Buried Battles & Veterans' Voices

The Army Life

It was famously said by Napoleon that 'an army marches on its stomach' and the importance of decent food and regular pay emerges very strongly in these interview extracts. The somewhat primitive nature of Inspection at Stoughton Barracks accommodation and bedding in some of the barracks, generally grim 19th century edifices, is also recalled. Life, particularly in peacetime, was structured around regular drills and routines, often initiated by distinctive bugle calls. Punishments for those falling foul of the myriad regulations were harsh and absences from home could be long, measured in years rather than months.

Inspection at Stoughton Barracks.
Inspection at Stoughton Barracks
(Click to enlarge)

 

Private Roy Harding

Roy Harding of 1st Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment, remembers a desperate search for firewood while stationed in Maidstone.

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Company Sergeant Major Charles Sharp

Charles Sharp of 1st Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment, recalls some rather basic bedding.

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Captain Henry Barker

Henry Barker of 1st Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment, recalls his princely wages in the 1930s.

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Regimental Sergeant Major H 'Tommy' Atkins

'Tommy' Atkins of 2nd Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment, recalls erratic pay arrangements in North Africa and the Far East in World War II.

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Regimental Sergeant Major H 'Tommy' Atkins

'Tommy' Atkins of 2nd Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment recalls the an impressive Catholic chaplain and the role of religion during his service.

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Regimental Sergeant Major H 'Tommy' Atkins

How do you remember the bugle calls?

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Captain Henry Barker

Henry Barker of 1st Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment, recalls the salutary effect of army discipline.

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Private Cyril Dwight

Cyril Dwight of 1st Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment, recollects laundry arrangements while serving in the East after World War II.

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Warrant Officer II Denis Harding MVO

Denis Harding, 1/6th Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment, 2nd and 1st Battalions, the East Surrey Regiment and 1st Battalion, the Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment, remembers the difficulties caused by long absences overseas.

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Private George Crook

George Crook, 1st Battalion, The East Surrey Regiment, remembers the fun of annual training camps and inadvertently demolishing a bus shelter.

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Private George Crook

George Crook, 1st Battalion, The East Surrey Regiment, remembers the somewhat extreme hair care in the Egyptian desert during national service.

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Band Sergeant Major Brian Matlock

Brian Matlock, 1st Battalion, The Queen's, remembers Christmas when stationed in Germany.

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Maurice Howard

Maurice Howard, 2/5th Battalion The Queen's, describes hearing of the birth of his son while he was in Iraq.

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