefit of the historically-challenged, a little preamble. In 1963 the British Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home and some other foreign blokes got together and signed the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty which forbade atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons by the agreed nations. These included Great Britain and the USA. Therefore, at the stroke of a pen, Christmas Island as a nuclear test base was redundant. The effect of this treaty meant that ordinary squaddies like me had to remain ‘tourists’, with little chance of becoming full-blown Grapplers.