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Discipline for ther young soldiericon for Recommended story

by sgtbeal

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John Beal
Location of story: 
Nostell Priory Yorkshire
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Contributed on: 
14 February 2004

Discipline For The Young Soldier.

It was when I was nearing the end of my wireless operators training in Yorkshire at the 39th Training Regiment Royal Artillery. The army had taken over the lovely country house, Nostell Priory near Wakefield,and before that at another country house near Bretton near Barnsley. We were allocated the stables for our billet and the part of the house was allocated to the officers.

My mates and I were enjoying a well earned day out in Wakefield after training on the Yorkshire moors for a few weeks. The time had come for us to return to our billets. We were waiting for transport near the Bull Ring. I had not noticed that a Regimental Policeman from the training regiment was nearby. Unfortunately for me I was not wearing my beret at the time. He spotted me, and gave me a good dressing down and also put me on report.

In due course I was called before the Commanding Officer to face the music. I was double marched into his room, and the charge read out. I was really shaking in my shoes because it was made to feel a very serious offence. Just leaving my hat off, well I thought a severe reprimand would be forthcoming. That was not to be, after a good dressing down I was given seven days confined to barracks. Fair enough,I thought I was not going out that week anyway there was little left of my fourteen shillings pay,I only had twentyone shillings in first place the other seven shillings was sent home for my parents. Seven days easy days so I thought, but what a shock I had coming to me.

This is how my following seven days were spent. Up before reveille, and report to the guardroom at the end of the drive,at 0630hrs in FSMO in other words full kit. Boots and brasses highly polished,big pack,small pack,ammunition pouches
and nearly everything I possessed. The guard commander was a member of the permanent staff, not a very friendly chap you might say. It did not matter how well represented you were, your rifle was not up to standard,your brasses needed a better polish and generally he thought you were in a proper mess. "Next time you come to the guard room like that, you will get another seven days jankers".

This was only the start of it. After the inspection by the guard commander it was back to the billet a quick change into denims, lay my kit on the bed for Orderly Officers routine billet and kit check. Then it was time for roll call, just quick parade to make sure everyone was present. In other words making sure nobody was away AWOL. Then to snatch a breakfast before parading in our working gear at 0800hrs for our daily training. We carried on with this until 1700hrs. For the rest of the squad they had finished for the day, unless they were on guard duty, or fire piquet duty. The defaulter, that was myself,had to hurry and get my equipment ready for inspection behind the guard at 1800hrs. After this change into denims again and report to the cookhouse to do fatigues, peeling spuds , washing pans and anything else that was needed. By this time I was well and truly Kn-----d!. Still I was not yet finished. Full kit again and then report to the guard room and the usual remarks from the guard commander. Hurriedly back to the billet and a sleep until starting the daily routine all over again.

This lasted for the whole week and I can honestly say that I did not ever break the rules again. In fact it set me up to get the best out of the army. After passing out as a driver wireless operator, was finally posted to the 10th. Field Regiment Royal Artillery The Second Indian Division (The Crossed Keys) in India.I did eventually get promoted to sergeant in the Royal Signals. Hopefully I will recall some of my experiences during the independence years 1945-48.later in the year.

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Message 1 - Discipline for ther young soldier

Posted on: 14 February 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Hi sgtbeal

Glad to see that you finally got your story to the Editorial Desk :), I look forward to reading more.



Message 2 - My first contribution from sgtbeal.Discipline for ther young soldier

Posted on: 14 February 2004 by sgtbeal

Hello Peter.

Thanks for your remarks, I knew that if perserved long enough I would get some success. It was very frustrating in the beginning.
While I was on the page I looked up your personal history and was most impressed. I am afraid you leave me standing, but like you in many ways I left school half way through my third year in a Central School, my parents needed the money and being the youngest but one of eight children I had no option but to leave. Still that is all in the past now, I have been rewarded many times over by having a very happy married life, we celebrated our Golden Wedding last September, and we have a very good family around us. That counnts for a lot these days.
Anyway I only intended to thank you for your kind remarks, but hope to contribute more in the future. By that time I will probably have forgotten the procedure. It is thanks to people like you that helps.



Message 3 - My first contribution from sgtbeal.Discipline for ther young soldier

Posted on: 14 February 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear sgtbeal

Thank you for your kind remarks. You have a wonderful marriage. If you are happy you cannot ask for more than that, so few are.

As Arnold Bennett said "The moment you are born you are done for", so smile and make the most of it :)

Best wishes,



Message 4 - My first contribution from sgtbeal.Discipline for ther young soldier

Posted on: 14 February 2004 by John de Mansfield AbsolonResearcher 238443

Dear sgtbeal.
Discipline for the young soldier. It obviously had the absolutely right effect on you, I found that a hard thump at the beginning usually put people in the right frame of mind. Although pretty hard at the time you, as many others did, got the message and really made life a much easier place in some pretty horrible situations. Looking forward to reading some of your experiences in India. Particularly as I was in the Indian Army at the same period.
John Absolon


Message 5 - Late reply from (john) sgt bealMy first contribution from sgtbeal.Discipline for ther young soldier

Posted on: 07 April 2004 by sgtbeal

Hello John.
Your comments noted and yes it was hard at the time, but put me on a straight course for the rest of my life.
I see from your write-up that you had a very interesting career in the Army. It covered a long time,and covered many war zones.
My service only covered late 1944 to 1948 and most of this was spent in India. As I said I hope to pass on some of my experiences expecially during the partition period.
Lately I have been playing a lot of golf,also indoor bowls and a hundred and one different jobs in the garden.
Its nice to think we can participate in all these things in the late seventies. I think every year from now on is a bonus, especilly when you hear of so many people in the same age bracket with ill health.
Keep up the good work as a researcher.
I will keep scanning the WEB to read the many stories contributed.

Bye for now John (Sgt beal).


Message 6 - Late reply from (john) sgt bealMy first contribution from sgtbeal.Discipline for ther young soldier

Posted on: 10 April 2004 by John de Mansfield AbsolonResearcher 238443

Hello John.
Thank you for your post. I left India before partition and often wondered what happened to the sepoys in my unit. As it was mainly Hindu with very few Moslems hopefully they (the Moslems)got back to Northern India before the troubles. As for the majority they were in Southern India so where probably not badly affected. I found that particularly in Southern India amongst the villagers they were not really very keen on partition. Although the Tamils seemed of caused more than a little problem in Sri Lanka.
You might like an "amusing" little story about the Glass House. As a very junior L/Sergeant I was in charge of an escort to take a prisoner to the Chatham glass house. I must say I felt a little sorry for him even though he did try to escape by going down set of the stairs to an underground toilet and coming up another set. On arriving a very loud voice shouted "DOUBLE" spotting the voice was a Sergeant I continued to march , the prisoner and escort doubled away and I followed on. The prison Sergeant then emptied the prisoner's Kit bag on the floor but had to wait for me before we could do a kit check. I had gained the moral high ground fortunately. Amongst his kit was a clip of five rounds. The warder detonated but I grabbed the clip and put it in my pocket and said "he is in enough trouble without that, you can forget it Sergeant" fortunately he did thinking I was the same rank as him not realising that infantry sergeants just had three stripes whereas gunner sergeants wore a gun above their stripes. I was a very junior Lance Sergeant and he was much senior to me. My only experience of an army prison. The prisoner would have got an extra 28 days if he had been charged. After he came out he did come and thank me. He didn't offend again. As a sequel many years later when I commanded a Battery I had a BSM who was an ex-warder and he was the best I had ever had both for the troops and myself.
I spent some time early in the war on the Sussex coast 39 to 42 on searchlights and LAA and later on farmed near Uckfield.
I find the computer very helpful as I am not very mobile, fortunately I have a system whereby I dictate direct to the computer but of course I tend to waffle on a bit, I wouldn't be able to use the computer without it.
I think I am a bit further on than you my elder son has just retired as a colonel. My family now live in Colchester and my daughter is expecting her first grand child. Hopefully I hope to get to the UK in June for a couple of months.
I think that is about enough rubbish from me.
Yours Aye


Message 7 - Short reply to your latest post from John (sgt. Beal).

Posted on: 13 April 2004 by sgtbeal

Nice to hear that a new arrival expected in the family. Hope everything goes well.
I enjoyed reading yuour story about the Glass House. No wonder the prisoner thanked you for not shopping him, the extra 28 days inside would have made him very bitter indeed. He obviously got the message, by not offending again.

Fortunately for me I am quite mobile, sorry to hear it is not the same for you. Your dictating device at least means that you keep in touch with everyone.

I have just finished a very busy day in the garden, not that I profess to be a keen gardener, but I do like to keep things looking tidy for my wifes benefit. I have prepared a lot of plants in the greenhouse ready to plant out when the fear of frost as gone.

After a shower, I decided to spend a few minutes on the computer, that usually means a couple of hours.

Have`nt yet got round to relating another army experience, but hope to in the near future.

Enjoy your visit to the UK.
Bye for now.
John(Sgt Beal

Message 1 - Nostell Priory

Posted on: 20 May 2004 by JOHHNIE

Dear sgtbeal,

My name is Johnnie; I am a 21 year old, college student in the United States majoring in history. I am learning how to become a historical researcher. I am researching country houses during World War Two.

Could you please tell me more about the time when you were posted to Nostell Priory for your training?

Thank you very much,


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