The Somerset & Cornwall Light Infantry
6 October 1959 - 10 July 1968
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(Bob Evered has written this up for Tyrrel Francis as unfortunately he is not well but the SCLI website is very grateful for this contribution).
Daily, we had to make up ‘bed boxes’ three folded-blankets interspaced with a folded white sheet with a forth blanket wrapped around the outside completing the box, any not up to scratch were just as likely to fly out through the window on the end of Sjt Bulley’s pace-stick! Kit was also inspected daily, Muster parades, drill, PT, Weapon Training Regimental History and more drill etc, etc. In the evenings we had to clean our kit to a high standard plus polishing the barrack room floor ready for the inspection the next day, this often meant these activities continued until lights out. Even then many would continue writing a letter home or to their sweetheart by torch or candlelight in some secluded corner. So it went on day in and day out until we finally came out the other end as Trained Soldiers. At the end of three months training along with Bob Evered and a couple of others I signed on for 22 years with a 3year option. With the passing out parade completed and our embarkation leave taken, we set out to join the 1st Battalion DCLI stationed in Osnabruck Germany. We arrived at Mercer Barracks on the 23rd April 1958. Unbeknown to me then this would be my home for the next 3 years.
Joe Rowe - WO2 Joe Rowe - died 29 Aug 2002 aged 63
Cpl's Bob Evered and Joe Rowe. - 1959
We were posted to ‘D’ (Training) Company for yet more training, this lasted for about a month after that we were all posted to our respective companies. In my case and that of my friends we ended up in ‘B’ Company, which in fact was just next door to ‘D’ Coy block! The lay out of all the blocks were made up of barrack rooms or billets, each housing between four and twelve soldiers according to size. I was allocated one of the smaller ones along with Ray Beeks and Bob Evered, later we were joined by a real ‘old soldier’ (Late thirties?) Pte George Boulton. George was a great character having been promoted and busted several times. He would delight everyone with his stories of the past. i.e. In a previous posting he had been appointed Mess NCO one day he was approached by the Duty Officer and instructed to get the Mess tables and chairs tidied up, George replied “Yes Sir” done a smart about turn, marched to the head of the Mess Hall – Halted, – About Turned, – Came to Attention, and bellowed the command at the top of his voice “Salt-Cellars and Pepper-Sprinklers Stand Fast. Tables and Chairs – Right Dress.” Well it was for certain the officers at least didn’t know what to make of him.
To young Officer's George was a nightmare, he would
wait around corners,jump out come smartly to attention and then shout
loud, Sir,I'm F****** well saluting you, your number's not dry and
I require a salute in return.
On another occassion George when picked on during a Parade shouted out " There are three types of Turd, Mustard Custard and You, you're the biggest Turd of all" , he was quickly doubled to the guardroom.
Pte George Bolton on Border Patrol on the West /East German Border - 1. 1939-45 Star. 2. France and Germany Star. 3. Defence Medal. 4. Victory Medal, so he must have been in D.C.L.I. prior to 1939.(September) when WW2 broke out, and was in when it ended. George was a Duke of Cornwall's inside and out.
I became ‘B’ Company clerk and was promoted to Lance Corporal. Major Bush was OC and the Sjt Major was WO2 Cook. Later they were replaced by Major Collins MC and newly promoted WO2 Ron Delap. After about a year or so I returned to the ranks of ‘B’ Rifle Company at my own request and was promoted to Full Corporal and here I stayed for the remainder of my time in Germany, which included the amalgamation of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry with the Somerset Light Infantry on the 6th October 1959 to become the SCLI (Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry) The two units quickly bonded, no doubt helped by a large contingent of good west-countrymen from both counties!
Victoria Barracks Bodmin April 1958 - Tyrrel Francis Bob Evered Gerry Blackwell & Brown? (Camborne)
I left Mercer Barracks Osnabruck Germany for the last
time with Bob Evered and a handful of others on 28th February 1961
and left the Colours for the Reserve on the 3rd April 1961. Following
the above I joined ‘A’ Company of the 1st Battalion Somerset
Light Infantry TA (Territorial Army)
B Company Christmas Day 1958.
I met up with Charlie Benny (from our training days at Bodmin) who was now a Colour Sjt and last but not least Dave Rose (Sjt in the SCLI) who now was a WO2, later to become RSM
Click to enlarge and see the names.
Corporals Mess trip to Amsterdam late 1959
Tyrrel Francis 16th November 2007