In 1960 I worked as a NAAFI driver at Cultybraggan for 2 months while working my way around the U.K. and Europe. It was a National Service Camp then. Here is an Extract from my writings about my life about my memories of Cultybraggan in 1960. I am from Zimbabwe.
I packed my rucksack on my back and sent my suitcase to Crieff Station it being the nearest to where I was going and set off on my bike to Cultybraggan Camp near Comrie. It was a beautiful ride through the Trossachs into Perthshire and the James was fairly singing along. When I rode up to the Naafi office in the Camp there was a bit of noise going on and out walked a very dejected looking man. I walked into the office and was immediately asked if I could drive a lorry and if I had a licence. I had my international licence with me, valid for heavy and light vehicles so I produced that and was offered the job as Naafi driver at Cultybraggan camp. Better than kitchen portering I thought! It turned out that the regular driver was a drunk and had been fired as I arrived.
Cultybraggan was an interesting place as it was a German POW camp during WW2. It is now a Scottish Heritage site which is looked after by the people of Comrie.
So I settled into my Nissen Hut with German writing still on the door from WW2 which was made out of curved asbestos sheets and went out to inspect my vehicles. One was a Ford Thames Transit van and the other a Morris Commercial 3.5 tonner. I was the only driver and could take either depending on the load. The camp had a large number of soldiers and the Naafi had the contract to provide all the food and canteen facilities. Further there was an officers mess with waitresses who were students doing their summer vac jobs. My boss was the Storeman whose name was Charlie and we shared the aforementioned Nissen Hut. We had our meals at the Naafi Canteen where there was a small bar as well. My duties were mostly to collect supplies for the Camp from our main base, which was the Black Watch Barracks in Perth. One day I was driving between Crieff and Perth when I stopped at a roadside Café for a cup of tea. While I was drinking my tea the owner came up and said “Soo yourr the noo Naafi Driver then.”
“O Aye” says I.
“Weel wot aboot the Swiss Rolls then.”
“What aboot them” says I.
“Weel the last driver used to keep us weel supplied with them.”
It took me a little time to realise what he was getting at but when I did, I said there were no more Swiss Rolls being ordered for the British Army!
Another of my duties was taking the Naafi staff to the village of Comrie every Friday after pay so that they could drink away their wages. Some of them were pretty rough and when it came the time to collect them from one of the 5 pubs in the small village life used to sometimes get difficult for me. It was not unusual for a kitchen porter from the slums of Glasgow or Liverpool to take a swing at me when I asked him to get into the vehicle. I was always very relieved when I finally got them all home.
The social life on the camp was tremendous. The small village of Comrie had as I said 5 pubs one owned by a South African couple and very little else. Having my motor bike was a huge advantage over every one else on the camp as there were very few private cars on the camp so the girls were fairly keen on a ride into the beautiful countryside around from time to time. It was a carefree two months with few worries. The job was not arduous and driving through the best part of Scotland for a living seemed to me to be a pretty good thing. Loch Earn was close by and the Trossachs were within reach. This part of Perthshire has to have some of the most lovely scenery in all of Scotland with lochs and mountains everywhere.