Gordon Stringer wrote: I did my Basic Training at Wilmslow from March to June 1958. I was called up and kitted out at Cardington and we were trained up to Wilmslow from a Station that was located on the Cardington Camp, now long gone.
Apart from being incredibly homesick at first, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Square Bashing. Our Drill Corporal was a Cpl Worrall and the Drill Sergeant was Sgt Mclusky who brought fear and terror to everyone, but he had a compendium of sarcastic comments which he fired at the the guys with two left feet and who did'nt know right from left that used to have me in tears of laughter.
I remember firing the 303 on the range on the site itself and also a tiny brick hut in which we were led with Gas Masks on and in which a couple of Corporals sat around a Paraffin Stove with a metal plate on the top and dropped a chemical compound which created Tear Gas. We then had to remove our masks and form a circle and run around these guys, who kept their masks on, singing God Save the Queen until a sense of pity overcame the Corporals and they opened the door and let us fling ourselves out on the grass, eyes streaming and coughing.
Just before we were due to pass out, just about the entire flight were seconded and trained down to Uxbridge for about a week to act as Guards of Honour for President Gronchi of Italy. I recall I was placed somewhere in the Mall and recall vividly the rude and risque comments from the Office Girls who stood behind me in the crowds awaiting for the President and the Queen to pass by.
Before our passing out Parade we had a "piss up" at a Pub in Stockport at which Corporal Worral and Sgt McClusky attended plus another Corporal who's name I cannot remember. We had a great night out. Those guys dont know what influence they had on some of us. In my case, I learned to live with my fellow man, to understand and to appreciate that everyone had a point of view, not necessarily the same as mine, but I learned to respect it. The Drill may have seemed a pain at the time, but it taught me to be tidy. I even enjoyed the Cookhouse fatigues, peeling Potatoes in the Veg Room, scrubbing Pans with Martin Rubeck Scouring Powder in the Tin Room and cooking Chips in the Steamer before they were fried and frying Eggs and Bacon. My kids still reckon I do the best Fry up Breakfast. I think I owe a great deal to my time at Wilmslow.
I was up in that area about 4 years ago and tried to find the camp, but it has long gone. Happy days.
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