Geoff Hazel - Recreation
The engineers built wooden buildings. There was one in the mess hall and the bar in each company area. The rest was 16 by 16 tents that we erected ourselves and then you built sandbag walls around them, timber floors. The roads weren't too bad. Obviously they weren't sealed but the engineers kept them graded and that, I mean the engineers in the setup did a lot of work with their equipment, digging the holes for the bunkers and helping put up all the barbed wire around the whole place.
They did a hell of a lot of the work. But basically each company had two buildings and 16 by 16 tents to live in. There was a rule then from the brigade commander or the Task Force Commander, two cans per man per day only while you were in base. In A Company the company Sergeant Major had a pit dug out the back of the bar so that we could throw empties in there because the Brigadier was known to turn up and have the garbage bins at the base emptied and the number of cans counted.
That one particular brigadier, when he left there wasn't a problem … We had our movie screen, outdoor movie theatre, you brought your own chair, your own raincoat, your own six pack, and rifle and ammunition when you went to the movies. I mean, one of the early ones we saw was To Sir With Love and in that there was not one of those soldiers, obviously we’d been in combat by then, a few who left until that screen went blank. For some reason it just resonated with everybody.
So they were on every night and I got to see one show. That was one of the USO type shows came in. That was down near the Luscombe field, which was in the main task force area, they never came out, actually, to the battalion areas. They had a stage in the amphitheatre type thing set up there. But yeah, only once when I was in was there a show on. I think they probably came in about once every month but very rarely were we in base to do it.