This page is part of the fuller description of Ray Rigg's early life and his war time role and experiences, to return to the shorter version click here.
OCTU Acre, Palestine 1941
Middle East OCTU No.2 Company, (No.II Intake), Acre, Palestine, October 1941 (Ray back row fifth from left)
Ray was selected for officer training and attended the Middle East OCTU (Officer Cadet Training Unit) at Acre near Haifa in Palestine. The commanding officer there told them at their first parade that they were the sweepings from the bottom of the barrel and would not have been given this opportunity in peacetime. He went on to say they would do the best they could with the group of cadets in front of him.
Ray found the OCTU training hard but he successfully completed the course in October 1941 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers. Not all the cadets successfully completed the training, some being returned to their units during the course.
Click here for a names list of the cadets in this picture.
The article below, from the July 1944 edition of the British Army's Middle East Command magazine 'AIM' is written by a later attendee at the same OCTU and reflects his experiences there.
The handwritten comment on the end of course dinner menu below 'I'll rift you around Sir! ! !' is by the drill sergeant who had drilled the company hard throughout the course. Ray recalled being shouted at and told that he was "idle on parade". ln fact everything on the parade ground was labelled as "idle". The drill sergreant had a large moustache which some of the group decided to shave off him at the passing-out dinner. The group, including Australians and New Zealanders (who Ray described as very tough and good to have on your side) were though unable to hold him down as he was too strong for the group of them and the moustache survived.
The Rigg Family of Southwestern Lakeland © Michael Rigg 2016