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Keith's Page


I enlisted into the Royal Artillery in June 1968, and was in the very first intake to complete it's Basic Training and pass out at Woolwich when 17 Training Regiment moved down from Oswestry.

My Story

17 Training Regiment

Royal Artillery

C Section
Le Cateau Troop
59 (Asten) Bty RA
24th June - 27th Sept 1968

C Section, 1968.jpg
Adventure Training.jpg
Backup Troop, Passout Parade.jpg

"Your Rank?"

"That's a matter of Opinion"

1968 Woolwich, Vince Photo.jpg
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The dizzy heights of Best Young Gunner

1968, Shoeburyness.jpg

The usual Local Boy makes good write up, but did'nt I look young then!

Many 36 lads married local girls and settled in the Southend area after their service finished, 

and some are members of the Shoeburyness & South Essex Branch RAA.

The Regiment was the biggest Regiment the British Army, it certainly had the most vehicles, over 280,

it also had a whole Signal Squadron (260) attached to it, and a large REME/RAOC detachment.

Much time was spent on Exercise in West Germany for over two months at a time, so the Batteries were constantly on the move.

Firing Camp was held at Ty Croes Camp in Angelsey which was a two day drive from Shoeburyness,

breaking the journey at The Junior Leaders Regiment at Bramcote, many will remember sleeping in the Hangers there, Freezing cold.

I have fond memories of our nights out in Holyhead.

27th March 1969

1969 Woolwich.JPG

On the 27th March 1969 every Regiment in the Royal Artillery was represented and took part

in the Parade at Woolwich when Her Majesty the Queen inspected the Royal Regiment.

I was lucky to be part of the 36 contingent. 36 Regiment supplied two Thunderbirds. The 36 party

were led by S/Sgt Billy Bunting (F Troop). It was so cold on parade everyone was issued with gloves.


36 Regiment's Pete Rumble at the head of No2 Display Team

In January 1971 I was posted to the Royal Artillery Recruiting Troop at Woolwich

to take charge of the Thunderbird Missile in No1 Display Team, and later became a member of the

 RA Motor Cycle Display Team. During my time at Woolwich I was kept on 36 Regiment strength.


Click on Image for a larger view.


Memory Lane


If like myself you served in the 70's, here are a few of

the things that were going on at the time, do you remember?


Harold Wilson failed to get re-elected for his third term in Downing Street despite opinion polls

in his favour. Edward Heath became Prime Minister. Derek and the Dominoes played their debut gig.

Janis Joplin died. England failed to make the semi-finals of the World Cup as holders of the trophy.

The Equal Pay Act reached the Statute Book. Apollo 13 exploded on its way to the Moon. The

spacecraft limped back to earth using the rockets on the lunar module after being crippled

205,000 miles from home. Jimi Hendrix died in St Mary Abbot's Hospital in London. Charles Manson,

in jail for murder in the USA released an album "Lies" to pay hid legal costs. Radio Northsea

International was bombed by frogmen from rival pirate station Radio Veronica. Peter Hain

campaigned against the South African Cricket team.



John Lennon released his album "Imagine". Rolls Royce were allowed to go bankrupt and then

nationalised after the Lockheed deal for RB-211 engines failed. "No Sex Please We're British" opened

in London, and "Godspell" opened at the Cherry Lane Theatre, New York. The first US astronauts

drove their lunar buggy on the surface of the Moon and their Soviet counterparts, on board Soyuz 11

were killed as their spacecraft returned to the Earth. Unemployment reached 1 million. The half

crown andthreepenny bit disappeared along with their pre decimal partners. The Miners put in a

47% pay claim and Joe Gormley led them to strike on a 55% yes vote. Louis Armstrong and

Jim Morrison died. The "Old Grey Whistle Test" was first broadcast and the Rolling Stones

released " Brown Sugar". Barry Sheene raced his first 125cc World Championship season.


After several attempts at mating the Giant Panda Chi Chi died aged 15. William Whitelaw

appointed Viceroy in Ulster after Bloody Sunday. "Hair" closed on Broadway after 1729

performances. Michael Jackson's first solo single "Got to be There" entered the UK chart.

The Government injected £35 million into Upper Clyde shipbuilders. Edward Heath

announced plans for statutory incomes and prices policy. The Sound Broadcasting act

was passed establishing contracts for 21 commercial radio stations. "Layla" entered the

UK chart. "Amazing Grace"  was the best selling single of the year. Pioneer 10 became the

 first spacecraft to be blasted out of the solar system and its expected to continue travel

for 2 million years. Leeds United won the FA Cup. Power cuts result from the Miners strike.

Margaret Thatcher appointed Secretary of State for Education.


Unemployment stood at 3%. VAT introduced. Gay Player beat Graham Marsh at the 40th hole

in the World Match Play Championship finals. Queen released their debut LP. Princess Anne

married Captain Mark Phillips. The pound was floated. The Yom Kippur war broke out in

the Middle East. Slade appeared at the London Palladium at the concert to celebrate Britain's entry

into the EEC. John Poulson came under investigation. Reginald Maudling resigned as Home

Secretary. Elvis Presley divorced Priscilla. Briton Roger Taylor played in the Men's Final at

Wimbledon. Middle East war cut off oil supplies and triggered the oil crisis. The big 4 banks

announced profits of £580 million. The NUM imposed an overtime ban which led to a strike.

The 3 day week was imposed on industry to conserve energy. Gloucestershire won the Gillette Cup.


Evel Knieval failed in his attempt to jump Snake River Canyon, Idaho. Petrol ration coupons

were issued. Free contraception was allowed on the NHS. President Nixon left the White House

after admitting he might have lost Congress support after Watergate. Mrs Thatcher in a speech said

"It will be years before a woman either leads a party or becomes Prime Minister". Mrs Thatcher

became leader of the Tory Party, after Heath's February call for an election left the Tories with

297 seats to Labour's 301. Gary Player won the British Open. Dennis Law won his 55th and final

Scottish cap against Zaire in the World Cup Finals. Harold Wilson won a second election in

October by 3 seats. Edward Heath's yacht "Morning Cloud" sunk in a force 9 gale in the Channel.

Queen began their first major UK tour in Blackpool. Portugal faced the "Revolution of the Flowers"


West Ham won the FA Cup. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the first Prime Minister of Bangladesh

was assassinated. John Lennon and Yoko Ono gave birth to their son Sean Ono Lennon.

Ferrari won the World Formula One Constructors Championships for the first of three

consecutive years. The referendum on membership of the Common Market was held with

67.2% voting "yes" and 32.8% voting "no". Harold Wilson was defeated in the House by his own

backbenchers on his 60th birthday, which resulted in a confidence vote in the Commons which

he won. Harold Wilson resigned in favour of James Callaghan. Arnold Palmer won the British

PGA Championship at Royal St Georges. Russia and America shook hands in space as Soyuz

docked with Appollo. The Labour Party introduced the Sex Discrimination Act, and the

Equal Opportunities Commission was set up.


Chairman Mao Tse Tung died. On the day of his funeral 800 million Chinese, one fifth of the

World's population stood still. The "long hot summer" brought drought, water rationing and stand

pipes to Britain. Elton John was immortalised in wax at Madame Tussaud's and had his first

number one single with Kiki Dee. Howard Hughes died leaving an estate of an estimated £500

million. The British Government was forced to go to the IME for a loan as a result of a cash crisis

within the economy. The Grunwick strike brought "flying pickets" into the British vocabulary.

The Who played the loudest ever gig at Charlton Athletic stadium, with a PA pumping out

76,000 watts of sound.John H Stracey lost his world welterweight title to Carlos Palamino.

Southampton won the FA Cup.


The Queen celebrated her Silver Jubilee. The Sex Pistols were described by an air hostess

as " the most revolting people I've ever seen" and were dropped by EMI. Virgin Records signed

them and released " God save the Queen". The Clash opened the Roxy Club in Covent Garden.

The Government awarded £53 million to John de Lorean to build his gull-winged sports car

in Belfast. 1200 miles of motorway were now open in Britain. Elvis Presley died. Marc Bolan died.

Groucho Marx died. Virginia Wade won the Ladies final at Wimbledon. Unemployment stood

at 1.6 million. Manchester United beat Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup Final. John Spencer won the first

World Professional Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre. David Steele and

Jim Callaghan formed the " Lib-Lab Pact". The first USA test cricket team beat the

West Indies at Giants Stadium, New York.


The last Volkswagen Beetle was made after 19 million cars had been manufactured

since 1938. The first woman L Driver sued her driving instructor for not preventing

her crashing onto a tree during a lesson. Prince Charles was named " hooligan of the year"

because of his interest in bloodsports by John Bryant of the RSPCA. Carlos Reuterman

won 5 Grand Prix but still finished second to Mario Andretti in the World Drivers Championship.

Pope John Paul 11 was invested after the death of Pope Paul 6th. Smash Hits was

first published. The winter of discontent brought Britain to a standstill. Muhammed Ali made a

comeback to hold the World Heavyweight title once more by defeating Leon Spinks.

37 year old Japanese Naomi Vemura became the first man to reach the North Pole solo.

The Guinness Book of Records became the most stolen book from Public Libraries.


Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin signed the Egyptian/Israeli peace treaty, witnessed by

President Jimmy Carter. Lord Louis Mountbatten of Burma was assassinated by the IRA.

North Sea Oil brought in a balance of payments surplus of £1000 million. Roy Jenkins delivered

a Dimbleby Lecture at which he hinted at the split from the Labour Party, which led to the

formation of the SDP. Sid Vicious died in New York. Race riots in Southall and Lewisham.

Jim Callaghan lost the General Election and resigned in favour of Michael Foot. Mrs Thatcher

came to Number Ten on a platform of controlling inflation and union power, the restoration of

incentives, the upholding of parliamentary sovereignty and the rule of law.

She did not offer a cabinet post to Edward Heath. Parliament endorsed the NATO decision

to site cruise missiles in Britain.


Hope you like the following!




Rudyard Kipling (South African War)

There is a word you often see, pronounce it as you may -

'You bike,' 'you bikwe,' 'ubbikwe' - alludin' to R.A.

It serves 'Orse, Field, an' Garrison as motto for a crest,

An' when you've found out all it means I'll tell you 'alf the rest.


Ubique means the long-range Krupp be'ind the low-range 'ill -

Ubique means you'll pick it up an', while you do stand, still.

Ubique means you've caught the flash an' timed it by the sound.

Ubique means five gunners' 'ash before you've loosed a round.


    Ubique means Blue Fuse1, an' make the 'ole to sink the trail.    

Ubique means stand up an' take the Mauser's 'alf-mile 'ail.

Ubique means the crazy team not God nor man can 'old.

Ubique means that 'orse's scream which turns your innards cold.


Ubique means 'Bank, 'Olborn, Bank - a penny all the way -

The soothin' jingle-bump-an'-clank from day to peaceful day.

Ubique means 'They've caught De Wet, an' now we sha'n't be long.'

Ubique means 'I much regret, the beggar's going strong!'


Ubique means the tearin' drift where, breech-blocks jammed with mud,

The khaki muzzles duck an' lift across the khaki flood.

Ubique means the dancing plain that changes rocks to Boers.

Ubique means the mirage again an' shellin' all outdoors.


Ubique means 'Entrain at once for Grootdefeatfontein'!

Ubique means 'Off-load your guns' - at midnight in the rain!

Ubique means 'More mounted men. Return all guns to store.'

Ubique means the R.A.M.R. Infantillery Corps!


Ubique means the warnin' grunt the perished linesman knows,

When o'er 'is strung an' sufferin' front the shrapnel sprays 'is foes,

An' as their firin' dies away the 'usky whisper runs

From lips that 'aven't drunk all day: 'The Guns! Thank Gawd, the Guns!'


Extreme, depressed, point-blank or short, end-first or any'ow,

From Colesberg Kop to Quagga's Poort - from Ninety-Nine till now -

By what I've 'eard the others tell an' I in spots 'ave seen,

There's nothin' this side 'Eaven or 'Ell Ubique doesn't mean!


Rank Recognition



Faster than a speeding bullet.

More powerful than a locomotive.

Leaps tall buildings in a single bound.

Walks on water.

Lunches with God, but must pick up tab.



Almost as fast as a speeding bullet.

More powerful than a shunting engine on a steep incline.

Leaps short buildings with a single bound.

Walks on water if sea is calm.

Talks to God.



Faster than an energetically thrown rock.

Almost as powerful as a speeding bullet.

Leaps short buildings with a running start in favourable winds.

Walks on water of indoor swimming pools if lifeguard is present.

May be granted audience with God if special request is approved at least

three working days in advance.



Can fire a speeding bullet with tolerable accuracy.

Loses tug-of-war against anything mechanical.

Makes impressively high marks when trying to leap tall buildings.

Swims well.

Is occasionally addressed by God, in passing.



Can sometimes handle firearm without shooting self.

Is run over by trains.

Barely clears outhouse.

Doggy paddles.

Mumbles to self.



Is dangerous to self and comrades if armed and unsupervised.

Recognizes trains two out of three times.

Runs into tall buildings.

Can stay afloat if properly instructed in the use of life jacket and water wings.

Talks to walls.


2nd Lieutenant

Can be trusted with either gun or ammunition but never both.

Must have train ticket pinned to jacket and mittens tied to sleeves.

Falls over doorsteps while trying to enter tall buildings.

Plays in Mud puddles.



Officer Cadet

Under no circumstances to be issued with gun or ammunition, and must even be

closely supervised when handling sharp pieces of paper - staples are right out.

Says: "Look at choo choo!"

Not allowed inside buildings of any size.

Makes good boat anchor.

Mere existence makes God shudder.



Catches hyper sonic armour piercing fin stabilized discarding sabot

depleted uranium long rod penetrators in his teeth and eats them.

Kicks bullet trains off their tracks.

Uproots tall buildings and walk under them.

Freezes water with a single glance; parts it with trifling gesture.

Is God.

Play Me


If you need to get in touch, please send me an email and I will get back to you. Thanks for your interest in our Website.

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