This site is dedicated to Gunner Mark 'Scouse' Taylor 1967 - 1987. AKA 'Tally'

This site is dedicated to Gunner Mark 'Scouse' Taylor 1967 - 1987. AKA 'Tally'
HQ Battery, 12th Air Defence Regiment, RA. A Fellow 'Wreckin' Crew' Member. Rest easy mucker. Photo courtesy of 'Shacks', his room mate.

Tell us what you know?

Hi all,

I have set this Blog up in order that we can share our memories and photos of our time in Napier Barracks. Whichever cap badge you had at the time, you all have a story to tell.

From the late 1940's until 1995, many regiments have passed through the gates of Napier Bks., albeit mainly Royal Artillery regiments and their supporting units. However, other units were present as Occupational Forces, including squadrons from the RAF Regt. and the Royal Scots Fusiliers post 1945; followed by the Royal Engineers in 1950.

Was you a member of one of the many Luftwaffe Squadrons, or an ancestor of anyone and has a tale to tell? 'Richthofen Kaserne' as the airfield with a new runway was known then. Did you serve in the famous Sturmstaffel 1 that was formed here in 1943?

Which artillery regiment did you serve with or attached unit? Did you serve with the 26th US Army Missile Detachment near the gate's entrance when two artillery regiments had Corporal nuclear missiles; or did you serve in the NAAFI, YMCA or WRVS? Come on, tell us what you know and share those photos you have.

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Sunday, 23 November 2008

Days in Napier

Members of C Troup, T Battery 12th LAD Regt., RA enjoying a break. Scary to see how young we all looked back then. Taken on the airfield. Circa 1969.
(22nd LAD Regt., RA in the background??)

Members of staff (military and civilian) working in the Officer's mess. Taken behind the Officer's Mess. circa 1968.

Gunner (at the time) Bott sitting on a 32 ton Layland Tractor. The gun being towed is the 40/70 Bofors. This picture was taken on the airfield apron . Circa 1969.
Photos courtesy of Bob Bott (12 LAD Regt., RA)

Tunneling from Battery Bar to Battery Bar and Sir Harry's disapearing cake!

I was based at Napier from Sept. 1980 to Mar. 1988 with 11 (Sphinx) Bty., 22 AD Regt., RA.

It brings a tear to the old eye to see what has become of home..........well what was home for so many years. Napier Barracks was such a great camp, lovely open fields, woods, ponds, stables and of course; the Golf Course. This, I was involved in upgrading from a 9 to 18 hole course in about 1982-83 under the watchfall eye of Dick Edgler (I think this was his name?). I was driving a dumper truck, shifting topsoil and turf and also helped lay some of the greens.

I remember one night whilst in the battery bar that was located in the cellar of Block 52 near the cookhouse; I found a small metal door leading to a small tunnel, so with the zippo in hand, off I went with one mate. There was only enough room in the tunnel to crawl and after what seemed ages, we came to a ninety degree turn to the right and then off again in a straight line. Eventually the zippo packed up so we were in total darkness, but on we went. After a short while we came up against a metal door and with a little bit of groping around, I found the door handle and tried it. BINGO!, it's wasn't locked so I gingerly opened the door and a small chink of light illuminated our nocturnal activities, but the door would only partially open because something was stopping it. But, peeking through the gap I could see what was another battery or squadron bar and it was occupied; bugger! Somehow they didn't notice, so at a great haste we withdrew along the tunnel back to the safety of our own battery bar.

The next day I decided to try again, so armed with the issued right angled torch and two hours after closing time I was off (by myself this time). I followed the same route to the metal door of the next bar and opened it and with a gentle push I was able to open the door just enough to squeeze through. Shining the torch around I found the light switch and put some light on the situation..........not a battery bar, a workshops bar. Therefore I had a little nose around, but my intention's were exploration and I eventually found another metal door exactly the same as the two previous ones. So, with same drill into the tunnel and off I go (I have by now lost my bearings and have no idea in which direction I am heading!). Eventually after many hundreds of metres and several ninety degree turns later; yet another metal door and guess what? - it's also open and the next room is in darkness. With a quick torch recce and its another bar and empty, well this is too easy, I'm going to be in Camp 10 by morning at this rate! With another look around I find the magic metal door again, but alas, this one is locked! Here was where the expedition ended, except for the journey back to my own battery bar and on my way, helping myself to a few cigars and some bottles of Becks!

On the way back to my own battery bar, the last door had a bench seat in front of it, but try as I did, I couldn't pull it back into place. That maybe why on a return trip with some of the other lads (for some free beer, fags and cigars), the door was locked - bugger!

On another occasion after a heavy night of drinking, I awoke to find my room mate Animal Jones; whom I hadn't been out with, was fast asleep in his pit covered in cake. Well, knowing my room mate isn't in the catering business and wasn't waiting on at the Mess or anything, I knew it couldn't be right all this cake. Taking a look around, I find more cake; great big chunks of the stuff and to my shock, all over the carpet was more cake!

It is now about 6.30am, so out I go into the corridor and it doesn't get any better on the cake front, so back into the room -
slap, slap: "Jonah; wake up". Slap, slap: "wake up"!
All to no avail. So back into the corridor to find the Hoover, plug vacuum in, get rid of evidence. Ten minutes in the corridor and sorted, then into the room - five minutes later sorted (OK a forensic scientist would have found him out, but not any BSM's or RSM's).
Now I collect up all the cake and the silver tray, for once it is nicely sat and off to the big Stadt bin outside.
"Oh no"!,
To my horror there is more cake on the landing and stairs leading out of our block. Talk about Hansel and Gretel, anyway it's still early on a Sunday morning, so get to the bin, take out the first few layers of rubbish and place the cake and tray into the bin. Then, replace the previously removed rubbish. Back into the block and grab a broom and quick as I can, I sweep down the landing and stairs removing all the crumbs into the area just outside the entrance. I then dig with my hands a small hole in the soil and deposit the remainder of the evidence. Or did I?
No, there is a trail leading away from the block. With broom in hand I follow the trail, franticly casting all the crumbs into the grass and ever watching for anybody in uniform, looking for a bolt hole to escape to. I realise very soon where this trail is leading to (the cookhouse) and knowing even on a weekend the cooks start early; I must be careful. After a while the cake trail disappears, this tells me where Jonah started eating. So ditching the broom into some bush I casually walk to the cookhouse by the most direct route and at the rear of the cookhouse I can see members of the guard and the ROS standing by a broken window....OH....SH*T! Luckily they were too interested in the scene of the crime, they hadn't noticed me and I wasn't hanging around. With lightning speed; I was off back to the block.

Back in my room, there was Jonah and still fast asleep, but now I mean business, so the slaps are harder and the voice is a whole lot louder! Within a few seconds I made it very clear that lying in bed covered in cake was not a good idea. So Jonah was off to the washroom, towel and soap in hand. I am so knackered by now all I want is my bed. So off with my kit and under the duvet, before Jonah could even get back from the washroom all hell was let loose! Banging, crashing and shouting
"Get out your beds. Stand by your beds "
Then ensued a very brief block inspection from God knows who, but they were in uniform? This is when I realised it wasn't just any old cake that had been stolen, because the sergeant was explaining to the block senior that somebody had stolen Sir Harry Secombe's cake and that he was visiting today and he used to be in the regiment!! Anyway, the only person that was thankful; was Jonah, because we couldn't tell anyone! However, I think If the BSM had ever found out, he would have been pleased for me diverting any unwanted trouble towards the battery.

However, that night, an extra guard was put on to guard the cookhouse. A 9 x 9 tent was place on each corner of the cookhouse and every night thereafter, the guard was doubled until the culprit owned up. This of course never happened and eventually the guard was dropped.

As for the cake the good soldiers of the Army Catering Corp, hastily baked a sponge in double quick time in order to replace the former fruit cake that had many hours of icing alone spent on it!!!!!!

I am not aware if Sir Harry was aware of the great cake theft? However, if he could of seen my side of things; I'm sure he would ofound it amusing as I hope you find it amusing?

Written by Ted Heath (22 AD Regt., RA)
Edited by Blogmaster