Camp, Married Quarters, a child’s view...
On our return from Hong Kong
in the spring of 1952 the families of 58 Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery, were to occupy the new houses at Stainton Grove
as they became available. We moved into the first house no. 70 that spring and gradually more and more joined us. A photo
unit from the War Office descended upon us and took publicity photographs.
I attended the local village school at
first, walking across the fields, past the farm and across the road to the school, this was done in all weathers with steaming
clothes around the large central stove in the class room. Once a week, the “buckets” would be emptied from the
I recall that the winter of 52/53 was quite
a severe one. We had drifts up to the tops of the telegraph poles and army vehicles were used to bring us food and provisions.
In September 1953 the camp school opened
under the headmaster D H Swan. From memory there were three buildings, the end ones divided into two class rooms each and
the central building was the assembly hall and offices. This was not an Army school, as some I had been to but from my school
reports, was under the direct control of Durham County Education Committee.
the NAAFI was our main source of provisions, the bus ride into Barnard Castle
was a regular event. Our Doctor and Dentist were there and hardware purchases and electrical goods were bought locally. I
can remember we bought a Bush push button radio somewhere opposite the church in the Galgate area.
The whole area around the camp was one
big playground. We would 'help' the local farmers in the summer with the hay and corn harvests climbing up on the ricks or
riding the carts. Not all of the houses were completed when we arrived. Towards the east end at the bottom of Stainton Bank
was still a building site for many months and provided much entertainment. On a more cautious note I recall a derelict boiler
house to the rear of the gate house where the insulation jacket was ripped and the blue insulation material would blow around
in the wind. I believe now this to have been asbestos.
Very occasionally we would go to a camp
cinema, I was never sure where this was situated but it was to the east of the Stainton Camp along the A688 towards Barford
Camp where the 58th were based. I recall cartoon shows as well as cowboy films. Once every year, the regiment went
on a two week training exercise and all the families were taken for a days outing to see them. The Otterburn
Ranges in Northumberland was the setting and a great display of weaponry would
be available to get your hands on.