Saturday, December 15, 2007

Wednesday 16th June 1937

Recruits night at the 193rd. Impression is of a show that I’m going to like. The men are “chummy”, there is no snobbery shown by the senior members towards raw “rookies” like myself; the NCO’s do not do any “hazing” – in this respect, they are not near my idea of Army NCO’s. Typical incident. I leaned against the bar during stand-easy, talking to a bank clerk who is in the special NCO training class. A Regular Army Sergeant Instructor joined in and stood us drinks!

First hour we did rifle drill. Fell in two deep, wearing “canvas” (similar to RN no.5’s)
The Sgt.major ordered those who had done rifle drill before to fall in separately. Nearly everyone moved away and out of these three were picked (two ex-servicemen) who had done all rifle movements. My squad looked a bit weedy and of low intellect so I slunk forward into the large squad amidships. (“You?” said the Sergeant Major suspiciously. “Yes sir”, I said meekly.)
He then ordered all who could slope, present and order arms to come forward. Like a mug I obliged and found myself, with two other mugs in the select squad, now numbering six. We drew rifles. One of the six then drilled us and I learnt a new movement “Part arms for inspection”.
I was forth in efficiency, and when the fifth man was “sent down” became the most raw member of the advanced squad.

Second hour, a lecture on the arrangement of an anti aircraft unit. Apparently a unit in action consists of:-

The Spotter, who (or which) sights the aircraft; The Height Finder, which gives their height; The Predictor, which gives their location; and The Gun, which gives ‘em hell. Actually, we were reminded , the purpose of an AA unit is not to bring down enemy aircraft but to break up their formation, thus making easy prey for our aeroplanes, lurking in the background. “Gunnery,” said the Sergeant whimsically, “Is the practical application of the science of ballistics”.


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