Private Cyril Dwight of 1st Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment, recalls how the pay of a national serviceman persuaded him to join up.
Cyril Dwight
Private Cyril Dwight
Passed the school certificate, came out of there with that. Joined a firm of quantity surveyors in Guildford. Went there until they had to close the Guildford Depot which I thought that is going to be it, you know, and they said they would take me up to London. They gave me the extras for the fares and everything and I went to work in London in Tavistock Square which is where we had just had a few bombs and then you got calling up papers as you did. Went through the medicals they said "What do you want to do?" and I said "I want to go into the Royal Ordnance Corps". They said "Why?" and I said "Because my father was in the Ordnance Corps" and they said "Yes, you have got as much chance of doing that as a snowball" and then I got called up. Went into the Guildford Depot on 4 September 1952, a date never to be forgotten. It was a bit of an eye-opener there. Our platoon sergeant was Sergeant Yonwin who was a very smart man, you have to give him his due and he knew what he was doing. He was a good training sergeant no doubt about it and we thought we were the best platoon because we were Tangier platoon of course, something else you don’t forget. Went through that and then the first pay day which was quite horrendous, the first thing they did was take half your money off you because you got 28 shillings and they took 7 bob off you for something, and about another 3 bob off for something else which they probably called barrackroom damages but we had only been there 4 days so we had not done that much damage and then if you had this money in your hand and they said "The first thing you do is you go over to the Naafi". We thought wonderful, over to the Naafi, and you buy two dusters, blanco, boot polish and coat hangers and by the time you had done that the rest was yours which was not a lot. Left you with 7 bob I think and that had to keep you going. Well you all smoked in those days, everybody smoked, and then we found we were cadging fags and I could not carry on like that, that was a waste of time, so I signed on. I had 36 hours to come home and tell my parents you were going to sign on. They more or less dared you to go back and say you were not. There was no way you were going to go back and say you have changed your mind. That was not on.