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The Guards and Caterham

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#1 dbf

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 04:05 PM

"For more than a century, the Guards’ Depot at Caterham-on-the-Hill in Surrey played a significant part in this country’s military history and, consequently, in the safeguarding of Britain’s freedoms and interests. When it was built, the Boer War was still a couple of decades in the future, the two World Wars were nightmares yet to come, few in these islands had even heard of Korea, and the Irish Troubles, world terrorism, the Falklands War and Desert Storm were over an almost infinite number of future horizons…”

Interesting book, little snippets of information and accounts of what it was like at the Depot. Photos, sketches, plans and Guards' humour ...

http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll119/dbf_bucket/caterham/P1000437.jpg

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#2 Rich Payne

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 07:48 PM

Thanks for posting that. It brings back memories. I used to swim in the pool there with the local Scouts.

I remember standing next to the Irish Guard's wolfhound. Was he called Connor ? He was a big as me !

Caterham-on-the-Hill changed forever when it closed. To be honest, it had already changed for the worse when the Cheshire Regt. replaced the Coldstreams (I think). They were a bunch of yobs who seemed to do nothing but look for fights with the locals.
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#3 dbf

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 09:20 PM

Thanks for posting that. It brings back memories. I used to swim in the pool there with the local Scouts.

I remember standing next to the Irish Guard's wolfhound. Was he called Connor ? He was a big as me !

Caterham-on-the-Hill changed forever when it closed. To be honest, it had already changed for the worse when the Cheshire Regt. replaced the Coldstreams (I think). They were a bunch of yobs who seemed to do nothing but look for fights with the locals.


Hi Rich,
Glad that you had good memories.

Here's a link to the list of mascot names, as I don't know when:
IG Mascots

Regards,
Diane

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#4 Owen

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 09:38 PM

Thanks for that Diane.
My Great-Uncle was there in 1917.
I also knew a couple of chaps that were there in 1915 & 1918.
I'll have to dig out somestories they told me about Caterham.
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#5 dbf

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 10:09 PM

Thanks for that Diane.
My Great-Uncle was there in 1917.
I also knew a couple of chaps that were there in 1915 & 1918.
I'll have to dig out somestories they told me about Caterham.


Hi Owen,
My Grandfather was there in 1913, and my father in 1943.
Would love to read the stories.
Diane
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#6 Owen

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 07:00 AM

Haven't had chance to find the WW1 stories yet but I have to post this story that I find really funny.
It's an extract from An Active Service by Richard Dorney.
An excellent on life in the Guards & SAS from 1935 to 1958 .
>> Book
This episode happened when the Grenadiers were forming their 6th Bn at Caterham.
It shows the rivalry between The Grenadiers and The Coldstream.

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#7 cash_13

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 03:09 PM

Both my youngest daughter and my wife work up at the barracks now...

They work in a day nursery at the old NAFFI

The church is now a skate park for the local kids

Brigade place is the old barracks for the officers and are now 3-4 bedroom luxury flats in the region of £400,000

I can take some pictures if you wish as some of the placks on the buildings have been kept

Lee

Edited by cash_13, 30 June 2008 - 03:15 PM.

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Family Cyril Claude Phillips Leading Stoker HMS Warspite

Grand Father Cyril George Pickford Private Royal Engineers

Great Grand Father George Pickford Private Royal Engineers

Great Uncle Harold Pickford Private Royal Army Service Corp

Grand Father Thomas Finney Seaman HMS Ramillies

Wifes Great Grandfather Major Charles Spurling

#8 dbf

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 03:22 PM

Both my youngest daughter and my wife work up at the barracks now...

They work in a day nursery at the old NAFFI

The church is now a skate park for the local kids

Brigade place is the old barracks for the officers and are now 3-4 bedroom luxury flats in the region of £400,000

I can take some pictures if you wish as some of the placks on the buildings have been kept

Lee


Hi Lee,
Any photos of the general area and esp. those plaques would be brilliant. Don't put yourself out, I can wait, but really would appreciate it if you could manage that.

Thanks for the offer,
Diane
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#9 cash_13

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 07:56 PM

Heres a few pics I took with my Nokia phone hope they help The only plack I could find at the moment was the Sergent's mess and the sun was reflecting on it so it did not come out to clear

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Family Cyril Claude Phillips Leading Stoker HMS Warspite

Grand Father Cyril George Pickford Private Royal Engineers

Great Grand Father George Pickford Private Royal Engineers

Great Uncle Harold Pickford Private Royal Army Service Corp

Grand Father Thomas Finney Seaman HMS Ramillies

Wifes Great Grandfather Major Charles Spurling

#10 dbf

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 08:16 PM

Heres a few pics I took with my Nokia phone hope they help The only plack I could find at the moment was the Sergent's mess and the sun was reflecting on it so it did not come out to clear


Hi
Thanks so much for these. Will show them to my father to see if it brings back a memory or too.:D

Appreciate you doing this,
Diane

Edited by dbf, 20 May 2010 - 04:45 PM.

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#11 cash_13

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 09:09 PM

Heres a few more some in black and white which he would be more familiar with...

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Family Cyril Claude Phillips Leading Stoker HMS Warspite

Grand Father Cyril George Pickford Private Royal Engineers

Great Grand Father George Pickford Private Royal Engineers

Great Uncle Harold Pickford Private Royal Army Service Corp

Grand Father Thomas Finney Seaman HMS Ramillies

Wifes Great Grandfather Major Charles Spurling

#12 Owen

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 09:38 PM

Excellent photos Lee, thanks.
They've converted the old Le Marchant Barracks in Devizes in a similar way.

Here's Charles Steer's CWGC entry.
CWGC :: Casualty Details
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#13 dbf

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 09:42 PM

Heres a few more some in black and white which he would be more familiar with...


Thanks again Lee,
Did you take all of these yourself?

D
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#14 cash_13

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 12:27 AM

I took quite a few today thats the first batch.......If anyone has a request about a particular building I can take some more not a problem as work is quiet at the moment so I pick my wife & daughter up from the Naffi everyday...
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Family Cyril Claude Phillips Leading Stoker HMS Warspite

Grand Father Cyril George Pickford Private Royal Engineers

Great Grand Father George Pickford Private Royal Engineers

Great Uncle Harold Pickford Private Royal Army Service Corp

Grand Father Thomas Finney Seaman HMS Ramillies

Wifes Great Grandfather Major Charles Spurling

#15 Owen

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 06:46 AM

Lee
Regards that extract I posted, is the Coldstream block still there?
I believe the bullet holes are still in visable.
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#16 cash_13

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 11:10 AM

Owen, I will check it out tonight for you..although if they are in -visible how can I see them!!:P

Lee
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Family Cyril Claude Phillips Leading Stoker HMS Warspite

Grand Father Cyril George Pickford Private Royal Engineers

Great Grand Father George Pickford Private Royal Engineers

Great Uncle Harold Pickford Private Royal Army Service Corp

Grand Father Thomas Finney Seaman HMS Ramillies

Wifes Great Grandfather Major Charles Spurling

#17 Owen

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 06:57 AM

I believe the bullet holes are still in visable

:redface:

Oops!
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#18 dbf

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 04:54 PM

Just had to post this clip here ...

BOY GUARDSMAN - British Pathe

Caterham, Surrey.

M/S of a convoy of cars entering the gates to some army barracks, inside a row of guardsmen in busbies are waiting. M/S of a sign reading '2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards'. M/S of 9 year old Alexander Morris stepping out of the Commanding Officer's car - he won this trip as a prize. Alexander walks over and shakes hands with an officer, in the background stand his parents. C/U of the officer smiling. Various shots of Alexander walking past the row of guardsmen standing to attention. Panning shot along the row of guardsmen. M/S of the Commanding Officer placing a busby on Alexander's head. C/U of Alexander wearing the busby. C/U of a guardsman shouting orders. M/S of Alexander and the row of guardsmen marching past the barracks. Low angle shot of the guardsman shouting. Alexander and the guardsmen do an 'about turn' and march the other way. C/U of two officers chatting. M/S of Alexander sitting on the grass next to an army bugler. The bugler shows Alexander how to blow his bugle. C/U of Alexander blowing his bugle.

M/S of Alexander wearing headphones talking into a radio to a nearby Grenadier. C/U of the Grenadier insignia on the bonnet of an army vehicle. M/S of Alexander looking out of a hatch of an armoured car as it drives past. M/S of the armoured car driving over a field. M/S of the two officers talking. M/S of a soldier showing Alexander how to load a machine gun.

Central London.

M/S of Alexander sitting next to a sergeant in the audience of Horse Guards Parade. L/S of a guardsmen's brass band marching past. C/U of Alexander and the officer. L/S of the marching troops with Alexander and the sergeant in the foreground.



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1st June 1961: Nine year-old Alexander Morris, on parade with the Grenadier guards at Caterham barracks. Morris is a guest of the guards for three days as a prize for being the best marcher in a youth parade in Bootle, Lancashire.

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Edited by dbf, 20 May 2010 - 08:36 PM.

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#19 Mike L

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 10:12 PM

Great clip Di, thanks for posting, really enjoyed that.

Mike
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#20 Owen

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 10:55 AM

Sorry, I promised to post this ages ago.
Part of the memoirs of a WW1 Veteran, Horace Calvert born 1899, enlisted underaged into the West Yorks TF, so impressed by the Guards he never went back to them & joined the Grenadiers instead , Regimental Number 23553.
This describes his time at Caterham in 1915.

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Edited by Owen, 18 March 2011 - 11:06 AM.

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#21 Mike L

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 01:13 PM

More please Owen!
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#22 dbf

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 01:48 PM

I was walking home from school with my youngest, (arms swinging lazily) and this story came to mind …

From The Guards and Caterham (full of such stories about training)

The Man who broke the Drill Pig's Heart
By Ronald Melvin

One Scots Guards conscript had the Caterham Drill Sergeants tearing their hair and caused a near riot of laughter in the Depot ranks of the five regiments during WW2.

The first time this recruit formed up with his squad on the square, all seemed routine and normal. But when the squad corporal gave the order 'Quick March', the centuries-old Guards patter of precision drill came apart.

Like all his fellow recruits, one new soldier in the front rank stepped off smartly with his left foot - but, unbelievably, his left arm swung forward along with his left leg. And it went on: left arm, left leg. Right arm, right leg, on and on, and …

Until that is, the incredulous squad corporal yelled the squad to a halt.

He then gave some fairly basic advice to the offending squaddie, and tried again. The result was exactly as it had been the first time round. Several more attempts were made, but nothing changed. Except, that is, that the unorthodox marching technique disrupted the rest of the squad. Their own marching became ragged, the required 'as-one' precision fell apart.

Higher authority was called for. A Drill Sergeant gave the offending recruit a short insight into what life would be like if he didn't conform. Still no change. So the luckless lad was extracted from the squad and received a 'chasing' - marching alone under the drill pig's orders at well above the 120-paces-a-minute norm. Even at speed, the left arm still went forward with the left leg … Then the heavens opened and torrential rain began. The squad was dismissed, with dire warnings for the 'morrow if the offender still didn't shape up.

Back in the squad hut, reactions ranged from 'Just keep trying, lad, you'll get the hang of it,' to 'You trying to work your ticket, eh?' One or two comics tried to mimic the outlandish marching technique. They found it impossible to keep it up for any length of time. The speculation and banter went on till lights out, its subject admitting his fault, but claiming he couldn't do anything about it.

The following day's performance was virtually a re-run. After twenty minutes of total frustration for the Company Sergeant-Major, the recruit was taken back to the drill shed. There, he was given carefully choreographed slow-motion practice, no doubt designed to convince him that only the Guards, but world armies going back to the Roman legions had got it right, and he hadn't.

The drill pig's day brightened. In near freeze-frame slow motion, the right arm went forward with the left leg, followed by the left arm and right leg. This breakthrough was noted by just about everyone else on the parade ground, and dozens of eyes swivelled to watch the one-man awkward squad repeat the successful, if otherwise unimpressive technique up and down the drill shed.

After a brief halt and some encouraging words from the now optimistic drill pig, the progress was put to the test at normal marching pace … and it all immediately reverted to left arm, left leg; right arm, right leg. The drill pig persevered but to no avail - and by this time there were no NCOs or WOs inclined to volunteer to assist with the problem. The Guardsman's red face was more than matched by the pig's as his blood pressure soared. And on the square, discipline and good order came close to breakdown as dozens of jaws clamped down to stifle laughter.

Back in the squad hut that night, the unfortunate Guardsman (by then, his fellow recruits had concluded that his military dysfunction was genuine and involuntary) got a lot of sympathy. But there was still huge enjoyment of the drill pig's predicament.

Next day, the focus of everyone's attention disappeared. He was ordered to stay put while the squad went off to continue the daily training regime. When they returned, he had gone, along with all of his kit and personal belongings. We never discovered where, although speculation had him in the glasshouse, in a special unit undergoing psychiatric treatment, even posted down the mines. Some even suggested unkindly that the plot was to allow him to fall into enemy hands in order to foul up Jerry's basic training programme. But the whole episode closed with none of us the wiser.

Sometimes, in dreams, I see the shadowy figure in the drill shed, still doing his ultra-slow march with total concentration and precision.

And I'm sure the drill pig does, too ...


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#23 Jedburgh22

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 02:28 PM

Reminds me of one of George MacDonald Fraser's stories about MacAuslan the scruffiest soldier in the British Army - classic short stories many with a distinct ring of truth or should that be legend?
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#24 Wills

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 02:31 PM

D had been in SG for 9 years got out, but after a year or so rejoined. I was a drill and weapons instructor at the depot when a voice I recognized called, D you old rogue - well that is the greeting I can print here. He had to complete the depot march and shoot before rejoining the 2nd Bn. D always a comical beggar. I was chatting to one of the Superintending Sergeants standing on the hill just before the cookhouse - the crows marching to scoff, D advancing towards us left arm left leg in unison, as he drew level The SI shouted you lad, come here, D shuffled forward a ham fisted attempt at a halt, 'what week lad' Z week Sergeant! Z week was the induction week, the Grenadier Sergeant said go on lad double away! Later in the week mounting the barrack guard, the crows had to mount in No2 dress and change after mounting. The Sergeant - yep it was, stopped in front of D who was with GSM and a UN medal ribbon up, I do not know to this day how I kept from laughing, the Sgt asked D about his service and said I am sure we have met before! D started rattling off tour dates, to much shaking of heads. The strict discipline of Guards units survived because of the just on the safe side of the line humour, ask any Guardsman. After Pete had completed the march and shoot he was retained at the depot as a trained soldier for a few months as the Bn was overseas. This was a bet and he won it, the depot was rehearsing for a passing out parade. Pete with millboard, tape measure and piece of chalk marches onto the square and starts laying out the tape marking pacing , two three and making another mark. we were hiding behind a hut in hysterics as the parade carried on! That evening in the mess there was much talk - of the new markings for the square. Everyone knew about it of course! The higher the rank the longer they had known about the new markings!




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Tallest on the right - shortest on the left!

Edited by Wills, 19 September 2011 - 02:51 PM.

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