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Marches in and out tales

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Marches in and out tales

Old 19th Nov 2023, 12:08
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Our first MQ (Filby Road at Coltishall) we endured the full white glove march-out, despite having scrubbed the house to what we considered an IOT spotless condition we were charged £5 for a tiny spot of fat under the cooker lid, and £10 for a spot of rust on the spade in the shed, justification being that that was the cost of sending a tradesman round to carry out said rectification jobs… Although rather miffed at the expense (back when £15 was worth something) I was relieved that the Families Officer hadn’t spotted the shed door… our young Labrador had chewed it to almost nothing from the handle down, I’d rebuilt it with wood filler and given it some lovely coats of gloss blue paint. I was very careful closing it as the slightest tremor might have caused it to collapse.

Some years later we marched-in to a detached house on Brauncwell Road, Cranwell, Mrs Scott burst into tears when she saw it (we’d rented out our own house on posting). The house was wall & ceiling magnolia painted wood-chip wallpaper, with hideous light fittings of grey plastic discs stacked in columns, and so many of them, 7 in the sitting room alone. The worn brown carpets were ‘8 years into their 12 year life’… and she’d left her own lovely house for this…

My first meeting with my new neighbour he said ‘ why was I in this house, as a ‘student’ ( I was starting the CFS cse) I should be in the little quarters at the back of the estate’. I ended up spending nearly 4 years in that house, as ‘staff’ after completing the cse. The carpets were at least sorted after a young workman with a large hammer came round to ‘fix’ some loose floorboards… having punctured the heating pipes the sitting room ceiling collapsed under the weight of water (held up by the ceiling-paper) and carpets were replaced as part of the cleanup. The workman was fairly new, his next job allegedly was in CHOM where he spilt white gloss paint on the rotunda carpet (cadets weren’t even permitted to walk on it) and his employment was terminated.

When we marched-out I parked my caravan on the grass in front of the house to load it up, when I came to leave it had started to rain, the tyres were slipping trying to pull away and I left deep muddy ruts. A friend on Dominies was doing the exit for me as my proxy, I drove round to his house to drop off the keys and explained when I’d done so would pay for the damage if required. The next morning my friend arrives to find the Families Officer looking at the mess, saying ‘you know who’s done this?’, my friend replies in the affirmative, and the FO says, ‘the bloody removal people!’
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 13:21
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And then slow gravity. Apologies a.to Einstein and Newton; b. if I have mentioned this before.

We inhabited a total of 3 German OMQs, each with cellar, ground floor, upstairs and attic.
SWMBO masterminded what goes where after march in [they always do], thus quite a lot in the concrete-floored roomy attic, and zilch in the cellar except ales and fine wines white.
So how does it come about that on moving out day the attic is virtually empty, upstairs is sparse, and the cellar is chock-a-block?
Slow gravity is the cause; it is always easier to carry something down [and down, and down] than up.
What goes up must come down. Slowly.
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 14:59
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Best quarter was at Yeovilton. 4 bed detached, en-suite, on a cul-de-sac in the middle of the estate. We were the 2nd family to live in it. Great mix of services, ranks and trades and nationalities, we had the best time.

Our last quarter we had painted a couple of alcoves in the lounge a slightly different colour (wife’s idea obvs) to the standard magnolia. Came to march out and fill the holes in the walls and the magnolia we had was a different magnolia to the one on the walls. Painted the offending walls the same as the alcoves (not sure why we had so much paint), housing lady on march out never noticed. Result. Apologies to the next occupant who would have come to fill the holes with magnolia on their march and realised it was a different colour. And that they didn’t know what it was.

Had a friend in MQs who had noticed a smell of gas in the kitchen in the mornings, traced it to the rather ancient gas oven, reported it, told nothing wrong with it. Reports it again, check all the pipes etc but not the cooker, nothing wrong, open the window. On the third reporting, told to stop reporting it, she’s not getting a new one. Informs DHE that she will now ring British Gas and report a gas leak. They have statutory powers of entry (something like that) so they can’t be prevented from coming on base. When they get there, she will tell them that all the other cookers n the road are of a similar vintage and serviceability. Got a new one the next day. Charlatans.
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 16:47
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I seem to remember one of the guys at Odiham had a furnished private hiring, he reported the antique settee was missing a castor on move in and kept reporting it, come move out the hiring was returned to the owner and the RAF we’re billed a small fortune for the restoration of the Settee as the chassis had warped.
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 19:59
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I remember the concrete-floored attic in quarters at Lsarbruch that LB mentions - my NBC respirator came in handy to avoid breathing in dust when sweeping in preparation for march-out.

Marching out at Henlow was going well until the Families Officer lifted the corner of the sitting room carpet and found half a pack of playing cards under it. We hadn't played cards in the two years we'd been there, so they must have been left by the previous occupants.

On the plus side, 45 years years after retiring I still regularly use a garden fork and two pudding basins, all marked with broad arrows, that were written off for minor defects at various march-outs.
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 20:10
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The NBC respirator was handy for cleaning the oven too, especially in Germany when you could buy a decent ammonia solution. Strip the cooker of everything that would strip, stick it all in a black bin liner with a load of ammonia, wait 48 hrs then clean off what had not fallen off. However, my personal triumph was mixing a brew to clean the splatter from a mug of chocolate that had liberally decorated a white wall - being a Chemist has its advantages come march out time.
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 21:11
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Not march out from MQ but I’m sure many Cold War warriors will identify with this tale:

Decci (WTFIT?) late 70s. The notorious ‘Erks block’ had to be handed over between detached Sqn and new Sqn after the 2 week det period. Permanent staff conducted the March out (handover) from ‘their’ real estate between occupants.

All went well in our room with no chargeable damage identified, until….the WO was on his way out of our room and he stopped at the door which had the A4 fire poster on it.

He carefully lifted the poster to reveal a golf ball sized hole in the door skin. FCUK!

We were collectively charged around 50DM equivalent, IIRC. Subsequent chats with mates who also used the same room suggested this charge was repeated on every handover. I wonder where that money went?

Room occupants (not me, of course) got their own back by dropping a flouracine dye pack into the fountain outside….

Oh, how we laughed!


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Old 19th Nov 2023, 21:47
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The Attic in Portadown Way JHQ had started as a one-star billet. The inventory confirmmed that. Its continuous fall from grace was to become a Met Man's abode years later.
The attic had a "maid's room" complete with bed, bedside table but no wash basin and no bog.
Underred I set up a dummy facility, complete with a proper seat [on a metal wpb] and loo roll on a kosher holder.
A very unfavourite "friend" was allocated it one Christmas.
Ho! ho! Ho!
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 02:49
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I had a holding posting at RAF Gatow in 1974. The resident regiment in Spandau at the time were the KOSB's (King's Own Scottish Borderers), who had a bit of a reputation. I was mates with a 2/Lt at the time, who called me one day and urged me to come and see a marching out from one of the squaddie's flats. I duly arrived, and there was a large hole (very large, about 4ft x 3ft) in one of the walls between the bedroom and the lounge. Apparently it had been made so that the occupants could watch TV in bed ...
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 08:49
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Originally Posted by reynoldsno1
I had a holding posting at RAF Gatow in 1974. The resident regiment in Spandau at the time were the KOSB's (King's Own Scottish Borderers), who had a bit of a reputation. I was mates with a 2/Lt at the time, who called me one day and urged me to come and see a marching out from one of the squaddie's flats. I duly arrived, and there was a large hole (very large, about 4ft x 3ft) in one of the walls between the bedroom and the lounge. Apparently it had been made so that the occupants could watch TV in bed ...
Was BFBS worth the bother?

CG
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 09:26
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Orange/green frog furniture

The origins of all that awful orange/green psychedlic furniture can be found in the late 60s. My father was sent on a ground tour when Bassingbourn closed, and ended up in what was then the Directorate of Quartering. He told me the team had been carted off on a visit to the MPBW official warehouse to check out some new MQ furniture. Said items had allegedly been the brainchild of a well-known designer who had been somewhat miffed when the great British public refused to buy them, so all offered to MOD as a job lot/knock down price.

He and his colleagues spent several minutes looking at the artful arrangements in mocked-up rooms before agreeing that there was no way anyone would want this stuff, that their wives would kill them, and it would be unreasonable to foist them on the Services just because they were cheap. The answer was no, unsuitable. They went back to London satisfied with a job well done.

Imagine the surprise when lurid orange covers started to appear across the system a few months later. It turned out that their head of section (you can guess his branch), despite agreeing at the time the stuff was awful, had approved the contract anyway because he felt sorry for the designer!

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Old 20th Nov 2023, 10:01
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While in Germany, I was joed to inspect and sign off some new married quarters that had been built by a German contractor. The cookers had been fitted in a corner of the kitchen, thereby rendering 2 rings inoperable as the only safe place for a saucepan handle was over another ring. When I pointed this out, I was told German saucepans had two small handles either side so it was fine. I told them British saucepans didn't and refused to sign them off. There followed a protracted interview back on my unit where I had to explain my presumption. I am not sure what happened after that, but I believe they found someone more amenable. If anyone ended up in a quarter with a cooker stuck in a corner, I did my best.
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 15:16
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Originally Posted by Fortissimo
The origins of all that awful orange/green psychedlic furniture can be found in the late 60s. My father was sent on a ground tour when Bassingbourn closed, and ended up in what was then the Directorate of Quartering. He told me the team had been carted off on a visit to the MPBW official warehouse to check out some new MQ furniture. Said items had allegedly been the brainchild of a well-known designer who had been somewhat miffed when the great British public refused to buy them, so all offered to MOD as a job lot/knock down price.

He and his colleagues spent several minutes looking at the artful arrangements in mocked-up rooms before agreeing that there was no way anyone would want this stuff, that their wives would kill them, and it would be unreasonable to foist them on the Services just because they were cheap. The answer was no, unsuitable. They went back to London satisfied with a job well done.

Imagine the surprise when lurid orange covers started to appear across the system a few months later. It turned out that their head of section (you can guess his branch), despite agreeing at the time the stuff was awful, had approved the contract anyway because he felt sorry for the designer!
To add insult to injury, when we unpacked back in UK in our beautiful 5 bedroom house, we found, stuffed in the freezer, all the orange stuff.

Mystery, but it had to have been either the removers or the Families Officer / Barrack Warden 'avin a larf! Gave us a nasty turn!!

My wife said they were not even suitable as rags, so my first task was finding where the nearest tip was. I smuggled them there in bin liners or the equivalent, as to be seen with them was bad for street cred.
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 15:44
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Originally Posted by Ninthace
While in Germany, I was joed to inspect and sign off some new married quarters that had been built by a German contractor. The cookers had been fitted in a corner of the kitchen, thereby rendering 2 rings in operable as the only safe place for a saucepan handle was over another ring. When I pointed this out, I was told German saucepans had two small handles either side so it was fine. I told them British saucepans didn't and refused to sign them off. There followed a protracted interview back on my unit where I had to explain my presumption. I am not sure what happened after that, but I believe they found someone more amenable. If anyone ended up in a quarter with a cooker stuck in a corner, I did my best.
But was it built according to approved plan ?
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 16:00
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No idea and I didn't care. I was tasked with accepting the quarters into service, not the plans. and I couldn't in all conscience, so I didn't They weren't fit for purpose in my book, end of.
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 16:07
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Originally Posted by charliegolf
Was BFBS worth the bother?

CG
YES!

Musik Laden!

Sort of Pans People.....topless!

Case Rests!

lsh
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 20:13
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Originally Posted by charliegolf
Was BFBS worth the bother?CG
Not in 1974.
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 23:17
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'Cloggy 2' was the preferred channel when I was holding at RAF Wildenrath in 1975...

Was BFBS broadcast in PAL-I (the UK standard) or PAL-B/G (the German / Belgian / Dutch standard)? UK had a 6MHz split between sound and vision frequencies, whereas Germany / Belgium / Netherlands had a 5.5MHz split...
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Old 22nd Nov 2023, 22:01
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Originally Posted by BEagle
'Cloggy 2' was the preferred channel when I was holding at RAF Wildenrath in 1975...

Was BFBS broadcast in PAL-I (the UK standard) or PAL-B/G (the German / Belgian / Dutch standard)? UK had a 6MHz split between sound and vision frequencies, whereas Germany / Belgium / Netherlands had a 5.5MHz split...
Feedback from friends and neighbours was such that it was only in our last RAFG tour that we bothered with a TV. c. 1990. The highlight was the sheep dog trials [whatever it was called]. Our neighbour's dog often visited and would sit in front of an OFF TV. thus we would turn it on for the dog, who would watch anything. His highlight was the sheep ............ but then he was a failed sheep dog. One thing better than owning a dog is a doggy friend next door who drops in for a treat and an ear tickle.
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Old 23rd Nov 2023, 06:44
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Our first home as newly weds was at Aldergrove in 89. We lived in a permanent caravan whilst on "the list" waiting for a house. I remember the list was rank and points dependent, so as someone of a higher rank was posted in they slotted in above you. So eventually we were "awarded" a MQ. luckily it was just round the corner, so a realitively easy move.

Our new house with real bricks and a coal fire! was a million miles away from the ghetto caravan we'd lived in. Anyway our weekly or fortnightly coal deliveries with a botte of clear or honey potcheen (poitín) placed in the coal bunker. Posting time and the clean up, the walls were toothpasted and my wife used BiC razors to shave the carpet infront of the fire to get rid of the burn marks. That carpet must have been super thin and the bin filled with enough fluff to start our own teddybear filling company.

Good memories and we're 34 years married on this Saturday.

Last edited by NIREP reader; 23rd Nov 2023 at 15:03.
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