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Memories Of Queen Elizabeth Barracks And The Women’s Royal Army Corps

Guildford resident and volunteer town guide Angela Rose is a former member of the Women’s Royal Army Corps (WRAC). After training at Camberley, her first posting was to the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Stoughton, now the residential area known as Queen Elizabeth Park. Here, she recalls her memories of that time

I joined the army in August 1978. I trained at the WRAC College in Camberley and my first posting was to Guildford. The entrance was from Grange Road where there was a guardroom.

Angela Rose (second from left) with some of her fellow subalterns.

Angela Rose (second from left) with some of her fellow subalterns.

There were four companies of service women. Headquarter Company, Holding and Drafting, Number 1 Training Company (yellow flash) and Number 2 Training Company (green flash).

I can’t remember who ran the three-day courses for people wanting to join the army. They did it very well because we had a very low drop out rate compared to the men.

Passing out parade on July 134, 1979. This was the last one that Angela Rose attended. Further pictures are from the same parade.

Passing out parade on July 13, 1979. This was the last one that Angela Rose attended. Further pictures are from the same parade.

The full course ran for six weeks. Number 1 Company were a week ahead. At the end of the course there was a passing out parade. We had our own excellent band, and if they were busy we had a band from one of the male regiments. This was an occasion for family to see their member transformed, followed by a good lunch in the cookhouse.

Angela Rose 06Entering the camp past the guardhouse on the right was the pay office. Straight ahead was the huge parade ground with a covered area. This is where the sergeant major took us to learn to shout (from the stomach) and sharpened our drill!

The HQ was on the left of the entrance with 1 and 2 Training Company offices further down. Carry on in this direction and you came to the officers’ mess.

Further round the parade ground was the education office followed by the sergeants’ mess. The accommodation for everyone else was further round with the Naafi as far away from the officers’ mess as possible. There were a lot of green areas and it was a bit hilly.

The girls usually arrived in Guildford by train and there were two subalterns meeting them. The more confident always asked about the ‘talent ‘ and when would they meet the guys? They were in for a disappointment. Often they would be chewing gum and their dress could be described as inappropriate!

It was such fun and a privilege to have been part of a team that transformed young teenagers into professional young women, some of whom have hopefully gone on to do amazing things.

They had to learn to march, get fit, learn map reading, wear a gas mask, keep their hair off their collar, iron their uniforms, clean their shoes and keep their rooms tidy – all in six weeks.

For us subalterns it was also a special time. We worked hard, continued to keep fit and coped with our senior officers who we called ‘Mam’.

When I was there we had our first ‘gentlemen’s night’. The younger officers invited guests, mostly military, so it was all very colourful. The seating plan was interesting as the ‘Mams’ all sat next to our guests while we sat with our friends. But it was fun.

Angela Rose 03My last passing out parade was in July 1979 and I was then moved to holding and drafting. I had weekends free!

This company had been for people who had been injured and were recovering, or had been naughty and no one knew what to do with them, and people waiting for discharge.

Angela Rose 04Moving on became tricky to arrange. Most of the service women went into trade training. Drivers had to be over 5ft 5ins and went to the Royal Corps of Transport.

Policewomen over 5ft 8in went to the Royal Military Police. Some women went to the Royal Corps of Signals. There were other regiments that took women but it meant that girls had to wait up to four weeks in holding and drafting. My job was to write and run a programme of military activities to keep them busy and involved.

I moved on in June 1980 and the WRAC was disbanded in 1992.

Both the site of the WRAC College in Camberley and the WRAC centre in Guildford are now housing estates.

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121 Responses to Memories Of Queen Elizabeth Barracks And The Women’s Royal Army Corps

  1. Millie Pearce Reply

    February 18, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Wonderful memories. I joined in 1978, best years of my life.

    • Chrissy Davies Reply

      September 16, 2016 at 9:43 pm

      What month did you join?

      I joined in September of that year in 1 company 1 platoon.

    • Audrey McDougall Reply

      November 10, 2017 at 3:29 am

      Audrey McDougall (nee Rowley)

      I joined September 1968 best thing I ever did! Would do it all over again.

      • Julie Bateson Reply

        December 22, 2017 at 12:12 am

        I joined in September 1968. What company were you in?

  2. Sandra Crawford Reply

    April 14, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    I didn’t chew gum and ask about ‘the talent’. I was 5’4″ and went on as WRAC Provost to work as a Military Policewoman.

    • Aileen Bennett Sochon Reply

      September 28, 2017 at 10:32 am

      I’ve only just clicked the bit about “talent and chewing gum”. Bit slow on the uptake. I’m afraid.

      I didn’t last long, only did 22 days. I was so homesick.

      Not sure why I joined, maybe fate, as I met my husband to be at the disco. Was it The Royal or The Oak or maybe The Royal Oak? It was within walking distance from the barracks. We all headed there on our first Saturday night being allowed out.

      I joined in April 1971. (Left May 1971 ?)

    • Elisabeth Barbour Reply

      January 15, 2018 at 2:52 pm

      I wonder when Sandra Crawford served in WRAC/Provost? I was also 5-4. I was in from October 76 to Jan 80. Units served in: Bulford (158 Pro Coy) NI (Belfast) on the training staff, Chichester (RMP depot) and Aldershot (Mounted Troop and 160).

  3. Heather Brunton Reply

    May 1, 2016 at 11:37 am

    I served from 1963 till 1967 in HQ, also had the honour of being part of Guard of Honour when Her Majesty opened the park.
    I enjoyed my time.

  4. B Graham Reply

    May 6, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    I joined in 1975, and after my trade training got posted back to Guildford. Some of the best times were had there, the summer of “76” being one of them.

    • Julie Kerswell Reply

      February 12, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      I joined in June 1976, square bashing was far from fun in the heat, left Guildford to do my trade training at Aldershot, then on completion, posted back to Guildford where I worked in the MT platoon and went on to be Brigadier’s driver. Loved every minute, so much so I re-enlisted in February 1988.

  5. Stefanie Hodges Reply

    May 7, 2016 at 1:24 am

    I joined in 1971, it was the beginning of life changing journey which has left life-long wonderful memories; none, thank goodness, of inappropriately dressed females chewing gum and searching out the ‘local talent’.

    • Erika Lindsay Reply

      July 30, 2016 at 1:27 pm

      When in 1971 did Stefanie join I wonder? I joined on 29th December 1971, I can remember ‘celebrating’ New Year’s Eve there.

      My name was then Erika Journeaux, now Erika Lindsay. I have some good memories myself and often reminisce about the good old days!

    • Lynda Goodier Reply

      March 14, 2017 at 5:57 pm

      Hi Stefanie,

      What month were you there? I was May.

  6. Anne Mcritchie Reply

    May 13, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    I joined in Oct 1970, was the right marker for the passing out parade, was terrified in case I got it wrong, then went on to Aldershot for driver training.

    Does anyone know where I can get any photos or videos? Unfortunately I don’t have any. Thanks.

    By the way, I was one of those chewing gum and asking where the local talent was. Lol.

    My name then was Anne Little.

    • Isabella Jenkinson Reply

      September 15, 2016 at 10:57 pm

      Me too Stefanie Sept 71

    • Anna Orlinski Reply

      September 16, 2016 at 10:43 am

      I was there October 1970. If you go on Facebook and find intake pictures I have posted mine, so have loads of others. Also see northern branches of the WRAC Association page. There are some photos and videos.

  7. Lorraine Kalyan Reply

    August 8, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    I completed my basic training at Guilford in 1979. It began in February. I was held back for my trade training at Catterick. I had a great experience and left the WRAC on 3rd December 1983 having served in Northern Ireland and Germany.

    Lorraine Kalyan (nee Pickering)

    • Julie Lynes Reply

      October 10, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      Hi there, I too passed out at Guildford starting in Feb 79…. My name was Julie Boakes.. Do we know each other?

      • Diane Faulkner Reply

        August 2, 2017 at 8:32 pm

        Hi Julie, Doddy Faulkner here. You were private at Mill Hil, 12 Coy WRAC. You were promoted and moved abroad I believe. I was a full screw [corporal] at the time.

  8. Tricia Wright Reply

    September 15, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    I joined in 1971, I came down from Aberdeen then now I live in Godalming just outside Guildford.
    Tricia Wright (nee Cook)

  9. Julie Williams Reply

    September 15, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Great days! Brings a tear to my eye looking at the camp as it was. I joined August 1979.

    • Sue Mackel Reply

      September 16, 2016 at 5:19 pm

      Did you join 6th August 79 if so what platoon were you?

  10. Fifi Baker Reply

    September 15, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    I joined June 1985 – the best years of my life. 1992 was such a sad year.

    • Mary Mills-Brown Reply

      August 2, 2017 at 4:33 pm

      I am wondering if Fifi Baker is my friend Fiona?

  11. Gill Tully Reply

    September 15, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    I was there then as a training NCO of 2 coy. I loved every min of it.

    • Tracey Mundin Reply

      November 11, 2017 at 9:25 pm

      I was at Guildford August 1978 when my name was Tracey Kirby. I was a corporal in the medical centre. Col Robby was the doc and matron was Lt Col Rosemary Sutton. Brilliant times.

    • Pejay Armatrading Reply

      December 26, 2017 at 10:49 pm

      Gill Tully, you were one of my NCOs I believe.

      Private Harris. If so you will remember Bobby Grant.

  12. Chrissy Davies Reply

    September 15, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    I was at Guildford from September 1978 and moved on to Deepcut for trade training.

    I lived about five miles away before joining up and now I live five miles away and I enjoyed every minute of my time there.

  13. Jacqui Nichol Reply

    September 15, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    So many wonderful memories. The beginning of a long learning curve, one which I am proud to have taken. (1983)

  14. Catherine Smith Reply

    September 15, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    These pics are awesome. Good memories on the parade ground. And a few trying to get back into camp.

  15. Carolyn Moldrik Reply

    September 15, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    I joined as a young 19-year-old on 14 November 1983 and thoroughly enjoyed my six weeks at Guildford.

    I intended to join for three years then join the police force. Here I am 33 years later still serving with another three to go. The army has been my life and wouldn’t chamge it for the world.

    • Paula Ayris-Webster Reply

      August 10, 2017 at 12:30 am

      I joined in Nov 1983 too! I was Paula Doyle at the time. Had Debbie Tipping as a training NCO and I think the other was Carol Wilson? Shared with another 3 great girls during training. Still have a photo of us.

      One of the other girls was from Wales? Unfortunately no longer have contact with anyone from my army days!

  16. Catherine Smith was lloyd nickname taffy 3 Reply

    September 15, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    I joined 4th nov 1974, passed out in December and went ontotrade training RAOC at Blackdown.

    I was then posted to cod Donnington until I married my hubby (RCT) and finished my three years.

    The best three years they were, made true friends and had so much fun.

    • Sheila Barclay (nee) Boardman. Reply

      September 16, 2016 at 6:45 am

      I joined 4th Nov 1974 too. Really enjoyed my time with the WRAC, it changed my life in the best way possible, and when I married my husband and had my daughters my life was complete, very happy memories of my time in, and with the army.

  17. Nicky Hughes Reply

    September 16, 2016 at 12:03 am

    Not sure how I managed to become a driver then as I was only 5’4″!! I really enjoyed my time in the WRAC (November 1978) – I completed seven years and only left because my husband was posted abroad and there was no posting for me. Wonderful years and memories

    Nicky (nee Milon)

    • Sheila Baclay Reply

      August 2, 2017 at 7:14 pm

      I was turned down for a driver as I was too light. Still everything happens for a reason. I met my beloved hubby and we have been married 39 years now with children and grandchildren. Loved my new life beginning at Guildford.

  18. Lieann Andrew (nee Hall) Reply

    September 16, 2016 at 12:44 am

    I joined up in 1987 and 1989, so went through basic training twice therefore have many good memories and friends to look back on.

    My 18th birthday celebrations were spent in Sands, with hot chocolate 🙂 and I believe we may have been the only troop to be involved in a minibus accident a week before pass out parade!

    I remember walking through the gate at 3am in the morning after being released from A&E!

    Crutches and slings were evident on our pass out parade too. Thankfully everyone survived but it was a story to tell.

    • Lisa Hodgin Reply

      October 8, 2017 at 10:32 pm

      I think I was in your platoon? I was in that minibus accident where it rolled over.

  19. Lorraine Hood Reply

    September 16, 2016 at 5:12 am

    I joined up in 1966. I was 5’2″and went in to be a staff car driver. I completed my training at Yeovil then posted to Hounslow. Happy memories. x

    • Anne Trott Reply

      September 16, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      Hello Lorraine I was at Guildford in June/July 1966 loved it I also went on to Yeovil then to 29 Company Monchengladbach. I was Anne Love then. Met my husband at Yeovil, had 3 kids and 6 grandchildren, married 50 years next March.

      • Rosa Charlesworth Reply

        August 5, 2017 at 1:58 pm

        I had a similar route to you Anne Trott but nearly 18 months later. After Guildford, I was sent to Yeovil for clerical training then posted to Mons, Aldershot for a year, followed by 29 Coy, Monchengladbach, Germany until I left on marriage in ’71.

      • Linda Dennett Reply

        February 14, 2018 at 5:49 pm

        Hi Anne, I was at Guildford in 66 my number was W/429256 my name was Linda Salmon.

    • Joyce Nicholls Reply

      August 1, 2017 at 10:32 pm

      Hi Lorraine I was at Guildford April 1966 – August 1966 I recognise your name I went to JHQ Signals

  20. Mary Ann Clark Reply

    September 16, 2016 at 6:26 am

    I joined Oct 1978. I was in 1 platoon.
    Proud to have served.

  21. Jacky Elliman Reply

    September 16, 2016 at 6:51 am

    I went to Guildford twice, in 1978 while in the TA, for two weeks basic, and then for six weeks in 1979 when I joined up in the regular army. I had been Royal Signals in the TA but the recruiting officer in Forest Gate was WRAC Provost and persuaded me to change! I will admit to being over 5’6″ by quite a bit!

  22. Wendy Ann Wall (Dee. Cozens) Reply

    September 16, 2016 at 9:25 am

    I joined WRAC in August 1961 and after trade training in Blackdown I got posted to COD Donnington loved every minute.

    Got married whilst at COD Donnington but in those days you had to leave when you married.

    I am now active member of WRAC Association, have many wonderful friends, attend a dinner club and am a member of the Cleveland Branch WRAC. We have fantastic group of kind caring ladies who take care of each and every member who are only phone call away.

  23. Denise White (nee Oakley) Reply

    September 16, 2016 at 9:54 am

    I joined January 1980 and did my six weeks basic training in Guildford. I had to wait in H&D[?] for several weeks until I could go to Leconfield for my trade training as a driver, because there was no space for us.

    I absolutely loved all my time in the WRAC and Guildford will be a very special place forever etched in my heart.

  24. Shirley Robertson nee Fenn Reply

    September 16, 2016 at 9:56 am

    I joined Dec 1971, it was fab, life changing and character building. I remember going into Guildford for nights out. I completed six years and loved it all.

    • Thomas O'Halloran Reply

      November 11, 2016 at 4:58 pm

      My sister Anne O’Halloran joined in 1972/73. I’m trying to find photos from that year with my sister in them. If anyone has some my email is: I’m on facebook as tucker ohalloran.

  25. Lynn Thornton Reply

    September 16, 2016 at 10:48 am

    I joined in 1991 and then went on to Germany as a chef. I am now a member of the Royal British Legion. Once a solder always a soldier, it is always in your blood. I am thinking of joining the reserves as I was in the TA before I joined the regulars.

  26. Heather Campbell Holmes Reply

    September 16, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Loved my time there. I’d do it all again. Went on to Aldershot to St Omer catering training school. It made me grow up. Best experience of my life. I am 55 now but if they would have me back I would go back in.

  27. Dave Rogers Reply

    September 16, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    WRAC = Warm Round And Cuddly. Best and most respectful memories.

    • Wendy Sibthorpe nee Hartfree Reply

      November 20, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      Unfortunately, some called us Weekly Rations of Army Crumpet – but they didn’t say it a second time.

      • Aileen Bennett Sochon Reply

        September 28, 2017 at 10:37 am

        They didn’t all use the word crumpet either ?

  28. Daphne Brettle wo801364 Reply

    September 16, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    This has brought back memories very find ones. Good friends were made here and two.of them still years later.

    I loved my time here especially the PT and the exercise in Gosport with CBRN training etc.

    I was in number 2 company. I had the green flash. Sgt Totley was our Sgt.

    Fab times.

  29. Sue Battison Reply

    September 16, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    I joined in Jan 71, a very life changing experience and fab 9 year journey! would do it all again!! 😉

  30. Heather Campbell Holmes Reply

    September 21, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Our passing out parade was filmed on Nationwide, the highest ranking woman, a brigadier was retiring.

    They stuck me in the middle because I had a funny march.

  31. Trysh Hibell (was Teresa Fitzgerald_ Reply

    October 12, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    How wonderful to real all your memories, made me quite emotional!

    I joined in November 1975 (W457137), and also spent time in H&D whilst waiting for my posting.

    We had Cpl’s Rolfe and McCartney and Major Gurney (I think). Great times and wonderful memories. My only regret is I didn’t take many photos but loved looking at yours.

  32. Bonita D Ingram Reply

    November 13, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    I was a private in the WRAC. I joined in 1966, I think it was. The commanding officer was Capt Bickerdyke.

    I went on to join the Royal Corps Signals at Catterick and then down to Aldershot. I can’t remember my number, well only part of it “W/430” and would like to find out. Had a fantastic life whilst in – wouldn’t have missed it

  33. Ellen Procter (nee Kennedy) Reply

    November 21, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    I joined 1st Company in April 1969. I remember marching in the most horrendous khaki raincoats until our uniforms were ready and being ‘excused’ shoes as I had the worst blisters on both feet.

    I was right marker for the passing out parade and then onto Catterick for trade training as a communications centre operator and spent a few weeks in holding back in Guildford while waiting for my flight out to Singapore.

    I loved every moment of my time in the army and don’t envy the brave women who now join as combatants.

  34. Heather Brunton nee Rodger Reply

    January 27, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    I joined in 1963, was in guard of honour when officially opened by HM The Queen.

  35. Elaine Robinson Reply

    February 2, 2017 at 2:08 am

    I joined the WRAC in 1971 and was stationed at Guildford. My name then was Elaine Turrell (nickname was “Tilly” given to me by Q Read from the cookhouse). I made some good friends but have lost contact with them. They were the best days of my life.

    • Gwen Greenwood (Nee Aldred) Reply

      February 10, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      I would like to ask Elaine Robertson: Did work in the cookhouse? What dates where you there ? I worked there June 71-Jan 73

  36. Joan Marshall Reply

    February 10, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    I joined in August 1961. We were at the old Guildford [Barracks?].

    I remember being in the parade for the dedication of the WRAC window in, the then new, Guildford Cathedral. I went to Yeovil on clerical trainingL then a few weeks at Lingfield, then Woolwich and then eventually to Kingston to work at the War Office.

    I spent a few weeks working in Lansdowne House in Berkeley Square. Next posting was two years in Hong Kong then finished my four years as a sergeant at FVRDE Chertsey. All great memories.

    • Pat Brown Reply

      August 2, 2017 at 7:12 pm

      I was in Guildford 1961,then Yeovil clerical tag W/411312′ my name was Pat Brown one of the common names served 1972.

  37. Jane Smith Reply

    February 10, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    I joined May 1977 remember Guildford with good memories of basic training.

    I was called Jane Kingston my first posting was Beaconsfield then onto Donnington before I left to get married.

  38. Vivienne Fagan (nee Emery) Reply

    February 10, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    I enlisted on the 11th February 1969, 47 years ago tomorrow! I served in Germany with the Intelligence Corps. I’m still in touch with a few people from back then.

    I was amused to see H and D Company described as a place to park naughty girls. I was there for about three weeks because my TB jab caused some complications and I had to wait to continue with my trade training. I wouldn’t have dared to misbehave there. Cpl Goodfellow wouldn’t have liked it!

  39. Irene Edge (nee Lydiate) Reply

    February 10, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    I trained in Mar ’74 in 2 Company. Returned in ’77ish and was a sergeant in H&D. Really enjoyable and fun times even though being posted to the training centre initially was daunting.

  40. Dorothy Mitchelmore Reply

    February 11, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Lovely to read all the comments and it brings memories flooding back of such happy times.

    I feel so blessed to have had the fantastic experience with the WRAC.

    I joined October 13th 1975 -1980. I don’t remember which company I was in but I do remember a bomb scare on the first night there though and having to grab a blanket and sit in the shed on the parade square.

    Spent my years in Rheindahlen having a blast. Met my husband there and now have two daughters and two beautiful grandchildren.

    • Cathie Oxford Reply

      February 11, 2017 at 7:09 pm

      Hi Dorothy, I joined same time as you and remember the bomb scare and also went to Rheindahlen. I was Cathie Mitchell in those days does that name mean anything at all?

      • Dorothy Mitchelmore Reply

        February 12, 2017 at 7:17 am

        Hi to Cathy Oxford.

        Her name sounds familiar. I was posted to Northag 2Ataf (Northag Signal Troop) along side Karen McCoy nee Bradley.
        I was in block 12 opposite the Marley and next door to 29 Coy office.

        Great times for a young 18 year old: discos every night; Pops and Eddies; two cinema’s; open air swimming pool; tennis court; shopping centre.

        I felt like I was on holiday when I first arrived.

        Rheindahlen was such a special place.

  41. Karen Cable Reply

    February 12, 2017 at 6:31 am

    I joined January 1983 & left June 1995. Best years of my life and will never be forgotten. Still in touch with some girls I joined with and others I met along the way. Glad to say the camaraderie never leaves you. 🙂

  42. Dave Middleton Reply

    February 13, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    It is really lovely to see all these happy memories of the Women’s Royal Army Corps (WRAC) Depot. I was RAF and male, so I obviously didn’t do my training at Queen Elizabeth Park barracks. I went to RAF Swinderby in Lincolnshire and have some equally happy memories of that place.

    I can remember fishing at the nearby Britten’s Pond on Salt Box Road and seeing squads of recruits from the camp, on what I guess was cross country runs, running round the pond.

    Nowadays, I live very close to the barracks site and before it was sold off and redeveloped into housing, I was able to have a good wander around the WRAC camp and the RE Map & Chart Depot adjacent to it, on a number of occasions after it had been closed for several years.

    I was sad to see the level of vandalism that the buildings had been subject to by the local “yoof”, but despite all that, I could still sense an aura of happiness while wandering around the accommodation blocks, messes, the NAAFI, gym and training rooms.

    Those who served at the WRAC camp in its last years, may recall what was then the brand new and purpose build WRAC Museum building on site. I think it was only open for a year or so before the camp closed. This is the only surviving building from the camp and now houses the Guildford Army Cadet Detachment of the Princess of Wales’s Own Royal Regiment and the Surrey Army Cadet Band.

    I’m lucky enough to live next door to a Mrs Joyce Russell, who I believe was the head groundswoman on the camp for many years and she often tells me of those days.

    It’s a little sad to think that now there is no military presence in Guildford, Surrey’s county town, beyond a few cadet detachments and a Royal Navy/Royal Marine recruiting office.

  43. Debora Griffiths nee Hodson Reply

    May 14, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    I joined in April 1978. Stayed in Guildford as guardroom staff. Married a Welsh Guard and left in 1981.

    Great seeing the pictures.

  44. Wendy Sutton Reply

    August 1, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    I joined in November 1971, moved to Blackdown for clerical training, then Woolwich to wait for clearance to attend intelligence training in Loughborough. Followed up with postings to Germany and Cyprus. I married a soldier and spent the next 20+ years involved with the military in one guise or another. What a charmed life! My maiden name was Roden.

  45. Vivienne Fagan (nee Emery) Reply

    August 1, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    I joined the WRAC TA in 1968 and went to Guildford in February 1969 when I joined as a regular. I completed trade training as a clerk in Aldershot/Deepcut, AnSI training at Garat’s Hay in Leicestershire before being posted to 13 Sigs in Germany.

    I married a fellow soldier and left the WRAC in December 1972 because I was expecting my first son. Thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and proud to have served.

  46. Yvonne Ward Reply

    August 2, 2017 at 11:57 am

    I joined in Feb 1983, passed out in March and I left the army in 1989. Being in the army was simply the best.

  47. Louise Bridgeman Reply

    August 2, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    I Joined up in 1971 into the Royal Artillery. I served for 12 years and came out in 1983. I am transgender and transitioned in 2009. I have lots of friends in the WRAC and am an honorary Member of a WRAC web site. I only wish I had been born female, as I would have worn the WRAC beret with the upmost pride. You are all a great bunch of lasses. Warm, close and caring. Proud to have served alongside you all especially in Northern Ireland.

    • Steve Gooderson-Miller Reply

      October 17, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      Good for you Louise, in today’s society a public and brave statement to make. I respect that.

      I’m ex-ACC [Army Catering Corps] and have fond memories of jumping out of some of those windows in the early hours between 1978 and 1980.

      I think I met some of those gum chewing lasses!

  48. Kath Leavis Reply

    August 2, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Reported for training on 7 October 1974 48 hours after the Guildford bombings. My training NCO’s were Sgt Di Sailsbury, Cpl Rita Kelsey and the Miss Treasure. Served for 14 years and loved every minuet. Never regretted a second. Discharged after an injury otherwise I would have done my 22 years. Such a sad day when they disbanded the corps.

  49. Jean Flavell-Kempton Reply

    August 2, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    I joined in Nov’75. Traning NCO’s were Sgt Killick and Cpl Hogg. Driver training in ’76, then onto Bovington, then back to Guildford.

  50. Allison Smitham Reply

    August 2, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Joined July 83. Went on to Leconfield for driver training. Posted to Aldershot Duchess of Kent Barracks. Guildford was just the best experience ever. One that will always stay with me.

    Great memories to treasure. Having a reunion next year if anyone who joined same time 3 platoon. Sgt Ashby and Cpl Dodd. If anyone interested.

  51. Audrey Crook (nee Donovan) Reply

    August 2, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    I joined in 1960 trained in Guildford and went on to the Army Postal Service, Mill Hill where we travelled each day by three-tonner from Kingston in Surrey where we lived. Some of the best years of my life.

  52. Dorothy Hughes Reply

    August 2, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    I joined in November “71 and loved every minute of it. Got married and travelled all over Germany, Belgium, Berlin to name a few and met some wonderful people. My maiden name was Dot Marsh if anyone knows me.

  53. Joan McCabe (nee Rodgers) Reply

    August 3, 2017 at 12:19 am

    I joined in June 1978 ( intake 413) spent 7.5 years in the WRAC, and it was the best years of my life. I spent my first two years in the Duchess of Kent Barracks as a stewardess and was then posted to Larkhill, where I served the rest of my time. Fantastic life, loved every single minute.

  54. Sharon McNicol Reply

    August 3, 2017 at 8:08 am

    I joined in August 74, went to Deepcut for my trade training and then to Germany, where I met my husband (Royal Corps of Transport).

    The most enjoyable time of my life and I would do it all again. My surname then was Thompson.

  55. Maura Hodgon Reply

    August 3, 2017 at 9:21 am

    I was there 1976 and ’82 – ’90. Also at Mill Hill ’76 – ’80.

  56. Dorieen Johnson (nee Redden) Reply

    August 3, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    I was at Guildford May 1st 1967 in 2 Company. I did six weeks training and then off to Mill Hill to a postal courier communication depot attached to the Royal Engineers served in Bielefeld Germany. It was the best time of my life.

    • Moira Thom Reply

      October 21, 2017 at 8:33 pm

      Hi Dorieen,

      I went to Guildford on 1st May 1967 and was in 7 Platoon, 2 Company. I shared a room with Rae McGhee and Eleanor McDougal. I meet up with Sandy Hawkins a few times this year, who was also in the same platoon. We were both Tech Clerks. I went to COD Donnington and Sandy to Bicester after trade training. My maiden name was McMaster.

  57. Natalie Fisher (nee Williams) Reply

    August 4, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    I had six amazing weeks at Guildford undergoing basic training. I joined in October 1978 then went to Mill Hill Postal Courier Depot where I spent two incredible years on the Philatelic Display Team with Q Finney, Val Brown, Brummie Dean, Corgi Thompson, and Debbie Halliwell, to name but a few. Good times.

  58. Julie Kane (nee Baker) Reply

    August 6, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    Joined Nov ’71, then onto Aldershot for trade training in the New Year.

    A memory of Guildford: Some bright spark suggested ‘barracking’ our beds for the next intake coming into Guildford, before we were shipped off on 31st Dec to Aldershot. We were turned back from Aldershot, as they weren’t ready for us.

    What a laugh, on return to Guildford we just wanted to go out for New Year, and so we all forgot what we had done to our beds! Being the worse for wear none of us remembered as we tried to crawl into them. Lots of laughter, lots of larks!

    After trade training went onto UKLF HQ Wilton as a driver, with my best friend Janet Cameron. Left in ’74 on marriage (Kane) and then onto Germany as a wife.

    I joined as a hippy, and left as a hippy 🙂 but enjoyed every minute, met loads of people from all walks of life, the best thing that could have happened to a wayward soul as mine. Happy years.

    Wishing the intake of Nov ’71 all the best, and hoping life has treated you all well.

  59. Paula Ayris-Webster (nee Doyle) Reply

    August 10, 2017 at 12:22 am

    I joined WRAC at aged 19, in Nov 1983. Went on to Deepcut for trade training, then had the most wonderful eight years of my life. Loved every minute. Regretted leaving due to permanent injury resulting in medical downgrading.

    I was in Monchengladbach, Berlin, and MOD London. My worst experience was the bombing in Mill Hill.

    Never any regrets, joining up was the best decision I made.

  60. Anne MacDougall Reply

    August 13, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Brings back memories. ?

  61. Lynda Croft Reply

    August 14, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    I joined 2 Company on on 2nd May 1978 I loved it. Had several postings ending up in Bielefeld, Germany 1983 to June 1986.

    I have many memories of my time at 12 Coy in London, 10 Coy at Aldershot, 16 Bn RAOC at Bicester where I met my husband to be. I joined as Pte Lynda Hughes and left as Cpl Lynda Taylor.

    If anybody has any photos, (oh how I wish I had taken more photos) with me on them, including the passing out parade, could you contact me at:

    Thanks ever so much.

  62. Marilyn Wright Reply

    September 8, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    I wonder if any former WRAC members can help me?

    I joined the WRAC in 1970. Basic training in Guildford, then to 12 Trg Regiment RCT in Aldershot.

    I’m trying to get my training platoon photo and my 12 Regiment photo.

    I’d be grateful for any help. My number was W/437642.

    • Rose Kilpatrick Reply

      September 22, 2017 at 7:49 pm

      Marilyn I was there from April to June 1970. My number was 437830.

      I have never seen a photo of my platoon since joining the group. Have you looked on the photograph’s site. I can’t think what it’s called.

  63. Joyce Pigford Reply

    September 22, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    I joined in autumn 1958 and passed out just before Christmas.

    I was posted into HQ and worked in the sergeants’ mess.

    I was in block 39 room 5 (wooden huts then). I have fond memories of some of the friends I worked with I also remember smokey cafe outside the camp gates and our local pub the Royal.

    I was Pte Joyce Crossland then am still in touch with two girls I worked with.

    • Margaret Partridge Reply

      October 29, 2017 at 2:56 pm

      I also trained at Guildford in 1958 then did my trade training at Catterick camp and loved it.

  64. Rose Kilpatrick Reply

    September 22, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    I joined up in April 1970 and went to Guildford on the 8th April.

    I have looked and looked for my platoon photo intake 298 I think.

    I had never left home before and was one month away from my 18th birthday. I was met at the railway station by some ladies and directed to a bus that would take me to my new life in the WRAC.

    I had no idea how to really look after myself but after six weeks I could. I met people I would never have met had I not joined up.

    It’s 47 years ago and some things I have forgotten. But not about the night myself and three other girls were fast asleep and suddenly the door was thrown open and two or three ladies came running in whipping the covers off me and the other girls for whatever reason I will never know.

    It didn’t frighten me but I was wary after that.

    I do remember lining up in the med centre for jabs and what ever else they did at that time. (I must have been ok as I stayed in for 2.5 years until I left after getting married whilst serving in Germany.)

    I cried most nights that first week as I missed my mum and dad. But after that I made friends and learnt so much about myself.

    I loved the drill. Best six weeks of my life.

    Can anyone who was there in April 1970 to about June remember a seance that happened on the top floor of one of the blocks?

    I was scared out of my head. I am in touch with a few ladies I knew. Fran Eastwood Anne Mcritchie Irene Foster.

    I went on to Aldershot for eight weeks of driver training. A time I will never ever forget. I had a great driving instructor.

    From Aldershot I was posted to 68 Squadron RCT and spent the rest of my time there. Best years of my life. Would I live it again? Yes.

    • Gay Phillips Reply

      October 2, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      I was there as Gay Atmore from April 1970 for basic training on the bottom floor. Went to Aldershot to do my cooks’ course. Then got posted back to Guildford. I was there till November 1971. Great place to be at the time .

  65. Carol Hardiman Reply

    September 22, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    Reading that brought back memories. I was in Guildford in 1968 and went on to do my driver training at Yeovil.

    Some great times had.

  66. Lynn Kelly ( nee Rowney) Reply

    September 23, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    I joined in 1973 as a small town lass who’d never really been anywhere or done anything. I celebrated my 18th birthday in Guildford. Great night!

    I went on to do driver training at Aldershot then posted to RSME at Chattenden Barracks in Kent. Best years of my life. The WRAC really shaped my life. I had amazing friends. Met my husband who was a serving soldier and still married 43 years later.

    I was known as Barnsley if anyone remembers me.

  67. Isabella Ann Cunningham Jenkinson Reply

    October 17, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    I was there in September 1971 and looking for anyone that remembers me. Eg, Margaret Brown, Carol Bullock?

  68. Daphne Erridge-Geninazza Reply

    October 29, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    My intake was July 21st 1969.

    I met some super people in training so much so we went on together for trade training at Mill Hill then lost touch.

    But a few years ago we found each other again on Facebook and met up.

    This month we have found another of our little gang and meeting up 48 years, later tomorrow in fact.

    I am so excited. I wouldn’t change my time for the world and loved every minute of it.

    I wish I could do it all again.

    I am trying to find who the photographer was from Guildford.

    With any luck, he might have an archive of all the platoons.

    Probably all digital now, but it’s possible he kept them.

  69. John Lomas Reply

    October 30, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    There was a photographer in Guildford by the name of W.D. Dennett on Church Road.

    I believe he also worked for the Surrey Advertiser.

    I don’t know for sure how long he continued working but he was certainly working in the 1950s.

    David Rose, writer, of this online paper also worked for the Surrey Ad so may well know whether there is an archive of his photos.

    I noticed doing a Google search that this correspondent is his niece.

    David Rose replies: Bill Dennett was a well known freelance photographer whose work was once regularly featured in the Surrey Advertiser. It does have an archive of negatives, but whether any were Bill’s I can’t say.

  70. Sue Shepherd Reply

    November 11, 2017 at 11:57 am

    I joined in April 1973 and was in 6 Platoon 2 Company. I remember that somehow we won both the drill and PT competitions. Don’t know how we managed that. Ended up in the Int Corps and spent a few days in “Holding and Drafting” before being posted to Cyprus in February 1974.

  71. Michael Bunce Reply

    December 14, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    My father, Tom Bunce, used to work nights there as a Security Guard. He also worked part-time driving the WRACs in the Yellow Bus from the camp to the Railway Station. The photo causes mixed emotions as he died there in 1970 as he was leaving his shift to go home was about 6.30 in the morning.

  72. Patricia Harris Reply

    January 19, 2018 at 1:06 am

    I joined in 1970. April I think. I only did 4 weeks training. Stupidly left for my now ex-hubby. Regretted it.

    I’m looking for the girls I shared with. One was Julie Harris. Remember her as she had the same name as my niece. The others may have been Linda and Sandra. Does anyone know them please? Patricia Harris

  73. Lynda Armstrong Reply

    January 28, 2018 at 9:13 am

    It’s been lovely to read all these replies on here. I was also in during 1978-1980.

    There are many WRAC groups on Facebook, you may find your missing friends on there, there is also a WRAC intake photos site, that some may find the missing photo they have tried for years it gets hold of.

    Failing any of this, ladies can join the WRAC Association. There are functions going on around the country where you may even meet back up with these missing friends of yours. It’s amazing to be back in contact with them. I can assure you, you’ll not regret it. Just check it out…

  74. Mary Jessop Reply

    January 28, 2018 at 10:39 am

    I joined in 1960, from Guildford went to Richmond Camp in Richmond Park, Kingston-upon-Thames and enjoyed every minute until we were told we were off to Germany. I didn’t want to go, so ended up marrying my then boyfriend. Big mistake – but it got me out.

    Can’t remember my number, or any of the other girls in my billet, except they all had nicknames. “Salty” was one. Mine was “Glossy”, as my name then was Mary Glossop.

    I would love to hear from anyone who remembers me.

  75. Sue Mackel Reply

    January 28, 2018 at 11:52 am

    If anyone joined in August 1979 please contact me as I am organising a reunion.

  76. Joan Cartledge Reply

    January 28, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    This has brought back memories of Guildford when I was there in 1956

    • John Lomas Reply

      January 28, 2018 at 8:39 pm

      No doubt you will remember the conductor on the Aldershot & District 28 who used to call out “Butlins Holiday Camp” when the bus reached the top of Manor Road before turning up Stoughton Road.

  77. Lizzie Williams, Massam Reply

    January 28, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    I joined the WRAC in February 1980 as a stewardess, later retraded to admin (regimental duties).

    Both these trades were closed down and I became an army welfare worker.

    I did my 22 years and I was gutted when the WRAC was disbanded.

  78. Trudi Michelle Banning Reply

    February 3, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    I joined in May 1991, intake 562 in 1 platoon. The best time of my life being at Queen Elizabeth Barracks at Guildford. I am proud to say I served and completed my basic training there with the ladies within our intake from all three platoons 1, 2 and 3, especially when we were all good and allowed to visit the good old Naafi.

    I only wish the barracks was still there but unfortunately it’s not. The seven years which followed after basic training was the best years of my life and I’ll never ever regret a second of it. I was part of the best corps in Britain.

  79. Julia Andrews nee Sidley Reply

    February 5, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    I joined January 23, 1978. 8 Pl, 2 Coy.

    I left in July 1983. My company sergeant was Sgt Herbert, corporals were Cpl Gower and Cpl Lawrence. They were brilliant.

    I couldn’t do my passing out parade; I had swollen ankles. Upset about that. Still have not found anyone from my platoon.

    After my passing out, I was in H&D for two weeks waiting to go to Deepcut for my trade training. I met some lovely friends. Lost contact with most of them. Finally found quite a few of them, which I am really pleased about.

    I am in a few groups of WRAC ladies. They are a lovely bunch, very funny and mad. Wouldn’t change them for the world.

  80. Katrina Dewar Reply

    February 14, 2018 at 11:53 pm

    I went to Guilford for basic training in 1967, off to Aldershot for trade training (technical clerk), Bicester, then 15 ABOD Broechem then we moved up to Moenchengladbach.

    My name then was Katrina Mowinski(now Dewar). Met loads of lovely people but unable to catch up with anyone. Remember Pat from Bicester, Elaine and Jenny Cowie from Broechem and M’gladbach. Hope they are all well.

  81. Joan Young Reply

    February 17, 2018 at 11:35 am

    It has been lovely to read all the comments on the article about Queen Elizabeth Barracks, Stoughton. What is clear is how much we all enjoyed our time in the WRAC [Women’s Royal Army Corps].

    I joined in September 1960. After training at Guildford and clerical training in Yeovil, I was posted to Tripoli, Libya. Whilst there I attended a clerical upgrading course in Cyprus. That cold winter of 1962/63 saw me back in Yeovil on a shorthand course, after which I was posted to Aden as shorthand writer for the GOC MELF [General Officer Commanding Middle East Land Forces].

    Whilst there I holidayed in Kenya, visiting Treetops – a wonderful experience. In 1964 I was married to the GOC’s staff car driver. We were married nearly 47 years until his death in 2011.

    We had three children and now have three grandsons and five granddaughters.

    Like everyone else I had a wonderful time as a member of the WRAC and wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

    My name and number? W/408802 Corporal Miller J.

  82. Jo Brownlee Reply

    March 7, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    Nobody ever remembers me from school or anywhere else 🙁 I joined the WRAC at Guildford with the November 1965 intake. After training, I went to 10 Coy in Aldershot then to 16 Indep Coy at Kineton.

    I enjoyed all my postings and had lots of friends but alas all have faded away. I left on marriage to a “Red Devil” in 1967 had a family and am now widowed.

    Lots of very happy times travelling the globe with the military.

    I was Cpl Jo Ford in those days. PS did I really ever exist? Does anybody remember me?

  83. Edna Barry (nee Hallwood) Reply

    March 14, 2018 at 10:47 am

    I joined up in 1961, did my training in Guildford, then went to Hermitage to learn my trade, as one of only four recruits, as a draughtswoman. I was then posted to Cyprus in firstly Episcopi then on to Dhekelia. I met my husband Joe who was in the then Welsh Regiment and we have been together now for 57 years. Good happy days.

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