Early Days

The Regiment was formed in May 1939 as a second line regiment to the 57th Medium
Regiment RA / TA
A cadre from 57 was posted to 66th and the other members came from :-

Regimental HQ ...........................................Edinburgh
227 Battery HQ and A Troop......................Edinburgh
227 Battery B Troop.........................................East Lothians
228 Battery HQ and C Troop.......................Edinburgh
228 Battery D Troop ..................................................Dalkeith & Peebles

For a description of the early training which was much the same for all, we are indebted to the reminisences of one of the Peebles men who joined D Troop of 228 Battery.

" On friday 1st september 1939, news came over the radio that mobilisation had started and that all territorials were to report to their Drill halls.
There we were given a list of what kit to take and to parade the next morning when we would be transported to an !! unknown destination !!
On saturday morning the drill hall was a hive of activity, with men of the Royal Scotts and the 57th & 66th troops on parade. Our coach departed at 11:00 hrs to tearfull farewells from Mothers Wives and Girlfriends.
We thought we were bound for France but our destination proved to be no further than Dalkeith, where we joined the other half of "D" Troop.

We were billeted in a church hall in Dalkeith, our first night was memorable as we had only two blankets between three men and sleeping on a hard wooden floor. However we did get two blankets each on the second night but still had to sleep on the floor.

The Dalkeith men were more fortunate, they got home to their own beds. Toilet facilities were sparce one WC and one wash basin between forty men, meals however were satisfactory, being served at a local hostelry.
We were kitted out there and everyone had a Uniform, training comprised of Foot drill - PT - route marches and games. We had no Arms of any kind and Guard Duty was performed by a Stick picket.

In October we left Dalkeith and Marched to John Watsons Cololege in Edinburgh, where we were together as a Regiment. training was at Dalkeith but we did have some Rifles for Guard Duty and Rifle Drill.

Here we had our first clear out, the under twenties the over forties and those not 100% fit were posted away, mainly to Coastal Batteries.
To make up the numbers we had an intake of Miltia (21yr old Call Ups) drafted mainly from Fife, Yorkshire and Northumberland. They were billeted at the Dean School and were put through an intensive course of Drill.They adapted very quickly and became a useful addition to the Regiment.

In december we moved to Dreghorn, this was a newly erected camp, composed mof Nissen huts and we were the first to occupy them. It was luxury to us, for the first time we had beds with matresses and a coal stove for use at night.
At Dreghorn we had a further intake of reservists (Time served regulars). We called them
"" Old Sweats"" experts in Barrack room Law etc, they entertained us with their experiances of service life.

At Dreghorn there were two ancient guns (60pdrs I think) only for use for gun drill. I remeber doing gun drill one day and being observed by a newly joined Regular Officer. I noticed his face going a bit red, until he finally called
" STOP ".
"I have never seen such an exhibiton of gun drill in all my life, you are like a pack of Pregnant Nuns"
Granted we had not done any gun drill for four months but " Pregnant Nuns " that hurt. The drill did improve however.

Another story fro dreghorn days which made its way into Regimental tradition was that of the ! boiled eggs ! One night 500 eggs arrived for next days Breakfast, the Junior cook on duty calculated 3 mins per egg, 500 eggs equals 1,500 minutes.
So he boiled them all night !!!!!! they were a bit hard in the morning !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Life was quite pleasant when in Edinburgh, we got home on a week-end pass most weeks but this came to an end in 1940 when we moved to Chippenham in Wiltshire and leave dropped to only one week in three months.


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Copyright © 2003, Chris Dunham . All Rights Reserved