British NCO served with Royal Electrical And Mechanical Engineers in GB, West Africa, Korea, Aden and Singapore, 1946-1972
REEL 1 Background in Birmingham, GB, 1927-1946: family; memories of period before outbreak of war; employment in marine engineering company. Aspects of period in boy service with British Army in GB, 4/1943-3/1946: description of training and recreational activities; opinion of instructors including drill instructor Denis Compton; description of accommodation and rations. Recollections of period as service as NCO in Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in GB and West Africa, 3/1946-12/1951: posting to workshop in Mill Hill, London; opinion of accommodation and army discipline; problems of transition from boy service to regular army; educational classes; sporting and recreational activities including memory of seeing Frankie Howerd on stage; attitude to fellow servicemen and officers; posting to Royal West African Frontier Force in Nigeria; issue of tropical kit and inoculations, 3/1948.
REEL 2 Continues: description of 17 day journey from Liverpool to Lagos; arrival in No.1 Command Workshops; attitude to first overseas posting; reasons for promotion to sergeant; return to GB 4/1949, for artificer training course in Blackdown, Surrey; description of duties and responsibilities in charge of instrument workshop; description of artificer course and nature of training; role as instructor for National Servicemen and opinion of recruits. Recollections of period as NCO with Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers attached to 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards in Korea, 12/1951-6/1953: reaction to news of posting to Korea; issue of kit and weapons; description of journey aboard the Georgic from Southampton to Pusan; journey to railhead near Seoul and posting to 10 Infantry Workshops; description of daily duties and responsibilities.
REEL 3 Continues: problem of initial charging of vehicle batteries in winter weather; description of role helping Royal Artillery improve gun sights; attitude to Americans and different types of vehicles; opinion of rations; problem of fresh water supplies; personal hygiene; attitude to fellow servicemen; story of selling alcohol to Americans; duties inspecting equipment and vehicles in front line positions along Imjin River; story of problem with driver; maintenance of jeeps.
REEL 4 Continues: description and uses of vehicles; trading beer bottles in Seoul; choice not to take leave away from unit; attitude to higher rates of pay for Americans; amusing story of missing pick-axe handle; description of repairing sight on mortar; attitude to Australians; role of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers compared to infantry; description of climate changes and problem of flooding; problems caused by extreme cold and methods of dealing with freezing of engines and gun mechanisms; attitude to local civilian population and problem of refugees; description of medical facilities including MASH units; description of Manchurian fever and story of effect on fellow servicemen; opinion of Indian servicemen and equipment.
REEL 5 Continues: opinion of Indian Field Ambulance unit and comparison to British; recreational activities including ENSA concerts; description of equipment and personal arms; description of landscape; story of blacksmith shop being blown up; description of tanks being destroyed by enemy fire; communication with family; opinion of uniform and cold weather clothing; method of converting shell cases into heaters and building generator for camp; description of accommodation.
REEL 6 Continues: story of repairing Westinghouse AR 88 radio and listening to news broadcasts; memory of various fires in camp buildings and tents; story of officer and napalm bomb; use of Korean POWs for road building; story of corpses being washed into camp by floods; description of converting Bedford vans into recovery vehicles; command structure of divisional recovery unit; description of cleaning and repairing vehicles and problem of sabotage; maintenance work in field bakery in Seoul; memories of coronation of Elizabeth II; journey back to GB at end of Korean War, 7/1953; period as instructor at School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering in Borden, Essex.
REEL 7 Continues: Aspects of period with Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in GB, West Africa, Aden and Singapore, 1954-1972: attachment to West African Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in Lagos; description of daily duties including building an iron lung during polio outbreak; return to GB for service with instrument workshops and re-training as work study practioner at Cranfield; posting to Aden, 1962-1964; visiting workshops in Arabian peninsular; problems with climate; description of duties and type of vehicles; story of wrong ammunition being supplied; posting to Singapore, 1965-72; description of duties; building airfields; vehicle and weapons maintenance; opinion of Singapore; learning to sail as recreational activity; further memories of period of service in Aden including amusing story of spoof programmes made for British Forces Broadcasting Service.
REEL 8 Continues: attitude to climate; visiting outstations.
Submarines played a key role in operations throughout the Cold War. Commodore Frederic Thompson, kept himself and his crewmates entertained, by creating ‘radio’ programmes, which were then broadcast over the submarine’s internal speakers.