The Newham Story

The Newham Story => Newham memories and nostalgia => Topic started by: KenM on 04 July, 2018, 11:21:47 AM

Title: A Dead Horse
Post by: KenM on 04 July, 2018, 11:21:47 AM
Hi All, I am now going to curl up under a stone, coz this forum is a dead horse.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: harry on 04 July, 2018, 02:33:09 PM
Ken it seems to be like one of the old Army sayings used quite a lot during my two years National Service=
NAFFI equals no ambition and eff all interest is the mood of this site .
Regards H Isles.
PS could someone explain how to find posts concerning Newham on Facebook perhaps there is more action on there!!!.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: KenM on 04 July, 2018, 04:01:34 PM
Harry, nice to hear from you.
The old army saying that comes to mind is, "The Naffi girls are all t*t & no ambition"
I have deactivated my Facebook account so I cannot help you there.
There must be someone awake on the forum that will pass on the info.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: jplant1 on 17 July, 2018, 02:41:02 PM
Newham History Society has a Facebook a/c - you don't have to be a member to access it.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: KenM on 18 July, 2018, 01:39:39 PM
jplant1, many thanks for info, I did give it a whirl & found the many photos interesting.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: MickG on 19 July, 2018, 12:47:44 PM
I also subscribe to the Newham History Society on Facebook as well as a number of other East London sites that can be found there. However I have always found this board to be a bit different and there have been many knowledgeable and in-depth discussion here on various subjects which you don't normally tend to get on Facebook. One of the other problems with FaceBook is that if a group is very popular with lots of subscribers, is that new topics that go to the top of the list and then rapidly get shoved further down the list as the are replaced by newer comments. This means that topics can easily be missed.

Facebook also tends to attract comments like my aunt's, second cousin once lived down a particular road that tend to have nothing to do with the subject under discussion.

I actually think there is room for both.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: harry on 19 July, 2018, 03:29:48 PM
I could write a few stories about contacts made over the years since finishing National Service most in unusual circumstances but would these be of any interest on this site ??.

Regards Harry I.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: alffox on 20 July, 2018, 09:31:55 PM
Just thought I would add a little something to your mention of National Service. I was required to attend a medical at the recruiting place at the "George" Wanstead and was passed fit - I probably could have got out on medical grounds as I suffered from a condition in the knees called Osgoods Schlatters Disease.  Chose to keep quiet and was posted into the RAF and on January 4th 1952 caught a train up to Padgate in Lancashire and went into all the various huts for the required uniform etc.  Two weeks there and then "bullied" into the back of a lorry with a few other "erks" and on a train to Gloucester for square bashing at RAF Innsworth.  Was halfway through the 6 weeks when King George died and boy did those NCO's lay it on.  We were required to march on the occasion of the funeral into Gloucester just outside the cathedral and as far as I know all went well.   Always remember the Sergeant in charge of our group - a pig of a man Sergeant Bertrand.    Managed to scrape through and still have a couple of photographs.  Then got a dream of a posting to RAF Hendon - could even manage to cycle there from Custom House.  Wonderful days - air displays, trips on Anson aircraft all over the country, local to London - and then even tried to arrange a posting to the Isle of Dogs.  That never came off but what a great time .  Should have signed on but left at the end of my time to wander in and out of the various factory jobs that were always available along Silvertown Way.    Could carry on and on and in the terrible situation that we are in with crime etc why not some form of National Service for the criminals of today - it has been said before.  Must stop now - message probably in the wrong topic but at least something to follow up on.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: harry on 21 July, 2018, 11:22:54 AM
Hi Alf I like you and many others had our medical at the George Wanstead was also passed fit and as a carpenter it was decided that I would make a good cook so I was put in the Army Catering Corps why I do not know!!!.
I finished up after basic training at Aldershot and Blandford in Dorset was posted to Gibraltar to an employment company in Town Range Barracks just off main street.I spent 18 months there till release in 1955
In the years that followed I have been back on two occations and visited the ol barracks which had ceased to be used by the miitary and was being used to house civillian personnel  .A couple of years ago Michael Portillo did a series on railways and on one of these he did a trip from Algarciras  and crossed over to Gibraltar and did an interview with Tito Vallejo Smith the local historian and discussed Gibraltar in general to cut the story short I got in touch with Tito via the internet and found that he was actually housed in one of the small rooms in the old barracks and was using the old cookhouse for his ablutions .Since then there have been lots of changes in Gibraltar and on the site of the cookhouse they have built a house complete with swimming pool all of which can be seen on Google earth street view. Another thing I have seen since 1955 was items on tv  about the Argyle and southern highlanders and the Governor of Gibraltar piper was from this regiment who was on the strength of the company in town range and in the ensuing years have seen items on tv of him now as a pipe Major piping the flag down in Aden. And later when under the orders of "mad mitch" Colonel Mitchel piped the troops back to retake Aden whilst under fire and saw him again at the 40th reunion dinner on tv makes it a small world!!! Regards Harry.I.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: KenM on 21 July, 2018, 12:04:04 PM
Hi Alf & Harry, strange how that trip to Wanstead sticks in our minds, must be the cold hands on the dangly bits.
I was told to report to a place in London for a chest xray on the same day.
My apprenticship was completed on 16th November & I reported to Aldershot on 4th December, Xmas was spent in an extremely cold timber built accomodation adjacent to Engineers Corner, in snow covered Blandford camp.
Harry, I am sure that your stories after leaving national service will be of interest & will certainly revive this forum.

I was told to report to somewhere in London for a chest Xray
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: harry on 21 July, 2018, 01:32:54 PM
Hi Ken the stories I told were only a quick resume like the bit about Piper Robson if you look up the story of the problems in Aden you will get the drift of his involvement obviously with many others.
I did not intend to infer that he was the only brave man as he was not. Others in the Argyles said he was marching in front of everybody playing the pipes so   he couldn't hear the rifle fire from the enemy.  He was just one of Sixty blokes that made up the employment company and there were six cooks for the sixty blokes which meant you worked half day on and had a day and half  off. Just like a civvy job there was no guard room so none of bods had to stand guard  just sleep in the office to do any early morning calls. Of  the six cooks there were three carpenters one plumber an ex fairground boxer a scot from the Gorbels in Glasgow and a cook corporal who was a bit of a spiv  from Stepney.    Any on a plus side of these memories was the we won the small units catering contests two years running. We were not completely missing out on any military activities cos we still had to do the annual five mile bash carry a ma twenty yards on your back{I remember mine was a!16 stone sergeant me nine stone sopping wet}as well as proficient  test on rifle sten gun  and bren gun just in case???. I was also fortunate to have spent a seven day trip on HMS Undine on manouvers in the  Med that was quite an experience believe me!!. I could go on cos there are plenty more, as you can gather my two years National Service was quite enjoyable mind you I went in  when they were feeding em not needing em although some of the original intake from Aldershot came home with medals Kenya for  instance anyway I would think many others would have similar stories.Regards Harry.i
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: KenM on 21 July, 2018, 04:10:02 PM
Hi Harry, after yourself & Alf have added details of your national service life, I will do the same.
After completing driver training at Blandford camp, I was posted to Malaya & lucky enough to have a 6 week cruise to sunny Singapore & then by train to a Commonwealth Unit in Ipoh. The working hours were irregular as we were supporting a Scots infantry mob, who carried out the jungle patrols. Our company also supported the AAC who flew the helicopters. We were escorted by a light armoured company, The Kings Dragoon Guards. There was a mix of Brits, Aussies, Kiwis & Gurkas. Accomodation was of timber poles construction covered in some type of vegetation, but nice & cool. Sanitation were thunder boxes amid a swarm of flies. The Ipoh camp food was good, which could not be said of detachment rations. We were a very mixed mobile unit so discipline was not to tiresome, the OC being a National Service 2nd lieut
As long as you kept your nose clean & got on with the job, some days could be very pleasant.
I do go on dont I.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: harry on 22 July, 2018, 07:25:32 AM
During The War , Shut Up  Albert!!!
Regards Harry
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: KenM on 22 July, 2018, 12:01:45 PM
I fear that I bore the pants off of some of my friends when I mention the war.
But since it happened in the formative part of my life, loss of life of so many good friends etc it is not something that I wish to forget, as I'm often being told.
Nuff said.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: alffox on 23 July, 2018, 08:30:56 AM
And one thing leads to another - your mention Ken of Gibraltar has a very vivid memory for me - my grandfather Joseph Fox (orphaned at the age of 7) joined the West Yorkshire Regiment on his 18th birthday in 1881 and then transferred to the Essex Regiment when a army was being raised to rescue General Gordon.  Grandads first trip was on the "MALABAR" to Gibraltar and without looking up his records which I have obtained many years ago he stayed there for about 2 years eventually going part of the way up the Nile with the ESSEX.  We all know the result in Khartoum and Joseph made his way back via Cyprus etc.    On a holiday a few years back to Benalmadina I caught a coach to Gibraltar and went all the way up to the top where all the monkeys are.  I had followed in grandads footsteps.    Cutting a long story short I followed up the history of the Essex and on my website you can see the summary of the travels with various pictures - the trafalgar Anchor - the Water Tanks - the Hospital where Grandad spent some time recovering from his antics with the ladies in Gibraltar.  Plus a summary of the trip up the Nile.  Along with one of my sons I located his complete Army records at Kew Records Office and gave a copy to the Essex Regiment Museum in Chelmsford.     To see any of the records Grandad was the father of Alfred Fox who married Minnie Edmead and if you scroll to the appropriate entry you can look at some of the memories I posted.   Still searching the family history even today.       And still looking for Reggie Shaw's obituary.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: KenM on 24 July, 2018, 03:34:07 PM
Hi Alf, your mention of Reg Shaw brought back some memories of our time at T&L.
Reg & I worked on the same carpenters bench for several years before Reg left to complete his National Service in the RAF.
We never got together away from work, Reg was a football & cricket man, wheras I preferred badminton, tennis & dashing around with of group of motocyclists
Reg did invite me to his wedding but I never managed to get there.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: harry on 25 July, 2018, 12:55:40 PM
I suppose this will come under the same heading" Dead Horse" watching the antiques road show on Sunday I noticed two chaps dressed in dark blue wearing tall hats I believe they used  to be called " Bobbies" how apt that they were on a show of Antiques just don,t see many about these days.
 Have also noticed this week a number of Police vehicles in the car park of our council  offices,the local Police station having closed a while back this seems to be a trend?.
The Police station at Rainham in Essex is now a row of houses called Gladstone Place where do they take offenders when they have to be locked up.
Has anyone else noticed this trend and when did you las see a police man on the beat???.Regards Harry I.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: MickG on 25 July, 2018, 05:33:07 PM
Harry, The trend of closing police stations is happening all over. Although this is not Newham related, we have had the same thing happen in Yeovil near to where I live. The main police station which was the only one to have cells was closed. Now if someone is arrested they have to be taken to Bridgewater 42 miles away. While police are transporting people the have arrested long distances, they are certainly not on patrol.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: KenM on 26 July, 2018, 12:08:25 PM
Harry, a real policeman is a rare animal in Christchurch, there was a time when traffic wardens morphed into community officers & patrolled the high st,
not crime busters, but issuing tickets to unsuspecting motorists.
The police station has been closed, not a great loss as it has been staffed by civilians with not a lot of interest in the job for some time.
Most people respected the local constable, community officers are not viewed in the same way.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: alffox on 26 July, 2018, 04:13:07 PM
To add a short note re Gibraltar - the barracks my grandfather was billeted in was called Buena Vista Barracks and had I mentioned it to the driver of our small coach - he sais he would have taken the time to stop and show me a few more details.  I was eight years old when he died so did not have any time with him at all - he lived in Dagenham and our home was in Custom House.  Could not afford cars in those days.
As for my National Service - well with my posting to Hendon Aerodrome I enjoyed a life of somewhat luxury - the airfield had to be open from dawn to dusk and we in the Air Movement Section were expected to man the section for all of that time - no shift work in those days - some days I guess it was 16 hours on but the benfit came in that for one week you were on duty for two days only and the next week for five days so that gave plenty of time for recreation.  I lived in camp but had a "Living Out Pass" which allowed me to be at home for days at a time (still got one or two telegrams calling me back for duty).  During that service time I spent time on Canvey Island during the floods of 1953 - being billeted at Hornchurch Aerodrome and being carried by lorry to the main Pub later called the King Canute.    Back at Hendon we saw all kinds of aircraft and politicians flying in and around the country to view the damage.   The earthquake on Corfu almost took me away from Hendon as some of us lads at Hendon volunteered to go to Lyneham and assist in the loading of the aircraft taking out clothing and other goods - problem was that Lyneham wanted to keep us at their base.        On another occasion there had been a large sporting event in London involving military teams from nearby European Countries - two Dakota aircraft fully loaded with the Dutch team sat on the apron in front of the control tower awaiting for orders to take off.  Before they could go I was given the task of climbing on board both and searching for John Christie of Rillington Place - the serial murderer.   Never a dull moment - should have signed on for another three years in 1954 but life at Hendon had been too good to me and I knew I would be posted abroad somewhere.  Chose to leave.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: KenM on 26 July, 2018, 04:58:35 PM
Hi Alf, your mention of Canvey Island & Hornchurch brings back memories.
Many times were enjoyed at a pub call The Lobster Pot, I also recall bouncing over that rickety timber bridge on my motorbike, across the mudflats.
Hornchurch was home for a few years after leaving the army, approx 10mins walk from the station which was handy as I was working in the Royal Docks. I believe RAF Hornchurch played a large part in WW11 as a fighter base.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: harry on 27 July, 2018, 02:08:46 PM
Hi Alf I have noticed that in various places around England there are military buildings that are similar to those in Gibraltar. For instance  at Shoeburyness behind the Garrison public house are some flats which are very much the same as the barracks where I did my National Service in Gibraltar . On the Isle of Portland there some of the same. Even Tilbury and Coalhouse forts are of similar construction all I can assume is that they were all designed by the same people In around 1870 I am only guessing at this date perhaps someone else could have more info on this. Regards Harry I.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: ed styles on 15 August, 2018, 04:14:24 PM
Ken and Alf
 Your mention of Reg Shaw bought back memories of working with him late 60's . We were both Time served Chippies him with T&L and me in the Docks . We met up when working on the " buildings " for Wates in Woodford then Bethnal green and Lovalls in Stepney .In those days the Evening News had about 3-4 columns of buiding jobs so you had yer pick .Despite his big build I found Reg a quiet man he often let me do the slagging off as I am only 5.6" and him a good 6 + ft .I only found out on here last year he was about 9 yrs older then me I'm 74 so missed national service by a couple of years a really top bloke in the short time i knew him , I remember at one time we had to swing some really heavy doors so because of his big height I decided that he could chop the top butts in and little ol me the bottom butts that was a laugh.

 All the best ed
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: KenM on 17 August, 2018, 11:44:04 AM
Hi Ed, working with Reg Shaw was a doddle, he was so laid back & used to get on well with all in the workshop.
A mix of young & old could be volatile at times, but Reg would sail through the storm, no trouble.
For a while Reg's dad was the chippies mate, so kept a close eye on him.
Reg had a different view on authority than I, which created some laughs at times.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: nollanhej on 02 December, 2018, 09:48:30 PM
A dead horse . . . I knew something was nagging me! anyhow, I went to Wanstead for a medical, and, always remember the old finger around my you know what's and told to cough. This was in 1952. After a squabble with some posh toffee-nosed . . . I forgot that I had left a boiling hot iron on the sleeve of my best BD jacket only to find an iron-shape mark that fell out into a hole the exact same size as the iron. Needless to say I went on a charge and finished up on 7/6 a week for months to pay for it. Mum's 7/- a week was still paid to her, and the other 14/- went on paying for it weeks and weeks. Needless to say it was a case of hitch-hiking home, and blagging the fare back from Paddington. ' Appy Days ????   Yer. Rye should say so! ::) ::)
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: KenM on 03 December, 2018, 10:46:36 AM
Hi nollanhej, its great to see you back on the forum.
Memories of the Wanstead medical seems to remain with us even after 70 years or more.
The barrack damages must have been another drain on your 7/6 a week, how did you pay for the Blanco & Brasso?
Appy Days, there were a few laughs along the way.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: nollanhej on 03 December, 2018, 12:01:06 PM
Actually Ken, old-age [whatever that is?] is catching up! It was only seven shilling a week [the queen's shilling a day, by law] as I say, the other 21/- went on uniform and to mum. I had some good friends in my hut who helped me out if I needed it. That rotten best BD must have cost a fortune. It was certainly more expensive that a suit from Pollocks in Raffy Market!
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: KenM on 04 December, 2018, 11:25:48 AM
Hi  nollanhej, how did we ever keep the fluffy BD looking smart, with  really sharp creases in both blouse & trousers? The todays army uniform is of  camouflage design with no trace of creases & looks a right rag bag.
No more hours of pressing & burning your fingers on the hot iron & the metal bits that needed polishing have been replaced with plastic, cap badge is of staybright material, no more Brasso.
Hey Ho, how did we survive?
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: harry on 04 December, 2018, 03:16:15 PM
Hi Ken, as you probably know during your two years of National Service there were always people who given the chance to (in their own minds) improve the kit supplied by the British Army. One of these was the "fluffy" battle dress. Someone came up with the "brilliant" idea to shave the "fluff" off with a razor  the uniform then taking on the appearance of Gaberdine and then ironing the uniform using brown parcel paper to get a nice sharp crease. The back of the blouse had three creases each side which for a charge of Ten Shillings the tailor would remove the three creases and replace them with one crease each side and voila box pleats on the back.The Brasso tin would have all paint removed leaving just the word Brasso the tin then highly polshed. The boot polish tin treated like wise.The gaitors had the small straps polished , spit and polished, and the small stitches picked out in white blanco !!!.TaLk about Bull Shott!!  At Aldershot the floors were given a good dollop of Mansion Polish and  polished with the dreaded bumper. At Blandford they  went one better , the floors were done over with bath brick and brought up to a nice  dusty white  which meant the floor could not be walked on because the studs in your boots left marks all over the floor no good for billet inspection!!! You don,t have to be mad to serve in the British Army,but it certainly helped.!!! Rgards Harry.I . ps there were no chains for the sink plugs or the toilet chains these were removed to make weights to put in the bottom of your trousers to make the bottom of trousers look neat!!!
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: nollanhej on 04 December, 2018, 10:30:19 PM
I also remember having a laughing fit because the Sergeant in charge came and inspected our hut and bed layout. Unfortunately, I saw the funny side of how he was dressed out of uniform. I looked at another recruit, and he started to snigger, which set me off giggling at this normally fierce-looking sergeant, who looked a right clown in his civvies. Unfortunately for me, he saw me trying to stifle my laugh and tipped all my bed display out of the window. He advised the rest of the hut members to "get me" but to be fair he never put me on a charge. Sadly, some of the recruits were going to take him at his word. Fortunately, four rather large lads sided with me and warned the rest of the hut members to lay off. Apparently, you couldn't be put on a charge early on in training. Does anyone remember the umpteen injections you got in both arms in one trip down the medical centre?
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: KenM on 05 December, 2018, 11:43:39 AM
Hi Harry, yes I can remember the dreaded bumper being pushed around your bed space, no polish was allowed as it was deemed to be a fire hazard on the floor boards.
At Blandford my spider accomodation was sited alongside the Blandford Beagles kennels & 20 howling Beagles did not allow for a good nights sleep.
Another thing that comes to mind is the gas chamber, the choking stayed with us for hours, much to the delight of the NCOs.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: harry on 05 December, 2018, 02:03:46 PM
Hi Ken I believe you might have billeted in the same type of wooden huts , they were called spiders. I think that they were built during WW2 to accommodate American servicemen injured during the Normandy landings and used as a hospital.? Regards Harry.I.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: harry on 05 December, 2018, 03:27:39 PM
Re the inoculations I can remember the multi jabs in both arms . To get these jabs we were marched across moorland to another Barracks ,Service Corps I seem to remember, and another surprise the chap who gave the jabs was the camp barber!!
But the jab I remember most was the one that you were given 36 hours off and I suppose it was coincidence that it was given last thing on Friday so you the weekend to get over it!!. I seem to remember this jab left you the following morning feeling like your arm had been nailed to your body with a six inch nail (ouch I felt that one) Regards Harry.I.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: KenM on 06 December, 2018, 12:03:52 PM
Harry you surprise me, I thought it was the camp cobbler that stuck the needle in me, it felt like a boot stud.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: nollanhej on 06 December, 2018, 01:11:20 PM
I had the four injections in four places. When I walked away, the so-called male nurse chased after me and said I want my needle back it is bent and still in your arm.  When we all got back to the hut we all started shaking and all finished up in our pits. As you say it was a Friday. I think it was some sort of fever injection and was called a "Schick" test. You could say, we all suffered that night with the "Schicks". 
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: KenM on 07 December, 2018, 10:32:56 AM
The injection that gave us most misery was the TABT & then there was the little hook that was inserted into your upper arm that left a scar for life. By the time that we were ready for the Yellow Fever & other far east jabs, we were hardened to everything that they could throw at us.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: nollanhej on 07 December, 2018, 11:25:03 AM
That's a good point, KenM
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: KenM on 07 December, 2018, 03:42:34 PM
The army has a lot to answer for. They insisted that we take bloody great tablets of salt every day, which they now tell us is a bad thing, then they gave us 50 free cigarettes each week, another no no.
I wonder how many still have hacking coughs as a result.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: harry on 07 December, 2018, 03:52:41 PM
Hi Ken, we only had free cigarettes if one of the boats bringing contraband from north Africa was cought by Customs and the contraband cigarettes were distributed among the services serving in Gibraltar. I can remember on at least two occasions we were issued with Fifty Dunhill cigarettes each. Regards Harry.I
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: KenM on 08 December, 2018, 11:03:17 AM
Harry, the issue of Capstan Full strength had the camp coughing all night, but they did keep the mosquitoes away.
The anti malarial Paladrin tablets were another disgusting tablet that they insisted we take at lunch time, it made the powdered mash potato taste even worse.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: harry on 08 December, 2018, 02:57:20 PM
Hi  Ken we had to use Pom at least once a week and I remember a ruse I used to fool the lads.  What I decided to do was boil some potatoes mash them up and mix with the potatoe  powder and voila wool had been pulled over eyes but I must say just the once!!. Also another issue we had was hard tack biscuits these were added to soups as a thickening agent .Regards Harry.I.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: KenM on 09 December, 2018, 11:13:27 AM
Ah yes, the hard tack biscuits, we had them twice a week & had great fun skimming them down the dining area, they were no good for anything else. Our food was ok if you consider that we only had 1 ACC sergeant & whoever was on jankers, the cooking was achieved using wood burning stoves that were kept burning all night for cooking breakfast. The seageant chef must have been a magician because he managed to put up some tasty meals on very meagre supplies.
Title: Re: A Dead Horse
Post by: harry on 14 December, 2018, 04:06:32 PM
I would like to wish all users and guests of this site a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Regards Harry.I.
Title: Merry Christmas everyone.
Post by: MickG on 14 December, 2018, 05:28:07 PM
And a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from myself to you too Harry, Ken, Uncle Tom Cobley and everyone too numerous to name individually.

Regards Mick