The Open Door

Trials & Tribulations of Identical Twins: Don Mountford

I received my calling up papers, as a future National serviceman, to report to Aldershot in March 1951,but my identical twin had been called back for the one in a thousand repeat chest xrays and did not get his papers.

Our father (ex RASC 14th Army ) told me to write to the recruitment office and tell them that under Kings Regulations I would not be there as they could not separate identical twins without their agreement, I then received a letter telling me to report with my twin when he got his call up.

On the 5th April 1951 we arrived at the barracks in Aldershot, lined up on the square to be checked in by taking one pace forward and shouting out, “ Here Sergeant” when our name was called. Guess what? Mountford was called, we both took the pace forward and in union shouted, “Here Sergeant”. There was only one Mountford on the list, I was not there. From then on as identical twins we caused problems and more swearing than we had ever heard before.

Picture this, Yeovil training battalion, line up at the guard house all bull and polished brasses to be allowed out for a taste of normality .My twin Brian, marched into the guard house and was inspected and signed out until 23.59. He came out and I went in. The Sergeant sitting behind the desk looked up and asked, “what do you want”.

“I want to book out Sergeant”. “What’s your name”, he asked. “ Mountford”, I replied. He looked in the guard house book and said I had already booked out. “Not me Sergeant”. We then went through the checks of what company was I in - What platoon was I in - who was in charge of that platoon etc etc. I was able to keep a straight face and repeatedly telling him I had not booked out. By then his choice of words were getting somewhat ‘blue’. He then asked me, “What the ---- was going on”. I replied that, “my twin had Just booked out”. In a somewhat agitated state he said, “fetch him in here”. Duly done, he looked and looked and told us both to, “get the out of there” I never did book out that day.

In our two years with 47 and 73 Air Despatch we managed to cause quite a bit of confusion, so much so that Brian was put in charge of the Sergeants mess in 73 company to keep us apart. The question I have never found the answer to is, was our dad correct about the King’s Regulations stating that identical twins could not be separated?????

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