Band Sergeant Major Brian Matlock, 1st Battalion, The Queen's, remembers Christmas when stationed in Germany.
Brian Matlock
Band Sergeant Major Brian Matlock

Tell you a lot more, but I would not embarrass the sergeants' mess. Great, I am thinking about now. Iserlohn, sergeants' mess there. Christmas day we always played in the cookhouse. All the COs came and served us all the food. Bill, colour sergeant HQ, played a bugle as well, Christmas day in there. We came out from the cookhouse in there and they are all having a good old time and Bill Butler said "OK, let us give them a few carols, we might get a drink here even". So we are outside singing all these carols and the windows open and they said carry on and the next minute we are there singing away and the RSM Mr Joe Simmonds tipping the fire bucket out of the window so, "don’t be put off just carry on". We carried on. "Oh great, come and have a drink". That was great, great times. I mean we had one of the best Christmas nights I have had in my life, was always with the battalion. We worked all the time and that is what I found really strange, leaving and spending a normal Christmas. I mean I had not been used to this normal Christmas. I had just a normal Christmas, I had been used to a working Christmas day. I mean we would start Christmas day off, we would go off and we would get the band up and we would take the tea around there, load of fireworks slinging around and then we would have our tea, go across to the sergeants' mess, what was called the mad band, and we would get all the officers up and they were really pleased about this. That was the start of the Christmas day. You would come back and maybe go across to the cookhouse and of course after that time was our own. It was all thoroughly enjoyable. We really enjoyed it. We didn’t want to go home for Christmas. This is what I could not understand years later when we came back from Hong Kong. Young chaps saying we want to go home and we said "what the hell do you want to go home for?" This is, "No, I must go home". Couldn’t understand it. It had all changed then and this is when things started to change. Hello, this is not how it used to be. No I would not change anything. Met too many nice people.