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97 yr old Adult Instructor

Lt Bulling, recounts his days as an Adult Instructor

97 yr old Adult Instructor

16 December 2022

  • Wiltshire ACF

Mr. Bulling was previously a volunteer with the Wiltshire Army Cadet Force, for over 21 years. He rang Wiltshire ACF HQ in Devizes to let us know he has found some films and books from the period he was volunteering, that he thought we may like to have. He proudly told our Admin Officer, Lisa Beatson he was 97 years old, so the items he had may be of historical interest.

One of our CFAVs, SSI Neil Ashley who is the closest thing we have to a County Historian, jumped at the opportunity to go and meet Mr. Bulling.

Mr. Bulling was born on the 26th of August 1926 in military accommodation in Bulford Camp. His father was a career soldier serving in the RASC for 35 years and 6 months, commencing during WW1 and including service in France in 1940 and the evacuation from Dunkirk.

He has vivid memories of the local area as a child. Including witnessing two German bombing raids, one on Beacon Hill near Bulford where there was a military storage Depot. During one of these raids, he witnessed strafing with bullets, hitting the road close by.

He was also first on the scene of an accidental explosion in the local area. Children had been playing on an old Tank used for PIAT practice (Projector Infantry Anti-Tank). The child, who was an evacuee from London, had been trying to unscrew a PIAT Round and it blew up in his hands. Mr Bulling flagged down a passing car to take him to the hospital but sadly he later died and is buried in the local Cemetery.

He was a cadet himself before becoming an adult. He remembered seeing a boy in uniform one day and telling him he would be in trouble if the army caught him. The boy informed him that it was ok, as children could now join the cadets. He went to a local recruiting point for cadets, but he got on the wrong bus. He had intended to join the ATC but ended up going to the local ACF Detachment.

He subsequently joined as an adult after failing his medical when conscripted in 1944.

Lt Bullling portrait 1

Lt EH Bulling

Mr. Bulling’s first detachment as an adult was Larkhill. He remembers Amesbury, Bulford, and Shrewton being one Company within the 11th Battalion. (Counties at that time titled themselves as Cadet Battalions, of their local Regiment)

The Battalion had a Band of over 100 strong and there were approximately 650 cadets in the Battalion.

Lt Bulling recounted various stories of his time in Wiltshire ACF including his visit to Germany just after the end of World War 2. He was asked by the Commandant to take a group of 20 Cadets to Germany on a visit, hosted by the 10th Royal Hussars. He felt this was too much work for one adult and Captain Young also attended to assist and do the administration. They sailed from Margate to the Hook of Holland on a Troop Ship with hundreds of other Soldiers. When they arrived he remembered seeing large columns of trucks in colour-coded convoys so the troops knew which trucks to get on to.

As they drove through Germany he recalled seeing large groups of German women standing by the roadside chipping the mortar off the bricks of bombed buildings so the bricks could be used again. Eventually, they arrived at Wolfsburg where the 10th Hussars were based.

Cadets on Germany Trip

Cadets in Germany.

They were made very welcome by the Regiment with the OC taking a particular liking to Lt Bulling, meeting with him every day to discuss the activities of the previous day and what they had planned for the next.

During the trip unknown to Lt Bulling, the Colonel had arranged for him to visit his brother who was doing his National Service with a unit in Germany. His brother sprang to his feet to salute him as he walked into his office before recognising who it was.

Lt Bulling remarked that he felt very uncomfortable sitting in the Officer's Mess in his battledress. The Regiment by this time had reverted to peacetime practices with full Mess dress being worn and Regimental Silver in the Mess.

The trips across Germany showed the cadets a devastated country with its cities and infrastructure still heavily damaged from wartime bombing.

Visits included Cologne and the Möhne Dam which had been repaired after the Dam Busters Raid. They went on a boat trip to get closer to the face of the Dam. They also went to a Range in the Black Forrest where the Cadets saw the Regiments Tanks firing.

One day the Colonel invited him to accompany him in his staff car where he was taken to the VW Beetle Plant in Wolfsburg. For those who are unfamiliar with the story, at the end of the war, the British Military Government assigned Major Ivan Hirst of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers to recommence production of Hitler's People Car to help the German economy to recover. 40,000 Beetles were subsequently ordered and used by the British Military Government in Germany. The Colonel picked up his new Beetle staff car and it was driven back to the barracks where it was spayed matt green.

M派ne Dam

Möhne Dam "Dam Busters Raid"

There were lots more stories and reminiscences on this visit. He had been an amateur photographer since childhood and has thousands of pictures dating back many years. SSI Neil Ashley is intending to visit Mr Bulling again early January 2023, and Mr Bulling kindly lent us the photos within this article.

  • Lt bulling x2v2

    Lt Bulling

  • Capt Young March Salibury

    Marching through Salisbury

  • Lt E H Bulling germany

    Lt Bulling in Germany

  • Mahn 1

    "Dam Busters" Möhne Dam

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    Cadets in Germany

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