Edward Minte

Edward shared some of his memories in January 2017.


Hi Julie,


I found your web site this morning and duly signed your guestbook but I thought you might like a bit more detail to add to the short posting I made.


I was conscripted into the Royal Army Pay Corps at the beginning of February 1955 (so you can work out how old I am!) to serve two years as a National Serviceman.  Sent to Devizes I began my training during a very cold snap with sub zero temperatures and snow on the ground. A heavy head cold developed into Pneumonia and, having spent a few days in Tidworth Military Hospital, I was transferred to RVH Netley to recuperate. Have to say I had a great time there and was quite astonished at the building in which I found myself. The routine was that we were required to perform light duties during the mornings and afternoons were free. As I was from the RAPC it was decided that I should work in the Admission & Discharge Office (A&D) situated in a spare ward on the top floor near the Southampton end of the building. So as you can imagine, I was treated to the grand vista of the corridor right down into the distance.


Some days we used the afternoons to go into Southampton. We walked out of the gate down to the village where we caught the green Hants and Dorset bus from Hamble to Woolston from where we crossed the Itchen on the Floating Bridge. A Southampton Corporation bus took us up to the centre - cinema was often the ultimate destination. I wish I could remember more of daily life at RVH but, being sixty two years ago, this year (!) much has been lost in the mists of time. I do recall the hydraulic lifts connecting the floors. They were operated by pulling on a chain (or was it a rope) – pull down and the lift went up and pull up to go down. There was no safety lock on the doors, you could open the lattice gate and peer into the shaft!! No Health & Safety those days. The railway station and track were still in existence at the back of the hospital, but obviously out of use. There was a part of the pier still standing and we could walk out a short distance on it.


Sadly one day I had to return to Devizes to complete my basic training.  I think, in many ways, apart from being ill, I was lucky and had an experience few National Servicemen had. Of course the place was looking pretty tired by then and it must have closed not long after my stay, convalescence, I understand was transferred to Chester. Oh………… and by the way, I didn’t see any grey lady!


Trust this will have been of some interest.


Best wishes



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