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Woolwich Barracks

An inside story.

I joined the Army two days before "D Day" on the 6th of June 1944.
I trained at Lanark, in Scotland, then at Redcar, in Yorkshire, Cromer, in Norfolk, Haverford West, Wales and at Salisbury.

I became a qualified Royal Artillery surveyor. Unfortunately, by that time there was a surplus of surveyors, so the Army, in its wisdom, decided that they were short of clerks and sent me to Woolwich Barracks for training.

Most of the training camps were of the WWI era and so we were deducted thrupence per week from our pay for the maintenance of the camps, (four pence bought 10 cigarettes in those days). However, when I reported to the Woolwich Barracks I was quite surprised to see that they resembled no other camp that I had been in, up till then.

The barracks consisted mainly of rooms, which all had polished floors, with all other woodwork being polished to a deep shine. After the old barrack rooms it felt like being in a very old fashioned hotel. I believe that the place must have been built in the 19th century.

The London Blitz was in full cry at the time. It was very unnerving again for me as I lived in Deptford before joining the Army and I had volunteered to get away from the bombing.

Fortunately for me, my stay only lasted a month and I was transferred to the peace of the countryside again.
 

Bob Kentsley



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