Hadrians Old Boys Association




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Extract from Ministry of Defence letter dated 17 May 1968.

"I am commanded by the Army Board of the Defence Council to inform you that the Army Apprentice College REME at Carlisle is to be closed and the REME apprentice training is to be concentrated in one college at Arborfield."

This poem that has been taken from the last ever HADRIAN'S JOURNAL, it sums up the life and times of Hadrian's Camp as an Army Apprentice School / College.


                                                                                                                                                                            BARD'S FAREWELL

When the far flung Roman legion Those as “rookies” here arriving
Ruled the world, with iron hand, As trained soldiers were “passed out”.
Conquest brought them to the region Centurion tank and armoured carrier
Known to them as “Cumbria’s Land.” Bren guns, sten guns, PIATs, too,
Northward cross the Tweed they sallied Spitfires roar near sonic barrier
Where they met the doughty Scot. Where the Roman eagle flew!
Driven back, their ranks soon rallied Men from every allied nation
On this ever - hallowed spot. Drilled where Hadrian used to train;
Led by Hadrian – famous warrior- Learnt new skills in preparation
Here they built a mighty Wall For assault on France again.
As the most effective barrier Victory came and Hadrians settled
To the raids from painted Gaul. Peacefully to routine fare;
This the start, then, of our College Hussars’ horses highly mettled
On this wild and wind – swept site, Pranced about the barrack square!
Roman soldiers seeking knowledge,
Trade by day and Prep. By night ! But some Minister of vision
How they loathed this northern station! Chose it as a R.E.M.E. College,
Standing frozen on the wall. And the War Office made provision
How they cursed the Scottish nation! For the spread of modern knowledge
Who prevented their recall To fitters – gun, VMs and others
To their homeland, where their fellows Brought from Scotlands furthest straths,
Nightly joined in orgy glorious, Torn from arms of loving mothers
Or with wild applauding bellows Here to learn the joys of maths!
Cheered, as lions were victorious Though at first success came slowly
O’er the Christian Martyrs, weekly, Soon a sense of pride arose
While they shivered wet and weary From beginnings poor and lowly
Northward, through the darkness bleakly Carlisle’s name illustrious grows.
Peering o’er the landscape dreary. Cups were won for hockey, shooting,
Shields and spears they nightly burnished Cricket, running, rugger, too:
Crouching frozen on their “pits”. Colleges on equal footing
In their barracks, Spartan – furnished, Soon the might of Hadrian’s knew!
Moaning sadly, “We were ‘nits’ Boxing and athletic meeting,
To have joined the Roman legion, Pipe and Brass and Corps of Drums,
As apprentice charioteer Every College risks a beating
To be posted to a region When to Hadrian’s it comes,
Where the State controls the beer!” Trade results and education
Not for them a two years’ training Fav’rably compare with most.
Followed by a posting home, A/T. from this happy station,
But the prospect of remaining “We’re the greatest!” proudly boast.
All their service far from Rome. Lowland fells and Scottish heather
Training grounds beyond compare
Bracing winds and Carlisle weather,
So down through the passing ages Snow – clad slopes and champagne air!
Hadrian’s flourished on its own; No other camp throughout the land
Wrote its name in History’s pages Could match Carlisle in any way:
Long e’er Aborfield was known! The “Q” brief passed – new barracks planned –
But alas ! the Roman nation Building to start without delay!
Was besieged by savage foes, A rosy future stretched ahead
Legions left their northern station – Until a bitter blow revealed
O’er the wall, the wild wind blows. That Hadrian’s camp was doomed instead
Towers and stonework swiftly crumble To move, en bloc, to Arborfield!
Pillaged by marauding bands; And so, ere long, this ancient site
Farm – carts on the ramparts rumble; Will once more rumble to decay
Desolate the College stands! And Hadrian’s eagle soar in flight
Till the war lord, Hore – Belisha, While sprawling Spiders rot away!
Built a fresh camp on the site, Yet all who served here must ensure
For the newly – formed militia Carlisle’s traditions never fade
Who restored this Country’s might. But through the years unchanged endure
On the ground the spiders sprawling In memory of the part She played,
Sprang up swiftly, strange and stark. In training them as craftsmen skilled
Came recruits from dawn to dark. And sportsmen worthy of the name.
So the College, once more thriving, Their debt to Her will be fulfilled
Echoed to the sergeants’ shout. If they preserve Her honoured name!

Last updated:  29 July 2021

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