Meet your new editor. What do they say, don’t volunteer, I didn’t, I simply said that “I might,” and here I am. I joined the Royal Marines on the 26th October 1953 as part of 844 NS Squad – two days later we celebrated the 289th birthday of the Corps – quite an event. My recollection is that during that evening we were issued with a 7lb block of cheese and a very large bottle of pickled onions per hut – quite something! One of our number left his fork in the pickle bottle overnight only to find the following morning that it was tarnished almost beyond recognition.
ITCRM (Infantry Training Centre Royal Marines) as it was then, was exactly that – drill, personal weapon training, some unarmed combat, rope work, ”the bottom field” obstacle course – very different now I understand. After passing out some fourteen weeks and four days later, on to CSRM (Commando School Royal Marines) Bickleigh by QL to Postbridge then on by foot! The usual 4, 6,9 mile speed marches, the Tarzan course, the dory swing, abseiling, seaborne assaults on Jenny Cliff, bouldering, cat-crawling over the Plym complete with full regain (all on 4000 + calories per day) and freezing cold wet weather was the order of the day, plus an open ended Nissan hut at Willsworthy with snow “falling” horizontally, zero vision, what’s not to like?
Map reading and night exercises on the lovely Dartmoor, a dread of being back-squadded, need I say more? Finally, the 30 miler – I really don’t remember much about it, but must have completed it. Finally, six weeks and three days later, and much fitter, a couple of days leave before reporting to the Signals School at Eastney where, among other things, I was taught to type (see where I’m going here?) Ten weeks and three days later, duly qualified, a couple of days embarkation
leave then off to Brigade HQ in the Canal Zone, Egypt – that was the plan. Back from leave, “report to the company office” where I was given a draft chit and told to report to HQCORMB Plymouth to replace an SNLR clerk.There I spent the rest of my service, being groomed to take on the editorship of the City Royal 65 years later – that’s how I see it! However, I’m pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to the branch and hope that my input will be useful.