I enlisted into the Royal Artillery in June 1968, and was in the very first intake to
complete its Basic training and pass out at Woolwich when 17 Training Regiment
moved down from Oswestry.
17th Training Regiment
Le Cateau Troop
59 (Asten) Battery RA
24th June - 27th September 1968
Some names I remember, not in any particular order:
Rear: Declan Doyle, Jimmy Pearce, D Fleet, J Wade and me.
Middle: Pete Bryson, Ken Train, Jimmy Mace, Danny Brookes, Eddie Halfpenny,
C Woodford, A Forsythe and C Wakefield.
Front: P Hatch, A Booth, F Rennaldson, Sgt Hudson, Lt Moore and Bdr Dave Scott.
"That's a matter of Opinion."
C Section Football Team
Training was quite hard but we were a good Intake and all got stuck in. Believe it or not in
1968 we were still using Blanco and Brasso to clean our Kit. We had two hard task Master's in
Sgt Hudson and Bdr Dave Scott, but they were very fair. I joined the Army to see the World,
but after training I was posted to Shoeburyness, about two miles from my old house,
I think someone was having a laugh at the Records Office.
The dizzy heights of the Best Young Gunner
N.B. I have recently made contact with Allan Demuth and Allan Forsythe who were in the
same Training Intake as myself. If there is anyone else out there, please get in touch.
I was posted to 36 Heavy Air Defence Regiment in September 1968 at Shoeburyness.
This was a very popular posting as it was close to the nightlife in sunny Southend on Sea.
As I was a Southend boy, it was just like coming home. This must of been one of the
best postings in the UK for a young Gunner. I'm sure many will have their
happy memories of that time.
The usual Local Boy makes good write up,
but did'nt I look young then!
Many 36 lads married local girls and settled in the Southend area after
their service finished, and many are now members of the
Shoeburyness & South Essex Branch RAA.
The Regiment was probably the biggest Regiment in the British Army, it certainly had
the most vehicles, over 280, it also had a whole Signal Squadron (260) attached to it,
and a large REME / RAOC detachment. Much time was spent on Exercise in
West Germany for two months at a time, so the Batteries were constantly on the move.
Firing Camp was held at Ty Croes Camp in Angelsey which was a two day drive
from Shoeburyness, breaking the journey at The Junior Leaders Regiment, Bramcote,
many will remember sleeping in the Hangers there, freezing!
I have fond memories of nights out in Holyhead whilst at Firing camp.
27th March 1969
On the 27th March 1969 every Regiment in the Royal Artillery was represented and
took part in the Parade at Woolwich when HM Queen inspected the Royal Regiment.
I was lucky to be part of the 36 Regiment contingent. 36 Regiment supplied two
Thunderbird's. The 36 party were led by S/Sgt Billy Bunting (F Troop).
It was so cold everyone on parade was issued with gloves.
N.B. Is there anyone out there who also took part in this Parade.
If so do you have any photo's that I could publish here.
In January 1971 I was posted to the Royal Artillery Recruiting Troop at Woolwich to
take charge of the Thunderbird Missile in No1 Display Team, and later became a
member of the RA Motor Cycle Display Team (The Flying Gunners).
During my time at Woolwich I was kept on 36 Regimental strength.
Keith left holding the baby again!
I would like to bid EVERYONE a warm welcome to our Web site and hope you
enjoy your visit. To all who remember me or would like to contribute to the
Web site please E- mail me, I will be pleased to hear from you,
Please check out my other Web site, Thank you
If like myself you served in the 70's, here are a few of
the things that were going on at the time, do you remember?
Harold Wilson failed to get re-elected for his third term in Downing Street despite opinion polls
in his favour. Edward Heath became Prime Minister. Derek and the Dominoes played their debut gig.
Janis Joplin died. England failed to make the semi-finals of the World Cup as holders of the trophy.
The Equal Pay Act reached the Statute Book. Apollo 13 exploded on its way to the Moon. The
spacecraft limped back to earth using the rockets on the lunar module after being crippled
205,000 miles from home. Jimi Hendrix died in St Mary Abbot's Hospital in London. Charles Manson,
in jail for murder in the USA released an album "Lies" to pay hid legal costs. Radio Northsea
International was bombed by frogmen from rival pirate station Radio Veronica. Peter Hain
campaigned against the South African Cricket team..
John Lennon released his album "Imagine". Rolls Royce were allowed to go bankrupt and then
nationalised after the Lockheed deal for RB-211 engines failed. "No Sex Please We're British" opened
in London, and "Godspell" opened at the Cherry Lane Theatre, New York. The first US astronauts
drove their lunar buggy on the surface of the Moon and their Soviet counterparts, on board Soyuz 11
were killed as their spacecraft returned to the Earth. Unemployment reached 1 million. The half
crown andthreepenny bit disappeared along with their pre decimal partners. The Miners put in a
47% pay claim and Joe Gormley led them to strike on a 55% yes vote. Louis Armstrong and
Jim Morrison died. The "Old Grey Whistle Test" was first broadcast and the Rolling Stones
released " Brown Sugar". Barry Sheene raced his first 125cc World Championship season.
After several attempts at mating the Giant Panda Chi Chi died aged 15. William Whitelaw
appointed Viceroy in Ulster after Bloody Sunday. "Hair" closed on Broadway after 1729
performances. Michael Jackson's first solo single "Got to be There" entered the UK chart.
The Government injected £35 million into Upper Clyde shipbuilders. Edward Heath
announced plans for statutory incomes and prices policy. The Sound Broadcasting act
was passed establishing contracts for 21 commercial radio stations. "Layla" entered the
UK chart. "Amazing Grace" was the best selling single of the year. Pioneer 10 became the
first spacecraft to be blasted out of the solar system and its expected to continue travel
for 2 million years. Leeds United won the FA Cup. Power cuts result from the Miners strike.
Margaret Thatcher appointed Secretary of State for Education.
Unemployment stood at 3%. VAT introduced. Gay Player beat Graham Marsh at the 40th hole
in the World Match Play Championship finals. Queen released their debut LP. Princess Anne
married Captain Mark Phillips. The pound was floated. The Yom Kippur war broke out in
the Middle East. Slade appeared at the London Palladium at the concert to celebrate Britain's entry
into the EEC. John Poulson came under investigation. Reginald Maudling resigned as Home
Secretary. Elvis Presley divorced Priscilla. Briton Roger Taylor played in the Men's Final at
Wimbledon. Middle East war cut off oil supplies and triggered the oil crisis. The big 4 banks
announced profits of £580 million. The NUM imposed an overtime ban which led to a strike.
The 3 day week was imposed on industry to conserve energy. Gloucestershire won the Gillette Cup.
Evel Knieval failed in his attempt to jump Snake River Canyon, Idaho. Petrol ration coupons
were issued. Free contraception was allowed on the NHS. President Nixon left the White House
after admitting he might have lost Congress support after Watergate. Mrs Thatcher in a speech said
"It will be years before a woman either leads a party or becomes Prime Minister". Mrs Thatcher
became leader of the Tory Party, after Heath's February call for an election left the Tories with
297 seats to Labour's 301. Gary Player won the British Open. Dennis Law won his 55th and final
Scottish cap against Zaire in the World Cup Finals. Harold Wilson won a second election in
October by 3 seats. Edward Heath's yacht "Morning Cloud" sunk in a force 9 gale in the Channel.
Queen began their first major UK tour in Blackpool. Portugal faced the "Revolution of the Flowers".
West Ham won the FA Cup. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the first Prime Minister of Bangladesh
was assassinated. John Lennon and Yoko Ono gave birth to their son Sean Ono Lennon.
Ferrari won the World Formula One Constructors Championships for the first of three
consecutive years. The referendum on membership of the Common Market was held with
67.2% voting "yes" and 32.8% voting "no". Harold Wilson was defeated in the House by his own
backbenchers on his 60th birthday, which resulted in a confidence vote in the Commons which
he won. Harold Wilson resigned in favour of James Callaghan. Arnold Palmer won the British
PGA Championship at Royal St Georges. Russia and America shook hands in space as Soyuz
docked with Appollo. The Labour Party introduced the Sex Discrimination Act, and the
Equal Opportunities Commission was set up.
Chairman Mao Tse Tung died. On the day of his funeral 800 million Chinese, one fifth of the
World's population stood still. The "long hot summer" brought drought, water rationing and stand
pipes to Britain. Elton John was immortalised in wax at Madame Tussaud's and had his first
number one single with Kiki Dee. Howard Hughes died leaving an estate of an estimated £500
million. The British Government was forced to go to the IME for a loan as a result of a cash crisis
within the economy. The Grunwick strike brought "flying pickets" into the British vocabulary.
The Who played the loudest ever gig at Charlton Athletic stadium, with a PA pumping out
76,000 watts of sound.John H Stracey lost his world welterweight title to Carlos Palamino.
Southampton won the FA Cup.
The Queen celebrated her Silver Jubilee. The Sex Pistols were described by an air hostess
as " the most revolting people I've ever seen" and were dropped by EMI. Virgin Records signed
them and released " God save the Queen". The Clash opened the Roxy Club in Covent Garden.
The Government awarded £53 million to John de Lorean to build his gull-winged sports car
in Belfast. 1200 miles of motorway were now open in Britain. Elvis Presley died. Marc Bolan died.
Groucho Marx died. Virginia Wade won the Ladies final at Wimbledon. Unemployment stood
at 1.6 million. Manchester United beat Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup Final. John Spencer won the first
World Professional Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre. David Steele and
Jim Callaghan formed the " Lib-Lab Pact". The first USA test cricket team beat the
West Indies at Giants Stadium, New York.
The last Volkswagen Beetle was made after 19 million cars had been manufactured
since 1938. The first woman L Driver sued her driving instructor for not preventing
her crashing onto a tree during a lesson. Prince Charles was named " hooligan of the year"
because of his interest in bloodsports by John Bryant of the RSPCA. Carlos Reuterman
won 5 Grand Prix but still finished second to Mario Andretti in the World Drivers Championship.
Pope John Paul 11 was invested after the death of Pope Paul 6th. Smash Hits was
first published. The winter of discontent brought Britain to a standstill. Muhammed Ali made a
comeback to hold the World Heavyweight title once more by defeating Leon Spinks.
37 year old Japanese Naomi Vemura became the first man to reach the North Pole solo.
The Guinness Book of Records became the most stolen book from Public Libraries.
Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin signed the Egyptian/Israeli peace treaty, witnessed by
President Jimmy Carter. Lord Louis Mountbatten of Burma was assassinated by the IRA.
North Sea Oil brought in a balance of payments surplus of £1000 million. Roy Jenkins delivered
a Dimbleby Lecture at which he hinted at the split from the Labour Party, which led to the
formation of the SDP. Sid Vicious died in New York. Race riots in Southall and Lewisham.
Jim Callaghan lost the General Election and resigned in favour of Michael Foot. Mrs Thatcher
came to Number Ten on a platform of controlling inflation and union power, the restoration of
incentives, the upholding of parliamentary sovereignty and the rule of law.
She did not offer a cabinet post to Edward Heath. Parliament endorsed the NATO decision
to site cruise missiles in Britain.
Hope you like the following!
Rudyard Kipling (South African War)
There is a word you often see, pronounce it as you may -
'You bike,' 'you bikwe,' 'ubbikwe' - alludin' to R.A.
It serves 'Orse, Field, an' Garrison as motto for a crest,
An' when you've found out all it means I'll tell you 'alf the rest.
Ubique means the long-range Krupp be'ind the low-range 'ill -
Ubique means you'll pick it up an', while you do stand, still.
Ubique means you've caught the flash an' timed it by the sound.
Ubique means five gunners' 'ash before you've loosed a round.
Ubique means Blue Fuse1, an' make the 'ole to sink the trail. 1extreme range
Ubique means stand up an' take the Mauser's 'alf-mile 'ail.
Ubique means the crazy team not God nor man can 'old.
Ubique means that 'orse's scream which turns your innards cold.
Ubique means 'Bank, 'Olborn, Bank - a penny all the way -
The soothin' jingle-bump-an'-clank from day to peaceful day.
Ubique means 'They've caught De Wet, an' now we sha'n't be long.'
Ubique means 'I much regret, the beggar's going strong!'
Ubique means the tearin' drift where, breech-blocks jammed with mud,
The khaki muzzles duck an' lift across the khaki flood.
Ubique means the dancing plain that changes rocks to Boers.
Ubique means the mirage again an' shellin' all outdoors.
Ubique means 'Entrain at once for Grootdefeatfontein'!
Ubique means 'Off-load your guns' - at midnight in the rain!
Ubique means 'More mounted men. Return all guns to store.'
Ubique means the R.A.M.R. Infantillery Corps!
Ubique means the warnin' grunt the perished linesman knows,
When o'er 'is strung an' sufferin' front the shrapnel sprays 'is foes,
An' as their firin' dies away the 'usky whisper runs
From lips that 'aven't drunk all day: 'The Guns! Thank Gawd, the Guns!'
Extreme, depressed, point-blank or short, end-first or any'ow,
From Colesberg Kop to Quagga's Poort - from Ninety-Nine till now -
By what I've 'eard the others tell an' I in spots 'ave seen,
There's nothin' this side 'Eaven or 'Ell Ubique doesn't mean!
Faster than a speeding bullet.
More powerful than a locomotive.
Leaps tall buildings in a single bound.
Walks on water.
Lunches with God, but must pick up tab.
Almost as fast as a speeding bullet.
More powerful than a shunting engine on a steep incline.
Leaps short buildings with a single bound.
Walks on water if sea is calm.
Talks to God.
Faster than an energetically thrown rock.
Almost as powerful as a speeding bullet.
Leaps short buildings with a running start in favourable winds.
Walks on water of indoor swimming pools if lifeguard is present.
May be granted audience with God if special request is approved at least
three working days in advance.
Can fire a speeding bullet with tolerable accuracy.
Loses tug-of-war against anything mechanical.
Makes impressively high marks when trying to leap tall buildings.
Is occasionally addressed by God, in passing.
Can sometimes handle firearm without shooting self.
Is run over by trains.
Barely clears outhouse.
Mumbles to self.
Is dangerous to self and comrades if armed and unsupervised.
Recognizes trains two out of three times.
Runs into tall buildings.
Can stay afloat if properly instructed in the use of life jacket and water wings.
Talks to walls.
Can be trusted with either gun or ammunition but never both.
Must have train ticket pinned to jacket and mittens tied to sleeves.
Falls over doorsteps while trying to enter tall buildings.
Plays in Mud puddles.
Under no circumstances to be issued with gun or ammunition, and must even be
closely supervised when handling sharp pieces of paper - staples are right out.
Says: "Look at choo choo!"
Not allowed inside buildings of any size.
Makes good boat anchor.
Mere existence makes God shudder.
Catches hyper sonic armour piercing fin stabilized discarding sabot
depleted uranium long rod penetrators in his teeth and eats them.
Kicks bullet trains off their tracks.
Uproots tall buildings and walk under them.
Freezes water with a single glance; parts it with trifling gesture.
Copyright: Keith Holderness 2001- 2021
All rights reserved