As I went into unconsciousness I heard shouts of "Oh!" When I became conscious again in the airfield's underground hospital, an RAF officer wearing a DFC ribbon, was looking down into my face said aloud: "Oh, this 'brown job' is going to live!" 'Brown job' was the derogative description used by the RAF to refer to the khaki-clad Army. I was left with a scar and my first grey hairs began to show! It was the first association I had with Cambridge, but later returned in 1944 to attend an Aerial Photographic Interpretation Course to enable Intelligence Officers to interprete aerial photographs. Much later and in peace time, became a director of the local evening newspaper and my son was at Cambridge University .
I attended the No. 2 War Office Selection Board and after the usual tests of leadership was sent to a preliminary training unit on 15 September 1942 for six weeks hard preparatory training and then posted to 163 Officer Cadet Training Unit located in a former holiday camp in Morecambe. As officer cadets we discarded former badges of rank and wore a broad white ribbon on our epaulettes (shoulder straps) and around our hats. The training concentrated on the duties and responsibilities of an infantry officer and involved field tactics and command. We would take it in turn during the various field exercises to command either the company or one of the three platoons or even be one of the nine section commanders or just be a rifleman or the machine-gunner and do as you were told. Whilst commanding, you had a training officer at your side and he would question you about your thinking and about anticipatory orders you might have to give for deployment, say, whilst advancing to contact the enemy. It was good coaching and I particularly remember the major who would be with you when you commanded the company; he had a Military Cross awarded during the first tank battle at Cambrai in November 1917.

There was a regular weeding out of 'unsuitables' during the course but I survived and preparatory to receiving a commission had to list three regiments I would prefer to join, choosing The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment), The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) and King's Own Scottish Borderers. I considered myself most fortunate to be commissioned into The Royal Scot (The Royal Regiment), although my first posting was to 9th KOSB. It was unusual to have been in the ranks and be commissioned into the same regiment, except on the field of battle or as a senior warrant officer to be captain-quartermaster. I like to think it was because my father had served with The Royal Scots in
1914-18.


 


Page Links ~ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20,

21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30,

31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43,

44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50 Index