The Isle of Man and Howstrake Camp

There can't be many of us left right now, so it really IS important that any RMB's of those days write just one little snippet of experience or memory. Let me add to the already noted lines of Frank Coleman, by taking you back to the days of Georgie Major Keen, Buster Bradley, Ted Lowther, Pop Christmas, Syd Walkden, Doc Compton, Frank Skinner, M.E Earl Gusty Gale, Ken Reeves, Micky Hunt, George Pook and so on, all instructors music and drill.

One of my precious memories relate to sports day, after running through Groudle Glen to get to the sports field, I managed to come out 'tops' and won "best boy" under 16. For that I received a small medal and 10 shillings and sixpence in savings bonds. The best boy over 16 was one Bob Ellis, whom I remember from my Home Fleet days. Bob was a "makey learner" Drum Major, and from what I understand Bob is still around, and living in the midlands somewhere. Then as I write, I also remember that I won the coveted Gym Medal for 93 Squad, and John Webb, won the Squad cane. John didn't complete his time and retired to Wales, his birthplace.

100% boxing was also in the boys training manual, I had the unfortunate task of fighting Jim Fagg, (Pianist) who featured in the Minder series on TV, and I got the biggest hiding of the night, hence the name Max Beare, after the Heavy weight champion of yesteryear.

Would you believe come our annual leave time, cigarettes were issued to one and all, and it was no shame to smoke going over on the boat to Fleetwood, after some of the older boys had pieces put in the trousers to mimic flares, and yes some had the audacity to wear Chevrons, and I even saw a war wound stripe as worn by B******* T, McClean. Blue Caps were our normal head-dress, but then came a white cover, but they were difficult to come by. Our day started at 6.15, right through to 7 pm, we had to scrub out our rooms, wood floors, place our kit on the shelf above the bed, and fold the waterproof cape to tidy up the whole scene. Meals were a story on their own, as it also included mail call, this is where Ted Lowther would come in to his own and declare "THERE IS GASH" at which time there was an almighty rush to the servery by the 150 boys, seeking out any thing that was going. Just like life itself, the older boys took precedence.

Then there were the money lenders, who thought nothing of lending out money for double back, it would not be fair to name names, but pay days saw a queue at the dining room exit, boys paying back there debts. Kit musters were a dread, everything had to be marked, with your very own TYPE, and all under clothes and socks had your surname sewn in, a task which you had to do in your first couple of weeks. Poor old Meatheringham was always last to finish.

OK then, I have said my piece, so come on RMBx's let's hear from you and add to my few lines.

Regards and best wishes to all serving and non serving.

Don't forget!

We ARE the Greatest.

Bernard S Maxie Beare (


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