National Service Memories

Everything had to be immaculate for “kit inspection”.

I used to love the sound of the whole company on parade, the sound of marching boots on concrete.  We wore our best boots on parade, black and shiny with Cherry Blossom boot polish.  Everything had to be immaculate for “kit inspection”.  All the brass on our uniforms would be polished with Brasso; Blanco (a dark green stone) was used on our Hessian belts and gaiters.  The sergeant could inspect every morning.  We had to have PE each day before breakfast, which could be a two mile run.  We had breakfast in the food hall, but our mid-morning break was always in the NAAFI, run by women.

I remember the Enfield rifle and also the Bren gun.  The rifle was a bolt action and fired one round at a time, but the Bren was an automatic machine gun.  It was incredibly loud when it fired.

My kit comprised of 3 blankets, 2 mess tins (which became dishes for meals when in the field) and 1 enamel mug.  I can recall friends who went up the ranks.  They were both very sporty and enjoyed the outdoor life.  Such people soon had the chance of getting commendations for promotion.

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