Below is a piece of writing my father wrote regarding his first day of joining the Army:-
I got off the bus, opposite to my intended destination. If I had any lingering doubts that it was right, the notice on the roadside, quickly dispelled them, as it was painted in bold black letters, “The Guards Depot, Caterham.”
I walked in to the entrance to the Depot, which was a stone built building of turn of the 19th century origin, and stopped at a wire gate.
A tall sergeant appeared from the office, and came to a halt in front of me. I gave him my identification papers from the recruiting office in Sheffield, which he accepted without comment. Then I was startled to hear him bellow in the recesses of the office, “orderly, take this man to the waiting block.” A long lean guardsman emerged from the guard house, at a run. He came to a shuddering halt in front of the sergeant and stood erect with his arms at his sides. Then the sergeant commanded “double march left right,” and I was running behind the orderly, with my suitcase in my hand. I was to find that this mode of motion was the norm for all recruits at the depot.
No communication took place with the orderly and I, and I pursued him, at a frantic pace to the company stores. There I was issued with: bedding, four blankets, two sheets, a mug and knife, fork and spoon.
From there the orderly guided me to the waiting room, not at the same demented pace, but a slower one, as a concession to my new found burden from the company stores.
There were a few other recruits in the waiting block, so called because the new recruits were based, before they were assigned to their first squad.
There wasn’t much time left in the day, travelling down from Rotherham, meant it was afternoon before I got there. My memories of the first day are vague for some of the detailed happenings, but after tea in the cookhouse, it seemed to be quickly time for bed.