Feature page of

LT. COL. STANLEY (Kitna) PRICE. OBE.

A LEGEND IN HIS OWN LIFETIME

 

MY PERSONAL HERO AND ROLE MODEL
by
Joe Eastwood


Lucknow 1945



Click on photo to enlarge it
Stanley" Kitna" Price was presented with this cigarette case by the members of the WOs and Sgt's Mess of 2RAF Hill Depot in Solan,India.

Joe bought it off Ebay in December 2014"




I have wanted to write a tribute to this great Lancashire Fusilier for some considerable time,but every time I got started,another story or anecdote would surface!
He had such a great influence upon so many of the men he came into contact with(and many who never met him but heard the stories surrounding him) that it is true to say that he probably shaped the idea of what the perfect None Commisioned Officer should be for decades within the Regiment.
I can certainly tell you that he lived within my own sub conciousness during my own progession through the junior ranks,and I hoped to emulate just a little of the standards he had laid down for those coming after to follow.

Stanley Price was born on the 12th June 1921 at 67 Evans Street Middleton in the centre of what became known as "LF" Country.

Sadly it appears that his mother died giving birth to him

It was not surprising then that he should enlist into the 6th Bn the XXth The Lancashire Fusiliers almost a soon as he was 18 years old in 1938 (he gave his date of birth as 1920 to appear a tear older).
The start of a phenomenal career in the service of the LFs and his country had begun.
The 1/6 th Bn were part of 125 Brigade in the 42 (East Lancashire Division).
The Division moved to France in April 1940,by which time Stanley Price had earned promotion to Sergeant.
His Bn were involved in heavy fighting all the way back to cover the withdrawal to Dunkirk,and Stanley remained with his Bn until evacuated from the Dunkirk beaches on the 30th May.
So,our man was already a veteran of Dunkirk as a Sgt before he was 19 years old!!
Stanley Price then spent some time training at Wellington Barracks until he joined the 2/8th Bn and later the 1/6th as a Training instructor.
He had already been promoted to WO2.
In December 1943, he was posted to the 1st Bn The XXth The Lancashire Fusiliers in India and was a Company Sergeant Major with the Bn throughout the whole of the Second Chindit Campaign in Burma.
In October 1944 he was selected and promoted to be Warrant Officer First Class Stanley Price,and appointed RSM of the 1st BN.
He was 23 years and 4 months old.
The die was cast and the scene set for one of the most colourful periods of his career,when he became a legendary figure,not only within his own regiment,but to the world in general.
He would be(save for a short mysterious break in 1949/50) the RSM of the 1st Bn for 11 glorious years,during tours of India, Warminster, Egypt, Kenya and Iserlohn.

These are some of the true stories about him and the impact he had on men like Jim Costello, Bill Duffy,Ronnie Turner, and Pete Newton, who sent us these memorable stories:


Aqaba 1951
"The Second Coming"

'He's arrived.' panted Naylor.
'Bloody rubbish, he's not due until tomorrow.' Hallam exclaimed.
'He's here mate. HE'S BACK!'
'Bloody 'ell. I'm off.
'Where to?'
'The bloody bog or anywhere out of his way.'
'You scared bugger. Your terrified of him.'
'Better scared than sorry when he's around.' Hallam reported as he dashed out of the tent.
'Watch where ye' going.' Sayers shouted as Hallam bumped into him running out of the tent.
'He's back, and I'm off to the bogs.'
'Don't be bloody stupid. It's tomorrow he's coming.'
'Oh yeah, well that must be his bloody twin down at the Guardroom.'
'Y'ea joking.'
'Mate, would you joke about KITNA PRICE?'
'Hang on, I'll come to the bogs with you. You don't think he will come in there do you?'

It was Fayid, Egypt 1950. RSM Stanley 'Kitna' Price had returned to the 1st Battalion. He left the Bn in 1949 for reasons unknown to us. There were more different rumours about why he left than there has been about who killed JFK.
RSM Price was a one off.
The news of his arrival spread quicker than an Aussie bush fire.
The first two tents in lines of A,C and D Coy's where along side the one surfaced road that ran from the Guardroom to Bn HQ. Into these six tents crammed nearly the whole of the battalion. Then they waited.
The road was usually busy with men and trucks going to and fro. Now it was deserted. And we waited.
Kitna could always put on a show and he did not let us down.
As we looked through the tent flaps he came out of the Guardroom and marched towards us. Spick and Span as a new pin, pace stick swinging at his side His free hand moving up to twist his waxed moustache now and again.
He stopped opposite D Coy tent line for a moment, did the same at C Coy then he was opposite us in A Coy and glared at the tents we were in. Nobody breathed. It felt like he could see us through the canvas walls. Then after about three seconds (That felt like three years) he continued on his way to Bn HQ.
He had only walked along the road, yet made his presence felt to everyone who saw him.
That was RSM Stanley 'Kitna' Price. An unforgettable character if ever there was one.

2. RSM Stanley Price was often described by using one word. But there was much more to him than can be described by a single word.
When the 1st Bn were part of the British Chindits in Burma during WW11
Price was promoted on the field of battle to become at 21yrs old, the youngest RSM in the Army. His talent for organisation was beyond compare and he was very brave.
He stood five foot eight and was of medium build yet he terrified nearly everyone in the Bn from low to high rank.
He had a fair complexion and a slightly pock marked face, and he sported a typical RSM's waxed moustache. His pale blue eyes blazed out from under the peak of his cap and seemed to bore into your mind. His chin was square and aggressive while all parts of his head below his cap was shaven. He spoke in a clear clipped manner that exuded self-confidence.
He had a way of holding his head back and looking down his nose so that even the tallest Fusiliers felt as though he was looking down on them. Always impeccably dressed, he sometimes changed uniforms three or four times a day as they became sweat stained by the hot African sun. His bearing was ramrod straight and he walked with just a hint of arrogant swagger.
One sign of his impatience was well know, he would walk about 7 or 8 paces then about-turn and walk back to where he started. Then walk back and forth again. All the time tapping his right leg with his pacing stick, while twisting the ends of his moustache with his left hand. If you saw him doing this and you were the reason for it, then God help you.
Some of his more eccentric performances included, in India he had a bicycle put under arrest in the Guardroom for moving on parade when it fell over. Another time he shouted up at a cloud when it cast a shadow over his parade ground. In Knook Camp, Warminster he put all of 'C' Coy in the Guardroom for being scruffy on parade. There were bodies every where, in the cells, the corridors, the toilets and the small exercise yard.
At Nakuru, Kenya he made prisoners double around a circular garden in front of the guardroom while carrying house bricks in the packs on their backs. It took a question from Bessie Braddock MP in parliament to stop this practice.
When giving us a lecture on a Cadre at Fayid his knowledge and enthusiasm were spell-binding. The Terror of the parade ground was replaced by this tutorial giant and his cynical sense of humour came to the fore. Like all his other duties, his performance was first class.
He told us that he didn't mind being disliked or even hated as long as he was respected. And that he was.
He fascinated people. They could not help wanting to watch when he was on parade. He was professional in all his ways and so very charismatic.
At the end of his career with the Fusiliers he had one more act to perform at Wellington Barracks, Bury. By now, promoted to Major, he would not normally be called upon to be a Duty Officer, but circumstances prevailed and word got around that he would be inspecting the mounting of the guard on the next Friday evening. Fusiliers to a man forgot about the usual early start away from barracks. As six o'clock approached, the windows of the barracks surrounding the parade ground were crammed with faces. Even the civilians who worked there stayed behind such was his reputation.
The nine members of the guard marched onto the parade ground, and waited. The stage was set. Major Price accompanied by the Orderly Sergeant emerged. Price's arrogant swagger was still there as was his charisma.
He inspected the guard in the usual way then in a voice that echoed around the square, he told the Sergeant of the Guard that he had never seen such a scruffy lot in all his days in the army. He ordered the Sergeant to lock the lot of them up in the guardroom and be back on parade in half an hour with a fresh guard.
His audience were not disappointed.
This incident was told to me by Major Hallam when I visited the depot some yers ago.
On leaving the army Major Price was appointed by the Sultan of Oman to reorganise and re-equip the military forces of Oman. A task he undertook with his usual powers of organisation.
However, while on leave in England after a couple of years at his task, he told his wife that he felt unwell and retired to bed. The next morning the man was dead.
If there was one weakness in his character, could it be that there was not one man in all the Regiment he could call his mate.
But I often wondered if he sometimes laughed himself to sleep.


OPERATION EAGLE

As dawn broke over Ishmailia, Egypt on 25th January 1952, British troops involved in Operation Eagle were already in position.
Sealing off part of the town from where snipping could be expected were an outer cordon of troops consisting of, 2nd Bn Parachute Regt, Ist Bn East Lancashire Regt and the Royal Lincolnshire Regt.
An inner cordon were in position surrounding two buildings. The Bureau Sanitiare (a hospital) and the Caracol( the Police Headquarters)which were occupied by approximately 800 armed Police/Military.
The inner cordon consisted of, 1st Bn The Lancashire Fusilier, two troops of the Royal Tank Regt, four troops of The Royals and a RAMC detachment and were position as follows,
'A'Coy, one troop of 4th Royal Tanks, two troops of the Royals and six carriers of Support Coy were in position to assault the Corocal.
'C'Coy, one troop of the 4th Tanks, two troops of Royals and six carriers of Support Coy were ready to attack the Bureau Sanitiare.
Support Coy, less detachments to be responsible for the protection of French Square.
Bn main headquarters, 'D'Coy and Medical detachments were in reserve on Rue Mohd Ali.
Bn Tactical Headquarters including Lt Col Agar and RSM Price were deployed with 'C'Coy.
At 0620hrs a loudspeaker broadcast was made calling on the police to surrender. This was followed by two more broadcasts within the next half hour. The last one being answered by gun-fire from the Egyptians. At 0700hrs a Centurion tank fired off one round. This was the signal for the battle to commence.
'C'Coy started moving closer to the Hospital ready for an assault on the building when they became under fire from the police.
The Mortar platoon, under the command of Lt Scragg were in French Square in support of 'C'Coy.
Lt Scragg, Cpl Woods and I entered one of the tallest buildings in the square and went up to the flat roof. From there we could see police on the roof of the hospital firing down on into the square where the buildings on the south side were occupied by 'C'Coy and Bn Tactical HQ.
Lt Scragg told me to go back to our carrier and bring up a bren-gun which he then fired at the police on the hospital roof. Cpl Woods and I fired our rifles.
As this was going on I noticed a section of 'C'Coy dash across the square and enter the doorway of a building close to the hospital. Then the section leader, a L/Cpl, appeared in the doorway and started waving one of his arms as if signalling for someone to follow him. But nobody answered his call.
Then the action really got hot, it seemed the police were firing everything they had into the square to stop further LF's crossing the square. The bloody noise was deafening.
Then Cpl Woods knocked my arm and pointed down into the square below us. There we saw RSM Price dashing across the square and holding on to a Fusilier who was wearing an 88 set radio. It seemed there was no way they were going to make it through the hail of ammo being fired into the square. But make it they did. They reached the safety of the doorway where the L/Cpl waited for them. RSM Price appeared to have a few words with the L/Cpl.
Then, Lo and bloody behold the RSM started to run back across the square. The firing and noise seemed to increase with ammo flying all over the place.
Woods and I could only watch, expecting him to be hit any moment. Yet, he survived. How the hell the RSM was not killed I will never know.
Later, we found out the 88 set operator had (shall we say)declined to run across the square with his section.
However, "KITNA" had made sure that that section had a line of communication back to Coy and Bn Headquarters.

The battle was over later that day when the police surrendered. It had been bitter and bloody battle. Their casualties were estimated at the time as 57 dead and 142 wounded. Our casualties were, four dead and ten wounded. One of the wounded, 22215305 Fus A.B. Allen, later, died of his wounds,
After a quiet night spent patrolling the town. The Royal Sussex Regt relieved us the next day.
When we returned to barracks, the only question every body seemed to be asking was, "Did you see what Kitna did?"

P.S. While the battle was in progress a number of action were taking place simultaneously. Such as,
'C'Coy's 9 Platoon clearing the top floor of the hospital with grenades and bayonet.
The Drums under Capt Gaw killed all the police manning positions on the hospital roof.
Lt Barber, wiping out the snipers in the King George Hotel with two well aimed PIAT bombs.
Yet, I can only ever recall seeing many years ago, a small article recording Kitna's act of bravery on that day.
Maybe that's the way he wanted it.


Bill Duffy's Memory of Kitna:


I was on an RSMs parade which he held every Saturday in Fayid, Egypt 1950, and can vouch for the truth of this story......He was giving his word of command when a jet from the nearby RAF base flew overhead, drowning his voice. He shouted to the Orderly Sergeant to run after the plane and get the Pilots name and number.

Other things attributed to him......Putting Minnie on a charge for defecating on his parade ground........putting HIMSELF on a charge when he looked in the Guardroom mirror and told himself he was scruffy and a disgrace to the Regiment.

We all dreaded RSMs Parade....the Whole regiment Must attend....no excuses...even the sick and infirm.....he would make us carry out the first part of Slope Arms drill over and over while screaming at us how sloppy and stupid we were...then one parade he ordered Slope Arms which we did......He amazed us by shouting "that could not be bettered by the Brigade of Guards"......He turned to the CO (Lt Col Bamford) and asked permission to dismiss the parade as we could not improve on that....Permission granted.....parade ground empty in 10 seconds before he changed his mind.....and finally....

The only time I ever heard him speak quietly.....I happened to be passing the guardroom in Aqaba when Kitner collared me and told me to double into the guardroom and get a duster as he had some dust on his boots....I ran back and bent down to remove the offending dust, but the duster I had grabbed had some oil on from weapon cleaning.....the mirror vanished from his toecap...Kitner looked down on me from what seemed a great height and whispered " If you are not out of my sight in 3 seconds you miserable little bastard, my pacing stick will vanish down your throat!".....I was gone in a split second.
I hope some of this will be of use to you Joe.....I have gone on a bit, but I'm sure you will get a lot of stories about Kitner.....He would still scare me 52 years later, even if I was in a shark-proof cage!


Ronnie Turner has generously provided the following stories / anecdotes of his time with the Lancashire Fusiliers.
They are not given in any particular order

A change of Uniform


I joined the 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers at Lucknow in 1945 and that's when I first came across RSM Stanley 'Kitna' Price
on his battalion Drill Parade (NB: Ronnie states that he was know Kitna Price.)

He looked immaculate, Bush Hat, Silk Shirt and shorts and without doubt the smartest soldier I have ever seen.

However, a Major (2nd in Command) who was tall and wore a monocle came on Parade, and shouted "RSM Price, get off Parade
and put on Army issue uniform, you look like a Chinese General!!!!!"

Even in Army issue shirts he still looked immaculate. I don't know what became of the Major but there were stories going around
about him riding the mules at night.
Never did see him again.

NB: Compilers note - RSM Price is known to have had specially made for himself a beautiful uniform made out of the finest silk!!!

The Major concerned is known to have 'departed' the battalion not long after this particular incident


RSM Stanley 'Kitna' Price and Lord Wavell


Anyone can make a mistake

Battalion Drill Parade was RSM Price's favorite pastime. One day during a Parade Kitna shouted at one of the Chindits
by name "Keep Still!" he screamed. After a short pause he shouted "I know you have gone home on leave!"

On another occasion during an RSM's battalion Drill Parade an Indian Postman made the mistake of passing the parade ground
with his pony and trap. Kitner ordered his Regimental Policemen to arrest the poor bewildered postman.
Kitner refused to listen to the Regimental Policeman who asked what they should do with the pony and trap.
Kitner just shouted "Get them inside!" I think he had a very queer sense of humor,
knowing that hundreds were watching his every move.

On another occasion two of his Policemen came on Parade with a table. Kitner stood on the table so that all could see him
and he demonstrated how Arms Drill should be done. Immaculate!!!


Chindits

Half the battalion was made up of these wonderful soldiers. It is said (wrongly) that Kitna had no friends.
At weekends these Chindits went to Lucknow and some of them had too much to drink. Kitna went to Lucknow
with his Policemen and what was know as his "hurry up truck" to collect his soldiers. No matter how drunk they were
he never put anyone on a charge. He had after all been to hell and back with them. The same did not apply to us young squaddies!!!

Hiding in the smallest room

One afternoon we were all off duty just lounging around our barrack room when one of the lads shouted
"Kitna's coming!"
and everyone scattered. I and four other Fusiliers hid in a toilet until he had gone!!!



Malaria

The RSM used to go down with Malaria. On one occasion two orderlies were sent from the MI Room to Kitner's
Billet with a stretcher.

He put them both on a charge and walked to the ambulance



Special Guard: Photograph of the Guard Detail Presenting Arms

It was a Special Guard that Kitna had for one of his social occasions. I think from memory it was red tunics and blue slacks.
He must have been pleased because he decided to have our photograph taken. The Indian photographer came and he had
one of those old box type cameras on a tripod. Kitner brought us to the Present Arms position and the Indian photographer
was scurrying away under the cloth canopy on the back of the camera. He came out from under the canopy
and made his way towards us to make some adjustments. Kitna had obviously become very impatient and began waving his
Pace Stick shouting "TAKE THE PICTURE!!!!!" The Indian ran back to his camera, stuck his head under the canopy
and took the picture. He was probably going to adjust my sleeve. That's me, centre front rank.

 

Lucknow Barracks

The barracks at Lucknow were clean and well spread out and the barrack rooms were built with verandas.
In general our living conditions were excellent but we did not have the luxury of flushing toilets.
A wagon shaped like a fuel tanker but much smaller came round to empty the toilet tubs every day.
The first time I saw this wagon was when I was on Drill Parade. As the wagon went past, it wasn't General Salute,
Present Arms, it was "Cadbury's Salute…Present Arms!!!"

If we were marching when the wagon went past it was " Eyes Right " or "Eyes left " for the Cadbury's Wagon!!!

 

Special Guard for demo's

We were on guard waiting for the arrival of a VIP and Kitna put us through our paces. He made sure we were ready.
He then took out his handkerchief got down and wiped the dust off our boots. I could not believe what I was seeing


Military Tattoo in Lucknow

I was in the squad who was performing 'silent drill'. The crowd appreciated the complicated routine and they thought
we were brilliant.
What they did not know was that our CSM was in the centre of the squad, dressed as a Fusilier,
giving the orders just loud enough for us to hear.


Stick Man

I was the smartest on the Guard Mounting a couple of times which meant that you didn't have to go on guard..
The next morning you had to report to the RSM and you were then the Commanding Officer's runner for a couple of hours.
I had to stand outside and ring the Ships Bell every hour. (the bell was the one from HMS Euryalus, the ship that landed the LF's at Gallipoli).
The bell was on a tripod outside Kitna's Office


Home Leave Request

Home Leave was for those who had been in India just coming up to two years. Once over 2 years service (and not having had leave)
you had to wait for demob. I had been in India for one year and eleven months and was getting desperate for some home leave.
'A' Company Commander said I would have to go on CO's Orders, which I did. The soldier next to me on CO's Orders was a cook,
overweight and very nervous. Kitna came to inspect us and make sure that we knew the proper drill. When he came to the cook
he could see that he was nervous, beads of sweat were rolling off him. Kitna assured the cook that he would be alright and not to worry.
Kitna went to the rear telling each and everyone "Get your haircut!!" He then stood behind the cook.
He shouted as loud as he could in the cook's ear
"STAND STILL!!!!"
I always admired and respected Kitna apart from the fact I was frightened to death of him, but on this occasion he went over the top.

When I was eventually marched into the CO's Office all I said was" I want to go on home leave Sir". He said to the officer by his side,
"See that this man goes home on leave". When the list went up on the Notice Board, Fusilier R.P. Turner's name was at the top of the list!
The rest were in alphabetical order. I had a month traveling home, a month at home and a month coming back……..great!


The Parade Ground

The Parade Ground at Lucknow India was a flat piece of land baked hard by the sun an ideal Parade Ground, Kitna was having his Battalion Parade, the about turn was not good enough, he kept us doing the about turn again and again until we got it altogether, just before he dismissed the Parade he shouted "You can come back after, and put your name on the hole you have made" who said he had no sense of humour.

 

"Iserlohn 1955 by Jimmy Cavanagh"

This story about Stanley (we called him that behind his back) He was then a Leftenant on Christmas morning 1955 I was duty driver 3 ton section Johnny Ball (MT Sergeant) came into our room and told me Stanley had been on the phone and he wanted a truck right away I went down to the QMs stores and it was locked up so I sat there for about half hour thinking the QM was coming from home During this time it was really snowing heavy and had been snowing all nigh It must have been 18 ins deep by this time I noticed someone wearing a cape plodding though the snow towards me When he got close I recognized it was Johnny Ball ( MT Sergeant ) He told me Stanley was still at home and wanted me to tow his car out a snowdrift outside of his house I got there as fast as I could considering the the dangerous condition of the roads And I expected a right rollicking when I got there but Stanley apologized to me for him bringing me out on Christmas morning I got the chain onto his car pulled it out put the chain in the back of the truck I got into truck and was just about to drive away Then I heard this unmerciful shout to STOP I did so and he told me I hadn't finished yet I had to follow him in his car we ended up about a mile away At an 3rd Hussars officer's house Stanley went in after a couple of minutes he and this other officer came out carrying a very large travelling trunk We lifted it onto the truck And Stanley said take it to his house and if I think I could manage to off load it myself do so and then go back to Barracks for my Christmas dinner and a drink with the lads Or wait for him to arrive to help me The other officer wished me a happy Christmas and gave me a flat box of 50 Senior Service cigarets When I got back to Stanley's I rang the door bell and went back to the truck and tried to get the trunk off myself I slipped on the snow and dropped the trunk just as Mrs Price opened the front door she came down about the 7 steps leading to the front door and asked me if all right and to leave it until Stanley arrived Then A German who was passing by offered to help and we got the trunk in to the house Mrs Price thanked the German and gave both of us 50 Senior Service Then she asked me to go into the kitchen for a cup of tea and a piece of home made Christmas cake It tasted great after eating army food for the last 18 months There little girl I would say she was about 4-5 years old talked the leg off me, Both her and Mrs Price were lovely people and made my Christmas Then Stanley arrived he came out to me and said I believe you dropped the trunk I stud there and didn't know what say and then he said did you hurt yourself I said no And then he said then theres no harm done He thanked me Gave me 50 Senior Service Wished a Merry Christmas and to get off back to Barracks and have a good Christmas

Lord Longford

During the Bns time in India,a common Urdu phrase or word used by all the Indian traders was"Kitna",which means"Price" in English.
It did not take long for the witty LFs to attach the nickname to their beloved RSM.
So he became know the world over as "Kitna

About two weeks after leaving prison, I'm standing in a Guard of Honour outside the guardroom in Knook Camp, Heytesbury. We were being inspected by Viscount Pakenham, a Government Minister.

When he came in front of me, he said, "And how do you like Army life young man?" As I looked at the minister to answer him, I saw R.S.M.Price, looming in the background over the Minister's right shoulder. He fixed me with one of his grey-blue eyed threats, that I and others knew so well.

"I think it's great Sir," I replied.

The Minister, later became Lord Longford.

Cheers, Chicken Jim Costello


Hi Jim,
How times changed for you and me. We were all petrified when we first came under the charge of Kitna. You have written in the past he could not care less if you disliked or hated him, but by God you would respect him. Very true but as we were to find out, much more importantly, when you had proved that you were worthy of being called a Fusilier, he returned respect. Once you got to know him you realized he had a wicked sense of humour.

On one occasion at Moascar, just after everybody had got settled down after the evening meal, the whole battalion was told to get outside, any dress, and line each side of the road. Jim and I were both in the Mortar Platoon in SP Coy. Our billet was right at the bottom end of the camp. The road was about a good quarter of a mile down to the officers’ quarters at the other end, and was lined from end to end with bodies. Suddenly the R.S.M appeared at the bottom end and started to walk very purposefully towards the officers’ quarters, periodically stopping telling somebody to fall out and wait at his office.

Then the penny dropped, he was picking an honour guard for some reason we were not at that time privi to. I hid behind the biggest bloke I could find, it was like playing hide and seek. Up the road I saw through a hairy armpit Jim had just been whipped and dreaded what was to come. Now Kitna liked his special guards to be all roughly the same height, about 5’ 7” to 5’ 9,” I once asked him why when we were taking over a guard duty from the Guards why he didn’t pick some sixfooters. He replied with that laconic tone: “The only difference between the Guards and a Fusilier, apart from the fact that we can do everything better, was they made bigger bloody targets!”

By now he had reached the big lad in front of me, stopped and said: “Come out Cronnolley, and where’s your mate hiding?” “Who do you mean Sir?” I asked all innocent, like you do. “Stevens,” was the reply, “you two are joined at the hip so he can’t be far away.” With raised voice he shouted: “Come on Stevens, now.” Stevo came out of hiding about four places up.

By the time we got to his office all the same suspects were there Jim, Stevo, Fred Lamb, Derrick Hulse, Cpl. Chip Woods, myself and a few I cannot remember. Now I know everybody calls the R.S.M. Kitna, but we were in the habit of referring to him as “Stanley,” not within earshot of course. He told us to parade next morning outside his office dressed in boots, hose tops and puttees, shorts, shirt and berret with hackles pressed, web belt and carrying rifles and bayonets. It seems we were to get a visit from no less a person the “Director of Infantry.” We hadn’t a clue who or what he was except he was someone important and we only had four days to get it right Now if you have ever done one of these honour guards you will know what it’s like. Starting with standing at ease to full present arms, climbing up and down your rifle, hour after hour from just after breakfast till NAAFI break then on again till lunch time, then back again for a couple of hours in the afternoon.

When new recruits arrived in the battalion they were billeted in huts at the bottom end of the camp with drill sergeants bringing them up to LF standard. After a couple of weeks they were then thrown to the lions, well that’s what it felt like, then Kitna started all over again.

At NAAFI break on about the second day we were doing drill with Stanley, a little chubby Fusilier came towards us from the bottom end of camp. Everything about him told you he was from a new intake and he had been set up by his mates. He was wearing those round National Health type glasses, shorts were too long, shirt not tailored, his berret looked like a blanket with a flash and hackle somewhere near the back of his head and dangling from his right leg was part of his underpants, plus he was pouring with sweat. All in all he looked like something from Benny Hill. I must explain that to get to the NAAFI from the bottom end of camp you had two options, go past Stanley’s office or go all the way round the perimeter fence and even old soldiers took the latter option. Stanley watched this poor sod go past swinging his arms so high his shirt was pulled further out of his shorts and the look on his face was of pure terror. Contrary to what people say or think Stanley was no fool and new exactly what had happened. His eyes followed the young soldier till he was about 20’ past us then bellowed after him: “Laddie, youre lingerie is showing get it fixed NOW. The young lad squeaked: “Yes sir,” and got out of his sight. We did not laugh, Stanley did not like pranksters or people laughing at someone else’s discomfort. He carried on as if nothing had happened.

The day before the parade Stanley gave us a lecture on what to expect saying we would more than likely be asked questions. “What do you want us to say sir?” Queried somebody. “Just answer his questions,” replied Stanley. “It’s all right saying that sir but if we say something you don’t like we could finish up in the guard room.” “OK smart arse let’s have a practice.” Then he questioned us all at length, needless to say we gave some daft answers just to see what his reaction was. He never batted an eyelid.

Next day the Director appeared and we did what was required. He was I think in his late 50s, the tallest man I have ever seen, his web belt buckle was about on line with my mouth and I’m 5’ 9”. By now we were at attention and he proceeded to ask each man questions. When he got to me he asked was I a regular, “No sir, National Serviceman.” “So you will be signing on then?” “No sir,” I heard this voice saying, and realized it was me. “Why not.?” “I don’t like the Army and you can’t please yourself what you do.” “Such as what,” he asked very sarcastically. He was like a dog with a bone, wouldn’t let it go. The only thing I could think of was: “Such as putting your hands in your pockets sir.” “Well who if he has any pride in himself wants to walk around with their hands in their pockets?” “Well sir the officers do it all the time.” He moved on to the next man and carried on asking questions. I thought when he’s disappeared down the road; I will disappear up the road doing double quick march.

The staff officers passed one by one till Stanley, who was at the end of the line halted directly in front of me sideways on, ramrod straight, and without moving his lips he said very quietly: “You cheeky sod.” This I thought was my Waterloo. After it was all over he never mentioned it, and I certainly did not.

Stanley told us to use his office as our guard room when we were instructed to march off, shut the door and keep it shut and wait till he came back to dismiss us. There were about 10 of us and not a lot of room in his office it was like a sauna. Open on his desk was a full 20 packet of Three Castles cigarettes, nobody dare take one. This was in the days when nearly everyone smoked. It must have been an hour later the door burst open he came back to dismiss us. By this time we were like wet rags. Stevo was sat in his chair tilted back on the back legs. “You cheeky lot of buggers, I suppose you’ve smoked all my fags as well.” “No sir, we’ve not touched them,” came the reply. A big smile spread over his face: “Go lads help yourselves, and by the way very well done, you put on a good show.”
All the best.
Cron
(John Cronnolley)


Throughout this 11 year period when Kitna was RSM,the 1st Bn The XXth The Lancashire Fusiliers had a reputation second to none and was widely spoken of as the finest Infantry Bn in the World at that time.
The example he set so influenced the Junior NCO's who worked for him that one could still hear the same tones and vocal inflections and colourful phrases used by him 20 years later,so that many of the WO2s of the 1960s sounded like rather poor imitations! They will know who I mean!


Kitna Price was commissioned in April 1954 and served as QM in BAOR,UK and Cyprus,where he earned a Mention in Dispatches.
He became the Project Liaison Officer given the task of setting up the new Fusilier Brigade Depot at Sutton Coldfield and between 1961 and 1963 he supervised the building and equipping of St George's Barracks.
1963 to 1970 saw him in Kenya again as QM to the Army Civil Defence School at Kahawa until his promotion to Lt Col.
Lt Col Stanley Price then went to the Army Staff as Staff QM MOD AG2 and served there until he retired from active service in 1975,having given a total of 36 years,and having been awarded the OBE in 1974.
He had not finished! He took a Retired Officer Post at HQ The Prince of Wales Division and then he was off to the Sultan Of Oman's Armed Forces with the responsibility of equiping the Sultan's Armed Forces.
He was home on leave when following a sudden and very short illness he died.




This was sent in to the site by
John Lemmon

Stanley (Kitna) Price's Son in Law

My memories are of a more mellow man, with a sharp and witty sense of humour, whose greatest pleasure was to tease his grand-daughter unmercifully, and, from what I have read this will cause many of you to wince at the thought, laugh uproariously when she used to tug at that famous moustache.
I met Stan's daughter, Linda, when I was posted to the Depot Prince of Wales Division, Lichfield, after a two year tour in Ballykelly.(1977) At the time I was a Cpl in 1st Bn 37th/67th Royal Hampshire Regiment. Linda was a Civil Servant working in the Depot pay office, and was stunningly attractive. After some discreet enquiries, I was suprised to find she was unattached, although there always seemed to be a lot of young subalterns lurking around the pay office when they were not involved in training recruits. I bit the bullet and asked her out for dinner, which she accepted, and our courtship started. All the time I went out with Linda, the only information she gave me was that 'Daddy worked in Oman'. After a couple of months she asked me to go and have Sunday lunch as 'Daddy was home on leave, and would like to meet you.'As she was driving me to the Price household, I asked her just what the Hell did 'Daddy' do in Oman? She airily replied, 'Oh, he's a Lt Col or something, in the Sultans Army. He's dying to meet you'. I'll bet he bloody is, I thought to myself.
'Does "Daddy", the Colonel, know that I'm a Cpl?'
During the rest of the drive, I got the whole lot, Lancashire Fusiliers, Chindits, RS bloody M, OBE, commissioned from the ranks, finishing with, 'You'll like him, he's very interested in you!'
The rest of the drive was completed in a thoughtful silence.
on arriving at the front door, it was opened before Linda could get her key out, and I was confronted with a ram rod straight man, the same height as me, with steel grey temples, a pepper an'salt moustache and ice blue eyes that bored right through me. 'Ah! so you're John, are you?'Not quite a bark, but very staccato.
'Yessir, pleased to meet you Sir!'
'Cut the Sir rubbish, call me Stan.'
'Yessi...I mean, Stan.'
'Well, come in then. Linda, go and help your mother, I want to have a chat with John.'
I was ushered in to a large sitting room, and Stan made me sit while he busied himself at a drinks cabinet.
'Will you have a whisky with me?'
'Yes please, Si...er,..Stan.'
He waved a bottle of Teachers Cream at me and asked, 'Soda, coke, lemonaid, ginger, water?'
'Er, nothing thank you, just straight.'
'Ice?'
'No thanks, just as it is please.'
'Good man.' The Teachers was replaced in the cabinet, and a bottle of 12 year Chivas Regal was produced. It appeared I had passed my first test!
That was the first of many sessions over a bottle of one kind or another. 6 months later, Stan was again home on leave, and I had to pluck up the courage to ask him for his daughters hand in marriage. His reaction was to pull a bottle of champagne out of the fridge, and with a big beam on his face, say to me, 'I was wondering when I was going to get to open this bloody wine.'
Over the few short years that I had the privilage to know this extraordinary man, my respect and admiration for him kept growing. On my promotion to Sgt, he gave me his LF silver topped cane, (which I still use on my walks in the New Forest)saying that the LF crest on the handle would bring a touch of class to the Royal Hampshires. I didn't dare disagree! He forgave Linda for marrying a Royal Hampshire, on the grounds that the 37th of Foot had been at Minden, and the 2nd Bn Hampshire Regt had disembarked from the collier,'River Clyde'at Gallipoli.
Francesca, my daughter, insisted that on her wedding last June, that she cut her cake with an LF sword. I am grateful Lt.Col. Jim Martlew O.B.E.for the loan of the sword. (She also had a few R.Hamps and REME items as well. A true Barrack Brat!'
Finally, to Jimmy Cavanagh who wrote about a memoir from Christmas 1955 in Iserlohne. That little girl who talked your hind leg off is my wife, and she can still talk for NATO!!



Rochdale Association 8th October 1960.


Greetings Joe. on this dull and over cast ANZAC Day morning 2008.
The following are the memories I have of the RSM Kitna Price
by Ray Coadwell

On the afternoon after our arrival in Moascar four of us decided to have a look around the camp and it was whilst doing so we encountered, crossing the road ahead of us a smartly turned out officer, stick under arm, sam-brown shining is the sun. Up went four arms giving the smartest salute we could muster, but all we got for our effort was to be yelled at, YOU DONT SALUTE ME, I' M THE RSM, BUT YOU DO CALL ME SIR. and with that he walked on.

Later when I as an R.P I was detailed to meet the RSM outside the Sgts.Mess. don't recall the reason, and we headed towards the company lines. A 2/Lt emerged from one of the barrack blocks and started up the road. As we converged the RSM whispered to me "on the word three, a smart eyes right now" At the moment of the officer passing we saluted but the RSM came to a sudden stop, spun on his heels and standing rigidly at attention called after the officer who had now passed us "Sir, we saluted you, you did not return our salute, don't ever do that again
Sir, " He gave another salute which the officer sheepisly returned, and we all continued on our way.

The 25 Jan. a date we all remember, my section was told to occupy an intersection alongside a Centurion at the corner of the Barracks with my task, being the section Bren-gunner, to cover the road and a door in the wall and prevent anyone from leaving. The tank opened fire on the building with its machine gun which was followed by the deafening roar of its gun. Small arms fire came back in our direction, but we had the cover of the wall.It was shortly after ofter this that the RSM arrived and without any apparent concern for his well-being, climed upon the tank and grabbed what I think must have been an external phone directed the firing of three rounds into the building. all this took place with continued incoming fire. Why he was not hit I do not know but then the was off again.

About two months later I was transfered to the M.T.Company as the PLO stores clerk and one Saturday the RSM came into the office and asked me who the duty driver was for that night, "I am sir" I replied "Well then Coadwell there's a do on tonight at the Sergeants Mess and I want you to pick up Mrs Price and myself from the mess at 2355 hrs. and return us to our quarters and don't be late" I took note and arrived in good time, The Regimental Dance Band was in full swing at the time. On cue the RSM and Mrs Price arrived and I drove sedately to their home in the married quarters. As I pulled to a stop outside, Mrs Price who was sitting in the rear said to the RSM,"give him something","what" he replied so she said again " give him something for driving us home" "but he's on duty" was the reply. "It does'nt matter, he's out at this time of night and could have been home in bed". A couple of notes were passed over and that was that. I often wondered who ran the Battalion.

After my unfortunate accident just outside Fort Hall,I had to attend the MO Centre at Eastleigh for head bandage replacement. Upon leaving I encountered the RSM who looked at me and said with a smile and a dig "put your hat on Coadwell" "sorry it wont fit sir" and as he walked away he turned and still with a smile said " then carry it smartly"
About a week later I again emerged from the MO this time without bandage I again saw the RSM. "Glad to see you can get your beret on Coadwell" "thank you sir" This time as he walked away he turned his head and again with a grin said "and get a hair cut" That was the last time we met.

Joe those are my stories, but a postscript to all this is that after my N.S. my TA unit was the Wiltshire Reg. I was soon transfered to the 1st C/Bn. Wiltshire Regiment as a CSM drill instructor. A year later became the Battalion
RSM. I learnt a lot from our RSM. It is also ironic that I was later commissioned and became CO of "C" Coy.
Hope you find all this interesting regards Ray Coadwell


My uncle... their hero

09 October 2008

ISN'T it funny how the past catches up with us at the most unexpected moments?

Sometimes things we haven't thought about for years are suddenly there, in our face. And usually caused by the daftest things.

Last week I was researching the Gurkhas on the net and there was a link to the Chindits, some sort of special forces outfit that fought in Burma during the Second World War. It rang a vague bell from when I was a kid.

So I clicked on it. Then I spotted one word that rang an even louder bell. It was "Kitna."

Where had I heard that before?

Then I remembered. Kitna. Kitna Price. Also known as Uncle Stan.

He died years ago. In the early 80s, I think. I remember because I was going to ask him to give me away at my wedding and then it was too late.

My mother was devastated. He was her kid brother and she adored him. He was the one who got away, who left the mills and ran off to join up.

And the boy did good.

He became the youngest regimental sergeant major in the British Army and shot up through the ranks. By the time I was old enough to understand these things, he was a Lieutenant Colonel.

But to me, he was Uncle Stan. I didn't see him often but he was very dapper with a dauntingly glamorous wife and a beautiful daughter.

He was warm, funny, generous – and prone to gentle teasing. He had the most outrageous waxed handlebar moustache and I thought he was brilliant, a real pussycat.

So it was a bit of a shock to find a website describing him as a legend in his own lifetime, a hero and a role model.

It was even weirder to read about grown soldiers being so terrified of the Dunkirk veteran that they ran away and cowered in a toilet when he approached.

He was also, it seems, a little eccentric. How else do you describe a man who, while stationed in India, put a bicycle under arrest in the guardroom for moving on parade because it fell over. Or who gave a cloud a rollicking for daring to overshadow his parade ground.

Or who put an entire company in the guardroom for being scruffy on parade. There is even a rumour that he put himself on a charge when he looked in the guardroom mirror and told himself he was scruffy and a disgrace to his regiment.

Frankly. I don't believe that one. But the rest... well, perhaps.

It did, however, clear up his nickname. Kitna is the Urdu for "price" as in Stanley Price. Family mystery solved.

Uncle Stan went on to great things and, when he retired, was hired by the Sultan of Oman to reorganise his army. He died soon after.

But one thing is clear from the website – just how much he was respected by his men.

And that's worth knowing, at any price.

Halifax Evening Courier newspaper. By Jane Percival ( Kitna's Niece)




Then


Now


Then

From: Sturminster Newton RBL [mailto:SturminsterNewtonRBL@f2s.com]
Sent: 25 January 2009 11:18 PM
To: townclerk@sturminsternewton-tc.gov.uk
Subject: Trying to locate a grave in town cemetery

Dear Mrs Derricott,

I have been contacted by the Lancashire Fusiliers Web site and asked to get a photograph of the grave for one of their late members.

His name was Stanley Price and he is apparently buried in Plot JJ4 in the Garden of Remembrance in the Bridge Cemetery.

Not knowing my way around the cemetery I wondered if you had a plan of the site that indicated where within it plot JJ4 might be so I could find it.

The council confirms that we have checked the late Stanley Prices ashes plot. It does have a memorial stone but unfortunately it is difficult to read and is in need of a good clean. From the top (new) car park, JJ4 is in the older section of the Gardens of Remembrance on the left of the gravel path going towards the Chapel of Rest. We have an A4 size plan which shows the site of the plot (and others surrounding it) and the council can post this to you

Many thanks,

Trevor Legg

Secretary

Sturminster Newton Branch (BR 2443)

The Royal British Legion

Respect ceremony for Lt Col Stanley (Kitna ) Price OBE.

At 1000 hrs on the 7th September 2009, a group of Lancashire Fusiliers and the daughter of a decorated Lancashire Fusilier came together at a tiny cemetery in Sturminster Newton, Dorset.

It had taken the web site team almost 2 years to track down the last resting place of Kitna Price and to organise the renovation of his gravestone,culminating in a visit to his last resting place to pay their personal respects and to convey the respectful sentiments of LFs from around the world.

The party of John McCormick,Geoff Pycroft and Joe Eastwood had spent the night at the White Hart in Sturminster Newton, where they had been joined the night before by Mrs Esmee Walsh (widow of Brian Walsh LF ) and by Alan and Pauline Gunn (Warwicks and 2 RRF )
Also attending the Saturday night's convivialities were Mr Trevor Legg, Secretary of the local RBL and his ex service colleague David.

On the Sunday morning, they were pleased to meet at the churchyard Barbara Parker (daughter of John ( Mucky ) Mason DCM of 2LF and Cassino fame.
Barbara has kindly agreed to place Minden Roses on the grave on August the 1st of each year."

Also arriving unannounced having travelled from Devon was John Griffiths (LF) who we had last seen at the Veterans weekend in Blackpool.

The group were welcomed by Mr Nigel Pope, an ex Warrant Officer from the Dorset Regiment who in civilian life is the local Undertaker.

It was Nigel who had officiated at the funeral for Kitna in 1982, the cremation having taken place in Yeovil and the urn of ashes interred at Sturminster Newton.

For the past 27 years Nigel has retained and kept safe the cap badge worn by Kitna which had been placed upon the coffin before cremation.

He has promised to send it to Joe Eastwood for presenting to the Gallipoli Garden Museum.

Following a brief service which included a eulogy followed by a short silence and the lowering of the LF standard, Minden Roses and a Poppy were carefully placed at the head of the gravestone.

Nigel gave the group information which led to Geoff, John McCormick and Joe being able to locate and to visit the very house where Kitna had died.
The current owners were away, but a charming couple who lived next door agreed to give us what they knew about the events of 1982, including the latest address they had in the USA for Mrs Billy Price who had remarried.

The team will now try and communicate with her.

We now feel that Kitna has had the proper send off he should have been accorded in 1982 and that our duty to him has been carried out.


"Since writing this report, I have been contacted by the Mrs Linda Lemmon, Kitna's daughter.
Linda sends her thanks and appreciation for the restoration work on the grave stone.
Linda tells me that her mother Billy (Kitna'swidow ) is now 95 years old and living with Linda and her husband John in Southampton.
I have their address."
Joe

Minden Day 2010

True to her word,
Barbara (daughter of Mucky Mason DCM ) attended the grave of Kitna Price and paid her respects on behalf of us all.

Since our refurbishment, the grave still looks pristine.

Many thanks Barbara.


LT. COL. STANLEY (Kitna) PRICE. OBE.

I salute you Sir.

"Your candle burned out long before your legend ever did"

Captain(retd) Joe Eastwood BEM CQSW.

OMNIA AUDAX XXTH.