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From Our Special Correspondent – Dave PERROTT


Tuesday, 25th June 2002


Can I put something sensible onto paper for you I ask myself, because it was a never-ending whirl of food, alcohol, and conversation. I did, however, wake very early on Sunday morning despite the late night, and in beautiful weather wandered quietly around the Camp on my own. It prompted the following:



Where Is My Past?


I came to Arborfield again and saw where it once stood.

   The area looked very small, as I suppose it would.

The place that helped to shaped me appeared before my eyes –

   I thought about the people, the memories, the ties.

I wondered where they all were now and just how they were rated.

   Would they be pleased to see me, or strangely disappointed.

I did not know, I could not say, I could only stand and stare

   Across that barren empty space and recall what had been there.




Once I had come to terms with the other 49B riff-raff available in the form of Gordon ‘The Cravat’ BONNER, Max ‘The Dog-Collar’ WARWICK, Pete ‘The Helmet’ (your guess is as good as mine) HENRY, and John ‘The Legs’ CASSELLS, I was at home. We got on fine as a group. Due to my relatively early retreat from the Army - I did nine years - I lacked the depth of soldiering of many present and this was my first real contact with the Army since 1960, but it didn't take long for it to feel like yesterday.


Mike WEBB-MORRIS was also there and would you believe he still has the original of a poem like what I wrote about him. In fact it has just arrived through the post on a very tatty piece of paper torn from my notebook all those years ago. There’s even a circuit diagram on the back of it, also the name David Emlyn OWEN – maybe that was Dai’s full name. I must confess it seems awfully childish when I read it now. But he seemed well impressed and had it published in the OBAN some time ago. There’s no accounting for taste!


I wish to thank all whom in any way, however small, helped to make the reunion so successful for everyone and enjoyable for me personally. It was my first attendance and after the initial shock of the sleeping quarters which was if anything worse than that of my debut in 1949 the business of enjoying oneself took over and laughter was never far away. The food and hospitality was overwhelming, the company excellent, the mostly free alcohol flowed in abundance, stories abounded and a great time was had. What more could one ask! Naturally 49B was by far the most superior intake in attendance, not even upstaged by 52A & B. What we lacked in quantity we more than made up for with quality.


We were drilled by a R.S.M. of the Coldstream Guards, which was an interesting exercise. There was a Drumhead Service by the old guardroom, which is now a garden. As we stood there I thought about Fire Practice and Log P.T. Jack SAVILLE style. We were marched onto the old square, very nostalgic. Later I got Gina to take a photo of me against the chestnut tree, which I believe to be the one that we took photos against all those years ago. We had an excellent dinner in the evening, after a few beers, piped in etc. the odd speech, sang ‘The Reds’, consumed as much alcohol as we could lay our hands on and then back to the Mess for a couple more. I bedded down about 2 o’clock in surprisingly good shape.


Whilst writing this I reflected on the fact that Arborfield had taught me a lot in the past and was still teaching me. All those years ago I never realized what Arborfield was giving to those young Apprentices who came from less fortunate family backgrounds than myself. I needed no support in that area and was too young to understand the huge asset that the Boy's School environment gave to those less fortunate than myself.
We live, and if we so desire, we learn. Best Wishes to each and every one of you.

Dave ‘The Suit’ PERROTT