Recently, I visited the Gillman Village where I had lunch and walked around taking in the changes. The place has changed drastically from what it was like in 1977 when I spent four-and-a-half months undergoing the Junior Officers Engineer Course (JOE Course) at the School of Combat Engineers (SOCE). Sadly, I could not even identify some of the landmarks like the Commanders Training Wing, the swimming pool or the syndicate rooms where we bunked. The only clearly identifiable building was the Officers’ Mess (photo below) which is now occupied by the Gillman Food Centre.
As it turned out, our fears were not unfounded. The JOE course was made up one tough exercise after another, all crammed into a short space of 4½ months. Not only were the exercises physically demanding, the theory exams were also killers. The mine warfare, field fortification, demolition, bridging and other course manuals (or what the army calls ‘format’) were inches thick. I remember waking up once at 4+ am in the morning to cram for my written tests.
The man we called “The Pork Seller”
This picture always reminds me of a scene from the movie Ben Hur where Charlton Heston and his fellow slaves were chained to the galley ship. The only thing missing is the whip. By the way, more than ½ the guys here have at least a poly diploma in Engineering.
Finally we can pose with the product of our hard labour
The Bridging Gap in 2006
And once the page is read;