Reginald Sprouses War Diary Page 7 of 94 Joining Up The Early days Y father saw me off from Liverpool Street station early in the morning it was a Thursday as I remember. The destination was to Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk. We arrived and had a meal and were putin platoons. A certain Sergeant Green was in charge he was from the Suffolk Regt. We were to spend six weeks here learning how to conduct ourselves as soldiers and also learn the basic skills of small arms and marching etc. during this time we would be sorted and put where our talents directed us. When they thought we looked like soldiers we were allowed into the town, this was after a week or so. As my goal was to join a tank regiment it helped because I had trained in the Boy Scouts in signalling and Morse Code. Eventually we had a passing out parade one rifle got dropped. We then were sent to the 56 th Training Regiment R.A.C. at Catterick Camp in Yorkshire for training in tank skills and trades After 4 weeks drill we were again passed out and given leave returning to camp just before Christmas. We were given aptitude tests and it was decided I would train as a Gunner-Operator. This was an approximate 12-week course after which we were again passed out and awaited posting to a regt. As I was awaiting posting I was put on aPT course for a week to infill time a good job I was young and fit We were going to 152 RAC formerly 11 Bn. Kings Liverpool Regt. Which I believe was a Territorial unit. They were stationed at Lowther Castle Penrith Cumberland. We were with a Brigade training on CDL tanks this was at the time very secret. To explain this was alight on a tank that shone at the enemy line say a thousand yards away blinding them to a degree the source of the light being not easily discernable to the enemy. We had Churchill tanks. I was posted to the Troop Leaders tank as Gunner we had a crew of five It was mostly night training and we were out most nights on the Yorkshire Moors shining our lights and performing various training manoeuvres. During this we had a trip to South Wales near Pembroke all the tanks ongoing low loaders by train. This was for gunnery practice and we had a, reasonable few days down there. We then were moved around the area to Nunnykirk in Northumberland—Bainbridge in Yorkshire—and Ecclefechan on the Scottish border Around the beginning of June 1944 I contracted Dermatitis and was sent to Peebles Hospital in Scotland. This was caused by oil contaminating my working beret and irritating a sore. 11 weeks were spent herein a blue hospital uniform. The infectious diseases were on the first floor and the VD patients were downstairs we all messed together. After 11 weeks I was posted to Cowley Barracks in Oxford a Transit camp. And two days later sent to 2 nd Armoured Reinforcement Unit near Colchester. After about two weeks we went abroad to France from Southampton exactly on my 21 st birthday. M
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