Ch. 6 - Richard Colin Fifield AKA Colin Getting Married To Joyce 13 June 1953

It was in the town of Dover that I met Joyce. Once I started courting, the restrictions started getting hard, even in my cushy job at the Sergeants mess and found myself put on a charge quite often, having to be confined to barracks, 7 to 14 days at a time. Apart from that, things started to get serious with Joyce and  in fact it wasn’t long before we were married.


We married in the church of the school I hated so much when I was a kid, Archdeacon Cambridge Church, Twickenham. Joyce’s mum, dad, brothers and sisters came, plus my mum, sisters and a few of my friends. When all that was over we went back to Dover to live in an army house. Our first son, Colin Arthur was born in Shorncliffe army hospital. I’d gone off to the hospital, the most natural thing would be, to see my wife and newborn son and found myself on a charge A.W.O.L.(absent without leave) and given 7 days on the guardroom cell. “Scrub your cell out Gunner” the man said, “what with Sgt” “use this” said Sgt, handing me a nailbrush. How did all this come about? Well I was already on C.B.(confined to barracks) at the time. Joyce was in hospital. Things settled down a bit after that. Thought it best to bide my time until demob.

One day I was told to report to the regimental Sgt major. “Now?” I was thinking what the hell have I done now? Well there he was, smiling at me, saying “Would I like to sign on for another 5 and 7”, he said, I would be given two stripes instead of just in charge of the shift that I was at the time. “Your kidding” I said under my breath. “No thank you Sir”, I said, “I don’t need anyone to tell me my boots are dirty ever again”. Interview over. Shortly after I was posted to Rhyl, North Wales to finish the few months I had left. Joyce moved to Mum’s place in Twickenham.


I was given the opportunity as a regular soldier to go and work in my chosen profession, Cook in a hotel for about 6 weeks before demob. I packed my uniform et cetera in the Bag with my boot, shoving it in tight. I couldn’t get away fast enough. I booked into the stores, rail ticket in hand headed out of the barracks for 3 months leave to work in a hotel of my choice. After arriving home and relaxing for a couple of days, decided to take a train to (up the smoke) London. Found myself at the hotel workers labour exchange. The man behind the desk offered me work at Lyons Corner house hotel. Hell no, I wasn’t interested in Joe Lyons coffee house. After a heated discussion he gave me a note to see the employment officer at the Grosvenor house hotel. Closest underground station was Hyde Park Corner I was told. Well I found the hotel okay, one of the best in London. The interview went well and was told to report to the chef at 9 o’clock the next morning. The hotel didn’t pay me as I was still in the army, so they were quite happy with the situation. I duly returned the next day found the kitchen and the chef. I was given a position with the roast department. The kitchen was a hive of activity. Nothing like I had ever seen before. Cooks were everywhere. Each department had 2 or more cooks, as I say I was in the roast party, then came the sauce party veg party etc etc. Not counting the baking department, and the Pattersere. When the restaurant opened for business a guy came and sat on a high stool in front of the hot press and called out the orders in French, after a while I got used to the routine, time passed so quickly. Almost before starting my leave it was over, but didn’t mind going back this time, I would be demobbed by the end of the week.


Back at camp again I picked my kit up from the stores and remembered I had to go to the regimental office for some documents regarding demob. Well I pulled out my uniform from the kitbag, so many creases in both jacket and trousers, no iron available, I was on my own in the room, so I decided to take a chance, wear the uniform and take the back way to the office, so I had just about got to the office, turned the corner and low and behold there stood the regimental Sgt major in all his glory looking down upon the little worm before him. I suppose the site would have depressed him. Dirty boots, belt and garters, creased and dirty, the artillery badge on my hat going green. He informed me and everybody else in a radius of 100 yards in a quiet voice that I would be on the square in 5 minutes to pass his inspection. The guardroom was close at hand so I was able to strip off and iron the uniform. Clean the rest of the stuff up best I could and proceed to the marching square. (Every army camp has one). There I waited; I heard the voice before I saw him. “That man, quick march, left turn, right turn, and any other turn he wanted me to do, plus a bit of double marching. (Running). After about half an hour of this, looked eyeballed to eyeball at me and I quietly told him, “I was being demobbed the next day and was quite enjoying the exercise, because it would be the last time ever that I would have to put up with this sort of rubbish from anybody again in my life”. I didn’t have to say any more, he could see in my eyes and manner that I couldn’t be broken. He went for his tea break and left me standing to attention till he came back to dismiss me.

Next day I headed for Woking, in Surrey, to collect my civilian demob suit, to be free of regulation and bull, was such a relief. Not having to be told when I could do or not do as I pleased.........

Ch 7 - Richard Colin Fifield AKA Colin My Input
Ch. 5 - Richard Coln Fifield AKA Colin - Into My T...


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