Derek Dawson 1st Btn. Bandsman, & his story.

Featuring- Derek Dawson (left) & Nobby Clark (photo courtesy of Derek Dawson)

Derek's Story.

I did my training at Pontefract Barracks, Italy Squad, Sgt Spencer MM, was the drill sgt. May 1955, after training I went into the Band !st. Battalion York and Lancaster Regt. we went from Pontefract to Dover Castle where apart from the Suez crisis we stayed until moving to Barnard Castle, County Durham in I think late 1957, when Suez blew up the Regt. along with the Royal Fusiliers and another were in the Lightning Brigade as they called it, ready for anywhere in 24 hours, we got up one morning and the Battalion had gone in the night,we were rear party and went to Aldershot ( Mandora Barracks, Para's) the brigade was first into Suez after the Para's, we painted everything, and I mean everything from Jungle Green to sand colour, and loaded the ship that we were supposed to be going on, the crisis only lasted 6 wks. so we had it all to unload again, we went back to Dover and continued with rehearsals for the presentation of new colours by the Earl of Scarborough,we used to march out of the Castle every morning for a two hour rehearsal in a field well away from the town, It was while we were at Dover that the Battalion made the film Dunkirk on the beach at Rye in Kent,( I think there is a Rye in Sussex isn't there? not that one.The stars of the film, Dickie Attenborough, John Mills and Sylvia Sims were entertained in the Officers mess by the band, after the concert we got the usual Kit-e -Kat sandwich and a small bottle of slape ale. we were at Barnard Castle until June 1959 and then went to West Berlin, Spandau Barracks,the prison, and Rudolph Hess backed onto our camp. the lads took turns with the allies, including the Russians to guard him,1 month each, In late 1960, just before Xmas in fact we moved to Munster, I was demobbed from Strensall, York in May 1961, 1 month late because I was the only bass player in the band and they robbed me of my pre-release course hoping to keep me in, the day I left Munster the whole band got the day off to see me off, to my knowledge never been done for anyone else, we had severe warnings what to expect if we didn't behave ourselves,( we did have quite a reputation in the Regt. ) we were on the town for 10.a.m and my train left at 2.30 so you can see why the warnings were necessary, when I finally got onto the train and all the lads were lined up on the platform, if one of them had said "come on Daws. get off I'm sure I would have done, Cheers DEREK