1 Aug 1934 - 30 Oct 2018
Date added: 13 Nov 2018
John Woods signed on for 7 years, 3 years active and 4 reserve.
Dad in his own words...
In 1952 I was 17 and a half, and in six months or so would have been called up for National Service in one of the Armed Forces. I didn’t want to be conscripted and be in some unit I might not be happy with so I decided to volunteer. My interest in radio communications meant the Royal Signals were the obvious choice. So at 17 I enlisted in the Royal Signals and within two months was on a train to Richmond in North Yorkshire to join the army at Catterick.
After ten weeks of basic training I was selected to join the 1st Training Regiment to train as a radio technician. After nine months I passed out as a fully qualified technician. After embarkation leave I went to a transit camp at Newton Abbot, Devon and then to Stanstead, Essex where we boarded a four engined Avro York and flew to Malta (this was my first flight). The following day we took off and flew over Libya and the Mediterranean coast and landed at Fayid, the Suez Canal Zone of Egypt. Transport collected us and took us Moascar near Ismailia, my home for the next two years. My unit was the 3rd Lines of Communication Regiment, Royal Signals. I was posted to the Medium Wireless Troop, 1st Squadron and initially looked after transmitters for Middle East Communications. Every sixth night I had to do an all night guard duty. After a few months, on my days off I volunteered for armed escorts on vehicles travelling up and down the Suez Canal, and also into the desert to Tel el Kebir. I enjoyed these escorts, armed with a Sten Gun, as I saw all the places from Port Said in the north of Suez in the South. This suited me as Ismailia was now out of bounds, as tension increased with Egypt and we were now classed as active service.
In my last six months I was transferred to Over Troop on much more technical transmissions. For a while I was on detachment at Qassasin before returning to Moascar as tension decreased. Ismailia was now in bounds. I visited Cairo on two occasions taking in the Pyramids, the Nile, Citidal, the Great Mosque and the National Musuem with the treasures of Tutankhamen. During my time in Egypt I became ill with jaundice and spent some time in hospital and then three weeks at a convalescent camp at alongside the Suez Canal. My last few months I was working 24 hours on / 24 hours off - so when off guard duties I spent my time on the beaches of Lake Timseh... getting a real tan!. My time in Egypt came to an end in April 1955. I boarded an ex German ship “Captain Hobson” at Port Said and sailed to Gibraltar before arriving in Liverpool, taking a train to Newton Abbot where I was demobbed.
In 1956 I was recalled into the Army during the Suez Crisis. I joined the Royal Signals at Colchester but was then posted to Maidstone with the Royal Engineers. I took part in duties at Sheppey, Chesil Bank, Thetford Forest all with the 3rd Division. I spent almost 6 months in the army until the end of the Suez Crisis. I was demobbed in Colchester and returned to my radar technician role at B.O.A.C.