Kentish Express Ashford & District

Conditions in the army were also harsh

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I despaired when I read the open letter from asylum seekers who are housed at Napier Barracks, Folkestone, complainin­g about the living conditions.

I was conscripte­d in November 1957 to do two years’ National Service in the British Army. I joined the Royal Ordinance Corps and went to their camp at Blackdown in Hampshire to do my basic training.

We were billeted in a Victorian barrack block with 24 men to a room. The only heating we had was a cast-iron combustion stove in the middle of the room. We didn’t light it because if we did it had to be cleaned and blackleade­d in the morning before the duty officer’s inspection.

We had to queue in the ablutions (bath-room) for a wash-hand basin, (there were no showers), the water which we had to wash and shave in was cold, not ideal, but we had no choice.

Many men of my age could tell you a similar story!

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