I left home to join the British Forces when I was 16 years old. I was taken to
Newcastle Central Station to be put on a train. I was quite a shy lad. I always walked
with my head down and only looked up every now and again to see where I was
going or hear if someone was talking to me. I arrived at Ipswich Station to join a
shore establishment called H.M.S. Ganges where I would be trained to be in the
Royal Navy. When I got off the train I saw some men in uniform. I asked them what I
needed to do and where to go. I was told to get on the bus outside the station, which
is what I did. While I was leaving the station I looked up and saw a familiar figure
standing outside looking rather resplendent in a smart suit. He was looking at his
watch I remember. I realised that it was Sir Alf Ramsey, the manager of the 1966
England World Cup winning team. So I continued to look at him whilst boarding the
bus. It seemed to be quite new. It had toilet facilities and air conditioning, which was
quite unusual for that time. When I got on the bus I sat at the back, being quite a shy
lad. After a short while others started to board the bus too. Those that were also
getting on the bus seemed, for some reason, quite familiar to me but I couldn’t figure
out where I knew them from. After a while they started to point and talk about me.
One of them came up to me and asked who I was and where I was going. I
explained that I was joining the British Forces that day. I was then told that I was on
the wrong bus, this was the bus for Ipswich Town Football club players and staff!
Mine was on the other side of the road. I wanted to die with embarrassment. All the
other lads that were joining with me were on the other bus, one that didn’t look so
new and seemed to be quite a sorry state. And to conclude my story, the day that I
joined up was April 1st 1975.