These quotations of Longshanks recounting his first basic training weekend with the Army Cadet Force paint an interesting picture that somehow rings true to my expectation of an army cadet training camp It sounded disciplined, character building and fun. I should say that he absolutely loved the weekend. It was a huge eye opener for him and some of the stories and humour with which he has told them remind me of boys boarding school. No! I didn’t go to a boys boarding school. I just lived in one.
On Saturday morning we were woken up at 6 o’clock by a fire drill. Someone was shouting “Fire, fire” and we all had to go outside. That was how they got us out of bed. One lad woke up and didn’t know what was going on. He was the last one out.
It was a lot stricter at Bethesda than at the Kinmel platoon. The Sergeant Major shouted a lot.
Oh! There were communal showers. We were told we all had to shower on Saturday morning. If we didn’t we’d be sent home. So we all showered in our boxers.
The first night it was lights out at 11. There were some lads who were messing around and kept appearing in the doorway in their sleeping bags. I don’t know what they were doing, but it was funny.
Our dormitory was above the male officer’s dormitory. So they should have heard any messing around. Some people got shouted at.
There were two other boys in my section who are home schooled. They were brothers. When I told them I am home schooled they didn’t believe me.
Our section were the best at drill. There was one girl in our section, poor girl!
There was a Sergeant there called Sergeant Rowlands. He was really funny and told us not to march like a duck with a stick up its bottom. He also called all the girls Doris when he didn’t know what their names were and a really tall lad he nicknamed “Too Tall”.
We had a full cooked breakfast every morning. We had roast dinner on Saturday night and fish and chips for another meal. The food was good.
The worst night was Saturday night. There was a lad in my dormitory who lost his money but he should have handed it in the first night so nothing was done about it. It was his own fault. Then he was sick in the dormitory doorway. (I questioned Longshanks about whether the particular lad was anxious about his money having been lost.)
I think he’d eaten too much NAAFI.
There was a massive thunderstorm and hail on Saturday. At one point, there was a big “boom” and the lad next to me thought a bomb had gone off. Apparently lightning had struck one of the telephone poles and the telephone lines were down.
The best thing was how encouraging all the officers were in comparison to the Kinmel Platoon, even though they did some funny things sometimes. One made us all jump when he shouted 20 in the middle of drill when he had been counting “126.96.36.199”. We weren’t expecting that.