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6 October 1959 - 10 July 1968

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1959-1968

SCLI Memoir by - Terry Joll

 

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GIBRALTAR REVISITED NOVEMBER 2005

by Terry Joll
(died Oct 2014 RIP)

Webmaster's foreword:

On the 10th November, Terry Joll and Laurence Weeks departed for Gibraltar to attend The Armistice {Remembrance Day Ceremonies.) I asked him if he would let me have an article following their trip, in this he has done us proud , please enjoy his pictures and if you are interested in visiting Gibraltar in a group Email me.


I left home at 0400 hr and motored to Podmore Service in Somerset where I met up with Laurence at 0730hrs. We continued our journey, stopping at Fleet Services on the M3 for a meal, I usually try to avoid motorway service stations due to the cost but we had to eat after such an early start.

We arrived at The National Car Parks reception at 1200hrs and having booked the car in we were taken to Gatwick for our flight at 1545hr to Gibraltar by British Airways. We took off on time and after a good flight we landed at Gibraltar 1200hr local time.
We were met by a long term friend George and his wife Sonia who drove us to The Bristol Hotel where we were to stay for 7 nights, this hotel is only 2 star but it served our needs and is in the City centre.

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After unpacking we went into Main Street for a meal but as it was after 2100hrs most places were closed, however we had a good meal but although Laurence ate all his food I found the portions to much for myself. After a few whiskeys for myself and Bacardi for Laurence we turned in 2359hrs, tired out but pleased with the days travelling.
Friday morning up at Reveille and headed for Continental Breakfast, not what I am used to but enjoyable.

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We entered the area of John Mackintosh Square where an Armistice Day Ceremony was due to take place at 1100hrs when Veterans paraded from the Convent to the area in Main Street alongside the Square led by the Band of The Royal Gibraltar Regiment and they were very good, a service took place when wreaths were laid by H.E. The Governor and local VIP's.
We then made our way to the Wesley Methodist Church and to The Carpenters Arms, a small restaurant who serve very good food at excellent prices, we had tea and toast before leaving for The Trafalgar Cemetery which has been very well cleaned up, nearby is a new statue to Nelson which was unveiled on Trafalgar Day.

As Laurence was a little hesitant about going up the Rock on the cablecar we had a guided tour by local taxi which cost us £16 each but it got us there and back after once again visiting St Michaels Cave and the Upper Galleries, we both had our photograph taken in uniforms of Col Elliots Troops. there were no uniforms of Fox's Marines.

We returned to Casemates Square for a light meal. After a couple of hours doing horizontal PT we headed for Irish Town and a meal al The Clipper, this was a beautiful meal at very reasonable price but once again an enormous portion and I was beat once more.

Saturday morning was a later start but we were up and smartly dressed in our blazers and SCLI ties and complete with DCLI flag we made our way to John Mackintosh Square where we had arranged with Keith Scudamore to stand in sight of the webcam situated high up in an office window next to the Town Hall at 1100hrs.

View from webcam, next trip more precise instructions where to stand for good picture. Terry in in group to the right.
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Whilst there we were approached by a local drunk who got in on the action until I told him to go away in language that he understood. We displayed the DCLI Flag and gave a wave to anyone watching. We then went to change and made our war to the Carpenters Arms but they closed at 1200hrs, "Never mind I said to Laurence ,we can get a bus to Europa Point and get a meal there". A 50p return bus fare got us there ok but on arrival discovered that no food is available, so once again after a good look around the area we moved down through the road tunnel to Rosia Bay and on to Camp Bay where we found the little restaurant at Parsons Lodge Bastion open, after the long walk we were ready for food and had the all day breakfast and mugs of tea, Laurence is always after cups of tea and I began to pick up the habit.

After this large meal we decided to walk back into the City but when passing the lower part of Cumberland Steps Laurence started to gallop up towards South Barracks, in the past I had gone down the steps or Scud Hill but never up them on foot, unless returning from a night out in town. I found it a bit different to what it was 40 odd years ago, but
we made it and after looking around South Barracks area we caught the bus back to the City but it went on a long way around and we were soon back down Parsons Lodge and eventually back home in time for a couple of hours kip before changing for dinner.

As the weather was turning to rain we decided to only go as far The Clipper for dinner where once again we had large meals, chicken curry with mash and peas. All our meals were washed down with beers or cups of tea. Sunday morning saw us up bright and early and after breakfast got into our best dress, blazers, ties and hats, we did look the bees knees. We had a taxi from the hotel down to the Cross of Sacrifice but as the Parade was not due to start at 1100hrs, this so that it could coincide with UK Parades at 1200hrs we were early so we went down to the Marina for coffee at Bianca,s after which we went to the area at the start of the airport runway where the parade was to form up and so at 1145hrs we went off at a leisurely pace to the Cross, led by the Royal Gibraltar Regiment Band who were playing Band and Bugles Marches, that suited us fine. At the Cross I laid a Light Infantry wreath which I had obtained from the Keep at Bodmin. In the official line up of wreath layers I met a former Corporal Bugler from the Royal Green Jackets who was laying a wreath on behalf of the Three Roses public house.

Laurence at Three Roses
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H.E. The Governor a former Royal Green Jacket had a word with Laurence when he Inspected the Parade. He noticed the cap badge. After the service we were invited to the Warrant Officers Mess for lunch which is near the Four Corners Guardroom which we visited on our way and took photographs. Lunch was very good after which we got a bus back into the City, got changed and went shopping in Main Street and Casemates. Evening meal was again in The Clipper.

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Monday morning was spent visiting John Rodregeuz at The Retreat Centre, he was pleased to see us, we then walked down hospital hill to South Barracks where we got a bus down to the City where we had a Cornish Pasty lunch at a little shop up a side street, the pasties are made here in Cornwall at Crantock, near Newquay and taken to Gibraltar
by container lorry.

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We were back at the hotel at 1200hrs to be picked up by WO2 Peter Jackson MBE, Peter is the Training Warrant Officer for the RGR and has his Office and Training areas on Windmill Hill, a place I know extremely well as I lived in the Old Military Prison before moving into the wooden huts. I remembered the training area well as it was where I also took new recruits for continuation training, it has not got any better. Peter took us into The Great North Road Tunnel, this stretches all the inner length of the Rock and a marvellous fete of engineering it was, he dropped us off outside the old Married Quarters at Calpe and sent us in the direction of the Moorish Castle, this meant a downhill walk and then a steep uphill walk to the World War 2 Tunnels, this took what little breath that I had away, but a short rest soon got me going again and on arriving at the entrance we were met by the Royal Green Jackets Corporal named Brian Lane, he was to be our guide, he has obtained employment as a tunnel guide. Brian took up into the newly refurbished tunnels which were very interesting, he then led us down through the tunnels and out into a wooded area which led down to Casemates Square. It was torrential rain most of the day and we took shelter in the shopping areas of Casemates Barracks.

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We had dinner at a superb restaurant in Casemates Square, a bit expensive but we were getting tired of The Clipper. Tuesday was spent just wandering the back streets of the City, many back roads and alley ways that I do not remember but found interesting.
We visited a local photographers shop and obtained a photograph of the band of the SCLI taken in 1962. Lunch was taken in The Carpenters Arms, sausage and mash and it was smashing.


As they had been kind to us on our arrival we took George and Sonia out to The Marina to Charlie's Steak House, for dinner, it cost a lot but we had a wonderful meal, the biggest steak I think I have ever had and we all enjoyed it very much. Wednesday morning we had an all day breakfast at a pub overlooking John Mackintosh Square and whilst inside it again rained very hard so we stayed for a while with many cups of tea. We then took a bus ride around to Sandy Bay where we had a firing range out to sea and where I supervised recruits firing the old 3.5 Rocket Launcher and where we practised beach landing from the old Landing craft, I will never forget going around Europa Point in a gale in that boat.

Leaving that area we visited the British War Cemetery which is alongside the airport runway and where the graves of WW2 dead are buried with the headstones laid flat, this was in case aircraft were to overshoot the runway and would not get wrecked on headstones. We noticed about 25 graves belonging to members of the Somerset Light Infantry who were stationed in Gibraltar during war. We had a good look at the wreaths
on the Cross.

Terry sent this postcard to Keith
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We had a light lunch at the Safeways/Morrisons stores and went back for some more kip.
The evening meal was spent at Bianca,s where George and Sonia treated us to a fine meal of many kinds fish, I even persuaded Laurence to try Calamari which he enjoyed until I told him it was Squid.

Thursday morning was spent packing and last minute shopping for duty frees and at 1000hrs George took us back to the airprt where we were due to fly at 1300hrs, a good flight back to Gatwick where my car was waiting and a drive home.

A truly wonderful holiday, Laurence was good company but he always had a strong desire for tea which later on meant he had to "go somewhere".

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I hope to return to Gibraltar in the future and maybe I can encourage others to come with me. Laurence is already on the list.

Copyright Pictures and Text: Terry Joll.

Terry Joll - Died 13th October 2014 - DCLI - SCLI - RSM RAOC (WO1 (LSL)

The funeral of Terry Joll took place on Wednesday 22nd October, at Treswithian Downs Crematorium, Camborne, Cornwall, TR14 0BL. at 1500hrs.


 

 

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