Harold Royffe RSM

Jan Passmore RSM Battalion, Harold Royffe RSM Depot, Pete Firth RSM TA. circa 1957

Until now – 22/12/2008 – there is surprisingly little publicity of our RSM evident in DCLI web history (that which has been researched by the Editor) Regimental Sergeant Major Harold Royffe was ‘The Regiment” so far as we OR’s were concerned. The very mention of his name rippled trepidation and awe through the ranks of we rookie soldiers at Plymouth Crownhill Barracks in Jan/Feb 1954, on the HMT Empire Clyde, and later at Prospect Garrison, Bermuda on the occasion of his late 1954 visit.

It transpired that Harold Royffe was a true gentleman and soldier and while stories of his fearful disposition abound, most Old DCLI Soldiers (now) have only amusing, fond and endearing memories of him. We seek to honour our RSM on these pages and to correct the omissions of the past by subscribing comments and anecdotes, as they unravel from various readers and contributors who served under him. It is fairly evident that Harold Royffe was a decorated soldier far earlier than we Caribbean squaddies can recall and we cordially invite comments from all Old Soldiers far and wide, to bring alive his memory.

As a footnote: We have yet to properly caption the various photographs, if in turn, you can ID a face or a location, please advise. In the header photo above, RSM Jan Passmore (Battalion) is shown to HR’s rhs and we think the 3rd RSM on Harold’s left is Pete Firth (TA). Circa date is estimated at 1957.

Regimental Depot Bodmin

Regimental Depot Bodmin

Scan-13 - more details to comeScan-14 - more details to come

Bodmin Regimental Depot - circa 1957

Bodmin Regimental Depot - circa 1957

Caribbean 1954-1957

Caribbean 1954-1957

Unknown detail - tba

Unknown detail - tba

Social Group - tba

Social Group - tba

Social Group 2 - tba

Social Group 2 - tba

Germany, probably Minden, Junior NCO's Mess - see faint inscription

Germany, probably Minden, Junior NCO's Mess - see faint inscription

Family member & friend; circa 1954 - West Indies? tba

Family member & friend Mr McCullum; circa 1954 - West Indies? tba

Mrs McCullum in barrow. No comment!

Mrs McCullum in barrow. No comment!

Tattoo? Caribbean? - tba

Tattoo? Caribbean? - tba


Photos below are forwarded by Major Tom Howell recently (September 2009)

RSM Royffe at rear next to Tom Howell. Also in background is RSM's big old Wolseley

RSM Royffe at rear next to Tom Howell. Also in background is RSM's big old Wolseley

Depot SNCO's 1957: Front (l-R) C/Sjt Perret, CSM Hallett., RSM Royffe, Maj Ruttledge, Lt Peters-Dickie, CSM Steer, APTC C/Sjt Oram. Rear: (?) Sjt Mackay, Sjts Howell, Rich, Basham, Edwards

Depot SNCO's 1957: Front (l-R) C/Sjt Perret, CSM Hallett., RSM Royffe, Maj Ruttledge, Lt Peters-Dickie, CSM Steer, APTC C/Sjt Oram. Rear: (?) Sjt Mackay, Sjts Howell, Rich, Basham, Edwards

RSM Royffe with on his left Lt Col Leisching CO 1 DCLI and right CO 1 South Staffords

RSM Royffe with on his left Lt Col Leisching CO 1 DCLI and right CO 1 South Staffords

AAI Spring 1953. Behind Insp Officer LT Col Leisching CO, Major PD Watson OC B Coy, Major C Sayers 2IC Bn, Capt J Tanner Adjutant

AAI Spring 1953. Behind Insp Officer LT Col Leisching CO, Major PD Watson OC B Coy, Major C Sayers 2IC Bn, Capt J Tanner Adjutant

Regtl Ball 1953: Boys are 'volunteer' waiters from a Rifle Coy but can't remember any names

Regtl Ball 1953: Boys are 'volunteer' waiters from a Rifle Coy but can't remember any names

RSM Royffe in Ceremony of The Colours at a Lucknow Ball in Minden either 1952 or 1953

RSM Royffe in Ceremony of The Colours at a Lucknow Ball in Minden either 1952 or 1953

Friends of the RSM: Claud Marsdon, Ken & Joan Launder, taken at The Keep in the 80s, during Princess Alexandria's visit. Courtesy Neil Swanson.

Friends of the RSM: Claud Marsdon, Ken & Joan Launder, taken at The Keep in the 80s, during Princess Alexandria's visit. Courtesy Neil Swanson.

Royffe family in Jamaica circa 1955: Left to right standing is Margaret, Dad, Eileen and Sylvia left to right sitting Joan and Mum.


115 Responses to RSM HAROLD ROYFFE. RIP

  1. Sylvia says:

    It is 30 years ago today that you passed away Dad, it is still hard to live on without you. We girls certainly had a brilliant childhood with you and Mum. I hope that you are still proud of us girls and our children, and now, their children. Love you lots from your No. 2 daughter Sylvia. xxxx

  2. Relayed from Tom Strike in South Australia says:

    Refer the photo of the 3 RSMs, well I have met ’em all.

    As you all know Jan Passmore was at Prospect Garrison Bermuda. I met RSM Royffe at the handing over of the Regimental Colours at Bodmin in 1959. He came and spoke to one Cpl Bill Dinner who was stationed in Jamaica and he asked who I was. I told him I was in Bermuda in a Rifle Company. He looked so smart in his green uniform.

    RSM Pete Firth was the RSM in the 4th/5th Battalion TA. One weekend we had an exercise with the Civil Defence at Plymouth, all about atom bombs. We were all supposed to be suffering from shock and were all painted up to make us look injured. When we returned to barracks we hid away but he found us and asked what we were doing. After I told him that we were suffering shock he said “well here’s another one, get back on the truck and get treated again”.

    Pays to keep your mouth shut sometimes!


  3. John Goddard says:

    Hi Guys, please note we have changed our address hope this gets through. I have been watching a few reruns of “it ain’t ‘arf hot mum”, very funny and a bit like life in the bugle platoon, the CSM is very good – Oh dear happy days.

    We reported for duty 5 November 1953, that is 57 years ago. We was young now we is old – you bunch of puffs – as our CSM would say. Have a drink on fireworks day.

    ED: John Goddard has announced a change of email address (not published to view under our protocols). Anyone wishing to be able to contact him direct, please advise and I shall forward in confidence.

  4. Margaret Royffe says:

    Thanks for the welcome Sloop – best wishes to Peggy. How did your ‘walk’ go? I hope you raised a few pounds. The Empire Clyde Mugs are super. It is over 60 years since we went on it but I still remember the start of the journey from Liverpool. There weren’t many people in the dining room on that first night because the sea was so rough. The Royffe family were made of stern stuff, an inherited trait no doubt. xx

    • Sloop JB says:

      Hello Margaret

      I’ve been all day wondering if I should answer you on this blog, but I don’t know where else to go. Thank you for wishing Peggy well, it’s the arthritis that plays her up. The mugs are great, I’ve got myself the DCLI mug and have had my name rank and number put on it and they sit beside each other on the shelf with my LI badges. I was one of the people who wasn’t very well at that time, it took me four days to recover, I didn’t have the Royffe genes in me lol,

      Margaret, about the (walk) you must be mixing me up with some one else you spoke to on that day, it certainly wasn’t me, say hello to Sylvia for me please, we wish you both well Peggy and John (Sloop) xxx

      • Editor in Brisbane says:

        Hello JB, I guess your comment begs a question about placement, but honestly I’m resigned to letting Cheps work it out for themselves without my intervention. We’ve been down this winding road before. The fact that you’re replying to Margaret (as RSM Family) is obvious, but eventually – the RSM Royffe page will fill with ‘general chatter’. Is that what we want? (I don’t have the answer). Simply put, if it were me, I’d be using the Reggie Mental for general topical ‘stuff’, and DCLI for specific DCLI ‘stuff’. Lol.

        PS: Feel free to offer a solution. Would a General Chatter page be useful?

  5. Sloop JB says:

    Hello Sylvia and Margaret

    Good to see you both back on blogs. It was a great pleasure to have met you both at Bodmin, sorry I didn’t speak to you much, I bogged myself down with the flyers for the Empire Clyde mugs. At least I got a lovely photo of you both. Sorry you didn’t get to meet Peggy, she was alright when I got back to our holiday bungalow.

    Sylvia, Peter Male was over the moon with your father’s badge you gave him.

  6. Swanny Swanson says:

    Hi Margaret, as Terry said nice that you are back on the blogs. As Derek and I have said many times the ex DCLI that don’t come on and tell about their service days etc, don’t get the pleasure of reading and writing that the blogs give us all. As said, welcome back Margaret.

    • Margaret Royffe says:

      Thanks Swanny, I will do my best to contribute, but my memory isn’t as good as it was. Sylvia is much better than me. Anyway, I enjoy reading all your reminiscences. Love to you xx

  7. Editor in Brisbane says:

    Daughters of the Regiment

    DCLI Memoriale carries the omission of HR’s name which I would like to rectify, but to do so requires Family sanction. If OK kindly advise DOD and I shall amend the Honour Roll.

    • Margaret Royffe says:

      Dad passed away on 30th November, 1982 aged 65.

      ED: Thank you Margaret, now added to Honour Roll.

  8. Terry Joll says:

    I am delighted to see the two Daughters of The Regiment back amongst us again. Welcome back Ladies.

    • Margaret Royffe says:

      Thank you very much Terry, I for one have missed you all. I will do my best not to blot my copy book. I am pleased to hear that you are fully recovered following your visit to the hospital and so sorry that we missed you at the Bodmin Open Day. I hope we will meet again at another get together. XX

  9. Margaret Royffe says:

    ED: Thank you very much for allowing me access to Dad’s blog. Barry and Terry thank you too for your comments but I don’t think Derek will allow any comments from me.


    ED: Margaret, I’m not sure what your comment means, but so far as access to this site is concerned, you are welcome at any time, always have been and always will. Nothing has changed so far as respectable blogging is concerned, you were never a culprit. Welcome back.

    • Margaret Royffe says:

      Thank you Derek. I had no access to the site for some time so thought I had been black listed. However, if I am welcome back, thank you, I appreciate it. I do enjoy seeing all the chat from all these wonderful characters, whom I have much respect for and who were part of our revered regiment.

      ED: Margaret, can’t understand why you couldn’t access this site, the only changes made were removal of ‘banter’ pages to avoid needless and non military content. No-one has ever been ‘blocked’. All are welcome.

  10. Barry Cornish says:

    I did enjoy meeting you and Margaret at the Bodmin Re-Union in June, and I am delighted to read your latest contribution, with yet another reminiscence of your highly respected father. With kindest regards,
    From Barry.

  11. Terry Joll says:

    Thanks for reminding me of the Green Eye of the Yellow God. It would usually be one of the skits that was put on at the Battalion Concerts by the Band. I have heard various versions of it and all were entertaining. I have just looked it up on Google and have printed off the full words, 12 Verses. I cannot remember it being sung but recited as a monologue. I have produced it for a Re-Union next month.

    I have also produced Gunga Din and Eskimo Nell, but that one is for male company only. Many more are available. I can imagine your father giving his rendition with gusto, his voice would have carried it off well. Nice to see you back again.


  12. Sylvia says:

    I was thinking about the concerts that were held in Minden, when my Dad would recite The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God. I am told he didn’t exactly sing the correct words and I’m wondering if any of you remember what he did sing?

    ED: Well, Well, Sylvia, what a revelation is that reminder, now hotlinked to your Title. I’d long forgotten the words and the many performances I’d listened to at Smoking Concerts. Dunno HR’s words though, will be interesting to find out!

  13. Terry Joll says:

    When in Bodmin in 1957 and in basic training there was a Prowler Guard each night of Corporal, Lance Corporal and three recruits, our dress was PT shoes with denims tucked into socks and groundsheet if raining, armed with a pick helve and whistle. One night we were warned to look out for prowlers and shortly after midnight the chap on patrol blew his whistle frantically and was shouting. “I got him Corporal.”

    We all turned out and raced along the side of the square where you will remember several fir trees were, we arrived and saw our pal who was built like the coal house on the ground with this person face down in the grass, he was wearing a black tracksuit and was protesting. On our arrival the Guard Commander ordered the recruit to let the man up and – yes you guessed, it was HR, extremely muddy.

    We thought “Hell, we are in for it now”, but HR came with us to the Guard Room and congratulated the sentry and thanked us for a job well done, But we were very careful after that. HR would visit us on the square frequently but never made mention

    He was a man you avoided but still a gentleman. I never had any problems with him.


  14. Marshall Clark says:

    After fifty seven years the sight of him gave me a fright I can still hear his voice. A nightmare has returned. Are you sure he is dead?


    Bodmin, March 1953. Training Platoon, Sgt Hawkins.
    Minden, July – Nov. 1953.
    Plymouth Dec -January 1954.
    Belize, Airport Camp. 1954 – Feb1955.

    ED: Marshall, presumably you are referring to our collection of photos from family and friends. HR the gentleman soldier has evoked many, many fond memories. Some of HR as RSM will no doubt raise the hairs on your neck, but generally our Memoriam attempts to outline the great and fair soldier that he was and how he managed the Battalion.

    • Jack Madron says:

      HR was fair to everybody. From officers down to privates. If you read my comments about him, you’ll see he had a sense of humour as well. I should know, he caught me out once.

  15. Jack Madron says:

    Re broken arm. I think you’ll fnd that it was the CO. Lt.Col Daly’s idea that the troops could bale out at 30mph and HR said it was too dangerous. Again HR was right. What the hell did Daly know. He was a prat if ever there was one.

  16. Christine Snook (nee Royffe) says:

    Thanks everyone for the kind words regarding my grandfather Harold it makes my father very proud when I tell him about his father and everything everyone has written about him on the internet.

    My father is David Royffe one of Harold’s sons from his first marriage.

  17. John Goddard says:

    Just a short note about the RSM. One day at Up Park Camp the bugle platoon would practice in the grandstand at the polo fields.This day the RSM was jumping out of a moving 3 ton truck, each time he jumped out the next he increased the speed. At about 30mph he jumped out each time facing the direction of travel, he landed heavy and broke his arm.

    The reason he was trying this was when there was a riot in Kingston he was testing to see if it was ok for lads to jump off a moving truck. I also have if I can find it a photo of Titch Horder

    • Tom Howell says:

      Remember the incident quite well.

      We had a programme of I.S. (Internal Security) drills, one of which involved a forward roll from the tailboard of a moving truck. There was a certain amount of disquiet within the ranks as to the optimum speed of the vehicle. The RSM confidently claimed that to be 30mph and proceeded to demonstrate the technique, whereupon he broke his arm.


  18. John Goddard says:

    Re: Titch Horder & Paddy Lightfoot. They were great mates in Jamaica I knew both very well. They gave the Red Stripe beer a bit of a flogging at the Naafi. They seldom if ever left the Up Park Camp area. Paid every Thursday, they were both broke by Sunday, asking me for sub till payday.

    Titch was in and out of the slammer a lot more than Paddy. They were good soldiers, both were at Normandy and this had scared them. Titch and Paddy told me some shocking stuff about D Day.

    Titch was in our barrack room which was next to the divisional military prison, he did not have far to go when he served time.

    Re: RSM Royffe. I was his batman on our yearly scheme at a place called Moneuge (I think that’s how you spell it), it’s up near Port Antonio. It rained for two weeks. I looked after the RSM kept his tent and kit clean and dry got his rations and went and played war games. On the last day Harold said to me Monday morning, “come and see me at my office I will have something for you as a thank you”. That weekend we went awol and got caught, and Monday morning, I was in the RSM’s Office on CO’s Orders. When Harold saw me he thought I was there as he had told me to be. When he discovered I was on CO’s orders his mood changed to very black. Happy Days

    Re: The Empire Clyde. I remember the Argyle and Southerland Highlanders on board. They went to British Guiana. The old Clyde’s route was Liverpool, Bermuda, Kingston, Belize, Kingston, British Guiana.

    PS: I also did baby sitting at the RSM’s. Also anybody remember the sanitation man Cpl Flash Senior and a guy called Bavistock? Gee we gave him a hard time just because he was not like us, he was normal.

    Thats all folks. John Goddard

    ED: Wow JG, That’s a whole years worth of blogging! Good to hear from you ‘Ole Mate.

    • Tom Howell says:

      Interesting blog!
      Moneague is actually on the Ocho Rios road. From Kingston one would travel via Spanish Town – Bog Walk – Linstead – Moneague. Port Antonio is very much further to the east.

      I’ve mentioned Titch Horder and ‘Geordie’ Lightfoot before in earlier blogs. They were as you say both inveterate drinkers and frequently in the guardroom. Both kept a spare set of immaculately blancoed webbing for their detention periods. I don’t know about Normandy but Geordie certainly served in Korea. Titch of course held the record for CO’s Stick Orderly.

      I remember Cpl Senior but only vague recollections of Baverstock (quite a small man?)

      When I first returned to Jamaica in late ’80s I realised all the soft top ‘gangster’ style taxis had disappeared – they used to make screaming noises with their tyres going around a corner even at very low speeds.The first few weeks in Kingston in 1954 was quite worrying especially with a lot of talk about the lawlessness around!


  19. Sloop JB says:

    I have just browsed a SCLI blog and saw a picture of the first recruit to join the SCLI, he was greeted by (Toots) Williams, also in attendance was RSM Harold Royfe.

  20. Dave H says:

    I am sure going to follow this post, should be interesting.

    • Editor says:

      Good Luck Dave. Terry Joll has already been in email contact with Geoff Hale, wherein he has established that GH was quite disinterested in the Regiment and all else thereafter. Maybe we can change his mind, particularly as he will doubtless meet the Royffe ladies and Old Mates at Bodmin this year.

      However, may I remind all Bloggers that this site is dedicated to our RSM and I shall delete any crap repartee that evolves. Please use the Banter & Krap site for that style of dialogue.

  21. Geoff Hale says:

    No I haven’t met the Royffe ladies.

    I should be clear that Gertrude Royffe was my grandfathers second wife and that my father and his brothers were the product of his first marriage. That is why Gertrude was my step-grandmother! She died in Clevedon, Somerset in the early 1970s.

    • Margaret Royffe says:

      Dear Geoff. I am sorry but I have been away in America for six weeks and have only just caught up with the website. I was very interested to read about your connection with HFR and will look into the family tree and see if we have some info on her. I do hope that you will be at the Museum in Bodmin on June 30th so that we can meet. In the meantime do join in the conversations here, everyone is so friendly, you will not meet a nicer bunch of chaps.

  22. Geoff Hale says:

    I was called up on April 2nd 1959 and became a very reluctant recruit into the DCLI at Bodmin. From the very start I couldn’t understand why RSM Royffe seemed to have it in for me. I didn’t think I was any worse than the other National Service recruits in my group, but he was always singling me out for special treatment!

    I was regularly on orders before either ‘himself’ or one of the commissioned officers, and one night when I was on patrol he jumped out on me as I walked towards the medical unit and frightened me half to death!

    When my 10 weeks training was over it was decided that I should not go to the Regiment (I think they were in Germany then) but that I should be trained as a clerk and sent to the Aldershot HQ. Before I left Bodmin I managed to catch the RSM on a more social occasion and asked him why he had singled me out like that. He told me that as I was related to him – by marriage – he expected me to behave much better than I had.

    It turned out that we were indeed related (by marriage) as my grandfather, William Hurrell Hale married Gertrude Royffe sometime in the early 1930s. What relation my step-grandmother had to RSM Royffe I never asked her, but he obviously thought it was important!

    I plan to go on holiday to Cornwall this June so I might call into the Regimental Museum, it will be the first time back for 50 years, I wonder how many ghosts I will disturb!

    23617438 Pte Hale

    ED: Thanks Geoff. No doubt your comments will earn a response from our Royffe ladies. Have you ever met them?

    • Christine Snook (nee Royffe) says:

      Hi Geoff

      I am the daughter of David Royffe who is one of Harolds sons from his first marriage. I had a quick look at the relation between Gertrude Royffe and Harold Royffe and there may well be a connection. Gertrude is the daughter of Thomas Royffe who was born in Bethnal Green. Harold’s (my) family originate from Bethnal Green so I will let you know what I find out.

      Thanks everyone for the kind words regarding my grandfather Harold it makes my dad very proud when I tell him about everything on the internet.

      PS: Hello Auntie Margaret and Auntie Sylvia!

      • Geoff Hale says:

        Hi Christine
        I wonder if we could continue this via our email addresses as I’m sure it isn’t very interesting to the other members of this list.

        Regards Geoff

  23. SWANNY SWANSON says:

    Margaret and Sylvia, what a lovely group photo of your family taken in Jamaica, the RSM was a very lucky man to have had such a wife and daughters, you have all done him proud to have turned out such lovely people. It was indeed a pleasure to have met Margaret at Bodmin in the summer, hope to meet Sylvia in the future. As said before I had the privilege to have met your mother at Bodmin some years ago.

    • Sylvia says:


      Thank you for your kind words, Dad was a brilliant Father, he just loved us all to bits. He was still a disciplinarian, but we did need it on occasions. He would take us out to the beach every weekend, even when we lived in Falmouth and could walk along the beach on our way home from school. Our favourite beach in Cornwall was Daymer Bay. He had a primus stove, so when we got there it was lit and we had a cup of tea before we ran riot round the beach. Another thing we did in Falmouth was to go down to what we called the gullies, Terry will know where I mean, and filled Dad’s grey army socks with winkles which Mum cooked for our Sunday tea. I could fill this whole blog with the happy childhood we had, the only reason we had a happy childhood was that we had wonderful parents, who I still miss very much.

  24. Sylvia says:

    Another incident I remember from when we lived in Falmouth, the first time, Dad came home in a jeep, I think, and he was holding his BD top closed, but was having difficulty. He told Margaret to choose one side, which she did, and inside was a little dog, I had the other side which contained a pure white cat. I called the cat Chalky, but soon had to change it’s name, as it kept running up the chimney for some reason, so it was called Sooty after that. Dad had to keep darting across the room to grab it’s tail as it disappeared, of course as the cat didn’t want to come down it clawed at the inside of chimney and sent soot everywhere in the room. Mum, needless to say, was not best pleased.

  25. Editor in Brisbane says:


    Banter and Krap replies to bona fide RSM related comments and historical RSM anecdotes that appear here will be (and have been) deleted. I have already applied that Editorial Licence. Any ‘unrelated’ comments that remain are left to preserve the thread of conversation on a misplaced topic, arising (mainly) from novice blogging and the shutdown DCLI (at the time). All (non RSM) Regimental comments are directed to the ‘Reggie Mental’ blog.

    This dedicated RSM site is interested only in genuine RSM records, anecdotes and stories, thank you. There is ample opportunity for nonsense dialogue elsewhere. Use the General Banter blog for smartarse replies if you must. No debate on the matter. TIOFLI.


  26. Sloop JB says:

    Well Sylvia I was only joking when I said to Jack ‘do you think Sylvia had a crafty drag’. You little minx you. I know the feeling green and feeling sick as I felt the same when I tried smoking, I didn’t like it and I didn’t continue with it. You might have ran away fast but you had to return home, at least you lived to tell the tale. Did he shout ‘Get Off My Square’.

    • Sylvia says:


      Now you’ve reminded me of another story, when we were in Minden, Mum had to get margarine in tins, one of my younger sisters was tossing the tin in the air and catching it, well she missed and it caught the side of my head (I often pull her leg about my scar). Mum did no more, than grab me and take me to the Medics room. The quickest way was to go across the square, where, yes you guessed it, Dad was conducting a parade.

      When he came home later he was really cross with Mum, not only had she ‘crossed his square’ she had crossed it in her slippers!!

      Of course when he found out why he was very sorry, and I got a extra glass of milk.

  27. Sylvia says:


    In response to comments about Dad and his Woodbines on the ‘Allday’ blog I would like to recount this little story.

    When I was about 13, and we were in Bodmin, Dad sent me to the Sgts Mess for 20 Woodbines. I had already experimented with smoking, so I thought I would take one out of the packet and smoke it on the way back to the house. When I got home, I gave Dad his fags and he asked why one was missing, I told him the truth, ‘I dropped the packet and one must have fallen out!!’ He of course pointed out for that to happen the packet must have been open, so I owned up. He took 9 ciggies out of the packet and made me sit and smoke them all one after the other. Gosh did I feel sick, I think I turned green at one point. Any way being a ‘mouthy cow’ half an hour later I said ‘Dad can I have a fag’ he said ‘GET OUT OF MY SIGHT’ in his Regimental square bashing voice. Needless to say I ran as fast as my legs could carry me!

    ED: Thank You Sylvia. A great example of how I would like the RSM Blog developed. You have cleverly cross-linked the comment from elsewhere to this ‘un. However, I have reminded the pisstakers that KRAP ‘replies’ and attempted ‘threads’ to your Comment – on this RSM Page – will be deleted. But watch ’em try!

  28. Terry Joll says:

    Hello Derek.
    I have finally got back onto the DCLI Blog site, been AWOL since the great Re-Union due to computer troubles and also due to my lack of knowledge, to get any post from me is a great achievement and a bonus to you all. If I get a bollocking I am man enough to take it, I have been bollocked by experts in the past and even got good at giving them myself.

    Take care all you good guys out there

    ED: G’Day Terry ‘Ole Mate – welcome back – we appreciate your effort. Interesting to view the connection between you and Tom. Interesting too is his and mine common thread – via Singapore in the ’60s. His son Tim is visiting Brisbane soon, and a toddy or two is in the offing!

  29. Terry Joll says:

    Thank you for your reply.
    The names of those on the Recruit Platoon Photograph are as follows;
    Front row; Joll. Basher. Nicholas. Howell. Petrie. Warden. sloggett. Searle
    Rear row;
    Stapleton. Hillman. North. Hunt. Symonds. dixon. Britton. AMOR . Dutchman. Trathen

    Lance Warden passed away three years ago.
    Dutchman was the barber and he was a great help to us all.

    See you are still showing your plaster on your broken arm, I will not divulge the details on here

    • Tom Howell says:

      Thank you for the names, I dug the photo out and married up the names and this helped to refresh my memory. It is sad to think that both Lance and Greg have gone.

      The plaster remained with me until Jan ’58 – there were no light duties for snco’s in those days!

      I have to tell you though that if you continue to use this particular site you too could be wearing a plaster from top to toe. Our Editor has a particularly mean streak when up with indiscipline in the ranks. You have been warned!

      Ed: Aren’t I a good boy?

      ED: Well said Tom, but generally now the troops are well behaved. One problem is that we have ‘lost’ (technically that is) the DCLI blog page where many Comments would be better placed. However I appreciate the thoughts!

  30. Terry Joll says:

    Hello Tommy Howell. You were my Platoon Sgt in 1957, the Pl Comd was Nigel Petrie. We have met several times in the past few years, nice to have you on the forum.

    As a matter of interest to you personally I attended the funeral service on Friday 9th October of L/Cpl Greg Nicholas who you will remember as a training J/NCO at Bodmin. I was accompanied by Wesley Basher. Today at our Truro Branch luncheon I met Ted Amor, first time for 50 years.

    Lots of chaps at Harry Patch’s Memorial Service yesterday. Nice to read your postings.
    Terry Joll

    • Tom Howell says:

      Nice to hear from you. As you say we have met many times over the years. If I recall correctly, Wesley Basher is the boy sitting next to you on your passing out photo (which I still have with many others).

      I am sorry to hear about Greg because, apart from being one of my junior NCOs, I met him often in later years in Bodmin when he was following his journalistic career.

      I have stayed in touch with Nigel Petrie over the years as our postings sometimes were in the same station, and we meet in London from time to time for lunch. I remember the name of Amor but cannot put a face to it.
      Tom Howell

  31. JT says:

    I understand that the RSM visited Bermuda. Don’t remember . I can only imagine that hearing of his reputation I probably made myself invisible (as I was skilled at) and found lots of excuse to visit Garrison HQ lines.

    I wonder where he stayed though (with Jan Passmore maybe ?).

    • Jack Madron says:

      If memory is right. When HR was absent from Jamaica, parades used to be taken by Jan. But could be wrong on this.

    • Editor in Brisbane says:


      JT. I recall only one single visit in Winter ’54 until late October ’55 (when I left), other than the disembarkation Parade early March ’54. He ran the NCO’s Cadre and Don Puckey, our 3 Platoon Mate was his batman and first of our Intake to get a tape. Jock Massie was then CSM and – evidently – Jan Passmore was still in Jamaica. HR would have billetted in the Hossifers Mess, I would think, hopefully turfing out some jumped up snotty for a while!

  32. Editor in Brisbane says:

    I know what you mean DH, but in the case of Bermuda, there was a very active news media and 2 very keen COs who infected the Platoon Commanders with their enthusiasm to make permanent records of the various Parades and squads. Terry Simons in 3 Platoon was our ‘unoffical’ photographer and was always taking happy snaps. 35mm transparency film and cameras were emerging around that time also. JT has a story there I believe.

    Maybe Sylvia or Margaret can fill us in on the lack of HR’s photo records!

    I’m confident to remark also, that Bermuda was seen as a showpiece of an island, for American holidaymakers, College girls and general tourism, even in those early post war years and ‘showing off’ the elite Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry was probably a pawn in the island social game. We seemed to do little else than some Parade, Guard or Special occasion and our kit was of a very high standard. I do believe that’s why the RSM didn’t visit very often, as he needed to keep his eye on the Jamaica lads!!

  33. Sloop JB says:

    Hi Sylvia
    Princess Margaret did indeed visit Jamaica 1955, it was just before I came home for release. The Polo field was prepared for her visit, we had to guard all the chairs that were set out for the occasion with pickaxe handles, I can assure you if anyone came armed with machetes I would have given them the chairs no argument. Met Sir Hugh Foot at a garden party at Government House, being Officers Mess waiters we were asked to do the honours for the evening. He was a gentleman.

    ED: Thanks JB, I’m surprised that not one photo image of HRH Princess Margaret, with Honour Guard that would include the RSM, has never surfaced (thus far) from the Jamaica contingent. Clearly the Ceremonials would have taken place.

  34. Sylvia says:


    Is the picture at the top of the page Bermuda or Jamaica, I seem to remember Dad doing a parade when Princess Margaret came to stay at Government house. The reason I remember it is we had Hugh Foots parrot at our house because it said ‘Dirty Bird’ every time a women went near the cage, and they didn’t want the parrot to say it to HRH.

    ED: Hi Sylvia. Bermuda BIG 4 Conference, (March?) 1957. HRH Margaret was in 1955, also Bermuda, see Lt Col Marsh page, also Picasa Albums (Military), Keith Mannings’ contribution obo Priscilla Marsh RIP. There might however, be other visits to Jamaica at the same time for which I have no pictorial records.

  35. Tom Howell says:

    Sounds as though they were boy scouts to me and the bit about bootlaces explains why they all have broken noses!

    You are right though – we have been dragged into this by external forces and should move to another place before retribution descends upon us!

    • Sylvia says:


      Most of us are using the Bloody Unbelievable blog, depending on the content of our comments. As ED is always telling us, it is advisable to look at all the blogs. We all make mistakes though, I’m sure ED will forgive you. The other alternative is the coal hole with Swanny, but I’m not sure how much room is in there!

      ED: Thanks Sylvia, gentle reminders are appreciated, but I’m in a forgiving mood today, I’ve reached 115. No Coal Hole Jankers today! BUT, please read Old Grumpy’s Rules for Bloggers.

  36. Tom Howell says:

    Sorry- I wrongly attributed your missive regarding the Swanson forebears to the illustrious ED. A bowls needle is used to predetermine the outcome of a match ie a stitch up. Got it?

    Your people were very good at slip knots but somewhere along the line – like three/four hundred years ago they entered a dark age, from which they were just emerging in the early 1950’s, assisted by more enlightened peoples from the North well versed in sartorial refinement.

    • JT says:


      Thanks, got the bowls needle stuff. Fascinating. But Jack and Swanny’s folk were deep sea fishermen out of Newlyn. They did bowlines, reef knots, sheepshanks, round turns and 2 half hitches and stuff.

      They didn’t do bootlaces though til they joined up.

  37. SWANNY SWANSON says:

    Tom Howell. Nice to meet you on blog, as you were saying about advance parties, The advance party to Bermuda was on the Island I think two weeks before we got there, Maj. Gibson was the Officer in charge of that party, did you know him?

    When we first arrived we had lots of chores to do, i.e. cleaning utensils for the cookhouse etc and various other duties, Maj. Gibson was a perfect gentleman, I think he went to Jamaica to rejoin the Bn? but I can’t remember seeing him again while I was there in Bermuda. I left in June-July 1955 and joined 4/5th Bn DCLI TA.

    • Tom Howell says:

      I knew of Maj Gibson but did not actually meet him. However you and I have met in the flesh at a Bodmin Rally. I can’t remember whether it was this year or 2007 (I was in hospital in 2008). We met in the beer tent when you came over to me, having seen my Commando tie. Obviously made a great impression on you!

      • Editor says:


        Tom, dontchaknow that Swanny can change ties at a moment’s notice, to any Regiment in the British Army? He loves ’em. He’s served in ’em all, at one time or t’other. Probably does it to get a shout of a Guiness each time. He is of Scottish descent y’know?

        • Tom Howell says:

          He must be quite unusual as when I was training Cornishmen I had to give them tie tying lessons. Any way what is a Scotsman doing masquerading as a Cornishman?

          ED: Tom, I do believe that he hails from the Clan Gunn (they are said to have been descended from Gun, or Gunn, or Guin, second son of Olaus, or Olav, the Black, one of the Norwegian kings of Man and the Isles).

          • Tom Howell says:

            That’s all very well but doesn’t explain what he is doing in Cornwall. Perhaps he is just ‘gunn-gho’, or just confused or both!

            • JT says:


              Legend has it that Swanny is descended from a certain Ben Gunn (A Scot) who was marooned on an island by a pirate captain in 18th Century.

              On repatriation he was landed in Cornwall, claimed asylum (was incarcerated in one for a time) and then bred happily in Cornwall for ever after.

            • Tom Howell says:

              Very good! I’ve got better things to do now. I’m off to play in a bowls needle match right now so will have to pick this up a bit later!

            • JT says:


              Wots bowls needle.

          • Jack Madron says:

            We were tying knots around necks before any one else. Admittedly, they were slip knots and not Windsor. Ha ha.

  38. Tom Howell says:

    I am sure you are right. Working in Officers Mess area taking over from 1RWF I was not aware of goings on elsewhere. I do remember having to help QM Bert Croucher to get his quarter ready for his family.

  39. JT says:


    Certainly”A” Coy families were on Empire Clyde. I remember well the day before disembarkation a meeting of wives in the 2nd class saloon. (I was reading in a corner and eaves dropping). They were discussing the order in which they would go down the gang plank based on seniority. e.g CSM’s wife would lead.

    Don’t remember kids making a racket but on one of the blogs there is a picture of some children on the boat deck.

    As it happened they had to go ashore on the steam lighter at night coz the ship could not dock alongside the wharf.

    See Poem on another blog

  40. Tom Howell says:

    Sylvia, Jack, JT
    As far as I know there was only one round trip to Jamaica. HMT Dilwara certainly picked me and the rest of E Coy up at Belize, having picked up D Coy from BG earlier. We then proceeded to Kingston, but cannot remember who got on or off at that point.

    • Jack Madron says:

      Hi Tom.
      After leaving Bermuda, the Empire Clyde docked at Kingston to drop off advance party, then went to Belize to drop off E Coy+ sections of MMGs, 3in Mortars and I believe Anti Tanks. Returned to Kingston to drop off rest of Battalion.

  41. Tom Howell says:

    I am a bit hazy about dates in my senility, but yes we left UK before main body, and yes we flew on BAOC Boeing Stratocruiser (with upper deck bar we drank dry before we got to Rekjavik!). I don’t know for sure the routing of the ship, but I am sure you are right, it had to go to Belize to drop off E Coy and pick up coy of 1 RWF. Then to Kingston to drop off main body of 1DCLI and pick up 1RWF.There was no DCLI coy in BG at that point.

    Hope that helps.

  42. JT says:

    Tom Howell

    Bn left Liverpool I think 14th Feb 54. I guess the advance party for Jamaica must have flown ?

    Also I think that the troopship called at Belize before Jamaica ?

    • Jack Madron says:

      Tom. JT.
      We left Liverpool on the 19th Feb. Reason I remember the date is because it’s my baby sister’s birthday. I was on the advance party from Empire Clyde. First time she berthed in Jamaica.

      • Sylvia says:

        Jack Tom

        Did the Empire Clyde only take the DCLI out to Jamaica once, or did it do a return journey for the families, if not we were the snotty nosed kids running around causing havoc. We came home on the Dilwara, it seem some of you guys flew home. Is that right?

        • JT says:

          Hi Sylvia

          As a soldiers service ended they would normally be flown home by BOAC. One guy told me at the Re-Union he and some others came home on an aircraft carrier. All National Servicemen who shipped out on Empire Clyde Feb 1954 would be sent home for demob late 1955.

  43. Tom Howell says:

    Sorry about the delay – I obviously have my Horlicks and bed long before you!

    I believe we came home in early December. Most people went on leave till after Xmas. As Officers Mess Cpl I drew the short straw as someone had to look after the Duty Officer’s needs. I went with the Adv Party to Jamaica, again from memory this was early March, probably 2-3 weeks ahead of main body.

    Living in Crownhill was quite a culture shock after Minden! Hope this helps.

    • Jack Madron says:

      Thank you Tom.
      I’ve only vague memories of Crown Hill. Most are just Union Street and the Barbican. Ha ha.

      • Tom Howell says:

        Then you will remember the Long Bar and the NAAFI Club at least. In those days Plymouth was full of matelots and marines. When I was based in HQ Commando Forces at Mount Wise in Devonport 1971 it was very different. A deserted Union St, very few of the Senior Service in evidence – in fact a highly respectable area you could take your mother to!

        Plumer Barracks at Crownhill was a Napoleonic nightmare. Cold and miserable and very little by way of creature comforts.

  44. Tom Howell says:

    Tich was a rifleman in Minden as was Lightfoot (he was formerly DLI ex Korea if I remember rightly). Both were still drnking in Jamaica and I was Guard Commander often when they reported in. Between Minden and Jamaica the Bn was in Plumer Barracks Plymouth. I was Officers Mess Cpl at the time (from Nov 53 to Apr 54)

    • Jack Madron says:

      I don’t know if my memory is playing me tricks or not. Maybe you can help. Firstly, when in Plymouth, were we there for 10 weeks and secondly, did we have 5 weeks leave?

      I know it sounds preposterous but somehow I’ve got this in the back of my mind. I’m talking of Regulars not NS by the way. Could be the old grey cells going AWOL.

  45. Tom Howell says:

    Jack Madron

    I remember Tich Horder and his mate ‘Geordie’ Lighfoot. They shared a room in A Coy in Minden. Both got drunk a lot, Tich used to get up in the night and piss in his boots. They both kept a spare set of ’37 pattern equipment ready for their frequent spells of detention. Tich was a record holder probably for Stick Orderly and Geordie was a good soldier despite his other failings.

    • Sylvia says:

      Jack & Tom

      I don’t think Mr Horder was Dad’s batman in Minden, maybe he mended his ways by the time we got to Jamaica, or perhaps Dad realised how well he looked after his kit and also us girls, that he overlooked his failings.

      While we are talking of Minden can either of you remember where we were in between Minden and Jamaica, I think it was Borden. If so, we had an horrendous thunder storm which struck the guard house, Dad’s office and our house. Was somebody up there telling us something. Or was one of the ‘orrible little men’ saying his prayers!

  46. Jack Madron says:

    Hello Sylvia.
    Do you remember a Pte Lightfoot ? He was a great mate of Titch Horder.

    • Sylvia says:

      Jack, I do remember the name, it feels very familiar, so maybe he came to the house. Mr Horder used to babysit us some evenings, and I know he bought a mate with him. Dad used to get a few beers in and a plate of sandwiches was left. But whether this was Pt. Lightfoot I wouldn’t know.

      I know we used to get out of bed once Mum and Dad went out and make him read us a story, and he never grassed us up. Brilliant man, was Mr Horder, the times he covered up our naughtiness was unbelievable.

  47. Sylvia says:

    Hi Swanny,

    The only time we all came to Bodmin with Mum was when we held a memorial service and interred Dad’s ashes at The Keep.

    My husband and I went to the re-union that commemorated the tri-centenery of the Regiment, we stayed at a hotel in Newquay. On the Sunday we went to The Keep, where we met up with several soldiers that were with the Regiment in Jamaica.

    Perhaps it was one of these occasions that we met, I am just sorry I don’t remember you. There was so many old soldiers wanting to tell us stories about Dad, not all of them good, by the very nature of his position he was bound to have been disliked by some, but I admired them for saying so. There was a guy there, we called him Uncle Pat, the only person we were allowed to refer to as Uncle. We used to wrap him round our little fingers and get him to take us to the stables, we weren’t allowed to go unaccompanied. I also had a long chat to John Alsop and his wife, and was sorry to hear he died.

    Also at this re-union I had a chat to Major Rutledge and his wife, and also Gage Williams.

    Mind you my memory is not what it was, and maybe we did attend another Open Day with Mum.

    Kind regards to you and your family, and thank you for making me laugh daily with your emails.

  48. SWANNY SWANSON says:

    Anne and Sylvia, I met you at open day at Bodmin some years ago with your mother. As I was posted to Bermuda I only knew your father when he came over from Jamaica to carry out duties of the first NCO’s Cadre in 1954. My close mate Don Puckey was your father’s batman while he was there for this course. Don sadly passed away a couple of years ago (RIP). He always applauded the way the RSM carried out his duties always to first class standard.

    When at Bodmin during our Caribbean Re-Union I met your sister Anne and enjoyed her company very much, was sorry to hear from her at that time you had a bereavement and you were unable to join us.

    Looking forward to meeting you at a future date.

    Best Regards, Neil (Swanny) Swanson.

  49. Tom Howell says:

    Jack Madron
    Another unfortunate death in Kingston was that of Pte Chapman on 14 May 1954 in the BMH who died of pneumonia of all things. I was NCO ic Cortege Escort to the military cemetery. I looked his grave up in 1989 when working in the area. Perhaps you remember it or took part. I do have some photos ie 1954 and 1989.

    • Jack Madron says:

      Hello Tom.
      Yes, I remember that occasion but didn’t know Pte Chapman. I also wasn’t involved with the funeral. If I remember rightly, a rumour went round the camp that he died of typhoid which caused a bit of a panic. With all the great times we had, there were some sad times.

  50. Sloop JB says:

    Reference: Photo Boys Volunteer Waiters.

    The lad on the extreme right of pix could be Hamlin. Looks very much like him. He is in one of my photos sitting on the rails of the Empire Clyde with me.

  51. Margaret Royffe says:

    Thank you Major Howell for sharing these photos with us, we haven’t seen them before. It is nice to see some names of soldiers I have heard so much about. Sgt Perritt was in charge of the Sgts Mess in Jamacia wasn’t he? I remember having to go over to the Mess in the afternoon to get cigarettes for Dad and having to wake him up, I wasn’t old enough to feel guilty about waking him.

    By the way I think Dad’s car was a Morris 14 (with running boards) and when Dad first got it the lower part of the doors were bright yellow; and became known as the ‘yellow peril’. Dad soon changed yellow to black.

    • Tom Howell says:

      Hello. Glad to be able to help. I did not know Polly Perrett in Jamaica, I only met him in the Depot ’57 and he died not so long after that.

      Oops about the car! I seem to remember it had an illuminated name badge mounted in the radiator grill which meant Wolseley to me but after 50 and more years I defer to your insider knowledge!

  52. Jack Madron says:

    Nice to see the new pix. Thank you Tom and Ed. Only ones I remember are Major Watson. B Coy and Capt Tanner. Adjutant. Depot S/NCO’s. CSM Hallett. RSM Royffe and C/Sgt Dick Oram.

  53. Editor says:


    We are indebted to Major Tom Howell for the latest 5 photos for the RSM. Tom promises more pix later.

    PS: 1 more added now!

  54. John Billett says:

    Even though I had little to do with RSM Royffe, he was a man to be in awe of. I can remember the time in Minden he observed one of our parades; he obviously didn’t like the way it was conducted, we were dismissed and within half an hour all the Cpls, Sgts, CSMs and any one else he could collar were on the parade ground and my god didn’t he put them through it. That was RSM Royffe. I will never forget him, my last sighting of him was in Taunton my home town.


  55. Sylvia Scott (nee Royffe) says:

    The photograph labled Family Member & Friend circa 1954. The gentleman with Dad in the photo is Mr Macullum, I can’t supply a christian name as we had to call everyone but the the C.O. ‘Mr’. The lady in the wheel barrow next to this photo is his wife. I don’t know the gentleman standing behind Dad in this photo. Sorry I can’t be more helpful with the others as I was 7 years old in 1954. I will have a look to see if I have other photos, but I believe we gave Margaret all the ones we had when the tribute as written

    I would like to convey my condolences to Harry Patch’s family may he Rest in Peace.

    ED: Thank you Sylvia. That small attention to caption detail is appreciated and now amended.

  56. Sylvia Scott (nee Royffe) says:

    Having just been directed to this site, I am overawed by your comments. I notice Horder’s name came up as Dad’s batman. Mr. Horder, as we had to call him, was the most wonderful gentleman, he was extremely protective of us girls, even though we must have led him a dogs life.

    ED: Thank you Sylvia. You’ll note that we still require some ID’s on some of the photos of Harold. Margaret mentioned (at the Re-Union Memorial Day, Bodmin 11th June) that she will clarify where possible. Maybe you can help too? Also any more photos will be greatly appreciated. We can arrange to scan ’em into .jpeg format if you wish.

  57. Swanny Swanson says:

    Ed. First time I have seen such good photos of the great man himself. Bravo Derek and thanks to his and HR’s daughter for sending them to you. First meeting for me with HR was in Crownhill on Parade, while inspecting the parade with the CO he took one look at my beret and screamed. “Do you think your’e in Mama’s Army” and pulled my beret to the right position. Several days later I was doing duties in the QM’s store helping to box up the Bn Silver etc to go to the West Indies when who should walk in but HR and his first remark to me was “your’e that horrible little man who I had to straighten his beret on parade, it’s no different now” and duly pulled down as regulation.

    What a man! Swanny.

  58. RSM’s BATMEN

    Interesting coincidence that Jack Madron mentions elsewhere that Titch Horder was Harold’s batman. Titch’s name arose during conversation with Bugler John Goddard during our Gold Coast New Year festivities.

    John Goddard also doubled as Harold’s batman when ‘up in the hills’ during Jamaica time and hopefully will be logging in comments and anecdotes of those times. Maybe Titch was pissed and in the clink most of the time! Wonder how the Old Man handled that?

    Don Puckey (RIP) our old 3 Platoon Mate in “A” Company, Bermuda was also Harold’s batman when the RSM turned up in Bermuda in 1954 for the NCO’s cadre.

  59. Jack Madron says:

    Going back to anecdotes,

    Here’s one I didn’t think was funny at the time. I thought I’d really landed myself in the dung pile.

    We were in the RSM’s office, that is all the Coy Orderly Sgts, taking the next day orders. RSM Royffe said, “Quarter Guard Commander to be Cpl Fisher, S Coy.” then carried on with the rest of the orders. OK so far. When he got near the end, he looked at me and said,” Cpl, change Cpl Fisher’s name to Cpl Wiltshire. I just remember that Cpl Fisher is playing football for the Battalion.”

    Not switching on brain before engaging jaw, I said “Excuse me Sir, but Cpl Wiltshire has just recently done a guard duty”. He just looked at me for a moment or two, and I thought, Oh hell,I’m for it now, but he just grinned and said, “Cpl, You know if you play any sport in this army, you can get away with bloody murder”. “Dismissed”.

    What a let off.

  60. Jack Madron says:

    Hi chaps.
    Any funny anecdotes from your army days?

    I’ve got one about an officer (not S Coy) in Jamaica. We were mounting 12 hour guard early one evening, S Coy were duty coy and I was Coy Ord Sgt. The Bt Ord Sgt marched the guard onto the square, called them to attention, about turned, saluted and called to the Ord Officer “Guard Present and Ready for Your Inspection. Sir.”

    The Ord Officer was marching on to the sqare, when this voice rang out from the vicinity of the RSMs Office. “Mr P*****, Sir. Get Your Bloody Shoulders Back.” (Harold Royffe was always polite).

    I swear to this day, that was the fastest guard ever mounted in the Dukes. This officer, by the way was well known as a stickler for finding dust or something wrong with a soldier but was a scruffy sod himself. He got his comeuppance that evening.

    Oh happy days.

  61. Jack Madron says:

    Do R.S.M’s have a sense of humour?

    I think they do. A little incident I recall. I was Guard Commander at Up Park Camp, when approximately 0200 hrs the guardroom phone rang. Answering it, I said, “Guard Room, Guard Commander speaking”. A voice bellowed into my ear, “Corporal, there’s a donkey in my garden, send some one to get it out of here, at once”

    “Yes Sir”. I replied. It was Harold Royffe. Couldn’t mistake that voice. I sent the I/C Relief and one of the guard, off to the married quarters to investigate. Some time later, they returned and reported “Nothing Found, everywhere in darkness, no donkey, nothing”. Reason I remember this incident! The date. 1st April.1955.

    • Tom Howell says:

      Jack Madron
      It is highly possible I knew you in Kingston. I had come back from Belize and went to the Army MT School in Bordon (UK) on 8 May ’55. Cpl Robby Robinson (RIP) (ex DLI/Para) and I went together and on return were both promoted to Sjt. He became Tech Sjt in Kingston and I became MT/Tech Sjt in Belize where I remained for the rest of the tour.

      • Jack Madron says:

        Hello Tom.
        I suppose we might have met at some time and your name rings a bell, but there again, I might have you mixed up with a L/Cpl Ernie Howells who was Tim Hodder’s driver in Minden, when I first joined the MMG’s. The name Cpl Robinson doesn’t ring a bell with me unfortunately, as you say, it’s possible we all met at some time.

        Do you remember Sgt Clark. Anti tank Pl? He was killed one night, down in Kingston, on a motor bike. Very unfortunate. Also Sgt Ron Delap RIP. Assault Pioneer Pl. A great character and well liked in S Coy. So many memories to recall.

        • Tom Howell says:

          Jack Madron
          Hi. I remember the incident but had forgotten his name. I was actually Guard Commander the night it happened. As I recall he had just signed on again and used his bounty money to buy the bike (Triumph Speed Twin?), took it out the same night and ran into the back of an unlit parked truck.

  62. Jack Madron says:

    I have three anecotes about Harold on W&W. Can they be moved to this site? If not, I could submit them again or just leave them.

    Good memories. I never got that close to the big man. To tell the truth, he frightened the very life out of me. I wasn’t alone, I bet.

    ED: Prefer that you resubmit afresh Jack. Just ‘cut and paste’ to retain the verbatim comment, in the new “RSM” window.


    In 3 days since publishing this tribute page to Harold we’ve received 115 ‘hits’ on the page already. Quite significant IMHO, in that with very little publicity (British LI Message Boards only) so many have viewed (or revisited) the site.

    What we need now of course is a flood of anecdotal material to support the general view that the RSM was a man who contributed in many ways to Regimental History during his lifetime and we need to carry on his name in memory.

    So – GOYA’s – cheps, let’s hear from you, One and All!

  64. Terry Joll says:

    I first met Harold Royffe in the DCLI Drill Hall in Falmouth in 1948 when he was a WO2 PSI with the 4/5th DCLI TA. I was a 13 years old Army Cadet and Army Barmy at that time. I clearly remember being spoken to by this wonderful soldier. Little did I realise that our paths were to cross again 9 years later when as a Cadet Warrant Officer and having lunch in the Sgts Mess at Bodmin and sitting alongside Harold, during lunch he enquired from us if we were thinking of enlisting, I proudly said, Yes Sir, I am enlisting on Friday. He said. Well Done.

    About 10 days later during a drill parade at the Depot, recruit Joll was approached by Harold who when inspecting us enquired where he had seen me before, I proudly told him that we had lunch together last Sunday Sir in the Sgts Mess. He said, well never mind you may be back there on fatigues in a day or two. I was. He was a fair but firm man and in my later years as a Warrant Officer I tried to maintain the standards he set.

  65. Jack Madron says:

    Thanks for clearing up that little matter. As a senior rank, I don’t think you’ll be corrected. Ha ha.


    I’ve told the story several times elsewhere, but in January 1954 at Crownhill Barracks, several other rookies and I were rostered for Camp Picket Guard. Never having dressed before in BD with greatcoats, not one of us allowed for expansion of the blancoed webbing belt – over the waistline of our full dress. Consequently we all showed the crappy inside of the ends of our belts. The RSM mounted the Guard and realised the problem. Nary a bollocking, just a gentle reminder “lads – next time take more care” and off we went.

    Good job we were all wearing khaki pants!

  67. Terry Joll says:

    I believe the three RSMs together are L to R. Jan Passmore, Harold Royffe, Pete Firth.

    This photo was most probably taken during 1957 during the time the DCLI were in Walker Lines Bodmin. Jan was RSM Battalion, Harold RSM Depot. Pete Firth RSM TA. I am open to correction.

    ED: Thanks Terry. We’ll travel with those names, after all ’tis a very small Club!

  68. Jack Madron says:

    Which photo is Smokey Hallet in?

    ED: Jack – maybe (definitely) a whoops! Initially I thought that Smokey was flanking HR to his lhs with Jan Passmore on t’other in the lead photo? Then again – wasn’t a chap named Joe Knowles the Depot RSM before HR? But Joe is pictured elsewhere with a huge handlebar moustache. I guess that all this relates to HR achieving Capt (QM) in due course. Hopefully someone can provide greater accuracy. Smokey was CSM in Bermuda in 1956 and the photo in question above shows 3 RSMs – right? – so can’t be Smokey!

    PS: Terry Joll has kindly corrected the IDs in the lead photo. See later comment.

  69. Jack Madron says:

    Photo of Colour Party in front of Keep. Bodmin. Sgt sitting to left hand side of officer with sword is Ron Delap (RIP). The soldier, (NCO?) to his left, I know the face but can’t put a name to. Something for me to puzzle, over the Christmas.

    PS: NCO’s Mess. Germany. Notice L/Cpl with no Div Flash. Just arrived from Bodmin?

    ED: Thanks Jack. I believe the Officer is Major ‘Toots’ Williams, formerly the CO of “A” Company Bermuda, appointed CO of the Depot. That places the approximate date of the photo to circa 1956, probably when Jan Passmore took over as RSM, while the Regiment was still in the Caribbean.

  70. Jack Madron says:

    Thank you Margaret (Royffe) and Ed. Absolutely fantastic. What memories they bring back.

  71. Terry Joll says:

    MARVELLOUS, bloody wonderful to once again see the GREAT MAN in pictures. Well done for being able to obtain the photos, let us all hope there will be more to come

    ED: Thanks Terry, I look forward to many stories from you. I have also emailed Bobby Bogan to advise him of the site.

  72. Harold Royffe RSM: 1DCLI

    It is with great pleasure that I publish this Blog Page to honour the RSM. Please open dialogue with stories and anecdotes of Harold, as remembered by you, from various times while you served under his direction. We hope to build a pictorial and anecdotal history of the man who made us both men and soldiers.

Comments are closed.