My abiding memory was the crutch-rubbing army khaki serge (picture below) which left you prone to heat exhaustion when standing on parade, on the Top Ground.
'Half Wit' Alexander was the RSM at the time and barked out orders in a fine voice. Then there was the pungent smell of Brasso in the locker room as we attempted to coax a gleam out of out cap badges.
In my third form year year I discovered there was another use for Brasso as I had ambitions to become a trombonist in the school army band. What attracted me to the trombone could well be the subject of Freudian analysis, but was most likely my observation,that it was the trombonist in the 1940's & 50's swing band who looked the most impressive when he rose to play a solo.
What ever the reason I was not a great trombonist, managing only to extract loud flatulent sound from the instrument. I also has to spend an inordinate amount of time polishing the thing; not sooner had I done so than it seemed to revert to a dullish shade of oxidised brown. A piccolo would have been a better choice but they did not feature in the cadet band.
One of my Pridham friends, Rod Anyan, did pursue this option going on to a career in flying with the New Zealand Air force. At time of writing he is still engaged as a commercial jet pilot for corporate clients in Europe and the Middle East.
For some reason 'Half-Wit' had signaled me out as a potential candidate to undertake NCO training. The sudden onset of appendicitis which saw me rushed to New Plymouth hospital put paid to that idea, as the course was over by the time I had finished convalescing. My hospital admission also happened to coincide with my parents trip back to the UK, their first in some 15 years.
My final choice for cadets turned out to be 'Signals' which saw us disappearing over the school farm in small groups lugging obsolete army backpack radios which seldom if ever worked. There was also the cumbersome ZC1 radios (below) which was heavier and just as useless in their operational efficiency by the time our schoolboy hands got hold of them.
Signals wasn't a bad choice for me as I had always tinkered with radio; building crystal sets as a child and hanging a large aerial from our house in Waitara to a nearby shed. The latter was guaranteed to give me a 'tingle' when there was an electrical storm about.
Live firing on the army range was also an activity we enjoyed. Mostly this was using 303 rifles but we also got to try out a World War Two Sten and a Bren guns which the NZ Army was still using. I wasn't a bad shot having fired air rifles and 22's from an early age but I could never really master the Bren in the short period of time we were given to try it out.
A common punishment on the parade ground for miscreants was having to run around its perimeter with a 303 held above the head so most of use tried to keep our kit as spick and span as possible