The result was everybody who had bribed the barbers to have a little bit left
on, had to go back to the barbers and have it removed. This happened two or three
times but in the end we all finished up the same, all of us with bald heads and
when we were told to put our caps back on again, they slipped anywhere but where
we put them!
In due course and time, we did get used to it but this was the first lesson we received about discipline and do as you’re told and not think for yourself. From then it was a matter of square bashing and more square bashing!
Fortunately for me, being in the ATC, I knew most of the orders that the Corporal gave .The result were that I, and a few more lads, knew what to do when being shouted at. Those that had never had any experience of service, were going everywhere except where they should do. Whereupon, there was much screaming and yelling at them, but during all these occasions, no swearing, it was pure dressing down about being stupid, thick headed and ‘where do you think you come from, your in the services now!’
This was the way they gradually taught, and changed us, into a disciplined unit. Towards the end of our square bashing, we finished up going onto the armoury section. Here we were taught how to use a rifle and a bayonet, charging, sticking a bayonet through a sack. From this section we moved on to actually preparing the rifle. This involved a 10-mile march down to the range. At the range we used ordinary ammunition in the rifles. It was in three stages, different distances, finishing up to about 1,000 yards.
Having completed my square bashing it was time to say cheerio to all the people who had been on the square bashing course and as it turned out, the fishing lads did get recalled and they did go back to Hull, or wherever they were told to go. Many times I have wondered how they coped with their lives afterwards.
My next posting. This time I ended up at the 35 Maintenance Unit, Heywood, Lancashire .To the best of my knowledge this was near to a place called Bury .The maintenance unit was basically a holding unit before posting you to your station .Our job was to supply and fill trucks with different items which we were told to pick up and put in the trucks for despatches .In actual fact, a very boring situation, the one thing about it, was once again discipline.
Here we had a Flight Sergeant, who was known as Flight Sergeant Todd. Now Flight Sergeant Todd was an old fashioned RAF Flight Sergeant .We all came to respect him in due course but the first meeting was very, very strict. The first morning on parade, to my bewilderment, was a full dress parade, this involved, raising of the standard on the parade ground- a small piece of land made into a parade ground. Here, the flight sergeant was in charge.
In due course, officers turned up, full dress, cap and sword dangling at the waist. Next point was the Flight Sergeant, he brought us all to attention and split us all into separate units, so that every officer had a squad of his own. In each case, each squad was then ordered to attention, whilst the officer drew his sword and faced the standard. In due course, every unit on parade faced the standard, with an officer and sword drawn saluting to the standard. Then the station master and station commander came on parade took the salute from the officers and each officer lead on making a circuit so that each unit followed on, so we all passed the senior officer and marched out.
When we came away from the parade ground, we once again were given orders by the recruiting officers and dismissed. Whereupon, they moved off and then we were marched down to the maintenance unit, to carry on doing our jobs. This was rather boring to us but having looked back, every officer must have had to do the same thing, when they first took their commission.