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About The A.A.J.L.R.
The All Arms Junior Leaders' Regiment was formed in 1959 and disbanded in 1966. Originally it trained boys as future senior non-commissioned officers from five arms of the army but this was later expanded to eight.
The year was split into 3 terms with a fresh intake of boys each term. The first term of each boys service was completely dedicated to turning these 15 and 16 year olds into disciplined soldiers.
From the second term the prime emphasis was on education as all senior NCO's were required to obtain the Army Certificate of Education [Class 1].
Alternate days were spent on Military Training which included Drill, Weapons Training, Driver Training, Map Reading and casually strolling over the gently rolling Brecon Beacons in wonderful Welsh weather fully equipped in thin denims, a poncho and carrying a webbing back pack.
The boys final term included specialist training according to the arm or corps he intended to serve in as a senior soldier.
Mixed in with all this there was sport, adventure training, outward bound courses and inter company competitions including the Rhyl cup.
Every boy also took part in the 'Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme' and to this end most evenings were spent doing a large number of hobbies. The rest of the time was spent cleaning the barracks or doing your personal kit whilst huddled round a coal burning pot-bellied stove in a futile attempt to keep warm.
Oh, those were the days.........
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The Makeup of the Regiment
R Basic Training Company.
A Balaclava
B Egypt
C Alamein
D Cambrai

Omdurman Troop

Omdurman Troop was formed in May 1959 at Tonfanau as part of the All Arms Junior Leaders Regiment. (Please note the use of Troop and not Platoon, this was in Respect of the Troop Commander being a Gunner at that time and Omdurman being also a Gunner Battle Honour, and remained with Omdurman to its untimely end).
The first boys arrived on the 11 May 1959.
At that time Recruit Company did not exist due to the Regiment being in the early throws of formation. 'A' Company had assembled a few days earlier. When we arrived 'A' Company had been equipped and could stand to attention and maintain some semblance of good order and military discipline.
The troop was Commanded by a Captain Murray-Flutter, Royal Artillery. The Troop Sergeant was Dennis Elmore who was also a Gunner. The troop also had an RAEC Sergeant, a National Serviceman who's name escapes me. The Troop was based around Block 89, a brick building.
Omdurman Troop was part of 'C' Company, Commanded by Major T.G.H. Jackson MBE Royal Signals.
Due to the expansion of the Regiment, Omdurman Troop, moved from 'C' Company to 'B' Company on the 22nd. of October 1959, which was Commanded by Major L.L.S. Williams, Royal Artillery. All Officers and Senior NCO's moved with the Troop. The Troop also moved accommodation into one of the wooden 'H' blocks.
In the first term of 1960 the Troop Commander changed, Lt. J.B.H. Rowallan (I cannot decipher his name).
The Troop functioned as a unit within 'B' Company until its end in late October of 1960.
The Troop was disbanded mainly because of the reaction of the Junior incumbents to a Scottish Officer who became the Troop Commander on the 2nd. of September 1960. This Officer was not an Officer nor Gentleman! He was a vicious, cruel and malicious person. His favourite routine was multiple 'Kit' inspections at any time of the day or night. During these he would pull a Junior Soldiers locker from the top and crash it to the floor, any damage done to kit or locker was then charged to the Junior Soldier. He would throw over beds and many other such actions. During Outward bound he would bully and tirade everyone. During Rifle Training he would strike people with their rifles. He should not have been sent to AAJLR.
This cruel mans actions resulted in 48 boys out of 52 going AWOL one night in late October of 1960. People had tried to speak out, but as with the military attitude of the era, no one listened, (Sic..No change there then) and those who did complain were marked men by this beast of a man.
Most of the Boys either surrendered or were taken into custody within 48 hours of absconding.
The authorities now had to listen and listen seriously.
Within seven days of the great escape, Omdurman Troop was disbanded and the junior soldiers were dispersed amongst the other Troops/Platoons and Company's of the Regiment.
Punishment was light for those first time AWOL Boys, habitual absentees got the full treatment though (The Guardroom could not hold them all). Later this absence was expunged from their records.
Many Omdurman Boys therefore saw service in three of the Company's within AAJLR.
And so the great denial of the existence of Omdurman Troop began.
I have purposely left out the mans name, he could well be still alive.

Roy Carman

I would like to thank Roy for this wonderful piece. I do not feel that alive or dead we should protect the good name of this person. Roy is not the only one who remembers this mans brutality. He is/was Lt. McClagan.
Also I was under the impression that they were all 'troop' at the start and changed to 'platoon' somewhere along the way? - Webmaster.

After Omdurman we at Waterloo platoon got him as platoon commander. He was a pisshead. I have his signature on an end of term report. I later came across him in Kenya when he was with the Gordons and was on a court martial panel. I nearly got jail when I snarled at him.

Eric Wood

Around October 1959 the disused YMCA went up in flames. If my memory serves me correctly the names of the two lads who burned it down were J/Gnr (George) Frosdike and J/Gnr (Willie) Williams from Omdurman Troop.
They were court martialled and sent down but I am not certain of the number of days - it may have been 56 but could have been more. They returned to Tonfanau to soldier on - changed days indeed!
George went on to to reach WO1 and Willie I think went mental.

Gus Boag

The Y.M.C.A. Fire
This statement from Derek Williams reveals the circumstances and aftermath of the fire in the deserted wooden hut that was the site of the unused YMCA building at Tonfanau camp.
Prior to November 5th 1959 we were discussing what to do on Guy Fawkes night and to cut a long story short I was bet a week’s wages (17/6 or 87 & a half pence) that the aforementioned building be set on fire. I took up this challenge and was joined by George Frosdick. The person who issued this challenge was J. Stern.
Frosdick and I duly set fire to this hut on 5th November 1959.
The person who informed the authorities of our guilt was JENKINS (i can’t remember his first name.)
The court martial was set for 1st December 1959 and we were both charged with causing wilful damage and not arson.
We both pleaded guilty and all the training and education officers put in verbal reports to the effect that we should not be discharged as we would make excellent soldiers.
We were both given 21 days detention and fined £3. We only served 15 days of this sentence as Colonel LAKE released us early due to the Christmas holiday.
Upon return after Christmas J. Stern refused to pay us the bet he made and when I further pursued the matter he reported us to Captain A. Murray Flutter (our troop commander) here the matter rests.
Major Anthony Murray Flutter(Rtd) died peacefully on April 26th 2004.
In 1960 this building was opened as a fully operational YMCA and we all enjoyed the facilities it offered; so some good did come out of the situation.
You may well ask what happened to me with my future military career.
After graduation I joined 21st. Locating Regiment R.A. as a meteorologist. After about 2 years I realised that I was homosexual and as this was illegal under military and civilian law I confessed to my troop commander and was discharged in November 1963. End of military career!!

Derek 'Willie' Williams

If you are able to throw any more light on these or have more regimental stories then contact me by clicking on the email link at the top of this page.

A History of the Regiment

May 1959 First Intake. None
23rd. July 1960 First Graduation Parade.
141 Graduates today.
10th. December 1960  Second Graduation Parade.
106 Graduates today.
8th. April 1961 Third Graduation Parade.
52 Graduates today.
300 Graduates so far.
4th. August 1961 Fourth Graduation Parade.
108 Graduates today.
Over 400 Graduates so far.
9th. December 1961 Fifth Graduation Parade.
120 Graduates today.
Over 500 Graduates so far.
April 1962 Sixth Graduation Parade. No
28th. July 1962 Seventh Graduation Parade.
115 Graduates today.
Over 700 Graduates so far.
8th. December 1962  Eighth Graduation Parade.
108 Graduates today.
Over 800 Graduates so far.
6th. April 1963 Ninth Graduation Parade.
102 Graduates today.
Over 900 Graduates so far.
27th. July 1963 Tenth Graduation Parade.
97 Graduates today.
Over 1000 Graduates so far.
7th. December 1963 Eleventh Graduation Parade.
123 Graduates today.
Over 1100 Graduates so far.
11th. April 1964 Twelfth Graduation Parade.
130 Graduates today.
Over 1200 Graduates so far.
8th. August 1964 Thirteenth Graduation Parade.
130 Graduates today.
Over 1300 Graduates so far.
12th. December 1964 Fourteenth Graduation Parade.
144 Graduates today.
Over 1400 Graduates so far.
10th. April 1965 Fifteenth Graduation Parade.
137 Graduates today.
7th. August 1965 Sixteenth Graduation Parade.
105 Graduates today.
1779 Graduates so far.
September 1965 The final intake. None
11th. December 1965  Seventeenth Graduation Parade.
Regiment downsized to two Companies.
130 Graduates today.
1930 Graduates so far.
9th April 1966 Eighteenth Graduation Parade.
99 Graduates today.
A total of 2029 boys have graduated since the Regiment started.
6th August 1966 Nineteenth Graduation Parade. (Final Graduation)
103 Graduates today.
A total of 2105 boys have graduated since the Regiment started.
Regiment disbands.
Please don't accuse me of poor addition. The figures for the Graduates on each parade and in total were taken from the Graduation Booklets.

About the Camp

On the west coast of the County of Meirionnydd, in the parish of Llangelynin in the Rural District of Dolgellau and approximately two miles north of Towyn (Tywyn) on the mid-Wales coast of Cardigan Bay.
The total area of the Camp was some 220 acres held by the Ministry of Defence. This included the Commanding Officer's residence at Cefn Camberth which measured some four acres.
Rail - The Great Western Railway ran through the Camp and had a small railway station on site. A goods yard was also situated within the Camp.
Roads - The Class I A493 Dolgellau to Towyn road ran within ¾ mile of the Camp entrance. A County Classified road (Class III) extended to the perimeter of the Camp where it joined a private WD road extending through the camp and on to Towyn via the Bailey bridge erected over the river Dysynni. All roads within the Camp area complied with the Ministry of Transport standards for classified roads. Public transport services were provided by Crosville Motor Services Ltd.
Public Utilities and Services
Water - Supplied in bulk by Merioneth Water Board up to and sometimes exceeding 120 gallons per minute. A 60,000 gallons two compartment storage reservoir provided water exclusively for the Camp. The maximum quantity that could be supplied daily from the existing system was 144,000 gallons. A further supplement of 1/2 million gallons a day could be made from supply mains in the Towyn Urban District Council area which extended to within one mile of the Camp.
Sewerage - The whole site was adequately sewered on the combined system in GSS pipes from 6" to 18" diameter with an 18" cast iron sea outfall.
Electricity - A 11kV feed line was provided for the Camp. 95% of the cables within the Camp were underground and two sub-stations were provided. The mains were capable of providing for 1,000kW. Three-phase wiring was provided to cook-houses, REME workshops, NAAFI and the Camp Reception Station. All sheds and workshops were in conduit wiring while all other buildings were in conduit or TRS wiring. Buildings other than those mentioned were in single-phase wiring.
Telephone - Three lines were provided with extensions to all administrative buildings and workshops.
Medical Services
Four medical practitioners shared two practices in Towyn and there were a further three general practitioners in Dolgellau. Both Dolgellau and Towyn had a public hospital and a hospital building was situated within the Camp area.
Dining Facilities
Three steam-heated cookhouses with dining rooms were provided, each seating 600 persons at one sitting.
Recreational Facilities
Ten acres of land were laid out for football, cricket and hockey pitches together with a running track. Two tennis courts were provided within the Camp. A Camp Theatre seating 1,000 persons was fully equipped for cinema and live shows.
The number of buildings at the Camp totalled some 260, most of which were still in good condition and well maintained at the time of closure. At least three premises provided in excess of 10,000 sq ft of floor area each and at least a further ten structures had floor areas of between 5,000 and 10,000 each. The majority of the structures were brick built.
Labour Force
Camp Commandant's Staff (Non Industrial)
Retired Officers (1) - Clerical Officers (4) - Clerical Assistants (21) - Typists (4) - School Teachers (9) - Switchboard Operators (2) - Driving Instructors (10)
Camp Commandant's Staff (Industrials)
Armourers (1) - Batmen (18) - Carpenters (1) - Drivers (20) - Gardeners (2) - Signwriters (1) - Labourers [Semi-skilled] (9) - Labourers [Unskilled] (17) - Night Watchmen (5) - Officers' Mess Stewards (1) - Orderlies [Church] (1) - Orderlies [Dining Halls] (16) - Orderlies [Kitchens] (13) - Orderlies [Library] (1) - Orderlies [Lecture Room] (8) - Orderlies [Officers' Mess] (6) - Orderlies [Sergeants' Mess] (4) - Cinema Projectionists (1) - Range Wardens (1) - Storeman [Grade 1] (1) - Storeman [Grade 2] (6) - Coach Trimmers (1) - Vehicle Mechanics (2) - Cleaners (2)
Medical Staff
Clerical (1) - Orderlies (1)
Ministry of Public Buildings and Works: (Non Industrial)
Clerical (1)
Minister of Public Buildings and Works: (Industrial)
Carpenters (5) - Bricklayers (2) - Drivers (1) - Stonemasons (1) - Plumbers (3) - Sewage Plant Attendants (1) - Plasters (1) - Fitters (3) - Gardeners (1) - Groundsmen (6) - Painters (5) - Electricians (2) - Labourers (15) - Stokers (21) - Electricians' Mates (2) - Cleaners (1)
This shows a grand total of 269 civilians employed at the Camp.

Employees' places of residence were:
Towyn (152) - Machynlleth (5) - Barmouth (18) - Dolgellau Rural District (94)
Rateable Value
The Rateable value of Tonfanau Camp in 1966/67 was £18,000, equivalent to 10.5% of the Rateable Resources of the Dolgellau Rural District Council.

Financial Implications at Time of Closure
Estimated Direct Losses (per annum)
Wages = £148,500 - Local purchase contracts = £15,600 - Local hirings = £12,480 - Local purchases by families = £33,800 - Petrol and lubricants = £2,600 - Local contractors = £10,500 - Rates, (including Water rates) = £11,775 - Electricity = £11,000 - Fuel = £5,500
Estimated Indirect Losses
Doctors' and Dentists' Panels, say 260 adults and 250 children.
Local Schools, up to 260 children.
Train Services, say 400 Junior Leaders three times annually Plus train visits by 300 families a year.
It is claimed that the Royal Artillery were camped in the Tonfanau area during the First World War but it was not until around 1937 that a tented camp was struck followed by brick structures in 1939.
The Royal Artillery used the camp to train Anti-Aircraft gunners all through the war and continued to do so afterwards. In 1948 it became the home of 55 Light Anti-Aircraft Training Regiment who stayed until they were disbanded in 1958.
In 1959 there was a need to train more boys so the camp became the base for the newly formed All Arms Junior Leaders' Regiment until it too was disbanded in 1966.
In early 1967 in marched the happy band of 22 Light Air Defence Regiment, Royal Artillery who must have been overjoyed with Wales after leaving Malaya. They managed to slip away to Germany in 1969 and the camp was officially closed in 1971.
But wait, in 1972 Uganda's President Idi Amin expelled the Asians from his country and as many of them had British passports it was to Britain they came. The camp was quickly refurbished and 700 of the refugee's were bedded down there by the end of the year and a further 800 were to follow. Of the 29000 Ugandan refugees 5000 ended up in the Towyn area.
As Paul Treen says: "There they were stuck in a strange land, no money and only the clothes they stood up in. But that's enough about the AAJLR boys...!!!"   <g>
Some time later these poor individuals must have managed to escape but I know not when. Perhaps you can help with this?

The 'About the Camp' information has been taken from Rees Ivor Jones book "The Military In Tywyn". Unfortunately Rees died in 2003 and copies are no longer available.

Confused about Towyn and Tywyn? When the regiment was stationed at Tonfanau the local town was called Towyn. There is also a Towyn in North Wales so at some time after the camp closed the local council took the decision to change to the Welsh spelling of Tywyn.

According to Paul Treen, the following Royal Artillery units were stationed at Tonfanau camp between 1950 and 1969:
37 Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment, 55 Training Regiment, 63 Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment, 67 Training Regiment and 22 Light Air Defence Regiment. 22 Light Air Defence Regiment were there again from 1967 to 1969 (well, they were known as the Welsh Gunners!). It was also used by a number of Territorial Units for their annual camp.
At least one American unit (413 Anti Aircraft Artillery Battalion) trained there before the Normandy invasion.
Also Andrew Belsey tells me that his father served there with the 133 OCTG Royal Artillery (Officer Cadet Training Group) in 1943.

Do you know anything at all about the Regiment? If so please send me details:

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