MAJOR TOM HOWELL. RIP.

TOM HOWELL: MAJOR. RIP. 27th May, 2016

Photo above: Front rank marker Cpl Pugh, Pte Kimmons, ?, Pte Kent (re-enlistment), ?, Pte Edgecombe, Pte Howell. Inspection Party includes Lt Higgs Coy Commander, Major Floyer-Ackland OC Depot, Sjt Ben Dunster Pltn Sjt.

Life in the Army

Cadet Bugler 1946

Prior to joining the army I had been a member of 14 Cadet Bn DLI for six years and by the time I joined the army in August 1952 I had attained the rank of Adult Warrant Officer. When I went to the recruiting office in Durham City near my home, I had no idea what I wanted except I wanted to be an infantryman.

Adult Cadet WO, 1951

Because I could ride, the recruiters tried to interest me in joining the Household Cavalry but to no avail. They then showed me a large wall poster featuring all the cap badges of the British Army; my eye was immediately drawn to the row of light infantry badges – in particular I was taken by that of the DCLI, especially as I remembered my maternal grandfather had been born in Stoke Climsland Cornwall. Grandfather, whom I had never met, had moved to County Durham seeking work, where he eventually met and married my grandmother.

Outside Recruiting Office with friend. 1952

He served with the DLI in the Great War but was invalided home in a weakened state suffering from the effects of gas poisoning. Sadly, he immediately fell victim to the Spanish ‘flu epidemic and died, aged 32 yrs old, on 2 Dec 1918.

That decided it for me there and then; I was given a rail warrant and told to report to Bodmin. What I didn’t realise was the warrant was for the most direct, rather than the quickest route, and as a consequence found myself on the ‘milk train’ calling at every station along the line before arriving in the midst of Bodmin rather than at the station next to the barracks via Bodmin Road. It was very early in the morning – probably about 0600hrs – when I walked up the hill from town with my little suitcase and arrived at the guardroom and reported to a very bemused guard commander. The next intake was not due to report for another two weeks so I was kitted out and put to work as an odd job man. Two jobs particularly stick in my mind; one was to count out piles of 11 buttons and 11 rings to issue to the incoming recruits for their suits of denim, the other entailed sitting in the company office with paste pot and brush, amending Kings Regulations and the Manual of Military Law, deleting ‘His’ and inserting ‘Her’; deleting ‘King’ and inserting ‘Queen’ etc as required.

The RSM of the day was Stan Pine, and my Pl Sjt was Ben Dunster, Trg Coy Com was Lt Jerry Higgs, and the OC Depot was Major SN Floyer-Acland. Life as a recruit was unremarkable and made a lot easier by my cadet service and I was able to help others deal with things like kit inspections and boning boots etc.

Dave Miller kneeling, an aspiring boxer, Curly Wotton behind, bugler extraordinaire.


For new national servicemen it was a bewildering world initially. By dint of our previous ‘service’ myself and a regular re-enlistment by the name of Pte Kent had acquired braided ties, rather than the normal rayon type issued to new recruits. The adjutant Capt Guy Matthews was looking for some help to collect apples in his orchard. Sjt Hawkey, a regular marking time in the depot till imminent demob, decided our infringement of the dress code made us prime candidates for the job.

In training, Bodmin Depot, 1952

It was, as they say, all done in the best possible taste, we had a wonderful time and enjoyed our first Cornish tea before being taken back to barracks. It was about this time too, that I tasted my very first Cornish Pasty – and what a whopper it was. I was taken home to Redruth, by a fellow recruit named George Kimmins, where his parents looked after me as if I were their own. They served up one of the biggest and best pasties I have ever tasted, even after my many years of seeking pasty perfection it remains supreme.

Proficiency Certificate

Proficiency Certificate

At the end of basic training I was fortunate enough to be chosen as Best All-Round Recruit and Best Rifle Shot, thanks in part to my previous cadet experience, and after embarkation leave I was promoted to Corporal as Draft Conducting NCO and set off by boat and train via Harwich and Hook of Holland to join 1DCLI in Minden. The smell of boiled cabbage at the transit centre will remain with me forever; by marked contrast the train journey across Germany was sheer luxury and superb meals were served at regular intervals to keep everyone happy. However there was much evidence of the recent conflict in the form of damaged buildings and bomb craters etc; a sobering reminder of what we were about.

BAOR

Once with the battalion I kept my stripes and joined an NCOs’ Cadre where I was instructed, by among others, the then Sjt Pete Firth. On successfully completing the course I was posted to A Coy, commanded by Major ‘Toots’ Williams. My Pltn Com was Lt Ian Robertson, Sjt Bert Love my Pltn Sjt, and I believe Pony Moore was CSM.

Battalion transport prior to exercise.


Life in the battalion seemed an endless round of exercises or ‘schemes’ as they were known then. I remember lying in the cold snow wearing my 2nd battle dress under denims and stuffing my wet ammunition boots with straw at night to keep them from freezing up. I also remember CQMS ‘Cushy’ Price bringing a container of his fabulous ‘All In Stew’ that cheered us all up enormously. Infantry/Tank Cooperation was very much the thing and we spent much time riding about on the back of Centurions, protecting our eyes from the dust by wearing goggles. Once, for some inexplicable reason, a thunder flash went off in my map pocket splitting my trouser leg from waist to gaiter and severely burning my leg. On another (live) firing exercise at Hohne ranges, a tank fired an HE round that dropped short and fell just 20 yards or so in front of my section. Luckily the blast went forward and no one was hurt.

Barkenburg training area.

In another incident I was travelling in an Austin K5 3 tonner one rainy day in convoy when the vehicle skidded and left the road, falling down a steep embankment. I was travelling in the cab and as the truck rolled over the driver went through the windscreen and I landed up in his seat badly bruised and shaken. There was total silence from the back of the truck where my section was travelling together with loads of kit, like hay boxes, cookers and other G1098 stuff. I staggered to the rear, expecting the worst. Fortunately they had all been asleep, simply absorbed the bumpy ride, and awoke in a very confused state. It would be interesting to know if any one else remembers any of these incidents.

A regular feature of battalion life was the weekly mandatory cross country run. Not everybody’s cup of tea but I enjoyed it and also ran regularly for the battalion. I also played in goal for the company football team, but was not really very good at it.

A Coy football team: Front Kimmins, Ford, 2nd Row Bawden, ?, ?, 3rd Row Bassett, ?, Howell, Chilcott, Love, Rear Row ?.

In late October 1953 I was transferred to HQ Coy as Officers Mess Cpl. I did not want the move, but in the light of my subsequent commissioning, it proved to be a very valuable experience. In late November 1953 I was part of the Advance Party to Plumer Barracks, Crownhill, Plymouth, where conditions were in marked contrast to those of our excellent centrally heated Minden accommodation. Least said the better.

A PICASA ALBUM OF ADDITIONAL BAOR PHOTOS


National Day Parade inspected by HE The Governor General

JAMAICA & BELIZE

On 12 Feb 1954 I flew with the Bn Advance Party to Jamaica. We travelled on a Boeing Stratocruiser ‘Monarch’ flight in superb comfort with first class meals and complimentary bar in the upper deck. No one had flown before and just being in the terminal was a fascinating experience, and some boys got excited at seeing Stewart Granger (heart throb of the day ) in the departure lounge. We travelled via Prestwick, Reykjavik (Iceland), Gander (Newfoundland) and Bermuda (dropping off A Coy party) before landing at Montego Bay and transferring to a smaller Viking aircraft for the short flight to Palisadoes Airport Kingston, which at that time could not handle large aircraft. I think everyone found it an exhilarating, if tiring, experience.

PICASA ALBUM OF ADDITIONAL JAMAICA PHOTOS

After a short while I was able to get back to a rifle coy (B Coy) . Later a call was put out for volunteers with knowledge of diesel engines to go to Belize where power was provided by a camp generator rather than town mains. That is how in September 1954 I found myself aboard the RASC Vessel ‘OXNA’ with a platoon under command of Lt Mike Lamb, at sea for a 4 day voyage. After we had sailed from Kingston it was discovered most of our rations had been left behind and we had to subsist on meals of corned beef, carrots and onions; not that it mattered very much – we had atrocious weather, the decks and the galley were awash, and almost everyone was seasick. Matters were not helped when a propeller fell off. Luckily a spare was carried and we hove to in a running sea to fix it. Apparently it was a common occurrence! The OXNA made visits every 3 months or so to Belize bringing replacement vehicles, food, equipment, and of course, soldiers.

When eventually we got to Airport Camp I found I was not required for ‘diesel’ duties as the Royal Engineers had posted in a Cpl for that very task, so I stayed with Lt Lambs’ platoon for quite awhile and thoroughly enjoyed my time in Belize. After a time Mr Lamb went back to the UK to join the Parachute Regiment, and he was relieved by Mr DK Balance, a NS officer. Our Pl Sjt was not a well man and so was ‘unofficially’ detached to look after the Sjt’s Mess and I was appointed A/Pl Sjt. We were frequently on exercise to Pine Ridge and other training areas which could be quite wearing but always enjoyable. The Humming Bird Highway seemed a magnet for the long marches deemed necessary for our well-being. The term ‘highway’ was a bit of a misnomer because it was little more than a logging track. The only maps available to us were provisional sheets in monotone, drawn up by the local Survey Dept in 1945, and very deficient in essential information.

E Company: 1955/1956. 3rd row seated L-R Sjt Driscoll, Sjt Topping, 2/Lt Money, Capt Clark RAMC, Lt Lamb, Capt Rouse (OC), CSM Cook, Lt Harding, Lt Wagstaff, C/Sjt Tabb, Sjt Howell, ? RASC.

Nearer to Airport Camp, Boom Ferry (about 10 miles away) was more readily available as a route march destination to fill in an afternoon! One day I took my platoon out past Airport Camp and across to the south side of the Belize River where we came across a 20 foot long python at least 18 inches in diameter. Discretion being the better part of valour we froze and let the python slide into the river, before moving hurriedly along! Actually, It was not uncommon to see snakes in the camp area. One had to be very careful when carrying out fieldcraft training to avoid eyeballing snakes of all sizes. Much smaller but equally menacing was the horde of sandflies that plagued everyone when mounting guard, and with no concessions to relax from a martinet duty officer. Even with KD trousers and sleeves rolled down it was purgatory.

In early 1955 I was posted back to B Coy before flying back to the UK in May 1955 to attend a course at the Army MT School at Bordon. It so happened that at this time the country was in the middle of a national rail strike. It was also the case that at that time personnel returning to the UK to attend courses had first to report to their parent depot ie Bodmin, before going on elsewhere. This for my travelling companion (Sjt ‘Robby’ Robinson) and I meant reporting to Wellington Barracks in London, where we boarded a 3 tonner bound for Taunton. By various other local shuttles we made it to Plymouth where we spent the night on a bench in the station waiting room until a utility vehicle turned up to take us to Bodmin. A few days later we returned by the same means to London and on to Bordon in Hampshire to attend our course. The strike had been resolved by the end of the course but we still had to undergo a transit stop at Goodge Street Underground Station, as we had done enroute to Jamaica. This was accessed by a very tight metal spiral staircase in the centre of which was a two-man lift, the use of which was denied to common soldiery. The dormitory levels were very deep in unused tunnels, which had housed Londoners sheltering from the Blitz. The dormitories were cold, the food was atrocious, and the noise of trains in adjacent tunnels made it impossible to get a decent sleep.

MT Section

On return to the battalion I was promoted to Sjt and posted back to Belize as MT/Tech Sjt. I remained in Belize until returning to the UK on HMT ‘DILWARA’ in March 1957. Before that we had to experience several hurricanes, the worst of which was Hurricane ‘Janet ‘ in September 1955. We took shelter in the more substantial buildings of the adjacent Stanley Airport rather than the wooden buildings in our camp. Fortunately the hurricane front turned north during the night and we escaped the worst, but Corozal and Chetumal (Mexican border town) suffered appalling damage and we carried out relief work aided by US forces who flew in and dropped relief supplies. We also had to contend with frequent bush fires.

On a lighter note many of the boys spent holidays in Mexico, some to Merida, capital of Yucatan Province, but mainly to Chetumal just over the border from Corozal, the most northerly town in Belize. There were also offshore islands (or ‘cays’) offering swimming and other forms of relaxation. The local girls were very friendly and the local populace as a whole were welcoming and friendly to the troops. Airport Camp did not have the facilities and luxuries as enjoyed by our pampered comrades in Jamaica and Bermuda, but without exception soldiers found ‘E‘ Coy – (‘E’ for Excellence) the place to be!

PICASA ALBUM PHOTOS OF BELIZE

***************************************************************************


WALKER LINES & MONS

Once back in the UK at Walker Lines , I found I was to be posted to the Regtl Depot as a Trg Sjt. OC Trg Coy was Capt Jeremy French. CSM was Smokey Hallett, Depot RSM was Harold Royffe and other Trg Sjt’s were Edwards, Basham and Bulley. CQMS was Dick Orum. I took up my duties as Trg Sjt in April ‘57, and commenced an unremitting cycle of intakes of young boys to be turned into men. It was interesting to see the impact of the new recruits denuded of their civilian clothing and hairdo’s, shovelled into tailor-made denims, big black boots and ‘gently’ introduced to the rudiments of military life. Time was of the essence. We moved swiftly through the training programme – weapon training, field craft, fitness training, drill and more drill etc – until each platoon emerged as from a chrysalis – a fully fledged fighting force capable of working well together under all conditions.

PICASA ALBUM OF WALKER LINES PHOTOS

In June ‘57 I attended the All Arms Drill Course at the Guards Depot Pirbright where I spent a considerable amount of time holding a rope with another SNCO pretending we were a full rank of soldiers doing ceremonial drill movements. I also achieved a level of proficiency with a pace stick but was never able to put into use once back in Bodmin. Two things of significance happened at Pirbright. Firstly, I broke a bone in my wrist whilst cranking my car with the starting handle. Unforgivably for a former MT Sjt, I had neglected to hold the handle correctly, and paid the price when it backfired. Secondly, I met the girl I was to marry. She was in a party of nurses invited to a Sjt’s Mess Dance. On a trip into Aldershot I met up again with Lt Mike Lamb, by then serving with 1 Para Regt.

Once back in Bodmin I got back into the routine of training yet more young men. I worked with a number of platoon commanders, but principally Lt Nigel Petrie, with whom I have remained in regular contact over the years. I still had my hand in plaster but no light duties available to me. I was out in fair weather and foul on Millpool Ranges, Brown Willy Tor and other exotic recruit venues! I had to wear the plaster for over six months before my wrist could recover from the abuses received.

Tom & Catherine Howell

I married my wife in Bodmin in January 1958 and Major (QM) Bert Croucher very kindly made a married quarter available to us, and where my daughter Virginia was born in November 1958. My next door neighbour was CSM Smokey Hallett and his wife Sarah. Not only was he a good neighbour but a man I very much admired and respected.

MONS & BEYOND

In April 1959 I was posted to Mons Officer Cadet School (OCS) as an instructor in the Small Arms and Minor Tactics Wing. I was in good company. My OC was Capt Brian Balls Rifle Brigade who signed his letters with great relish! Wing WO was QMSI Keith Argent, Small Arms School Corps, a crack shot and Queen’s Medallist at Bisley. Fellow L I instructors were Sjt Mick Carroll KSLI, and Sjt Bill Tonkin KOYLI. Another instructor was KRRC (now Rifles). The rest of the team was very representative of the infantry brotherhood.

It was a very interesting and enjoyable posting. There were four companies of cadets at various stages in their training which lasted 16 weeks, and ended with two weeks being spent at Sennybridge Battle Camp in the Brecon Beacons. Established during WW2, when a large area was cleared of the local populace to provide a living firing training area for more advanced work. Deserted farms and hamlets made realistic house clearance exercises possible, and the hilly terrain challenging to would – be infantry officers.

Mons Weapons Training Wing


I became an established member of the team, and Directing Staff members encouraged me to apply for a commission. Unfortunately at the ripe old age of 27 I was too old to apply for an infantry regular commission, so after taking advice I elected to try for the RAOC which seemed to me to offer interesting career opportunities. The first stage in the process was to find out if the RAOC would have me!. I was taken by my sponsor (Capt later Brigadier) Keith Beresford) to see the Commander of the RAOC Training Centre at nearby Blackdown. Whilst waiting in line with other hopefuls for interview, I was surprised to see Lt Col (Rtd) Bobby Wetherell – CO of 1DCLI prior to Lt Col Leisching – who worked there as an RO, and had heard there was a light infantryman on the premises. We had a long chat and he wished me well in my endeavours.

My next hurdle was the War Office Selection Board (WOSB) at Barton Stacey – three days of physical and mental challenges, and grilling by senior officers – which I passed and shortly afterwards commenced my officer training, supervised by my erstwhile colleagues. One of the highlights for me was being a member of the cadet team that won the Evelyn-Woods Marching & Shooting Competition. Essentially a 10 mile speed march and tile shooting competition, the cadet team defeated many regular teams, including several from 16 Para Brigade. At the end of the course I attained Junior Under Officer rank in the order of merit and was commissioned into the RAOC on 3 June 1960.

I was posted to an Ammunition Depot in Cumberland. Initially I was employed as a Training Officer, but by May 1961 I was promoted Captain in charge of a number of sub-depots. Without internal roads, they were all served either by standard or narrow gauge railway, and the ammunition was stored according to type and degree of risk in compliance with ammunition and explosive regulations.

In 1962 I successfully attended a Regular Commissions Board (RCB) at Westbury Wiltshire, which led to my selection for a long (8 months) Ordnance Officer’s Course studying general management and all aspects of the logistics function. On completion of the course I was posted as 2ic of a Corps Troops Ordnance Field Park(OFP) in Dortmund BAOR. This was the biggest OFP in the army, and when in a mobile role, comprised of about 120 vehicles carrying a vast range of MT, Technical and General Stores, including industrial gases and other workshop essentials. To camouflage the unit in the field was no easy task.

In late 1963, volunteers were called for to form a new commando logistics unit to operate in direct support of 3 Commando Brigade RM, currently deployed to Borneo. After a process of elimination and successful completion of the Commando Course at RMTC Lympstone, I was selected as 2ic of the new unit and emplaned for the Far East in May 1964, serving in Borneo, Malaya and Singapore.

3 Commando OFP Singapore


The primary role of a Commando Ship is to be a highly mobile base for a military force and to land them by helicopter and landing craft with supporting units of the Royal Artillery. After a landing, the ship acts as a supply depot to support troops ashore. The ship can also act as a fast troopship to carry Army units to troubled areas. One of the perks of the job was to supervise the updating and validation of stores and equipment held on board ships of the Amphibious Fleet for use by commando forces. As a result I spent some time at sea aboard HMS’s Albion, Bulwark, Fearless, Intrepid, Galahad and others. Returning from Japan on HMS Albion (commanded by Capt BGG Place VC DSC RN, hero of X7 and the Tirpitz raid) we called in at Labuan, where I met Brig Floyer-Acland and Maj ‘Pip’ Brown. In Singapore I met Cpl Charlie Gough acting as groom for a local general, and former band corporal Harry Galloway then serving with the Australian Army. I also had a lunch date at the Singapore Cricket Club with Mike Lamb, by then a civilian working for a local soft drinks company.

Whilst in the Far East I worked hard towards completing my Capt/Major promotion Examinations and in December 1966 I was posted home on promotion to Major as a Company Commander in the RAOC Junior Leaders Bn. There I found one of my pl sjts was ‘Johnny’ Allsopp ( formerly DCLI ). As part of the training cycle I often found myself back in Cornwall with my young soldiers at Fort Tregantle.

PICASA ALBUM OF MORE PHOTOS

In November 1969 I found myself selected for another commando tour as DADOS 3 Commando Bde RM still based in Singapore, where I met Maj Gen David Tyacke when he came to lunch in the Cdo Officers Mess at HMS Simbang. He lost no time in reminding me of an incident that took place in Walker Lines in 1957 when he was Duty Field Officer and I was Bn Ord Sjt. A soldier returned from disembarkation leave with his young baby after a domestic dispute and housed the child in his foot locker. I met often Maj Bob Waight SCLI G2 at HQ FARELF who made sure Brigade staff got more than our fair share of parachute jumps (both land and sea) at RAF Changi, because our role called for Brigade staff to be able to join a commando ship at sea by parachuting alongside and be winched aboard by helicopter. During EX Bersatu Padu I met up with Lt (later Maj) Gordon Besford whom I knew well in earlier years.

Sadly, British Forces were withdrawn from the Far East in March 1971, and I returned to the UK to complete my tour as Senior Logistics Officer HQ Commando Forces RM based at Mount Wise Devonport.

In October 1971 I returned to RAOC as Chief Planning Officer, HQ Vehicle Organisation, based in Chilwell Notts, which commanded all tri-service vehicle depots in the UK, and exercised technical control of all overseas service vehicle depots. 1971-1973 was a very interesting period given the precarious political situation and industrial unrest against the background of the 3-day working week. Veh Org had upwards of 22000 stock vehicles and 2000 civilian staff (represented by 23 different unions). I was responsible for the economic and efficient use of manpower, finance, storage accommodation and equipment resources.

Major Tom Howell, OC Ammunition Depot

Following defence cuts in 1974, HQ Veh Org was amalgamated with HQ Base Org. After overseeing the transfer I was posted as OC Ammunition Depot in BAOR. The depot was a large site covering about 4500 acres, an internal railway system including 3 rail heads, over 200 explosive storehouses, workshops etc. Inventory value was about £44M. Annual Operating Budget £13M at ‘74 prices. A programme of stock palletisation and introduction of mechanical handling equipment was underway. Manual accounting systems were being computerised. Activity levels were high with volume road/rail movement throughout Germany and Belgium, and import and export to UK and other continental countries.

At this stage I had never been happier. My family was on station with me, my work was very satisfying, and I was involved in many extra-mural activities. However yet more defence cuts and very much reduced career opportunities resulted in my decision to accept voluntary redundancy. I left the army in December 1976. When I told my mother (who had resisted my enlistment all those years ago) that I had decided to leave the army, she exultantly claimed “I knew you wouldn’t like it!

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
The Author wishes to acknowledge the assistance given by Merv Chandler, formerly of “E” Company, Belize, in supplying some of the photographs included here and for help given in identifying names and faces. Merv Chandler convenes a “Belize Veterans” Re-Union each year at Bridgewater and welcomes all former 1DCLI with Caribbean Service to attend. Further details can be obtained from the Editor on email djkl157@gmail.com

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69 Responses to MAJOR TOM HOWELL. RIP.

  1. TOM HOWELL. RIP

    I feel it appropriate to log in a comment at this page header in order to encourage ‘threads’ as replies, so that condolences can be registered here, rather than at the end of page/s. Kindly continue to “Reply” to this comment. I’m in contact with Tim Howell, who will keep us posted of funeral arrangements for Tom as many in Blighty will no doubt wish to attend the ceremony to honour one of our own. Please also read Tom’s Memoirs hotlinked above, it pays a tribute to a fine soldier who made it from the lower ranks and who rubbed shoulders with many in BAOR, The Caribbean and Bodmin. I had the privilege of meeting Tom some time ago while he visited family in Mooloolaba, Queensland after collaborating with him in the production of his Memoirs. RIP Tom Howell.

  2. John Tonks says:

    Hello Tom, I stumbled upon this blog and found it most interesting, you may remember me, I am John Tonks and served you as a Sgt when you were DADOS HQ 3 Cdo Bde in Singapore. I left the British Army in 1986 and emigrated to Canada where I served in the Canadian Army until 2000 and then joined the UN as a civvy and thereafter working in the corporate world. I would be interested in catching up with you if you have time, my email is (removed for security purposes). I hope you and your family are all fit and well. Sincerely, John

    ED: JT, Tom’s blog page attracts little traffic these days and I’ve lost contact with him for almost 2 years, since when he was here in Brisbane on holiday. If he responds (which is a good way to find out if he’s still around) I’ll exchange email addresses for you both. Hopefully Tom will start blogging again leading up to the 60th Anniversary of the HMT Clyde sailing from Liverpool in 1954.

  3. Sam Vestey says:

    Dear Tom
    I have only just discovered how to contact you to thank you for your very kind card. I am now fully recovered. My email is (removed for security purposes). Do please contact me. I remember you well from Mons. Best wishes
    Sam

    ED: Email addresses are removed under site policy, please await exchanges via Editor when the parties agree.

    • Roger Forrest says:

      I am not in contact with Tom Howell but he maybe interested to know that there is a 50th anniversary (Plymouth 1-3 August 2014) of the unit we were both founder members. He is welcome to contact me by email for further details.

      ED:Thanks Roger. I’ll pass on your email address (not published) to Tom if he requests.

  4. Editor says:

    SUNDAY 3rd MARCH 2012

    On Sunday last, Audrey and I had the pleasure to meet with Tom Howell and his wife Catherine and his son and family. Good to catch up with you Tom and share some time chatting about the old Regiment and names of Cheps that we knew from our distant past. Interesting how our earlier lives have overlapped somewhat, we might have passed each other in Singapore in the 60’s without knowing.

    I enjoyed meeting you all and hope that we can share another beer before you return.

    Our trip back to Brisbane from Mooloolaba was quite an adventure. The Bruce Highway was blocked for several hours in the incessant downpour and we tried many deviations but failed. Arrived home after 4 hours, taking on a puncture and waiting for roadside assistance with traffic whistling by within 1 metre. Her Maj was not happy!

  5. Swanny Swanson says:

    Tom
    I wrote on General Chatters blog that I had not heard a lot from you, hope you and yours are keeping OK. Not so many of us on the blogs these days so I expect most of us have not much to report etc. As you probably know by reading the blogs I report to Derek on the passing of so many of our mates etc. Other than that I send e mails i.e. jokes and so on to quite a few and most are not involved on the blog pages. Much the pity as Derek and I have so often asked why a lot of these do not go on, but as said many times you cannot make people go on, it is their perogative.

    Any way Tom best regards.

    Neil (Swanny) Swanson.

    PS: I get a Christmas card with a note from Bob Curly Wotten, he said to me that he had prostrate problems, I rang several times but got no reply!

  6. T Howell says:

    Louise

    Thank you for your reply. Your experiences as an Army brat are much like those of my own children who were flying back and forth to UK schools from Singapore from the ages of 9 and 10.

    Two regular bloggers on the site are Margaret and Sylvia Royffe, daughters of the late Captain (formerly RSM) Harold Royffe. I imagine you and they must have a lot in common, in terms of following the flag!

    Tom Howell

  7. Louise MacLean (nee Rouse) says:

    I was born in Officers Quarters in Tunbridge Wells, Kent in 1961 so that is before my time.

    I suspect that I have a copy of this photo already. A lot of my father’s photos etc were handed in to Barracks Bodmin last year after his death.

    Thanks to my father, and the Army, I travelled the world as a child. By the time I was 13 I had lived in more Countries than I had years and in over 30 houses!

  8. T Howell says:

    Louise MacLean (nee Rouse)

    Yes. Capt David Rouse is featured in the photo. He was perhaps the longest serving OC during our tour out there. I saw him in Bodmin on our return as he lived in a quarter there for a short while if I recall correctly. I did not see him after that (because I left the LI) until the Tercentenary Church Parade in Bodmin in 2002. I know he lived in the only officers quarter in Airport Camp but do not know if you were there with him. I remember he kept some nice horses looked after by Charlie Gough (his groom) whom I met many years later in Singapore doing the same job for some general or other!

    I was very sorry to hear of his passing. If you would like a copy of the E Coy photo either Derek or I would be pleased to send one.

    Tom Howell
    Major (Retd)

  9. Relayed from: Louise MacLean (nee Rouse)
    2010/01/27 at 12:07am

    IMAGE 215. “E” Company 1955/1956

    Is Capt Rouse (OC) David Rouse? It certainly looks like him.

    ED COMMENT: Have emailed Louise to begin a Comment here – rather than an image reply (goes nowhere).

  10. Jack Madron says:

    Tom.
    Have just been browsing some of your photos. The Walker Lines photos, #8. Smallest platoon. Brian Searle, knew him quite well, he played teachest bass in our skiffle group for a short while before he got called up. He died a few years ago, unfortunately.

    • T Howell says:

      Jack
      Hello. The photo you refer to is actually No.11 in case any one else is tempted to view. It is always sad to hear such news. Surprised to hear of his ‘musical’ talents. Can’t remember much about him except he always seemed a little more serious than his contemporaries, and well turned out.

      Nice to hear from you again.

      Tom

  11. Tom Howell says:

    Sloop JB
    To be fair to Gordon Besford, he was promoted very quickly and somewhat unhappy at being posted to the Mess. He did not make friends easily which was part of the problem. As I say in my Memoirs I bumped into him in Malaya when he was serving with the Malay Rangers I think. Not seen or heard of him since. I can see how you formed your view of him.

    Tom

  12. Sloop JB says:

    Tom

    Thanks for that further information about Merve, hope he is recovering well from his op. Going back to your photos, I meant to have said about Sjt Besford, he is in some photos in my gallery. The Mess staff decided to go out to one of the Cays off Kingston harbour, an Easter weekend or Whitsun, not quite sure which now but Besford muscled in on our plans.

    We chartered a launch and off we went, I couldn’t put his name to the photos cause I’d forgoten it. One of the boys, Stan Denning got so sun burnt he ended up in hospital, he was charged with damaging Government Property but he was let off.

    Sjt Besford wasn’t my cup of tea, I would say another Carter, but that’s just my opinion.

    John

    • Merv Chandler says:

      Sloop JB, please email your phone number. My phone number is: 01297631535

      ED: Merv, no email address exposed. Phone only for contacts.

  13. Tom Howell says:

    Sloop JB
    Merve has only recently moved to Axminster and is recovering from a hip replacement operation. Unfortunately he does not have a computer, but he has got all the details of this site and will look at it when he next visits his son-in-law. I am sure he would like to make contact again.He will be at Bodmin in June.

    Tom

  14. Sloop JB says:

    Tom

    I have just been browsing your photographs again, more faces caught my eye. Merv Chandler and Austin (Joey) Chamberlain use to go to the same school as I. Joey and I grew up in the same neighbourhood, his wife Babs was a friend of my sister Mary. I didn’t meet Merv till I went to senior school. Driver Gibbons lives in Taunton, he used to come to the Officers Mess in his jeep to pick up the Officers when ever they were on duty.

    Merv worked on the Railway when he left school, he now lives at Exeter, as you may well know, last time I saw him was at Newquay at the dinner and dance, three years ago.

  15. SWANNY SWANSON says:

    ED and Tom
    Lt Pete Middleton was Platoon Commander of I Platoon in Bermuda, he was in Bermuda the same time as you and I Derek, his batman was Andy Andrewartha, a Falmouth chap that was in 14th Intake in Bodmin.

    His Father was the Honorary Squire of Nottingham with apparently pots of money, and a grey horse was taken by ship for him to use in Bermuda. I like you, thought he was a N/S Officer but could be mistaken and is the one you (Tom) know of in Belize.

    He came out on the Troop Ship with us Derek, always had long grey hair, sticking out from under his cap, but he was a first class gentleman.

    ED: Thanks Swanny, just knew you’d like to embellish that story. I know also that you’d mentioned The Old Man (Toots Williams) was pretty pissed off over the horse. We should have asked him last June 11th at lunch.

    Can’t say that I remember Pete Middleton enough to make more comment, but I’m sure we all knew him through manoevers and Guard Mounting.

  16. Editor in Brisbane says:

    Swanny.

    Having fully read Tom’s Memoirs while working on the text and photographs, many names are brought into focus. Two in particular – (Sjt) Fred Thomas (I believe) and (Cpl) Ken Young. Now both these 2 cheps, as Sjt and Cpl respectively, were our (“A” Company 3 & 4) Platoon NCOs and it now occurs that they were promoted later in 1954/1955 and shifted off to the Battalion, to finish up serving with Tom.

    In Bermuda in mid/late 1954, Ken Young as Acting Pltn Sjt, was replaced by Charlie Seaborne around the time that Lt Francis Drake was Pltn Cmdr and in turn replaced by 2/Lt Middleton, or was that 2/Lt Corringham?

    Am I correct?

    • Tom Howell says:

      Ed
      If it helps, 2/Lt Peter Middleton was MTO in Belize when I got there mid ’55. He in turn was relieved by 2/Lt Stuart Money
      Tom

      • Editor in Brisbane says:

        Thanks Tom.

        I now realise a mistaken identity that probably Swanny will detail further. Pete Middleton turned up at “A” Company, including a horse I believe, during the reign of Toots Williams in 1954. I’ll let Swanny repeat that story. Corringham was the chep who took over 3 Platoon from Frank Drake. Pete Middleton was Plt Cmdr of either 1 or 2 Platoon, so if you met him in Belize in 1955 – maybe the Old Man sent him packing – horse ‘n all!

        • Tom Howell says:

          Ed
          When we got back to UK in Walker Lines a welcome home party was held in the NAAFI. Former members of the Bn were there including Peter Middleton. I naturally went over to greet him as his former MT Sjt, and he looked straight through me. Claimed not to know who I was! As you might expect – I had carried him all the time I was there with him. Not sure but believe he was involved in jeep accident with Sjt Solly Solomon before I got there. Believe PM is /was something big in the City, saw him once on TV news item.
          Tom

          ED: Interesting comment Tom. See Wapedia Wiki on Sir Peter Edward Middleton. Obviously not the same chep.

  17. Tom Howell says:

    Swanny
    Thank you for your kind comments, but Derek is the hero who put it all together and will probably go blind in the process!

    Curly Wotton was in my intake, but because he bugled off I rather lost touch with him. Nice lad though. Do mention me to him when you next write.

    Geoff Edwards I knew well, and Mary his wife of course. It was very sad about the boy they lost, as it was about Geoff’s premature passing. I last saw him in the Depot in about 1958 I think when we were Sjt’s together.

    You are right to be proud of your son’s achievements. It’s not everyone who has it in them to become an RSM in the Light Infantry. You need to take good care of your own health – ensure you eat well and wisely, take plenty of exercise – walking is first rate and it doesn’t cost anything! I hope to see everyone at Bodmin this year if my own health permits.
    Best Wishes
    Tom

  18. SWANNY SWANSON says:

    Tom
    Sorry Tom, the one name I meant to mention was Bob Curley Wotton, I was great friends with Bob but he is not on computers, so I do not correspond to him as much as I would like. Last year was very difficult for me and my Family as I battled cancer for some time, and lost contact with Bob. I received a Christmas card last year but was unable to send him one, but sent him and his wife one this year explaining.

    I received a card with a letter saying he had had prostate cancer this year, he said he is waiting for his results on the 17th of this month. He asked me to send his regards to all who knew him, and also said he hopes to meet up with all of his mates at Bodmin next year.

  19. SWANNY SWANSON says:

    Tom
    Now been reading your memoirs, very interesting names that you mentioned Godfrey Edwards who hails from Penzance. Strange how life works out. I went to my son Donalds passing out Parade at Shrewsbury in 1974 and was so proud. Godfrey was a C/ Sgt then in the Depot. I was serving then in RMR and went on the parade in my Blues and had a drink with him in the mess. As said strange world as my son Donald went on and got to the rank of WO1 in 2LI and served for 24 years.

    I have enjoyed your memoirs so very much. I don’t go on the blogs as much as I did, and after being on the blogs for some time now it is so good to have so many and more interesting members on various sites.

  20. Tom Howell says:

    Derek
    Likewise it has been a great pleasure to work with you on this ‘production’. I thoroughly enjoyed my career regrettably cut short by exigencies of the service. I was however fortunate in finding another rewarding career in the life beyond.

    I am sure we would have got on well together in the army
    Best Wishes

    Tom

  21. MEMOIRS: Major Tom Howell

    Tom’s Memoirs are now effectively completed and have been re-released to view and Comment. We shall appreciate the exercising of Blog Discipline with these Military Memoirs. Only related comment and banter if any, please.

    As Editor I record my compliments to Tom for his prompt and acute co-operation in the writing of his military record. I also mention here my appreciation and compliments for a fine Military career, I wished that had served with you Tom.

    Thank You.

    Carpe Diem!

  22. Editor in Brisbane says:

    MISPLACED COMMENT TRANSFER

    Jack to Tom 11.48pm 2009/12/15

    Tom.
    C/Sgt Freddy Fairless was CQMS S Coy in Jamaica,

    • Editor in Brisbane says:

      TRANSFER OF A REPLY TO A MISPLACED COMMENT

      Submitted on 2009/12/16 at 3:32pm

      Jack
      I could not remember what Freddy did after the mess but I used to go to his house often for lunch when in Kingston, as we got on well coming from the same area. His wife made very nice Yorkshire Puddings as I recall. I last saw him in Walker Lines, but I don’t know how or when he died
      Tom

  23. Editor in Brisbane says:

    MISPLACED COMMENT TRANSFER

    Tom to Sloop 9.19 pm 2009/12/15

    Sloop JB
    I see we agree about NC! I was still Officers Mess Cpl in Crownhill. You may remember also C/Sjt Freddy Fairless was acting Mess Sjt. He brought me to the Mess from A Coy. The Mess in Minden was in Johannstrasse. Before we left for Jamaica Sjt Gordon Besford took over from Fairless. I stayed with the Mess till about March or April, can’t remember exactly now, and went to B Coy.
    Cheers
    Tom

  24. Editor in Brisbane says:

    MISPLACED COMMENT TRANSFER

    Sloop to Tom 7.38 pm 2009/12/15

    Tom
    Bill Rix was in the Mess when I joined the staff at Crownhill. I couldn’t have missed you by much, I liked Bill he was a nice guy, I think he went up to Newcastle Mess with Ray Olver.

    I never liked Cecil Carter, talk about big head, he was like that all the time growing up. Where I am living now he lived a few doors down as a boy growing up. He only went to a secondary modern school so I dont know where he got his Airs & Graces from. Just after I arrived at Bodmin he came back from Minden for release he didn’t want to acknowledge me even then. He came down to Bodmin on rally days a few times but haven’t seen him there lately. Take care.
    John

  25. Editor in Brisbane says:

    MISPLACED COMMENT TRANSFER

    Tom to Sloop 5.25 pm 2009/12/15

    Sloop JB
    Thank you. I put replies up a couple of days ago. On the matter of Cecil Carter, can’t remember which coy he was in but do recall he was a bit of an extrovert character, a bit flash even. Apart from Bill Ricks, can’t recall the other names despite being good friends with the L/Cpl next to Bill in the photo.
    Cheers
    Tom

  26. Tom Howell says:

    Sloop JB
    His name was Bawden and he was certainly ginger! Dont know about Bridgewater though.Definitely West Country and a nice lad to boot.
    Tom

  27. Sloop JB says:

    Tom

    In the football team was that Ginger Bawden. He came from Bridgwater just up the road from Taunton, saw him a few times after coming out the mob whilst working in Bridgy.

  28. Sloop JB says:

    Tom,
    Just viewed your photos in BAOR, you were there before me but I recognise to faces. One was Bill Ricks who served with me in the Officer’s Mess and the other is Cecil Carter, he comes from my home town and we stop and have a chat from time to time. Bill came from Bristol and there are photos of him amongst my pics. The schemes we use to go out on certainly put us through our paces, who could forget the all-in stews we use to be served up. Open trench, burner either end, billy cans in the middle, it went down a treat after all the action of the day.

    One night in the Black Forest we were so tired we just lay under the trees and went to sleep. Another night just after we all settled down something set off the flares by touching the trip wires, what a shindig that caused, turned out to be a donkey wandering around. Happy days eh?

    • Tom Howell says:

      Sloop JB
      Thanks for that I remember the boys well but could not remember their names. Bill Ricks I knew very well, he was in A coy with me and the boy on his right, CeciI Carter joined our party that night but I don’t think he was in A Coy.

      Aah Bisto – those all in stews! Who needs Gordon Ramsay.
      Tom

  29. Tom Howell says:

    Jack
    The name you are looking for is ‘Burton’. There will be a photo of him as a Sjt on site with the next instalment. He was either in A Coy or B Coy at the time, although getting a bit confused about A coy Sjt’s. Certainly Bert Love was my Pl Sjt, others include Tommy Austin (small ginger Yorkshireman, national serviceman). Bill Winder also from Yorkshire and NS.

    All appear in my blog photos
    Tom

  30. Jack Madron says:

    PS.
    Lt Terry was Anti tank Platoon Commander in Jamaica.

  31. Jack Madron says:

    Tom.
    Thank you. Painting has just been a hobby over the years. Had the chance to go to art school as a youngster but turned it down. Turned a few things down in my time. Lt Peter Rowe offered me a third stripe if I signed on again. Turned that down as well. I think we all make mistakes in life. I have, I know.
    Cpl Carling and the L/Cpl on the right of Sgt Mason,I can’t remember his name, escorted us from Bodmin to Minden after basic training.
    Both of them were Sgts in Jamaica.
    As you see, can’t get out of the habit of putting a G in Sgt.

  32. Tom Howell says:

    Jack
    Had a quick look at the site but the images (even enlarged) are too small for my ageing eyes. However, on the Minden Court shot you have Cpl Carling featured, whom I mentioned earlier, and on the ship’s gangway shot I saw a lot of familiar faces. Liked the paintings by the way!

    Tom

  33. Tom Howell says:

    Jack
    It warms my heart that you saw the light early – it makes me really proud of you. Mind you, all that passive smoking you undoubtedly experienced in the entertainment world was probably just has bad. I don’t recall the Bren incident, but I may already have left A Coy to go as Officers Mess Cpl. You don’t suppose they were trying to shoot George do you?
    Lt Terry was re-enlistment and accompanied my draft to Minden. I think he was a Short Service commission. I know he came to Jamaica because he asked me to show his wife where the market was in Kingston. I went to Belize and never saw him again. l will look up Bob and Roy on that site and report back but pretty busy this evening
    Tom

  34. Jack Madron says:

    Tom.
    Bob and Roy’s photos can be found in my lot on Old Mates Picasa Photo Albums (Military).

  35. Jack Madron says:

    Afternoon Tom. I haven’t touched a fag for forty odd years. Lungs are ok, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to do the lead singing in my group.

    Spent a number of years in the entertainment business, touring and summer seasons in holiday camps etc. I would never have made a bugler though I do play guitar.

    About my mates who were in A Coy. Roy Morris was transfered when we left Minden, he was NS. Bob Barett joined MMGs the same time as me and served in Jamaica and Belize. Both of us signed on for three and four.

    Do you remember an incident in A Coy in Minden when shots were fired in one of the barrack rooms? George Boulton was near the Bren when it was fired. The culprit was a Penzance lad, Donald Mclean. He joined us in MMGs and served in Jamaica and Belize. Lt Mike Terry was hauled over the coals for it, I believe.

  36. Tom Howell says:

    Jack
    If you had stopped smoking, not only would you have improved your running, your healthy lungs would have made you first class NCO material, and better able to cope with recalcitrants on snow -covered squares; also had you chosen to continue your bu(n)gling career you would have been on a par with Eddie Calvert.
    Dont give up!

    Tom

  37. Jack Madron says:

    Now I know why I didn’t get promoted until 54.
    I was a bugler, not very good, in the Boys Brigade.

  38. Tom Howell says:

    Jack
    I find when dealing with one subject it brings others to the surface. However my once infallible memory for names is shot to hell. I would probably recognise the boys you mention if I saw them, but not otherwise. Same with the runners. We once did a relay from Minden to Osnabruck in ’53 ( about 40 miles ) with a team of 8. If you enlarge the A Coy groups on the blog they may be present on the photos.

    JT
    Strongly believe in the benefits of ACF if you intend to join up. Certainly made life easier for me

    Tom

  39. JT says:

    Tom

    I was interested that you were in the ACF before enlisting. Me to and this was to prove very useful. Being well grounded in weapon training, foot drill and shooting etc. Got me promoted to L/Cpl within I think 8 weeks of joining.

    I was in The Sherwood Foresters ACF (infantry) although I enlisted into the Royal Armoured Corps.

  40. Jack Madron says:

    Tom.
    Cross country runs. I was always last or near last. Had to stop for a fag now and again.
    Weren’t they after pay parade on Thursday afternoon ?
    Do you remember George Gibbons. MG Pl ? He ran for the Battalion. A Welshman, he was a very good runner as I recall.

  41. Jack Madron says:

    Thanks Tom.
    Must say, you have a better memory than I have.
    I do remember about a Sjt falling from a window but I didn’t know the name.
    Strange how somethings stick in your memory and other things do not.
    Old age, I suppose.

    • Jack Madron says:

      PS. Tom.
      Do you remember Bob Barrett and Roy Morris in A Coy ?
      We joined at the same time but on joining Battalion I went to B Coy and they went to A Coy. The three of us went to MMGs the same time. Roy stayed NS but Bob and I signed for three years.

  42. Tom Howell says:

    Jack
    The accomodation that was previously used by C Coy in full strength bn, was utilised in our time by mainly the NCO’s Cadre and the PRI. The cadre was run by Maj ‘Mac’ McLaren ( remember his stutter? ) and the PRI by Capt Salusbury-Trelawny MC. C Coy came ‘back’ with the move to Plymouth when the bn was reinforced.
    Tom

  43. Tom Howell says:

    Jack
    Afternote: D and E Coys were only formed for the Caribbean.
    Tom

  44. Tom Howell says:

    Jack
    Will try to answer all your questions.
    1. The brigadier was Ferguson – Graham, later my boss in Northern Command.
    2. You are correct with the layout of the blocks, except we did not have a ‘D’ or ‘E’ coys, and not even a ‘C’ coy. The bn was very depleted by sending men to Korea before our time. In fact I seem to remember A Coy was a cadre coy most of the time.
    3. The block at the rear of the tpt was the cookhouse, topped by the Sjt’s Mess from which you may remember Sjt Mike Carling fell into the rear access to the cellars. He broke practically every bone in his body. Co-incidentally I took over from him at Mons OCS as he was commissioned into RMP and we both successfully appeared at the same RCB.
    4. The accomodation at No 4 Leave Centre was fab and very enjoyable to be there, but mostly we bivouaced near Goslar.

    Hope I covered everything – if not get back to me.
    Tom

  45. Jack Madron says:

    Tom.
    Is the building in photo 3 the cookhouse block? If memory is right, the main blocks were three stories plus roof space.

    On entering camp by main gate, 1st block on right was HQ. Signal and MT Platoons. Next block was S Coy. Across end of square was Gym. Then A and B Coys then D and E Coys. Other end of square was cookhouse but I can’t remember what was upstairs in that block. I’m only trying to remember how it was so please say if I’m wrong on anything.

  46. Jack Madron says:

    Tom.
    Bad Harzburg. MMGs spent some time there in the summer of 53. We were put up in an hotel. Quite posh I thought. At meal times there was a small string group who played for us. A favourite tune we used to request was Hot Canary. A catchy violin piece.

    I don’t remember the shrubs on the edge of the square. Photo 3. Also the small building in background. What was that? Around the corner of HQ Block there was a sentry box then the guardroom. Opposite side of the Main Gate was a Nissen Hut for guard to rest in when not on sentry duty.

    I could be wrong on all this. Memory ain’t what it used to be and it’s 56 years ago. Do you remember the name of the Brigadier at that time He had a black and white moustache and always had a spaniel dog with him.

  47. Tom Howell says:

    JT
    Forgot also to mention Bert Love was my Pl Sjt in A Coy in Minden

    Tom

    • Editor in Brisbane says:

      REF: Bert Love

      While in Shrewsbury in June last, I attended the Rifles Annual Parade and spoke to Reg Thomson ? (bugler) who lived at one time, next to Bert, in Shrewsbury. It would have been my fondest wish to have spent time with Bert, as he coached and drilled we of the Special Guard at Prospect.

      Reports at that time was that Bert had with drawn from life generally, following the death of his wife, and seldom ventured out into military affairs.

      He was an exemplary Sjt and I recall only a highly competent soldier, with a very kind and encouraging disposition to we squaddies. He sure had a voice though – carried way across the square!

  48. JT says:

    Hi Tom

    Very interesting start of your memoirs. Bert Love (pipe smoker) of course was in “A” Coy Bermuda and appears in various pictures on the site.

    There is a photo with a “CSM” Thomas. He looks very much like Fred Thomas who was Sgt / Sjt (take your pick) in Bermuda.

    • Tom Howell says:

      JT
      You are correct. However this is a stray photo given to me by Sjt Robby Robinson which was actually taken in Osnabruck. Freddy Thomas was my CSM in Belize, and you will see more of him in the Belize section of my memoirs. A great bloke and I was sorry to learn of his death.
      Thanks for your interest
      Tom

      • JT says:

        Tom

        Yes Fred was a very likeable chap. He came later to Bermuda and was billeted with the single Sgts til his wife came later I think. He is in a photo on the blog taken at a beach party including your truly.

  49. Editor in Brisbane says:

    Tom, I predict comment on spelling of ‘Serjeant’ and have logged expanded Comment on Old Grumpy on this topic. This’ll give ’em summat to do while they crack their chestnuts!

  50. Jack Madron says:

    Tom.
    Me again. Just had a look at your photos. The one of NCOs A Coy. Photo 11. Is the one nearest the wooden steps George Boulton?

    Nienburg Bridge. If that was late summer, early autum, I was on that scheme with B Coy. A Pte Blackmoor and myself were dug in the other side of those vehicles. We cooked our meals under the first span of the bridge. More memories.

  51. Jack Madron says:

    Tom.
    Very interesting. Brought back some memories of Bodmin and Minden.
    You mentioned Sgt Hawkey in Bodmin. I don’t remember him but our training platoon Sgt was Sgt Hawkins. I joined up 5th June 1952, so we must have been in Bodmin together at one point. Enjoyed your first episode and waiting for the next.

    • Tom Howell says:

      Jack
      Thank you for your interest and kind comments.
      1. Dear old George appears in quite a few of the groups.As you mentioned elsewhere about clearing the snow from the square – same thing with me and George in winter of ’52!.
      2. Re Sjt Hawkey – definitely his name. He was not PS, but in transit. As you will learn in Jamaica instalment, in those days everyone had to report to the depot on return to UK for whatever reason. He was ‘helping out’ and acting as supernumary. Good old boy who lived in a village near Wadebridge. I got to Bodmin on 25 Aug ’52.
      3. Had photo of Nienburg for years but cannot recall anything about it!
      Cheers
      Tom

  52. Editor says:

    TOM HOWELL MEMOIRS – PART ONE

    Congratulations Tom on a Memoir well recalled and written. No doubt the article will tickle the fancy of quite a few of the lads! Stand by for some appropriate Comments.

    • Tim Howell says:

      Dear Friends of Tom Howell.

      I regret to inform you that my Father passed away on Friday 27th May 2016 aged 83. He was immensely proud of his army career and often recounted to us all his happy memories of friends and colleagues during his time in the service. He is survived by his wife Catherine and children Virginia, Jon, Tim and Roland. RIP Major Tom Howell

      • Hello Tim and Family.

        My condolences on Tom’s passing. We met in Mooloolaba Australia some time ago and conjoined in the production of his Memoirs. Derek & Audrey Lovemore. Brisbane

      • Geoff Cherry says:

        Please except my condolences on TOM’S passing, he will be sadly missed, he was one of us, RIP Major TOM. Geoff

        • John Billett says:

          Please accept our condolences on Tom’s passing, I was in the Officer’s Mess Plymouth & Jamaica, but try as I may I cannot picture him, John Billett ex B company.

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