AN IDENTITY CRISIS
Rob Knotts’ article in Issue 70 (December 2014) certainly stirred the memory banks of 60 years ago.
I originally joined as a Boy Entrant in June 1954 and, as a consequence, was issued with a 1929XXXX number. I was one of – I believe – three successful candidates who were transferred to Halton as members of the 78th Entry in September of that year. Of course ‘the powers that be’ insisted that we were issued with new numbers to reflect our new status as apprentices, which resulted in our acquiring 68oxxxx numbers. This brought about two problems: firstly we had to renumber all our kit, and then we had to remember the totally new number and, of course, a new last three. Came pay parade; out I stepped, saluted smartly and uttered my new last three. Of course technology in those days didn’t exist as we now know it and everything was done with the old fashioned pen and paper. However, pay accounts had apparently not been notified. So for several weeks it was a case of stepping forward and asking “Which last three do you want?” Eventually the problem was resolved, at least as far as pay was concerned.
However, the number discrepancy raised its head a couple of years later. Having parted company with Halton and moved on to my first station, an officer conducting a kit inspection decided it was about time I had a new F1250 as my original was now rather tattered. While the Fit Sgt was writing down the details, I pointed out the discrepancy in the number, together with the reason. I then added, as an afterthought, that they had in fact spelt my surname incorrectly – a common occurrence throughout my life. When I added that they had also got my initials wrong, I thought he was going to have a fit. An identity card with the wrong number, name spelt incorrectly and wrong initials didn’t appeal to his sense of humour.
I have often wondered what happened to my two colleagues who came with me from Cosford. I only remember them as Paddy Brown & Harris; can anyone help?
Peter Randell 78th