Submitted by Leo Barish, 1955 - 1956, PFC, Army
Let me tell you some of my experiences at UH to the best of my fading
We came over by troopship (Butner) in about January of 1955 from either New
Jersey or Staten Island. We landed in Southhampton after 8 stormy days.
We were processed at Shaftesbury; I believe that it was a converted
hospital since they called the barracks "wards."
We were taken to Bushey Hall, outside of London for assignment. This was
the headquarters for the 6th Chemical Battalion which covered all the
chemical companies in England. My MOS at the time was Chemical Supply
Specialist; I was trained for this principally because a had an MS chemical
degree. I found that this MOS was not or was ever needed there. This was a
disappointment since I could be assigned to almost anything.
At Bushey Hall they asked a group of us "Who can type?" I instinctively
raised my hand. This was sort of a white lie. I did typing in school but
was not really a good typist. We were taken to RAF Station Upper Heyford,
APO 194. The permanent organization here was 3918th ABG.
UH was divided into two parts. Area A was the main base and headquarters.
It contained the PX, dispensory, mess hall, BOQ. NCO club, barber shop,
beer hall (in a bunker) etc. There was no real hospital in UH. The main
hospital was at Burderop Park near Swindon. There were some RAF personnel
present at UH; I was told that they packed parachutes. They had their own
snack bar which I occasionally went to.
About a mile west from main base toward Lower Heyford was Area B where the
Army was stationed. The barracks here were probably from WW II, some being
concrete, some wooden and some Quonset huts. There were 2 chemical
companies at UH, the 83rd and the 98th. After a while the 83rd deactivated
and we all became part of the 98th. The mission of the chemical corps in
England was to lay smoke screens to obscure bases and to lessen flash
damage from an atomic attack. The troops for making smoke were on the
flightline from first light to last light. This was not bad in Winter when
the days are short, but it was terrible in Summer when the days in Summer
were almost continuous. Because of the long days in Summer, they were
served 4 meals a day!
UH was a SAC base; the aircraft were mostly B 47s with B 36s. Occasionally
a lone B 50 would appear as would an RAF Camberra. There were many KC 97s
We were not paid in greenback dollars but in script, which looked like
Monopoly money; these included paper Nickels. One could convert script into
Sterling but not the other way around.
On arriving at UH, I became the finance clerk, alternate company clerk and
I&E NCO for both companies. This was wonderful news since I became exempt
from duty. (guard, KP, latrine etc.) Some other good news was that I could
bring my pregnant wife to England and live off-base. Being only a Private
at that time, the military would not bring her over and that I would have
to bring her over on my own. There were quite a few financial allowences
if she came over and it would be quite practical for this arrangement. She
flew over and we lived in Oxford; my older son was born at Burderop Park.
We managed to visit London every weekend we could and took my leave on the
In August of 1956 we left England on a troopship (Randall). After 8 days,we
arrived at the Brooklyn Army Base. I was discharged a few days later from
Just writing this has made me recall many memories. lf you have any
questions, please let me know.
Leo Barish, 1955 - 1956, PFC, Army
Serving in two chemical companies (smoke), the 83rd and the 98th.