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Compiled by John Meads 2006

'H.Q.' On Parade

Extracts from 'The Red Devil' the regimental magazine of the Inns of Court Regiment, 1941

How to interpret the multiplicity of 'H.Q.' Squadron's activities? How to win the attention of those lonely men in outposts of the Squadron whose nomenclature, mysterious as any agent's box number, is the single word "Employed"? How to penetrate the labyrinthine attics of R.H.Q. (Burton Latimer Rectory) where batmen ply their titivating trade? How to gain the ears of those grim-faced warders who devote their lives to the correction of crime in that manacle-hung eyrie of the Finedon St. Club?

We believe, like the other squadrons, that ours is the most friendly, the most picturesque village. Certainly, it is nearer Kettering - and leave; certainly, it is more compact. The clubs have opened their doors to us, and there are woods on the doorstep for the romantically mined. We have made friends and, we hope, few enemies. The children especially seem to have adopted us; indeed, our Second-in-Command is more popular with them than are the Sisters of Mercy. And as for their saluting, it puts us to shame. (The Sisters of Mercy, with a group of children, were evacuated to Burton Latimer Hall in the early part of the war.)

After losing ourselves amid the vast rooms of Stacpoole Court, at Linney Head (a training area in Wales) we came back to the village gala. For this we promised a party of men to march in the procession, but it was discovered just in time that we were to be preceded by decorated prams and followed by the Girl Guides, and to prevent any chance of mistaken identity the project was hastily scrapped.

At sport we had good reason to congratulate ourselves. At the Burton Latimer Gala Sports, the Squadron won its first cup - for tug-of-war  Many of us will have cause to remember later on the peaceful afternoons spent on the village cricket pitch early in the summer. With the help of a steam-roller and the expert knowledge of the groundsman, we got the table into shape again after two years of neglect. The cattle seemed to resent the intrusion and we found that Dannert wire (springy barbed wire) had its uses after all. Most successful batsmen were Tuck, Drake and Bowden. (In 1942, Kenneth Tuck married Mary Wright who later ran the Ideal Shop, a ladies wear shop in the High Street)

Lastly, we must not forget the private swimming pool placed at our disposal by its owner Mr. Gray. Its cool, willow-and rose-fringed waters have been a source of infinite refreshment after hard, hot days of work.


When R.H.Q. arrived at the Rectory and indignant parishioner complained to the Rector that the Red Devil on the gate was not a suitable emblem for a church house!

Mr. Long was not frightened by Coventry's worst blitz. Reason? His landlady's pretty daughter wasn't frightened either! (Mr. Long - RQMS Reg Long - later married his landlady's pretty daughter Geraldine Morley, see photo at foot of page.)


The mess-room, very conveniently situated at one of the local pubs, (The Horse & Groom - now the Olde Victoria) is now being furnished and games supplied, in readiness for the long dark evenings. Perhaps a couple of "ladies' nights" wi;; be an added attraction, and the "Sheikh of the Regal Café" (Regal cinema café, Kettering) more commonly known as Sergt. V -------, may then spend more of his evenings with us and at least one a month with the Regimental barber. A "swear box" was introduced into the Mess, with a consequent uplifting of the tone. It is regretted that Sergt. L -------- has become very careless in his amorous adventures. Fancy walking into a local club with smears of lipstick on you mouth! Really, Sergt. L --------, really! The messing is good, thanks largely to our Caterer and his predecessor, being the "persuasive "type. But, please, Mr. Caterer, not too much fried cheese!

To close, Alf's nightly benediction, "Goodnight, God bless you, mind them white lines." ('Alf' was Alf Wilkinson. landlord at the Horse & Groom)

P.S. The members of the Mess always thought until recently that a leap out of the bedroom window meant a fire, but apparently one evening another state of emergency arose for one of our very well-known Sergeants.

Wedding day photo of Reg Long & Geraldine Morley
at St. Mary’s Church, Burton Latimer, 20 May 1942

Photo courtesy of Mrs Geraldine Long

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