Much of an Apprentice's time, in the early months, was spent in the billet. This was due to the inordinate amount of "bull" that was required, not only on his personal and Service items, but also on the billet itself and its surrounds. The lads became familiar with alien objects such as 'bumpers' and orange polish for the floors, Blanco, metal polish and irons ( & brown paper) for uniforms, washing powder etc. And they soon discovered the magic cleaning properties of spit. Some started their time in a wooden hut but, in time, all were billeted in a purpose-built block like the one below. Entries had their own blocks and senior entries used to stage raids on the junior entry blocks, destroying all the hard work that had gone into 'bull nights'.
Standard attire for an evening in the billet was service-issue pyjamas, service-issue underpants (known as shreddies) or a towel wrapped round the waist. For a change, you could "mix & match" various items of uniform with the afore mentioned clothing.
Young Apprentices eagerly awaiting their turn on the bumper.
Apart from bulling, there was major emphasis on personal hygeine and house keeping. The first thing
you had to do was learn
how to make a bed pack
out of your sheets and blankets, organise your lockers and bed space to a predefined layout and present the whole lot for inspection EVERY DAY.
Bull Nights in the billet
The intense hard labour often affected the sanity of apprentices, sometimes resulting in delusions of grandeur!
Now, which hat shall I wear........
Freedom of Weston Super Mare
....and time for some quiet meditation......