o'clock in the morning 9th June 1953, the excitement of the coronation
now history one week old. I was equally excited as today was the day
my life changed forever! I was too excited to eat and was desperate
for 0845 to come along so that I could say my farewells and get to the
bus stop in time to catch the 0855 bus from Oakdale to Crumlin where
I would change buses for Newport.
I said cheerio to my Mum & Dad at my home (I had forbidden them
to accompany me, my Mum reminded me, for what must have been the 50+
time, that as a grammar school lad I was throwing my education away!)
Bus on time and changed buses in Crumlin to get to Newport. I STILL
REMEMBER asking for a child's single to Newport One shilling & three
pence (6 &1/2p) On arrival in Newport I walked over the
bridge and down to the station where I was met by a recruiting sgt who
issued me with my travel warrant. Train on time (Steam of course)
I boarded with my 16" suitcase (same as evacuees had during
the war) arrived in Paddington 3hrs 20mins later and then had to
get across London to Charing X which meant underground to Oxford Circus
then change to get to Charing X. I met up with a gaggle of what I then
called REAL marines who were joining the corps on that day. On arrival
at Deal station we were met by a 3x ton truck which seemed ENORMOUS
to little old me!!
was dropped off first at the main gate of east barracks which was to
become home for the next 3yrs or so. I was told that I would be in Barham
house but that would wait until I had completed my initial training.
I will never forget the huge bathroom on the ground floor of O block
and the toilet block across the parade ground! Before I knew it 2100hrs
arrived I was amongst 20 or so other lads babbling about a world that
was alien to me.
This really was "the first day of the rest of my life". Little
did I realise that I would visit 119 countries and well in excess of
300 cities/towns/villages and travel 1,253,000 miles!!...............by
the age of 40! TRULY AMAZING!