Recollections from Ted Jenkinson
I joined the Army as a Three Year Regular on 17th March 1952. First stop Malvern for Induction and then to Cove for injections (Ouch!!), and Basic Training.
Next stop – Gibraltar Barracks, Driver Training. The Army decided I would make a good Driving Instructor. All went well until I discovered that if one of my Trainees had an accident I would be put on a fizzer. A single control 3-ton long wheel base Austin Truck, I didn’t like that idea at all, so got taken off Driving Instruction. I then spent about 3 months doing nothing but drinking tea in the various drinking establishments – NAAFI, Toc H etc.
Then came the day that was to change my life. It was Pay Parade and the OC walked by and asked if I was there. “Yes” I replied. He then asked me if I had ever been to Paris. Silly question, but I said “No”. “Come and see me after Pay Parade because that is where you are going” he said.
September 1953 saw me on my way through France in a Troop Carrier. There was a General Strike in France at the time, (hasn’t changed much has it?). Arrived at ALFCE, Fontainbleau, went on Interview and was informed that I was a mistake, (no change there then!). The Army being what it was sent me to the Hotel in Paris that the Posties lived in. I wouldn’t say that I was jumping up and down with joy, but the terrible thing was that it took 28 days to get me a posting. Now wasn’t that kind of the Army.
The game continues. I am now on a train heading for a place called Herford in Germany. I had to change trains at Cologne, which was when my luck started to run out. As we pull into Cologne Station my connection is pulling out. I finally arrive at Herford, see RTO, who informs me that my new Unit is going frantic. I thought – ‘At last, I am important!?’ The RSM himself came to pick me up, and on the way back to what I discovered was the Depot, he started to lay into me verbally. After I had finished laughing, not at the RSM, but at a mental image of me in full FSMO trying to get onto a moving train. I didn’t bother explaining, but I did think to myself ‘What the heck sort of Unit am I going to (or words to that effect!).
The next morning saw me on Interview and being told what the Unit was and did. I politely told the OC that I did not want to be a Postman, but it fell on deaf ears I am afraid. I then found myself L/Cpl in charge of Letter Floor surrounded by a horde of ageing German females.
And that folks is how I came to be a Postie. The silly thing is that when I re-enlisted, I joined Postal again. I have always wondered why?