Memories of Sylvia Hall

The wife of Brian (Nobby) Hall


Brian re-enlisted into the Lancashire Fusiliers in August 1961. After doing some basic training he was posted to Osnabruck
I joined him there sometime in 1962. We lived at the Hotel Schumla, which was near the Tiergarten. 5 families lived there. Dot and Harvey Street, and Val and Geordie Bacon from the Fusiliers. Another couple were from the RCT and I think the other couple were Royal. Anglian

The Schumla AutoHotel 1962
We all shared the kitchen and bathroom and toilets. We had to ask Herr Willie, the Landlord when we wanted a bath. The access to the Bathroom was through the Gents Toilet. The kitchen had two electric cookers and of course we had to plan our meals so that we could get along with each other. My great friend was Dot Street. She had Janet then, but we had no children. Dot and I used to go to the Church Army, which was near the NAAFI at Kleine Moscow (I think that is what it was called), Sedan Strasse?, most days to pass the time. It wasn't too bad living in the Hotel, but not ideal.

Me, at Schumla Osnabruck

In the Dining Room Hotel Schumla


The Battalion were stationed in Quebec Barracks and 20 caravans were purchased and placed round a barrack block, for families. We moved into one before Duncan was born in 1963. Each family had a room in the Barrack Block as well as the Caravan. It really was roughing it. LOL. Bill Dean lived one side of us. I cant remember who was on the other side. I do remember McClarens living in one. They had two boys and one Sunday afternoon whilst their mum and dad were otherwise engaged the boys found some red paint and proceeded to paint each other.

We eventually got our first real Married Quarter about August 1963 at Dodeshide. It was lovely. Upstairs flat in a two storey block.

In 1963 the Battalion moved to Norton Barracks Worcester and we were issued a one bedroom, downstairs converted stable inside the Barracks. It was a bit grim. A mouse lived with us. In the same block and above us was the McClaren Family. Rather noisy family with I think by then 3 boys.

The Bn went to British Guiana for 9 months in December 1964 ( I think Brian was Advance Party) I was pregnant and decided to go home to Mum and Dad until Brian came back.. I had Wendy in June 1965 and Brian came home in September. He hired a car and moved us back to Norton Barracks

Our next move in 1965 was to Weeton Camp near Blackpool.
We had a B Type quarter which we lived in for a short time and then we got the chance to move into a C Type. From my kitchen window I could see Viv and Joe's qtr.. We used to see quite a bit of each other pushing prams! ! ! ! !Tommy Clare was our next door neighbour. Paddy Doyle lived across the road and George and Beryl Aldred were at the other end of the street. Margaret and Bill Phillips also lived on that street. I think I counted up once that in about 20 quarters there were over 60 children. A butchers van used to come round weekly, and there was also sheet exchange every other week. The days before Duvets.
There was a Nursery for the little ones and at one time a child in every house had measles closely followed by chicken pox. It was a long walk to the Post Office on Mondays to get the Army Allowance. (I think mine was £15 per week). The Post office was near the main gate of the barracks furthest away from out MQ.

From there we moved to Hong Kong. A long flight with two small children, which was extended because a Typhoon was expected in HK so we did an additional stop at Bangkok. We had breakfast there, surrounded by Americans who were on R &R from Vietnam.
When we arrive in HK it was to be told that there was no quarter for us. After the call forward The Families Officer had 150 Quarters taken from him. (Capt. Clare was FO) So our first stop there was the Golden Gate Hotel. One bedroom, bathroom and Chinese food. I think we were there a short time maybe a week. Then the Pay Sgts invited us to go and stay with his family. (I think it was Les Rigg) We stayed with them for two weeks but our children did not get on.
Next accommodation was 11 floors up a 17 story block of flats, with Chinese in the same building. Bob and Ray Shaw were on the same floor as us. A Communist school was beside these flats.They started chanting the Communist mantra at 7 or 8 in a morning and continued till the same time in the evening. It got raided one night and we had a ringside seat. It was very noisy living there though. The flat was OK 2 or 3 bedrooms and even a room for the Amah. (Servant) ours did not live in thought but came every day to do the laundry. £1 per week. Starching was a speciality. LOL.

Eventually we move to Sham Shui Po. Quite a nice flat with a huge balcony. Lorraine and Derek Napier lived in the same block. It was handy for Stonecutters Island were we used to go swimming. Hong Kong was a great for sun bathing and swimming. I believe that that year the swimming pool was kept open an extra month because our Battalion was not acclimatized. The parade when the Hackles changed to red and white was great but also sad. There was a big ball at the Peninsula Hotel I did not much enjoy those do's I loved to dance but Brian had two left feet.
We only stayed in HK for 9 months until Brian was posted back to UK. To St. Georges Barracks, Sutton Coldfield. I don't think I was in HK long enough to get bored. Life was what you made it. Considering in the 9 moths we moved home 4 times, I had not got time to get bored.

Ronnie and Rose Wilkinson travelled with us and I think it was Bob Hope and his wife. Ronnie and Rose came to Sutton Coldfield but I don't know what happened to the Hopes. Of course St. George's Barrack was the Depot for RRF.