On being appointed – the first?

 An account by Phil Skawski  02 January 2003

When the RLC was formed, as an ex RCT member my only knowledge of Conductors was the three guys who held the appointment in Antwerp when I was a young Driver (1974).  I gave little thought to the appointment until one day in 1993 I was asked to go to HQ BF Hong Kong to see the Colonel.  This, I remember was on a Friday morning.

On arrival, there were two other WO1's in the anti room (one called Rosser, can't remember the other one) both ex ROAC from the Ord Depot in Kowloon.  I was the only one in uniform (the others were in suits).  As we went in to see the Col, I noticed a bottle of champers on his desk and assumed this was an interview with coffee.  He announced that we had been appointed Conductors in the new Corps and as I was the only one in uniform, he personally strapped the Conductors badge on to my wrist (even though the appointment didn't come into force until the following Monday).

Cracking open the champers, we had a drink and then went off to the Blackdown Officers Mess in his staff car for more drinks and a photo.  After this I remember being taken back to Osborne Bks, in the staff car. I asked the driver to drop me off at my office (JSMC) but instead he took me to the Sgts Mess.

On arrival, I was met by the GSM (a long service WO1 - Scottish Infantry) who tabbed into me and offered me the Mess. After telling him to carry on, we went into the bar and the whole of the mess was there. As you can imagine, the drinks flowed freely.  Apart from the badge, and getting out of being the PMC (an appointment that I did not enjoy as I was on my third tour as a WO1) life carried on as normal.

I only recount this because a few weeks ago, I met up with an old mate who was serving in Germany at the time of the first RLC CDR appointments.  He told me that a big celebration was being planned, the press were being flown out to record the event and the story was to appear in the new Corps Journal.

He mentioned that there were guys in Hong Kong that were also being appointed and due to the time difference, they would be first. Apparently this didn't go down too well and proceedings were cancelled.

Was I the first Cdr in the new Corps? Well we all have a common appointment date, so we were all “First”, although I claim the honour as of the three of us in HK, I was the only one in uniform.

Click here to see an article and photo.

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