The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise's)

'Sans Peur'       Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders red and white dicing       'Ne Obliviscaris'

Memoirs by William Carolan - 1952 to 1954
1st Battalion

National Service in British Guiana

I started my National Service at Stirling Castle where I did six weeks basic training then we went off to Edinburgh, Redford Barracks where we stayed before leaving for British Guiana.

I remember leaving Edinburgh from Gorgie to embark to Guiana on the aircraft carrier "Implacable" and the ten days it took us to get there. I also remember disembarking in Trinidad.

The Battalion then split up. My Company went to Berbice. We were taken there by ferry, and would you believe it? The ferry was built in the good old Port Glasgow. Boy, it did make me feel homesick!

We were stationed in a wing of a hospital, as there was no barracks, where we used to go down to the mortuary to watch the post mortems. We did not go into the actual mortuary, but just watched through the windows.

The only action I was part of while in Berbice, was when word came that there was unrest in one of the plantations. I was doing batman to one of the officers and I was in the officer's mess, which was in a big house separated from the company. There were five batmen and we were all given five rounds of ammunition each. We stationed ourselves at the windows, but fortunately, nothing came of the action and we were told to stand down.

Most of our time in Berbice was spent on patrols. Then, when our period of duty there was over, we moved down to Georgetown where I spent the rest of my time in the new barracks that had just been built.

From there, the lads, including myself, whose time was up, were taken to Jamaica where we spent ten days in 'A' Barracks with the Inniskillens before leaving for home by 'Constellation'. This flew us to Canada where we got a flight from there to, I believe, London, then home.

Later, I was on holiday in Edinburgh and I visited a museum down by the Forth Bridge and there on the wall was a photo of the "Implacable". The curator very obligingly sent me a copy of that photo.

Click on a photo for a larger view

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