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Thread: Mustering for National Service

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    Default Mustering for National Service

    A brief question for Them What Knows - how long between one's 18th birthday and cleaving to the bosom of HM Forces? Or was there no hard and fast rule?

    TIA,

    Mark

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    Mark,
    (Post WW2) In my case on the precise date of my 18th birthday. But as I was already working for Her Majesty's Royal Aeroplane Men the Air Ministry knew where I was!! And so did the Ministry of Labour & National Service who actually did all the paperwork!
    I lived in Peterborough and worked at RAF Wittering. To Govt Buildings in Cambridge for a medical. A week later to Cardington for several haircuts and issue of kit. Coach ride to Hednesford for Square Bashing. There, in the same hut as I was in, was a bloke called Frankel. He had been deferred for 5 yrs to complete his training as a Jewish Lawyer. So I suppose there you have both ends of the scale.
    I passed out from my Square Bashing as a Senior Aircraftman on account of my Trade qualifications. Frankel was Commissioned into the RAF Legal Branch. Several guys who had City & Guilds qualifications in 'drain laying', and/or 'plumbing', etc, became Sgts (or, in one case, a Flt Sgt in an Airfield Contruction Sqn!!!) for the rest of their 2 yrs National Service.
    Also in my hut was a bloke who had just failed his Doctor's Exam. He got his Call-Up papers in the same post as his failure notification. When, at Square Bashing, we all went through the 'sausage machine' of Trade Assessment we all expected him to, at least, have come out as a "Sick Quarters Attendant". But unfortunately for him, on that day, "They" didn't need people for Sick Quarters! "They" desperately needed Cooks. So he did his 2 yrs as a Cook. I met him again on an overseas posting later in my Nat Svc. What a bloody waste of talent, but that's how The System worked in late 40's/early 50's
    I'm sure there are about 4.5 million souls who could give you the same (or similar) stories.
    National Service did a lot of blokes a lot of good - but I begin to tread into a minefield!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 18th October 2008 at 13:28.

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    Mark,
    (Post WW2) In my case on the precise date of my 18th birthday. But as I was already working for Her Majesty's Royal Aeroplane Men the Air Ministry knew where I was!! And so did the Ministry of Labour & National Service who actually did all the paperwork!
    I lived in Peterborough and worked at RAF Wittering. To Govt Buildings in Cambridge for a medical. A week later to Cardington for several haircuts and issue of kit. Coach ride to Hednesford for Square Bashing. There, in the same hut as I was in, was a bloke called Frankel. He had been deferred for 5 yrs to complete his training as a Jewish Lawyer. So I suppose there you have both ends of the scale.
    I passed out from my Square Bashing as a Senior Aircraftman on account of my Trade qualifications. Frankel was Commissioned into the RAF Legal Branch. Several guys who had City & Guilds qualifications in 'drain laying', an/or 'plumbing', etc, became Sgts (or, in one case, a Flt Sgt in an Airfield Contruction Sqn!!!) for the rest of their 2 yrs National Service.
    Also in my hut was a bloke who had just failed his Doctor's Exam. He got his Call-Up papers in the same post as his failure notification. When, at Square Bashing, we all went through the 'sausage machine' of Trade Assessment we all expected him to, at least, have come out as a "Sick Quarters Attendant". But unfortunately for him, on that day, "They" didn't need people for Sick Quarters! "They" desperately needed Cooks. So he did his 2 yrs as a Cook. I met him again on an overseas posting later in my Nat Svc. What a bloody waste of talent, but that's how The System worked in late 40's/early 50's
    I'm sure there are about 4.5 million souls who could give you the same (or similar) stories.
    National Service did a lot of blokes a lot of good - but I begin to tread into a minefield!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies

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    Sorry about the double post - finger trouble thista! (can the Mods delete the 2nd version?)
    We also had, in our hut at Hednesford, a bloke called Jim Eddy. He was a vast, rugby-playing, Cornishman. But he knew all the verses of "Eskimo Nell". After a hard day's square bashing, road running, bulling the hut floor, we would all collapse into our pits absolutely dead-beat. Then someone would say "Jim, give us Eskimo Nell". Which he would proceed to do in a rich Cornish accent. The latter stanzas were often difficult to hear on account of the snoring already coming from many pits!!
    For those of you not familiar with Eskimo Nell it is a coarse, crude, ballad, that can be Googled. The content would not, I suspect, win a Nobel Literature Prize!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 18th October 2008 at 14:05.

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    My C.O. once informed me that National Service was the art of fitting extremely square pegs in to perfectly round holes!.

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    Bill,
    The trick was to know more than the next guy.
    I had done a year on an RAF station before Nat Svc. I knew that the Station Warrant Officer was more feared in many places than the Station Commander!
    We had, at Hednesford, only that afternoon had the lecture on RAF rank badges. We were queing-up for the station cinema that evening. This guy with a pace-stick and a Great Coat reaching almost to the floor walked past us. I thought 'sheet' "SWO - take care!" My colleague, in front of me, said "Oi, Jack. I don't care if you are in the Band - get to the back of the queue" Now I don't know how many "tin-rooms" he subsequently inhabited, but I suspect he could have been going for the Guinness Book of Records!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies

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    Thanks for that Peter!

  8. #8
    LXXIV Guest

    Default Mustering for National Service

    Mark,
    Reported at Liverpool for National Service medical, 14th August 1947. A week later decided to volunteer as a Regular. Aptitude tests, and interview followed. Reported to Cardington 8th September; Attested 9th September; 18th Birthday 11th September. Under a month between medical and attestation.

    Regards

    LXXIV

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    Thanks LXXIV.

    Greetings to Chippenham, my birthplace. (Looks wistfully into distance, wipes eyes, reaches for scrumpy, arrrrrrrrrrrrrr moi lad.)

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