Harrogate to Fayid

 This story traces the ups and downs of my journey from being an A/T to my arrival at my 1st Posting with 42 Survey Engineer Regiment at Sobraon Camp, Fayid.

Leaving Harrogate a bit of a wrench - I had, you see aquired a nice wench!  I was smitten !!   However there was not to much choice and I arrived at Southwood Camp (Farnborough) together with all the RE tradesman from Harrogate and Chepstow and we became No. 1 Ex Boys Party.*  Our party had permanent staff NCO's to oversee our training both in Field Engineering (Now Combat Engineering) and Military Training.  What us??  Gotta do Military Training!?!

But, Oh yes  - we had  -- and who was to teach us our Square Bashing and Weapon Training?  Why National Service NCO's  --  of course.   A really good mix and soon they were trying to make our life HELL and we, for our part, were doing our very best to make their life misery.  To paraphrase Brucie  "Good Game". 

Apart from when we had our 48hr weekends and a chance to revisit Harrogate there were to be benefits from this 22 week sojourn in Farnborough.  We were in fact doing the equivalent of a Cadre Course and BII Field Engineer.  Brilliant !  Qualified as a L/Cpl on leaving for the wider Army and soon to take that first step towards the baton in our knapsacks.

Now this was the year of the Queens Coronation and some of us (not me) were selected to line the route on the big day.   This involved much practice and they missed  much of the BII course.  They couldn't have the BII so to be fair (??) none of us could.!!

Never mind.  We would still have done the cadre work.  Eventually the end came, we had our Passing Out Parade and departed for our depots happy in the knowledge that we had BIII Fd Engr and had done a Cadre.

Eight of us found ourselves at Hermitage where we expected to be quickly despatched to another unit as L/Cpl's.  Well yes we were to be posted as NCO's but we must take a Cadre  --  "WE'VE DONE ONE" went up the cry.  Not a Survey Cadre we were told.  So with some Panache we did another 6 week fix and 'Lo we were rewarded with that precious first step and were asked the wasted question 'Where would you like to go?'  With no respect for our answers we were despatched on somebodys' whim.

After embarkation leave 4 of us found ourselves at Barton Stacey awaiting a passage to Egypt.  Eventually we boarded SS Empire Ken at Southampton and began our 10/11 day cruise(?} to Port Said where we caught a train to Fayid and eventually arrived at '42' in Sobraon Camp.

Can't think why you four are here we are told the posting was cancelled last week!!  Bit late - couldn't have turned the ship round!

The obvious question asked; and answered with "No you'll stay.  We were then told to take our stripes off L/Cpls were not needed.

The four who went to much nicer places France, Germany and the Far East managed to hold on to their stripes. Good fortune for them especially since at least one of them requested Egypt.

The Eight Survey Ex Boys of 50A were :   Ian 'Ginge' Bootland, Bob Carr, Brian 'Flab' Ford, Frank 'Hustler' Litterick, Michael 'Paddy'
Lynch, Bob Paxton,  Mick Shopland and  Peter 'Danny' Welch.
    * Previous Ex Boys Parties had gone to Elgin, Scotland  with the exception of 49B who ended up in Osnabruck, Germany.