A couple of memories of Fernhurst

During the winter at Fernhurst the first task after morning parades was to start the Lister Generators which powered the old mobile print train.

Easy, you say but you would be wrong! No such thing as an electric start, just a big starting handle. Field Survey Troop would move to one of these monstrosities and a rope would  be attached to the handle with half a dozen Sappers on either, and a couple at the handle and yet another at the decompressor lever. With said lever open the starting handle would be rotated and the combined effort would get the engine spinning ready for the decompressor to be closed. More often than not this procedure would be repeated several times before the beast would fire. I can only think that they must have been poorly maintained or well past their best! When on Op Emily Astro team our small generator needed repair an we borrowed a truck mounted Lister of the same type and starting was no problem whatsoever. Anyone any photos?

From Michael White

I was at Fernhurst when the story of the Lister Generators took place. The engines were not poorly maintained, they were poorly operated. After starting the said generators, they were left to idle, sometimes all day. This is very detrimental to a diesel engine and causes them to carbon up. I took one apart one day. The exhaust pipe was 6 in. diameter, but you could hardly push a broom handle through the pipe because of the carbon.

When I arrived at Fernhurst there was a NAAFI which was as much use as a snowflake in a furnace. It must have been in 1959 when NAAFI representatives were seeing the OC about our dissatisfaction that according to rumour the OC said "We could do better ourselves" or words to that effect! Their reaction was to say "Go ahead" and the Unit Canteen was born. Run by "the Duke" with assistance from Podger things never looked back, NAAFI breaks (for want of a better word) became a pleasure and the steak pies were mouth-wateringly delicious. The evenings now had a better selection of alcoholic beverages and instead of   only one or two customers in the evening the place became popular & busy.