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

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1959-1968

SCLI Memoir by - Tony (Nobby) Clark - SCLI

Somerset & Cornwall Light Infantry

A short Profile of the Early Years of my Military Career

January 1959 - May 1982 ( 23years 156 days )

by Tony (Nobby) Clark

I was called up for National Service in January 1959 and sent to the Somerset Light Infantry Depot at Jellalabad Barracks Taunton. Having lived in Taunton all my life, and within sight of Jellalabad Barracks, I didn't have far to go

.

Jellalabad Barracks Mount St. Taunton (Dave Pruett)

RSM A .V. Worster met the intake at the gate and marched us straight to the Barber Shop. We then formed up into Sale Platoon Commanded by Lt.Olie Reynolds and Sgt Chantry, we completed basic training in March 59 and joined the Ist Battalion the Somerset Light Infantry in Warminster - at the time Demonstration Battalion to the School of Infantry.

I was posted to A Coy under LCpl Ray Bates, Cpl Clobber Cleaves, Sgt Nobby Farley, Clr Sgt Kendricks, CSM Barker, Major Gouch , and the CO at the time was Lt Col Lawson. I took part in the farewell parade of the Somerset Light Infantry when the Colours were marched off parade for the last time to the tune ' Old Lang Syne '. One of the saddest days of my military career.

Somerset Light Infantry Contingent on Warminster Station heading Osnabruck BFPO 36 for Amalgamation. - (Evening World)

It was with then onto Battalion in Osnabruck BFPO 36 to link up with the Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry in preparation for the amalgamation with the Somerset & Cornwall Light Infantry, to me the ' Happy Regiment.'

Leaving Knook camp, Vic Higgins in the front, Keith Reakes, Bob Gaylard,
then unknown then Ray Smith. then unknown - (Vic Higgins)

Yes the happiest years of my life in the Light Infantry. I left Osnabruck as a Corporal., then from Osnabruck to Plymouth, for a few months, preparing for the freedom of Taunton Celebrations and Taunton Tattoo in Vivery Park, prior to the posting of the Battalion to Gibraltar.

No 1 Sctn, 4 Plt, B Co. Osnabruck, L to R, Yorkie Hewitt, Nobby Clark, John Metters, ? , ? , Johnny Welsh, ? , Sampson - (Nobby Clark)

In August of that year, the Battalion Embarked for Gibraltar on HMT Devonport at Plymouth, and I believe, it was the first time, that wives were allowed to accompany their husbands on board ship and the last ever troop movement by sea - ' Thank God he says '.

Nobby Clark & Joan Clark embarking for Gibraltar on board HMT. Devonshire. - (Somerset County Gazette)

Gibraltar was a wonderful posting. The first time the Battalion had been in the sun, so to speak - and didn't that go down well? I went off to Tobruk with A Coy for three months, desert and adventure training. On our return to Gibraltar, I bought a new Ford Anglia Car for £499 and when the Battalion was posted to Berlin in 1963 I drove from Gibraltar to England and England to Berlin through the East German Corridor to the walled city of Berlin - quite scary as one can imagine. They told us that Berlin was a good posting to sharpen the Battalion up after the dreamy posting in Gibartar . It did that alright, we didn't know whether we were on our head or heels.

Gibraltar revisited, March 2000, Nobby at Europa Parade Ground (Nobby Clark)

Stand by for this, Stand by for that, Stand by was the Battalions second name. A good posting for all the tension it brought, being in the heart of the Cold War as it was. I was promoted to Sergeant and had a lot of fun, in the various messes Corporals and Sergeants during the rare times off duty. Most of the lads in the Battalions claim to fame, is that they stood guard over ' Rudolf Hess ' and a couple other renowned Nazis who were held in Spandau Prison. Berlin was my final posting in the SCLI as I was posted to Cornwall - Recruiting.On my return to the Regiment, we had become the Light Infantry.

 

Copyright Text and Image: Tony (Nobby) Clark. (Others where indicated)

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