I and 49 young lads stood on the Victoria Train Station platform, in March 1958 for a train to take us to Chichester, and the Depot of The Royal Sussex Regiment. I was called up for National Service. On entering the Depot we were instantly taken to the barber who cut off my most beautiful 'Ducks Arse' hair style with a quiff, and I left with a crew cut. We were introduced to the RSM 'Daddy Dunkeld' who engaged all of us into absolute fear. BUT, I did manage while there, to have a one hour kip in General Von Arniems Staff car when on sentry duty.
BUT, my most proudest moment was when I was issued with the Royal Sussex Regiment Cap Badge. Once I fitted that Badge into my beret I really felt that I did belong to a very large family. It gave me security (which I never had in my civilian life) friends, 3 solid meals a day, adventure and clothing (even though it was army issue).
Then in Lemgo when all the Bn were on parade we were ordered to remove our beloved badges, and insert a most useless piece of crap which was the HCBD badge. I was in 'A' Coy in the rear rank. I voiced my opinion loudly, and my CSM heard me. He strode through the ranks, stood just a foot from my face and stated very quietly, "Sinden we just have to obey this order, even though I do not agree with it". I did so, but I placed that Royal Sussex Regiment Badge into my pocket, and I have had that most treasured Badge in my company for some 59 years.
For me personally being a member of the Royal Sussex Regiment (even though I am a Man of Kent) I just cannot lose that utter very strong embrace of belonging to a quite wonderful, never ending family life.
PS. I am back Eric Sir, and my talons are now sharp.!!
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