Chris Hayles'





It was on 27th May 1964 that I  joined the Royal Signals after finding work at Sainsbury's Supermarket in Southampton a bit too regimental for me! The idea was I was to follow four old Army Cadet friends into the Royal Military Police, they had gone into Boys service a few years beforehand, but my father did not want me to and would not sign any papers, so I had to wait till I was 17Ż and then go straight into Mans service.

Unfortunately the recruiting staff at the Southampton office were all Royal Signals and I was thus informed there were no vacancies in the RMP but plenty in the Royal Signals! So like a sucker I believed them and signed up! Took the oath the following week and left Sainsbury's bound for Catterick a fortnight later. Eleven weeks of basic training first at Vimy Lines then down to the new barracks at Helles was not too bad but I did find the Physical training hard as never had that at my school.

  We passed out and had to await trade training allocations as I had been told I WOULD be a Comcen Operator and would be doing my training in BAOR. But a couple of weeks before being posted I was selected along with the rest of our pass out troop to represent not only the Royal Signals but the whole of the British Army at the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of the Marne in Rheims France, I had already done a Guard of Honour for the Freedom of Richmond and the Princess Royal so thought this a great honour.

It has taken me nearly forty years to get the photographs of the Rheims parade as nobody seemed to have any, The Wire had one of us rehearsing but not one could be found in the UK or France, in fact the French authorities in Rheims denied that President de Gaulle was in the area at that time!! Oh how those pictures prove them wrong!!

On returning to Catterick after the parade I had my movement order to go to 257 Signal Squadron in Dortmund, I had been to Germany  on holiday before but this was my first time abroad to live and I was a bit apprehensive and excited all at the same time. The training went well and I made lots of friends a couple of us used our spare time to see the town and the surrounding area. The Nord Pol and Lienenstrasse was a must (though out of bounds we never got caught!) and I must stress Lienenstrasses was just window shopping so to speak!

Picture left Rifle drill just finished in basic training

After completing trade training I was posted to 16 Sig Regt at Krefeld where I worked "down the Hole" in the signal centre for a while before being transferred back to Dortmund (Napier Barracks) to man the Signal Centre for 47 Missile Regt Royal Artillery and had some great first hand loos at the Corporal IBM (West Riding barracks where I did my trade training was just up the road and this was 1 Arty Bde with its Bloodhound missiles). Spent a month there and then back to 16 Sigs and posted to the QM (Gen) Dept in charge of the MFO boxes.  I was there when the armoury got broke into and also when a group of Bader Meinhoff terrorists decided to leap the wire of the ammo compound on motorcycles and steal some grenades, this caused chaos with us all being made to parade on the main square while the RMP and SIB searched the barrack accommodation.

On first leave from Catterick Aug 1964with my first car a
Wolsely 1300.


click on Thumbnail

Ariel view of Bradbury Barracks
aerial photo courtesy Google Maps


The Main Gate Bradbury Barracks