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The Somerset & Cornwall Light Infantry
6 October 1959 - 10 July 1968

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1959-1968

 

 

Gerry Blackwell

Sgt SCLI/1st LI

 

My Service Life

Joined DCLI as National Serviceman Jan' 1958 -after basic training went to Strensell York on NCO's cadre.

Posted Osnabruck to finish off training in D Coy.
Joined A Coy under WO2 Love who's wife was known to my wife as they came within a couple of streets of each other in High Wycombe. L/Cpl
Transferred to Signals Pln after amalgamation then SCLI Cpl
Moved to Gibraltar via Plymouth. Wife and family arrive Xmas 1962 (I think) Cpl
Placed on Signals Course at Hythe, Kent in Jan 1963 much to the disgust of family who only managed to see me for a couple of weeks.
Returned to Gib April 63 and then off to Tobruk within another couple of weeks. Mrs "B" not happy.
Berlin next stop. Promoted to Sgt in Signal Pln alongside Bruce Perring.
Transferred to Bath TA 1964 to spend a couple of years. Involved in closing down "old" TA format
Transferred to Shrewsbury to set up the New TAVR HQ Signalling.
Informed that I will return to Bn in N.Ireland ( Ballykinler). But attended Tactics course in Wales where I suffered damaged ligaments and was returned to Shrewsbury to hand over the position and stores to my successor.
Allowed a weekend to purchase a property in High Wycombe for the family whilst I was posted in Ireland. Executed the task and managed to get the family in place before:
Embarking on my journey to Ireland. For personal reasons I decided to curtail my service career in NI January1969

Fast Forward

The day when I left the Service, early Feb’1969 I remember only too well. The previous day , late afternoon, it was saying farewell to all the WO’s & Sgt’s Mess members and then directing my speedster (a Wolsley 1500cc saloon) through the barrier and towards Belfast docks enroute to Liverpool. The remainder of the journey was quite emotional and hard to describe but eventually on reaching home in High Wycombe,Buckinghamshire (a home that I had managed to sort out only day’s before embarking to N.I. some few months earlier) a grand family reunion was held so had little time to reflect.

By this time it was Sunday and I was to present myself for work at the local Curry’s Electrical store Monday morning. New faces, new team, and at 32 years of age was surprised to find myself more senior in years than most. I was fortunate to have a pretty good knowledge of the local’s even after being absent for some 12 years. I was pushed forward into management and speedily got to managing a large branch eventually in 1971. My employment with Currys lasted for some years,but then the family firm was taken over by Dixons and they have and still are renowned for employing much younger personnel so the hairs at the back of my neck began to stand out and sure enough after a couple of years they had their wish and removed me but not after a great battle that eventually went to a tribunal and they lost.

By this time it was never going to be an easy ride to get re-employment so I decided to build up my own Plumbing and heating business having got my City of Guilds before I joined up as National Service. From then until I retired 2001 I never looked back and only wished I had the balls to have done it earlier. That’s life I guess.

My eldest,a son, and my daughter (born in BMH Munster) both eventually left home to fend for themselves and my son owns a business in Egypt whist my daughter married a French guy who after working in UK for some 21 years decided to move back to France with his family to set up their own business. That meant that all of my direct family plus Grandchildren were away for large periods. On one visit over here in France I decided to invest in some property that eventually became my Grand daughters and then a good opportunity arose for another property that took my eye that was close to all the family again. Hence why I reside here. No regrets either!!!! April this year Tricia and I became Great Grandparents for the third time so the air…wine…water or whatever suits us fine. We live in a small village where community matters and have found each and everyone most helpful. Tricia not been too well this year as you now know , but she is, as Bobby Bogan would say, a daughter of the SCLI.

Gerald Blackwell.

Gallery

Click on any image to enlarge and open in new window.

L to R - Pte Frank Gifford, Pte Richard Price, Sgt Bill Longney, Captain Frost, Cpl Woodman. - Berlin
RSM Vic Worster, Cpl Mick Coles, Captain Fouracre, Pte Robert Smith at Brandenberg Gate Berlin
GB front right - Bn Soccer Team 1959.
Gib - GB, Ray Bates and Charlie Row
Gib 1963 - GB , Cpl Frank Bowell, Cpl Crusty Walker, L/Cpl Rowe

Orderly Room Cpl in Gib - Pete Timoney
CSM Dennis Pinkney. Dressed in underwear with loud hailer.
Cpl's Mess Gib. Cpl on left is Frank Bowell, he was C/Sgt in N I 1969/70 - my wife and I on right
Gerry Blackwell in Tobruk
Xmas party Osnabruck
Donkey Derby Tobruk
Full compliment of squad in Morocco - Buglers Crisp & Ginger Burke, Gerry Blackwell and Bare Buff
Orderly Room Cpl, Taken in Morocco on adventure training - Pete Timoney
RAF Tobruk
Knight Bridge Cemetery Tobruk
Tobruk Harbour
Australian Cemetery Tobruk
King's Palace Tobruk
Tobruk Post Office
Mercer Barracks Osnabruck
Cpl's Mess Gib
Xmas party ay Doderseide
GB relaxing

Jack Gomo in Lybia
 
Signal Pl at Gib 1962
DCLI Bodmin
A Company DCLI Osnabruck - GB 2nd left front row
Goff Edwards- - - Jock and Ginger relaxing in Dodesheide 1959
Jan-Barry Stidwell-Will Williams- Kenny Bicknell Xmas 1959
Cpl Whitlock, Mark Lean, Sid Carpenter, Charlie Chase, Barry Stidwell
A ?
B ?
C ? -----Terry Sweet,(Centre) Bush Hedges Far Right
D ?
E ?

 

Copyright: Gerry Blackwell


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