|Sergeant Alan Caulkett, 1st Battalion, the Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment, remembers life in the Hong Kong garrison,
For the rest of the time we did a lot of parades. The Queen's Birthday Parade both years 1962, 1963. Over at an island called Stonecutters, which I think I have already mentioned, were the ranges where we did all our annual classification. You couldn’t do much training because everything was so restricted. All the barracks were cut into the side of the hill. Ground was a priority. Nice barracks but in the season it got very hot and humid. Everything had to be left out because everything used to go mouldy. Boots used to go mildewy, everything used to go green, clothing used to go green with the damp. Nice in the summer. Lots of snakes around. I had the ammunition store, it was the old gun emplacement from the Second World War, and all the ammunition was under the hill, so you kicked the doors hard as you had the odd snake lying along the inside of the door. We had pythons, cobras, I got hit by one, not bitten. I was company orderly sergeant. We wore beret, shorts and socks rolled down over our boots. I was walking back from one place to another and as I did this I noticed a bamboo snake (we called them that), it was a white lipped pit viper, only a little thing and it was right on the path. I can remember seeing it and jumping, and there was a wet patch on my foot where he had had me. That was a bit of a near miss. There were quite a few snakes, you had to watch where you were going. Another amusing thing, we had CS gas and we were practicing, and they sealed up a tent on the Square and everyone had to test their respirator and everything went all right. But we had one grenade that did not go off. So, being in charge, I was given it, and they said go and get rid of it. I took it down the back end where all this scrub was. I went to see my WO2 [warrant officer class 2] and I said “how much detonator cord should I use?” and he said “give it one and a half turns round the grenade”. He said to connect it up to the wires of a 33 detonator, it should blow it apart and release the gas. So I did what he told me. One half went a hundred yards one way and the other the other way and we ended up with two companies of the men with beaters, trying to put all this scrub out which was on fire. I went back and said “You did say one and a half” and he said “maybe a bit too much”. That was quite good.
|© The Queen's Royal Surrey Regimental Association.