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John Williams’s Photo Album


AAS Arborfield Intake 52A


I enlisted on 19 July 1951 in the band of the Cheshire Regiment, transferring to  Arborfield in May 1952, joining Intake 52A. In 2 Div. I was a member of B Company. I joined the Military Band and played clarinet.

In February 1955 I was posted to 21 Command Workshop. On the 3rd of May 1956 I sailed from Southampton on the HMT Dunera, bound for Singapore. The following photos were taken on board during the voyage.


Feb05359 w

John Williams on board HMT Dunera bound for Singapore. 1956.


Feb05358 w

Fellow passenger Tug Wilson 51B.


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Taffy Smith


Arthur Tidey + Tug Wilson w

Arthur Tidey 52A and Tug Wilson 51B.


Feb05361 w

Arthur Tidey 52A on the left with unknown fellow traveller.


John Williams 52A Feb 2006

17th February 2006 - John WILLIAMS on his 70th birthday having just completed a “BFT”*


“I kept my 70th birthday quiet, it was on 17th February, but I'm too young to be this old. We who have reached this landmark are now, as government statistics go, officially "OLD". Now I hate statistics even more. Mind you, I have a great respect for age, especially if it's bottled! But just so the bastards couldn't grind me down I ran a three-mile BFT on my 70th, and did the 1.5 miles return leg in 14 min 17 seconds which, with the help of 6X and Ibroprufen, is I believe an Over-40 pass. I did cheat, note the trainers! Hope to hear more as the 52Aers hit the big number.”


* BFT: stands for Basic Fitness Test and was, when I left the service in 1999, a mandatory annual requirement for all ranks. It consisted of a warm-up 1.5 miles march/jog usually under supervision of a PTI, the aim being to complete the first stage in exactly 15 minutes. There then followed a return 1.5 miles at individual pace, with a set completion time dependent on age group. I think the under-25s had to achieve 10.5 minutes, whilst the over-35s were allowed 15 minutes. The over-40s were free to run the 3 miles alone in under 30 minutes. The run was without kit, but wearing boots. Failure by anyone resulted in a re-run, followed by remedial PT, and in the worst cases referral to the MO. There was also a CFT (Combat Fitness Test) which was 8 miles squadded in full battle order with weapon, followed immediately by a short exercise sequence and then a 100 metre run (or stagger) carrying a comrade of equal weight in a fireman’s lift. I think the CFT time was just under 90 minutes. The Highland Division also had a BFT for Jocks with short legs, but I don't have any details of that. Hope that clears it up.



First Published: 1st April 2006

Latest Update: 18th February 2009












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