Memoirs of Douglas Morriss
Training - From Sandhurst after a successful three terms when I was appointed Cadet Lance Corporal after my first term, reaching the rank of Sergeant for my third term, I passed as a commissioned 2nd Lieutenant with the Royal Berkshire Regiment.
My commission document signed by HM King George V in September 1932 is with these papers.
I joined the 2nd Battalion stationed at Shorncliffe in Kent and did two years intensive training including courses:
- Young Officers’ Small Arms Course at Hythe (qualified 1st Class)
- Army School PT Officers’ Course at Aldershott (qualified Q1)
- Heavy Weapons Wing (Machine Gun) at Netheravon (qualified Q1)
- Anti-Gas Course ((qualified Q).
Certificates still in existence are with these papers. After the Hythe course they applied for me to be posted to their staff. Happily for me, my CO refused, retaining me in the Battalion. My life might have been very different had he conceded.
However, life in general was full and busy. I played for the Battalion Cricket XI and the Rugby and Hockey Teams. We had in the station a cavalry regiment, The Queen’s Bays, with all their horses. They helped young Infantry Officers by lending them horses for the hunting season. They were called “15 Bobbers” – the monthly charge. My “fly-by-night”, a lovely mare, carried me safely round four point-to-point races though I never won.
Leave was minimal. I got home twice during these two years, both times for several weeks Christmas breaks. Orderly Officer duties came round every 7 or 8 days and one dined in Mess in full Mess Kit in a stiff shirt and stiff collar five nights a week. One had to watch every penny. One’s pay as a 2nd Lt, at which rank one served for three years, was 9 shillings and 10 pence (9s/10d) per day which was 15 on a full 31 day month. Without a little help from home it was very difficult to survive, but one did.
Our Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Fullbrook-Legatt, a kindly and distinguished Officer with a DSO and MC from the First World War, married and with two attractive teen-age daughters, kept a close eye on young Officers and their behaviour. If one’s wine bill exceeded 5 in a month, one would be told to “watch one’s drink intake”.