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This would take place once a week after evening meal. 19.30 for 20.00 hours. They designed the course, a straight dash of 12 feet. The track was 5 lanes, each 6 inches wide, 2 inches deep with raised sides of plastic down the length. This enabled the crabs to be seen and to see each other and to be kept in separate track for the rule was that no two crabs were to be in the same lane. The Police drew up the rules, so we knew they would be fair. However, as Police, Firemen, Clerks, Cooks and 'Posties' are honest. I personally did not see the need for such formal drafting...

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The build-up continued and the runway was duly completed. The ancillary buildings were built together with more permanent structures. The Royal Navy built a Sea Water distillery plant and the water that we all took for granted tasted sweeter and not so brackish. Showering was still a luxury, but we were issued with salt-water soap that did eventually give a lather but still took a fair time to rinse off During the rainy season, a heavy downpour would occur between 16.00 and 17.00. Not only did your ablutions become a pleasure. but it laid the dust.

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The mail arrivals became more regular as the weeks went by, and a move from Port Camp to main camp was made, which enabled us to be with the force H.Q. This was now equipped with Heavy Plant, Tractors, Rollers, Bowsers, Mixers etc. These were brought ashore from the Fleet Auxiliary and Transport Steamers from all corners of the Merchant Marine. The supply ships bought surface mail, parcels and newspaper post to be distributed amongst the island forces and civilian staff.

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I returned to Gunsite, reported to the Chief Clerk, was ordered to hand in my bedding, to collect "Kit tropical" and to then return to the Chief Clerk and receive my orders. This I did and was told I had a warrant to get me home and to have two weeks leave. I was then to report to the Movements Officer, Liverpool Docks. Still there was no clue as to my destination. After enjoying my leave I reported to Liverpool Movements and met up with Staff Sergeant Dickson C. RE and two other sappers, W.C.Beaman (Fred) and John Thomas Chevane Smith (Tom).

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We were quartered at Gunside Camp. twixt Wormwood scrubs Prison and the Middlesex Hospital. For those who can recall the location, around the square were the wooden huts. MT Park at the top of the square, living accommodation to the right, and administrators block at the bottom of the square. The veranda enclosed the PC Adjutant and Orderly Room. The regimental flag flew in all its glory and the hub of the Royal Engineers Postal Section was the centre of a world wide service, second to none. This was an experience I enjoyed very much, shift work and good food.

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I was relieved, glad that we would not have to go through that every time that we were going to be "on parade". It took an hour to get it right, and I am sure it was the fault of the R.S.M. for being too ambitious. Lunch came as a blessed relief. Our feet hurt, legs ached, shirt tickled, drawers cellular rubbed, so we were not a happy group. It was fatal to lay on your "pit" at this stage, anyhow we had no time. I strongly believe the theory of keeping you on the move to stop you feeling miserable and homesick. Home seemed a lifetime away. The afternoon followed on from when we left off.

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They were then able to bang the serving utensil on the rim of his pot. and transfer whatever he was dispensing onto your tray. Their aim was not always true however, although in hindsight I suspect it was done deliberately because we were new. Finding a seat at a large table was the next task, and we sat down to our first army meal. Within a few moments of sitting down, a very young looking officer came to my side and asked "Any complaints?" He was accompanied by a short squat little man with a thin moustache, a beret on his head, and a red fancy sash across his breast.

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With no particular concern, I attended the Army Recruiting Office in July 1955 and duly registered for National Service. I was the youngest of four boys. My father had served in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, one brother had been in the Royal Corp of Military Police and the other two served in the Royal Navy. In October of the same year, I was instructed to report to Merebrooke Training Camp, Malvern, Worcestershire - it was now my turn to contribute to the cause.