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THE
wire
August 2003
The Royal Corps of Signals
THE 2003 BLANDFORD REUNION WEEKEND, SATURDAY
LtCol Paul Hudson leads the March Past
MajGen Tony Boyle tries the SA80
Maj Tony Crilly flies the Corps flag
The salute is taken by the Master of Signals and SOinC(A)
The 2Master of Signals presents Barry Moody (Scarborough Branch) with the Standard
Bearer's Trophy
AUGUSTperform
2003 'The
WIRE,Helmets
T H EWhite
Ten riders, one bike. The
Tableau'
August 2003 Vol. 57 No: 4
All correspondence and material for publication
in The Wire should be addressed to:
The Head of Publications,
The Wire, RHQ Royal Signals,
Blandford Camp,
Blandford Forum, Dorset, DT11 8RH
Tel: 01258 482079 (civ)
94371 2079 (mil)
Contributors
Deadline for October issue is 15 Aug.
Please refer to Guidelines for Contributors.
The Magazine of the Royal Corps of Signals
The
Wire
Published bi-monthly
Annual subscription rate ВЈ12.00
All enquiries regarding subscriptions/
despatch should be made to:
01258 482087 (civ)
94371 2087 (mil)
Editor Maj (Retd) B L Redshaw
Deputy Editor Mrs M-A Field
Remittances should be made payable to
Royal Signals Benevolent Fund
Member of the Association of Service Journals
SOME STORIES IN THIS ISSUE….
CONTENTS
Page
Editorial
Special Feature - Korea - 1950-53
Movements
News from Headquarters
News of Training
News from the Balkans
News from Northern Ireland
News from Formations
News from the Regiments
News from the Gulf
News from Squadrons
Sport
The Royal Signals Association
Lost Comms
Correspondence
Donations
Last Post
315
319
321
323
324
331
332
336
337
357
380
396
398
410
411
412
412
FRONT COVER
The White Helmets Opening Display
On Friday 9 May The White Helmets did their opening display for
the 2003 season. The purpose of this event was for the SOinC(A)
to approve the for the summer season. Here Cpl Duncan Marsh
is seen jumping a Honda quad bike through the flame hoop. See
story on page 370.
BACK COVER
A clean sweep for the Royal Signals in Inter-Corps Football
Smiles all round as the Corps Team poses with their winnings,
the Quadrangular Trophy, the Cowan Cup, the Boyne Trophy and
the Massey Trophy. Despite the rain, there was good support
from the sideline, especially from the Regimental Colonel, who
stands to the right. See story on page 372.
REMEMBERING KOREA
27 July marks the 50th anniversary of the end of the Korean
conflict, a campaign often referred to (particularly by the
veterans themselves) as �The Forgotten War.’ We haven’t
forgotten. We remember the event with a special 6-page
feature on the Campaign, devoted mostly to recollections of
some of the many Corps members who served there. See
�Special Feature – Korea 1950-53’ on page 315.
DRs IN THE DESERT
Retired Corps members often ask,
�Do we still have DRs?’ The answer
is �Yes.’ 16 Air Asslt Bde HQ & Sig
Sqn reports that �DRs became ever
more important to move data around
the battle space.’ See their report on
page 361
A NEAT LITTLE JOB IN TURKEY
At the beginning of OP TELIC, it was considered that there
could be a threat to Turkey from Iraq. So, at very short
notice, 280 (UK) Sig Sqn with their 12 vehs, 5 trailers and
most of their personnel were rushed off to Turkey in two
giant Antonov transport aircraft to deploy on OP DISPLAY
DETERRENCE. With the only delay coming from the checkin by Turkish Customs when they arrived, the Sqn was up
and running in 24 hrs. After 5
weeks, with the threat over,
the extraction was just as
neat. See 280 (UK) Sig Sqn’s
report on page 390.
DO YOU REMEMBER THE CORONATION PARADE IN
JUNE 1953?
Half a century on, Alison Schofield gives a participant’s
recollection of one of London’s, the Commonwealth’s and
the Services’ greatest shows immediately after WW2. With
our Armed Forces stretched with commitments all over the
world (Korea, Malaya, Cyprus, Palestine, and BAOR), with
rationing still on and with everything in short supply, this
event was a major achievement. Alison vividly brings to life
many of the minor hardships, problems and amusements
experienced by those who took part. Many of us who have
taken part in later marches will see parallels. See her story
on page 406.
Authors alone are responsible for the content of their articles. The opinions expressed in the articles of this publication are those of the
individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the policy and views, official or otherwise, of the Royal Corps of Signals or the Ministry
of Defence.
This publication may contain official information. It should be treated with discretion by the recipient.
В© Crown Copyright
Printed by Holbrook Printers Ltd, Norway Road, Hilsea, Portsmouth
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
313
EDITORIAL
�A parade of great quality. An unmistakable statement of commitment to the profession of Arms’ was how
the Master of Signals described the Parade on Hawke Square for Princess Royal Day Parade on Saturday,
28 June. It was a cracking weekend. The weather was kind to us, the formal events on Hawke Square went
off with precision, and the gatherings in all messes ensured that retired and serving members of the Corps
Family could come together to share their experiences. It was a privilege for me to meet so many of you,
and I was delighted at the many favourable comments you made on what we are doing with The WIRE.
Whilst on that subject, it is with much regret that I have to announce that my Deputy Editor, Maria Field is
leaving us. She has done so much to help me realise all the improvements you have noticed. Not only that,
but she constantly works on improving the improvements! Maria is following her husband, who has been
posted too far away from Blandford for her to continue. I am sure that all readers will join me in wishing her
and Clive every success for the future.
In this issue, we remember those of �The Forgotten War’, Korea. I know that there are many other �forgotten
wars’ (I served in one myself) but this was one where we lost the most people and deserves to be
remembered. I have devoted six pages to memories of Korea in this issue. I believe that these recollections
tell us quite a bit more than the historians have told us.
Closer to the present time, it is a relief to find most of our people safely back from the Gulf. As many unit reports in this issue indicate, our
lads and lasses, both Regular and TA, did a great job, as these two quotes demonstrate:- �In the initial stages, the Bde Comd was extremely
concerned about the provision of robust comms to facilitate complex ops. As the op for the Bde draws to a close, his doubts and concerns
have been allayed and comms no longer feature in his �top ten’. The Sqn has again demonstrated its ability to deploy rapidly and at short
notice.’
�The Sqns of 1 (UK) ADSR were soon amalgamated to become the Force HQ Sig Sqn and elements of 201, 211 and 212 began to redeploy
back to Herford.’
The latter quote clearly indicates that, having done the business in the Gulf, all units involved are now gearing up for their next task,
whatever and wherever it may be. We should all be proud of them.
Finally, I note some clever re-interpreting codenames and acronyms. 16 Air Asslt Bde & Sig Sqn (216) interpret TELIC as Tell Everyone
Leave Is Cancelled, whilst 21 Sig Regt (AS) thinks it stands for Tell Everyone Lunch Is Chicken. 32 (Scottish) Sig Regt renames FIBUA as
FISH (Fighting In Somebody’s Hoose ).
GUEST EDITORIAL – By Brig JE Thomas MBE, Comd 2 (NC) Sig Bde
During the latter months of 2002, there were many units within the Corps frantically preparing for future ops
in the early part of 2003. Simultaneously CVHQ R Signals in Corsham were waiting for a Ministerial
announcement that it was the Government’s intent to use the TA and Reserves in support of the Regular
Army on what was to become known as OP TELIC.
The Ministerial announcement on the use of the Reserves was duly made just a few days before Christmas,
with a deadline for nominating soldiers for mobilisation by 15 February 03. This meant that the Christmas
and New Year break could go ahead as normal. And this was the case - until the deadline was brought
forward to 7 January 03. Now the planning could start - if only someone knew what the plan was! The
options varied from a complete radio sqn (94 Sig Sqn (V)) to Individual Reinforcements. ACOS Commitments
at HQ Land stated that the plan changed more than 50 times in the later stages.
Once the Plan was firm and the full requirement listed in Force Element Table (FET), real planning could start
on fulfilling the requirement for Individual Reinforcements from the TA. Finding suitable officers and soldiers
required an �intelligent selection’ process to be implemented. CVHQ then sprang into action to coordinate R
Signals TA from both 2 and 11 Sig Bde’s TA elements. This entailed finding the correct ranks and trades (not
always possible), enquiring about personal circumstances and many meetings and phone calls with COs,
Trg Majs and Permanent Staff. The introduction of a �deployability score’ was put in place for every R Signals
TA officer and soldier, which would help enormously in the �intelligent selection’ process. The call-out rate was set by HQ Land at a ratio of
1.5:1 to ensure that adequate numbers passed through the system and the Regular unit requirement was met.
The whole process involved many agencies. An Integrated Mobilisation Cell was set up at HQ Land, manned by personnel from HQ AG and
HQ Land. The Army Personnel Centre at Glasgow and the Individual Reinforcement Planning Team in Worthy Down were also key players,
and this was only to get the call-out notices in the post! On the dates indicated, the reserves reported to the Reserves Trg and Mobilisation
Centre (RTMC) at Chilwell for a day and a half and then on to Grantham for 5 day’s ITD training.
The whole process did not go without incident. At a very early stage it was found that the data held at the Unit level UNICOM was vastly
different from that held on the Army Main Frame. UNICOM proved to be much more up to date and accurate. This meant that some soldiers
who had left the TA were called up for war! Because of the short time frames involved, some soldiers received very little notice of call-out.
We have to remember that the reserves suddenly have to re-organise their lives and their employers have to find replacements. Half way
through the process, APC Glasgow decided to trawl randomly for people. This meant the Army Main Frame was selecting people who had
already been rejected by the Cap Badge Champion. Confusion reigned and it was agreed that this process would never be used again.
One difficult area to assess was the number of employers who might appeal against the call-out. These appeals took some time to process,
and there were instances of personnel actually deployed into theatre, only to be sent home when the appeal was successful.
This was the first mass mobilisation of all cap badges and the largest mobilisation effort since the Suez crisis in the fifties. The cooperation
and responsiveness of all R Signals TA units was first class. By the time the second tranche of mobilisation is complete, every unit will have
contributed manpower to the Op and nearly all Regular units deployed will have received TA Individual Reinforcements. There was even a
small team of our specialists from LIAG (V) attached to the Americans in Baghdad. A total of 350 officers and soldiers from R Signals TA
units have deployed on OP TELIC. This is in addition to the 125 personnel currently serving on FTRS, some of whom will have deployed on
ops with their units. There are also 77 personnel who are mobilised and serving on ops elsewhere in the world (including 98 (BRITFOR) Sig
Sqn (V), a composite sqn formed from 11 Sig Bde units and serving in the Balkans). Our TA units, officers and soldiers should be justifiably
proud of their substantial contribution to the generation of capability in support of our Regular counterparts.
314
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
S P E C I A L F E AT U R E - K O R E A 1 9 5 0 - 5 3
KOREA, AN OVERVIEW – by Brig (Retd) Tony Bohannan
The Korean War. Was it really 50 years ago? Names and dates
increasingly hazy, but certain memories and faces remaining
crystal clear. Ron Larby, Harry Orton (our Tp Sgt we still
correspond), George Loudoun and Reg Briggs tell it all so well
(sadly there are hundreds more with unrecorded memories). Harry
mentions Cpl Kitson, a great, larger than life character - old (35?),
scruffy, bush hatted, pipe in mouth, seeking any excuse to get far
forward with his line det. Did he not hit a landmine once?
After three years in 48 Gurkha Bde Sig Sqn during the emergency
in Malaya, I went by troopship direct to Korea - via the UK! I
arrived at Kimpo (K14) Airbase near Seoul by RAAF transport in
May 1951, to take over the Sig Tp of 28 COMWEL Bde (British,
Australian, NZ, Indian and South African). Later Stephen Finch
(my best man in 1954) took over, followed by Pat Webb. In those
days before 1 COMWEL Div was formed, the two Bdes were
independent under US command. Why did 29 Bde have a Sig Sqn
(Maj �Tubby’ Marshall) but the others only a Tp?
By then things had settled down just south of the Imjin river, close
to the 38th parallel - the border between North and South Korea
and the cause of it all. Having cleared the enemy from south of
the river, notably Hill 355, the Bde built an impenetrable barrier of
wire, mines and emplacements, against which the Chinese
battered themselves most nights at great loss. The British Bdes
stayed in the line almost continuously then because politically,
there had to be a British presence upfront.
Memories Korea, then a very sad and dirty country. Locals were
banned within 20 miles of the front line and the few we saw were
the poorest of farming peasants. We had a pioneer platoon of
them. We called them �gooks’, but at least we kept them well fed
and clothed and had the inevitable Korean orphan as Tp Mascot.
The Weather Hot, dry and dust-ridden in summer and arctic-cold
during the long winter. At first we had no winter clothing, only
battledress and greatcoat. Later there was excellent Canadian kit
- parkas and sleeping-bags. They made all the difference. We
lived in pup-tents or holes dug in a hillside (�hoochies’). We
bought small Japanese meths-fired hand warmers but why no
hot-water bottles?
Sgt Harry Orton, summer 1951
The Americans 1 US Marine Div on our left and 1 US Cav Div on
our right. They did not speak to each other, but they did us well.
They were �dry’ and would sell their souls for some of our drinks
ration - or if not their souls, at least US issue gear. Every Friday
(ration day) they would descend on us. A bottle of gin bought a
generator. I bartered for a superb .30 carbine. They liked our
rations (especially steak and kidney). A pack of compo got a huge
carton of ice cream. Our soldiers despised their rations: turkey,
turkey, turkey and turkey. �Always bloody Xmas’.
Communications Field cable everywhere - huge cats-cradles of
it, US and British. Any vehicle going off the track took it all out.
Fault-finding was a nightmare. Instead, we would lay a new line
and add to the mess. Radio was, to say the least, difficult. WS19
and 53 and the much better Canadian WS52. The staff preferred
and insisted upon the telephone. Our rear link to the US Div HQ
was ANTRAC, an early radio relay system.
Petrol Our sole means of cooking and heating. Accidents galore.
Tents and vehicles (including our 3-ton CV) often went up in
flames. More men were killed by it than by anything else.
R & R Leave Just 5 days in 18 months - in Tokyo. Plenty of
recuperation (sight-seeing and the like) but why waste precious
time in resting?
Entertainment We had a few open-air film shows - and 2 or 3
gramophone records. Frankie Laine with Jezebel incessantly
blaring out; and visits from Bob Hope, Danny Kay, Jack Benny
and Paula Marshall (British). It was not all bad, far from it.
Our Blokes And of course, all-important, the comradeship of a
fine bunch of blokes of many nations (Regulars, Reservists and
National Service) and friendships made that have lasted. Many
were long-term veterans from the recent WW2. Some poor devils
were POWs in both wars.
Lt Tony Bohannan, 1951
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Postscript Some years later when in the War Office, I was rung
by a Treasury Official who had just received an invoice from the
Americans for some millions of dollars worth of field cable. Was I
not the senior officer at the time - and where was my �authority’? I
hastily passed him on to Maj �Tubby’ Marshall, then at the School
of Signals, and put the phone down quickly.
315
KOREA - THE FORGOTTEN WAR – by George Loudoun, ex 27
Comwel Bde Sig Tp
Korea for me, started before anyone else in Hong Kong had the
slightest idea that troops from the garrison were to leave at very
short notice. They were to become the response to America’s
General Douglas MacArthur’s plea to our government for help.
His exact words were: �For God’s sake send us something. A
battalion today is worth a brigade tomorrow.’
I had been in Hong Kong just a year. Just one of several thousand
sent to defend the Colony from a possible attack by the Chinese
Communist People’s Liberation Army. In fact they halted at the
SinoBritish border and as history was to show, they patiently
waited for the lease term to finalise.
I led a very busy role as a cipher operator when the fastest system
was an electromechanical time consuming affair which, at full
speed, by experienced operators, would be judged primitive in
today’s superior technical wizardry systems. Today’s signallers
wouldn’t believe the lengths we had to go to, to ensure some
degree of secure communication.
It was on a hot sticky day in early August 1950 that I was to
receive the most significant signal of my entire R Signals
experience. The weather was making conditions difficult for our
CW link to GHQ FARELF. Attempts to receive a FLASH, PART
ONE OF FOUR signal of more than 400 cipher groups were
abandoned in favour of an offer of one of similar precedence, but
just 50 groups. Its text was highly classified and gave the code
name of the immediately preceding signal. This was of course the
one which was causing a problem.
When this short signal was received in LFHK HQ, there was
considerable consternation and for the first time in my experience
there, I received a number of enquiries from very senior officers
regarding the missing message. I explained that I had a certain
amount of the message and would try to make some sense of it
while the signal centre operators would do their best to produce a
good crypt. Fortunately, communications did improve enough to
produce the complete four part, 1600 plus message, and the
headquarters staff followed me in learning that we had to send
help to the American and South Korean troops, who were being
pushed quickly to the southern tip of the peninsula.
The field strength in cipher operators for the formation, which was
to be joined by Australian and New Zealand units as a Brigade,
was two. I knew that there was only one. Such was my opinion of
the quality of the Sig Sqn I was with, that I welcomed a chance to
leave. I joined 27 Bde Sig Tp on HMS Unicorn. We left Hong Kong
and arrived in Pusan some three days later. Apart from the bustle
on board, which included such essentials as becoming familiar
with every soldier’s best friend (the trusty bolt action .303), we
actually did quite a lot of zigzag sailing. Needless to say this
focused the minds of the �Pongoes’ on board more so than �Les
Matelots.’ (RN Speak)
My initial reaction on arrival, was one of dismay. By comparison to
Singapore and Hong Kong the port was a dilapidated affair. At this
particular time in international politics we had been despatched to
take part in a �Police Action’, not an acknowledged �War’, but war
it obviously was. My first night was spent on the banks of a dried
up river bed. In the following morning I woke up from what little
sleep I could manage, following a night on something that felt like
concrete bubble wrap. After breakfast, it was time for us all to get
into the spirit of the thing and accept that this was not going to be
another boring exercise.
Travelling on a train without a single glass window through many
long tunnels at slow speed was an asphyxiating experience.
Fortunately it was to prove the only occasion on which we
travelled by rail. Up to this point I suppose we had all thought that
primitive though Korea appeared to be, we could cope. Our
somewhat elderly QL type command vehicles seemed to cope
with the rutted roads, and our drivers coped with the dust clouds,
which at times made navigation as much guesswork as confident
full vision control.
Not long after our arrival we were part of a successful counteroffensive, during which 27 Bde led for most of the advance to the
northernmost point of the Korean Peninsula. Such was the
316
North Korea, Christmas 1950. Lt PAC Baldwin, extreme left; OC,
Capt Nigel Pidsley, extreme right; author, next left
bellicose attitude of General MacArthur at this stage, that when
we should have been relieved by 29 Inf Bde and returned to Hong
Kong Garrison duties, the Chinese PLA entered the arena in
extremely large numbers. This happened so quickly, that before
we had chance to withdraw to reserve status, the unit who
actually relieved us, withdrew through our lines. The whole pattern
of the war then changed. It was no longer a �hare and hound’
chase in our favour. It was in fact a role reversal. It stabilised in
scenes reminiscent of WWI, with tremendous Chinese casualties,
until 1953 and the Armistice.
We had casualties of course. Perhaps the most poignant of these
in my mind, was that of my fellow cipher operator. He was an ex
boy who had been unhappy with army life for some time. He had
been saving to purchase his discharge. He was killed during
incoming shellfire not long after we had started the original
advance northwards. One other case, which was not untypical of
the stoicism of the British Tommy wherever he serves, was the
young lad in the Defence Platoon. The Bedford 15 cwt carrying
the Platoon’s stores including bedding and ammunition hit two
box-type land mines. He was travelling in the front and caught
most of the blast. Still conscious and with his leg in ribbons, he
said to the Camp Sergeant Major who was close by, �You won’t
get me on the square now, will you Sir?’ He died not long
afterwards.
A feature of this campaign was the bitterly cold winter. Minus 40
degrees meant that we were fighting two wars, the second being
Mother Nature. The Infantry of course took the brunt of everything
and my thoughts were very much with them. Having served three
years in The Worcestershire Regt, I knew something of their
problems. The columns of refugees who followed the tide of the
war were pitiful to witness. The whole period taught me what war
really meant. Throughout the time I was there and since, there
was constant proof of the sterling qualities of our National
Servicemen.
Of all the ground forces committed by many UN allies, it was a
fact that British and Commonwealth units who always proved to
be leaders in combat quality. I shall always be proud of having
served in Korea and being a small part of the overall success
which gave the South Korean people the freedom that they have
so convincingly proved was worth all the effort.
Now, as a longterm exserviceman, I have come to fully realise and
understand the depth of the bond which draws those who have
shared the often painful business of service life. It is this that
brings them to services dedicated to the memory of those whose
faces will never grow old and who never came home. They made
the supreme sacrifice.
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
CAMEOS OF KOREA, 19511952 – by Ron Larby, ex 28 Comwel
Bde Sig Tp
Arriving by troopship in Pusan… An American Army band playing
The Saint Louis Blues March. A pristine white hospital ship
moored along side . Pulling out by train as a hospital train full of
wounded comes in. Walking wounded GI’s call out �Your turn
next, buddy!’ �You in six weeks, pal!’ waving bandaged limbs.
The impoverished countryside, mined towns and vices, hordes of
dirty, grimy refugee children flock along side the train whenever
you stop. Seoul, a complete ruin, one bridge remaining over the
River Han, passing an industrial suburb, factories raised to the
ground, only their chimney stacks remain intact.
The railhead, wrecked engines and rolling stock. Onto trucks for
our journey to the front, and then the smell hits you. It catches at
your throat and stings your nostrils. It’s the smell of Korea, human
manure on the paddy fields. The smell of Korea is always present.
Distant gunfire, getting closer. Crossing the lmjin River, a
treacherous current running between spectacular rocky gorges,
and then into the hills beyond the river. Every way you look in
Korea you will see hills.
Digging in, always digging. �I thought I was an operator wireless
and line,’ I say. �Did you now,’ replies an unsympathetic sergeant.
�Everyone’s an operator pick and shovel from now on!’ The
climate, autumn, sticky days. Mud that freezes at night, reverts to
a morass by day.
Winter, a permafrost, icy winds blow from the north. Everything
freezes you - your vehicles, your clothes, your weapons. Night
duty in a CV is hell, fighting to keep warm, fighting to stay awake
when sleep seems the only relief, cursing roundly if you have to
answer a call, the atmospherics scream in your headset.
Spring, a welcome relief, then summer, hot and dusty, torrential
rain which turns the lmjin into a raging torrent. It always rained
when you moved location. We called it �Move Weather’.
�Pom,’ dehydrated potato that no cook could make palatable.
Rats as big as cats, absolutely fearless of man, run over you when
you were asleep, eat anything not put into tins. We gassed them
using our Johnson Chore Horse!
Mosquitoes, ants, snakes, all manner of other insects, but no
birds.
F86 Sabre jets wheeling in the sky, diving down, releasing
canisters of napalm onto the enemy hills on the far side of Purple
Heart Valley. The whirl of helicopters bringing out wounded. A still,
blanket-covered form lying beside the RAP.
Reg Briggs, 1950
Then to Ceylon, now called Sri Lanka
The troopship stops out goes the anchor.
Few hours ashore - we all go wild;
Plenty of tea, no bloody mild.
Indian Ocean then Singapore;
You’ll do a route march - we did in, a downpour.
On to Hong Kong, oh what a port.
It’s ready and waiting, our armed escort.
Then on to Korea to a port called Pusan;
Wait for equipment, then up to the Han
Names, numbers: Gloster Hill, Castle Hill, Ulster Crossing, Teal
Bridge, Pintail, The Mad Mile, 355, 217, 317, 227, The Hook, The
Samichon, The Bowling Alley, The Camelflagued Road.
Over the Han, all bridges are blown;
Refugees in thousands, with nothing to own.
It’s summer, it’s getting uncomfortably hot;
We hear later that some were shot
Then that blessed day, orders to RHE. Glad to be going, glad I
came, for I had a year with the best men that one could ever hope
to meet, the men of the 28th British Commonwealth Infantry
Brigade.
Up to the Imjin, I think of Blighty;
�Dig in,’ says the sergeant. Who’s he? God almighty!
Again and again I think of home,
Though as a boy, I’d wanted to roam
KOREA REMEMBERED - A TRIP TO WAR THROUGH POEMS
– by Reg Briggs
Here I am for maybe two years;
There’ll be laughter, joy and a lot of tears,
Fear and terror, I’ll often see red,
But if I go home I’ll remember the dead.
I joined as a boy soldier in 1949 and trained at the Army
Apprentices School, Harrogate and Catterick as an Operator,
Wireless and Line (OWL). My first posting overseas was Tripoli –
the Second World War had not been over that many years.
Several months later, the CO asked for volunteers to go to Korea.
We would be known as Nan Tp, attached to 28 Fd Regt RE. After
more training in Cyrenaicia, we sailed from Tobruk in HMT Empire
Orwell.
A TRIP TO WAR
Service in North Africa, Tripoli and Tobruk;
As boys our uncles fought here, they ran out of luck.
Soon in a troopship I sailed from here
Bound for a country that’s called Korea.
Through the Suez down the Red Sea,
Called in at Aden, not a lot to see
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
There would be death, suicides, heartaches, sleepless nights, we
would be dirty, unwashed, a long way from home. Nice to get mail
- or was it. Seeing your first casualties, the first dead - a stark
reminder that you may not go home. This stops with you for life.
This is something you never forget. You lived, they died. You have
a guilt feeling.
GOT YOUR MAIL
Cold tonight, maybe thirty below;
Shivering…teeth chattering…hope there’s no snow.
Feet stuck in ice in this terrible trench;
No smell of death, but I remember its stench.
It’s still, so still, the moon’s coming out;
We’re on standby; whisper, don’t shout.
A look at my mate, makes me feel better;
�Oh John, did you get your letter?’
317
Mail got through, came from HQ;
One for your mate, none for you.
Mate looks pale and really glum.
Be months before we get warm sun.
Full kit on we try and sleep;
Guns and ammo all in a heap.
Mate’s gone outside with gun, tin hat on.
Bang! Shot through the head; he’d read his �Dear John’.
Remember the combat clothing we wore? What a performance
when one was taken short.
THE CRAPPER
It has many names that box on the hill;
In summer the smell can make you feel ill.
Called the bog, thunder box or crapper,
I believe the hole was dug by a sapper.
Made of camouflage netting, canvas, and a pole,
In the middle of the box is a small hole.
Sit there long and you get a numb bum;
Strange place I think, to remember your mum.
Look down at your boots, search for some paper,
Drag on a fag, fasten your gaiter.
These combat pants are split at the rear.
What’s that din and noise I hear?
Getting myself a jeep and driver and one other, a radio op who
had just finished a four-hour stint (one Sig Platt), I set about the
impossible task of finding some cable to lay. Who better to turn to
but my good friend (and Tp Scrounger for all unsupplied
equipments and materials) our SQMS, George Chandler?
�Ten miles, Harry? We haven’t got ten feet!’ I thought, well that’s
solved my problem right away. That is until he said, �Not unless
you want to use up this D3 training cable I have been carrying
around with me, that you brought from Hong Kong. I reckon
there’s about ten miles of it in quarter-mile drums.’
One look at the heap lying there was suffice to tell me that it
wouldn’t all fit into the jeep, so I told the driver to go hitch up his
trailer and help Sig Platt to load it right away whilst I reported to
the OC that I was on my way.
Having got myself a �wireless battery securing bolt’ from one of
the CVs, I told Sig Platt to sit on the front wing of the jeep, to load
each drum on this makeshift spindle and to pay out the line while I
followed on foot, joining each section and laying the line securely
on the roadside as we went along. This, I thought, would be a
simple job. After all, I had been trained to join one telephone to
another telephone during my training as an OWL. Same principle,
but on a bigger scale. No problem. How stupid could one get?
Is it a plane? No it’s a shout:
�Reg, shift your arse, we’re bugging out!’
No peace today, we’re sallying forth.
On once again, we’re heading up north.
So, off we went looking for the Tac Sign that would bring us to
KOSB Rear Ech. Some five miles on and still no sign, I was
convinced we had taken the wrong fork, when eventually we
spotted it. Locating the 15cwt they were using for HQ was no
problem. A brawny Scot manning their 10-line switchboard, was
busy darning his socks whilst answering the calls that were
coming in.
LINE LAYING KOREA 1951 – by Harry Orton, ex Sgt, 28
Comwel Bde Sig Tp
�I’m laying you a line to Bde HQ, Jock, so keep a sharp ear for my
calling you at intervals. I’ve only got quarter-mile drums, so I will
be calling you pretty regularly.’
I had often heard other Signals trades referring to linemen as
�DR’s with their heads kicked in.’ But in my view, they were the
most scruffy/undisciplined body of men it has been my privilege
to (try) to control. Throughout the Corps, you would never find a
more close-knit, happy-go-lucky bunch of lads. The anecdote I
recall here not only showed me what they had to face in their
trade, but also revealed the particular type of esprit de corps they
possessed to see them through.
�Oche aye! No problem Sergeant. I shall be on duty all night
anyway, and will be glad of your company. All the best and take
care. There’ve been reports of marauding enemy troops in the rear
areas.’
It was in those early days, having just arrived in Korea 1951. To
say my line parties were pushed above and beyond all human
effort, was to put it mildly. Things being what they were at the
time, they seldom had time to rest. �We must have a line to here
and here’ or �The line is down to this unit or that unit, so get a line
party out now, and get it fixed, now!’
Having first rigged up a road crossing to get to the side of the
wood we wanted to be on, we were on our way, with Sig
Hutchinson slowly driving along and giving me the time to lay the
line back securely into the side of the road. It wasn’t long before
the first drum had run out and it was time make a test call to the
KOSB’s switchboard. Ring! Ring! Ring! �OK Jock, its me making
my first test. Will call you again soon.’
On this occasion the Bde had just moved up to a forward position
and lines had to be laid to all four battalions and other supporting
units under command. And our OC lived up to his code-name.
When he said �Pronto’ he meant Pronto!
All of my four line parties were out, and had taken with them all
the cable we had. The only remaining lineman at Bde HQ was our
indoor lineman, Cpl Kitson. His responsibility was to await the
line parties’ arrival with the individual lines they had laid and
attach them to the main switchboard - quite a responsibility in
itself.
�Thanks a lot for telling me!’ So with the line connected safely to
the switchboard and with the assurance of his full attention from
the operator, it was only a matter of time now before the job was
done, so to speak.
Then, remembering what I’d been taught so long ago, I joined the
second drum up, using the proper joint and taping it as should be
done. Easy! And so it was quarter mile after quarter mile, until I
realised it was getting dark and I couldn’t see what I was doing.
Despite his protests about being in a forward area, I got Sig
Hutchinson to turn on his lights. Another drum. Ring! Ring! Ring!
At this moment the OC dashed up to the LCV Signal Office
saying, �Sgt Orton, the Brigade Major wants a line through to
KOSB’s �B’ Echelon.’ When I explained that all my line parties
were out, he replied, �Look Sgt, when I say the BM wants a
through to KOSB’s �B’ Ech, I mean he wants a line and he wants it
now!’
I knew immediately that there was no point in arguing over such a
minor technicality of having no linemen, so I quickly chose the
only solution left.
�I saw the KOSB’s Rear Ech Tac Sign on the way up. It is a bit
down the road, so I will get myself together a makeshift line party
and head off down the road and lay from there back to Bde HQ,
Sir.’
�Well do that now and let me know when the line is through!’ With
that, he was gone.
318
A lineman of 28 Bde Sig Tp using his �butinsky’
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
�Rear Echelon KOSB’ �Just testing Jock.’ �Aye, line’s OK!’ (Where
did those niceties between operator and lineman go?) and we
continued into the night.
Suddenly I was conscious of voices in the darkness beyond. I got
Hutchinson to switch off his engine and cut his lights. All three of
us listened and agreed that they weren’t speaking English! There
were shouts, there were many of them, and they were getting ever
closer. Something like, �Long sing ting ping pong now cow me
chow hung dung chow mein see tow fue un dung dong plink
plonk!� which I figured meant, �I’ve seen their headlights and their
vehicle is in that direction.’
�Right! Grab your weapons and get on the top of that knoll on the
other side of the road. Keep quiet and don’t shoot until I tell you
to!’ We made the top of that knoll a lot quicker than I would have
thought possible.
More shouts and voices, definitely Chinese, I thought, and surely
saying something like, �Now you have found the vehicle go and
find the men. Kill them for the sake of our glorious leader and wish
them a last farewell!’
As we listened, we became conscious of another sound, that of
the drone of an aeroplane, and getting closer - possibly coming to
our aid. Or so we hoped.
Then mixed with the sound of the engines there seemed to be a
mumbling voice from the skies above, something like, �Ung Tow
me fow lung Sigman Rhee Mao Tse Tung dropee guns ding
long!’ Suddenly the penny dropped. It was one of those American
planes flying the night shift with a message to the enemy troops
behind our lines to lay down their arms.
As soon as we had realised that this was where our �hostile
enemy voices’ had been coming from, we were off again to
complete the job in hand.
Ring! Ring! Ring! �Rear Echelon KOSB.’ �It’s only me Jock, testing
again.’
�Aye! Lines through alright, Sergeant. Where’ve you been? I was
beginning to get a bit worried about you.’
I didn’t like telling him we had been busy fighting off a band of
marauding enemy troops.
�We’re OK Jock! Will give you another ring later. Keep awake for
us.’
�Hutchinson! Switch off those bloody lights!’
�But you said you couldn’t see what you was doing, Sergeant.’
�Never mind what I bloody said. I will just have to feel. Let’s get
cracking.’
We are nearing home base by now. The last time I looked in the
trailer it certainly looked near enough empty.
�Sergeant! Sergeant!’
�What’s the matter now, Platt?’
�The remainder of these drums have all got single wire on them!’
�Well you stupid pillock, put two drums on the spindle at a time.
That will serve the same purpose.’
Two drums? By now I was sure the poor lad’s arms were numb
from even the one drum he had been trying to feed the cable
from, and with the precarious position in which he was sitting on
the wing of the jeep, I was getting concerned. Just wait until I
come face to face with that SQMS. He’ll get a piece of my mind
regarding the D3 that, according to him, was in good nick!
Dawn was now breaking, and by now we must be within reach of
Bde HQ. Sure enough, there was our Tac Sign. A big sigh of relief
home at last.
Ring! Ring! Ring! A long pause. No reply. Oh no, please God,
don’t let the line be broken not now!
Ring! Ring! Ring! �Rear Echelon KOSB.’ There wasn’t a bollocking
left in me as I found myself more than grateful to inform the
operator that I had arrived at Bde HQ, and the next call he got
would be from our switchboard op at Bde Signal Office. �OK
Sergeant.’
Passing the line over to the indoor lineman, Cpl Kitson and telling
him to connect it to the incoming lines frame, I then asked the
exchange op to inform the OC that the line to KOSB’s �B’ Ech was
through and working, and that I was away to get some sleep.
I hadn’t got but a couple of yards from the Signal Office, when the
operator popped his head out of the window of the CV.
�Sergeant! Sergeant!’ Please God, don’t let him tell me the line’s
not working!
�What’s up now?’ I asked with bated breath.
�That line to KOSB’s B Ech. It’s through and working OK, but they
have just rung up to say they don’t need it any more, because
they are now on the move!’
Was that a massive roar of laughter I heard coming from the
Signal Office as I disappeared in disbelief?
Ah well! Win some, lose some. I thought I would never again
volunteer to do such a �simple’ job of laying line. Instead, I would
leave such an �easy’ job to the lads �with their heads kicked in.’
But seriously, I take my hat off to each and every one of them.
Bless �em all!
50 YEARS ON – COMMEMORATING THE CEASEFIRE OF THE
KOREAN WAR - Report by Ron Larby
A Parade and Service to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of
the ceasefire of the Korean War took place in London on 9 July
2003. The parade was at Horse Guards and the Service, attended
by HM The Queen, was in Westminster Abbey.
The weather was warm and sticky as over 800 veterans mainly
from the British Korean Veterans Association, but including
groups from other Associations with connections to the Korean
War, assembled on Horse Guards Parade under the supervision of
the Garrison Sergeant Major, London District.
The veterans were formed into six divisions, each one
commanded by a Korean War Veteran of senior rank. All three
services were represented in these divisional commanders and
Northern Ireland was also represented.
The parade, commanded by BKVA Patron, MajGen Sir Peter
Downward KCVO CD DSO DFC, was headed by the band of the
Scots Guards and the BKVA National, Union and South Korean
Standards. 39 Branch Standards were also on parade.
The six divisions were grouped by Branches and Associations in
alphabetical order, (not by Regt, Corps or Ship) so it was difficult
to say exactly how many ex Royal Signals members were present.
But the Corps was well represented throughout the ranks by veterans
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
proudly wearing their blazers and/or berets with �Jimmy’ badges.
The parade marched off at 10.30hrs, passing the saluting base,
where the Salute was taken by HRH, The Duke of Edinburgh. He
was accompanied on the dais by Gen Sir Anthony FarrarHockley GBE KCB DSO MC. En route to the Abbey, the parade
was joined by a number of veterans in wheelchairs.
On arrival at the Abbey, the parade was halted whilst the Branch
Standards formed an avenue up to the doors for guests to pass
through. Ten standards were positioned inside the Abbey itself.
The parade was dismissed for veterans to join their families and
friends for the Service, security being of the highest order. No
pass – no entry!
On her arrival, HM The Queen was greeted by The Dean and
Chapter of Westminster Abbey, who introduced her to some
prominent guests.
During the service the music was supplied by the Band of the
Royal Artillery, and taking part in the service itself was the Rev
Sam Davies, Chaplain to the Glosters who was awarded the BEM
for courage displayed both in the battle of the Imjin River and as a
POW. He was joined by John Stacpoole, ex Duke of Wellington’s
Regt, now a monk at Ambleforth. A wreath was laid on the
319
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by MajGen Downward and the
Ambassador for the Republic of Korea HE Mr Roh Moo-Hyun.
The poem, Absent Veterans by David Lidstone (ex Glosters) was
read by Barry Tunnicliffe (ex RA).
In the congregation were Defence AttachГ©s from many of the
nations who sent forces to the Korean War, representatives
of our own Armed Forces and Government Ministers. An
observer described the hats of the veterans’ ladies as
�stunning’!
After the service a small reception was held in the Jerusalem
Room, where she was introduced to members of the BKVA
National Executive, one of whom, National Overseas Coordinating Officer is ex Royal Signals, Frank Fellows.
A second, larger reception was hosted by the MoD, the organisers
of the event. Because of the numbers, attendance at this had to
be restricted to 140 people. However, as the service finished and
broke up, many veterans sought out old friends and found
alternative places of refreshment in which to slake their thirsts and
swap stories of old friends and old times.
At last we of the �Forgotten War’ feel that this day had been a
fitting memorial to our fallen comrades.
BOOK REVIEWS
A NATIONAL SERVICEMAN IN KOREA - by George Pagan
Reviewed by Bernard Redshaw
RED WINDS FROM THE NORTH – by Norman Davies
Reviewed by Bernard Redshaw
A while back a colleague (a Regular soldier) made a joking remark
when one of the unofficial medal makers announced that they
were issuing a National Service Medal. He quickly changed his
position when I reminded him that many National Servicemen had
given their lives in conflicts, such as Palestine, Cyprus, Suez,
Malaya and particularly in Korea. George Pagan’s A National
Serviceman in Korea is particularly timely as we commemorate
the fiftieth anniversary of the end of that conflict and remember
those (many of whom were National Servicemen) who died there.
Knowing the author makes reviewing his book both difficult and
easy. It’s difficult because, if you like the bloke (and I do), then
you’re conscious that biases may creep into your review. But it’s
easier because when you read about him doing something or
describing something, you can see him there doing it for real and
you can think what he is thinking.
After briefly describing his basic and trade training in Catterick
and his first posting in BAOR, Pagan takes us quickly aboard TSS
Empire Orwell for the long voyage to Pusan. After a short
familiarisation period he was, �5 days and 300 miles later’ on the
38th Parallel working a rear link from a REME recovery unit.
He vividly describes the conditions they had to work under: old
WW2 comms equipment and weapons; often inadequate washing
and toilet facilities; soaring temperatures in summer and freezing
conditions in winter; the wondering if they would ever get home
alive; and the longing for it all to finish. But through it all comes
the typical British humour and grit to stick it out, and above all to
look after one’s mates.
There are a few errors and repetitions and the syntax sometimes
isn’t perfect, but the writing style is soldierly and keeps the
reader’s attention well. It leaves those who weren’t in Korea with a
good impression of how it was. For those who were there, it is
bound to bring back many memories.
Among the official documents reproduced at the end of the book
is George Pagan’s Discharge Booklet (AB 111). In this document,
there is section for a Testimonial the soldier’s CO was required to
write. The entry in George’s document suggests an attitude
towards National Servicemen that many believe was around at the
time. It reads: Sig Pagan has been employed on various duties
within a wireless troop. He has performed these duties with
mediocre efficiency. Given more experience in a job with
supervision he should eventually show himself to be a useful
employee to any prospective employer. Since National Service,
George has had a successful managerial career in the textiles
trade, ending up with his own business!
A National Serviceman in Korea, ISBN1-900467-16-X, is
published by Finial Publishing, 15 Hoburne Road, Swanage,
Dorset, BH19 2SL, and is available from the Royal Signals
Museum Bookshop, Tel: 01258 482 248 at ВЈ9.99.
In 1950 Norman Davies is a very young regular soldier proud to
have his first stripe so soon. He is informed that he is going to
Korea, but like many others in the same situation, he hasn’t a clue
where it is, nor why he’s going there. At 19 years of age, all he
knows about war is from films and books.
He joins 29 Bde Sig Sqn and after a rushed programme of �jabs,
equipt issue and lectures’, he soon finds himself on board HMT
Empress of Australia waving farewells to his tearful parents on the
dock. After innocently exploring exotic foreign ports en route, he
is soon disembarking at Pusan, overwhelmed at the stench and
utter poverty he sees there.
Very soon the Bde is on the 38th Parallel and pushing the North
Korean invaders over it. A doddle, everyone thought, �It’ll be over
by Christmas.’ But it is not to be. Chinese forces join in, and it
becomes a hard, bitter war, lasting almost three years. We get
the feelings of frustration, uncertainty and utter fear, as Davies
and his comrades battle with the summer heat and freezing winter
temperatures. In between this there are moments of doubt about
the futility of war, such as when he witnesses a Korean woman
struggling to break a hole in a frozen river. From the folds of her
dress, she produces a newborn infant, kisses it tenderly and
pushes it through the ice to perish in the freezing water below.
Eventually his tour comes to an end and late in 1952, after an
uneventful voyage home, he arrives back in UK. With two medal
ribbons on his chest, Davies still can’t believe he’s been to war.
And he still isn’t sure why.
Written 49 years after the event, this book shows a good balance
of the fresh innocence of youth (evidenced by his thoughts and
actions at the time) and the quiet reflection of age (sometimes
called �wisdom’).
In the introduction to the book, Taff acknowledges the support his
wife, Meg gave him in writing it. She bought him a word
processor and told him to �bloody well get on with it.’ Sadly, Meg
died in May this year.
Red Winds From The North is published by Able Publishing.
AIRBORNE OFFICERS DINNER
24 October 2003
Goojerat Barracks
Colchester
For further info contact
Captain Mark Rouse
Tel: Mil (94651) 2990
Civ: (01206) 782990
Mobile: 07799 477363
E Mail: [email protected]
320
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
THE ROYAL SIGNALS MUSEUM
D-DAY AND DORSET CALLING ALL D-DAY VETS!
The Royal Signals Museum is to
commemorate the 60th Anniversary
of D-Day next year with a new
exhibition entitled �D-Day and
Dorset’.
We are looking for memorabilia
linked with the Corps’ role in OP
OVERLORD and are seeking any
surviving ex-members of the Corps
(of any rank) who were there on the
day.
If you can help in any way or know
of someone who has memories of
the day please contact
Stella McIntyre, the
Museum Curator on 01258 482160,
or email
[email protected]
MOVEMENTS
OFFICERS
JUNE 2003
Name and Rank
Col MP Llewellyn OBE... ...
Col PJ Oldfield ... ... ... ...
Col JA Terrington ... ... ...
Lt Col SG Hutchinson MBE
Lt Col RA Sharpe MBE ...
Maj SJ Baldwin ... ... ... ...
Maj PJ Doherty ... ... ... ...
Maj WJ Drain... ... ... ... ...
Maj HJ Bardell ... ... ... ...
Maj RH King ... ... ... ... ...
Maj CWS Miller ... ... ... ...
Maj RJ Parkinson ... ... ...
Maj LJ Plumb ... ... ... ...
Maj AM White ... ... ... ...
Maj P Whitehouse ... ... ...
Maj AJ Wood... ... ... ... ...
A/Maj MA Wright-Jones ...
Capt DJ Ashton ... ... ... ...
Capt PD Ashworth ... ... ...
Capt JS Balfour ... ... ... ...
Capt BM Bingham ... ... ...
Capt RD Cowan... ... ... ...
Capt DW Craig ... ... ... ...
Capt TW Day ... ... ... ... ...
Capt NP Fanning ... ... ...
Capt KJ Grice ... ... ... ...
Capt PJ Hale ... ... ... ... ...
Capt A Higgins ... ... ... ...
Capt P Kendrick ... ... ...
Capt T Malley ... ... ... ...
Capt GG Moody... ... ... ...
Capt LG Pim ... ... ... ... ...
Capt DA Sacree ... ... ... ...
Capt G Shakespeare ... ...
Capt SW Slater ... ... ... ...
Capt SA Smoothy ... ... ...
Capt AT Steele ... ... ... ...
Capt FAW Stewart ... ... ...
Unit to which posted
HQ DCSA
DOMA
OCE HQ Land
31 Sig Regt (V)
Army Exchange Posts (NBDS(W)
Defence Academy
RHQ AFNORTH
16 Sig Regt
Inf Div
Overseas CS & NDC
14 Sig Regt (EW)
JSSU(AN)
DEC (SP)
G6 Branch HQ UKSC(G)
71 Sig Regt (V)
101 Log Bde HQ & Sig Sqn
15 Sig Regt
218 Sig Sqn 8 Inf Bde
G6 HQ Land
16 Air Asslt Bde HQ & Sig Sqn (216)
164 Sig Sqn
38 Sig Regt (V)
MTO 2 Sig Regt
HQ Sqn 21 Sig Regt
14 Sig Regt (EW)
ATR Bassingbourn
HQNI
7 Sig Regt (Corps Main HQ)
71 Sig Regt (V)
Logs Suport Branch HQ Land
7 Sig Regt
215 Sig Sqn
JSSU (AN)
HQ 11 Sig Bde
DCSA Svc Plans & Requirements
31 (City of London) Sig Regt (V)
JSSU Oakley
Exchange Officers - Australia
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Capt CJ Udell ... ...
Capt J Williams ... ...
Capt GMA Wills ... ...
Capt AGA Woolaston
Lt JWA Docherty ...
Lt AS Foote ... ... ...
Lt DP Spencer ... ...
Lt JM Wadia ... ... ...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
252 Sig Sqn DCSA(G)
203 Sig Sqn 3 Inf Bde
15 Sig Regt
SANGCOM
2 Sig Regt
ATR Lichfield
222 Sig Sqn 3 (UK) Div
15 Sig Regt
JULY 2003
Name and Rank
A/Col I Cameron-Mowat
Lt Col PW Glibbery... ...
Lt Col JP Hudson .. ...
Lt Col SP Hunt ... ... ...
Lt Col SG Hutchinson ...
Lt Col Hryhoruk ... ... ...
Lt Col SC Johns... ... ...
Lt Col SA Leigh ... ... ...
Lt Col RJ Steed MBE ...
Lt Col SP Wallis ... ... ...
Maj TJS Allen ... ... ...
Maj GE Blythe ... ... ...
Maj RJ Carter MBE... ...
Maj AP Ferris MBE ... ...
Maj T Hill ... ... ... ... ...
Maj JM Hodges ... ... ...
Maj RJ Lovett ... ... ...
Maj S Roden ... ... ... ...
Maj M Smith MBE ... ...
Maj JJ Torrell... ... ... ...
Maj KG Wilson ... ... ...
Maj P Wilson BEM ... ...
A/Maj DI Smith ... ... ...
A/Maj PJ Stoddart ... ...
A/Maj DTH Wilson ... ...
Capt AC Aylward ... ...
Capt SA Bason ... ... ...
Capt M Brooks ... ... ...
Capt EJ Bruce ... ... ...
Capt NR Coatsworth ...
Capt N Donohue ... ...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Unit to which posted
Spec Projects Procurement IPT
Overseas SC & NDC
SANGCOM
Shape NACOSA
31 Sig Regt (V)
HQ 145 (HC) Bde
HQ 4 Div
Royal School of Signals
R Sigs/Int Div
Shape Staff (BAe)
101 Log Bde HQ & Sig Sqn
Infrastructure HQ SOinC(A)
IMATT (Freetown) Sierra Leone
HQ 1 Sig Bde
10 Sig Regt (242 Sig Sqn)
102 Log Bde HQ & Sig Sqn
1 (AS) Sig Sqn (244) 21 Sig Regt
2 (CofD) Sig Sqn (V)
16 Sig Regt
36 Sig Regt
IS & Comms Sys Suport IPT
DEI Info Systems Branch Henlow
Systems HQ SOinC(A)
63 Sig Sqn (V)
40 Sig Regt (V)
33 Sig Regt (V)
259 Sig Sqn
ADMIS Project ACGS
7 Sig Regt (Corps Main HQ)
Jungle Warfare Wing
HQ 5 Div
321
Capt JMW Ewart ...
Capt KVFowler ... ...
Capt VE Hemmings...
Capt NR Henly ... ...
Capt TJ Keates ... ...
Capt MJ Morton ...
Capt SE Pittaway ...
Capt Y Rana ... ... ...
Capt ES Warhurst ...
Capt BG White ... ...
Capt SW Whittley ...
Lt HC Cairns ... ... ...
Lt GJ Clarke ... ... ...
Lt JC Higginson... ...
Lt SM Smith ... ... ...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
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...
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...
...
...
...
...
Joint Staff Div J6 HQ BF Cyprus
LSP Oman
HQ Sig Sqn 7 Armd Bde
252 Sig Sqn DCSA(G)
1 (UK) Armd Div Sig Regt
BMATT (Freetown) Sierra Leone
30 Sig Regt
CIS 241 Sig Sqn
Y List MCM Div
G6 HQ Land
JCU(NI)
ATR Lichfield
600 Signal Troop 10 Sig Regt
ATR Lichfield
Royal School of Signals
WOS AND SNCOS
JUNE 2003
Name and Rank
A/WO1 FofS S Moore ... ...
A/WO1 FofS MA Paveley ...
A/WO1 RD G Cole ... ... ...
A/WO1 RD MA Ginty ... ...
A/WO1 RD K Marsh ... ...
A/WO1 KJ O’Neill ... ... ...
WO2 FofS AD Amies ... ...
WO2 FofS S Brown ... ... ...
WO2 FofS RG Edge .. ...
WO2 FofS PJ Hubble ... ...
WO2 FofS OD Leyland... ...
WO2 FofS NA McGregor ...
WO2 FofS IR Outterson ...
WO2 FofS GJ Pearson ...
WO2 FofS MP Riley... ... ...
WO2 RD LS Crossing ... ...
WO2 RD G Steel ... ... ... ...
A/WO2 FofS RA Dickinson
A/WO2 FofS GS Walton ...
A/WO2 RD MA Brown ... ...
A/WO2 RD RD Burrows ...
A/WO2 RD AV Gill ... ... ...
A/WO2 RD S Mayell ... ...
A/WO2 RD AM Maylett ...
A/WO2 RD DW Peters ... ...
A/WO2 RD AJ Storey ... ...
A/WO2 RD TJ Ward ... ...
SSgt YofS SJ Boase ... ...
SSgt YofS P Emsen... ... ...
SSgt YofS AS George ... ...
SSgt YofS CA Green ... ...
SSgt YofS SJ Milne
... ...
SSgt YofS DG Monger ... ...
SSgt FofS RD Allen ... ... ...
SSgt FofS PR Stevens ... ...
SSgt TRJ Austin ... ... ... ...
SSgt AP Ball ... ... ... ... ...
SSgt J Barsley ... ... ... ...
SSgt MA Brown ... ... ... ...
SSgt RD Burrows ... ... ...
SSgt G Campbell ... ... ...
SSgt AV Gill ... ... ... ... ...
SSgt SV Hamblin ... ... ...
SSgt TEE Hodgskins ... ...
SSgt JF Lyons ... ... ... ...
SSgt BP Matthews ... ... ...
SSgt SV Mayell ... ... ... ...
SSgt MS Morgan ... ... ...
SSgt MF Patterson ... ... ...
SSgt DW Peters ... ... ... ...
SSgt P Storey ... ... ... ...
SSgt P Stroudley ... ... ...
SSgt TJ Ward ... ... ... ...
A/SSgt AS Caprio ... ... ...
A/SSgt MC Laughton ... ...
A/SSgt KW MacPherson ...
A/SSgt WPD Quinn ... ... ...
Sgt S Avis ... ... ... ... ... ...
Sgt DI Carter ... ... ... ... ...
Sgt DG Dix ... ... ... ... ...
Sgt AM Eardley ... ... ... ...
Sgt JW Fawcett ... ... ... ...
Sgt DG Leach ... ... ... ...
Sgt PD Lester ... ... ... ...
Sgt LM Mason ... ... ... ...
Sgt AD Murphy ... ... ... ...
Sgt HL Nolan... ... ... ... ...
Sgt AC Patrick ... ... ... ...
Sgt GA Paver... ... ... ... ...
Sgt SE Perry ... ... ... ... ...
Sgt MJ Pollitt ... ... ... ...
322
Unit to which posted
RHQ AFNORTH
3 (UK) Div Sig Regt
11 Sig Regt
JSSU Digby
12 Mech Bde HQ & Sig Sqn
8 Inf Bde HQ & Sig Sqn
Jt St Div Cyprus
HQ SOinC(A)
35 Sig Regt (V)
SHAPE Regional Sp Gp
Royal School of Signals
7 Sig Regt
HQ 1 Sig Bde
3 (UK) Div Sig Regt
DEI Info Sys Branch
11 Sig Regt
252 Sig Sqn
280 (UK) Sig Sqn
252 Sig Sqn
21 Sig Regt (AS)
14 Sig Regt
15 Sig Regt
1 (UK) Div Sig Regt
7 Armd Bde HQ & Sig Sqn
16 Sig Regt
16 Sig Regt
11 Sig Regt
37 Sig Regt (V)
16 Sig Regt
RMAS
38 Sig Regt (V)
1 (RBY) Sig Regt (V)
31 Sig Regt (V)
15 Sig Regt
39 Sig Regt (V)
Royal School of Signals
JSSU Digby
3 (UK) Div Sig Regt
21 Sig Regt (AS)
14 Sig Regt
DI (SI)
15 Sig Regt
Royal School of Signals
7 Sig Regt
BMM Kuwait
MOD A Block
1 (UK) Div Sig Regt
21 Sig Regt (AS)
20 Armd Bde Sig Sqn
16 Sig Regt
16 Sig Regt
20 Armd Bde Sig Sqn
Royal School of Signals
1 (UK) Div Sig Regt
15 Sig Regt
1 (UK) Div Sig Regt
RHQ AFSOUTH
Royal School of Signals
15 Sig Regt
600 Sig Tp
1 (UK) Div Sig Regt
Royal School of Signals
3 (UK) Div Sig Regt
Royal School of Signals
Royal School of Signals
Royal School of Signals
Royal School of Signals
Royal School of Signals
RHQ AFNORTH
2 Sig Regt
Royal School of Signals
Sgt BD Rawlings ...
Sgt CM Richardson
Sgt RD Rudd ... ... ...
Sgt G Smith ... ... ...
Sgt S Sweeney ... ...
Sgt R Thubron ... ...
Sgt NJ Turney ... ...
Sgt CT Wrenn ... ...
A/Sgt AG Johnson ...
A/Sgt GM Rhoades ...
A/Sgt G Fisher ... ...
A/Sgt RE Rouchy ...
Sgt PA Selby ... ... ...
Sgt JL Steel ... ... ...
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Royal School of Signals
Royal School of Signals
Royal School of Signals
259 Sig Sqn
21 Sig Regt (AS)
Royal School of Signals
30 Sig Regt
Royal School of Signals
HQ DSSS
30 Sig Regt
21 Sig Regt (AS)
30 Sig Regt
JSSU (FI)
225 Sig Sqn
JULY 2003
Name and Rank
WO1 RD MA Giles ... ...
A/WO1 FofS MR Flather
A/WO1 FofS N Hendry ...
A/WO1 RD C Davies ...
A/WO1 RD RC Douglas
A/WO1 RD PM Downie
A/WO1 RD JC Duncan...
A/WO1 RD KP Innes ...
A/WO1 RD DA Mitchell
A/WO1 RD J Renshaw...
WO2 FofS MA Oliver ...
WO2 FofS KR Peters ...
WO2 FofS JK Sutton ...
WO2 RD MD Lambert ...
WO2 RD MP Townley ...
A/WO2 RD NL Cain... ...
A/WO2 RD I Conlan ...
A/WO2 RD J McNeill ...
SSgt MR Brooksbank ...
SSgt DR Covey ... ... ...
SSgt S J Fardy ... ... ...
SSgt IM Giles ... ... ...
SSgt RI Hawkins ... ...
SSgt C Hindson ... ... ...
SSgt D Kilgallon ... ... ...
SSgt AL Korchell ... ...
SSgt A Lloyd ... ... ... ...
SSgt IA Middlemiss ...
SSgt S Page ... ... ... ...
SSgt IJ Taylor ... ... ...
A/SSgt JA Burnham ...
A/SSgt LS Ford ... ... ...
A/SSgt AJ Hartley ... ...
A/SSgt MA Jobson ... ...
A/SSgt CKI Kielty ... ...
A/SSgt MA McNamara
A/SSgt CJ O’Neill ... ...
A/SSgt LG Tosh ... ... ...
A/SSgt JL White ... ... ...
Sgt BR Baynham ... ...
Sgt M Butler ... ... ... ...
Sgt A Fisher ... ... ... ...
Sgt DC Fitton ... ... ...
Sgt JP Gronn... ... ... ...
Sgt CA Hook ... ... ... ...
Sgt DJ Langridge ... ...
Sgt JG Pollock ... ... ...
Sgt N Ruff... ... ... ... ...
Sgt G Shilton ... ... ... ...
Sgt AN Smith... ... ... ...
Sgt S Spink ... ... ... ...
Sgt DJ Wilson ... ... ...
Sgt J Wood ... ... ... ...
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Unit to which posted
36 Sig Regt (V)
21 Sig Regt (AS)
30 Sig Regt
11 Sig Regt
102 Log Bde HQ & Sig Sqn
39 Inf Bde Sig Sqn
11 Sig Regt
38 Sig Regt (V)
15 Sig Regt
16 Sig Regt
30 Sig Regt
252 Sig Sqn
ATRA Bowman Manpower
35 Sig Regt (V)
7 Sig Regt
DCSA
40 Sig Regt (V)
1 (UK) Div Sig Regt
31 Sig Regt (V)
2 Sig Regt
30 Sig Regt
30 Sig Regt
600 Sig Tp
16 Sig Regt
RHQ AFNORTH
40 Sig Regt (V)
15 Sig Regt
8 Inf Bde HQ & Sig Sqn
16 Air Aslt Bde HQ & Sig Sqn
30 Sig Regt
3 Inf Bde HQ & Sig Sqn
HQ 1 Sig Bde
HQ 11 Sig Bde
14 Sig Regt
40 Sig Regt (V)
15 Sig Regt
7 Sig Regt
2 Sig Regt
RHQ AFNORTH
16 Sig Regt
Royal School of Signals
16 Sig Regt
11 Sig Regt
31 Sig Regt (V)
21 Sig Regt (AS)
39 Sig Regt (V)
16 Sig Regt
21 Sig Regt (AS)
7 Sig Regt
33 Sig Regt (V)
14 Sig Regt
HQ Brunei
38 Sig Regt (V)
RETIREMENTS
JUNE 2003
Maj SJ Boyne
... ... ... ... ...
Capt RQ Lifton
... ... ... ... ...
... ... ...
Maj TW Pender-Johns
09 Jun 03
19 Jun 03
30 Jun 03
JULY 2003
Capt BGW Johnson ...
Capt GM Spinney ... ...
Lt Col IA Noble ... ... ...
Brig PA Pratley MBE ...
Capt TE Grey... ... ... ...
Lt Col PWJ Whitehead...
Lt Col TR Craven ... ...
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7 Jul 03
7 Jul 03
10 Jul 03
11 Jul 03
11 Jul 03
22 Jul 03
31 Jul 03
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Q U E E N ’ S B I R T H D AY H O N O U R S
We congratulate the following Royal Signals
personnel who were awarded honours in the
Queen’s Birthday List 2003:
MEMBER OF THE MOST EXCELLENT ORDER OF THE
BRITISH EMPIRE (MBE)
WO1 Terence Michael Brown MBE Bde FofS 1 Sig Bde
WO1 George Alfred Coffin MBE formerly 11 Sig Regt
OFFICER OF THE MOST EXCELLENT ORDER OF THE
BRITISH EMPIRE (OBE)
Lt Col Peter William John Whitehead OBE formerly 11 Sig Regt
Capt Christopher Douglas Drew MBE 1 (UK) Armd Div Sig Regt
Sgt Michael Richard Anthony Jackson MBE 7 Sig Regt
Capt Peter John Stoddart MBE MOD London
N E W S F R O M H E A D Q U A RT E R S
SIGNAL OFFICER IN CHIEF’S RECRUITING AND LIAISON STAFF
ROYAL SIGNALS MOBILE PRESENTATION TEAM
OC
2IC
Lt Eddie Maskell-Pedersen
Sgt Billy Wishart
LONDON VISIT - by LCpl Emma Brown
No rest for the MPT team. My last event with the team took me to
London during the week 12-16 May 03 for an IT/Comms surge. It
was to be a change from the norm. We set of on the Monday
afternoon, leaving in plenty of time to get to Croydon for the
cadets. On the way the plans changed (that’s a shock). After
dropping off all our kit, Cpl Dave Shepherd and I had to head off
to Woolwich. An hour later, after fighting London traffic we were
ready to help 11 Sig Regt’s RRT. The rest of the team kept to the
original plan.
The first three days turned out to be a different from previous
weeks. Instead of indoor activities, we set up two different comd
tasks (outside so the boss, Lt Eddie M-P could top up his tan)
LCpl Tel Frank took charge of one of the tasks, but he managed
to do anything but talk about the task. He tried to impress the
students with his mockney (fake cockney) accent. Cpl Shepherd
headed the main comd task, which gave him the opportunity to
test the fitness of the students. He had them running round like
headless chickens!
LCpl Ayesha Muhammad had to do all the presentations with
LCpl Frank, as we thought no one would be able understand
LCpl Emma Brown.
For the last two days, the Team attended Countryside Fair, where
one of good things was the free BBQ and drinks! Lt M-P, the
London boy, couldn’t hide his excitement when we arrived into loc
to find a sheep-shearing road show. He had to have a go, but
what he hadn’t banked on was shearing the rear end of the sheep.
After a busy week, the Team moved back to Blandford for a welldeserved weekend off before beginning the prep for the Army
Exhibitions for Schools.
MY FIREMAN FLING - by LCpl Ayesha Muhammad
Who says the teams never go anywhere good! While in London
we attended an event in Upton Park, West Ham’s football
ground. I was trying to star spot, but unfortunately there
were no footballers around. However, I got a chance to see some
other men in uniform (and girls, you’ll know what I’m talking
about).
A bit of excitement occurred when the fire alarms went off. I’m not
quite sure if it was intentional, but the usual emergency drills
kicked in, including a fire engine filled with lots of firemen. I’d
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
LCpl Ayesha fancies herself as a fireman
always liked firemen, so I took this opportunity to check them out
and chat to them. They even let me try on their uniform and asked
if I wanted a go with their hoses! I felt about 10 years old again. It
was the highlight of the day and enjoyed it.
323
S TROOP, HEADQUARTERS SIGNAL OFFICER IN CHIEF (ARMY)
OC
Foreman
Capt Nick Shenow
SSgt (FofS) Steve Robinson
Since our last entry, S Troop has been working very hard, with a
great deal of man-hour intensive trials and a lot of travelling
around the country.
There have been a number of comings and goings. We say
farewell to Sgt Tim Vanandel, who departed on promotion to
start and finish his Yeoman’s course. Congratulations Yeoman.
Cpl Jay Hunter has finally managed to get his posting to the
green unit he wanted. LCpl Tim Brigden is now a Mr. Good luck
Tim. Sig Sean Knight is eventually posted to Ireland after serving
with both teams. Maybe they will get some work from him. Cpl
Martin Essam is soon to become a civvy. Good luck to him. We
wish them all well.
Welcome goes to our new OC, Capt Nick Shenow, who needs to
keep up with the rest and buy a new car. To SSgt (FofS) Steve
Robinson and his wife, Vicky, congratulations on the birth of their
third son, Leon. Welcome to Cpl Wicks, from 660 Sig Tp (EOD),
our new cool MT man (who has a huge task ahead of him); to Cpl
McCarthy, our new storeman, who after only 3 weeks in the Tp
had organised 4 tp outings; to Cpl Nick Watson, our new tech
who is only at home at 3,000 feet or hanging from a climbing rope
(Well done on your Class 1 entrance exam); to Sig Jim Hewson
fresh from 30 Sig Regt, who has amazed us all with his ability to
sleep at any time, regardless of weather conditions; to Cpl Lloyd
Morgan (if only texting was the entrance paper. Better luck next
time) and to LCpl Emma McDonald our new demon racing driver.
As for the rest, SSgt Jim Hamill has just been extended again
(Never mind, Jim. You will eventually get back home); Sgt Paul
Faizey was unlucky on just missing out on his FofS entrance
exam; for Sgt Bev Bevan, Las Vegas will never be the same;
Sgt John Guy (Dad) will forever be here; and Cpl Daz Offord
passed his RSJCC, eventually. Congratulations go to LCpl
Paxton and Gemma on their new baby girl, Elizabeth Lidia.
Finally we must mention our AO, Mrs Marilyn Gibbons our
resident quiz mistress.
S Troop History If any ex members have any information, please
contact Sgt John Guy on Blandford Military 5787, or CASH email CSD SP ADMIN SGT.
NEWS OF TRAINING
THE ROYAL SCHOOL OF SIGNALS
Comd
Col MJM Dyer
11 SIGNAL REGIMENT
CO
RSM
Lt Col AP Hudson MBE
WO1 (RSM) DM Forrester
WARRANT OFFICERS’ AND OFFICERS’ TRAINING DAY - by
Capt DR Atkinson
Fourteen members of Regt’s cadre proceeded to the South Coast
for a day of walking followed by a sociable evening meal. With
blue skies and April sun shining, the minibus departed Blandford
Camp in a happy mood until the organiser, Capt Dean Atkinson,
expanded his earlier route description of �relatively flat’. The
grumbling that ensued lasted throughout the day, with a general
consensus that �Had we known we’d have made sure we were
too busy!’ The drinks at the end were certainly well earned. It was
a good day, but be sure, the Blandford LE fraternity will carefully
vet the next organiser’s route choice!
REGIMENTAL SPORTSMAN’S DINNER 24 APR 03
The Regt held a Sportsman’s Dinner on Thursday 24 April 03 to
mark the end of the winter season. The dinner was well attended,
with 14 different sports represented. We were pleased to welcome
as Guest of Honour, LtCol Andy Hickling MBE, who talked to the
audience about the importance of managing an Army career along
with a successful sporting career.
The dinner was a complete success and Regtl Sports Colours
were awarded for 9 sports, Shooting, Rugby League, Rugby
Union, Swimming, Orienteering, Football, CrossCountry, Golf and
Hockey. The highlight of the dinner was the award of Sportsman
of the Season to Sig Michel and Sportswoman of the Season to
Sig Scott. Congratulations to all who were awarded their colours
and awards, and good luck to everyone for the summer season.
324
A relieved group of Officers and WOs rest after conquering
another hill
REGIMENTAL FOOTBALL SEASON SUMMARY - by Capt Ian
Rutherford
Another season of achievement and progress is almost complete,
during which around 30 players have represented the 1st team at
one point or another. Under the management of Capt Ian
Rutherford and SSgt Chris Hood, they reached heights not
experienced since RSS made it to the final of the Army Challenge
Cup in 1988/89. They were the first Corps team to make the Army
final since 2 Sig Regt in 1995. However in the final, a more
experienced 6 Bn REME team, with many Corps standard players
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
become worthy winners. For the record, the Army Challenge Cup
run was:
1st Round
2nd Round
3rd Round
Quarter Final
Semi Final
Final
Home to 32 Regt RA
Away to 2 PWRR
Home to 17 Port & Mar RLC
Away to SEAE Arborfield
Home to 1 Scots Gds
6 Bn REME
102
42
51
10
10
04
As the league season draws to a close, the Regt is currently 8
points clear of 6 Bn REME and should be crowned 5th Div
Premier League Champions by the end of May. The highlight of
the league season has to be the 42 defeat of 6 Bn REME, a result
that gave immense satisfaction to both management and players
alike. The 5th Div Major Units Cup is still ongoing. We are due to
play 6 Bn REME (yet again) in the quarter-final sometime in June.
The 2nd Team ably managed by Cpl Leigh Necrews, are placed
2nd in the 5th Div –1st Div.
SSgt Chris Hood has recently departed for the sunshine of
Cyprus. On behalf of all footballers in Blandford, we wish him and
Sarah the very best for the future, and we look forward to meeting
up again at the Corps 7’s in Blandford in September. As for next
season, it all starts again with 50 new faces at preseason training
in August!
old-fashioned push-bikes to it. The Sqn Cadre, including Cpls Jay
Allen, Gord Dunderdale, John Greenwood and Bob Lovett,
with other members of 1 Sqn took turns to ride, while collecting
teams visited offices and houses for donations. The collecting
continued in Blandford Town centre, focussing near the market.
At 17.00hrs we returned to camp, and the riders, WO1 Neil
Furnival and Lt Dean Atkinson, certainly suffered on the hill on
the way. For good measure, we then patrolled the area outside the
soldiers’ cookhouse and the NAAFI once again. Once we had
exhausted the patience of the soldiers, we turned our attention to
the Tesco Supermarket in Blandford. Here Sigs Fenwick,
Culliford, Nicholls, Piggott, Daniels, Booth, Min and Pawan
were doing lots of pedaling and the public were moved to give
generously, so a big thank you to all who dug deep. After 2 more
hours it was OC, Maj Jeff Howes’s and SSgt John Morley’s turn
to endure Black Lane. It’s all characterbuilding, chaps. Honest! We
moved to the gym, at 22.00hrs, to continue our efforts on the gym
bikes. Three teams tackled the night. 03.00hrs was not a good
time of day for either the Sqn 2IC, Capt Venessa Galloway or the
SSM, W02 Nigel Roberts. After nine very long hours and some
very tasty stew (thanks to the GCWO) later, we moved to the main
gate in time to lure more money from people coming into work.
Sigs Durga, Corke, Dmanesh, Rutledge, James, O’Leary,
Portwain and Mawbey took over here. The Cadre completed the
final leg of the event finishing outside RHQ at 12.00hrs exactly.
A big thank you to all who donated, and a special mention to the
MT who donated ВЈ95.00 (the largest donation for the event).
Over ВЈ2,100.00 was raised. Notwithstanding our sore behinds the
next day, everyone can be thankful it was not a 24-hr run like last
year!
11 Sig Regt’s Football Squad
1 (OUSTON) SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Maj JGJ Howes CD RCSigs
W02 (SSM) N J Roberts
Escorted to the start Maj Jeff Howes, SSM
Nigel Roberts, Sgt Place with the White Helmets
THE HARROGATE CUP SWIMMING COMPETITION MAY 2003
- by Sig Mcgrane 1 Sqn Team Capt
This year’s 1 Sqn swimming team had swimmers with various
levels of experience, but everyone put in the 100% effort
expected of them. The team was successful in the individual
events, with Sig Mcgrane in the 100m Breaststroke and 4x25m
Individual Medley, Sig Pearce in the 50m Butterfly and Sig
Phillips-Noble in the 100m Freestyle. We also won the male
relays with the above swimmers and Sigs Gill, Finch, McGee,
Jacques and Phillipson. The female swimmers were up against
more experienced swimmers and narrowly missed the all
important 1st places. All in all it was a gutsy performance from the
1 Sqn �volunteers’. Despite tight competition and a very closefought battle, overall 3 (Harrogate) Sqn were the winners with 1
(Ouston) Sqn and 2 (Catterick) Sqn sharing second place.
There have been some changes in the Sqn over the past months.
We say farewell to W02 (SSM) �Spike’ Haynes, wishing him all the
best and a speedy recovery, and we welcome W02 (SSM) Eric
Williams. It has been an expensive month for 2 Sqn, as three of
the Cadre Staff decided to get married! Congratulations go to
Capt Sofia Hughes, on her marriage to Maj Fred Hargreaves; to
Cpl Matt Lee, on his marriage to LCpl Helen Coupe and to Cpl
Sean Ablott, on his marriage to Samantha and for the birth of
their son Keiron.
1 (OUSTON) SQUADRON CHARITY BIKE RIDE 0102 MAY 03
HARROGATE CUP CRICKET - by Sig Cowell
On the 1 May 03, 1 (Ouston) Sqn embarked on a 24-hour bike ride
with the aim of raising money for a local charity, the Blandford
Opportunity Group, which supports preschool children with
severe learning deficiencies and physical disabilities in the North
Dorset area.
The 2 Sqn cricket team went into the InterSqn Harrogate Cup
Competition with high hopes of a victory. Our first game was
against the trainee techs from 3 Sqn, whom we were very keen to
beat. After winning the toss, we decided to put 3 Sqn into bat, as
we were quite confident of our bowling ability. Wickets were taken
and very few runs scored off the bat, byes being the top score.
Sig Min bowled excellently, taking 4 wickets for just 9 runs and 3
Sqn finished with a total of 88 runs for 7 wickets. This was not
considered a high score, as we opened our batting with Sig
The event began in style at 12.00hrs, with the first three riders
being escorted onto Hawke Square by the White Helmets. The
motorbikes achieved the aim of bringing the event to the attention
of all, but unfortunately, after 15 mins they departed, leaving the
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
2 (CATTERICK) SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Maj Rob Gibson
W02 (SSM) Eric Williams
325
Jackson and Sig Deepak. Both found the going tough: 3 Sqn
bowlers kept the bowling tight. In the first 10 overs, we made only
27 runs - and then the wickets began to fall. The job was therefore
left to the lower-order batsmen who, unfortunately collapsed. We
finished 22 short, with 66. The following day we played 1 Sqn,
and having seen 3 Sqn totally demolish them, we were confident
of victory. For this game we decided to change our wicket keeper,
so the gloves were passed to Sig Chin. It was a good decision:
the number of extras given away was greatly reduced. 1 Sqn won
the toss and decided to bat but, with deteriorating weather, the
game was reduced from 20 to 10 overs for each side. Sig Cowell
and Sig Niekie opened the bowling and a wicket fell on the first
ball, with Sig Chin taking a great catch behind the stumps. Both
bowlers kept line and length, taking 2 wickets each in their 3
overs. Sig Min also took a wicket, and 1 Sqn were restricted to 55
runs. Once again faith was put in Sig Jackson and Sig Deepak
to make the runs and this was not misplaced, although Sig
Jackson managed to throw his wicket away with only 4 runs
needed to win. Sig Chin came in to take his place and the game
was won after just 7 overs, with Sig Deepak top-scoring with 21
not out. This resulted in 2 Sqn finishing in second place behind
the winners of the Harrogate Cup Cricket, 3 Sqn. It was
disappointing for the team not to win, but it was a good opener to
the cricket season and certainly gave great entertainment to all
those who turned out to support the teams.
W02 (SSM) Chris Davies expertly oversaw the whole thing, with
great admin back up from my team, Cpl Limb and LCpI
Bainbridge RAMC. Then it was back to Blandford and back into
classroom mode. Great!
THE ARMY TARGET SHOOTING CLUB TARGET RIFLE OPEN
MATCH - by Sig Etienne
Finally the shivering and swearing stopped, and we were safe on
the minibus. Everyone decided �never again! � ....Well, not till next
year anyway! A big thank you to Richie Hill for driving, and to
Rosie and Nicky for cheering and photo taking!
The Army Rifle Association’s open event is an annual shooting
match hosted by the Army Target Shooting Club at the Bisley HQ.
ATSC is a club for serving and retired personal of all ranks. I
joined the club two months ago after a regular army team
development shoot. The Army Open was my first major shoot
since joining the club and the match took place over the May
Bank Holiday weekend. Firing started at 09.00hrs on the Saturday
at 300m, with each competitor having 2 siting shots and 10
scoring shots with a HPS of 50. I was firing reasonably well, but
not as well as I wanted. Match 2 started at 10.45hrs and the day
was warming up nicely. This shoot was 2 siting shots and 15 to
count. Again, I had a steady shoot, but the wind was a problem.
It was an early start on Sunday, meeting at the clubhouse then
down to Tickledown Long Range. Again, the wind got the better
of me, but it also affected others (which made me feel a lot
better). Then it was back to the clubhouse for the prize giving.
When all the prizes had been awarded and rifles cleaned it was
time for the journey back to camp. Despite not winning, I enjoyed
the weekend. It helped me learn a lot about the art of judging
wind strength, direction and sight adjustment. I cannot wait to get
back out on the range to improve my shooting and enter more
competitions. I would recommend it to anybody.
3 (HARROGATE) SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Maj Alan Hoensch
W02 (SSM) Chris Davies
Welcome to Cpl Aaron Nessling, who has arrived from 4 Mil
Training Sqn. There have been several births amongst the Cadre.
Congratulations to Cpl Dave Dodds and Zoe on the birth of their
son, Ethan; and to Cpl Dave Worsfold and his wife Clare on the
birth of Declen, who arrived weighing in at healthy 9lb 6ВЅoz. We
say goodbye to Cpl Brotherston and his wife, and wish them
good luck in their next posting.
EXERCISE HARROGATE FOLLY 01/03 - by SSgt J Crowton
This military trg ex was organised by the 2IC, Capt Cas Wootten,
over the last weekend in April. The main aim of the ex was to take
the Phase 2 and 3 trainees out of the trade training environment
for the weekend and revise them on some basic military and skills
subjects, such as tac withdrawal with a casualty, anti-ambush
drills and patrolling.
The secs were all headed up by willing volunteers (yes volunteers)
of NCOs on upgrading courses, with soldiers in the roles of sec
comds, enemy and instructors for the different subjects. On the
orienteering side, Cpl Tony Livesy was heard to say that he was
not lost, he was just following orders!
326
INTERNATIONAL TOUGHGUY COMPETITION 2003 - by Cpl
�Duggie’ Douglas
Ulster Tp’s finest, Steve Baulch, Steve Read, Andrea Smith,
Geordie Davis, Tom Earl, Dave Lloyd, Gill Gittins, Si Wellstead
and James Douglas, took on the 2003 Tough Guy Competition
on Sunday 26 January in aid of Multiple Sclerosis.
It had all started as a bit of a laugh at the beginning of the T1
Upgrader’s Course in July. All too quickly January came around
and, having put off our superman or women training �till
tomorrow’, we arrived at the start, ready or not. The gun sounded
and, with a quick prayer and a war cry, we were off. The huge
number of competitors was quite disconcerting. We hadn’t
realised there were so many other mad people!
The first 8 miles consisted of farmer’s fields, 6ft walls, endless hill
reps and a mile-long, calfdeep water ditch that we had to keep
zigzagging across. Then the fun really began. The 2 mile assault
course (complete with electric fencing) consisted of �A’ Frames
and postman’s walks, leaps of faith, numerous ice-cold dunkings,
low barbed wire, Vietcong tunnels of terror, flaming straw pits and
mud!
4 (MILITARY TRAINING) SQUADRON
OC
Maj Colin Russell
SSM
W02 (SSM) R Dyer
ROYAL SIGNALS JUNIOR COMMANDERS COURSE - by Cpl
Bickfords
It was a normal day, when into the office of 4 (Mil Trg) Sqn, walked
the OC, who took great pleasure to inform me that I would be on
the next JCC. The term �poacher termed gamekeeper’ sprang to
mind, as I knew that a good performance was expected. The
course was soon upon me and as with everybody else, nerves
began to jangle. I started doubting if I was prepared enough for
next 4 weeks to follow.
The first week concerned leadership, coming in the form of comd
tasks. It was a cracking week and as our individual sections (lead
by their relevant DS) started bonding, characters began to appear.
I was part of 2 Sec, headed up by the legendary Sgt Paul
Belcher. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of mates.
Week Two took the form of battle skills and the orders process.
For many of us, this was new and took some getting our heads
round. And with the ex phase looming and our comd
appointments just around the comer, we knew we had to get to
grips with it. The PT had stepped up a notch and, it being linked
with the inter-sec competition, some close races were run. A
special mention must go out to Cpl Eddie Longford, who put in
an outstanding performance.
In the third week it was off to Brecon for our well-organised and
realistic range package. For me, was the most enjoyable part of
the whole course, and I’m sure a lot of the others would agree
with me. And all the rumours you hear about Brecon are totally
true. It does have its own weather system - basically it’s wet.
After the range package, we moved on to the 4day final ex. What
can I say? It was a joy? No it wasn’t. It was horrible - by far the
most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my career, with the full
range of military tasks: digging, patrolling, stagging on or
giving/receiving orders. Cpl Karen Gunn, must take a mention, as
I have never seen anybody pull so many guards and still keep
smiling. Her ability to guard shall never be questioned. But at least
it’s over now and looking back, we all had some laughs and
learned a great deal about ourselves and leading others.
Thanks to all the DS for the work and time they put into the
course. A big well done goes out to Top Student, Cpl Mat
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Coverley and to Top Field Soldier, Cpl �Stu’ Welton. 3 Section
might have taken the Best Section award, but in the eyes of 12
there was only one winner, 2 Section.
SYSEX TROOP
LAST TA RECRUIT COURSE AT THE ROYAL SCHOOL OF
SIGNALS
First of all, welcome to SSgt (YofS) �Tommy’ Tucker, LCpl Tracie
Ardron and LCpl Steve Iddon, and a fond farewell and best
wishes to Cpl Billy Watt, on his posting to 7 Sig Regt and to Cpl
Paddy McFarland and Cpl Sam Richards, on their posting to 15
Sig Regt. Congratulations to Cpl Dharma for his selection for
promotion to Sgt.
TA TRAINING TEAM
Tp Comd
Tp SSgt
WO1 Gary Waters
SSgt Trev Austin
In the spring this year the final RSigs Recruit Course 02/009 took
place in Blandford. As before, the trg was conducted around the
Blandford area and SPTA. Out of a total of 32 Students who
arrived, 25 passed out on Friday 11 April. The course was again
very demanding and a shock for some of the students who
expected a 2week Club 1830 holiday. Unfortunately, throughout
this 2 weeks the course lost a few students with injuries due to
lack of fitness. The staff wishes them all well, and hope they
return to ATR for their Phase 1 Trg.
Congratulations to all who passed out and welcome to the Corps
from the TA Trg Team! Congratulations to those given accolades,
in particular: Top Student, Sig Hudson, 71 Sig Regt and Best
Endeavor, Sig Keeves, 1 Sig Sqn.
Thanks go to the Reviewing Officer Col NC Beacom, Dep Comd,
2(NC) Sig Bde, and PipeMaj Mick Elder, for his fine performance
of pipe tunes throughout the soldiers’ pass off parade and to
Kohima Tp for their admin support throughout.
AREA SYSTEMS GROUP
OC
SSM
Maj Don Macaulay
WO2 (SSM) Neil Roome
BATTLEAXE TROOP
Tp Comd
Tp SSgt
Capt (Tfc) Mark Harris
SSgt Mick Openshaw
TROOP RAMBLE - 23 APRIL 03 - by Sgt Wright
Battleaxe Tp managed to escape from the whiteboards and
�sausage factory’ line of students to enjoy a mini adv trg excursion
over the Easter break. We planned to walk along the South West
coastal path from the picturesque Lulworth Cove heading
westwards and ending in the quaint village of Osmington Mills.
The weather had been booked well in advance and could not
have been better - glorious sunshine for the whole day.
The Tp split into two groups of walkers. The lead group intended
to move at a steady pace, whilst still taking time at the viewpoints.
The second group were taking things at such a leisurely stroll that
wheelchair users and mothers with pushchairs could have passed
them on the uphill sections of the �undulating’ route. After the first
kilometre of uphill stroll, the view was quite stunning, enabling us
to see what was in store for us for the rest of the walk – perhaps
not such a good thing? At the front, Sgt Justin Gill set off at
lightning pace as if it was a BCFT and was destined to take gold
at the finishing point. Or did he just want a pint of the golden
stuff? The OC, Maj Don Macaulay, used the day to get to chat to
all the members of the group. This would have been ideal if half of
them had enough breath left to talk ... no names mentioned (Sgt
Lee and Sgt Sanj Sanjeev).
Tp Comd
Tp SSgt
Capt Mahendra Limbu
SSgt Neil Pollit
Yet again, Sysex Tp had fun with the constant stream of Phase 2
soldiers �enjoying’ the new ASBR course programme. It’s full of a
mix of �enriching’ activities to make up for all the tac TOs that
were officially removed some time ago. Hopefully units will reap
the benefit of better prepared/tactically aware Ops and Techs in
future! These activities include all aspects of �Defence of a
Comms site, SOPs in Hide locs, Occupying a Comms Site and
Vehicle Anti-ambush drills as well as general TN SOPs (and you
thought it was only 4 Sqn that did this!) We would also like to
complement LCpl Tracie Ardron on her first ex instructing and
award the infamous Golden Blanket for her contribution on the ex.
SSgt Neil Pollitt and LCpl Tracie Ardron managed to get away
on EX GLACIER DRAGON during March. This was a week long
Alpine skiing exercise in Zel Am Zee, Austria that brought
individual skiers up to their next level. With sunny weather all
week and excellent snow conditions, they returned having
improved on their skiing ability and with excellent tans!
Congratulations to SSgt Neil Pollitt on his selection for the
Garrison team. We look forward to a weeklong adv trg ex in Wales
in July!
We lost the annual football match to RADEX Tp recently. However,
the score line did not truly reflect the commitment and hard work
put into this hard fought match. A big thanks to Sgt Dave Berry
and LCpl Steve Boon on keeping us in the game. Sgt Berry
deserves a special mention for his superb cross that went directly
into the back of the net!
We have just completed EX FINAL FLIGHT, fully practising and
testing the Tp Comds in their AS knowledge and skills, whilst also
brushing up on the basics, e.g. map reading and vehicle guiding!
To watch a full TN Packet attempting to turn around on these
extremely narrow country lanes is a joy to watch, and we will
follow their careers with interest in the future. LCpl Phil Price just
now needs to have a little more patience when he gets guided
into loc. Twenty minutes to guide his Bedford back 20 yds is not
really that bad!
INFORMATION SYSTEMS GROUP
OC
SSM
Maj Andy Tuson
WO2(SSM) Mark Sherwood
INFORMATION ASSURANCE WING
OC
YofS
Maj Ian Parry
WO1 (YofS) Pete Goodliffe
CHANGE OF NAME
Congratulations to SSgt �Adie’ Dear, Sgt Steve Pengelly and Sgt
Chris White on their promotion to SSgt. Also Sgt White on his
passing selection for FofS.
Data and Security Wing has been renamed Information
Assurance Wing. When you first hear the term Information
Assurance you tend to conjure up an image of a balanced set of
reasonable measures that have been taken to protect the
information after an assessment has been made of the risks that
are posed to it. In truth this is the Holy Grail all organisations that
value their information should strive to achieve, but which few
understand. Information Assurance is ensuring that your
information is where you want it, when you want it, in the
condition that you need it and available to those that you want to
have access to it – but only to them. Information Assurance
�surviving the information environment’ is the term that has come
into common use and is defined as: �Actions taken that protect
and defend information by ensuring their availability,
authentication, confidentiality and non-repudiation’ and therefore
describes best the function of the wing.
The Tp welcomes Sgt Bhola, Sgt Neil Davis and Cpl Rebecca
Anderson, farewells Capt Harris, Sgt Ambar and Cpl Kate
Anderson.
FMVT Section within IA Wing has also undergone a change of
name. Only a handful of the �old and bold’ know what FMVT
stands for and it no longer describes the functionality of the
It wasn’t too long before there was a scattered line of tired teddies
strewn along the coastal path trying to blend in as local Dorset
folk. Still, the opportunity to get and enjoy an ice-cream en route
boosted morale, and it wasn’t long before several small groups of
walkers ambled into the finishing point. The old boys, SSgt Mark
Barrass and Sgt John Sullivan, did a grand job of bringing up
the rear. All in all, an enjoyable day was had by everyone and
we’re all looking forward to the next trg break.
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
327
section. It has now been renamed Message Procedures
Section which more accurately describes what the section
teaches.
IA Wing has recently had two new arrivals – both babies!
Congratulations to Sgt King and his wife on the birth of their baby
boy, Harrison; and to Sgt Alexander and his wife on the birth of
their baby girl, Robyn. We bid a fond farewell to WO1 (YofS)
Andy Drummond, who is leaving the army after 22 years of
dedicated service. Andy will be missed by the wing and is
thanked for all his hard work and his vital part in YofS courses.
We wish him, Carrie and the family all the very best for the future.
YofS COURSE 56 GRADUATION
The YofS Course 56 Final Presentations were a huge success.
The theme for the presentations was BOWMAN with a diverse
range of subjects from BOWMAN Systems Co-ordination in the
System of Systems Environment to BOWMAN System
Management at Unit level, all of which were sponsored by the
Comd Support Development Centre. What was especially
pleasing was the large audience in Princess Mary Hall throughout
the day. The audience was made up from all ranks across the 3
Services, overseas visitors from the Dutch Royal Marine Corps
and retired officers now employed by commercial companies that
had a vested interest in the BOWMAN Presentations. Feedback
from all the sponsors and senior members of the audience
indicated that YofS Course 56 had delivered their presentations
with style and in a logical, clear and concise manner. A special
mention of praise was made to SSgt (YofS) Ian Fowler and SSgt
(YofS) Laura Shaw, for displaying an intricate understanding of
their respective projects when put on the spot and questioned by
a large and knowledgeable audience. At the graduation ceremony
Col Mike Dyer (Comd RSS) presented the Top Student Award to
SSgt (YofS) Bart Simpson; Col Meyer (Col CSD) presented the
best Academic Student Award to SSgt (YofS) Ian Fowler and WO
(YofS) Ben Pronk (Dutch RM) received the equivalent of a GOC’s
Commendation for his outstanding efforts during the course from
Maj Schaap (Dutch RM).
Also to Mr Charlie Cook, who is moving sideways from HIO
ATacCS Sec to a new post in Trg Sp Div. We would also like to
congratulate Sgt �Ged’ Baines on his marriage to Emma and
hope that they have many happy years together.
CABLE SYSTEMS SECTION
As a gesture of goodwill and demonstration of the long running
association between Krone (UK) Technique and the Corps, 7 May
saw the official opening of the �Krone Structured Cabling Room’ in
Ouston Building. A generous donation of the latest hardware and
consumables has not only doubled in size the original facility, but
ensured that Cable Systems Sec can continue to deliver
structured cabling courses (Krone Accredited) to include the latest
Cat 6 standard. The room was opened in the presence of Comd
RSS, by Krone Director of Operations, Giles Richell; Trg Manager,
Lee Funnell and UK Sales Director, John Nightingale.
HIO CSS, Al Brooks was very pleased with the additional facility
and said that the credit was down to hardworking members of his
team who completed the transformation of the old exchange
wiring room to accommodate the donated equipment.
Mr Allan Brooks (second left) explaining the operation of the new
training facility to Comd RSS
RADIO SYSTEMS GROUP
HEADQUARTERS
OC
SSM
SSgt (YofS) Simpson receives his Top Student Award from Col
Dyer
CIS WING
Work within CIS Wing remains as busy as usual. On top of all the
ongoing development projects and delivery of trg, members of the
wing have been doing their bit for charity. This month staff and
course members will be participating in the Worshipful Company
of Information Technologists (WCIT) charity walk in London, to
assist them in raising money for such things as IT equipt and trg
for children around the country.
One of the Wing Burnham Lecturers, Mr Martyn Hastings
recently returned from leading another expedition to Kenya. Over
the last 4 years Martyn’s expedition groups have funded and built
a 12-room health centre in the Meru South District, close to
Mount Kenya.
We would like to say farewell to Sgt Billy Budgen, who is to
become a student of Law and to Mrs Jo Emmerson from IT
Management Sec, who is moving on to bigger things in
Colchester with her husband, Mark on his promotion to WO2.
328
Maj Guy Benson
WO2 (SSM) Rob Melotte
The last 3 months in the Group has been hectic. Soldier Trg
continue to spend most of their spare time deployed in the field,
while Comd Sec have reconstituted in preparation for the next Tp
Comds course. In Pwr Sec the new Field Electrical Power
Supply (FEPS) genes, which have stealth technology, have now
arrived and Eqpt Sec have been heavily involved in re-writing the
new course software for tech courses. The Head Shed have
spent most of their time staffing BOWMAN and look forward to
the day when we can see real eqpt. Finally we would like to say
a fond farewell to WO1 (FofS) Richie Conway, who joined the
Group in January 2000 and departed in April 2003. Not only was
he the Group FofS, he was also the Corps FofS. Thanks very
much for all the work you have done during your tour. We wish
you and your family all the best for the future.
OPERATOR SECTION
HIO
Mr Mick Altham
2IC
Sgt Vikki Hawtree
Life at the cutting edge of Operator Sec begins with Sgt Bob
Morton passing his RSSC and gaining silver, with 1 point in it for
the big Gold. Sgt Charlie Henson has raided his wardrobe for the
flares and hippie beads to start his tree hugging career with
successfully passing the Introduction to Environmental Protection.
Well done.
Sgt Scouse Lloyd represented the Corps at the Inter-Corps
Hockey Competition. He also had a skiing holiday break, where
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
whilst representing RSS, he was selected to represent the Corps.
He is now known as Sgt �Sports for All’ Lloyd.
On to the important issue of trg, Rad Sys Basic Regular 02/014
course finished at the end of March. LCpl Powell RRW came
top of the course, was selected for the Outstanding Student
Award and re-badged to RSigs that afternoon. Welcome to the
Corps and jolly well done.
we’re in the students’ seats for FEPS Train the Trainer trg. During
2003-2004, the FEPS gene variants will replace Corps-wide the
40KW, 16/24KW and 8/12 KW currently in service. Two reps from
Genistics and Powerfield came to Blandford to pass on their
extensive knowledge of the equipt, and to ensure the when it
came to Power Sec teaching the equipment, we had all the underpinning knowledge firmly in our heads. The Sec were quite
impressed by the increase in technology, and felt that the equipt is
definitely a step in the right direction for field power. The warm
fuzzy feeling was increased even further, when Maj Guy Benson
agreed to be in a photograph taken with the gene and the motley
crew!
The Sec also managed to fit in a farewell bash for Mr (ex SSgt)
Ray Williams and Mr (ex Sgt) Shawn Serephin. This included a
bit of bowling (Sgt Craig Bowman showed how much of his
youth had been wasted, by well and truly trouncing everybody)
and a curry, interspersed with copious amounts of alcohol. All the
best guys. We wish you every success in the future.
QUARTERMASTERS’ CONVENTION AND DINNER, 2003
- By Lt Col Bob O’Hara. (Senior Quartermaster)
Maj Guy Benson presenting LCpl Powell with the Outstanding
Student award and informing him that he was wearing the wrong
badge!
EQUIPMENT SECTION
HIO
Mr Peter Braithwaite
2IC
SSgt Smuj Smith
We say farewell to Sgt Scotty Thomas, who has departed the
Sec on posting, albeit only 2 miles away, to HQ SOinC(A). The
only problem is we can still hear those drums.
Instruction continues on a high note. SSgt Smuj Smith is
currently planning Adventure Training in the form of the 3 Peaks
Challenge (EX MECURY DRAGON), which will take place in June.
A full report with photographs will follow.
SSgt Smith also recently carried out a comms recce in the area of
Cumbria with OC RSG, Maj Guy Benson. This was followed by
an evening PT session up Scafell Pike, which just happened to be
nearby. After the 18km tab, the pair retired to the warmth of the
hotel. The OC then went for a light run and SSgt Smith went to
bed!
POWER SECTION
SNCO IC
SSgt Graham
During the past two months, Power Sec has swapped roles, and
Mr Jin O’Connor, Mr Rab Haggart, Sgt Pete Stidwell, Mr Dave
Balderson, Sgt Amrit, SSgt Phil Graham, Maj Guy Benson and Sgt
Andy Bremner standing next to the FEPS Stealth gene.
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
The 21st annual Quartermasters’ Convention was held in
Blandford on the 1-2 May 03. Capt Steve Jackson (Capt Bob
Stanton’s replacement) and I had been in our respective
appointments for approx 6 weeks and hit the ground running.
Serving QMs started arriving on Wednesday 30 April to carry our
pre trg and ensure all was in order for the Convention on Friday
morning. On Thursday morning a round of Golf was arranged for 6
members, where they met up with Maj (Retd) Frank Roberts,
who immediately challenged the serving fraternity to a match
against the retired members. Next year, Maj Ray Cory has
volunteered to captain the serving members, team.
The Thursday evening commenced with a �Meet and Greet’ in the
bar for an informal drink and chance to re-acquaint old
friendships. The retired brethren then planned the Friday agenda
(more Golf), whilst the serving members discussed the
programme that awaited their input in the morning.
With only 27 serving QMs in the audience, it was a very
disappointing turnout for the Convention this year. After the
opening remarks from the Senior QM, the SOinC(A) Brig D
McDowall MBE ADC gave us a passionate address on his vision
for the Corps and where he sees the QM doing his bit for the
future of the soldiers and officers of the Corps. There were then
updates on �Pay as You Dine’ and the BOWMAN project. In the
afternoon we had the �State of the Nation’ from Col JE
Richardson MBE and Lt Col John Mullender, from MCM Div.
Then HQ SOinC(A) TDT gave short presentation on trg before
getting feedback on what trg is required for the Tech Sup Spec in
this age of electronic accounting. This was followed by 4
questions for syndicate work. This was to give TDT the QM view
on the trg required, not only by our soldiers, but for the Tp Comds
or any Corps pre-trg that could be carried out in Blandford. The
day ended with the open forum, where issues that could effect the
community were discussed.
The evening dinner, with guests: The Master of Signals, SOinC(A),
Col MCM Div and CI RSS (standing in for the Comd RSS, who fell
ill that day) began with the normal mГЄlГ©e of the photograph, then
the call to dinner from the Corps Band. The dinner was also
poorly attended, with only 59 serving or retired QMs sitting down
to table. There was the sad occasion of bidding farewell to 3
retiring QMs after full careers: Maj Don Holmes, Maj Les Wood
MBE and Lt Col Peter Whitehead. Each received the appropriate
gift and a short historical summary was read out before each was
asked to respond. All 3 gave a short account of their service as
they seen it, and thanked everyone for the friendship and
assistance throughout their long and successful careers. Lt Col
Peter Whitehead made the final presentation, from serving and
retired QMs, to the Master of Signals. It was a silver salver
inscribed with �From the Serving and Retired Quartermasters of
your Corps’. The Master responded with a short recollection of
stories of QMs with whom he had served, and about the first ever
Convention in Catterick in 1982, which Lt Col (Retd) Fred Orr
(who was present this year) had organised.
329
The Quartermasters’ Convention Dinner, 2003
Most participants left after breakfast on the Saturday, but before
he left, Lt Col (Retd) Peter McNaughton presented me with the
first QMs’ Convention photograph from BAOR. I am still trying to
locate the Convention photographs from 1982-85, 1987-89 and
1991. If anyone has any of these photos, I would be grateful for a
loan so that we can have them reproduced to make my corridor
complete.
The dates for next year’s Convention are 22-23 April 2004. I look
forward to greeting a greater number of serving and retired QMs
at both the Convention and dinner.
DEFENCE SPECIAL SIGNALS SCHOOL
CO
SWO
LtCol G Fairclough Int Corps
WO2 (SSM) R Poulton Int Corps (Ex RSigs)
Y WING DSSS
Wing OC
Wing SI
Maj (Tfc Offr R) J Honeyman
WO1 (Supvr R) G Cuthbertson
DEFENCE SPECIAL SIGNALS SCHOOL (DSSS)
DSSS is a fully integrated school of the Defence Intelligence &
Security Centre (DISC) Chicksands and situated just south of
Bedford. DISC is a Joint Service environment with RN, Army, RAF
and MOD civilian representatives. It provides the entire specialist
military intelligence and security trg to authorised personnel, both
inside and outside UK Defence.
DSSS trains personnel in int, security and IS disciplines. Signals
Int (SIGINT) trg is provided for the three services and certain
NATO and Commonwealth countries. Special Op and Supvr Radio
330
courses are taught at DSSS Y Wing, which is a Phase Two,
SIGINT teaching platform within DSSS. It makes several awards
to students who have produced outstanding contributions during
the trg year.
DSSS AWARDS
The awards ceremony for the past year’s achievements by the
students and staff was conducted on 11 April. One of the main
awards presented was The Arthur Britton Trophy, donated by Mrs
Joy Britton, in September 1965, in memory of her husband, an
ex- Royal Signals Special Operator. It is awarded to the Y Wing
student who has demonstrated outstanding all-round qualities of
performance in trade trg and contribution to extra-curricular life at
Chicksands. This year’s the award was won by LCpl Alp of Basic
Collection Course (BCC) 4/02. LCpl Alp also won The Armed
Forces Communications and Electronic Association Award
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
(AFCEA), which is
given for the best
overall student on the
BCC and Advanced
Collection Course
(ACC) during the
2002/2003 training
year. With this award
comes ВЈ100.00 and
three years’
membership of
AFCEA.
Both awards were
presented by Air Vice
Marshal (Retd) BC
McCandless CB CBE
who maintains very
strong links with the
services through his
work with AFCEA.
LCpl Alp continuously
produced work and
exam results of the
highest standards
throughout the course.
She is an excellent
team player, regularly
assisting the weaker
members of the
AVM (Retd) BC McCandless CB CBE presenting LCpl Alp with the Arthur Britton trophy
course, thereby
helping them to
ensure success as
well. Her commitment towards the course, her colleagues and the
DSSS has continued to provide students during the spring and
service are commendable. She is to be congratulated.
winter months for work at the Arboretum for their R & I weeks,
some courses having been invited back for special events.
NATIONAL MEMORIAL ARBORETUM
BCC 09 of 2001 were introduced to HRH the Prince of Wales
on the occasion of his private visit to the site to plant a tree
During their 27-week BCC, students of all 3 Services from DSSS
commemorating HMS Kelly, the ship commanded by his uncle,
undertake a week of Resource and Initiative (R&I) trg. They have
Lord Louis Mountbatten. Another DSSS course was invited
to select a project, produce an action plan, contact companies for
to attend the visit of HM the Queen on the occasion of her
materials and equipt, carry out reconnaissance and complete their
Golden Jubilee visit in June of 2002. The most recent course to
project within the allotted week.
visit the Arboretum was BCC 12 of 2002, who were there in May
BCC 4A of 2000’s project was to re-furbish the �Y’ Services
2003.
(Signals Intelligence) plot at the National Memorial Arboretum. The
students and their instructors laid and edged the �Y’-shaped path,
For those who are unaware of what and where the National
positioned and concreted in 4 benches, and transplanted a circle
Memorial Arboretum is, there is a Website at:
of small yew saplings around the central plinth supporting the �Y’
www.nationalmemorialarboretum.co.uk for further information on
Services commemorative plaque. The Arboretum was officially
opening times, prices, special events, etc. It is certainly worth a
opened by HRH the Duchess of Kent on 16 May 2001.
visit!
ARMY TRAINING REGIMENT (LICHFIELD)
The trg of RSigs soldiers at ATR Lichfield continues at a pace for
both 1 and C Trg Sqns. All tps are now training to full capacity
working to the updated Common Military Syllabus (Recruit)
CMS(R) Single Entry. This is a twelve-week course designed to
turn the civilian into a soldier. Underpinning all of these activities is
an enhanced fitness programme designed to align the
requirements of Phase 1 trg to the test standards required of the
soldier entering Phase 2 trg at RSS and subsequently the field
Army. All recruits now undergoing trg at ATR Lichfield will
undertake a BPFA and BCFT.
The major development in the new CMS (R) is the introduction of
a week-long final ex in Sennybridge. The new ex doubles the
amount of time recruits spend in the field during Phase 1 trg. It is
a demanding ex designed to improve self-reliance and selfconfidence, developing tactical awareness and enhancing map
reading and field-craft skills.
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
EX FINAL FLING - by Lt Graham Clarke, OC Townsend Tp
Being the first Tp in the Sqn to conduct the new ex, we departed
(on Easter Sunday) for Sennybridge with mixed emotions. We the
instructors, were enthusiastic and impatient, whilst the recruits
were just a tad apprehensive.
Arriving at Flag 1 at about 16.00hrs, we decided to execute Phase
2, driving anti-clockwise around the RDA road to a DOP in the
North East of the area. The road is long, winding and significantly
exaggerates the vastness of the trg area.
After a relatively tough insertion march and with light fading fast,
the decision was made to go into sec lay-ups. This offered each
sec comd time to recap on skills and drills before moving off to
establish sec OPs in the early hours of the morning. Next day
each sec moved to an AA just short of the intended pl harbour. In
harbour by mid morning, the Tp were in routine all day, giving time
331
to carry out personal admin and to write patrol reports which
would inform the next phase of the ex. From then on this was the
general pattern of the ex, with all activity and movement taking
place at night, and daytime reserved for routine, reports, orders
and rehearsals.
As the ex progressed, the NBC threat rose, so sec attacks were
launched onto specific targets to neutralise the threat. After
comprehensive orders (in torrential rain) and thorough rehearsals
for the final attack, we set out at dusk on the last night, a wet and
misty journey to our FUP on a small tributary just NE of Farm 2.
H-hr was 00.30hrs and, after fighting spectacularly against a small
but miraculously bullet-proof enemy, ENDEX was declared at
approx 01.00hrs. Everyone was then de-bombed, cleared, fed
and watered, before a well-earned couple of hours’ shuteye. All
that remained was to carry out full ENDEX procedure, tip our hats
to SENTA for enriching our ex with four seasons worth of weather,
and board the battle-bus for the long slog home.
VISIT OF MAJOR GENERAL JM SHAW MBE
The CO and all at ATR Lichfield were delighted to welcome
MajGen JM Shaw MBE, GOC Th Tps on his visit to ATR Lichfield
on 12 June. The visit began with his watching the recruits
showing off some of the skills they had learned over the
preceding 12 weeks. This included a gymnasium display, a
weapons display and an NBC display. They then gave a
demonstration of fire and movement by attacking an enemy
position.
Maj Gen JM Shaw MBE accompanied by Lt Graham Clarke is
informed by Spr Scott RE that he was the only Engineer good
enough to join Cook Tp
The General then reviewed the passing out parade of DigbyJones Tp 28 Sqn RE and Cook Tp 1 Sqn RSigs. Maj Jon
Townsend commanded the parade and The Corps Band put on
yet another fine performance to accompany it. MajGen Shaw
later took the opportunity to meet some of the families and some
of the Corps personnel stationed over lunch.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
98 (BALKANS)
SIGNAL SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Maj Edwards
WO2 Dixon
After many revisions and final revisions of manning and naming,
98 (Balkans) Sig Sqn has taken shape. 117 soldiers from 4
countries in 3 locations are providing SFOR CIS to MNB (NW) as
well as UK National comms.
Dutch SSM de Gusson hands over to our SSM, WO2 Dixon
Maj Edwards presents the outgoing Dutch OC with a framed
picture depicting R Sigs on operations in the Balkans in 1995
After the initial �bedding in’ period things are starting to fall in to
place. The Dutch CIS tp have handed over the Sqn lines and
made off home. Fortunately we have 11 Dutch soldiers in the Sqn
332
who are able to translate the paper legacy (and graffiti) and give
us some recipes for the raw herring strips that were helpfully left
behind the bar for us. We are happy to be able to report that the
Sqn �Geek of the Week’ award has been won for 2 weeks in a row
by the OC. He is now banned from being nominated in order to
give everyone else a chance at winning this coveted trophy. We
think it should be a Canadian to win next, especially as none of
them has yet tried out the newly-installed Sqn paddling pool.
The Sqn lines-warming BBQ went well, despite the absence of
any alcohol. (Ahem...) Special mention must go to the OC and the
2IC for their dreadful Karaoke attempts – we have the tapes – and
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
to LCpl Parry-Hall, with his rather splendid pink thong-a-thing.
Also commiseration to Sgt Downer, who unfortunately had his
apples pulverized by Cpl Young in an enthusiastic bobbing session.
UK NSE (BOSNIA) TROOP
MNB (NW) TROOP
Having taken over the delights of the TSCP and Comcen, the Tp
is settling in nicely to dry routine, despite the efforts of LCpl
Measey. When is that guy ever off the Internet?
Tp Comd
Tp Sgt
Capt Bronson
Sgt Peeters
Tp Comd
Tp SSgt
Lt Wedgwood-Jones
SSgt Green
British personnel have long been aware of the professionalism
and expertise of their Canadian, Dutch and Kiwi colleagues, but
have been particularly impressed by the willingness to get along
and get the job done that has been displayed over the initial
period. (This sentence has been dictated to me by the Canadian
OC) Seriously, a lot of hard work has gone into the first month of
the tour from personnel of all nationalities. The signs are looking
good, and long may our harmonious and productive working
relationship flourish.
Particularly worthy of mention is Sgt Bland, who is near to
completing a theatre-wide directory. There is light at the end of
the tunnel. Sgt Jacobs has also proved his lasting popularity by
removing 2Gb of entertainment, jokes and games from the ISIS
network. If we can’t play, then neither can you! Bets are still
being taken over that beautiful duo, Sgt Booth and Cpl Young.
Who is John and who is Olivia? We need to know. Rumour of the
week: Sgt F-R was seen cracking a smile. Finally, if anyone has
seen a lattice sat phone, please let us know.
Cpl Hall wins the �Cheek of the Week’ award for gate crashing a
BBQ and Band evening in the Offrs Mess. (Accident?) She
managed a few dances with a likely looking Lt Col before being
busted, ejected, and sent to bed with no supper.
UK NSE (KOSOVO) TROOP
Good luck is extended to Cpl Simmonds, who is attempting to
organise a rugby match with the Bosnian National side. We all
hope he pulls it off, but are less sure of his attempts to take over
the world with his one-man media campaign and domination
designs on the ISIS/CRISIS workshops!
We are particularly proud of 2 members of the Tp who have been
awarded the MNB(NW) Comd’s Commendation for exceptional
service in support of the Bde. This was for their part in breaking
up a violent roadside incident and administering first aid to the
injured. Well done MCpl Graham and LCpl Dixon. Also getting a
mention this issue is MCpl Yeo and his team, who were reminded
how dangerous Bosnia can still be when they encountered antivehicle mines whist attempting carry out repairs to a deployed
Dagger det. Correct drills were professionally followed and we
are glad to see everyone safely home in BLMF.
Finally, welcome back to SSgt Corrie, who is one of the first Tp
members to make it out on a 96-hr pass. Whist staying in a
certain resort, he was single-handedly responsible for the rescue
of 3 orphan children from a burning play school, before going
back in to rescue the glamorous and curiously unattached
schoolmistress. Unfortunately during this daring escapade, he
suffered an injured wrist. This is the way he tells the story
anyway. A true version of events can be had from the SSM for
the price of a can of his favourite fizzy.
Tp Comd
Tp SSgt
Capt Jacques
SSgt Stebbing
The Tp of 23 personnel, comprises a mixture from HQ, 202 & 206
Sig Sqn, 3 (UK) Div Sig Regt, including the new-promoted Tp
Comd, Capt Jacques, plus two Inst Techs on loan from 16 Sig
Regt. We deployed to Kosovo in April and took over from 12
Mech Bde Sig Sqn (228) on 22 April 03.
Within a short period of time of arriving in-theatre, we were
involved in the Transfer of Authority (TOA) Parade, where
command of MNB (C) was handed over to a Finnish led bde on 01
May 03.
During the short period of time from arriving we have managed to
get two Tp functions organised. Making use of the excellent
weather, the first, a BBQ was arranged in April and a Wacky
Races Racing night in May. On both occasions fun was had by all.
The Tp is now set into its routine and the first few personnel have
managed to escape to R&R. The Tp Comd, Capt Beckie
Jacques, finding it very hard to fit in all her social commitments to
which she gets invited, now has to use two diaries, one for work
and the other for social events. She has been overheard telling the
Tp SSgt �Oh to be popular…’ He knows otherwise.
The award to the saddest Tp person has two contenders so far.
Both are techs working in Syscon, Cpl Stu Milnes and LCpl Jim
Steward. They have placed themselves on the Internet site �Hot
or Not’ and both are apparently disillusioned in the lack of votes
as to being hot. I wonder why….
N E W S F R O M N O RT H E R N I R E L A N D
HEADQUARTERS NORTHERN IRELAND
AND
15 SIGNAL REGIMENT
CO
RSM
Lt Col NP Metcalfe MBE QGM
WO1 (RSM) J McNaught
HEADQUARTER SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Maj DTH Wilson
WO2 G Steel
EXERCISE WHITE TYROLEAN FINN - by LCpl Cameron
EX WHITE TYROLEN FINN was a Regtl Adventurous Trg exped for
18 members of HQNI and 15 Sig Regt. So on the 16 March, 18
highly trained skiers (well to be honest - total beginners), departed
Belfast Airport on their way to Austria for a week.
We stayed in the small skiing town of Hochfilzen - situated in the
Pillerseetal region of Austria, where we enjoyed a week of
excellent weather and good food.
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
On a good day the group skied from 09.00hrs to 16.00hrs with
very few breaks, acquiring the skills to pass their Basic Ski
Proficiency (Alpine). A number of evening activities were provided
throughout the week, thanks to our lodge host �Admin’ Phil. We
thoroughly enjoyed the night of sledging down the mountain on
inflatable rings. Other nights included karaoke, led by LCpl
Johnson. Later, at the nightclub, LCpl Cameron and LCpl
Jenkins provided break dancing lessons.
Unfortunately, not all the ex participants saw it through to the end.
Cpl Merrick had an unfortunate accident on the slopes during the
first day. Sig McAulay and Sig Stratton first equal for the title of
IC Team Plough. Sgt Robson showed everyone his outstanding
acrobatic skills by not only flying off a jump but also achieving a
full summersault in the process.
333
The week was a great success, with good skiing and great fun.
Now that we’re all back at work and in one piece, we can look
forward to it all again next year.
Catterick. The group, all of varying abilities, faced a tough and
demanding challenge, taking on different Regtl teams from all
over Great Britain, and one from Sweden.
233 SIGNAL SQUADRON
OC
Maj SJ McConnell
SSM
WO2 (SSM) Lappin
Tuesday saw the start of the Competition with the Harris event,
which involved each individual collecting 8 compulsory
checkpoints (the Spine) and a number of other markers. Failure to
miss even one would result in team disqualification for the rest of
the competition which the RQ relentlessly mentioned, ordering us
�not to return unless all our markers were found!’ The end of the
event saw 7 runners looking across the barren wilderness
knowing that out there somewhere was none other than their own
RQ! After an apprehensive wait, a lone figure resembling a Pigmy
warrior was seen flying over the moorland towards them. The RQ
reported �I accidentally missed checkpoint 13 and had to run back
to get it!’ Later that evening the results were published. A qualified
last place was all that was expected, so when fourth place was
achieved, the team required peeling from the ceiling.
Wednesday brought a harsh relay event in the heart of a steep
sided valley where long and medium routes were split within each
team. An observation point at the start gave a prime view of the
courses, where the progress of the runners could be followed.
CORPSAAM 2003 - by Cpl Hubble
The culmination of the shooting year is the CORPSAAM and this
year HQNI & 15 Sig Regt was represented by a 5-person team
and 2 individual firers. Trg commenced 10 days prior to the
competition at Pirbright ranges. Scores increased as trg
progressed, in part thanks to the association with our friends from
280 Sig Sqn, as arranged by our SSMs WO2 Lappin and WO2
Hogg.
Our hard trg paid off, yielding good results in the final competition.
The Rifle Team came in 3rd position overall. Cpl Hubble won Best
B Class in the Association, FIBUA matches and Best Female Firer
overall (rifle). The Pistol Tiles competition was between our A and
B teams. Cpl Hubble made a stunning start, but could not keep it
up against the B team, who won it on the day. The team’s
youngest soldier, Sig Newstead carried off the trophy.
This fairly successful start to the year of competition shooting was
of great benefit to all who took part, as well as being an enjoyable
and rewarding experience. Watch this space for further
improvements at NISAAM and CENTSAAM later this year.
COMMANDING OFFICER’S CUP CRICKET – by LCpl
Slater/Capt Morris
225 SIGNAL SQN
OC
SSM
After an extreme effort, the two teams came a collective fourth
place, which was more than had been hoped for. Quietly
confident, happy and very proud, the Army athletes departed
back to Lisburn with a well-earned result and the knowledge of
being a team to be reckoned with.
Maj G Inglis
WO2 (SSM) Hogg
ARMY ORIENTEERING CHAMPIONSHIPS – by LCpl Johnny
Morris
On a beautiful sunny afternoon the great cricketing Sqns of 15 Sig
Regt walked onto the hallowed turf to commence battle for this
prestigious event in the CO’s Cup calendar. Spirits were high
among 225 Sig Sqn as the week before, we had represented the
Regt against JSG.
The first game was between 233 and HQ Sqns. HQ Sqn were the
firm favourites but, in a surprise result, 233 Sqn won by a
considerable margin. The next game was 233 versus 225 Sqn.
This grudge match started difficulty when 233 scored an
impressive 116 off 20 overs. Fortunately WO2 Robson was more
than up to the challenge and victory was ours (but only just!).
The next game seemed as if it would be a walk over. 225 versus
HQ Sqn. HQ opened the batting and lost 3 wickets for only 2
runs. The euphoria among 225 was electric. This was until HQ
Sqn pulled out their secret weapon, Sgt Drewitt. The runs were
piled on and by the time we eventually got them out (well done to
LCpl Collins for dropping him three times!) they were at 101 all
out. Our team came into bat, and things seemed to go well at
first. The runs crept up with WO2 Robson but he soon fell to an
awkward ball. Soon we had in two class players, Cpl Lancaster
and Cpl Nash. Although their batting technique was flawless, they
seemed to be of the opinion that this was a test match rather than
limited overs. Some beautiful play was seen, but very few runs
and eventually HQ Sqn earned a well-deserved victory.
The Regimental orienteering team
Two teams of 8 volunteers, led by WO2 (RQMS) Griffiths and
Capt Morris left Thiepval Barracks on Monday 19 May to take
part in the Army Orienteering Championships at Feldom Ranges,
With the result tied it came down to runs scored. The eventual
deserved winners were 233 Sig Sqn with 225 second and HQ
propping up the table. An excellent day all round. Hopefully we
have some future talent for the Regtl team.
3 INFANTRY BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS
AND
SIGNAL SQUADRON (203)
OC
RSM
SQUADRON HEADQUARTERS
farewells to WO1 (RSM) Rob Hood, who leaves us for
Civvy Street after 22 years in the Corps and SSgt Vince
Francis, who moves only as far as Ballykelly to join 1 Green
Howards.
It has been a busy period of comings and goings in the SHQ
world. We have seen the following arrivals: WO1 (RSM) Dave
Buckingham, SSgt Shaun Skeldon, (FSA) and Cpl Terry
Liddiard. We welcome you all to the Sqn and Portadown. Sad
Most of the SHQ were able to participate in the Unit Adventure Trg
in Newquay, where they learned new and useful skills such as
Boat Racing, Beetle Betting and Turtle Watching. A very good
time was had by all and a big thanks to the organisers.
334
Maj TJ Charmichael
WO1 (RSM) D Buckingham
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
RSM’s Handover
COMMUNICATIONS TROOP
Tp Comd
Tp SSgt
Lt F Loxton
SSgt K McIntosh
Farewells to LCpl George Lucas, who has decided to start afresh
in Civvy Street, Sig Nick Hill, who left the Army one day only to
join the RAF the next and to Sig Martin Pearce, who is off to 12
Mech Bde HQ & Sig Sqn in Colchester. We wish them all the best
for the future. Congratulations to Cpls Belshaw and Cooke and
to LCpl Coy on there recent promotions.
ROYAL CORPS OF SIGNALS GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS - by
SSgt Kenny McIntosh
The above competition took place at Ashley Wood Golf Club over
the period 29-30 May. The team comprised WO2 (YOS) Steve
White, SSgt Kenny McIntosh, Sgts McKenna and Setchfield,
Cpl Thompson and Sig Topping. Team Captain, Steve White
was to use the practice round to make his final selection of 4 for
the team, but this proved quite difficult, because all played well.
The first day of the competition produced some excellent golf
from Sgt McKenna, who scored a net 67 in the morning and a net
66 in the afternoon. Not bad for someone who plays off 19!
The second day saw some good golf from the rest of the field.
WO2 (YOS) Steve White managed to complete 6 rounds with a
bad back, Sgt Setchfield was relieved that his repaired driver
made it to the club house in one piece and Sig Topping stated he
was giving up the game after the competition. Bang goes your
sports afternoon. The prize giving was held and Sgt McKenna
was crowned the new Corps Golf Handicap Champion.
SUPPORT TROOP
QM
RQMS(A)
RQMS(M)
Maj M Wright-Jones
WO2 A Buckle
WO2 I Wyllie
EXERCISE CORNISH FINN - by SSgt Coles - QCB RLC
We left the rain-drenched Emerald Isle, headed across the water
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
to Liverpool and then south to the English Rivera. When we
arrived at Penhale, on the North Cornish coast I checked the load
manifest, to see if the glorious Ulster weather was logged, and to
my surprise it was. The advance party were issued beds and then
we headed into Newquay to sample the local culture. The culture
sampled, bags unpacked, the instructors set off for final recces
and planning for the arrival of Main Body 1.
Main Body 1 arrived just before FA Cup Final Kick Off and after a
camp orientation, and we managed to make the second half in the
Hollywell Bay Inn. All then sampled the culinary delights of
contract catering and then it was, in the words of Cpl G, �fingers
starched, elbows waxed and down town.’ Morning came too soon
for most. In particular, the walkers who had to endure not only an
hour’s drive, but also the effect of the night before’s kebabs
before they set off on a 10-mile walk around Princetown. Luckily
the walkers had taken the weather with them (thank heavens for
storm shelters).
Back in Penhale, Sgt Geoff Hirst was organising his kayaking
group. All kit was issued (well nearly all) and they set off. Thank
God for big hands (he had forgotten the paddles - but don’t tell
anyone!). Meanwhile Sgt Wilson was explaining in some detail to
his group the equipment to be used on a day’s climbing and
abseiling. The first week activities passed off with a few
memorable moments, some of which include: the OC’s
impression of a belisha beacon, the QM’s request to join the
APTC, and the fact that, yes, I lost my bottle on the climbing wall.
In fact I hadn’t, as Cpl Zoe Thompson had bought it back down
for me.
It seemed that within no time the second group was with us. The
walkers didn’t heed the DS warning about the night before and
were subsequently punished the next day on Dartmoor by both
Sgt Dave Owen and LCpl Ginge Owens. The weather improved
so dramatically in the second week, that even LCpl Stevie Leye
got a tan. We are all pretty sure he used chip fat as sun cream.
The Sqn boat was a huge success, so much so Sig Young was
ready to give his left hand for another go.
335
The unit managed to send a total of 48 all ranks on EX CORNISH
FINN with 10 DS to ensure the ex was a success. And it was. All
who took part gave it their all, the instructors were energetic and
enthusiastic, and the admin completed the package. I would like
to thank all those who had a part to play, and I am sure all at 3 Inf
Bde HQ & Sig Sqn are looking forward to EX CORNISH FINN 2.
8 INFANTRY BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS
AND
SIGNAL SQUADRON (218)
OC
RSM
Maj DC Gaul
WO1 (RSM) K J Simmons
EX AUSTRIAN FINN - by Cpl Edwards
In the early hours of 29 March, 20 members of 8IBSS departed
from Londonderry for a week of skiing in Austria. Sgt Mark
Hobson organised the expedition, which was aimed to teach
novice members of the Unit to ski and to provide those already
proficient with the opportunity to practise.
After landing at Salzburg, we travelled by coach to Sol, where we
stayed in the Hotel Austria. The first day’s skiing was to be spent
in Sol. After collecting ski equipment, the party was split into two
groups, each with their own instructor. One group was taken by
Cpl Si Barker of the LAD, and the other by Cpl Paul Calvert.
However, the quality of the snow was poor and difficult to learn
and practise on, so from then on we travelled by coach to two
other resorts.
The first of these was Westendorf, where, with better conditions,
good progress was made by the beginners. The conditions on the
Hintertux Glacier were different again. There was none of the
sunshine we were used to and the heavy snowfall and greatly
reduced visibility meant that we had the glacier almost to
ourselves. This gave the beginners plenty of room to negotiate the
slopes (often on skis).
On the final day the party exchanged skis for snowblades (short
skis used without poles) for a fun day back in Westendorf. Despite
a number of impressive falls and some colourful language, there
were only a couple of injuries over the whole week. Cpl Barker
broke his collarbone and Maj Wilkinson injured his leg. Mention
must also go to LCpl Ian Pauley for his attempt at the downhill
speed record followed by a very bloody face-plant. Everyone
enjoyed the expedition and thanks must go to Sgt Hobson and
Cpls Calvert and Barker.
NISAAM 2003 - by Pte Rob Locking
About 4 weeks before the NISAAM took place, Sgt Andy Doyle
and his sidekick LCpl Quarry decided to find the best shots in the
Bde and Sig Sqn. A few names were put forward for the team,
including me, Pte Locking, and my fellow Pioneer, Pte Jarvis.
Before going to the week long NISAAM, we conducted three days
trg at Magilligan Ranges.
On our first days trg Magilligan, there were more range staff than
people shooting. Pte Jarvis and I assumed we were the elite in
the Sqn until two unknown members of the team, LCpl Davies
and LCpl Wilson arrived.
By the third day’s trg, we could feel the big tournament day
getting near and hoped for some top class shoots. Unfortunately,
we were still zeroing with a little bit of FIBUA thrown in. This was
our last day of trg before the event, so we did as much as
possible, which was still mainly zeroing, which Pte Jarvis finally
got the hang of. On returning back to Ebrington Barracks, we had
more news that the Master Driver was joining us as the fifth and
final member of the team.
The first day of the tournament arrived, and we began the long
drive down to Ballykinler, listening to the Master Driver telling how
good a shot he was. After 2 hours of this he was known as
�Sharpe’. At the start of the competition we were all in high spirits,
believing that we might well come away with some silverware for
the Sqn Trophy cabinet. As the week went on, we were mid table
of the Minor Units. For the 2-mile march and shoot our team
336
consisted of, �Sharpe’, LCpl Davies, LCpl Wilson and Pte Jarvis.
Someone had to be left out and that person was me. The lads did
well, putting in a good time and a good shoot.
The final day was soon upon us and, with aching limbs all round,
we went off to complete the last two events: Pistol Tiles and the
Falling Plate. The pistol tiles went a bit wrong to say the least.
Dropping Pte Jarvis to give what we thought were our best shots
more bullets, didn’t really work as a tactic. Our last chance to win
some silver was upon us: the falling plates. �Sharpe’ was sure as
can be that we could do it, but like all the other shoots, we failed.
However, all in all, we had a good time and as a team we would
like to thank Sgt Doyle and LCpl Quarry for all their help before
the competition.
COMMUNCATIONS TROOP
Tp Comd
Tp SSgt
Lt RN Wilson
SSgt S Mayell
Comms Tp continues to be a hive of activity with what seems like
endless taskings, from stone throwing for public order trg to
comms support in Scotland. It is nice to see people are still
getting away on adventure trg and leave, despite the high
workload.
The Tp has continued to turn over is personnel, and we welcome
Cpl Wilkie, Sig Walker and Pte Locking and hope they enjoy
their time with us. We also say a fond farewell to SSgt Mayell,
who has left us on promotion to 1 Div, and we take this
opportunity to publish the result of the Tp Karting Day…SSgt
Mayell – 2nd place.
MT SECTION
MTWO
WO2 A Stronach RLC
MT Sgt
Sgt S Williams RLC
- by LCpl �Mo’ Morrison
Considering that it is only a couple of months since we put in the
last article, things are still as hectic as ever. The most notorious of
these events was the combined leaving function that we held to
say a fond farewell to the 1st Bn CG and to our ever-helpful
friends in the LAD.
This night was split into horse racing and a charity auction. While
there was much merriment to be had, the highlight of a long night
was the bidding war that erupted over Capt Piggott’s socks,
which were a very fetching blue and yellow (typical officer fashion
sense!) The lucky winner of the socks was Pte Butterfield, who
paraded them around the bar for the rest of the evening. In total
ВЈ210.00 was raised towards Leukaemia Research, which was very
important to RSM WO1 �Kev’ Simmons.
With the function a dim memory, WO2 Tony Stronach and Cpl
Bob Wilson decided that the wives needed some fun. So it was
decided to hold a driving ex for them. This gave the wives an
opportunity to drive some of the vehs that their partners take for
granted. The vehs that were made available were a skid car, a
Saxon, a small coach and a normal 4 WD veh.
All the participants were given instruction by qualified instructors,
who gained a few grey hairs and plenty of worry lines by the end
of the day! On the whole, it turned out to be a very enjoyable day.
Recently arrived in the MT Sec from Comms Tp is LCpl
McLoughlin, who decided that the grass was greener! Also Pte
Jones, Royal Anglian, who is staying with us for a short time until
his Bn arrives back in NI.
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
This leaves us with farewells to LCpl Daniel Bishop and his wife
Kelly, who are going to AFNORTH in Holland. We wish you both
all the best for the future. And not to forget Pte Rob Locking,
who has decided to defect to Comms Tp. Who knows the method
in his madness?
RQMS DEPARTMENT
RQMS
Tp Sgt
WO2 D Inman
Sgt C McCabe RLC
ARMY VS NAVY - by Cpl Munslow
Thanks to our QM, Capt Gordon, the Dept closed for the
weekend and off we went to London for the Army vs Navy Rugby
game. In tow were Sgt Chris McCabe, Cpl Paul Munslow, Cpl
O’Reilly, LCpl Quarry, and as tag-along, Lt Wilson. After a slow
start due to some dodgy officer giving us some dubious
directions, we arrived at the Union Jack Club in Waterloo.
The match went according to plan and of course, Army thrashed
Navy. The match however did seem a bit of a blur to Sgt Chris
McCabe, who constantly needed to be reassured that Army was
playing in red. He also found it difficult to understand why there
were 30 players on each team, but we just put this down to his
double vision. All in all, a well deserved break for the QM’s Dept
and Lt Wilson.
N E W S F R O M F O R M AT I O N S
HEADQUARTERS 2 (NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS)
SIGNAL BRIGADE
Comd
COS
Brig J E Thomas MBE
Maj J D Forrest
EXERCISE HORSESHOE EAGLE 3
The Bde held its annual CPX in April, building on the knowledge of
SDR(NC) that was seeded at the Study Period in January. With a
nearly-all-new Plans Team in the HQ, there were good intentions
to start planning earlier than ever. Somehow it still required last
minute work to pull the details together, so the Plans Team will be
starting real soon on next year’s CPX. Sheer hard work by the
day shift (Maj Tom Dean, Capt Grant Peden, WO2 (YofS) Clint
Barker and WO2 (Staff Asst) Matt Church), delivered a fully
functioning ops suite and supporting admin.
The Special Comms Cell surfing – Maj Mick Drake, Maj Mark
Billingham, Maj Dick Gamble and Capt Brian Howe
Wheels were invented and reinvented, but key to the success was
the involvement of personnel from the regional Bde Reinforcement
Teams, CCRFs and two well-known Corps figures in their new
guise of JRLO: Col (Retd) Tony Kimber and Col (NRPS) Neil
Donaldson OBE.
OPERATIONS UPDATE
COS Maj Jim Forrest tests a telephone while Maj Andrew Cornish
ponders and DCOS Maj Tom Dean despairs. Capt Neil Taylor
keeps out of it
South Cerney was the scene of the action, which exercised not
only the Regtl and independent Sqn comd teams, but also the
Bde HQ itself.
On arrival on Friday night, each comd team was set to work
immediately on the production of a comms estimate from different
roles in which they might be called to deploy. Saturday morning
saw them present their solutions to the assembled multitude. By
the end, a good deal of the spectrum of op tasks that confront the
Bde had been learned by all.
Fresh from all the talking, they were swept by the main CPX into a
countrywide scenario, crafted by Maj Tony Shaw and Maj Guy
Bewsher and lasting through the remainder of the weekend.
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Like most, if not all the Army, OP FRESCO continues to feature,
forcing the watch-keepers to read the newspapers with real news
in them to find out about their continued employment. The HQ
has benefited greatly from having such a willing and flexible
workforce, able to turn round fastballs from COS in record time.
Regular and TA Personnel from across the Bde have been
deployed on OP TELIC, and more are being trained up for OP
TELIC 2. Preparation for the deployment of 97 (BRITFOR) Sig
Sqn back to the Balkans next year is under way. If you meet an
employer of TA soldiers, thank them and tell them that their
employees will be back just as soon as we’ve finished with them.
AIRWAVE
The LAND AIRWAVE Project Team is established in Corsham and
charged with delivery of the O2 AIRWAVE Service to LAND users.
This is the TETRA system that is being rolled out to equip the
Home Office Police. The team consists of the following:
Capt Bob Nixon (Project Manager)
Mr Don Fraser (ICP Comms Manager)
WO1 (YofS) Mark Whiting
337
Capt Jeff Jephcote
Mr Paul Smyth (2 Div)
Mr Bob Morgan (4 Div)
Mr Will Webb (SAINT Project Manager)
Hand over to Brig John. Now the pool came to understand
command and control!
The delivery of Early Capability AIRWAVE Terminals to support
LAND Integrated Contingency Planning operations has now
commenced, with the acceptance of the first 100 Sepura
SRP2000 TETRA Terminals. A number of VHF/TETRA Gateways
are also being delivered for Project SAINT, providing an interface
between AIRWAVE and non-TETRA radios. The NC Sig Regts of
2 (NC) Sig Bde will support both the AIRWAVE Terminals and
Interface Gateways in operation. MMO2’s AIRWAVE Service is
now rolled out across 12 counties on the UK mainland. A further
26 counties will be reached by April 04, permitting significant
utilisation of the system by mid 2004.
SWIMATHON
Early in 2003, an envelope dropped in the in-tray of the Bde
Personnel Office. �Thanks for helping in previous Swimathons,’ it
said, �Would you like to enter again and raise funds for charity?’
Thus the Weeds and Water Lilies Team was born!
The Team consisted of
Maz Wakeman (Personnel)
Andrea Nixon (Training)
Brig John Thomas (Commander)
Maj Tim Langford (Ops)
WO2 Matt Church (Staff Assistant)
Maj Wendy Kirby (CVHQ)
Team captain Maz arrived at the Springfield Centre pool in
Corsham to welcome her team, that were due to swim at
19.30hrs. At 19.15hrs no-one had yet arrived, and clutching a
handful of extremely fetching orange swimhats, she began to
worry a little. �Maz does not have the ability to swim 200 lengths,’
she thought to herself. At 19.20hrs, to her great relief, Brig John
arrived, closely followed by Andrea and her husband, John, who
was to count laps for the team.
Finally, with 2 minutes to start time, all the team were all there.
Into the changing rooms and everyone was ready – just. Maz
swam first - not speedy, but getting there, with encouragement
given by the others on poolside. 15 done, 20 done, wish that
lunch hadn’t been spicy cous-cous, and 25 completed. Hurrah!
The good Brigadier entered the water with such enthusiasm that
he nearly drowned a fellow swimmer (but only a young lad,
though). On his first length there was a distinct attempt to wipe
out the opposition - only this wasn’t a competition! Never before
had it been seen that a single swimmer could expand to fit the
lane width. But we witnessed it that evening. Next off was
Andrea, interesting style. No-one wanted the swimhats provided;
Andrea did not need one. Such speed, such grace, such dry hair!
In went Wendy, a triathlete. �I don’t usually swim this far,’ she
says. �I may get puffed out, though.’ Needing to breathe did not
seem to be so important, and she glided through the water in her
one piece (also suitable for cycling and running). Then we had
Matt. Only little legs, but they worked like fins, propelling him
through the water. He looked like a torpedo with fur.
Last but not least, Tim. What can you say about Tim? Goggles,
small streamlined trunks and no knowledge of what is going on
around him. He completed his allocated lengths in record time
with tumble turns, and convinced that he did two more than was
needed. We had to pat him on the head to tell him to stop.
And that was it. The Swimathon was over for 2003. The Weeds
and Water Lilies team completed 5000mtrs for the Pontins
Swimathon, raising a grand total of ВЈ556.00 for Macmillan Cancer
Relief and other Swimathon charities. Thanks to all who
sponsored us, and to the Team for their hard work on the day.
What shall we call ourselves next year?
TRANSFER MARKET
COS, Maj Jim Forrest has joined David Beckham on the transfer
market, but has chosen America over Europe. Capt Steve Slater
has handed over to Capt Rev Bolam, and Maj Tom Dean has
been elevated to a new post as DCOS. New TA staff in are LtCol
William Brown, Maj Craig Tallents and Maj Mark Baker, all from
Essex units, but as they replaced staff going the other way, fair
exchange is no robbery.
Footnote. I’m not sure that we have permission to use David
Beckham’s name in The WIRE, but I shall plead ignorance as my
excuse. Hopefully, there may be someone to bail me out if it goes
pear-shaped. - Bernard Redshaw, Editor.
NEWS FROM THE REGIMENTS
2 SIGNAL REGIMENT
CO
RSM
Lt Col SK MacRostie MBE
WO1 (RSM) A Dick
With most of the Regt now back from OP TELIC and enjoying
their post op tour leave, all appears pretty quiet. Meanwhile, 219
Sig Sqn Composite remain in Iraq enjoying the sunshine, under
the command of Maj Rab Young. However as we look back on
the past month, the Regt has been very busy. We were honoured
with a visit to the serving soldiers’ families from HRH, The
Princess Royal, accompanied by the Master of Signals and the
Regtl Secretary. We were also very pleased to receive a visit from
Brig CL Le Gallais, who came to see the rear party who have
been working hard to keep things running back home. During his
visit the Brigadier viewed the proposed plans for the arrival of
CORMORANT in the Unit. It is now all hands to the pumps to
ensure the field trials this year are a success.
The Regt says a fond farewell to Capt �Al’ Higgins, who is leaving
to join 7 Sig Regt as their new 2IC HQ Sqn along with Capt
338
Emma Bruce, who will be his new Adjt there. In return for these
two stalwarts we welcome the new MTO, Capt Matt Nuttall, just
arrived from 30 Sig Regt and Capt Joe Docherty. Also leaving,
both on promotion, are Lt Mel Crawford, to 16 Sig Regt, and the
RAO, Capt Steve Potterton, to the Welsh Guards.
214 SIGNAL SQUADRON
OC
Maj S Gillespie
SSM
WO2 (SSM) Cooper
Along with the majority of the Corps, 214 Sig Sqn deployed to
Kuwait City to support the JFLOCG. During the first few days of
the deployment, the Sqn was forced to cope with what little
resources we had at our disposal. This involved stalwart efforts
from the king of the white fleet; MT SSgt Mark Wilford, and the
professionalism of the photocopier, Cpl �Dusty’ Millar to the swift
build of the ICC by Sgt Glaves and his crew. Not forgetting the
Sqn sand sweepers, everyone has done their bit. A few weeks
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
into the tour, some elements of 7, 16, and 14 Sig Regts and 262
Sqn joined us to supply forward HQ with CNR. It has been hard
graft for the soldiers of 214 Sig Sqn Composite. Important
decisions needed to be made as to where to have scoff: Burger
King, Subway or The Pizza Inn!
With new arrivals coming in their droves, it is sure to be a summer
of fun in the sun at Camp Souter. To avoid disappointment,
remember to book early next year.
Around the deployment to the Gulf, a few new members have
joined or left the Sqn. We say goodbye and good luck to Cpl
Andy Green, who has gone to show new recruits how its really
done at ATR Litchfield and Sig Bentley, who leaves us for 7 Sig
Regt. Arrivals to the sharp end include Cpls Hodgson, Gough
and Kadlec.
OC Rear Party
Acting RSM
Apart from the obvious setbacks of boots and desert combats,
214 had a fantastic time in the Gulf, and back in York, we look
forward to whatever the city can throw at us. Here’s to floods, fire
strikes and, if there is time, CORMORANT - and maybe even pint
or two. Cheers!
OPERATION TELIC ATTACHED PERSONNEL - by Sig Hewes
Many of us who are working in the Radio Village here in Camp
Arifjan are attached from 7, 14 and 30 Sig Regts, and 262 Sqn.
Soon after arriving here a good routine was established, giving
everyone an easy time to settle in. The work is continuous and
helps the days pass quickly, and with the added bonus of a
Burger King, Pizza, Chinese or a Subway sandwich, (if you can be
bothered to queue up for an hour or more, with thousands of
Americans), the quality of life is quite good. The meals laid on are
not of great quality but are adequate, with breakfast being the
exception. Not only do you get scrambled eggs, sausages etc,
but you also get a fine selection of doughnuts. It takes a bit of
getting used to.
You quickly get used carrying your respirator everywhere you go
and it comes in quite handy if you have to use the portaloos. The
presence of such large number of Americans is always good for
morale, especially when you find what they are carrying in their
respirator haversacks, (chocolate, crisps, newspapers, cola and of
course cigarettes!). Waking up is a bit of a problem as alarm
clocks not only wake you and everyone around, but also initially
caused the Americans don respirators - certainly amusing.
Overall Camp Arifjan is certainly one of the better places to be
and spirits are high.
REAR DETAILS
Maj L Smart
WO2 S McGaw
In the absence of CO, the 2IC, Maj Lee Smart was responsible
for running 2 Sig Regt at home. When the main body of the Regt
deployed on OP TELIC, leaving a mass of swirling papers in our
in-trays, we stalwarts, we happy (but mostly unhappy) few, the
rear party, were literally left holding the baby - a 10lb baby boy
called Connor, in the 2IC’s case! WO2 (SSM) McGaw, who was
busy dealing with the smooth running of the Tp, also had other
commitments assisting Capt �Al’ Higgins with welfare matters,
mainly dealing with families whose spouses, partners, sons and
daughters were serving in the Gulf. This involved many phone
calls, house visits, a number of families’ functions and arranging
video conferences to allow the families to talk to their loved ones.
It was all greatly appreciated by all who were able to use the
facility, and it could set a good precedent for future deployments.
Sgt Sparrow trained all OP TELIC personnel, taking them through
all the ITD’s prior to deployment and then set to work coordinating the Regt’s recruiting activities in the vain hope that we
might quickly be able to find some new replacements to fill our
guard roster. The Regt 2IC, Maj Smart, has eventually managed
to escape to Iraq, taking over from the CO to hand over the Regt’s
tasks to the follow-on forces and to bring the remainder of the
Regt home by the end of July.
MT SECTION
The MT have been extremely busy, working closely with the Regtl
ops team, ensuring all the tpt was booked as required for the
varying stages of deployment. Left behind to keep things ticking
over were Cpl Harrison, LCpl Caledine, Hitchen and Sig Hanes.
They have all been very busy washing cars and doing an excellent
job ensuring any tpt requests were promptly dealt with, fully
supporting the Regt in its tasks in the Gulf. They also provided tpt
and drivers for the families in York, for dinners and other
occasions.
REGIMENTAL RECRUITING TEAM - by 2Lt Brown
OPERATION FINGAL - by Sig Smithson
Team OC
A rainy day at Lyneham saw us off on our 6-month tour in
Afghanistan. After a frantic night in Bucharest, (the RAF like to
spread things out), we arrived in Kabul, to be greeted by an
excited soon to-be-leaving old det. After a brief HOTO and an
initial comms brief, we were soon into the swing of things. The
important points passed on were the price of rugs and how to get
DVDs back home. We are struggling to keep Lt Plested in the
COMMCEN, as the call of the junk food at the American PX is far
more alluring. He is still to do his camp orientation as he is unable
to find the gym, and due to his recent spate of scabies he has
turned to growing a tash. Sgt Howe and Cpl Lee Haase have
been keeping up British-Afghan relations by playing enemy on a
recent trg ex. Rather them than me. Still they tell me that Bin
Laden’s caves are nice this time of year.
Although the Regt has been heavily involved with OP TELIC, the
recruiting team has managed to continue operating as usual, and
has been busy preparing for the challenging summer season
ahead. A number of new faces have joined the team: Sgt �Stu’
Ross takes over from Sgt Sparrow as the Team OC, while Sigs
Eddon and Tucker have joined just in time to take part in the AES
displays. We say goodbye to Sig Peak, who has left the team to
enjoy the Florida sun on OP VERITAS and Sig Thrower, to the
desert sun on OP TELIC. Farewell to LCpl Mitchinson, who has
been posted to the RSS, and our congratulations go to Sig
Clarke who has just got married.
Although things are fairly quiet at the moment, several projects
coming up in the future are sure to keep us busy. Capt Jennings
has several ideas and ways to wake up the camp by mounting
ambulance sirens onto walls and then setting them off at stupid
o’clock. Several ongoing commitments see Sgt Local and one
lucky other to visit a local school each week to teach basic
computing to the teachers. I’m not sure how that works, because
who is teaching the students?
Sgt S Ross
The team has also brought on board LCpl Nugent of the ISM
dept, whose expertise in IT and networking will bring another
dimension to the Team’s display.
The Team has had an interesting season so far, including a visit to
the Regt from the local College in April. The female students were
put through their paces in various command tasks manned by the
Team and assisted by other members of the rear party. Sig Stock
caught the attention of a number of the girls as he led them
around the assault course. They completed the course to raise
sponsorship money for a sick fellow student.
Well done to the spearhead detachment in Bagram, who are
working alongside the Americans. With their ongoing record,
anyone working with them deserves their medal. And since their
recent move to new premises, Cpl Jules Roberts is enjoying the
new facilities, including proper porcelain toilets.
Well done to all the staff on the team who have done an
outstanding job during this busy period, showing great dedication
while often having to work independently.
Congratulations go to Sgt Howe, Cpl Jules Roberts and LCpl
Eddie Kerr on the recent births of their newborn babies prior to
deployment.
A particular highlight of the month was a visit, on 20 May, from the
Colonel-in-Chief to the families of soldiers serving on operations.
After weeks of preparation, planning every step of the visit and
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
ROYAL VISIT
339
several dress rehearsals with a heavily pregnant Sig Wood
standing in for HRH, we were ready for the big day. As the
Princess arrived by helicopter, clouds loomed above threatening
to drive us into the wet weather programme. However, we
soldiered on and Her Royal Highness was presented to Maj Lee
Smart, who briefed her on the Regtl Orbat and responsibilities.
After signing the visitors book, the Princess was introduced to
Mrs Jenny MacRostie, the COs wife, who then presented the
rest of the families to her. The Princess also met some of the
single soldiers and personnel recently returned from the Gulf.
After a presentation of a posy and a garland, she departed for
another engagement. The wives were all thrilled to speak to Her
Royal Highness, and were flattered that she took so much time
to meet them. The day was very successful and ran very
smoothly, thanks to the preparation and rehearsal with the Master
of Signals, MajGen Ian Sprackling OBE. The rain even managed
to hold off until after the great BBQ that followed.
HRH meets soldiers recently returned from the Gulf and LCpl
Dwyer recently arrived from 2CSR, RASigs on exchange with EX
LONG LOOK
It is hoped that, with a successful trial, the Sqn should see the
issue of an initial operating capability in the New Year, ready for
Comd 11 Sig Bde to declare us operational by May 04. In
between then and now there remains much work to do - and
thereafter, probably a lot more work, as PJHQ are itching to get
their hands on the system.
SAILING – by LCpl Linsley
After a full day’s travelling to Seaview Sailing Club on the Isle of
Wight, a meet and greet in the evening and a full night’s sleep, we
were ready to get straight i
nto the day’s racing. All went well
until we got into the boat and realised that none of us had ever
sailed a Mermaid before. We guessed how to rig her up,
managed to get her moving and made our way to the start line.
HRH speaking to Master of Signals, Mrs Jenny MacRostie, the
CO’s wife and 2Lt Jules Thomson
PROJECT CORMORANT - by YofS (SSgt) Crowder
As we go to press, all things in the world of CORMORANT are
rolling along nicely. 214 Sig Sqn are hurriedly transforming their
previous PTARMIGAN garages ready for the contractors to come
in and turn them into a trg area. This will be complete with
classrooms, the CORMORANT Trg Rig and some dismounted box
bodies. The new FofS, SSgt Paul Hughes is busily choosing a
new paint colour for the garages but seems to be a little confused
by all the different shades of military grey.
Once all this work is complete, trg will commence for half the Sqn
in various aspects of the system. All this is in preparation for the
much-awaited Systems Field Trial, which commences on 10
November this year, and runs until 12 December (honest!). The
aim of the trial is to ascertain the capabilities of the system in a
variety of situations. Other aims include trying to find the Ops
Officer, Capt Sherry. The field trial will culminate in a Battle Field
Mission, by which time the new YofS, SSgt Crowder may have
got his predecessor, W02 (YofS) Tony Martin, to surrender his
desk.
With SSgt �Stu’ Taylor at the helm, and myself (LCpl Chris
Linsley) and Cpl Helen Caplin on the foredeck, we were ready for
the first race. After a dismal start, there were two boats fighting
for last place, the only other novice team and us. By the time we
rounded the first buoy, the leaders had almost finished, and we
were told if we retired we would be given last place!
The rest of the day’s races went pretty much the same way, with
our encountering many problems, ranging from lack of wind and
strong tides, to sheer lack of experience! So after the first day in
the overall table we were ….. Dead last!
The next day, after an intensive lesson from Sgt �Windy’ Gale, we
actually managed to stay with the rest of the fleet. So with myself
now on the helm and SSgt Taylor on the foredeck we started the
second day’s racing with renewed enthusiasm. We even
managed to get the kite flying in a few of the races. With our new
knowledge and confidence, we managed to make up a few places
in a number of the races.
Our results from the second day reflected that we had learned
something, and we gained confidence with every race. Due to our
problems in the first half of the regatta, we still finished overall
last. However, the lessons learned and the experience gained
made the whole event a complete success.
7 SIGNAL REGIMENT
CO
RSM
Lt Col G Norton
WO1 (RSM) Manktelow
the Regt bids him farewell and wishes him all the best.
RSM’S HANDOVER PARADE
CIVPOP FOR 2 PRINCE OF WALES ROYAL REGIMENT
- by Lt Bates
On 17 April the Regt bid farewell to WO1 (RSM) ST Archer, who
was replaced by WO1 (RSM) Manktelow. RSM Archer has
fallen on his feet and is posted to Italy for a few years. Everyone in
The Regt had to scrape the barrel to find the 70 personnel
required for the rural phase of 2 Bn PWRR’s NI trg. With little more
than a week’s notice, those not on EXs LION SUN, ARRCADE
340
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
DEPLOYEX or COMBINED ENDEAVOUR were sent to Thetford
Trg Area to act as civilians for the week (no mean feat for the
hardened warriors of 7 Sig Regt!)
We were required to act out a variety of roles so that 2 Bn PWRR
could practise VCPs, cordons, live firing exs, culminating in a riot
between �Catholics’ and �Loyalists.’ People didn’t find it hard to
drop into character, and the readiness with which they
volunteered for �drunken’ serials made some wonder if 7 Sig Regt
wasn’t a teetotal unit after all.
Undoubtedly, the riot was the highlight of the week. The
�Loyalists’ marched from their village of Tottington, as the
�Catholics’ in Eastmere prepared for their rally that was to enter
the village. The groups met at the entrance to the village,
restrained by the infantry’s riot shields, and soon a battle between
the two sides ensued. It soon became less of a fight between the
opposing factions, and more of a free-for-all against the Army.
With only ourselves and some carrots to defend ouselves (and
LCpl Rizza), we were outmatched by the infantry, who wore
protective items on their elbows and shins, had helmets and
visors and carried both riot shields and imitation hickory sticks.
The Army soon pushed us skirmishing civilians back but, not to
be defeated, we moved to the village of Stanton to continue our
attacks on each other. Once again 2 Bn PWRR regained law and
order, admittedly this time with a little less organisation and a little
more violence. With only a few ripped clothes and one injury, we
all returned for a shower feeling pleased with our day’s riotous
behaviour.
Although at times during the week we did seem to be there to
have a bit of a laugh and get out of the garages for a week, the
opportunity to be civpop for NI trg was more beneficial than that.
Not only did we provide valuable trg for those who are due to
begin their tour mid-June, but we also saw first hand the trg that
goes into such a deployment. For many of us who have not had a
posting to the Province, it was an education into the daily dangers
that face the British Army there today. We wish 2 Bn PWRR the
best of luck for their time in NI, and hope that some of the trg we
provided was of use.
EXERCISE CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT
EX CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT (12 –15 May) was held in London by
7 Sig Regt, who are based at Javelin Barracks, Elmpt in Germany.
The ex was geared to developing and widening the knowledge of
officers at all levels. It also gave SNCO’s the opportunity to reflect
upon that old chestnut: that unlike officers, they work for a living!
Sandhurst and having spoken to him earlier that evening. Your
Extras were well earned!
Having made a swift recovery, the Officers of the Magnificent 7,
were up bright and early the next morning for more Officer
Development. At the Bank of England, we were apprised of that
institution’s history and the role it plays in the economy. The
nuances of Monetary Policy, the Euro and Interest Rates were
explained to all those who lacked a degree in Economics. Lt
Williamson did well not to ask: �What do you do when you lose
your pin number?’ We were even allowed to pick up a gold ingot the closest most of us have ever been to serious money.
We then adjourned to the National Art Gallery, where we were
taught to appreciate Art. Under the supervision of a most
enthusiastic Guide, we were shown four paintings and told how
they are best critiqued. We learned how to �get into portraits’ and,
depending on the era, to recognise the hidden signs within them.
Most of us left the Gallery feeling that we had learned something
valuable and would, in future, no longer sound like Dell-Boy
Trotter when talking about portraits.
All good things must come to an end, and we completed our ex
with the most important visit of them all: the Cogent briefing at the
Inns of Court on Thursday 15 May. There, we learnt more about
Skynet V and other equipt coming into operational use soon. It
was completely enthralling and it gave us a good idea as to what
to expect in the future. The role of Defence contractors was also
highlighted, as well as the problems they face in getting kit
completed on time. We thoroughly appreciated the briefing and,
after asking numerous questions, got to practise our newly
developed Art appreciation skills on the numerous portraits on the
walls!
EXERCISE LION SUN - by Lt AS Youngman
Our first EX LION SUN for 2003 was at the transit camp at Radio
Sonde in Episkopi, which had only recently been vacated by
augmentees for OP TELIC. We arrived on 3 May to find that
Cyprus was in the middle of a heat wave, with day-time
temperatures reaching 40В°C. In these temperatures, when even
menial tasks like collecting stores were hard work, it was a rude
awakening for what the next month would be like.
The first phase was a series of range days covering the
mandatory tests for all troops arriving in Cyprus (WHT and
A 7-hour bus ride took us RAF Uxbridge, where we were to be
accommodated for the duration of the ex. The following day at the
National Army Museum, we had a lecture on the role of the private
soldier in the Peninsular War. We learned many aspects of the
soldier’s life, from dress and tactics to family life. We were quite
shocked to discover that soldiers back then were recruited with
the promise of beer. It’s surprising how things can change over a
century or two! The Museum had many other displays, including
both World Wars. We had to manoeuvre through hordes of foreign
school children to get to of them, but they were well worth the
wait.
The highlight of the ex from the �subbies’ point of view, was the
Corps Dinner Night at the Savoy Hotel on the evening of Tuesday
13 May. Dressed in black tie, many members of the Corps
descended on the Coal Hole prior to the dinner to meet up with
friends before the event. Locals at the pub were so stunned by
the visitors that one �subbie’ was asked: �Are you all part of the
Secret Service?’ to which he replied: �There is nothing secret
about what we do, mate.’
The Dinner itself turned into a spot-your-mate contest, as old
friends were re-united. The food was great, but all eyes were
drawn to the table at which sat the denizens of the 20 Armd Bde
Sig Sqn. They had balloons hovering above their table.
Considering that no task is too great for the Magnificent 7, 2Lt
Serge Wartemberg, cunningly disguised as a waiter, served the
table with water before calmly taking out a pair of scissors and
liberating 5 of the balloons, to the dismay of those sat there. �Well
done’ to 2Lt Robin Foster, who was sat at the table but failed to
recognise the �waiter’, despite being in the same Company at
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
2 Pl during the pl attack
341
Grouping and Zeroing). The second day took the form of a series
of shooting competitions, the results of which went towards the
overall inter-platoon competition running throughout the ex.
Before the next trg phase, there was a sports day, in which
platoons competed against each other at Football, Hockey and
Volleyball.
Following this was a 12-day trg package, broken down into 3 fourday packages. The platoons rotated through each package in
turn, my platoon, 3 platoon starting at the deep-end with the
Tactics Phase. Most of this should have been revision but there
were a lot of cobwebs to be blown away for the juniors. Amongst
the new material was something that would prove to be the
highlight of the ex, FIBUA. The four days comprised 1 day’s
revision on basic field craft skills and section level tactics, 1 day’s
FIBUA trg, 1 day’s instruction on patrolling and harbours and
finally a mini confirmation ex to test patrolling and then a platoon
attack.
The second package was adventurous trg, which allowed us to try
Rock-climbing, Sailing, Canoeing, Water skiing and Mountain
Biking. It was a huge success, and the weather had cooled down.
The days spent sailing commenced with water skiing while the
instructors prepared the boats and waited for the wind to build up
in the afternoon. The rock climbing was excellent, providing a
challenge for everyone who had a fear of heights.
A FIBUA attack
led up to the final attack, which took place against the nowfamous Paramali Village. The attack had to be re-written to
accommodate the reduced company. This resulted in more work
for the boys on the ground, but it went down very well. Everyone
had developed a taste for FIBUA and was keen to put their
newfound skills into use. The attack went in at dawn and lasted
for about an hour and a half, spanning the whole of the village,
including defended positions the enemy had spent the previous
24 hrs preparing.
All in all, it was an excellent ex that surpassed all of my
expectations. My thanks and congratulations go to the whole trg
team and the DS for organising an ex that was well-balanced
between work and play and put a huge emphasis on the quality of
instruction for our soldiers. The trg opportunity that EX LION SUN
provides for our soldiers is unrivalled. In a perfect world, these exs
should be compulsory for every soldier and officer. Since this is
not possible, I am both glad and privileged to have had the
opportunity to take part at this stage in my career.
HEADQUARTER SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Maj M Campbell
WO2 (SSM) Shepperd
REGIMENTAL MT
The Regt MT welcomes LCpl Noble, posted across the road from
280 (UK) Sig Sqn, and Sig Cairns, from 16 Sig Regt.
We say a fond farewell to Sigs Clarkin and Purnell, to 231 Sig
Sqn; to Cpl Tremain and his wife, Tammy, promoted and posted
to 16 Sig Regt; and to LCpl Lister and wife, who leave on a welldeserved promotion to 19 Mech Bde Sig Sqn.
TECHNICAL MAINTENANCE TROOP
Cpl Collins showing off
The last package was navigation. The aim was to teach soldiers
the basics of navigation and give them experience in using these
skills - something which will stand them in good stead for the rest
of their Army careers and which is sometimes lacking in basic trg
nowadays.
When the final ex arrived, a number of personnel had,
unfortunately, to return to Javelin Barracks to prepare for
deployment to OP TELIC 2. This required a change to the Orbat,
so three platoons became two.
The final ex started with both platoons carrying out a beach
landing from an LSL provided by RLC Port and Maritime Sqn. The
next four days were spent moving around the trg areas
establishing patrol harbours and conducting a number of patrols
including OPs, Recces and a few dawn fighting patrols. All of this
342
We say good bye to Cpl �Woody’ Woodward; to Sig �Daz’ Fry,
who is off to Warminster; and to LCpl Clements, who is bound
for warmer (and sandy) climes. Good luck to them all. And a
warm welcome to LCpl Clark, and Cpl Whalley, who’s recently
joined us from the infantry.
232 SIGNAL SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Maj H Jenkins
WO2 (SSM) S Littlefield
We have seen quite a turn-round of manpower within the Sqn
hierarchy. First of all we have said goodbye to WO2 Browitt, who
after successfully being promoted, has returned to Blighty to be
an RSM with the TA in Liverpool. His unique presence in the Sqn
will be sadly missed. We also said good bye to SSgt George
McGuire, who has possibly spent more time in 7 Sig Regt than
any other member of the Corps. We all wish him the best of luck
wherever his career may take him. We welcome the new Sqn 2IC,
Capt Matt Freemantle, from 3 (UK) Div Sig Regt; and WO2
(SSM) S Littlefield who has side stepped from 229 (Berlin) Sig
Sqn to fill the shoes of the SSM.
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
us on the outskirts of the town. We settled in for the night with a
quick beer before retiring in anticipation of the next days’ events.
231 SIGNAL SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Maj A Fallows
WO2 (SSM) K Read
Following a continental breakfast, we journeyed to the Mignano
Gap and various parts of the Gustav Line. Col Storrie gave a
fascinating account of the various units and routes taken by Allies
and Germans alike during the approach to Monte Cassino. We
saw sites of river crossings and some the high ground held by the
Germans and taken by the Allies. Hill 60 in Javelin Bks left a lot to
be desired! After a quick bite for lunch in a sweet Italian bistro, La
Pace, we returned to the Rapido River for the build-up to the first
attack on the monastery and the town. We learned of the
problems that 34 (US) Div had to contend with and had a look at
some of the old fortifications. It was all very impressive.
SQN BATTLEFIELD TO MONTE CASSINO - by Sgt B Bazzard
Battlefield tours are used as part of a cultural and educational
development process for members of the Regt. They also
promote teamwork, and are ideal ways of allowing soldiers and
officers to bond socially. This was certainly the case during the
231 Sqn battlefield tour to Monte Cassino, a small town in
western Italy some sixty miles south of Rome. This was the scene
of some of the bloodiest and determined fighting during World
War II between a tired and battle-worn Allied contingent and a
dogged, hardened German force desperate to keep the Allies out
of Rome. Perhaps the most impressive and apparent building in
Monte Cassino is the monastery, which sits imposingly above the
town and was the site of four separate battles for this piece of
vital ground.
The next day was the visit to the monastery. We started the day
by returning to the lower parts of the Garigliano River. We then
followed the route taken by the Allies back to Cassino town,
where we stopped for a quick bite before journeying up the hill to
the monastery. It was truly magnificent and demonstrated clearly
how difficult it would have been to attack. We explored the newlybuilt monastery, allowing 2Lt Anna Bates to purchase some
genuine Monk Milk and Monk Butter from the shop.
On being asked to organise a battlefield tour, WO2 (YofS) Brown,
decided to take a small band of Officers and SNCO’s from the
Sqn to Italy. Fascinated by its history and proximity to the capital,
Rome, he set about booking hotels, flights and most importantly,
the historian, Col (Retd) David Storrie, our guide and story teller.
The OC had divided the group into two and tasked each to
prepare a presentation on topics relevant to our tour. One
syndicate was to brief on Anzio, the other on Monte Cassino.
Power Point was the order of the day, with some excellent models
and video footage. The odd comment on penetration from the rear
kept the atmosphere light and interesting.
Our tour began with our arrival in Rome, following an epic journey
from Germany aboard Rynair’s spacious flight from Frankfurt
Hahn (not Frankfurt International, but a very small airport in the
middle of nowhere!) We met our historian and our crazy bus driver
in Rome in the small hours before departing on a slightly
harrowing journey to Monte Cassino. It being out of season, the
YofS had managed had secure four-star hotel accommodation for
On the Friday we departed Cassino for Anzio, where we spent the
morning being shown the sites of the infamous beach landings.
The YofS was again the source of much amusement as he tucked
into possibly the most expensive fish lunch he will ever eat! Later
that day, we left Anzio for Rome and, after dropping off our kit at
the hotel we bomb-bursted into the city to sample some of the
cultural sights and sounds. The Vittorio Emmanuel Building, the
Coliseum, the Trevi Fountain and the Vatican all got a visit before
we sat wearily outside one of the many impressive churches to
tuck into Pizza and red wine! A great tour was had by all - an
extremely interesting tour, lucky enough to find the one-and-only
Irish bar in Rome. Typical!
Thankyou to WO2 (YofS) Brown for all his hard work in organising
the tour. Where are we going next year?
10 SIGNAL REGIMENT
CO
Lt Col SA Leigh
EXERCISE ATLANTIC CHALLENGE 03 - by Cpl Auz Gambles
EX ATLANTIC CHALLENGE was a transatlantic sailing exped from
Gosport, UK to Rowes Wharf in Boston, USA and return. The
exped was sponsored by the Joint Services Adventurous Sail
Training Centre (JSASTC) and used the Challenge 67 yacht,
Challenger. Its aim was to develop the personal characteristics
desirable to the armed forces through adventurous sail training.
The crew of 13 came from all 3 services and contained 3 Royal
Signals personnel, including Sgt Scott Pearson from 243 Sig
Sqn.
After my three-day road trip across Canada from BATUS, paying
visits to Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Ottawa and Montreal on the way,
it was a relief to arrive finally in Boston at 06.00hrs on the morning
of 4 May. After finding Rowes Wharf only three blocks away from
South Station, I found the yacht Challenger, which was to be my
home for the next month. She was moored alongside the most
beautiful building on the waterfront, the splendid Boston Harbour
Hotel.
We weren’t able to get our wind instrumentation fixed, nor the rod
kicker that the outgoing crew had broken. Likewise, the water
maker caused us a big problem, forcing us to store 500 litres of
extra water on the boat. After fixing all the equipment that we
could, we set out for the refueling berth and our departure point
from Boston Harbour.
We departed on 8 May and, there being no wind, donked (on
engine) our way SE towards the area off Cape Cod. Because of
the problems the last crew had sailing back through the Northern
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
route, it was decided that we would route via Horta in the Azores
Archipelago, which of course we were all happy about, since we
could use the warmth of the Gulf stream current to help us along.
Eventually the wind built up and we finally turned off the engine
and started sailing, which is what we had all come for.
We sailed some 19 days before reaching landfall and because of
time constraints and delays, we decided not to put into the
Azores but route directly back to UK. To say we were
disappointed would be an understatement. We encountered
winds of force 3-4 with a maximum of 7, gusting to 8-9 at times,
and 20-25 foot seas to set the excitement buds going. We
encountered a few pilot whales, lots of dolphins and large
wheelbarrow sized turtles. Some of us were also convinced we
had seen a shark, but for me the jury’s still out.
For some of the crew, like Scotty Pearson, this was his first real
sailing adventure. His comments towards the end of the exped
are noteworthy. �I think for your first real sailing exped, this is a
little too much.’
By the time we had made landfall at Lands End we had
experienced most emotions, boredom, anticipation, excitement
and possibly a touch of fear, to mention but a few. But most of all,
a longing to get back onto dry land, partake of a nice shower and
get a steady meal and a beer down our necks. We arrived after 19
days and 2,993.5 nautical miles, feeling glad we had done the
voyage but even gladder to be back on terra firma.
IMPLEMENTATION TEAM
We welcome Alastair Bartlett, who is the newest addition to the
343
team, hot off his ISIS administrator’s course and heading straight
for his first installation in Canada.
BATUS LCSS(R) INSTALLATION
As part of the ongoing overhaul of the Army’s ICS structure, the
task of introducing BATUS to the 21st century and the ISIS family
ICS had fallen to the Implementation Team once again.
Accompanying us on the installation was Capt Kev Wilson and
Cpl Adam Carter, 238 Sig Sqn. The team flew out to Calgary, to
be greeted on arrival at BATUS by SO2 Log Supp, who was
hosting us whilst we were in theatre. A BATUS brief and an
introduction to the Canadian G6 staff who would be supporting
the installation took up the next day, whilst the project manager,
Capt Kev Wilson, was left chasing up the equipment. This turned
out to be a major operation in itself. Whilst awaiting the
equipment, the only job to get on with was installing the network
devices in the relevant buildings around BATUS HQ and FMA.
Once this was complete, the Team headed off to the Rocky
Mountains for the weekend to do some sightseeing. There we
visited Canmore town in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains,
then headed for the shores of Lake Louise and its glacier walk.
complete the job we had arrived to do. Then came more snow,
and by the next day we had to install 210 workstations in 1.5
metres of it! But we managed to complete the installation within
the allotted time frame and get home in time for tea and medals.
REGIMENTAL TRIATHLON
Over the previous few months a team of finely honed athletes
from HQ 2 Sig Bde & HQ 10 Sig Regt had been �matured’ in
Corsham. They were Capt Phil Cooper, Capt Chris Biddulph,
WO2 (Supvr IS) Jon Heaton and WO2 Clint Barker.
After a good performance at the 5 Div Championships in
Bovington, where we finished second, we entered the ATA Sprint
Championships at Bassingbourne. Following tradition, the
Yeoman dropped out at the last minute leaving the team to
complete the event as follows:
Chris Biddulph – 1hr 3mins (14th)
Jon Heaton – 1hr 10mins (59th)
Phil Cooper – 1hr 21mins (121st)
As a team we were unable fully to support Chris Biddulph’s
creditable performance, so dipped out on any silverware. But we
enjoyed ourselves in the sun anyway!
Our next event will be the Army Olympic Distance
Championships, to be held in Bournemouth. Watch this space for
the results and maybe some photos. (Out of interest, and keeping
with tradition, the Yeoman has withdrawn already!)
REGIMENTAL GOLF
The Regt mustered 2 teams to compete in the Corps
Championships, held this year in Blandford. Our team consisted
of Capt Nik Bruce, Capt (Retd) Bob Wright and WO2 Jon
Heaton. Playing on the two hottest days of the year so far, the
competition became an endurance event – unfortunately to such
an extent that our Adjt was unable to participate on the second
day. Needless to say we returned to Corsham with nothing to put
in the trophy cabinet - just the recommendation that the CO gives
the Adjt some time off to start toughening his feet up now in
preparation for the Autumn meet!
L to R Cpl Carter, Alistair Bartlett, Dave Brown, Cpl Gambles
�Quick, smile! It’s bloody freezing out here!’
Unfortunately the lake had started to thaw so we couldn’t reach
the glacial face. We then set off for downtown Banff to enjoy its
pubs and restaurants on the Saturday night. We heard on the
radio of a record snowfall of 160cms in Calgary overnight that had
broken all records and managed to close both Calgary Airport and
the Trans-Canadian Highway. We visited the Banff Hot Springs to
recover before setting out back to BATUS.
We managed to bully our way back to Suffield in time, only to find
that the equipment still hadn’t arrived. The next task given was to
recce BATSU(W), involving a 250 kms journey north of Suffield
and then to Trails End Camp. However, half way through this trip,
the equipment turned up so we headed back to Suffield to
The Team outside the Banff Springs Hotel
344
238 (LONDON) SIGNAL SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Maj IWR Seraph
WO2 Crowther
Over the past month, the Sqn has been making preparations for
the forthcoming Ceremonial season. The season started off on the
22 May 2003 with a parade for the presentation of the Household
Cavalry’s Guidons and Standards. This was followed by Beating
the Retreat, a musical parade involving the Mounted and Massed
Bands of the Household Division. It took place over two evenings,
with our Colonel-in-Chief, The Princess Royal, attending to take
the salute on 27 May. Three days later we took part in another
parade, The Major General’s Review, which was the first rehearsal
for the Queen’s Birthday Parade. A further rehearsal took place on
Saturday 7 June culminating in the Queen’s Birthday Parade,
Trooping the Colour on Saturday 14 June.
The usual teams from I&S Sec have been selected to fulfill duties
such as Discreet Radio fits, Public Address systems and street
lining. This has provided the opportunity for the more experienced
members to train the inexperienced techs in the fine art of fitting a
piece of plastic (earpiece) into a Cavalry Officer’s ear without
causing injury. So far this year we have refrained from deploying
Cpl Dan Cattermole to the Household Cavalry Mounted
Regiment on Ceremonial Duties, due to his innate fear of horses.
Radio Sec is extremely busy with other commitments at the
moment, including the Incident Response Team (IRT) deployments
and the forthcoming Buckingham Palace Garden Parties in July.
We congratulate SSgt Ian Tait on the birth of his daughter,
Jessica and wish him well on his future posting to 21 Sig Regt.
We welcome back LCpl Paddy Morrison on his return from OP
TELIC and Sig Emma Watson on her return from JCUFI. We say
farewell to LCpl Chris Reeve, who has been posted to 1 (RBY)
Sig Sqn on successful completion of the selection course and to
Cpl Bart Storey, who, after 28 years’ service, joins Civvy Street
this year to take up an FTRS post with the Honorable Artillery
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Company. Other new arrivals include Cpl Neil McElhinney, from
3 Inf Bde, who arrived just in time to compete in the GOC’s Sports
Day and Cpl Chris Burr from 249 Sig Sqn. We say goodbye to
Sig Tim Peacock, who has left us for the sunny climes of
Colchester and 216 Sig Sqn.
INCIDENT RESPONSE TEAM DEPLOYMENT - by Cpl Bart
Storey
During the heightened security threat at Heathrow Airport back in
February, the Sqn’s IRT was deployed to Windsor to provide
contingency comms for OP SLACK FLAK. The IRT were tasked to
provide Mobile Amscerps, Secure Fax, Insecure Fax, EMS, Brent,
Brahms and Brere. From Windsor, the team, consisting of Cpl
Bart Storey and LCpl Gibson were redeployed to New Scotland
Yard to assist the Metropolitan Police. The op lasted for seven
days, during which Tech Cpl Reg Perrin’s wealth of knowledge
and unfaltering commitment to the task in hand proved invaluable.
During OP TELIC 1, the IRT was on 6 hrs’ NTM to deploy to
airports across the nation in support of RAMP (Reception
Arrangements for Military Patients) providing comms for the
repatriation of injured military personnel from the Gulf. As a result,
there was extensive familiarisation trg at Corsham and here in
Chelsea Bks, on the RAS (Remove Access Server) laptop
terminals that replace the old EMS ones. The four IRT teams had
their annual get together in Wilton for a spot of trg and social
indulgence recently. The emphasis was on ensuring that all the
equipt is up to spec and that, as signallers, we can at last
communicate to one another, as well as around the world.
THE INAUGURAL BRUNO AWARDS – by Sgt Shaun Childs
This year, Ops Sp Tp have decided to dedicate themselves to
fundraising for two charities, Help a London Child and The
Scientific Exploration Society (SES). The Sqn hopes to send a
number of soldiers on an ambitious SES Expedition to Panama in
December. Our aim is to raise around ВЈ18,000 over the coming
year. With this in mind, our first fundraising event was a Sqn
BAFTA Awards Ceremony with entertainment provided by talented
members of the Sqn.
Over the course of the evening, seven awards were presented.
Among them Best Male went to Cpl Jay Beattie; Best Female
was awarded to our Chief Clerk, Mrs Laura Allen and the
prestigious 238 (London) Sig Sqn Personality of the Year to Cpl
Bart Storey for his tireless support to the Sqn. The entertainment
was of the highest standard, with performances by acclaimed
artists such as The Proclaimers, Paul McCartney, Barry Manilow
and of course, Elvis (apparently he still lives!) The evening also
included a raffle and charity auction hosted by Mr David
Dickinson (aka Sgt Shaun Childs) in a very unconvincing fancy
dress costume. The night was a huge success and we managed
to raise a substantial sum of money for the charities. Many more
fundraising events are in the pipeline after the busy ceremonial
season is over.
A NIGHT AT THE DOGS - by LCpl Mark Ryan
Catford Racetrack was the venue, the weather was fine and the
beer was cold. What more could we ask for? Well, apart from a
big win that is! After meticulous planning and coordination by Sgt
Angie Thickett and LCpl Kath Carbery, I&S Sec arrived at the
racetrack. The event was the perfect opportunity for us to
welcome our new Tp Comd, Capt Abby Parkinson and introduce
her to the Sec personalities. The evening started out quite slowly,
with most people hedging their bets and making the most of their
two free drinks. Cpl Mike Ridley fancied himself as the John
McCrirrick of the greyhound world and, armed with the racing
section of the Metro, attempted to give tips to the less educated
among us. All hope of a big win was beginning to fade, when out
of nowhere, LCpl Mark Ryan found himself the holder of a
winning ticket and £72.50 richer. We didn’t see him get the drinks
in though!
By the ninth race, most people had decided to give gambling a
break and exchange money for beer directly. It was also about
this time that the East End of London began to lose its attraction
and the bright lights of the West End proved too hard to resist.
After much deliberating we finally found ourselves in the Cheers
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Bar on Piccadilly Circus. An enjoyable, if costly, night was had by
all.
241 SIGNAL SQUADRON
OC
YofS
Maj Don Pawlow
SSgt Mick Durrant
We are having difficulty remembering when the Sqn last featured
in The WIRE, so we thought it might not be a bad idea to give you
a brief idea of what we do. SHQ is in Donnington and provides
CIS, Crypto and Commcen support for 5 Div. This is a pretty large
piece of real estate encompassing the West Midlands, Wales and
SW England. As you would imagine, we are widely dispersed with
dets in Brecon, Bulford, Shrewsbury, Bramcote, Blandford,
Lulworth and Warminster. All of these dets are civilian manned,
with our 12 military posts based in Donnington - not that you will
ever find them here, because they are usually either in Brecon,
Bulford, Shrewsbury..…well, we are sure you get the picture.
The work is varied, ranging from repairing a faulty 100-pair cable
in Bulford to installing a network from scratch in Warminster.
There is some time for play and, despite being so far apart, we are
pretty well integrated bunch. The boss likes to take us on teambuilding walks now and again. All are invited, with civilians
carrying their sandwiches and the military, 30lbs! So much for
equality.
Well, enough from us this time around, but now we appear to
have broken our duck, we feel sure you will hear from us again.
242 SIGNAL SQUADRON
OC
Maj KJ Graham
EXERCISE NORTHERN EOFORWIC – 11-16 MAY 2003 - by Sgt
AM Ambury
The annual Sqn Adventure Training ex was conducted from the
Norwegian Lodge situated in the Glenmore Forest in the
Highlands of Scotland. Co-ordinating the exercise this year was
SSgt Graeme Scott from Pennine Tp, along with 9 Cadet Trg
Team, Strensall, who provided the instructor support and
expertise, Sgts �Al’ Brotheridge, John Shaw, Jim Nolan and Will
Williams. The 20 personnel who attended were drawn from
Pennine Tp, York; Grampian Tp, Edinburgh and Host Nation
Support, Balado Bridge.
Over the first two days we split into 2 groups and rotated between
Kayaking along Loch Insh, and Rock-Climbing and Abseiling in
Kinguisse. One of the more memorable moments was when Cpl
Fisher became rather concerned about an approaching rapid,
which resulted in him capsizing and squealing in a rather high
pitched manner, to the great amusement of all those around him
(though I’m sure he’ll deny it!).
LCpl Paul Atkinson’s excuse to the instructor as he hit a halfsubmerged tree was, �I can’t see without my glasses on!’ The rock
climbing was also a lot of fun, and varied in challenges from
medium to very hard. The instructors had the first real challenge in
getting Sig Kerry Tolhurst to climb into the minibus without
getting �disco-leg’! The third day we covered more difficult
climbing in Kinguisse, Kayaking (including getting our BCU Kayak
Two Star Qualification), and then ended the day with an overnight
trek using a bothy for accommodation.
The final day saw us enjoying a short hike through some lovely
scenery with the locals as part of the Aviemore International
Walking Festival, and finished with an exercise BBQ that was
planned and cooked by our chef, LCpl Larson from 1 RGJ.
The whole week proved to be a great success, providing a great
opportunity for all 3 tps to get together and work as a Sqn.
243 SIGNAL SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Maj JR James
WO2(SSM) P Brown
4 & 5 DIVISION SOUTHERN AREA SEMI FINAL SWIMMING
CHAMPIONSHIPS - by SSgt (YofS) Johns
�Yeoman, can you do 100 metres in 60 seconds?’ the Ops Offr
asked me. To which I replied, �Sir, I could walk it in less than that,’
345
thinking he meant running. �Okay, be at Bulford swimming pool
first thing tomorrow morning for a training session!’
It was at this point that I realised he meant swimming. So at
07.00hrs on a brisk Tuesday morning the Sqn hopefuls gathered
for the first trg session (or rather, the only trg session). After an
hour of grueling circuits, we were told that the competition would
be the following day in Aldershot. The Minor Unit competition
would pit us against the usual suspects, ATR Lichfield and 4 GS
Med Regt.
The Team would be racing in nine events, the first race seeing Cpl
Jim Lang in the 50m Freestyle. A good swim saw him second in a
time of 35.94 secs and the Team off to a good start. The next race
featured the Ops Officer, Capt Alan Patterson in the 50m
Backstroke. Again another excellent swim, with a time of 38.08
seconds. Next in the firing line was Cpl Jay Binnie, his mere
presence and size putting fear into the other racers. Jay produced
a fine example of the 50m Breaststroke to finish second with a
time of 43.08 seconds. Our ace in the pack, Sig Trigger Beasley,
then lined up for the 100m Freestyle. A confident race saw
Trigger easily pull away from the others to record a time of 1 min
04 secs - another 1st place.
Next was probably the most grueling of all the races of the day,
the 4 x 50m individual medley. For those who don’t know, the
unlucky victim/volunteer has to swim 50m backstroke, 50m
breaststroke, 50m butterfly and finally 50m freestyle. Our
representative was LCpl Steve Henderson. In a hard fought race
Steve produced an excellent result coming 2nd with a time of 3
mins 60 secs.
This was the last individual race and at this point the competition
was close, with ATR Lichfield having won 3 races and placed
second in 2, on 13 points and ourselves with 2 wins and 3
seconds on 12 points. Next were the relays, first up being the 4 x
50m Freestyle. An excellent performance by all saw the Team
finish 1st in a time of 2 mins 07 secs. Next relay was the 4 x 50m
Breaststroke, where a strong performance saw a time of 3 mins
04 secs, achieving 2nd place. With the scores after this event
being ATR Lichfield 23, 243 Sig Sqn 22, the team who won the
final event would walk away with the Div Championships. The 4 x
50m Medley Relay saw Capt Alan Patterson lead off on the
Backstroke leg and produce a commanding lead when handing
over to Cpl Jay Binnie for the Breaststroke. A strong swim saw
us improve the advantage when Jay handed over to Sig Trigger
Beasley for the Butterfly leg, who in turn handed over to LCpl
Steve Henderson for the Freestyle, with a lead of just under half
a length. Another excellent combined effort produced a time of 2
mins 24 secs and 1st place, securing the 5 Div Championship and
the Southern Area Semi Final, which has booked our place in the
Army Championships to be held on 25 June 2003. Look out for
the next installment.
251 SIGNAL SQUADRON
OC
Sqn SSgt
Maj Wally Drain
SSgt R Owen
FAREWELLS AND ARRIVALS
Firstly we bid a sad farewell from the Sqn to the OC, Maj Wally
Drain, who is posted to 16 Sig Regt. Good luck to him in his new
post as Regtl 2IC. He and his family will be greatly missed by the
Sqn. We have also said goodbye to Mr Derek Keen after 17 years
loyal service to the Sqn. Welcome to Capt Andy Campbell, who
takes over as Ops Offr, leaving Capt Keith Roach free to take
over the reins temporarily as Sqn OC - a job I’m sure he is looking
forward to. LCpl Hebenton, not content enough with his recent
deployment to Kosovo, is now off for a 4-month tour in the IS Cell
in the Falklands. Finally, we welcome Cpl Emily Ironmonger,
from 252 Sig Sqn, Germany.
VISIT OF NEXT SQUADRON COMMANDER
On 15 and 16 May the Sqn was visited by the OC (Des), Maj
Beecher, who takes over the Sqn on 11 August. During the visit,
SSgt Jim Bromfield had to take on the role as acting SSM, as
SSgt Rick Owen was on leave. It was to be a challenging day for
SSgt Bromfield, as his drill has become a bit rusty after many
years’ service as a TA soldier. However, after a few last minute
pointers from SSgt Owen, his memory was suitably refreshed and
the visit was very successful.
CONGRATULATIONS
Congratulations to Cpls Frain, Hart and Turner for successfully
passing their T1 entrance exams and to Sgt Nikki Coombes and
Sgt Pete Nealis on their recent selection for promotion to SSgt.
Congratulations and best wishes go to LCpl Richards who, on 19
April in Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies, married the lovely
Natasha Tuckett. We welcome Natasha to Britain for her first
stay, and promise her that the rest of England is not like
Aldershot!
HOGSBACK BREWERY
Life in Aldershot has not been all exams, promotions and
marriages this month. Despite being pregnant, Sgt Judith Allsop
ensured that our Sqn’s love of alcohol was not neglected by
organising a hiccup in Aldershot’s local Hogsback Brewery. A
great evening was made even better as we continued the
celebrations at a local restaurant. We look forward to the next
event with eager anticipation.
16 SIGNAL REGIMENT
CO
RSM
LtCol CJ Thackray
WO1 (RSM) Fisher
�Summer time and the living is easy. Fish are jumping and the
cotton is high’ penned Cole Porter, and from our perspective he
may be right. With the disappointment of �Yes TELIC 1, Maybe
TELIC 1, No TELIC 1, Yes TELIC 2, Maybe TELIC 2 and No TELIC
2’ we have been able to draw breath and turn our minds towards
more domestic issues. Recent happenings have been centred
around prep for RSIT and the Regtl Battle Camp (see Trg Wing
submission). The lull in external activities also produced the
opportunity for the offrs to jump ship on a couple of occasions;
the First to Portugal and Spain for the 1 Sig Bde battlefield tour,
and the other to the wilds of Snowdonia for some hiking.
The Bde battlefield tour was a splendid affair that followed the
fortunes of Wellington’s Army during the Peninsula Campaign.
The Regtl presentation on the weapons and armaments of the day
was professionally performed (complete with period dress) by
346
The Adjutant catches up on his beauty sleep at Porto Airport at
the end of the Battlefield Tour
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Capts AJ Smith, Lee Keily and Nat Baker ably assisted by Lt
Sarah Clifford and Sgt Maj �Angry’ Angove. It was reassuring to
see that then, as indeed now, so much depended on the Army’s
Late Entry fraternity (no prizes for guessing the background of the
author of these notes).
WIRE notes. He now intends to dedicate what spare time his new
job allows in lobbying the MOD to raise the age ceiling of LEs for
Pink List selection.
With the ink barely dry on the postcards from that excursion, the
offrs took off for less exotic climes, the high, wild and wet
wastelands of the Snowdonia National Park. EX GREEN
RAMBLER was organised by Lt Tish Hodson and saw some 25
offrs sampling the salubrious delights of Capel Curig Trg Camp.
The activities consisted of a day’s slog over some very impressive
lumps in the ground, led by LtCol JakeThackray. The second
day followed a similar theme, only higher longer and wetter, with
the added delight of a night under canvas. Everyone had brought
their own anesthetic-cum-sleeping potion, contained of course in
the same bottle.
OC
SSM
HEADQUARTER SQUADRON
Maj Guy Richards
WO2 Gaz Greaves
Life in HQ Sqn continues to be busy in support of all Regtl
activities. We have just entered an extremely busy period,
encompassing both RSIT and the good old LSI. This being the
case, you would expect to find everybody busy at work with no
time for play. Not the case with this Sqn though, being the total
professional, dedicated people that we are, we have still found
time for the odd party, game of golf, and a battle camp.
MT TROOP
MTWO
MT Sgt
WO2 C Batley
Sgt S Tremain
We say farewell to LCpl Lester, who has moved to 7 Sig Regt; to
Sig Halley, who has moved to 4 Armd Bde; and to Sgt Jim
Pritchard, who has moved to the end other end of the building as
SQMS.
We welcome LCpl Louis Vint, Sigs Pestell, Jamie Bramald,
Mick Stoker, his wife Steph and their daughter Frankie. We
hope they all enjoy their tour with MT.
TM TROOP
Tp Comd
Tp SSgt
The Officers line up for photo shoot prior to their attempt on the
north face of Snowdon
On the sports front we had a couple of successes to boast about.
WO1 ASM Hirchall took a team of three to the Army Fencing
Championships. This is a sport that he has nurtured for some
time, and his efforts were rewarded with the 3-man team picking
up the silver medal in the team event. The soccer season finished
with team picking up the North Rhine Inter-Service League Trophy
and winning the coveted Siggies Cup. The Siggies Cup is an RAF
sponsored 5-a-side competition held in JHQ. It was the first time
that Army units had been invited to compete, and probably the
last.
The Regtl golf season kicked off on 2 April with the inaugural
�Ryder Cup’ played between HQ Sqn and the LAD. After the
morning’s four-balls, the scores were extremely close with only
half a point in it. The afternoon singles saw more of the same
close action, and it wasn’t until HQ’s last player, WO2 Dave
Coleman, came in with a win that we knew the team had won 8 –
7. Well done to HQ Sqn.
Thanks go to the competition organiser, Cpl Phil Robson. A great
day was had by all - so much in fact that we are going to do it
again later in the year. The Bradbury Cup, sponsored by Ideal
Homes Furniture, and the first of three �Bradbury’ series of golf
events the Regt holds, and was played for on 30 April. Special
thanks go to Sgt Paul Taylor for his meticulous planning and
execution of the day’s events. The prizes are too many to name,
but the results of the three main competitions were: Scratch
Winner: Cpl Phil Robson; Handicap Winner: Sgt Al Stubberfield;
and Texas Scramble Winners: Sig Craig Toshack, LCpl Nige
Foulkes and WO2 Taff Osbourne.
The JHQ area pretty much came to a standstill on a certain Friday
in May. Additional RMP were drafted in to assist in crowd control
and no expense was spared in the press hospitality tent. The
occasion was the final event of the orienteering season and final
event for secretary of 5 years, Maj Pete Doherty. Unfortunately
Sir Bobby Robson’s flight was aborted at the last minute owing
to leaves on the runway, so it was left to Col David Hargreaves
to provide the kind words. Maj Pete, in a moving speech, said he
would be missing neither running the League nor compiling The
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
WO1(FofS) C Hamilton
SSgt T Black
April has been a busy month in TM Tp, what with being warned
for ops again and then stood down again. Many of the Tp have
been involved in inter-operability exs involving our NATO friends,
and have enjoyed an introduction to a lot of other nations’
traditions.
We say a warm welcome to LCpl Harker, and wish him, his wife
and three children all the best; to LCpl Greenwood, from
Blandford; and to Sig Gill and his new wife. LCpl Gildea has left
us to join 16 Air Asslt Bde Sig Sqn. We also said farewell to Cpls
O’Neil and Cadogan, who have returned to Blandford on their T1
Course and to Cpl Thornton, who has returned to Blandford as
part of the Bowman Team.
TRAINING WING
Trg Wing WO
WO2 (RTWO) Andy Jones
We welcome our new RTWO, WO2 (SSM) Andy Jones and his
wife Hieke. We say farewell to Sgt Ross Thubron and Kirsty,
who have gone to Blandford so Ross can do his Yeoman’s
course.
May has been a busy time for the Trg Wing staff with the planning,
prep and build-up for the Regtl Battle Camp, EX GREEN GAMBIT
03. The chosen few deployed to Sennelager Trg Area on Monday
19 May. The first few days were spent covering the annual ITDs,
Live Firing 4, Live Firing 9 and (APWT)TS, which went according
to plan, along with the rain that we ordered. The night nav saw
the German police turn up, requesting info about soldiers running
around the local houses. Capt Gordon Wills had to explain.
Various battle lessons took place throughout the week, including
anti-ambush drills, fighting in woods and forest (FIWAF), battle
casualty handling drills and mine awareness. Pl and Sec comds
were instructed on the orders process, which was put to good use
on the ex phase. The final ex phase included an arduous 24 hrs
defending a comms site, ambushes and recces, and concluded
with a coy assault in the FIBUA village. The new ISAWES equipt
(loaned by SAAB Trg Systems) made the assault very realistic.
The pl comds, Lts Tara Kane, Ben Stone and Sarah Clifford
soon learned how lethal enemy sniper fire was after loosing half
their guys, and had to re-think their gung-ho tactics to outsmart
their adversaries. And they did, much to the surprise of the en
comd, Lt Graham Dorrington.
It was an excellent battle camp with many noteworthy
performances, and the following personnel were singled out to
347
receive recognition from the CO for their efforts: Best team player,
Sig Yarwood; Most improved field soldier, Sig Jabba Hutt; and
Best field soldier: Sig John. Well done to all.
celebrate. With a range of various deployments on their way for H
Tp, morale is high and everyone’s looking forward to those
Saturdays down at the Blue Lagoon in summer.
CIS TROOP
Tp Comd
Capt Dick Rutherford
The pressure continues for IS Tp, with a constant stream of exs
and equipt trials and our usual support to HQ ARRC in the Big
House. SSgt Marty Abraham led his band of merry men to
Baumholder for EX COMBINED ENDEAVOUR. WO1 (ASM) John
Hadjicostas (REME) and his team finally departed for Italy to take
part in the ARRC Deploy Ex and WO1 (ASM) Gary Hutcheson
(REME) departed with a small team to take part in EX CATHODE
EMISSION. Meanwhile in the Big House, SSgt Craig Dickman
(AGC) and Sgt Dave Skingley with a small team, have, in a very
short space of time, built EXCON in the old MND(C) corridor. WO1
Stumpy Rudenko (RADC) and his gang have continued to pull
rabbits from hats to provide IT trg for the ARRC Staff - often at
short notice and with constantly changing goal posts.
Sig Jabba Hutt picks up the most improved soldier award
from the CO
The ex concluded with a �smoker’ and video of the whole exercise
filmed by Cpl Boswell. Many thanks to the instructors for their
hard work and dedication, and a final word of thanks to those
unsung heroes the chefs, who made sure we were fed, no matter
how many times the programme changed.
255 SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Maj Ashley Hayden
WO2 Paul Storey
The pace of life never slows in this Sqn. We have recently
deployed on several multinational inter-operability exs and Regtl
Battle Camp, whilst many of our personnel are backfilling jobs on
OP TELIC and other on-going ops. And this is the quiet period
before the build up for EX ARRCADE FUSION!
The �all change’ in the Sqn hierarchy continues to go well, with the
2IC, Capt Gunny Gunson departing for Upavon and SSM Den
Yates moving across to become RQMS(A). This has meant new
blood in, and we welcome WO2(FofS) Gaz Clapham and WO2
(SSM) Paul Storey. It has even been rumoured that we will get a
Yeoman before the year is out
H TROOP
Tp Comd
Tp SSgt
Lt Bree Looker RASigs
SSgt Fudge MacPhee
Our usual OC, Lt Emily Greenwood, has left for Australia on EX
LONG LOOK. Lt Bree Looker has traded places with her and is
our boss until 15 September. Lt Looker has begun teaching us
Aussie Rules football on Wednesday afternoons. We are having a
match with 7 Sig Regt at the beginning of September, so every
second counts. Aussie Rules took a bit of time for our troops to
understand and SSgt MacPhee ended up in the Sin Bin for a few
minutes for playing rugby. He didn’t like this, but I’m sure that
we’ll all understand the game in good time for the tournament.
New arrivals are Cpl Lowe from 15 Sig Regt, LCpl Mikee Kervell
from JCUNI and Sig Moffatt straight out of the factory.
As for deployments, we’ve been all over the place. Cpls Micky
Lake, Phil Brown, LCpl Sean Peart and Sigs Bishop and Brett
Naylor have been mechanising Iraq on OP TELIC. Cpl Green,
LCpls Vincent, Crooks and Sig Russell are doing their stuff
down under…in the Falklands. LCpl Joughlin and Sig Brown are
looking after the phone lines as the SMART Team in Kosovo and
Cpl Davey and LCpl Wells are on the same detail in Bosnia. And
too many people to mention have also been out to Bosnia or
Kosovo on various short-term CPO projects. Most of the Tp
deployed on the Regtl battle camp, EX GREEN GAMBIT. Cpls
Cooper, Rob Shubert, LCpl Mikee Kervell and Sigs Al Aston
and Mikey Goddard are currently in Italy on EX COMBINED
ENDEAVOUR, an AARC ex.
Fitness and Sport continues to be a major part of H Tp life. The Tp
ran as one on the BrГјggen 10 then had a BBQ afterwards to
348
On the op front, we welcome back from OP TELIC, Cpls Paddy
Briggs and Tam Mooney and from OP OCULUS, Cpl Mick
Kenning.
We say goodbye and good luck for OP TELIC 2 to Sgt Steve
Voyse, Cpls Paul Brown, Daz Kirby, Chicken McLuckie and
Daz Pruess. Sgt Dave Whitfield goes to Cyprus; Cpl Mick
Bannister, to Bulford and Cpl Russ Russell, first to the Balkans
and then back to 280 Sig Sqn. The promotions continue, with
congratulations going to: WO1 (ASM) Daz Edwards (REME);
WO2 Paul Waters on his selection for WO1; and to Sgts Dave
Skingley and Kim Castledine on their selection for SSgt.
Hellos to Cpls Frankie Franklin and Grubber Melia. Now that
the paper work is complete, we welcome the following on transfer
to RSigs: WO2s Paul Waters, Dave Brett, Lee Crugten, Di
Hazelden, Andy Hole, Taff Osbourne, and Tom Ward, SSgts
Colin Leech, Bernie Milburn, Richie Nichol, and Nige
Williamson and Sgt Geordie Gowland.
EXERCISE COMBINED ENDEAVOUR 2003 – by Cpl Si Vickers
EX COMBINED ENDEAVOUR is a multi-national inter-operability
ex sponsored by USAEUR. It is held every year in the picturesque
location of Baumholder, near Mainz, South West Germany. The ex
this year involved 38 nations, including many former Eastern
Block countries and South Africa, each trying to see if their
Switching Systems, IT Systems and SATCOM Systems will work
together.
It is also used to promote social inter-operability between the
nations (this sometimes can be more important than the
technical). IS Tp sent a contingent to provide two LANs, GP3 and
many experts in different fields. We also provided personnel to
assist in the collection of data. Data collected on these tests are
entered on a database and distributed to all participation units for
use on future ops.
This year’s ex proved a success once again, with all members
gaining a greater knowledge and understanding of problems that
can arise between different systems. The data collectors realised
that problems can also arise in verbal comms such as when
dealing with a country who �don’t speaka da Inglish’ that well. On
occasion, this led to the opposite of what we asked them to do.
MAN TROOP
Tp Comd
Tp SSgt
Lt Tara Kane
SSgt Barney Balmforth
After a session of meticulous SOP checks, our Sqn set upon EX
GREEN GAMBIT in which we were firm favourites to win best
platoon. We didn’t disappoint! Congratulations go to Sig John for
winning the Best Soldier Award, and 3 Platoon, who won Best
Platoon Award.
We say goodbye to Sig Grainger, Cpl Steve Carroll, and quick
hello goodbye to LCpl Phil Mulligan, who not long after arriving
departs for OP TELIC 2. Welcome to Sig Ian Riley from 230 Sqn
and to Lt Tara Kane, who was brave enough to take on the Tp.
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
SUPPORT TROOP
Tp Comd
Tp SSgt
2Lt Graham Dorrington
SSgt Frankie Greenwood
The last few months have seen the Tp return to its more familiar
level of (under) manning, with 5 people leaving us. Farewell to
LCpl Dave Mark, who is posted to 12 Mech Bde Sig Sqn. Cpl Ali
Richardson returns to Blandford and Cpl Pete Stewart is off to
Cyprus. Cpl Simpkins is posted to 30 Sig Regt and 2Lt Chris
Humphrey now returns to civilian life.
21 SIGNAL REGIMENT
(AIR SUPPORT)
CO
RSM
Lt Col I Hooper
WO1 (RSM) G Smith
HEADQUARTER SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Maj SJ Morgan
WO2 (SSM) AA Chapman
Following the rapid completion of the war-fighting phase of OP
TELIC, the majority of HQ Sqn personnel who deployed to the
Gulf have now returned to Colerne, where they await the
inevitable medals parade! In SHQ the OC, Maj Steve Morgan, is
now back in the chair, much to the relief of 2IC, Capt Tony Barry,
who no longer has to keep his fingers crossed as draft CRs are
mailed around the world. At the other end of camp in the SQMS
Dept, we welcome SSgt (SQMS) �Midge’ Midgely, who has
moved across from the MT. He celebrated his move to the Q
world with the dubious honour of being sent to Folkestone as
Camp SSM/SQMS for the Regtl Battle Camp.
MT DEPARTMENT
MTO
Capt A J Barry
MTWO
WO2 (MTWO) B Rigby
After a well-deserved leave, we welcome back from OP TELIC Sig
Mick Berry. Sgt Andy Paling is also back and was promoted to
SSgt 10 minutes after reporting for work. Congratulations! Their
suntans may be faded, but the war stories keep on coming. We
say farewell and best wishes to LCpl Greg Ward, joining 102 Log
Bde HQ & Sig Sqn in GГјtersloh, and to Cpl Steve Jay posted to
AFNORTH.
Congratulations to Cpl �Jono’ Johnson and his wife, Maria on the
birth of their baby daughter, Jessica.
WO2 (MTWO) Bernie Rigby has now left us temporarily for a
short stay at Basra International Airport (BIA) as RQMS of the
Joint Heli Force Sig Sqn, leaving SSgt Andy Paling to take up the
reins as Acting MTWO.
The MTO deployed to Battle Camp to run ranges, along with LCpl
Bibby, who was MT Rep and ambulance driver, hanging around
the ranges waiting for an accident to happen! Cpl Jay, LCpl
Molyneux and Sig Lewis were also there, wearing cam cream
and wishing that they had been selected to be MT Rep.
The MT’s star runner, Sig Chep Chepkwony, having recovered
from the injury sustained during the cross-country season, started
this year’s athletics season with a bang. In the last weekend of
April he was victorious in the St George’s Corsham 10km road
race, the first of 400 competitors home. The following weekend
saw Chep competing in the 5000m for Bath Athletics Club. Chep
later managed to break the Wiltshire 5000m record.
Congratulations on your successes so far, and best of luck for the
remainder of the season.
QM TECHNICAL
QM
RQMS
Capt A Balsdon
WO2 (RQMS) JJ Johnston
It has been quite quiet in the QM Tech Dept lately, as half of our
small Dept are still on OP TELIC. Sig Ian Ashcroft has been
battered black and blue after representing the Regt in rugby
union, while Sig Simon Morse has been spending his hardearned cash on another boy-racer car. Capt Alan Balsdon has
recently arrived to take over as QM Tech from Capt Pete
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Griffiths, who can’t wait to take over as 2IC Trg Wing at
Blandford. We congratulate Cpl Kerry Varley (formerly Johnston),
who got married earlier this year to Cpl Rob Varley and is now
expecting an addition to the family.
220 SIGNAL SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Maj SM Mannings
WO2 (SSM) D Taylor
STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS ON OPERATION TELIC
The JHF Sig Sqn, under the command of Maj Spencer
Mannings, deployed to provide robust tactical and strategic
comms to support the JHF. The tactical systems we provided
were Combat Net Radio, both Comd and Ground-to-Air Nets,
Ptarmigan secure voice and data, and voice and data over the
Light Weight Recce Node (LWRN). On the strategic side, we
provided a plethora of secure systems. This was enabled through
the deployment of TALON dets. TALON, a satellite bearer system,
had not been deployed by the Regt before. The TALON nodes
were deployed, built and managed with crews drawn from 21, 2
and 30 Sig Regts.
Three TALON Nodes were deployed, under the guidance of WO1
(FofS) Paul Lewis. They were established at the HQ, the Main
Operating Base (MOB) and the Logistic Support Site (LSS), and
proved to be a challenge for all concerned.
The JHF Main HQ TALON det was manned by a complete 30 Sig
Regt team. SSgt Tony McBean was Tp Comd, with Cpl Andy
Campbell as Det Comd. They were accompanied by Cpl Kev
Limbert, as duty tech (for tech, read whinger!) and LCpl Phil
Keen, as someone who actually knew about comms! Fortunately,
we had the benefit of much direction from WO1(FofS) Paul
Lewis, 21 Sig Regt’s Foreman, who we immediately suspected of
having a dangerously high level of sugar in his daily diet!
The arrival of the rest of our Det, in the form of Cpl JT Taylor as
another tech, LCpl Si Goddard as our Gene Op, and Sigs Saun
Hanes, Roger Livesey and Marie Warner as ops, saw the
routine settle down to a steady pace. Problems never seemed to
be far away though. The Kuwaiti heat was one of the first things to
claim victims, with equipment failing in the temperatures that
routinely exceeded 40o C, and usually before lunchtime! However,
despite the high temperatures and the disruption of donning
respirators, morale never flagged. Instant amusement was
provided when Cpl Kev Limbert was shown even the smallest
creepy-crawly. Many an evening was spent watching him run
away screaming, and on one occasion straight into the JHF
Comd’s evening brief!
At the LSS, the lack of experience on the satellite and the tails
could have posed a problem. But, with the invaluable knowledge
of Cpl Micky Turner and Cpl Leslie, we managed to establish
comms much quicker than expected. Patron (Secure Voice via
satellite) was established very quickly and X-Net, (a faster and
more up to date version of ATaCS) was engineered shortly
afterwards, making the passage of data around theatre a lot
quicker.
Sig �Brummie’ Taylor took over as Det Comd for the LSS TALON.
SSgt �Taff’ Jones and his team of techs managed to engineer the
remaining data systems of AMSCERPS (a Signal Messaging
service allowing quick and easy passage of signals to and from
349
the UK) and Pt-to-Pt Fax, which came in handy when AMSCERPS
crashed, or when the Ptarmigan link was too weak to pass data
successfully.
The SSM, WO2 (SSM) Kev O’Neill, was a little concerned that the
white TALON dome was not very tactical. But after a few weeks of
sandstorms, it developed a natural sand colour and blended in
quite well.
Considering the very little trg and experience we had, this
deployment of TALON Nodes was a huge achievement, and a
remarkable engineering feat, for which a great deal of credit is due
to FofS Lewis and all crews.
SAFWAN FARP GROUP CROSS THE KUWAIT – IRAQI
BORDER –by Cpl Jenkins
A small element of the JHF Sig Sqn were tasked with providing
comms support to the Fwd Arming and Refuelling Point (FARP) for
the JHF helis. The FARP group crossed the berm on D+1,
establishing at SAFWAN HILL, just North of the Kuwaiti-Iraqi
border. This op involved a team of 23 personnel from 21 Sig Regt,
commanded by Capt Courage. It comprised 3 comms dets
providing ground-to-air, VHF, HF and SCRA(T); a Rebro station; an
LO det; a FRT and a veh recovery asset. 21 Sig Regt (AS) also
provided a MAOT det.
My FOB det was tasked with providing the CP facility for the
FARP Comd, an RAF Regt Wg Cdr. Initially I was to be detached
to a US Marine Corps Recce Unit with a 320 manpack radio. My
role was to provide HF Data comms for the Ops Offr of 51 Sqn,
RAF Regt. Once the airfield had been secured by the US Marine
Recce Unit, it was my job, under the direction of the 51 Sqn RAF
Regt Ops Offr, to call forward the CP and other elements of the
FARP group. Before deploying, SSM O’Neil said to me �You may
see some action.’ He was certainly right. On reflection, it was
certainly an experience to tell the grandchildren about!
Shortly after arriving in Kuwait, we were thrown straight into an
intensive week of prep and mission rehearsals for the SAFWAN
op. We finally moved north to our assembly areas with my det
meeting up with the US Marine Corps Recce Unit. On 20 March
03 at 15.30Z (H hr) we deployed north for the border. After
watching an immense display of firepower being directed at Iraqi
targets, the US Armd Veh that I was travelling in engaged an Iraqi
Border Post building about 4km south of the border with its 25mm
HE cannon rounds. The noise and vibrations were unbelievable.
We then watched the arty bombardment and close air support by
the Cobra helis on SAFWAN Hill (151m - the highest hill in
southern Iraq), later to be occupied by our Rebro det. Following a
short respite, we heard enemy arty exploding a bit too close for
comfort. Thankfully, it was time to leave and get back to safety.
There was a slight change of plan, the American Recce Unit was
re-tasked and I was reunited with my det. I have never been so
pleased to see the friendly faces of Sgt Langridge, Sig
Gallagher, LCpl Connor, Sig Sunderland and Capt Courage.
We were then later joined at SAFWAN by the other dets, who had
been patiently waiting south of the border – bullet dodgers, Cpl
Lucas, LCpl Young, Sig Lampard and Sig White. It was nonstop for the next 48 hrs while the antenna field grew and we
engineered the comms in. We settled in to a shift pattern and had
the additional task of providing comms for the CASEVAC Team,
who had 2 Pumas at the SAFWAN FARP site. This first week was
very busy. 51 Sqn, RAF Regt were also very busy on patrol in the
SAFWAN area. Additionally, medical aid and humanitarian support
were delivered to the local population. Charlie Tp Comd, Lt
Hannaford, then arrived with her slippers in hand from Ali Al
Salem!
Sig Rory Gallagher on captured Iraqi Anti Aircraft Gun
on Hill 151 from Cpl Janine Teague, LCpl Kingshot and Sig
Heighton. We also must not forget the MAOT crew, Cpl Salmon
and Sig Foan.
On the 17 April 03 our SAFWAN vacation came to an end (as do
all good things) and we received our orders to close down and
move up to BIA to await further tasking.
JHF HQ MOVE
The majority of personnel from 21 Sig Regt (AS) had been based
at Camp Rhino (within the American Camp Commando) for the
larger part of two months. Living conditions were actually very
comfortable and food plentiful on �Op Tell Everyone Lunch Is
Chicken.’ Despite the usual reply, �It’s on the boat’ to any request
for equipment, we were well equipped. Everything was running
smoothly, and we had a plethora of info systems for the Staff.
At the start of the war, JHF remained at Camp Rhino. We thought
we would be safe �in the gear with the RAF’, but on the first day, a
Seersucker landed at front gates of Camp Commando, giving us
all a reality check as to how vulnerable we all were. We were then
to spend our time diving in and out of Scud bunkers, in various
states of NBC dress at about 5 min intervals. As the weeks went
by, JHF were still located in Camp Rhino. By this stage, we truly
were at the rear – we even had to go north to pick up the loo rolls
on resup!
Eventually the plan to move was finalised and JHF’s next
destination was BIA, to which we moved on 10 April. The clearing
up that was required there was no small task (not to mention all
the poo left in the corners of each room!). A big thanks to the 2
and 10 Sig Regt inst techs for their help - they were literally up to
their elbows in it! After a few days of hard graft the site was in a
suitable condition ready to receive the Staff.
SSgt Steve Pope, Sgt Helen Nolan and Sgt Nick Tipping
deployed as an advance party from Camp Rhino to Ali Al Salem
Air Base, where the Staff were to move to to move control from
the HQ to the flying site. After we led them by the hand to their
desks and explaining the working environment of the MOB site,
they very quickly settled in. This may have been a new loc, but
they brought with them old habits. They still had to be shown
where the water was and where the bin bags got put when they
were full!
On 29 Mar Sig Gallagher experienced a barrage of interference
on a number of HF frequencies, including the Force Comd Net. A
constant tone disrupted the net for 35-40 minutes. An interpreter
was able to identify 2 separate Iraqi transmitter stations
broadcasting propaganda against Coalition Forces. This
information led to the subsequent neutralisation of the transmitter
stations. Nice one, lads!
After much deliberation and delay, HQ finally got the call to tear
down and move north on 16 April. The speed and enthusiasm
with which the HQ was torn down reflected the eagerness of
everyone to move. The dets were all packed up, lined up and
ready to move when we were told, �About half an hour, lads. We
are just waiting for the REME……’ 5 hrs later we left - and in
darkness. Concentrations were focused at the border checkpoint
when Convoy Comd, Captain Courage, informed us that there
had been some shootings from the overhead bridges on the main
route. After one U-turn and one breakdown, we arrived at the
police station, our new home. For some this was their first night in
a police station: for others we weren’t so certain!
The dets at SAFWAN were provided with essential support from
Cpl Russell, LCpl Clamp, Cpl Harden, Cfn Phillips and LCpl
Davison; the LO det for OC 51 Sqn, RAF Regt and the RRB Crew
Thanks to an installation team from 2 Sig Regt, who supplied our
entire fibre and cable infrastructure, the set up was relatively
quick. After only 36 hours, comms were established, the Staff
350
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
could be moved into Iraq and subsequently JHF Main HQ was
firmly established in BIA. This meant that we could start sending
some of the Regt home (much to their delight!). Farewells went to
the old RDC crew, Cpl Si Chaffer, LCpl Glenn Sheppard, Sig
Matt Scarff, Sig Al Davies, Sig Mike Corlett and Sig Ben
McFarland. Departing for colder climes, they left Cpl Hazard and
Sig Karin Whyte as the only original members of the RDC still
slaving over a hot ULS and some radios. Hi and bye went to LCpl
Whitehead and LCpl Al Cowan, who had done an outstanding
job at a whole range of tasks.
LIFE AT THE LOGISTIC SUPPORT SITE (LSS)
The LSS was established at the Ali Al Salem airbase back in
February. It was set up with SAN899, 2 rad dets and a TALON
node. Once we were set up and all the hard work was done, 2Lt
Wright thought he would do something he was good at - making
signs. It only took him 2 days, but at least everyone knew where
the car park was! At the same time SSgt Dutton found the
Internet and decided to join the ISM team. At least you would
think so, judging by the amount of time he spent on the computer!
When the lads finally got to check their E-mails (when SSgt
Dutton was asleep) they found the �Am I hot or not?’ website. Sig
Jimmy Cullen was definitely NOT!
On 20 March 03 it was finally time to close down the LSS. The
vehs were all packed up and sat in the Zulu Muster waiting to go
back to the UK. The crews weren’t so lucky - they had to take
over from the 244 Sqn dets at MOB. After being in control for just
24 hrs, comms were finally solid and the links didn’t drop for the
rest of our time there. At the MOB det there was no Internet, so
SSgt Dutton found a new job as car park attendant at the Zulu
Muster point. All he needed was a book of raffle tickets and a
deck chair and he really would have looked the part. At LSS we
had the honour of being the only JHF SAN to provide all the
facilities and have continuous comms throughout the tour!
244 SIGNAL SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Maj SO France
WO2 (SSM) Brown
A period of great change in 244 Sig Sqn. We welcome back our
guys from OP TELIC and congratulate the lucky few who will be
going out again! In June, 244 Sig Sqn will replace 220 Sig Sqn in
Basra. Around half of the Sqn will be deploying, as OP TELIC will
be an ongoing commitment for the Regt. In preparation for tour,
the Regt has just completed EX RED BEAUFIGHTER, our annual
battle camp. This year we saw the sunny delights of St Martin’s
Plain at Folkestone. With excellent range packages and a 3 day
FTX all based on peace support ops, this was a very enjoyable
battle camp. With a mock-up village and a rather too realistic
civpop, the Sqn is now certainly ready for what Iraq has to offer.
We say farewell to WO2 (SSM) Carl Budding, who leaves on
promotion and congratulate WO2 (SSM) Dave Taylor also on
gaining a well deserved promotion - but commiserate with him for
being posted to 220 Sig Sqn! In their place we welcome WO2
(SSM) Brown and SSgt (SQMS) Mark Morgan. We say a further
farewell to SSgt (FofS) Bo Pradhan who again leaves on
promotion and welcome SSgt (FofS) Lyndan Box as
replacement. Finally, we say a large farewell to Capt Andy Hill,
who is posted to Portsmouth and welcome Capt Tom Day as our
new 2IC.
ALPHA TROOP
Tp Comd
Tp SSgt
2Lt C Hill
SSgt S Cain
The daily sandstorms took their toll, blowing away an RAF 12 x 12
tent that had not been pegged down properly and thus taking out
our PU12 mast! As soon as hostilities commenced, Scud
warnings were coming in thick and fast, improving our donning of
respirator times. Cpl Dan Slaughter got the golden maggot
award for staying in his doss bag for the entire war, whilst LCpl
Andy Weekes never made a shift change on time due to waxing
his hair, topping his tan or chatting up the J1 girls.
The MOB was tasked with assuming control whilst Main HQ
moved up to Basra. The move went well, but we stayed at the
rear with the gear. All in all it was a good tour and those that didn’t
deploy with us now have their chance as they deploy on OP
TELIC 2.
BRAVO TROOP
Tp Comd
Tp SSgt
Lt L Fish
SSgt M Pay
This has been a very busy time of late with half the Tp deployed
on OP TELIC and the other half keeping the home fires burning.
Our boss, Lt Lucy Fish, has also gone on a swan to the Falkland
Islands for 4 months. We say farewell to SSgt Andy Gill, who has
gone to the Province on promotion to SSM. Also leaving us are
LCpl Steve Parsons to NI and Sigs Mike Lake and Steve Oxley
who will leave shortly to civ div. Good luck, lads.
We welcome from Blandford LCpl Chris Powell, Sigs Cassi
Fewtrell, Tania Davis and Gemma Salvidge. On the recent
demise of 249 Sig Sqn, we have gained some of their arctic
warriors, Cpl Gordon Sustins and Cpl Richie Hewitt, Sig Kev
Burnand and Sig Richard Christopher. Welcome to all. Hope
your tour goes well.
BRAVO TROOP ON OPERATION TELIC
After many weeks’ trg and waiting around, a select few from
Bravo Tp finally deployed on OP TELIC around mid February. We
were tasked to provide 3 FFRs and 9 personnel in support of 220
Sig Sqn Gp. Cpl Ireson, Sig Horne and Sig Taylor, were tasked
to work and maintain the TALON satellite system, but once in
theatre, Cpl Ireson found himself providing a very important
SCRA(T) link, Sig Horne found himself operating at the MOB and
Sig Taylor found himself operating at the LSS TALON det.
The FFRs were tasked with a variety of roles: one, under LCpl
Simon was tasked with the role of CO’s vehicle, where he
travelled the most miles (many being on the 3-mile running track
at Camp Commando!) The other two FFRs were tasked to provide
a FOB or Flying Site, for both the Chinook and Puma aircraft, if
and when required. Within days of arriving at Ali Al Salem airbase,
the det was deployed north to provide the RAF with some
shakeout training. During this time, Cpl Kev Rutherford got his
first taste of the Kuwait wild life, when a rather large beetle
decided it would like to make a nice warm home in his hair! After
a few days, the det returned to Ali Al Salem and found themselves
separated, one FFR being at the Chinook flying site under Cpl
Chaz Charnley, the other being at the Puma site under Cpl
Rutherford. It was here that Sig Williams shot to fame by on
getting onto the front page of the Daily Mail! What can we say?
He’s a PTI... The Chinook site turned into a trade training school,
with lessons given every day to the RAF about the different
components of Ptarmigan. Sig Phillips and Cpl Charnley set
about digging in, while Sig Croston tried to work out how to let
the Padre know that on one of his visits, he had run over one of
the 12-metre masts. However, nobody could find the right words,
so it was decided that they would drop the subject and accept it
as an act of God.
ALPHA TROOP ON OPERATION TELIC
With the smell of war in the air, every one was eager to deploy to
Kuwait and start doing what we are paid for. We finally got our
date to deploy and flew with the wagons on an Antinov plane to
Kuwait. Some 48 hours later, after the RAF had finished moving
us about, we arrived at Ali Al Salem Air Base, where we set up our
det at MOB to provide ground to air comms for 18 Sqn (Chinook)
and 33 Sqn (Puma) RAF (JHF), some 18 aircraft.
The next couple of weeks we spent prepping for the inevitable,
filling sandbags and generating our own exaggerated war stories.
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
HOTEL TROOP
Tp Comd
Tp SSgt
Lt Z White
SSgt G Smillie
For the foreseeable future Hotel Tp looks like being fragmented by
OP TELIC 2. An ideal time then to hand over the Tp to SSgt Gaz
Smillie, who joins us up in the hangar from a mammoth 12-year
tour at 264 Sqn. The look of joy spreading across Sgt Hook’s
face as he handed over the ration returns and nominal rolls was
not particularly cleverly hidden!
351
The majority of the Tp deployed to Battle Camp at Lydd and
Hythe for a fortnight, and all concerned acquitted themselves
well. Of note are the performances on the Hythe Ranges by LCpl
Nicholson and Sig Airstone, who achieved second and third
place for the range week. Sig Blagg also provided amusement
on the Urban Village range, when he opened up with his GPMG
on the civ pop crowd…. Maybe another quick look at ROE is
required
By the time this goes to print, another 15 of the Tp will be facing
the challenges of operating and living in the desert/international
airport environment. Reports of temperatures up to 59В° C have
sent people scurrying to replace their Hawaiian Tropic Factor 2
Bronzing Oil with something a little stronger.
JULIET TROOP
Tp Comd
Tp SSgt
Capt (QGO) Yamkumar Gurung
SSgt Surje Gurung
formed under 244 Sig Sqn as Juliet Tp. Both 250 GSS and 246
GSS were deployed to the Gulf, which has delayed the arrival of
the reinforcement package 248 GSS was to receive from 246 GSS
to form the Sqn.
During the short span of 2 weeks, we had the opportunity to
familiarise with the camp, its surroundings and the workplace. The
people in the barracks vicinity and the local area were eagerly
awaiting our arrival in the Regt. The primary school in Colerne
Village printed out all the signs in Nepali script to welcome the
small contingent of Gurkha children. A short article about Gurkhas
in the local newspaper indicated the keenness and interest the
local people have shown in us. The expectation and the
anticipation of everyone were very high, and we were all amazed
by the reception and hospitality of 21 Sig Regt (AS).
The main body from 30 Sig Regt, including a Gurkha chef, arrived
on the first week of April. The following week was spent on Tp
admin, new arrivals brief and camp familiarisation. The first Tp
outing for the year was to the Gurkha Museum at Winchester
during Easter leave. Everyone had a wonderful moment to cherish
the immortal sacrifice of our great grandfathers. Prior to this, we
saw the arrival of SSgt (YofS) Wilson and 5 British soldiers to the
Tp on a voluntarily basis from 244 Sig Sqn to fill the gap caused
by the delayed arrival of the reinforcement party from 2 Sig Regt.
The year 2003 is undoubtedly destined to become an exciting and
challenging year in the history of Queen’s Gurkha Signals. Early
last year the rumour spread of the possible formation of a third
QG Sig Sqn and by late last year, it was confirmed that 248
Gurkha Sig Sqn (248 GSS) would be re-raised at 21 Sig Regt (AS),
Colerne and the Sqn’s role would be Ptarmigan. Without doubt,
this was breathtaking news for QG Sigs personnel all over the
world. Capt Yamkumar Gurung and SSgt Surje were nominated
as Tp Comd and Tp SSgt/SQMS respectively, to establish the first
Trunk Node at 21 Sig Regt. A daunting and painstaking task
definitely lies ahead for all those nominated to form the Sqn, but
certainly not an impossible task to achieve.
On 29 April 2003, we collected assets for the first TN from
Ashchurch, and on 12 May, Maj (QGO) Hitman Gurung MVO,
Gurkha Major QG Signals, made an official visit to the Regt. His
visit included a meeting with the CO to discuss future manning of
248 GSS, the presentation of the assets for the first TN, a group
photograph and a social gathering with the Tp.
Capt Yam and Sgt Haribahadur Gurung (Chief Clerk 248 GSS)
along with their families, arrived at Azimghur Barracks on 3 March
03. SSgt Surje and his family later joined them on 14 March.
Whilst the Tp Comd and SSgt were carrying out planning for the
arrival of the main body, Sgt Hari was temporarily attached to
RAO to build the benchmark for the formation of SHQ. It had been
confirmed that the first TN would be formed under 220 Sig Sqn,
but since that Sqn is on OP TELIC, it will in the meantime be
May continued with an in-house Ptarmigan overview and
Induction trg at the Trg Wing and hangar area. PACEX was
conducted in the camp vicinity to confirm the operability of the
det. This proved to be beneficial for everyone. As this article is
being written, the Tp is preparing the dets for the first ever second
line inspection to be held next week. So far so good! Everyone is
working their socks off to lay a good foundation for the third
Gurkha Sig Sqn. Obviously the work-load will ease off when more
The first Gurkha Element at 21 Signal Regt (AS) celebrating their first social gathering, Nepali New Year 2060 on 14 April 03
352
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
personnel arrive from 2 Sig Regt, but commitment and
determination will be doubled. We accept the challenge of our
target to form the first TN by end of this year.
We are very aware that the future relies on the present - and that
we are the present. We have been tasked to establish a strong
foundation for 248 Gurkha Sig Sqn and we will give of our best to
keep the pride of the Regt high with hard work, determination and
dedication. The outcome of our hard work will be realised when
we march proudly at the reformation parade of 248 Gurkha Sig
Sqn next year.
certain unit members’ acting skills. After a good blow-out in the
BBQ on the Sunday night, we were split into two platoons and
moved out onto the area to conduct various serials. The final ex
culminated in a very sweaty platoon attack on a bunch of
peasants, fighting over a very large hill. Most people were very
impressed with the overall package and enjoyed the whole of the
two weeks. After a quick a clean up and debrief we returned
home for a well-deserved weekend.
EX RED BEAUFIGHTER – by LCpl Powell
Our two-week annual Battle Camp began with the lengthy drive
from Azimghur Barracks, to St Martin’s Plain Camp near the
entrance of the Channel Tunnel in Folkestone. The first phase
consisted of a week of various ranges. Having recently transferred
from the infantry, I was very interested in what RSigs could come
up with! After the mandatory zeroing, we moved on to a range
package, consisting of clay pigeon shooting, GPMG, section in
defence, IBSR and a street range.
Cpl Ash on IBSR
The general consensus of the troops was that the time in the
village was the most enjoyable, as we were all able to witness
You are never too senior to patch up targets! Dep Comd JHC, Brig
Caplin visits Regt on EX RED BEAUFIGHTER
30 SIGNAL REGIMENT
CO
RSM
Lt Col IPF Vingoe
WO1 (RSM) D Hancock
It has been a busy time for the Regt, as it has been for the rest of
the Corps (and indeed the Army!), with OP TELIC and all of the
Regt’s other commitments. However, life in the Regt goes on, and
we even managed to get away for a Battle Camp, some
adventurous training, the London Marathon and a Regtl
photograph. We extend a warm welcome to the new Adjt, Capt
Alex Clixby, who takes over from Maj Niall Stokoe, posted to HQ
Land; and to the new, slightly shorter RSM, WO1 David Geordie
Hancock, from 264 (SAS) Sig Sqn, vice newly-commissioned
Capt Matt Nuttall, posted to 2 Sig Regt.
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
A CLEAN SWEEP FOR REGIMENTAL SHOOTING TEAM – by
Capt Nirmal Bhattachan
This year has been another outstanding year for the Regtl
Shooting team. Despite having less time to train, due to
operational commitments, we took both 1st and 2nd team places
in the Corps SAAM, and had a clean sweep at the 143 (West
Sussex) Bde SAAM. We also won many individual prizes,
including Sgt Som Chochangi (2nd overall rifle shot in Corps
SAAM and 1st in 143 Bde SAAM) and Cpl Dickson (Best Pistol
Shot and Best Class B shot in the 143 Bde SAAM). Sgt Dhir, Sgt
Som and Sig Khagendra Tamang also represented the Corps in
the Inter-Corps Competition where R Sigs were victorious.
353
Sunday morning started with a bang! The team headed straight
for the finish line on the Mall to pick up their tracksuits and be
assigned tasks. After a quick photo opportunity, the teams took
up positions to await the start of the race. There was genuine
interest and excitement in the task, with access to all areas and
the best views of the race.
Just before leaving for camp, everyone received a staff marathon
medal and, although we felt that we didn’t deserve it, it did allow
free access to the underground. We all agreed that the thrill at the
finish line has encouraged us all to run the marathon ourselves. It
is one of the few events where taking part is truly better than
winning. MTO, Capt Sean Keilty completed the Marathon and
raised ВЈ500 for the Gurkha Welfare Trust. Well done, Sean!
The Regt Shooting team proudly displaying the trophies from
Corps SAAM & 143(WM) Bde SAAM 03 Standing, (L - R): Sgt Dhir,
LCpl Autar, Cpl Chau, Lcpl Dambar, Sig Netra, LCpl Durga, Cpl
Dickson, Sgt Som, Seated from (L – R): WO1(RSM) Hancock,
Maj Hitman Gurung MVO, Lt Col I P F Vingoe, Maj Rowley, Capt
Nirmal Bhattachan
B TROOP ON OPERATION TELIC
The majority of Bravo Tp was deployed on OP TELIC for the first
part of this calendar year. With its satellite capabilities, the Regt
was in high demand. Hence six 501’s being deployed, with B Tp
supplying the manning for two (Lime/Khaki). 501 (Lime) was under
the wing of Tp SSgt, SSgt Back, while det comd Cpl Wiggins
was in dire need of a translator to put his point across. The 501
came under the overall comd of 16 Air Asslt Bde, being attached
to 216 Sig Sqn.
As the months progressed the Det dwindled in numbers, and we
were sad to see LCpls Stevie Wilson and Stevie Sharman go.
Needless to say no-one missed Sig Darren Simpson! The Det
then moved to Basra and settled into the Shatt al Arab Hotel,
getting straight into its new role as a welfare facility for the
Fusiliers of 7 Armd Bde. In the meantime 501 (Khaki) under det
comd, Cpl Jamie Goulty and sidekick Sig Andy Harrington, had
the hard job of providing 1 patron line for 6 months.
MTO, Capt Sean Keilty crossing the finish line!
LATE ENTRY OFFICERS
EXERCISE BEAR’S CHALLENGE
The final week of April transformed the Tps of 258 Sqn into warhardened infantry platoons as they tackled their annual Battle
Camp. Throughout the week in Stanton, the platoons rotated
through a variety of stands including NBC, map
reading, FIBUA, tactics and survival.
Whilst at RAF Lyneham for the Regtl Offrs and SNCOs
photograph, the Late Entry Offrs took the opportunity to dismount
from their zimmer frames and have a photo taken - an excellent
display of combined medal counts (28) and ages (394 yrs).
We all worked hard, but the week didn’t pass
without a few funny moments. In the dead of
night a scream was heard from one of Foxtrot
Pls sentry positions. With lightning speed (!) a
rapid reaction force was at the scene of the
suspected breach in security, only to find a
rather sheepish looking Cpl Pollard who had
nose-dived into his shell scrape after tripping
over a bungee. A good ex was had by all and
the final dawn attack on Eastmere FIBUA
village was a fantastic finale to a very good
week.
THE LONDON MARATHON 2003 – by LCpl
Sokolowski
A representative of the 2003 London Marathon
approached WO2 (SSM) Tucker to see if the
Regt could provide marshals and some
additional security for this year’s event.
Although the SSM suspected that the
volunteers had alternative motives (i.e. the
opportunity of 24 hrs in the big �smog’, not to
mention a free tracksuit) eighteen unsuspecting
block rats from 30 Sig Regt volunteered to take
part.
354
Proof that the Corps is still alive and kicking (just)!
Front (L– R) Majs Dougie MacTaggart, Ray Cory, John Standen, Jim Coffey
Back (L – R) Capts Sean Keilty, Graham Pardew, Joe Cox, Russ Darlington, Danny Roberts
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
EXERCISE RAMPANT DRAGON – by 2Lt Emilia Ker
EX RAMPANT DRAGON took place in Brawdy, Pembrokeshire
with the aim of introducing members of Supt Sqn to low level
adventurous training. In true JSP 419 style, with typical South
Wales weather, we all got soaked for most of the week. This was
acceptable to most, but the climbers, led by Sgt Colin Bentley,
LCpl Ben Powell and LCpl Paul MacKay ended up retreating to
the bus in gale force conditions. I’m sure the countryside was
beautiful, but we were unable to see for more than 50 metres for
most of the week!
Each arduous day’s adventurous training always ended with
a slap up meal cooked by our resident chef, LCpl Ollie
Oliver, before proceeding to the local hostelry for a few well
deserved beers and bonding with the locals. This included
challenging and beating the local darts team, with a team led
by the OC, Maj Ray Cory and SSgt (SQMS) Steve Behan.
All in all, the ex was a great success, a fair balance between
low level adventurous trg and a good sociable time.
32 (SCOTTISH) SIGNAL REGIMENT
(VOLUNTEERS)
CO
RSM
Lt Col EM Blyth TD
WO1 (RSM) JH Greenwood
A warm welcome to WO1 (RSM) John Greenwood, from 30 Sig
Regt and to his wife Catherine and daughter Isabelle, who are
both beginning to experience the delights of Glasgow’s
cosmopolitan West End. The RSM has two years of hill walking
already mapped out (no pun intended). We say farewell to the
Adjt, Capt Alun Crapper, who is off to Blandford, and hello to
Capt Owen Finnie, his replacement.
HEADQUARTER SQUADRON
OC
Maj CS Payn
SSM
WO2 (SSM) N Sproul
EXERCISE SALTIRE TERRAIN
Incessant sunlight and a warm welcome from organiser Capt
John Lynch, greeted the main party for the start of EX SALTIRE
TERRAIN. As the sun’s warm rays beat down on the base camp
Something unidentified clambers ashore at Loch Ness
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
at Fort George Inverness, the teams were briefed on what lay
ahead. The importance of loading up on calories was
emphasised. Luckily this was not a problem as Master Chef,
WO2 John Wren and newly promoted Cpl Steve Tinney ensured
that the usual ultra high standard of food was maintained.
Before the walk commenced, the teams were taken on visits to
Culloden Moor and Fort George. Culloden is the site of the last
ever battle on British soil which resulted in the defeat of the
Jacobite Army, led by Bonnie Prince Charlie, at the hands of the
Hanoverian Army, commanded by General Cumberland. Various
theories abound as to the reasons for the defeat. Some point to
the fact that the Bonnie Prince never actually attended a Staff
College course and was therefore doctrinally bereft, whereas the
�90 minute nationalists’ cite poor team selection on the part of the
Scots. Whatever the reasons, the battle and accompanying
history was well explained by tour guide SSgt Steve McLean.
The tour of Fort George was conducted equally well by QM (V)
Capt Keith Anderson. The tour finished with a visit to the hugely
impressive Cameron Highlanders museum.
Monday saw the start of the walk. The Great Glen Way is a newly
opened walk, which diagonally dissects Scotland in a line from
Inverness to Fort William. The 73 mile route (74.6 miles if you
count one team’s navigational problems) takes in some of the
most splendid scenery in Scotland, including Loch Ness, Loch
Oich, Loch Lochy (they must have run out of names for Lochs),
Fort Augustus and the Caledonian Canal. The route also gives
you the chance to be scared out of your skin by the RAF tornado
pilots, who take every opportunity to buzz you at short notice
whilst they practise for their next role in Top Gun.
By the second day of the walk three distinct teams had been
formed. The Whippets led by the evergreen QM Capt Graham
Reith, included FoS (V) Denish Ghandi, and Sgt Graham Smith.
The late-arriving regimental golfing team of four from 52 Sqn
bolstered this team. The Whippets established a fearsome
reputation of completing each stage in record time - it was either
a desire to push the body to its limit or an awareness of the early
opening hours of pubs on the way. The Tree Huggers, led by
SSM Norma Sproul conducted the walk on an altogether more
relaxed basis. This was a more touchy feely group who
encouraged sharing and bonding. It was Team counsellor, LCpl
Audrey Sheridan, who conducted these life-changing sessions
and probably engineered the chance encounter in a pub, which
saw Cpl Craig Douglas meet his long-lost brother. The
unfortunate look-a-like tourist was quickly photographed, bought
a drink before he gratefully made a hasty exit. The last team, the
Ramblers, led by SSM Lynn Bertram, got their name from the
fact that most team members tended to ramble a whole load of
nonsense after the lunch time pub session. The principal culprits
here were Cpl Bob Nursimiloo and Sig Zambo Zambonini.
Wednesday was the occasion for the visit of the CO, LtCol Eric
Blyth; Adjt, Alun Crapper; and newly-arrived WO1 (RSM) John
Greenwood. Capt Phil Donegan was particularly pleased to
hear that the RSM was NBC qualified and the resulting
conversation quickly cleared the dinner table that night.
355
On the last night at Fort William the curtain was brought down
with the traditional team sketches . The Whippets presented an
unusual display in body painting, whilst the Ramblers provided a
moving poem for the occasion. However the competition was
probably shaded by the Huggers, who put on a rip-snorting
musical extravaganza, competently held together by MC, Norma
Sproul. In the end, all were agreed that the ex had met its aim of
providing challenging adventurous training against a back-drop of
stunning scenery, with the added element of a whole lot of fun.
was already in the bag for most, a good number of Sqn stalwarts
turned out to take part in a varied programme of events,
culminating in a final ex. Entering houses using numerous
methods, excluding the use of the front door and the exhausting,
confusing and disorientating experience of house clearing was
undertaken with enthusiasm. The latter activity acquired the
Aberdonian acronym FISH – Fighting in Somebody’s Hoose).
EXERCISE SALTIRE CANTER 9-11 MAY
The Sqn deployed to Black Dog Ranges and within the Bridge of
Don Barracks to provide comms in support of EX SALTIRE
CANTER. The whole range of equipments held by the Sqn was
exercised successfully, and the deployment of a mobile det to a
local police station in support of an OP MEDWAY scenario went
very smoothly.
The End. SSgt McLean, �John’, LCpl Dorian, WO2 Sproul, LCpl
Sheridan �Alex’, Sig McLuckie and Bob the Tramp at Fort William
51 (HIGHLAND) SIGNAL SQUADRON (VOLUNTEERS)
OC
SSM
Maj A Thompson TD
WO2 (SSM) L Bertram
Firstly, our congratulations go to LCpl Wiggin on gaining his first
stripe.
FIBUA TRAINING – CATTERICK
Having worked hard on set-up on the Friday night and throughout
Saturday, a relaxing couple of liquid refreshments to wash down
the BBQ, rustled up by our chefs Cpl Linda Richardson and
LCpl Christine Simpson, was anticipated. That was until the
intervention of the SSM, WO2 Linda Bertram and her team, who
had busily spent the day cooking up a programme of interestingly
named games. The events commenced with the allocation of
teams, led by the OC, Maj Andrew Thompson, Capt Linda
Smith and the PSI, SSgt Andy Minorcczyk. These appointments
were immediately relinquished however, with rank slides being
passed to the junior member of each team, who duly took
command. In particular, Sig Catriona Duncan slotted into the role
of Sqn OC with ease and enthusiasm.
The games commenced with �Flying Rubber’ – welly throwing
whilst running backwards, moving on through croquet with 7lb
hammers and blindfold mine clearing to �cock-in-the-wind’ –
outdoor badminton. Refreshment was taken after each game, and
the final event, involving buckets of water and offshore survival
suits, predictably degenerated into chaos. The eventual winners
were the team led by Sig (Acting Capt) Philip Chohan. Any
fatigue from a hard day was quickly forgotten.
LCpl Richard Melia in thoughtful mood
With the end of the trg year looming, the Sqn travelled to Catterick
to join the remainder of the Regt in FIBUA trg. Although bounty
Sgt Linda McKenzie explains the details of mast erection to Sig
Philip Chohan, a recent enlistment
34 (NORTHERN) SIGNAL REGIMENT
(VOLUNTEERS)
CO
RSM
LtCol G Hearn
WO1 (RSM) D Newton
EXERCISE NORTHERN SLEIGH RIDE
In March sixteen members of the Regt took part in EX
NORTHERN SLEIGH RIDE, a basic ski proficiency course, in the
French Alps. This was the last exped organised by our QM, Maj
Les Wood, before taking over the post of PSAO of HQ Sqn, but
356
so successful and popular are these exs, that there will certainly
be something similar taking place next winter.
The ex started well with flights leaving on time, but when the
coach driver from Geneva was stopped for some minor traffic
infringement and had his coach torn apart by some fairly
enthusiastic French gendarmes, some members of the party
continued on page 373
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
NEWS FROM THE GULF
14 SIGNAL REGIMENT
(ELECTRONIC WARFARE)
CO
RSM
LtCol NJ Borrill
WO1 (RSM) Jolly
HEADQUARTER SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Maj PJ McElwee
WO2 D Clash
extremely hard to maintain comms, despite the challenging
conditions. This is even more surprising given the sauna-like
conditions the Comms Det had to endure in the extreme heat,
reducing all of them to stick-like men. They were the only people
to eat ten ice creams a day and not put on an ounce of weight.
WELFARE OFFICE
UWO
UWSNCO
Capt A Slack
SSgt B Inglesant MBE BEM
Sgt A Gemmell
We have had a busy period in the Unit Welfare Office saying
goodbye to SSgt Kev Stacey, who leaves the Army after 22
years’ service, to be a probation worker. Kev’s replacement is Sgt
David (Archie) Gemmell. Archie proved invaluable during the
period of OP TELIC, putting together a programme of fun events
ranging from a Mother’s Day lunch with children’s entertainment,
to fun days at the beach. Overall, there were 15 events over the
three-month period. One of the most popular events was the
bob-a-job day, highly publicised by the national press. Wives
were asked to put in their requests for the tps back in station to
perform. The tasks ranged from work on cars to removing garden
rubbish.
The Regt EWCC at Camp Commando, Kuwait
Capt Andy Slack (UWO) has had a busy OP TELIC period too.
He was already UWO, IC PRI and 2IC HQ Sqn, but during our
busiest period he had to take over as MTO. Never mind officers’
pay or officers’ workload. Crack on, Andy. SSgt Bob Inglesant
has just started his 2 years’ continuance. As well as the
UWSNCO, he is also the part-time PRI shopkeeper until PAYD
comes in. He really showed how good he was with the children
when, at the local Pembrokeshire Gulf Support Group, he kept 10
children (all under the age of 5) happy with a story for 40 mins.
THE REGIMENTAL EWCC ON OPERATIONS - by Cpl Joanna
Saw
The conflict in the Middle East would not be complete without the
participation of the brave souls of the EW Co-ordination Cell
attached to the US 1 MEF HQ at Camp Commando. Wearing
forced smiles, we struggled on through our daily business with
only �rice and chunks’ from the wonderful local chefs to keep us
going (the Burger King didn’t arrive until the war was over!) Life
was tough as we all got cosy with our American colleagues in our
favourite Scud bunkers. Maj Jim Craig (US Army Exchange
Officer) felt right at home getting re-acquainted with old buddies.
During times like these, it was essential that we kept our morale
as high as possible, WO1 (Supvr R) AI Sutherland indulged in
some serious tanning time whilst off shift, earning himself the title
of the �Bronze God’, whilst SSgt Mike Beckett kept the team
entertained during his daily briefs, pointing at the map with his
bayonet and ending his commentary’s with �And on a lighter
note…..’ It’s also worth noting that Maj Mark Adams became an
expert in carrying out important conversations on Ptarmigan
whilst masked up! During this intense period, we muddled on the
best we could, despite a near-miss by a Seersucker Cruise missile
on the first day of the war and frequent trips back to the Scud
bunkers thereafter. Throughout this veritable rain of missiles and
frequent sandstorms, the CO, LtCol NJ Borrill, drove the EWCC
hard. It must not go unmentioned that the Comms Det team,
LCpl Joe Howell, LCpl �Scotty’ Moran and Sig Carl Ara, under
the professional leadership of WO1 (YofS) �Taff’ Owens, worked
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
LtCol Nick Borrill and SIO, Maj Jim Craig (US Army) at Camp
Commando, Kuwait
226 SIGNAL SQUADRON (ELECTRONIC WARFARE)
OC
SSM
Maj NGC Yardley
WO2 J Ainsworth
EX WHALE SPEAR 14-17 APRIL 03 - by Cpl Robson
EX WHALE SPEAR was a 226 Sig Sqn range week held at
Castlemartin Ranges. The ex and was organised by Sgt �Taff’
Kinsey and the aim was to improve the shooting skills of the Sqn.
During initial zeroing on the first day, some lucky shots managed
to fire all their rounds through the same hole. A few soldiers had
not fired the SA80 A2 on automatic before, and it proved to be
very popular, with all the targets getting well drilled. Sgt Kinsey
had managed to procure a wide range of foreign weapons from
the Dyfed Powys Police Force for our use on the second day.
These included an M16 variant, Uzi 9mm, SLR, Magnum and a
selection of 7.62mm and other calibre automatic rifles. There was
also a range of 9mm pistols, including the Browning to be fired.
The foreign weapon range was run by Sgt �Taff’ Morgan. His
hands-on approach in showing off his skill and prowess on foreign
weapons resulted in his probably firing more rounds down range
than anyone else. As a result, he gleefully announced afterwards
he �had done so much firing he could no longer hear himself
speak!’ The main event was the March and Shoot on the
Wednesday. This consisted of a 12km march with a variety of
357
stands along the way. The stands included NBC, BFAT, General
Knowledge, Map Reading, Recognition, Blindfolded Weapon
Assembly, the Assault Course and a Rifle and Pistol Shoot.
Although denied at the time, some teams were seen to take more
direct routes to some of the stands than others! Sgt Whitmore’s
team took the slow methodical approach to the event, and went
on to win the closely fought competition. Cpl Maxwell won best
overall shot. Everyone worked hard and the final APWT results
on the Thursday proved that the week’s trg had been
exceptionally valuable. Similar events are being planned for the
future.
237 SIGNAL SQN (ELECTRONIC WARFARE)
OC
SSM
Maj JE Sutton
WO2 K Scott
Notes by Sig RD Beddows, V Tp
As 237 Sig Sqn return from a well-deserved break after a
successful Board of Officers, we are happy to see some of the
Sqn’s OP TELIC lads return safely from Iraq and disappear on
their well-deserved leave. Not a bad deal really, a suntan and 3
weeks off. The Sqn also welcomes back LCpl Fraser from his
stint in the Commcen. After being incarcerated in a room with no
windows for so long, he is extremely happy to see sunlight again.
Continuing the theme of sun, we also welcome back the sunbed
queen, Sig Churcher from his tour of the Gym. The Sqn also
welcomes the fresh-faced new lads, 2Lt Allen, LCpl Bodin, LCpl
Knox, LCpl Kubiscek, LCpl Tinsley, LCpl Rutter, Sig Holden
and Sig Archer. That’s a fair few crates. We are looking forward
to the Sqn ex and trg package that will be running for the next few
weeks in preparation for BATUS in September.
accompany all exercise with lively singing, we actually enjoyed
living and trg with them. We turned out to be quite a novelty, as
the only Brit contingent on the camp and a healthy bartering
system soon sprang up. It’s amazing what a British beret can get
you (especially if you are a female officer – Lt Rhodes, Lt Rowe).
The few weeks we spent in Camp Matilda revolved around getting
all the vehicles and equipt set up and checking that everything
was in working order following its lengthy boat trip. Unexpectedly
the vehs had fared better than they do on our usual shorter trips
to Germany and rolled off the boats requiring little attention. Time
was whiled away at the camp playing board games in the
evenings and going for runs around the camp when it was cool
enough to do so (apart from the OpsWO and A/OpsWO, who
were busy tending to Capt Phil Ashworth’s needs). We also had
to introduce 1 Radio Bn (which is 1 Marine Div equivalent of 14
Sig Regt (EW)) to our equipment and capabilities, as we were
going to be working with them so closely. Most elements of 245
Sig Sqn Group had their own equivalent element of 1 Radio Bn
that they worked with. This meant that within 24 hours of war
breaking out, over a third of our number went over the border with
the US Regtl Combat Teams.
OPERATION TELIC
245 SIGNAL SQUADRON (ELECTRONIC WARFARE)
OC
SSM
Maj Pete Cubbin
WO2 Ken Marsh
Whilst the Regt’s commitment to OP TELIC was driven mainly by
245 Signal Sqn HQ, the actual forces deployed consisted of Zulu
Tp from 245 Sig Sqn, Tango Tp from 237 Sig Sqn, Romeo Tp from
226 Sig Sqn, a fairly large Echelon, the Light EW Team (LEWT)
and elements of RHQ. In total, the Regt deployed 233 people to
the Gulf, 28 of whom are still in Iraq awaiting recovery. Getting
everyone out to the Gulf was achieved in a fairly piecemeal
fashion, with people being loaded onto flights as and when
possible. A lucky few managed to get familiar with the MCCP
process several times before they actually got to leave. An even
luckier few got to camp out on the floor at South Cerney whilst
their flights were repeatedly cancelled or delayed! At least
everyone got to view the Air Movement Centre’s video of Billy
Connolly’s live tour at least five times! Early on into the
deployment, 245 Sig Sqn Group, minus the LEWT (who at this
point, had already abandoned the rest of us for an exciting time at
the front with 16 Air Assault Bde HQ and Sig Sqn) became
TACON 1 (US) Marine Div, OP COM 1 (UK) Div. This meant that
we ended up at Camp Matilda in Kuwait with the rest of 1 (US)
Marine Div. After we got over the initial shock that the Marines
have squad runs at veryAunsociable
hours
pridein the morning and
bit of Welsh
358
Cpl Stedman and his detachment
ZULU TROOP
Z Tp spearheaded the advance of 14 Sig Regt (EW) in the
company of the US Marine advance combat team’s HQs. After
the move up to the border, the Tp waited until the fighting started,
passing the time digging trenches and trying not to boil in the
desert heat with NBC suits on. Hidden behind sand berms five
miles from the border, the Tp watched the initial stages of the
attack before charging over the border with the US units for whom
we were able to provide fire support. One of our armoured rebros,
commanded by Sgt �Daz’ Daniels and driven by LCpl Kane, was
believed to be the first to cross the border. The crossing and initial
stages of the war went without too many problems. The Tp
Comd and Analysis Det (TCAD), which set up during the night,
found in the morning that they were surrounded by trenches,
bunkers, CPs and burnt-out vehs. SSgt Tony Ward and Cpl Ben
Ellison had a lucky escape when they managed to spot traps set
up in a mortar trench just before jumping into it. The next day the
US Regtl Combat Teams (RCTs) moved on and these were
replaced by British Bns, who had finally managed to catch up with
14 Regt. It was a quick farewell to the Americans, with our hearty
thanks for all the MREs and all the other support (tents) they had
given us. On the second night a replen run almost ended in
tragedy when one of the platform’s TCVs was ambushed on its
return. The vehs comd, LCpl �Stu’ Wilson and driver Sig �Vicci’
Gratidge watched in amazement as an RPG round narrowly
missed the front of the veh. Luckily, Sig Gratidge sped up and
machine gun fire only clipped the top of the veh. Unfortunately it
was discovered that there had been a casualty of the incident –
WO1 Smith’s Bergen had been lost from the top cage of the
vehicle, leaving him only with what he stood up in for the next few
days! The only incident producing tension was when a clearance
patrol had to be sent out following the setting off of a tripflare.
SSgt Tony Ward, SSgt Jones and Cpl Kendrick had a nervous
half-hour until it was discovered that the perpetrator was simply a
dog!
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
LIGHT ELECTRONIC WARFARE TEAM
ROMEO TROOP
The LEWT deployed at short notice to Colchester for predeployment trg. Once in-theatre, we embarked on a hectic
programme of build-up trg, which involved desert driving,
navigation, conduct after capture and eqpt trg on new EW
equipment (issued just 2 days prior to deployment).
O is for OPR, apparently nutritious.
P is for pickle on the Burger King junk food, but delicious.
E is for easy, as in cheese – those swaps from those yanks
deserve a few beers!
R is for Romeo, a big pat on the back.
A is for ankle, the war dodger was cracked.
T is for toilets, going in that hole.
I is for Issued in Theatre, or so we were told.
O is for ordnance and those �cleared’ sites.
N is for Naps, the belly-ache (Sig Luxford), the brain fug (Staff
Thornton) and that fight!
T is for test-sniff two man.
E as in ever as in never again!
L is for lose as in the Sqn sports match and George Dawes’
forfeit as Sqn bee atch!
I is for intestines whose contents came every which way.
C is for complaining done by all, (especially one) every day.
The linguists in the Tp polished up their skills by chatting with the
locally employed civilians. The LEWT initially deployed as two
patrols and a CP in support of 3 Para Battle Gp, and were
inserted as part of their recce screen. The two patrols were
thrown straight in at the deep end, co-locating with 7 (Para) RHA
FOOs and 3 Para Mobile Support Groups (MSGs). Throughout
the early phases of the op, both patrol locs took incoming artillery
and small arms fire.
The patrols were then re-deployed to new locs, in order to
establish the loc of an enemy FOO, prior to 3 Para’s first company
raid across the Al Hammar canal. Thanks to the patrols’ accurate
intercept, DF and analysis by the CP, 3 Para’s mortars were
tasked and subsequently annihilated the enemy FOO. The Tp
was then deployed on several other varied tasks in and around
the Rumaylah area in support of other units within 16 Air Assault
Bde. The LEWT finally pushed further north with 16 AA Bde Main,
but had no further tasking and so returned to co-locate with 14
Sig Regt (EW) at Shiabah airfield.
All in all, 14 Sig Regt (EW) had an extremely successful tour in
Iraq. We were able to offer a capability that proved invaluable
time and again, and to provide 1 (UK) Armd Div G2 with vital and
timely intelligence. Incorporating an armoured EW tp, a wheeled
EW tp and a radar tp under one armoured EW HQ had never been
done before, but the OP TELIC deployment demonstrated that 14
Sig Regt (EW) was able to adapt regardless.
7th ARMOURED BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS AND SIGNAL
SQUADRON (207)
OPERATION TELIC - SQUADRON OC’s COMMENTS
Unfortunately the OC is too busy sunbathing, so yet again it falls
to the hardworking Sqn 2IC and newly-crowned Camp Adjutant to
fill a few lines. The Sqn has settled into its very plush
surroundings now known as Allsopp Lines and which was
formerly one of Saddam’s palaces. It is typical of the British
squaddie attitude that we are all still moaning about the lack of
running water and air con, despite being in the plushest
surroundings of anyone on OP TELIC. There have even been
some complaints about blisters from the constant rubbing of
sunburnt feet on marble floors.
Due to our current abode, the visit season has well and truly
commenced. In the last 3 weeks we have had the PM, the CDS,
CGS and several other slightly less important visitors cross our
marble doorstep. As a result, the Sqn’s assault on the world’s
media has been a success, and coupled with several promotions
(yes that includes you, OC A Tp), promises numerous �slabbings’
on return to Hohne.
With returning in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to
thank the guys and girls from 4 ABSS, 30 Sig Regt, 2 Sig Regt
and our TA brethren for their fantastic support during the op. It is
true to say we couldn’t have done it without you. However, we in
the Desert Rats, will gladly take all the praise for your hard work!
Finally a few fond farewells as the posting cull catches up with the
Sqn. We say goodbye to the Sqn Ops Offr, Capt Oli Dinnis, the
RQMS, Jim Duncan, the FofS, WO2 Steve Erskine, and the
Artificer, SSgt Steve Wright, all of whom are leaving us on hard
earned promotion - except Capt Dinnis, but that was to be
expected really!
ALPHA TROOP – by Cpl Lane
Tp Comd
Tp SSgt
Lt AJC Grant
SSgt S Walton
THE STORY SO FAR
20 March 2003 saw the start of the second Gulf War. Along with
many other Sigs units, 7 Armd Bde Sig Sqn were deployed to take
part. And so we found ourselves moving over the Iraq/Kuwait
border in the early hours of the 21 March. Thankfully all our vehs
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
made it to their destination, which is testament to the
professionalism and dedication of the crews.
After a few quick moves, including one where Cpl O’Hanlon
threw himself from his veh, sustaining a broken wrist, the Tp
found itself occupying a less than comfortable site at Shaibah
Airfield. We were quickly into our routine and the Bde Staff soon
joined us for the ensuing fun and games.
The next few weeks saw the monotony of det life creep in. Luckily,
this was punctuated by lots of digging, and sangar building. Just
as life at Shaibah was getting comfy (we now had a TV to watch
the news on) we moved to Basra International Airport (BIA) and A
Tp had its first break from being in control.
This brief period gave us the opportunity to do some muchneeded maintenance on the vehs. More importantly it also gave
us time to search for a porcelain toilet, a search, which sadly
proved to be fruitless. The time at BIA flew by and it wasn’t long
before we heard noises about a possible move to a palace.
Sure enough, a few days later saw us sitting in the plush
surroundings of the Presidential Palace in Basra. Once again, the
lads and lasses set to work building a working environment fit for
the Staff, whilst keeping an eye out for a porcelain toilet. This
time the search produced results, and satisfied grunts and groans
could be heard emanating from behind locked doors. Sadly, deep
trench latrines would soon be back in use.
Within a very short space of time, considering the level of work
required, we were ready to receive the Bde Staff. Once again,
routine took over and monotony resumed. Always keen to help,
the Sqn took on new responsibilities as the days and weeks
passed, helping to add a bit of variety to our work.
We are now well settled and are still living in the Palace. Film and
quiz nights, organised by the junior ranks, help to serve as a
reminder that another week has passed, and all the talk is of what
we will be doing with our leave. The end of tour is now in sight
and everyone involved can be very proud of what we have
achieved over the past few months. The work rate has been
exceptionally high and this level of effort has helped produce
some great results. The leave we will shortly be enjoying is, for
once, well-deserved.
359
BRAVO TROOP – by LCpl Gaz Warwick
Here we are again, still at Basra Palace, and another fun-packed
month for B Tp. We welcome Cpl John Harris and Cpl Richie
Applegarth, and say to Cpl Mick Clark, who, after much dodging
and diving, is finally on his detties, prior to posting. A special
shout goes to LCpl Dave Honeywill, who picked up a rather
mysterious back injury just after crossing the border, and has now
been short-toured for his efforts (will he get his medal though?).
26 and 27 April saw the CSE show come to town. Along with five,
slightly above average looking dancers, the lads and lasses were
pleased to see �Bee Gees Magic’ and �Bjorn Again’. It made a
refreshing change from the norm. The month ended on a high
note with a visit by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair. As usual
everyone got a little too excited, but none more so that Sig Ted
Smith, who models himself on the big man. He was quoted as
saying, �Just to touch him was such an honour.’
Our end of tour date is almost fixed, so morale is slightly up at the
moment. But for now its back to the guard towers, 43’s and staff
support for the final push.
CHARLIE TROOP – by Sig Nichol
Whilst Alpha and Bravo Tps continue their excellent work on
guard and radio shift, Charlie Tp’s role in the Sqn remains an everchanging one, throwing up new challenges whenever possible.
With the RRBs becoming redundant due to TAC SAT replacing
CNR as the medium for the Bde Comd net, the Sqn’s 3 remaining
RRBs were called back to the Palace at Basrah. This meant that
the hard-working re-sup team could now relax for the first time in
ages. The crew of RRB E actually believed that re-sup had
stopped two weeks previously as runs to their loc became less
and less frequent. Perhaps the 50-km drive became less
appealing in the 40-degree heat, or Cpl Andy Newson had
actually forgotten they were there. RRB B was first back,
freewheeling from the DWR live firing range at Safwan Hill under
the watchful command of Cpl Stu Codack, with none of the crew
having completed the tower test. Last but not least, RRB A was
dragged back. They were disgusted when told they would have
to revert to solar showers instead of running water and that their
was only one choice of ice cream for dinner at the Palace
compared with the BW’s two flavours. The RRB crews send their
special thanks to WO2 (Yof S Phillips, as they believe he is solely
responsible for their return. Cheers, Yeoman!
So, what of the rest of the Tp? It wasn’t only RRBs in Charlie Tp,
you know. The personality drivers have continued to struggle on
relentlessly in their air conditioned Mitsubishi Pajeros. Catering to
their officers’ every whim and desire, it’s a hard life, honest. LCpl
Jay Preston deserves congratulations for managing to remain the
Comd’s driver for the entire operation, and Sig John Miller
continues his extensive trg programme in preparation for P
Company. Homage must also be paid to Sig John Stray, who
continues to bend over backwards for the Sqn OC.
We must not forget the augmentees, without whom we surely
would not have managed. The TA lads and lasses have been a
valuable asset, admirably filling gaps in the manning and doing
first-class jobs. Special mentions must go to Cpl Andy Newson,
whose special skills at fixing generators are second to none; to
Cpl Tony Hadley, who delayed his final exams to become a
commercial pilot, to perform a multitude of tasks for the Tp (none
as glamorous as flying however) to Cpl Ian Byrne, who has
thrown in the towel at his regular job to take an FTRS with the
Sqn; to Cpl Cheryl Duncan, who has managed to complete an
entire tour with no desert combats; to Sig Merrick Prescott, who
has given up his tour of the States to come and grace us with his
presence (He too has decided to take an FTRS with the Sqn, in
the vain hope that he will become a man); and finally to Sig Anna
Yates, who gave up an extremely busy life back in the UK to
come and join us for OP TELIC.
The Tp says goodbye to all the 4 Bde guys who helped us during
this busy time, especially Sgt Duncan Samuel, who left a legacy
of burnt-out vehs for us to contend with. Cheers.
SUPPORT TROOP – by Sig Firbank
OP TELIC started back in January with the advance party flying
360
into Kuwait, where we set up what would be home for the next
four weeks at Camp Rhino, 80 kms from the Iraqi border. At the
beginning of February the main body came out and the fun and
games commenced.
We then moved up to the concentration area (Coyote) near the
Iraqi border where we were joined by Capt Shields. With the
temperature rising day by day, many started to realise what sweat
and hard work actually was, resulting in two of them, Ptes Geoff
Elmes and John Smith, having to slope off back to Germany with
heat illnesses (missing the war!) The QM’s Dept was working all
hours keeping the supplies coming through in preparation for
going over the border, while the A1 Ech boys supplied the vital
supplies of water, rations and fuel to keep them going for five
days without resup when they actually went over. With war
imminent and the constant threat of Scud attacks hanging over
us, we spent many hours in respirators and trenches with morale
at an all time high!
As soon as the war started and we prepared to follow the battle
groups into war, morale shot up. We moved over the border into
hostile territory and up to our first loc, Shaibah Airfield. Here we
set up a semi-permanent home for a few weeks, and all busted
guts to keep the HQs and troops going, supplying everything from
food and water to fuel and clothing. It was here the A1 boys took
there first casualty. LCpl Parry, with a bad shoulder, back, arm (or
something like that) is now known as �Half-a-Tour Ted!’ It was
funny to see everyone diving for their helmets and cover when the
AS nasties were going off, thinking it was incoming mortar fire.
With the war over, we moved up to Basrah Palace for a bit of
comfort - which was welcomed by all, after living off our vehicles
for three months with sand chafing our bums and mosquitoes
trying to suck the life out of us. We moved into Phase 4, and the
Sqn Ech started to get into a daily routine of really long hours and
not much time to ourselves! Many thanks go out to all the boys
and girls of the Ech for their efforts, as we have been stretched to
the limit supplying what seems like the whole Bde with everything
they need. They have gone over and beyond what could be asked
of any mere mortal! We are looking forward to handing over to 19
Mech Bde over the next few weeks. Welcome to the melting heat
of the Iraqi summer, boys.
Congratulations go to WO2 (RQMS) Duncan on his promotion on
posting to Blandford as a Tp Comd and to newly-promoted Cpl
Burns, LCpls Reid, Sim and the soon to be LCpl Lacey. Special
mention to SSgt Yendell for looking after the boys and to LCpl
Smith and Sig McDonald for all the hard work they have done
since being attached to us.
BASRA PALACE 5 KM ROAD RACE – By Lt Steve Cadywould
The Basra Presidential Palace (Allsopp Lines) had been the home
of 7 Armd Bde HQ and Sig Sqn for little over two weeks when it
was decided to hold a Charity fun run. The powers that be
decided that to break the monotony, we would organise a road
race around the Palace grounds. This would also encourage
people to do some trg. As the saying goes, �a healthy body equals
a healthy mind.’ The OFS was consulted and a date was set,
Sunday 04 May 03.
With one week to organise the event, and never having organised
a running event of any scale before, I enlisted the help of a couple
of experts. These were SSgt Cox, who was to run the
administrative side of the event, and WO1 (SMI) Phillips, a selfconfessed expert who knew exactly what was required to compile
the race results (a black art only understood by members of the
PT Corps). I had planned on a low-key affair, with no more than
100 runners. SSgt Cox and SMI Phillips had other plans as they
had both missed the London Marathon this year.
The course was constructed the day before leaving only a few
pieces of the puzzle to be slotted together on the Sunday
morning. The finish line took the most work, as the method SMI
Phillips had chosen for the recording of the results required us to
fit every competitor into the finish funnel. Sgt Duncan Samuel
hammered all twenty 6ft pickets into position by himself, the kind
of delicate treatment that led to his Land Rover (KU 74 AA)
spending the remainder of the tour in the LAD. Cheers Sgt
Samuel!
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Race day arrived and the admin team paraded under SSgt Cox at
06.30hrs to finalise any remaining details. The registration opened
on time with Cpl Keith Lamb at the helm happily taking entrance
fees and stamping the hands of those who had paid. SSgt Tony
Simpson was present at the start as the Sqn 2IC, Capt Stu
Whittley, had said he would see him there. The 2IC did however
fail to mention anything about actually running the race, so SSgt
Simpson ran straight back to his bed after the race had got
underway. At exactly 08.30hrs 167 competitors (and SSgt
Simpson) in a number of cunningly-named teams sprinted off the
start line. The temperature at the start was already well into the
30s, making the race a real challenge for anyone who entered.
Thankfully everyone finished successfully, including Sig John
Miller, who joined Maj Cunningham and ran the race in dish
dash’s and the 12 Regt RA three-legged team, who finished in a
convincing last place.
16 AIR ASSAULT BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS
AND
SIGNAL SQUADRON (216)
OC
RSM
Maj Paul Smith
WO1 Weaver
As the Sqn stood down for Christmas leave on 19 December
2002, the comd element remained to complete initial Sqn
planning for potential ops in the Gulf. On 2 January 2003 a signal
was received formally warning off the Sqn for OP TELIC.
Suspicious and cynical thoughts immediately arose that it was a
mnemonic for �Tell Everyone Leave Is Cancelled’. The following
day the Nordic ski team was recalled from its trg in France and
those nominated for the advance party returned to Colchester.
Activation staff from the Bde HQ and a small team from the Sqn
departed LHR, arriving in Kuwait in the early hours of 6 January.
After receiving orientation briefings from SBLA in Camp Doha, the
advance party moved to Camp Commando to set up and facilitate
a Bde Fwd HQ. Seen as both a political and military ally by the US
Marine Div, the Bde HQ was warmly welcomed. The limited airlift
available both to the Bde and 1 UK Armd Div in the initial stages
of the op required an industrious and manouvrist approach to
providing logistic support and structure to our HQ. In the quiet
hours, US sentries could be heard shouting, �The Brits are stealing
the wood!’ Cpl Kemp had ensured that enough materials were
gathered to make bird tables, map boards, work desks and chairs
– the USMC stenciling being quickly covered by mapping!
24 January saw the deployment of personnel to provide an initial
operating capability. Those personnel in UK were busy loading the
shipping or conducting individual trg in preparation for
deployment. Rear Link dets were dispatched to the Battle groups
to facilitate integration at an early stage. 2 Sig Regt SANs and
501 Det from 30 Sig Regt deployed from their unit locs to
Colchester as part of the build-up phase.
The remainder of the Sqn arrived in theatre 11/12 February and
moved immediately into the Kuwaiti desert to a designated loc,
CA EAGLE. February also saw the arrival of the first assets by
sea. The Sqn returned to its roots in the engineer/pioneer role and
set about completing the build of a tented camp, constructing
sangars, DTLs, desert roses and strip wash facilities. Rations were
US MRE until a field kitchen was constructed. A number of buildup exs were conducted in February and early March to practise
�set piece’ preliminary ops – movement to Assembly and
Dispersal areas and crossing the Breach. One particular ex was
conducted in a sandstorm – the worst for thirty years. The only
injuries sustained were a broken arm, dislocated knee and
concussion. The first unofficial movement of the HQ into Iraq was
probably the Alpha Tp Main HQ tentage, which, against the
advice of the Sqn was erected and subsequently blew away to
the north! A blessing in disguise, it reduced the number of
possible HQ permutations available for subsequent ops! During
this same ex, Cpl Welburn ensured discipline and routine were
maintained in the pitch black and reduced visibility of the
sandstorm. After mistakenly grabbing a staff officer by the scruff
of the neck and exchanging of expletives, he ensured that the
remainder of the Bde staff dutifully filled sandbags and dug shell
scrapes! On the occasions when comms proved impossible, DRs
were deployed to move data around the battle space. Dispatch
became ever more important for the passage of ATO and SPINS
documentation to flying sites and info between the different Bde
and Div HQs.
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
DRs became ever more important to move data around the battle
space
4/5 Royal Irish Rangers provided a defence platoon for Bde HQ,
which considerably lessened the burden of guards. Additionally,
the TA augmentees arrived in theatre in early March. Both
groupings integrated well into the Sqn and provided an invaluable
service.
In the days leading up to war, planning continued and op detail
was refined. On receipt of the signal authorising war, ammo was
issued and personnel were sanitised. 20 March saw the Bde units
move into initial staging areas. Scud attacks were launched
against these locs, proving that Iraqi forces had indeed continued
to conduct recces of Div and Bde areas prior to the start of the
Ground War. The inevitable masking up and unmasking and the
digging of shell scrapes in DA BRIGHTON combined with a
�What’s that?’ and subsequent reply of �That’s a mine from the
first Gulf War. Go dig your scrape somewhere else!’ ensured that
the Sqn remained alert, if a little tired.
During that night the Bde recce officer moved forward with a small
team to site the Bde HQ. Rebros (Cpl Sharp, Cpl Oliver and Sig
Seager) and a small team attached to RCT 5 LO moved through
the Breach early to facilitate comms between Battle Gps and Bde
HQ, and to provide an organised and efficient Relief in Place of
RCT 5. 22/23 March saw the Bde HQ move through the Breach
and push up into the Rumaylah Oilfields at the junction of
DALLAS/TAMPA. Step-Up HQ’s VCP then had a valuable find
when they stopped a brand new car (very suspicious in this part
of the world!) containing 4 members of the Ba’ath Party complete
with IDs and AK47s. The Bde HQ then moved north into the
Rumaylah GOSP maintenance facility, where the HQ dismounted
into buildings. At this point the Sqn reconstituted to become a
formed unit and for several days while the Bde’s Battle Gps were
tasked elsewhere in the Div AOR, was the only major unit
guarding the oilfields. The situation stabilised and thinking at that
time was that this would be the Bde’s final lay down loc. Routine
was quickly established and allowed B Tp to turn around its
assets in preparation for any future taskings.
361
a number of small villages, arriving 1ВЅ hours later in the middle of
the desert with nothing to see as far as the horizon.
Bde Step-up HQ somewhere in the Iraqi desert
A deployment north of the Euphrates had been planned by the
Bde but not activated by Div. Subsequently, Maysan Province
came under control 1 UK Armd Div and the Bde was tasked to
occupy and patrol the province. A recce was conducted of the
ground to the south of the Euphrates, initially but unintentionally
linking up with D Sqn HCR. The area was not suitable for a Bde
HQ loc. A smaller party from the Sqn returned to the area the
following night in preparation to cross the Euphrates into the town
of Al Qurna, reputed to be the site of the Garden of Eden from
Biblical times. A loc was found, but the plan changed. After a brief
occupation of the airfield, Bde HQ moved to a barracks loc just to
the south of it. Bde Step-Up HQ located itself on the football
pitch inside the camp and the buildings were cleaned and
prepared for occupation by Main HQ. A Tp Main followed on a
few days later and dismounted into the buildings. This was to be
our final Bde HQ loc prior to draw-down of the Bde in June.
Routine ensued with regular morning PT, guards, shifts and
military trg where appropriate. Engineer plant made the digging of
DTLs a little less manpower intensive and lessened the burden on
the Sqn. Permission to use the Iraqi ranges north of the Tigris was
eventually granted, allowing a number of Sqn personnel and the
defence platoon to conduct live firing.
It was at this time that a small team was dispatched to the British
Embassy in Baghdad in preparation for the return of its key staff.
Cpl Sherlock managed to rewire the whole embassy prior to staff
arrival. The team currently remains in Baghdad providing comms
between patrols and HQ.
On 29 May the responsibility for Maysan Province shifted to 1
PARA and after the CHOC, Bde HQ closed down for the final time.
Bde units and the Sig Sqn trickled through CONDOR,
reconstituted in part and moved south to Kuwait as part of the
extraction plan. Key nodes and rebros to facilitate the move have
been withdrawn, leaving a small node in CA EAGLE to control the
movement of personnel and assets out of theatre. At time of
writing, 30 Sig Sqn personnel remain in Kuwait to load the boats
on 17 June with a 4-man RLD remaining in support of 1 PARA in
Al Amarah until early July and the British Embassy Support Team,
also numbering 4 men, in Baghdad.
The Sqn, indeed the Corps, has benefited enormously from the
challenges presented it as a result of the decision to deploy on
OP TELIC. In the initial stages, the Bde Comd was extremely
concerned about the provision of robust comms to facilitate
complex ops. As the op for the Bde draws to a close, his doubts
and concerns have been allayed and comms no longer feature in
his �top ten’. The Sqn has again demonstrated its ability to deploy
rapidly and at short notice. The deployment has not been without
frustration and limitation and lessons learned will be the subject of
the POR and subsequent briefings to SOinC(A). Without doubt it
was the vital contribution of all Royal Signals personnel, both Sqn
and attached units that made the deployment a success.
AL AMARAH RANGE COMPLEX – by Sig Smith 410.
We departed for the ranges at 06.30D, traveling en route through
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Initially we zeroed our rifles on a 100m range, using makeshift
targetry from water boxes. We wore CBA, helmet and webbing,
which was extremely uncomfortable, and were constantly
sweating. Weapons had to be continually oiled to reduce
stoppages and prevent overheating. We fired off at least 10
magazines each prior to moving onto 51mm mortars and GPMGs.
On the next range there was a huge stone wall for a target roughly
700m away. The GPMGs made good work of cutting the wall in
half. The mortars were then unleashed onto the same target area.
This was the first time that I had fired either of these weapons. We
took a break to escape the worst of the midday heat, downing
plenty of water and resting in the shade of wagons. The next
range was veh contact drills. �Contact Front!’ was the cue for the
driver to bring the veh to an abrupt halt while the passengers put
lead down onto the targets (Iraqi helmets). The driver threw smoke
and put the veh into reverse, extracting from the contact. The
same ex was conducted with a GPMG mounted on a 4-ton truck.
This gave it much more realism and is probably the best ex I have
conducted with live ammo.
�Contact front!’ Vehicle contact drills on Al Amarah Range
Complex
We had the opportunity to throw HE grenades. This was a bit
scary at first, as I did not realise the damage that these could
inflict on a target. I had to crawl up to a bunker, post the grenade
and crawl back. It exploded, shaking the ground and producing
loads of dust. All of the trg came together to make a live firing sec
attack. This was amazing and made my heart race. The adrenalin
rushed through me, smoke was everywhere and targets appeared.
I was the grenadier. The sec comd and I went left flanking close to
the enemy, close enough to post the grenade. I then switched to
automatic and put a full magazine into the enemy position. Again,
this was the first live sec attack that I had done. Now I am more
aware of my surroundings, my mates and that a mistake could
cost dearly.
At night we received QBOs for a night ambush. We tabbed until
we reached the ambush loc. Everyone made their way to set
positions: GPMGs, LSWs, and Mortars. Flares and Illum went up,
and everyone hammered the rounds down at the enemy. Tracer
zipped across the sky from the GPMGs and LSW section. The
target was an old Iraqi tank on fire, with figure targets around it. All
were taking a pounding.
At 23.00D we drove to the HLS, where we awaited our extraction
back to camp. Again this was the first time I had been in a
Chinook. The whole day was full of new experiences. If I get the
chance I’d do it again.
0P AND PSYOP
The first few days of the War were pretty slow for our call sign 0P
(Capt J Crook, Cpl Danny Jones and Sig Dave Benson). It
consisted of marshaling, and counting the packets through the
various mounting areas and eventually the Breach. Our next
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
tasking was to move around the southern AOR
looking for potential hotspots and reporting any int
back to the Bde Comd or CoS. This carried on for a
couple of weeks. Along the way we pursued Iraqis
we suspected of being soldiers or terrorists and
confiscated a small arsenal of weaponry.
During Week Three we were tasked to go on a
mission with a det from 307 PsyOp Coy, US Army.
Our task was to go with the lead element of 1 PARA
into Ad Adyr and liberate it from Ba’ath Party control.
We moved into the town without hindrance and
proceeded to pass messages from a loudspeaker
attached to the US vehs. The crowds came out in
their thousands lining the streets to welcome us.
After that, the word got across the Bde Battle Gps
about the US PsyOp Team. The jobs then just came
rolling in. �0P’ also finally got to say �Contact’ over
the net for real on the way up to D Sqn HCR position.
The job started to change for us with PsyOp. Instead
of loudspeaker broadcasts we started handing out
newspapers and leaflets and actively gathered int
about Ba’ath Party members from locals. The whole
war for Capt Crook, Cpl Jones and myself had been
an amazing experience and won’t be quickly
forgotten.
The Sqn now has a period of well-deserved leave
prior to the return of shipping to UK. Reconstitution
in UK to prepare the Sqn for future deployment is scheduled for
Crowds lined the streets to welcome us
July, prior to summer leave stand-down. The Sqn returns to R2 in
September with a mix of exs and adventure trg planned.
219 SIGNAL SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Maj Rab Young
WO2 Daz Abson
DEPLOYMENT – OPERATION TELIC
Following our last inclusion, the Sqn continues to support OP
TELIC into the next phase, commercialization and sustainment.
We were given the opportunity by the CO, to remain in theatre
until end of July 03 to oversee the OSCA network laydown plan.
Who could refuse that one! The Regt has now returned to York
after doing sterling work with the remainder set up in the Port of
Umm Qasr. The RHQ element also remained behind to ensure a
smooth transition for the arrival of Chief G6, Col John Terrington,
who is now firmly embedded into COMBRITFOR at Basrah
International Airport (BIA).
So where are we now? The war is over and hostilities have
ceased. An installation team from 10 Sig Regt, headed up by
WO2 Bulli Bullivant, continue to build HQ to a high standard.
Well done lads. All the OSCA cabins are nearly in position, with
the final one going to Baghdad very soon. Lt Andy Nicklin has
deployed ahead of this move and is now our man in Baghdad! As
for the rest of the Sqn, they are looking forward to some wellearned rest. First in and last out. The OC, Maj Rab Young is
going into rehab on return as he is suffering from �depleted golf
syndrome’. So you can guess where he will be heading. Our new
Ops Team of SSgts FofS Stumpie Dunstone and YofS Brendan
Plant have taken over the reins from the Regtl Ops crew and have
firmly stamped their authority on anyone who will listen. As usual,
the busiest dept is Suppt Tp, who are still collecting, recording
and delivering CIS assets throughout theatre. We all had a bit of
respite last week and managed to get some time off to visit the
CSE Show. Some even managed to get on stage. Sgt Paul
Clancy strutted his stuff as a Dancing Queen (no comment) and
Cpl Vicky Lomax enjoyed being the Magician’s assistant!
We are now planning the redeployment back to UK at the same
time as getting the lads some well earned R&R. The R&R is a bit
like day-release from prison. You are supervised into a guarded
US camp, have a swim and then back to your tent at night, and
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
The OC, Maj Rab Young still pushing it!
there is still no beer. Roll on leave, we all need to unpack our
bags.
OPERATION TELIC 2003 - by Sig Emma Anderson
January was the beginning of OP TELIC for the Sqn, with
elements deploying before the main body, to a then, very small
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camp in Kuwait (ironically called Camp Kohima) which would
become the home base of the Regt during the war. Camp
Kohima was situated next to a very large American camp called
Arifjan, which would prove to bring hours of fun to members of
the Sqn with its extensive range of fast food outlets, PX, - Oh and
of course, a really good gym!
February was somewhat different as it bought the first move, in
what was then an ex, to Camp Rhino, which was situated inside
an American camp called Camp Commando. Camp Rhino would
prove to be an eye opener as to what was to be expected of what
would become OP TELIC.
Clancy and Cpl Lomax, who were chosen from a cast of
thousands to appear on stage along with the cast where they
shone like the stars they are!
We are now looking forward to returning back to York to a warm
welcome from the rest of the Regt and a well-earned rest back in
sunny Britain! Fingers crossed, or is it Crossed Keys! Either way,
see you all in Toffs.
March was probably the busiest time for the Regt, with many
personnel deployed to the four winds, including attachments to 3
CDO Brigade, 16 AA Brigade, 17 Port and Maritime, and many
other units in theatre. During the early stages of the conflict we
had a detachment with 1 Div Alt, which moved into Iraq with 1
MEF. This proved to be a very rewarding job for Cpl Vickers, LCpl
Smith and Sig Adams, and would take them into what was then a
war zone to provide tac comms for the fwd element of the Div.
April brought good things for the Sqn, as the first EFI arrived into
theatre and we all enjoyed a well-deserved can of warm Coke!
May provided the opportunity for the majority of the Regt to
recover back to York, leaving 219 Sig Sqn, to form the OSCA Sig
Sqn, who fought on. Some of the same faces at the front leading
the way included Lt Andy Nicklin, SSgt YofS Plant, and many
other war veterans. Entertainment was never far away and a CSE
show brought the celebrity out of certain individuals, including Sgt
Cpl Rob Vickers and Sig �Commando’ Adams enjoying brew-up
shortly after crossing into Iraq
101 LOGISTIC BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS
AND SIGNAL SQUADRON (261) JOINT FORCE LOGISTIC COMPONENT
SIGNAL SQUADRON
OC
RSM
Maj Matt Fensom
WO1 (RSM) KRJ Smith
OPERATION TELIC – UMM QASR PORT
The Sqn has now been complete in Iraq for six weeks, and what a
busy time it’s been! The first job was the takeover from 214/262
Sig Sqn before preparing the HQ for the arrival of the Staff of 101
Log Bde. Our thanks go out to Maj Stu Gillespie and all those
under his comd, for making the transition period such a smooth
one. To date our time in theatre has been spent throwing WOTAN
around theatre as if it was going out of fashion, battling with the
fragile PTARMIGAN network on our evening conference calls, and
preparing and moving the Staff and hangers on to our newly
renovated HQ (with air conditioning and office furniture as
standard!). Add to this the ever growing life support tasks, the
ongoing pigeon and feral dog cull, frequent urgent dashes to the
one-man saunas (portaloos), a HQ move, and it’s not surprising
the time has flown by!
We have recently moved the JFLogC HQ to a new loc – the old
Iraqi Duty Free building within the port boundaries. The intention
was to move the Staff and Sig Sqn into a purpose built HQ
building, complete with air conditioning and briefing and
conferencing facilities. After some outstanding work by the
Queen’s Gurkha Engineers, WO2 (now WO1) FofS Sue King and
the 2 Sig Regt Inst Techs, the move was on. Initially it seemed as
though it was going to be bigger than Ben Hur, but thanks to the
hard work of all involved, things went decidedly well.
The manner in which the Sqn has deployed has called for great
flexibility from all ranks. No part of the Sqn has been unaffected
by the need to alter roles, lose manpower, assume additional
responsibility, and generally stay on our toes for fast balls. It is
testament to the professionalism of all ranks that the Sqn has
managed to start the deployment in such a positive manner. If
you’re about to be posted in, the moral of the story is be prepared
to work (and play) hard.
364
The RSM gets back to his roots
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
THE PRIME MINISTER’S VISIT - by Lt Liz Pointon
The day started like any other day out here. After having been
visited the day before by Forces Sweetheart, Nell McAndrew, the
news that we were to be visited by our PM, Tony Blair went
relatively unnoticed amongst the boys. On the other hand, being a
particular fan of his, I was excited at the prospect. It was whilst
discussing over breakfast, his policy on changes to the
Government’s stance on the referendum for the European
constitution with my highbrow 2IC/Ops Offr, Capt Jamie Noble,
that my day was to change considerably. �I bet you 10p you can’t
kiss the PM,’ he said. And there it was - the challenge had been
set. Although quite nervous at first, I knew I had to go through
with it, when my OC, Maj Matt Fensom, upped the ante by
explaining that he had set the standard for daring subaltern stunts
by dancing with our Colonel-in-Chief, HRH, The Princess Royal
when he was a young Lt (- about 50 years ago!) When all were
lined up after his visit, most were wilting from the intense heat.
But not I. I was on the sidelines, busy puckering up with military
precision, waiting for my moment. As he waved goodbye to the
tps in his charismatic, catalogue pose way, I ambushed him from
behind a 4GS Medical Regt ambulance and stuck a sloppy
smacker right on his (surprisingly soft) cheek. And boy oh boy, did
sparks fly! I won my 10p bet and diminished the OC’s Royal
rendezvous into oblivion. Subbies throughout the Corps, the
standard has now been set…
where we met the boat party and were reunited with our vehs.
The following morning we drove up through Kuwait and into Iraq.
When we arrived at Umm Qasr it became clear that there was an
outbreak of D&V, so we were told not to share bottles of water
and maintain a high standard of hygiene. But somehow the bug
got out. One of the first victims was RSM Kev Smith, closely
followed by SSgt Lee Clark, who insisted it was �heat
exhaustion’ whilst running to the port-a-loo with his buttocks
clenched.
It was only upon arrival at Umm Qasr that the size of the task
ahead hit home. With the force protection measures in place, we
had, in addition to our normal tasks, to spend a lot of time on
escort duties to the various locs around theatre. We have also
taken on the management of white fleet for HQ JFLogC and are
considering renaming ourselves �Avis Tp.’ SSgt Harman’s
posterior requires surgically removing from his Toyota Land
Cruiser! The ISM Team has been very busy trying to get the
infernal JOCs system working correctly - something which hasn’t
been helped by the tendency of the civilian contract generators
deciding they don’t like the heat.
Some of the highlights to date have been a very enjoyable trip to
the CSE show in Shaibah, where Bjorn Again and Bee Gees
Experience were the highlight.
During our time in Iraq we have said goodbye to important
members of the Tp. A big thank you to LCpl McGuckin and LCpl
Gray for the work both in and out of the bar. A warm welcome is
extended to LCpl Reynolds. We also express our thanks to Cpl
Webb, Cpl Tucker, LCpl Bye, LCpl Trotter, LCpl Perry and Pte
Dunn for their much-appreciated help.
VISIT FROM NELL McANDREW
Could it really be true? Was Nell McAndrew really going to come
and visit us? You bet your bottom dollar she was. And boy, was
she looking forward to it! After almost a month in theatre,
rumours were rife that a VIP was in-bound for a morale-raising
visit, but nobody knew who. We all knew that the PM was coming
- that was taken as read. But the ComSec surrounding Nell’s visit
was unbelievably tight (just like her top!).
The big moment – Lt Pointon executes Capt Noble’s cunning plan!
SUPPORT TROOP
Tp Comd
Tp SSgt
Lt Keith
SSgt Harman
261 Sig Sqn left Aldershot on 26 April for the long journey to Umm
Qasr in Iraq. The heat hit us as soon as we stepped off the plane
at KIA. From here we went by coach to Camp Kohima at Arifjan,
As the visit programme was being written, our intrepid OC, Maj
Matt Fensom ensured that the Sqn got maximum exposure time
(although not quite as much as he did!) and had the opportunity to
get a quick photo taken. Unfortunately something had to give.
Our 2IC/Ops Offr, Capt Jamie Noble was packed off to a Roc
Drill, because everybody knew she would fall for his devilishly
handsome looks - and then the wedding to Dale Winton would
be off. Whilst all this commotion was going on, the RSM was
wandering around foaming at the mouth - to the extent that we
were about to get him a rabies booster jab. We were told that
Nell had a great time and no doubt loved kissing all those sweaty
men. Rumour has it the visit brought her close to tears – can’t
think why!
FORCE HEADQUARTERS SIGNAL SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Maj AG Lucas
WO2 (SSM) Lloyd
The last instalment of WIRE notes from 211 Sig Sqn saw us busy
guarding the Gas Oil Separation Plant (GOSP) in the southern
Rumaylah Oil Fields. This task was completed professionally and
handed over to 3 Para and we relocated north to the recentlysecured Basrah International Airport (BIA).
The Sappers were busy removing destroyed T-55 tanks from the
runway as the first packet of armour rumbled up to the rear of the
terminal building. With the Sqn parked in formation on the pan,
accommodation was secured in the old baggage sorting area,
where the discovery of a camel spider did little to dampen the
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
troops’ spirits. A weapons keep safe area was established and it
wasn’t long before the order was given to stop carrying our
respirators around. It was strange to walk about without the items
that had never been more than an arm’s length away for the last
four months.
From the views on the roof to the abandoned Iraqi uniforms found
deep inside the airport’s air-raid shelters, the airport was a
fascinating building to explore. The splendour of the VIP suite,
with its gold plated taps and toilet furnishings was in stark
contrast to the villages we had passed through on the way here.
When every single room had been explored and examined, the
HQ was built in the Domestic Departure Lounge with diamond 10
365
massage in the first class cabin on the plane. The visit was a great
morale boost to the troops, as many saw their faces in the UK
national press a few days later and some were even lucky enough
to get on TV.
Another morale booster for the Sqn came in the form of the CSE
show. With a stage built in the dusty and windy conditions at
Shaibah Airfield, most of the Sqn danced the night away to the
tunes of Bjorn Again and Bee Gees Magic. Cpl Thompson and
Sig Cunningham provided an important comms CP for the event
and managed to park their Land Rover strategically in front of the
stage, ensuring the best view for the night.
In our most northern loc in Iraq, members of Support Tp relax. L-R
Cpl Rogers, Sig Mattison and Sgt Rodway
being built in the restaurant area of the International Departure
Lounge. In less than three days, troops from 211 Sig Sqn, with a
little help from Lima Tp, turned the airport lounge into a fully
functioning Div HQ, ready to receive the Staff from the dusty
desert. The airport offices were scrubbed clean and turned into
the staff sleeps, whilst the air raid shelters were secured and
turned into the Sqn armoury.
Two C130s outside our new home at BIA. They had just brought
Donald Rumsfield
On 29 May the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, visited Iraq to thank
personally the troops for their involvement in the op. He arrived
from Kuwait on an RAF C130 and was met by the GOC and most
of the Sqn. Some waved from the rooftop whilst others sat in the
Sqn rest room watching it unfold live on Sky TV, only to see LCpl
Stanyer trying to shepherd the media around and walk straight in
On 2 May the Sqn witnessed Richard Branson flying in on board
front of the camera. After a briefing from the GOC, the PM came
one of his Virgin 747s packed with humanitarian aid. This was the
upstairs and the first people he encountered were the duty ops at
first commercial aircraft to fly in to Basrah and the pilot was an
Syscon. He eagerly shook everyone’s hand before moving on to
exiled Iraqi pilot. It was an emotional time for all involved. As the
another briefing. As the PM left to go to Basrah Palace, the Sqn
media scrum died down, members of the Sqn showed the crew
settled down to lunch, arguing about who had actually shaken his
around the airport (they had certainly never seen bunk beds in a
hand and whether he described their performance as �remarkable’
baggage reclaim hall before!) whilst others had a well-deserved
or �fantastic’.
Basrah Palace was the
scene for the Certa Cito
Dining Club’s first dinner of
the tour. Before too many
of them redeployed, all
Royal Signals Officers in
theatre were invited to a
dinner to celebrate the
success of the op. The
chefs from 7 Armd Bde put
on a magnificent meal,
enjoyed by all, and 2Lt
Carpenter was introduced
gently to the duties of Mr
Vice at a Regtl Dinner.
As events quieten down in
theatre, Force HQ Sig Sqn
reformed into two Tps. A
Tp, commanded by Lt
Kamara, is responsible for
the comms provided and
the day to day running of
the HQ. B Tp, commanded
by Lt Gaw, concentrates
on the MT with the help of
Sgt McNeilly, and the IT
systems in the HQ with the
assistance of WO2 Harris.
Force HQ Sig Sqn line up with the first commercial aircraft to arrive at BIA
With a rotation of jobs
The Sqns of 1 (UK) ADSR were soon amalgamated to become the
Force HQ Sig Sqn and elements of 201, 211 and 212 began to
redeploy back to Herford. Maj Lucas stayed in theatre to
command the Sqn, with Capt Bosworth returning to Herford and
Capt Hawkins taking over the role as 2IC.
366
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
scenery. MT driver was the most
sought after job until they started
getting guards as well! Now, as
everything winds down, Herford has
never been so appealing!!
COMMCEN - by WO2 (YofS) Jephcote
Info Mgr
Maj Nick Hotson
Under the careful guidance of Maj
Hotson, and using a system originally
designed by SSgt (YofS) Dave
Rodgers, Commcen/RDC Tp
advanced through Kuwait and Iraq
issuing/receiving and tracking
documents in support of 1 (UK) ADSR
Staff. Working closely with RDC staff
for trg on the electronic systems,
Regular and Augmentee clerks and
sigs learned how to work in tandem to
provide the level of service required.
The desert phases of the op proved to
be a challenge, with the number of HQ
moves (and the logistics involved), the
heat build-up and the lack of sleep
over long periods and then fighting to
211 Sqn setting up Div Main in their first field loc in Kuwait
keep the sand out of the computers
every 4 weeks, we get experience in all aspects of the HQ and we
(and the people) to make them work efficiently. The moves were
soon learn our way around downtown Basrah and the quickest
carried out smoothly because they had been practised, the heat
way to get back to the border.
we eventually got used to, and the sand was kept out by putting
Clingfilm over all orifices (the computers, not the people). Even
There is still a considerable number of TA augmentees working in
tough book computers are not so tough when faced with a desert
the HQ, allowing Regular soldiers to return home for career
storm (no pun intended).
courses, postings or to prepare for an up and coming tour in the
Balkans. Filling essential roles such as techs, QM staff and
Now, sitting in our air-conditioned but still very hot part of the HQ,
comms ops, the TA augmentees have ensured that the Staff still
and the desert phase a distant memory, we reflect on the
receive the high level professional service as they did throughout
important part we played and are proud to have served during OP
the op and back in their peace time locs.
TELIC.
The Sqn is now looking forward to the handover to 3 (UK) Div HQ
& Sig Regt and returning to Herford for a much-needed rest. In the
immediate future we also look forward to a BPFA, which needs to
be held at 05.30hrs because of the soaring temperatures during
the day. Friends and family back home can look forward to their
very own bronzed Adonis’ coming home very soon.
RADCON - by Sig Cunningham
Life in RADCON started off pretty hectic at first due to the fact
that we had to remote everything into a designated radio room via
a skylight on the roof of BIA. This in itself proved to be relatively
straightforward as the majority of 211 Sig Sqn had previously
done this in the FIBUA village at Sennelager Trg Centre. The
RACON team, initially comprising Sig Bosanquet and myself,
under the watchful eye of SSgt (YofS) Emsen, soon became a
well-oiled comms machine. This continued for about 2-3 weeks
until we took over all of DSG’s assets, including a massive seven
321s and three KIPLINGs. With the immediate influx of more nets,
the RADCON ranks soon swelled, to include Cpl Nicholas, Cpl
Birks, LCpl Douglas, LCpl Stanyer, Sig Barnwell, Sig Waters,
Sig Hutton and Sig Briffett. This large amount of manpower was
only required for a short time as the op was firmly established in
Phase 4. And so naturally, half the lads retreated faster than an
Italian main battle tank. By the end of April, with Force HQ well
established at BIA, we were down to minimum manning. And we
reluctantly waved goodbye to a good two thirds of 211 Sig Sqn
(aka �The General’s right hand men’ - as described in the May
edition of Soldier).
It is now June, manning has depleted yet again and we have a
total of six ops left to man 2 nets 24/7 and, as is usual in static
locs, do guard. The remaining ops are Sigs Cunningham,
Briffett, Barnwell, Hutton, Pacey and McAllister.
ACCESS SECTION
For the last few months all the Sys Ops and Relay Ops have been
working in the Access Sec in BIA. The job involved pretty much
listening to the Rad Ops’ white noise as we are co-located with
them and waiting for something to go wrong. We have had a lot of
changing about over that period, mainly to give them a change of
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
TRUNK NODE 061 - by LCpl Wignall
Tp Comd
Lt MR Mallett
Tp SSgt
SSgt Steve Tresidder
Since the draw-down of the Coalition forces in the Basra area, TN
061 and attached personnel, (namely Radio Relay 051 C, crewed
by LCpl Wignall and Sig Hicks and 16 Sig Regt’s Central 323,
crewed by Cpl Griffiths, Cpl Devlin and Sig Matthews) have
formed the nucleus for the remaining land forces, providing Force
HQ with vital comms links throughout theatre. For the last 2
months of our deployment we have settled into a busy schedule
with little room for error. In spite of the tight hours we were
keeping covering shifts, doing fatigues, stagging on, supporting
out dets and picking rubbish out of the barbed wire, people still
managed to put in time to keep fit. This paid dividends when in
56C the inevitable happened, a BPFA. Inspiration came in the
form of Cpl Scott who, at the ripe old age of 50 passed in style in
12 minutes. Extra PT was also put to good use by a team of 10
runners who took part in the Umm Qasr 10km Fun Run with a
stretcher. Sporting T-shirts supplied by the Daily Mirror, they
managed to raise in excess of $500 for the Children of Iraq
charity. SSgt Tresidder, Cpl Griffiths, LCpl Mulligan, LCpl
Hatchard, Sig Smissen, Sig Wilkinson, Sig Matthews, Sig
Bickerton, Sig Jarvis and Sig Hicks all deserve commendation
for their efforts.
A change of command on 6 June saw us wave goodbye to Lt
Timmy Mallett to attend a much-needed Tp Comds Course.
Another morale-boosting event was the opening of the Blue
Oyster Bar on Friday and Saturday nights. This proved to be a
torment for some, as it was run on a strict 2-can rule.
With the clock ticking on the time remaining and temperatures
ever rising, our only remaining regular Sys Op, Sig Smissen has
been joined by an influx of Relay Ops looking for cooler working
climates in the Switch. The latest of these is LCpl Boothby and
Sig Vallelly. The increase in temperature has also inspired a
weight loss challenge between Cpl Russell and LCpl Hatchard.
The jury is still out on the winner of that particular challenge.Trunk
Node 061 would like to thank all those who have served with us
and wish them all the very best for the future.
367
35 (SOUTH MIDLAND)
SIGNAL REGIMENT (VOLUNTEERS)
CO
RSM
LtCol CR Owen
WO1 (RSM) JT Cauldwell
OPERATION TELIC2 – THE NEW BATCH
As expected, the peacekeeping phase has brought new demands
on the TA and a further limited mobilisation was announced in
Parliament on 30 April to backfill many units who are short of
crucial manpower to both operate and repair tech equipt. For the
Regt, this translated into a further 19 nominations, all of whom
have now received their call-up papers. This includes two Sqn
Comds, Majs Peter Ayre and Dominic Hope. On 2 June we will
be saying a temporary farewell to seven soldiers from 89 Sqn, HQ
Sqn and 95 Sqn. Others, including the Sqn Comds, deploy
between 14 and 20 June. We are sure they will be quickly joined
by Parcel Force and a ceaseless supply of bluey’s to keep them in
touch with the home front. Those deploying on 2 June will be
joining 19 Mech Bde Sig Sqn after a short period of intensive
training at Chilwell and acclimatisation in-theatre. Most have
close friends already serving in the Basra area, and are hoping to
catch up with them before they are demobilised.
and Sunday off. His response is unprintable! Down the road at
HQ Sqn, LCpl Craig Poulton, who was last seen in Soldier
magazine, took a break from laying cable to Gen Brimm’s HQ to
pen an application to be a weapons inspector. He explained that
the UN Weapons Inspectors had found nothing in ten years, but
he had spotted a Scud missile flying over his head within two
minutes of arriving in Kuwait. This made him an expert. Finally
Cpl Tony Hadley will have some explaining to do to the OP
PLUNDER team to convince them that the tiles he brought back
from Saddam’s Palace matched the ones in his own bathroom!
Many thanks to Capt Alec Rogers and Capt Jim Taylor for this
amusing interlude. I told you I could keep a secret.
DEEP AND CRISP AND EVEN
It goes without saying that life in a TA unit does provide
opportunities for trg other than military. These come in the shape
of leisure (golf is placed under this category, as is adventure
training and skiing). Later in the year the Regt is mounting
trekking expeditions to Spain, led by that explorer extraodinaire,
Capt John Middler and a sailing expedition to the Baltic, led by
our new Adjt, Capt Charlie Roberts. So we expect some
interesting reports from these two events. To whet your appetites
in the meantime, the skiers have just returned intact from Zermat,
sporting tans, lip cream and full of humorous stories after their
fun-filled time in the Swiss Alps during April and May. As
reported by Sgt Ray Blanchette and LCpl Michelle Carvell (who
will be topping her tan up soon in the Gulf), it was the last week of
the ski season, the snow was indeed deep and crisp and even
and they had the perfect scenic backdrop, the magnificent
Matterhorn. The slopes were free of tourists, so unrestrained fun
was the order of the week as everyone was anxious to get onto
the piste, literally. By the end of the week, both skilled and novice
skiers had had a tremendous time and came back with many
memories, especially that of WO1 (RSM) Yogi Cauldwell, who
was making a dramatic descent down the slope at Mach 1
desperately trying to position his skis into a snow plough. But
even Yogi was outdone by Sig Tony Reid’s gymnastics. He tried
to impersonate Eddy the Eagle with a desperate cry of �Oh
Shhhhh...........ugar!’ as he embedded himself into a snowdrift.
Next year the ski-ing expedition is off once again to Europe. So if
you want some fun, contact the organiser, SSgt Rod Shelton
Smith, on Canley ext 8915 and get your bid in early.
CHAMPS NOT CHUMPS
Maj Pete Ayre contemplating his mobilisation
Hopefully our next article will include an item of personal
experiences in the Gulf, but in the meantime I can share one or
two amusing anecdotes. However, I have been sworn to secrecy
and cannot reveal the source. LCpl Sam Blackburn from 95 Sqn
settled into her new environment extremely well and quickly
adapted to the operational situation during the war-fighting phase.
But Sam could not fully understand the 24/7 concept and was
overheard asking her new Tp SSgt why they didn’t get Saturday
368
The Regt’s success in Orienteering carries on unabated. The 5 Div
Relay event took place at Hare Wood near Andover on
Wednesday 19 March. Competing as a minor unit, the Team was
Capt Tom Jeffries, SSgt Chris Jones and SSgt Dave Arnot.
Against tough opposition from Regular units, they performed well,
achieving runner-up position. At the Individual event at Norbury
Park, Leatherhead, on 7 May, SSgt Dave Arnot was joined by
veterans, Capt John Middler, WO2 Chris Smith, SSgt Waggy
Wagstaff and two novices, Sigs Ben Rankin and Luke Clarke.
Chris Smith was the M40 runner-up, and John Middler the M50
runner-up. Much to their surprise, our two novices took first and
second places in the under 25 race. Unbeknown to them at the
time, they were the only two competitors in that category, but they
received their medals like true Champs not chumps! At the Harris
relay event in Chepstow, South Wales at the end of May, Capt
John Middler, W02 Chris Smith and SSgt Waggy Wagstaff were
awarded the Minor Units Cup as a result of their fine performance.
Well done!
REGIMENTAL EXERCISES
On Saturday 10 May, the Regt was pleased to host Comd 143
Bde, Brig Andrew Meek on a visit to EX SUMMER FALCON. He
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
was met at RAF Cosford by the CO, LtCol Calvin Owen. He
visited a number of locs throughout the ex area, including 48
Sqn’s Access Node and, after a grand tour of the Shropshire
countryside, TN 039, manned by 95 Sqn near the pretty village of
Much-Wenlock near Telford. He made time to talk to many
members of the Regt, before returning to Shrewsbury later that
afternoon. Following this successful ex, the CO did a round robin
of Sqns, surprising LCpl Smudge Smith of 89 Sqn, when he
unexpectedly promoted him to the rank of Cpl.
Unfortunately, the Silver Bullet weekend was cancelled due to our
heavy mobilisation and Civilian Contingency Reaction Force
(CCRF) commitments. However, in the next edition of The WIRE
we expect to share the experiences of those who have been
nominated to support our civilian colleagues as part of the CCRF,
and the trg that took place at Caerwent with Police, Ambulance,
Fire Service and NHS as part of EX CAMBRAI CO-OPERATION.
143 BDE SKILL AT ARMS COMPETITION
The CO was delighted that, despite severe manning problems, all
Sqns managed to enter a team into the 143 Bde SAAM. But, with
the limited preparation time they had, would they perform to an
acceptable standard? Fortunately over the weekend 16 – 18 May
no team was to let him down, and the Regt achieved some
pleasing results. Sig Andrew Macdonald of 95 Sqn achieved TA
Runner-Up in the LSW match and with his partner Capt Pete
Mouland, came third in the team competition, only one shot
behind the team that took second place.
Brig Andrew Meek shares a joke with the CO and Lt Paul
Rodenhurst
Dry training in preparation for the Competition
Match 2 and 8 also saw some close-run shooting, with Sig Lewis
only 5 shots behind the overall winner and Cpl Simon Claydon
and Sig Andrew Macdonald only one shot further behind. With
more preparation for next year’s competition the CO is looking
forwarding to reaping greater rewards. The Regtl team honours
go to 95 Sqn, closely followed by 89 Sqn. Sig Macdonald was
so pleased with his performance and the performance of his 95
Sqn team, he has submitted the following account.
SHOOT TO THRILL
Over the weekend of the 17 and 18 May, my team and I were
representing 95 Sqn and the Regt at bde level shooting. Our
team comprised Capt Mouland (captain), WO2 Kinsey, WO2
Roberts, Cpl Winstanley and Sigs Hughes, Trow, Lewis and
myself. The Regt had entered 4 other teams, from each Sqn and
HQ. We knew that the competition would be tough, especially
with the Fusiliers, the Light Infantry and Regular unit teams
present. However, morale was high and we did have some very
experienced soldiers in our team. And the majority of the team
had recently represented the Regt at Corps level, where we
performed very well, but missed out on the prizes. This time we
were quietly confident we could come back with some silverware,
or at least beat the rest of the Regt on overall points!
Promotion at last for Cpl Smudge Smith
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Saturday, the first day of the competition, began at 05.45hrs with
most of us believing that we had been woken on ex! After sorting
our heads out and having some breakfast, we set out to
Kingsbury ranges early, in the hope of getting good insight into
the shoots we were about to take part in. The team was split up,
369
with individuals put into different details and given different times
for their shoots. This broke up the team, so we needed to perform
well on our own - a scary thought but, with the preparation we
had done previously, was not a problem. Arriving at the ranges at
about 08.00hrs, we had plenty of time, with my first shoot at
10.45hrs.
However Captain Mouland was not so fortunate. His first shoot
was the APWT in the first detail. Once the first few details had
passed, we were all feeling confident. There were six shoots,
including snap shoots from prone, fire trench and with respirators.
Overall the team did very well, and individuals in the team were
high up the scoreboard. As the day progressed, the team did
better and better as we established ourselves as the stronger
team in the Regt.
The second shoot that I took part in was the Match 8 Army
Hundred Cup, comprising prone at 300m, kneeling at 200m,
standing at 100m and a snap shoot at 100m. This shoot went well
for us and we made some reasonable individual scores. At this
point, the day was over for most of the team, but for Capt
Mouland and myself, it had just begun. We had the Match 29
LSW. For me this was the most significant shoot and the
culmination of many months’ trg. I had already done it at the
Corps competition and knew it is a demanding shoot physically,
and drills with the LSW need to be very slick. Each soldier has 50
rounds, and you start at 600m, then to 500m, 400m, 300m and
200m. The main points can be taken at the 600m and 500m, with
10 rounds at each firing point, but it is a great distance. Next, after
firing 4 rounds at an exposed target at 400m, the gunner has 30
seconds to advance to the 300m point and engage the target with
16 rounds. So a fast advance is required to get the rounds off!
Then the last part of the shoot is the snap at 200m with 10
rounds. This can be the more relaxing part of the shoot - if you
can catch your breath by the time you get there! At the end of
this shoot we both felt confident that we had shot well, but it
OC
CI
wouldn’t be until the next day that we would know our scores.
On Sunday we again started the day early with breakfast and an
early move out to the range. Our first shoot was the Section
Match. A similar layout to the LSW Match, it comprises a sec of 8,
2 LSW gunners and the rest riflemen. The match simulates a sec
attack, starting at 600m and finishing at 200m. The gunners, Capt
Mouland and myself started the shoot by engaging the targets at
600m. The sec then split into two fire teams with 3 riflemen and 1
gunner in each. After the gunners finished firing at 600m, the left
fire team advanced to the 500m fire point to engage the target.
The right fire team then did the same, advancing to the 400m
point. Next the riflemen advanced to the 300m point and once
they started firing, the gunners could advance to engage. Finally,
the whole sec advanced to the 200m point to engage the target.
We all left the firing point confident of a reasonable score, and as
the day drew on, the scores were released and we knew that we
had all done very well and should gain some silverware. The final
shoot was the Falling Plate shoot, where, with a team of 4, you
advance from the 300m point to the 200m point as quickly as
possible to engage the 10 plates. Our team was Captain
Mouland, WO2 Kinsey, Sig Lewis and myself. We ended up
getting knocked out in the first round but, with the high levels of
shooting and the scores we had already achieved, we weren’t too
downhearted.
With the competition over we then attended the prize giving
parade. 30 Sig Regt claimed the majority of the silverware, which
was well deserved. However I was much delighted to claim TA
Runner-up in the Match 29 LSW. As a team we also managed 4th
position in the LSW match and the most team points in our Regt,
which was a prize in itself! In conclusion we all had a very
enjoyable weekend and we all had a good shoot. It was good
experience and we all intend to improve for next year and bring
back more silverware to the Regt
LtCol RVJ Brannigan
SSgt P Boughey
The Season is now in full swing and we are all becoming
seasoned performers. At time of writing we have all returned from
our first few displays and are preparing for our first long tour on
the road. So far we have performed at the Aldershot Army Open
Day, The Royal Balmoral Show in Belfast, Verwood Carnival and
the Royal Bath and West Show. More on that later.
OPENING DISPLAY
On 9 May we held our opening display for the SOinC(A) at
Blandford. This display is a chance for the SOinC to view the
display team before they depart on the summer season. It is also
the display at which all the first years are awarded their White
Helmets following their hard winter’s trg.
The day dawned bright and sunny, much to everyone’s relief. After
losing a lot of trg time over the preceding weeks due to
horrendous weather, some pretty frantic last minute trg had been
required. After many late nights and working weekends, the Team
was feeling confident of a good display, providing the weather
held.
In a break from the normal morning routine for an opening display,
a short ceremony took place at the White Helmets HQ building.
Mrs Sue Spooner and her son Martin were present to name the
building after the late LtCol Phil Spooner. LtCol Spooner was a
previous OC of the White Helmets who did an enormous amount
for the team. His was by far the best choice for the new name.
The RSMDT is now run from Spooner Building.
As friends, family and sponsors started to gather on Hawke
Square, tension and excitement started to build. Before we could
begin our display there were two other Teams keen to show their
skills. The Band introduced the day with their customary faultless
370
Mrs Sue Spooner names the RSMDT HQ �Spooner Building’ after
her late husband, LtCol Phil Spooner
display of incidental and marching music followed by the Royal
Signals Freefall Parachute Display Team. An outstanding freefall
display was given by four jumpers, with Maj Tony Crilly trailing
the Corps Flag to an accurate landing completing the display.
Tension in the pits mounted to an all-time high as the Freefall
team cleared the Square. It was nearly time. As LtCol Brannigan
introduced the Team and we started the motorcycles, all thoughts
of nerves were forgotten as everyone’s training kicked in and we
began the display.
Halfway through the performance all the first years entered the
arena on the three-bike fan (pyramid) to be awarded their White
Helmets. Congratulations to Cpl Ian Dickinson, LCpls Ian Allen
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
SOinC(A) congratulates LCpl Ian Allen on being judged the best
all-round new rider
BELFAST AND THE START OF THE SEASON
No sooner had the opening display ended than we were off to
Belfast to perform at the Royal Balmoral Show. 15 Sig Regt had
kindly offered to accommodate and support us. No small
undertaking! Many thanks must go to the Regt 2IC, the RSM and
to SSgt �Dusty’ Miller and his patient team of minders.
The newcomers. Sig Chris Fitzgerald shows concentration as he
guides the 4T’s
and Dave Kruczek, Sigs Bowles, Fothergill, Fitzgerald and
Johnston who all received their White Helmets from the SOinC(A).
Cpl Baz Fullerton was awarded his LSGC by the SOinC(A) and
LCpl Ian Allen was announced as the recipient of the Lucas
Trophy for the most accomplished new rider.
The display finished as Capt Malcolm presented the Team to the
SOinC(A) for the salute. After all the build-up, trg and
preparations, it had all gone without a hitch. Everyone felt
extremely satisfied as we all adjourned to the Semaphore Arms
for the Reception and Lunch.
Families, sponsors and team members all mingled and chatted in
the reception. LCpl Ian Allen was presented the Lucas Trophy,
and the man of the moment, Cpl Baz Fullerton was presented
the Elson Trophy for the rider who was given most to the Team
throughout the previous year. Congratulations to Baz and also to
Shona who has to put up with him when we don’t!
As we arrived in Fleetwood for the eight hour ferry crossing a
small hitch was encountered as the Ferry Company seemed to
want ВЈ1200 from us before the coach could board. A quick whip
round raised ВЈ1.49p but luckily they let us on anyway. Cpl
Damien Chorlton would probably have been happier if we had
been unable to board anyway, as he has the ability to feel seasick
in a small puddle. The blow of an eight-hour crossing was
softened when the free breakfast was discovered. The Galley had
no idea how much food 30 White Helmets and Sig Ricky Gaston
can consume when it’s all free!
Once we had arrived and settled in, the first two days went very
well. Despite 05.30hrs starts for 15.00hrs performances! The
crowds were huge and very appreciative and the Team rose to the
occasion. Sadly, the weather broke for the last day and we could
put on only a drastically reduced display. Despite this, the
organisers seemed very happy with the Team and we left on a
high note. The return journey proved to be a bit of a nightmare
with ferry delays, broken ramps and closed motorways. We were
all very glad to return to our homes for the few hours sleep before
we returned to work, turned the fleet around and set off for two
displays for the Star and Garter Homes Tattoo and then four more
for the Royal Bath and West Show.
For a job that is demanding, busy and rewarding why not apply to
join the team? Details can be found in SOinC(A) Policy Directive
204 held in Orderly Rooms or by calling Blandford (9) 4371-2405
(01258 482405). You don’t have to have any motorcycle
experience to apply.
SOinC(A) congratulates Cpl Baz Fullerton on his LS&GC award
All in all, the whole day went extremely well. Everyone said what
an excellent time they had all had, and many letters of praise have
been received in Spooner Building. After a start like that we look
forward to a good season.
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Cpl Mal Cooper making the car jump look easy
371
FOOTBALL
WE ARE FIRMLY BACK ON THE MAP! - By Capt Tommy Steele
Although my last report was full of optimism, the Massey Trophy
seemed out of our reach. We would need to win the remaining 7
fixtures to stand a chance of beating RLC to the title. A tall order,
especially considering the Quadrangular tournament. The games
against RE, RA and REME are always extremely competitive, with
RE the only team ever to have won all three games in the Quads.
And the Corps hadn’t won the Quads since 1987!
Our next game was against AMS at Hermitage. A nervous start
saw us struggle to get to grips with the opposition, the medics
working very hard to close us down and disrupt our natural
passing game. After 20 minutes there was still no sign of the our
getting on top, until a mistake by AMS led to the first of 6 goals
scored in 9 minutes. At the break, the score remained 6-0. The
second half saw us score another nine goals to complete a 15-0
drubbing. The youngsters were absolutely outstanding. Sig Wood
scored five and Sig Bates three, but a special mention must go to
the Moffat brothers. Both Glen and Al played - and scored! When
was the last time that brothers played for the Corps, and did they
both score in the same game?
Our next two games against Int Corps and AAC. Int Corps
withdrew on the day, conceding the game to us. Then, unable to
field a team, AAC also conceded. We had gained six easy points,
but we had missed the opportunity test the team again. But, with
only four more games to go, victory was looking possible.
At the next game, against AGC at Worthy Down, the Corps ran out
very comfortable winners at 5-0, an ideal warm-up for the Quads.
THE QUADRANGULAR TOURNAMENT
Our next opponents, RE, play a very physical and traditional
game, using a 4-4-2 system. They like to get the ball forward to
their strikers as quickly as they can and make it extremely hard for
us to get the ball down and play. With both sides trying to win the
physical battle, it took 20 minutes before we could start our
passing game. With Sgt Joey Collins at the back, the midfield
engine got into gear. Sgt Paul Alford, Cpl Wes O’Connor and
Sig Craig Critchley started to dominate the centre of the park,
the two wing backs, Cpl Tony Richardson and Cpl Simmy
Simpson worked like ten men, and the two forwards, Cpl Stevo
Stephenson and Sig Jay Bates terrorised their back four. It
wasn’t long before we took the lead. After a fine strike by Cpl
Stephenson, one nil soon became two, with a third to follow
shortly before half time. A brace by Stevo and one from Cpl
O’Connor put the Corps ahead. The second half saw the sappers
have a go, but we weathered the storm, with Cpl Stephenson
taking a hattrick to give the Corps a convincing 4-0 win.
The second match, against RA, was similar to the game against
RE - big physical lads playing a 4-4-2 system. With SSgt Dean
Boughen fit again, he took his usual position allowing Sgt Joey
Collins to go into midfield and Cpl Wes O’Conner to fill the left
wing back position. After 20 minutes we got hold of the ball and
started passing the gunners off the park. It wasn’t long before we
scored, not once but seven times without reply.
Gen Sir Sam Cowan KCB CBE presents the Quadrangular Cup to
Sgt Joey Collins
They started to pass us off the park, but our work rate and
commitment was unbelievable, forcing them to pass the ball and
not allowing them time to settle. When REME did get through,
they found our keeper, LCpl Adam Pinchback in fine form. At half
time, we were delighted to see the Corps still one-nil up.
After a few words of encouragement, the boys went out for the
final 45 minutes of the season in a really positive mood. We knew
that REME would come again, but we were ready for them. We
more than matched them in all departments, and even though
they had better possession, we worked hard as a unit, keeping
our belief in our system. When they threatened, our defence were
solid, and the keeper was exceptional. The pressure was
unbearable and the tension tangible. We needed a second goal to
make it safe. With only 15 minutes to go, Sgt Joey Collins
answered the call to realise our dreams - 2 nil and nearly there.
With time running out, REME continued to push forward and pose
problems, but after breaking the play up, we managed to score a
third by Cpl Glen Moffat. The final whistle sounded and the rest is
history - 3 nil to the Corps. The Cowan cup, the Boyne Trophy, the
Quadrangulars and the Massey Trophy were all ours. The second
team only to win all three games in the Quads, we scored 14 and
didn’t concede a single goal!
A special mention must go to WO1 (RSM) Richie Bell for all his
hard work over the years. The players recognised this service to
Corps football by presenting him with a painting of his beloved
Leeds United. We hope that he will continue to serve on in his
capacity as Corps Secretary. The players also recognised LtCol
Rik License MBE for his efforts as Chairman of Corps football by
presenting him with a gift set of fine Taylor’s port after the match
against REME.
The dream was still alive. It all rested on the last game. The
tension was palpable.. REME had spoiled our party on more than
one occasion, and they were looking to do so again. They play
attractive football. They like to get the ball on the deck and play
and, like us, they use a 3-5-2 system.
The game started fast and furious, with REME imposing their
quick one-touch passing game that left the Corps chasing
shadows. But we worked hard, denying them space and time on
the ball. Apart from a header that flashed wide, they never actually
threatened the goal in the first ten minutes. Some excellent work
in midfield saw Sgt Paul Alford and Sig Craig Critchley breaking
up the play and passing the ball to Sgt Joey Collins on the right
hand edge of the box. In a flash, he whipped the ball across the
box to find Cpl Wes O’Connor waiting to gleefully head the ball
into the far corner of the net. The next 30 minutes were a true test
of our belief, as REME simply carried on where they had left off.
372
Gen Sir Sam Cowan KCB CBE presents the Massey Cup to
Sgt Paul Alford
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
continued from page 356
The Victorious 5-a-side Football Team
EXERCISE SUMMER FALCON – 09/11 MAY 03
The Skiing Team
began to worry. Not 2Lt Helen Baxter, though. So excited was
she about the forthcoming ex that she slept through the entire
incident and was totally bemused by all the chat in the bar that
night.
Lt Karen Ford presided over the instruction with her
characteristic majesty and meticulous attention to detail, while her
unworthy assistant, Maj Mark Brookes of MOD could only lurk in
her shadow and live in fear of being taken to task for encouraging
his class to seek out jumps, moguls and other ways of damaging
themselves.
The beginners made great progress in their ability during the six
days of instruction, five complete novices passing the BSP exams
– including the rigorous one-hour written paper set by Lt Ford. All
intermediates honed their techniques on some testing runs. WO1
Mark Anderson probably won the title of most improved skier.
On the first morning he stayed upright for all of 10 metres before
losing control and skiing the next 150 metres on his back.
Undaunted, he repeated this trick many times over the next 2
days before his experience took over and he gained some
composure. Sadly, though, he fell foul of the CI for being late for
an evening lecture. His plea in mitigation (�someone put a beer in
front of me’) was rejected, but he was spared RTU-ing, instead
having his sentence reduced to being listed as a fail in the course
stats. Ah, well, Mark, you’ll have to try again next year.
I am told that an exped is successful if no-one gets killed or
arrested. It therefore gives me much pleasure to declare EX
NORTHERN SLEIGH RIDE a resounding success.
49 (WEST RIDING) SIGNAL SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Maj Mark Finch
WO2 (SSM) Dave Carr
15 (NE) BRIGADE SPORTS DAY
Once a year the Sqn forms various teams of fighting spirit,
commitment and not a little skill to represent 34 (N) Sig Regt in the
Bde Sports Competition. On 18 May this year the Sqn entered
teams in the 5-a-side football, volleyball and squash
competitions. 49 Sqn were the defending squash champions,
and although they were unable to retain the cup, they did manage
to gain a creditable third place.
The volleyballers were challenged to win a game this year by the
Sqn 2IC, Maj Graham Jennings and apparently he now owes
them all two beers each. The footballers emerged victorious and
lifted a very attractive shield, so congratulations to the team: Capt
Keith Williams, SSgt Mark Carrick, SSgt Greg Sharpe, SSgt
Terry Shiels, Sig Dave Bean, Sig Mustard Colman and Sig Neil
Varley. A big well done for all who attended the event. The
volleyballers are on for the championship next year.
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
At the Regtl Comms Ex, 9-11 May, the Sqn performed admirably
and special mention must go to all the inexperienced personnel
for their maximum effort and commitment: Cpl Bedford, Sig
Ambler, Sig Carlisle, Sig Cranswick, Sig Rogers, Sig Shippen
and Sig Humphries.
50 (NORTHUMBRIAN) SIG SQN
OC
SSM
Capt Jez Bailey
WO2 (SSM) Les Middleton
ATTS & DETS
We welcome the following new recruits into 50 Sqn: Sigs Gemma
Howe, Mark Kent, Sarah McAlister, Christopher Gray, Laura
Steward, John Bailey and hello to Sig John Ancrum transferring
in from 38 Sig Regt. As a welcomed addition to the Sqn’s Regular
staff, we have a new SPSI at Darlington, SSgt Mick Hodds, from
the Welsh borders, and SSgt (FofS) Dave Cook, fresh from
Blandford and full of good ideas. We also welcome OCdt Joanna
Burke to the fold, and wish her the best of luck with her MTQ 2
exam and 3 weeks at RMAS.
We are sadly losing SSgt Heather Fraser at the end of her FTRS
engagement with the Sqn. The whole Sqn would like to place on
record our thanks for all her efforts over the last year.
OPERATION TELIC 2
5 lucky �volunteers’ from 50 Sig Sqn have received their brown
envelopes and will join Regular units due to deploy to the Gulf.
Best of luck (some for the second time) to Cpls Matt Graham,
Jenny Jones, and Mick Donovan, and Sigs Ronny Robson and
Pat Hutton.
EXERCISE SPRING LOAD
It was great idea and perfectly planned, but it failed live up to the
advertising. In prep of future ITD weekends, the Sqn planned
some ITD trg without the pressure of testing. The Friday evening
started well with a round robin of weapons trg and weapons
handling tests in preparation of ranges the next day. The morning
broke bright and clear, always a bad omen for ranges, and we
departed for Catterick and the ranges, only to discover that we
could not gain access! A quick re-org took place to make the
most of the rest of the day and the trg time available.
EXERCISE YO YO
As continuation trg for all the Regtl offrs and SNCOs, a CP trg day
was organised and hosted at 50 Sig Sqn. All those who attended
found it very informative and useful, and at times quite
entertaining. We all progressed around the stands as dictated by
the timings of the Regtl Tfc Offr, Capt Steve Wayman.
Inspirational leadership was delivered by 49 Sqn 2IC, Capt Keith
Williams, and the entertainment was delivered by the OSC double
act of Capt Simon Smith and SSgt Ian Middlemiss. It was a
worthwhile ex, providing much needed background info on all
those tasks that happen all the time, which previously we had
been unaware of.
373
EXERCISE SUMMER FALCON
Due to the reduced numbers available, the planned Sqn
deployment in support of this Regtl ex was curtailed. Therefore
our Access Tp did not deploy SAN 666, but strengthened TN 035.
All the happier for having a few more people around, we departed
to our loc of Cordilleras Farm on the Feldom Ranges trg area.
Progress went well with the only real complication being the
establishment of an SHF link with our Radio Village some 3km
away. We had opted for the SHF link (as specified in the LID) in
lieu of the Quad link Sgt Micky Jemmett had originally wanted to
lay! Well done to Cpl Ian Paterson and Sgt Micky Jemmett for
getting the SHF link in. Once comms were in, life settled down
into a working routine, which afforded us the opportunity for a few
individuals to be become acquainted with something new.
Congratulations to SSgt Pete Robinson for finally making it into
Node Comd and surviving an entire shift.
Our Saturday routine was broken only by the arrival of the Bde
Press Offr and Photographer, who make us run up and down the
same track (several times) to take photos for publicity for EX
COAST TO COAST. No one now wants to make a career in the
movies following the repeated cry of �Let’s try that one again
please.’
EXERCISE COAST TO COAST
Sig Andy Sampson shows True Grit on Ex Coast to Coast
Mick Proud. The second bus, known as the �willing amateurs’,
had 4 running pairs: Lts Jo Barr and Paul Denning, Sgts Ross
Blair and Cliffy Readshaw, Cpl Ian Paterson, Sigs Chris Gray,
Keith Elsdon and Mark Mansfield. The honour of the first leg
went to SSgt Chris Ogg, Jenny Ogg and the CO, LtCol Garry
Hearn, who joined us for a few hours prior to returning to the
northeast to join in the Bde sports day!
Ex Coast to Coast Team at the start in Workington
Motivated to do something for charity (specifically for Cancer
Research), SSgt Chris Ogg wanted to provide a real challenge for
the Sqn. This was inspired because his father, Alistair Ogg, had
previously suffered from cancer. Thus was born the idea for 50 Sig
Sqn to run the Coast to Coast cycle route (140 miles long and
rising to over 1500 ft) in relays, starting in Workington and
finishing in Newcastle.
Eighteen runners arrived at Workington on a very wet Friday
evening to depart on the Saturday morning. The organisation was
such that the two mini-buses would leapfrog each other. The first
bus, which became known as the �technical bus’, had 5 running
pairs: SSgt Ogg and his wife Jenny, SSgts Jeff Martin and Mick
Hodds, Sgt Del Trotter, Cpl Craig Straughan, Sigs Laura
Stewart, Andy Sampson, and Raman Sinha and WO2 (YofS)
In many ways it was our own Sqn road trip, which perhaps in
years to come, Hollywood could make a movie about. We learned
a lot about each other. Cpl Craig Straughan chose to run the
entire way in his Damart underwear, which started brilliant white,
and ended with a great need for Daz. We learned what colour Lt
Jo Barr could get Sig Mark Mansfield to turn when running him
up hills in Penrith. We learned how to lose a GPS in Keswick. But
worst of all we learned that for such a young thing, Lt Jo Barr
listens to BBC Radio 2, and is not ashamed to admit it!
Through all the fun and games, we had a great time. All those who
started finished -some in a poorer state than others - but we all
finished. Special thanks go to our ever-diligent support staff,
SSgt Carol-Ann Phillips and Sig Pat Hutton, for providing food
and drink at strange times and in strange places, and to our unit
photographer, SQMS SSgt Colin Ridley, for appearing at those
times when we did not look our best!
Also special thanks to the �Tooth Fairy’ who left a birthday cake at
the foot of a bed on Sunday for that individual who is a whole two
persons old and can now legally drink!
36 SIGNAL REGIMENT (VOLUNTEERS)
CO
RSM
Lt Col P N Willmott TD
W01 (RSM) WJ Morrow
HEADQUARTER SQUADRON
OC
Maj Pete Minshall
Acting SSM
SSgt Graham Carroll
A busy period in TA terms over the last 3 months. We have said
goodbye and welcome back to Pte WI Evans, Pte Wan King and
Sig Norman Hill, all of whom spent time on OP TELIC. They have
374
been big timing in the bar and sporting their squaddy suntans. On
a serious note, it is great to have them all back safe and well after
completing service for their country.
June arrives and its time to say goodbye to SSgt Graham
Carroll, who is off to Bosnia for a summer tour. He still believes
that in 6 months he can match the OP TELIC suntan. We’ll check
it out in December, Graham! Farewell to LCpl Merredew, who
transferred to 94 Sig Sqn (V). We all wish him luck for the future.
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
We welcome Capt Ted Pryke (PSAO), WO2 Frank Butcher
Gilbert (MTWO) and SSgt (SQMS) Geordie Patterson. We all
hope you stay longer than your predecessors do.
Congratulations to Cpl Rodwell, who did very well on the recent
SNCO Cadre Cse. We wish him luck on his Class 1 course later in
the year and the promotion that should follow. The SNCO’s are
waiting with baited breath in the bar to celebrate. So come on
Rodders.
A sad farewell to OCdt Powell, who departs soon for the best
leadership training known to man, at RMAS. She has worked very
hard for the Sqn and will be sorely missed. We wish her all the
best and hope she graduates into the Corps later next year.
The Sqn is now preparing for two military skills weekends and the
Mountvoy Trophy, a Military Skills competition. Looking further
afield, Annual Camp is set in Salisbury Plain with
Communications, Adventurous Training and FIBUA to tempt all
from under the rock where they live Monday to Friday.
45 (ESSEX) SIGNAL SQUADRON (VOLUNTEERS)
OC
Acting SSM
Maj Mark MacKenzie-Bell
SSgt Pickett
Well done to the OC on his recent promotion. We hope that all the
other vacant slots can be filled. We need a 2IC, Ops Officer, YofS,
SSM, and with the deployment on OP TELIC 2 of more key
figures, we will require a FofS and Tp SNCOs.
EXERCISE EASTERN SUMMER
The Sqn deployed over the weekend 9–11 May 03. The SPSI
drove his RR but luckily, SSgt Barwick looked after the Det. The
ex was a success, as the vehs all seemed to work after the ECI
inspection. It was an achievement getting them to
Bassingbourne.
EXERCISE RED GROUSE
EX RED GROUSE was an Sqn ex arranged to practise our mil
skills and prepare for the Mountvoy Trophy. With all the new callups we have had, we were a bit thin on the ground. Out of the
whole Sqn there were nine of us altogether. We took with us one
TCV, one Triffid and a Land Rover. The window for our arrival to
STANTA was 00.00 – 00.30 hrs, but things did not go exactly to
plan. The route to STANTA was fine, but the convoy took a wrong
turn and that’s where the fun started! Let’s just say that the map
reading from then on was interesting! I’m not going to mention
any names, as I will probably get all the crap jobs if I do. We did
however, find our location, only to be bugged out immediately as
voices were heard.
We knew there was an enemy waiting for us so we took every
precaution. By now it was getting light, so we decided to get our
heads down and get to our loc in the morning. We duly moved
into loc and all-round defence was put in place, ready for the
impending attack, which came just as breakfast was ready. The
attack was short and sharp and we’d like to think that we saw off
the enemy. We then had to feed our enemy, who were from 54
Sqn.
The next phase of the exercise was pre-training for the Mountvoy
Trophy. The first stand was patrolling and section battle drills. To
get to the next stand we were given a bearing to follow and had to
patrol there using the principles we had just covered. We then
split into two teams, 54 Sqn following the footpaths and we
following the bearing. We eventually arrived at the NBC stand.
By then it was very hot, even in the shade, and I was dreading
putting on my NBC suit. Whilst doing the drinking drills I felt
something on my cheek. I thought it was a hair until it crawled up
my face and over one of the lenses. The respirator came off pretty
quickly!
The next stand was the battlefield first aid. As we approached
from open ground into a wooded area, we heard yelling and a
horn tooting. We fell to the floor, probably causing ourselves some
injuries in the process, and two members of the patrol went to
investigate. SSgt Andy Hayler was the one doing the yelling. With
him fixed up and his arm sewn back on, we continued.
With 54 Sqn we made up a section of nine, which was split into
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
two fire teams. We kind of knew we were going to get attacked
some time soon, and we were, from a clump of woodland to our
left. The enemy could not be seen so we had to go and find him.
We split into our fire teams and went in. Co-ordinated by the Tp
Comd, the attack which was successful.
We returned to the TAC pretty knackered. Thanks must go firstly
to 54 Sqn who came to shoot us. They made a good enemy and
we hope they will come out to play with us again. Next, thanks to
the OC for organising the more �shoot em up’ fun weekends. Let’s
hope more of the Sqn will come next time. Thanks to Sgt
Gladman and LCpl Smoker, for keeping us well fed and to SSgt
Hayler, for keeping us well entertained (and bringing the beer).
54 (EAST ANGLIA) SIGNAL SQUADRON (VOLUNTEERS)
OC
Acting SSM
Maj Phil Taylor
SSgt Osbourne
The annual 54 Sqn Officers Dining Club Dinner (54ODC) was
held at Selwyn College, Cambridge on Saturday, 17 May 03.
It was well attended by a number of past and current members
of the Sqn and Regt. Usually on these occasions a member
of 54 Sqn has to �sing for his/her supper’. This year the
update on the Sqn’s activities was given by the new OC, Maj Phil
Taylor.
REGIMENTAL SNCO CADRE COURSE, 5-6 & 12-13 APRIL
2003 – by Cpl Blackwell
The occasion of the Regtl SNCO Cadre Cse saw seven Cpls
descend on West Tofts Camp, STANTA, for two weekends of
military and leadership instruction and testing, with all candidates
hoping to impress the DS and pass the course. The seven
hopefuls were Cpl Rodwell from HQ Sqn, Cpl Allen from 44 Sqn,
Cpls Putnam and Witcomb from 45 Sqn and Cpls Allen,
Blackwell and Mossop from 54 Sqn.
The first weekend started off with a parade and inspection
conducted by SSgt Sinclair. The day continued with lessons and
instruction on a variety of subjects, including leadership, security,
instructional techniques and the preparation and extraction of
orders. The day culminated in a weapon handling test and a
military knowledge written test.
On the second day everyone was out on the trg area for
leadership tasks. Each student was put in charge of the rest of the
course for a particular scenario or command task.
The second weekend saw the field phase of the course. Straight
away we were out on the trg area in the dead of night and into an
OP. When morning came we were all glad of the sun’s warming
rays. Drawing on the lessons of the first weekend, we continued
the ex, moving into and setting up a harbour area. Numerous
tasks were given to students as, in turn, they took on the role of
IC or 2IC. The time flew by as we did clearance patrols, recces,
VCPs and more. With this phase over, we recovered back to West
Tofts, where it was now time for students to give their lessons on
a range of core military subjects, such as map reading, first aid
etc.
At this stage, the students thought the course was over, but the
DS had other ideas. The gauntlet was thrown down and a
stretcher was introduced, leading to a lot of sweating and weak
knees. With the course finally at an end, all that was left was the
final parade and presentation of the Top Student Award to Cpl
Blackwell of 54 Sqn, and relief as the students could return home
to hot baths and cold beers.
EXERCISE ENDURING HELP 2003
EX ENDURING HELP is an annual cross-country motorcycle event
organised by REME in aid of Childline and Army Charities. It is a
team event that entails a riding an issue motorcycle round a
demanding cross-country course for 24hrs without a break.
Demands are placed on both the rider and the machine to finish
the event in one piece. The event is also used as an opportunity
for experienced and novice riders alike to practise and develop
their off-road driving skills over hills, mud, loose sand and, if your
unlucky, water. Most team members managed to hit the dirt
several times at least but still managed to walk away relatively
unscathed on Sunday afternoon.
375
37 SIGNAL REGIMENT
CO
RSM
Lt Col RG Mather
WO1 (RSM) A Keen
HEADQUARTER SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Major J Riley
WO2 P Hall
What a time to have a breakdown - on the way back from a
weekend ex and of all places, in the same packet with the Sqn
OC leading. Worse still, the veh in question just happened to
belong to the REME, so you can image the variety of comments
they were subjected to. So how many mechanics does it actually
take to fix a REME veh? Answers on a postcard please. Sgt
Glen Draper’s comments that it was planned to provide a realistic
trg scenario for Cfn Lieu was almost believable, and after only a
30-minute delay they rectified the fault.
93 SIGNAL SQUADRON (VOLUNTEERS)
OC
SSM
Maj M Cosgrove
WO2 (SSM) H Kenny
Sgt Richard Gibson has recently returned from Costa Rica,
where he and a group of 52 walked for ten days through the
jungle to help raise over ВЈ300,000 in aid of Macmillan Cancer
Research. Richard, who raised ВЈ2,700 personally, walked through
coffee plantations and dense rain forest, ending up 11,000ft
above sea level on the country’s highest volcano, and said that
the experience was �well worth a few blisters and the odd
encounter with a snake’ (We’re told that 95% of snakes in Costa
Rica are poisonous!).
In May Capt Neil Reid and 2Lt Chris Harvey took part in 42 (NW)
Bde’s main recruiting event for the year, OP ENERGISE. Working
in conjunction with the Regular RSigs recruiting team and the
Army Youth Team, the pair worked in a variety of locs, including
Blackburn, Burnley and Preston.
93 Sqn is currently preparing for the CO’s Challenge weekend,
where DIY skills will be put to the test. The unit is helping out a
Women’s Information Self Help (WISH) Centre in Blackburn town
centre. A full report in the next edition.
The Sqn has seen a number of successful course passes in recent
months, including:
Sgt Draper (far left) supervising the �trg’ with Cfn Lieu under the
cab doing all the work, whilst SSgt Paul Freeman remarks that he
had a similar fault on Ben Hur’s chariot. Cpl Lee Carroll (far right)
tries to model �Jimmy’
What a weekend for the Sqn’s Annual Ranges, with sweltering
weather and excellent conditions for firing. The finale was a
falling plates competition from 300m between the Offrs, SNCOs,
Cpls and ORs. The first draw was between the Offrs and SNCOs,
with the SNCOs winning convincingly. After strong resistance from
the Cpls’ team on the last draw, the SNCOs team were the
eventual winners of the competition. The SNCOs team did have
ex Infantry members and SSgt Pete Savage, who was ex Artillery,
commented that he should have been firing from 3 miles with a
barrage effect.
RSOP Class 3
Sig Paul Clayton
Sig Tracey Cook
Sys Eng Tech Class 3
LCpl Phil Creighton
Elect/Dvr Class 3
Sig Gary Clarke
Sig John McAllister
Sig Mike Williams
Sig Ryan Lewis
Sig Jason Whalley
TCB
OCdt Richard Smith
96 SIGNAL SQUADRON (VOLUNTEERS)
OC
SSM
Maj PH Fowler-Smith TD
WO2 (SSM) J R Krikorian
96 SQUADRON’S 10TH BIRTHDAY DINNER
96 Sig Sqn (V) was formed in February 1993 under �Options for
Change’ at Westfield House, Coventry. Its 10th Birthday was
celebrated in style at the Sqn Dinner Night attended by the CO,
the Sqn and a group of Old Comrades who had served during our
10-year reign. The Lord Mayor was guest of Honour and provided
us with a succinct history of Coventry. He surprised Sig �Monty’
Montague and Cfn Garrie Grimbley by presenting them with
their joint �Best Soldier 2002’ Award and promoted them and Pte
Davenport to LCpl.
OPERATION TELIC
The OP TELIC group of Sgt Ian Hayley, Cpl Judy Dunn, Cpl Jim
Wingfield, LCpl �Gripper’ Flynn and LCpl Stu Adams eventually
reported to RTMC Chilwell to be mobilised for service with19
Mech Bde HQ & Sig Sqn. We wish them a successful and happy
tour and look forward to hearing their tales on their return.
Cpl Niall Temple is due to return from OP TELIC 1 around 15
July, as is Cpl Ryan, currently serving on FTRS with 7 Armd Bde
HQ & Sig Sqn. The sandbags are in the bar and a few cold beers
await them both. Watch this space!
EXERCISE LIGHTNING STRIKE, OFFICER RECRUITING FOR 2
(NC) SIGNAL BRIGADE
The SNCO falling plates winners. L-R, WO2 (RQMSV) Wood, SSgt
Bennett, WO2 (SSM) Hall, SSgt (SQMSV) Savage
376
96 Sig Sqn (V) was tasked with providing a Comd Task and Info
Stand on behalf of 2 (NC) Sig Bde to promote Officer Recruiting.
Lt Matthew Longcake planned and coordinated a very
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
successful competition event on Salisbury Plain, where the
visiting UOTC teams had to manoeuvre manually a broken down
veh through a mock village with various obstacles and minefields.
The Teams also visited the Info and Equipt Display Stands, where
they were briefed by Lt Matthew Longcake and SSgt Jez
Bromley, on the Bde’s role and its equipt. Approx 150 members
of the UOTC participated and had a thoroughly enjoyable time.
WINTER WARFARE - by Sgt Andy Pollard
Since the 90s it has become an annual event for the Regt to
exchange a soldier with 709 Comms Regt in Toronto, Canada.
During Annual Camp last year, Sgt Dave Asals and LCpl Welch
came over to England and spent the majority of their stay in
various locs around the south coast was to see and use some of
the Regt’s equipt. They both enjoyed their visit, with a few days
off to visit Blandford and London.
understand why the Canadians had such professionalism. The
third visit was to the Sigs Museum where a chronicle of Canadian
Sigs was made very interesting by the volunteer guide. After a
night in Kingston, we headed back to prep our kit for EX
INCLEMENT TOWER.
With the weather warming up to -9oC, we made the 3-hour drive
to the ex area, and spent the rest of the day building snow
defences and erecting some of the tentage. A good night’s kip
followed by a good breakfast, and we put up the admin tent ready
for the main body.
It was now my chance to go to Toronto to undergo some winter
warfare trg and some time off to enjoy some Canadian hospitality.
After a good flight, Sgt Asals was waiting to take me to Fort York
Armoury, a very impressive drill hall dating back to 1933. The drill
hall, with an array of Messes and classrooms, is home to 4 regts,
a Cadet Force and a Regtl Museum. I was made to feel at home
with W01 Kevin Philips’ endless supply of tea, and friendly chat
with all the permanent staff.
EMBEDDED PIC.
HARD COPY PHOTO REQUESTED
Unlike our Corps, Canadian Sigs is not part of the Army but is a
support Regt providing comms support to all of their Armed
Forces. I found this a bit awkward until I got to know some of the
Naval rank structure.
After a good nights’ sleep, I had my first look at the weather since
my arrival - a frozen Lake Ontario. After breakfast I was taken to
where I would be staying for the duration of my visit. A staff offrs
trg college in York Mills, the accommodation was very
comfortable with a rest lounge opposite my room.
A few days were spent getting to know the local areas, with
members of the Regt taking it in turns to take �the Brit’ around. A
visit to the CN tower and a sushi bar were mandatory. After some
time on the basics of snowshoeing and toboggan-loading with
Sgt Carrado, I was issued and taught to wear all the essential kit
for the forthcoming ex. A lot of time was spent running through
dry drills with the C7 and C9 weapons, making sure I was up to
speed on them.
The weekend had arrived, and Dave and I were off to Hamilton to
go out with A Tp TSM, SgtMaj Tracy Sharpe, a previous
exchange soldier from 2 years earlier. An excellent night was had
meeting up with members of other neighbouring units. The
following morning we headed off to Niagara Falls, an awesome
sight that should be visited by all. My hosts insisted that it is much
better to view it from the Canadian side than the American side.
After the weekend it was back to weapon trg. Was LCpl de
Freitais ever going to pass me? On Tuesday I was off to Kingston
for a visit to 3 areas, the first a visit to 3 Sqn an operational fastreaction unit that provides comms support throughout the world
(this was evidenced by the many flags hanging from the rafters of
their deployment bay). A tour of the trg facility helped me
Sgt Pollard with C tent group patrolling the Trg Area
The winter warfare trg was running alongside a comms ex. We
rehearsed sec battle drills, surviving in the field, basic harbour
area drills and toboggan-pulling throughout the Friday night and
Saturday. The final phase of the ex was to take place in near
whiteout conditions.
The 3 secs were to deploy on patrols, where they might encounter
various friendly/hostile groups. They were to use the correct ROE
that had been taught throughout the day. My task was to control a
Radcon, a 4-man sec to various grid references, intercepting the
patrols, firstly as friendly, secondly as resentful and thirdly as
armed enemy (a chance to use all the pyro we had been given!)
The patrols reacted well when the enemy finally attacked them.
For a lot of the troops, it was their first chance to use pyro and the
adverse weather didn’t curb the enthusiasm. It wasn’t until the
following day that they began to realise how tiring the ex had
become, and by the time we returned to Fort York, we were all
exhausted.
It was an excellent visit to 709 Regt, and the Canadians really did
know how to look after the exchange soldier. I would recommend
everyone to take the opportunity to participate on one of these
exchange programmes. Canada is a lovely place to visit - but they
can keep the snow!
38 SIGNAL REGIMENT
(VOLUNTEERS)
CO
RSM
LtCol SJ Richardson
WO1 AM Maxted
It was some time back in February that the Adjt remarked to the
CO that the period between Easter and the summer leave block
was probably the quietist few months of the year. As it turned out,
this has not been the case. Along with the rest of the British Army,
we too have been sucked into the OPs TELIC and FRESCO
whirlwinds.
The Regt still has a number of its personnel deployed on OP
TELIC 1 and, like other units in the Bde, we are seeing the first of
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
our returnees just as we are sending our TELIC 2 personnel to
RTMC. We still have a number of TA volunteers supporting the
Bde in UK, as well the many personnel mobilised on ops in the
Balkans and those on FTRS contracts around the world. Faced
with heading up the deployment of 97 Sig Sqn (V) to deploy to
BLMF next April, we are starting to wonder if anyone will be left to
open the post in 2004.
There have been a number of key appointment changes in the
Regt over the last couple of months. Our QM of 3 years, Capt
Jeff Williams, has gone to 3 Inf Bde HQ and Sig Sqn. We
welcomed his replacement, Capt Rod Cowan from 11 Sig Regt
377
Rotterdam. In our special �flexible’ TA way, we got things working,
and whilst not on shift, we were able to see if Maastricht lived up
to its reputation of �the art of fine living.’ I am pleased to report
that it did.
Whilst we were enjoying a meal at a local eatery we were
befriended by an unusually amicable Dutch couple, who seemed
strangely pleased to see us. After they had bought us all a beer
and enquired about what brought us to Holland for the weekend,
the Dutch gentleman asked us if we were gay. What can you say
to a question like that?
So what lessons did we learn? 1. The devil is in the detail; 2.
Assumption is the mother of all foul-ups; and 3. The Dutch really
are very friendly people.
87 SIGNAL SQUADRON (V)
OC
SSM
Hon Col 38 Sig Regt, Col Christopher Jewes, presents WO2(YofS)
Bleasdale with his LS&GC Medal
(via Kuwait), then despatched him to Deepcut on the QM’s
course. In the same Dept, WO2 (RQMS) Taff Bryant has handed
over his responsibilities to WO2 (RQMS) Pete Crawford, from 2
Sig Regt. WO2 Bryant has moved into the Project REEBOK
deputy manager’s appointment, where he hopes to impress 2
(NC) Sig Bde with his extensive knowledge of fibre optics and
telephone exchanges. WO2 (RQMS) Crawford has also vanished
in the direction of Deepcut, muttering something about going to
learn how to count. This leaves the QM’s Dept in the very capable
hands of Mrs Faith Austin, their civilian AA.
In Regtl Ops, WO2 (YofS) Bob Bleasdale has handed over to
WO2 (YofS) Chris Green, who joins us, complete with disgusting
suntan, from CCU Cyprus. YofS Bleasdale sharpened his
cranium and went south to Brawdy to join 14 Sig Regt (EW), but
not before we had time to wheel him out in front of the Sgts’ Mess
and present him with his long overdue LS&GC. Our irrepressible
NRPS Trg SSgt, SSgt Frank McCubbin, has also jumped ship for
Germany to take up a civil service post with the CDA. Watch this
space for details of his replacement.
Had 64 Sig Sqn (V) submitted any notes I’m sure they would have
written copious farewells to their long-serving NRPS SQMS
stalwart, SSgt Dave Burton, rather than this cursory mention I’m
giving him. Congratulations go to SSgt Paul Ingram on his
appointment as SSgt Burton’s successor. A final, and rather
belated welcome to Sgt Waite, the new HQ Sqn SPSI Tech who
joins us from RAF Digby.
Maj Ahern
SSgt Ward
Life is busy in the Portacabin land, our current TAC. Triumph Road
TAC is currently being rebuilt after it started to subside due to a
river running underneath it! We are all eagerly awaiting September,
when the building work should be completed and we can
celebrate the reopening of our TAC.
New faces in the Sqn include SSgt Stu Couszins (formerly 64
Sqn), who takes up the SQMS NRPS role; OCdt John Ritson
(formerly 46 Sqn) and Cpl Taylor from 31 Sig Regt.
Congratulations to OCdt Green, who passed TCB last month. On
a different note, eight of our Sqn are still in either Iraq or Kuwait
and we wish them all a safe return.
MILITARY SKILLS COMPETITION - by 2Lt Clay
At the beginning of May eight of us travelled to Altcar to enter the
RFA Military Skills Competition. The Saturday consisted of a
number of stands including map reading, shooting, observation
and signals (you would hope we’d get full marks for that!). Also
included were the inevitable �lets run you round until you’re
ragged’ stands, notably the BPFA, assault course, trailer run and
stretcher run (in respirators)! The boys’ team (Cpls Magas,
Houghton, Taylor and Sig Clark) put in a sterling effort, coming
third out of over 20 teams. Due to a loophole in the rules the
female team was actually led by Cpl �Delilah’ Brittain (male) and
included Sigs Shardlow, Armstrong and myself.
Despite a few problems with the driving stand (what can you
expect?) and overcoming the 12 foot wall, we came second to a
slightly scary Scandinavian team. This led to much
embarrassment for Cpl �Delilah’ Brittain as he collected the
trophy from a slightly bemused Colonel. Next followed drinks and
a disco and a karaoke rendition of Delilah by the man himself,
finishing off a highly amusing and enjoyable day.
EXERCISE EURO RAM 3
Project Whitman would probably
mean little to the wider Corps, but to 2
(NC) Sig Bde it means many things. To
15 members of 64 Sig Sqn it has most
recently meant the opportunity to
spend a long weekend in Maastricht
doing what we do best communicating.
Firm believers in the old adage that
time spent on recce is never wasted,
we headed to Maastricht to recce the
real estate we would be using. On
arrival, we were told that said real
estate was mid way through being
sold, but as the sale had not been
completed, it would probably be OK
to use it (nothing like certainty).
Happily, this particular football pitch
was given a last-minute temporary
reprieve from the building industry,
and all 15 of our soldiers were
delivered there, courtesy of the
overnight ferry from Hull to
378
The female team, led by Cpl Brittain
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
39 (SKINNERS) SIGNAL REGIMENT
(VOLUNTEERS)
CO
RSM
LtCol AH Campbell-Black
WO1(RSM) JR Stillie
5 (QOOH) SIGNAL SQUADRON (VOLUNTEERS)
OC
SSM
Maj Richard Belbin
WO2 (SSM) Robbie Hall
We bid farewell to our 2IC, Capt Ruth Empson, who moves on to
RSS, and we welcome her replacement, Capt Jane May, ex RA.
Congratulations to Sgt John Smith on his promotion and
selection for deployment on OP TELIC 2 along with LCpl James
Osborn, Paul Docherty and Jonathan Godwin.
Congratulations and a big welcome to the World for Amelia
Randall born on Friday 23 May 2003, some 6 weeks early to Sgt
David and Lisa Randall.
TOP SOLDIER
Sig AJ Griffin enlisted in the Corps and joined the Sqn in
February 2003. After completing initial TAFS trg during March
2003, he attended the 1st Recruit Trg Course at Lichfield from 5 –
19 April 2003.
Not only was he awarded the Best Recruit on his TAFS trg he was
also presented with the award of the Best Recruit on the Lichfield
Course. Well done AJ and welcome to the Sqn.
COMMISSIONING
Welcome to 2Lts Rob Fuller and Mike Curtis-Rouse following
their successful attendance on the RMAS TA Prep Course and
TACC 10 – 31 May 2003.
VISIT OF COMMANDER 2 (NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS)
SIGNAL BRIGADE, BRIGADIER JE THOMAS MBE
The Bde Comd visited the Sqn at Banbury on Tuesday 20 May
2003. Following an intensive briefing on the Sqn and the History
of the QOOH, he visited Trade Trg, Weapon Handling Instruction
and Recruit Trg.
2Lt Alex Orr, OC RTT, briefing Potential Recruits
NATIONAL TA DAY – 17 MAY 2003
The Sqn set up recruiting stands in Broad Street Banbury and the
Westgate Shopping Centre in Oxford. A reasonably successful
effort in both locations, some 12 potential recruit names were
taken, of which four will be attending the TAFS 1 Initial Trg
Weekend.
57 (CITY AND COUNTY OF BRISTOL) SIGNAL SQUADRON
(VOLUNTEERS)
OC
SSM
Maj Bill Ruthven
SSgt Kath Addison-Scott
Yet again there has been considerable movement of personalities
over the last few months. OP TELEC 1 people are still in warmer
climes and OP TELEC 2 see Cpl Martin Dyer, LCpI Bryan
Jarman and Sig Michael Mann deploying. We wish them well.
The Sqn now has 12 personnel either mobilised or on FTRS tours.
They are carrying out various tasks, not all with RSigs. For
example LCpI Paul Wylde is serving as a dog handler in Banja
Luka!
Farewell and congratulations also go to Capt Jo Howard, Lt Rob
Wood and Sig Charlie Bonnett, all now attending Sandhurst, to
obtain their regular commissions. We must also congratulate
OCdt Jo Godfrey, who has recently passed her RCB and hopes
to attend Sandhurst in the near future.
TEN TORS 2003
39 Sig Regt are tasked annually by 43 (Wessex) Bde with
providing the comms and data collection systems for the Ten Tors
Challenge on Dartmoor. The event is based at Oakhampton Camp
and for some years 57 Sqn have had the responsibility of coordinating and manning the event. This year some 38 offrs and
soldiers from the Sqn deployed, together with W02 Dickie Lee
from HQ Sqn.
We arrived on the Friday evening to be briefed and settle into our
accommodation. An early start on the Saturday found us standing
in the breakfast queue at 05.00hrs with �We Are The Champions’
blaring out over the Tannoy to wake the teams.
Brig Thomas signing the Visitors Book
WO2 (SSM) Robbie Hall and OC Maj Rich Belbin
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
The first shift of W02 Dickie Lee, Sgt Kerrie Hill and Sgt Roger
Theyer found a new computer system awaiting them. After a
quick induction, they settled down to the standard checks to
379
ensure that comms were in with all the Tor parties, and began to
acclimatise to the variations on voice procedure practised by the
RAF and RN who were manning some of them. This done, a
number of people were released to observe the 07.00hrs mass
start.
The start seemed to go off smoothly and the shift eagerly awaited
the news of the first team to reach a tor. Their eagerness was in
part due to the sweepstake that was being run. It was won by Sig
James Green, much to the disgust of Sgt Gringo Innes, our Tech
PSI who, despite attempts to influence the result, was a minute
out. The morning went without a hitch, and as the second shift,
commanded by W02 Jane Tuck arrived, the atmosphere was
rather more relaxed. This allowed some people to take advantage
of afternoon helicopter trips over the moors. Sig Sara O’Reilly
returned from hers a peculiar shade of green. In the evening, once
it was confirmed that all teams had returned and been accounted
for, we were able to retire to the NAAFI to enjoy a quiet beer or
two and enjoy the disco. That is, except for LCpI Bryan Jarman
and Sig Robert Chariton, who had drawn the short straw for the
overnight listening watch.
Back in the Comcen the next morning, it was a repeat
performance of the first day, although looking at some of the
faces wandering around, we wondered what some people’s
definition of a �quiet beer’ actually had been! Still, messages were
received from the tors and passed for input in the normal slick
manner. Before long, news of teams reaching their final tor was
coming in and, as the last team was accounted for, the Sqn
packed its bags and quietly slipped away for another year, with
the feeling of satisfaction of an important job well done.
Ten Tors Communicaton Cell
71 (YEOMANRY) SIGNAL REGIMENT
CO
RSM
LtCol SCR Malik TD
WO1 (RSM) SPJ White
on promotion; and SSgt (FofS) Danny Fielding, who has gone off
to work on projects. All the very best for the future.
FINAL RECRUITS COURSE IN BLANDFORD
68 (INNS OF COURT AND CITY YEOMANRY) SIGNAL SQUADRON
April 2003 saw the final TA Recruits Course ever to be held in
Blandford (so they say). Many friends, family and unit
representatives were invited to watch the pass-off parade. Col
Beacom TD (Dep Comd 2 (NC) Sig Bde) was the Inspecting
Officer. We were told that out of the six recruits from the Regt,
three had scooped awards. Best Recruit went to 68 (ICCY) Sig
Sqn’s Sig Darren Huson; Top Field Student went to Sig Harries
of 265 (KCLY) Sig Sqn; and Top Academic Student went to Sig
Kerry Corrigan also of 265 Sig Sqn. We also managed the top
three students of the course and had five students in the top ten.
RHQ welcomes the new Trg Maj, Maj Kenny Kendrick, QM, Maj
Pete Whitehouse, and Regt FofS, SSgt (FofS) Chris Usher,
fresh from his course at Blandford. We also have a new Regt
YofS, WO2 (YofS) Cade.
OC
SSM
We say farewell to Maj Stu Boyne, who leaves to pursue a career
in Civvy Street; Capt Trevor Keates, who is moving to 1 ADSR
Maj Jonathan Manley
WO2 (SSM) Terry Gardiner
It was the media attention given to the TA during the firemen’s
strike and in the build-up to Iraq that convinced newcomers, Tom
Moor, a sixth-form college student, and Lucinda Foley, a bank
secretary to take the plunge and join the TA. But, on talking to
them, we discovered other things that motivated them.
Lucinda Foley, 32, grew up in Australia. But what actually made
her sign up to part-time soldiering over here, even if the TV
coverage was a catalyst? �I wanted to do something new,
something entirely different,’ she explained, talking to us as she
stripped down her rifle. �And the TA allows you to combine so
many things at once. I’ve only been coming a couple of months,
but already, it’s getting me fitter, it’s giving me the perfect contrast
to my day job slumped behind a desk, and it’s introducing me to
all kinds of really genuine people I’d otherwise never have met.
There’s none of that pretentiousness or one-upmanship you get
amongst the girls in my office.’
New recruit Tom Moor, 18, also feels that same sense of purpose
and of community you get in the TA. But it is the overall mix of
training, responsibility and fun, which appeals to him most. And
the money comes in very handy, too. �There aren’t many of my
college mates who get paid for doing part-time jobs they actually
enjoy. But I do.’ The Sqn’s just been off adventure training on the
Isle of Wight, and there are regimental exercises coming up after
that. �It’s hard to do everything I want, especially at the same
time as revising for my A-levels. But as soon as my exams are
done, I’ll be back with a vengeance. The TA’s really opened up
my eyes to the Army so much that I’m now thinking about it as a
living.’ There can’t be much better advertisement for the TA than
that!
A SHINY NEW SECOND LIEUTENANT
Col Nigel Beacom (Dep Comd 2 (NC) Sig Bde)
with the Award Winners
380
After three weeks of the gruelling regime in RMA Sandhurst, OCdt
Huck Keppler was seamlessly transformed into a brand new 2Lt.
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
and Mountain Biking were but a few of their activities. The party
came home tired but saying they fully enjoyed the weekend.
RECRUITING EVENT
881 Sig Tp, led by SSgt Brian Malyon, ran a recruiting stand in
the town centre of Chelmsford over the weekend 26/27 April. The
response from the public was very good with the permanent staff
now following up interested parties.
We all wish SSgt Jason Barsley, Cpl Richard Marsh, LCpls
Kelly Cloughton, Kelly Delf, Stabler, and Derren Honychurch
bon voyage on their deployment on OP TELIC 2.
265 (KENT AND COUNTY OF LONDON YEOMANRY) SIGNAL
SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Maj Penny Wood
WO2 (SSM) Stephen Shelley
EXERCISE SHARP SIGNALLER 1
2Lt Keppler – An Officer and a Gentleman
What makes this achievement of particular note is that he joined
68 (IC&CY) Sig Sqn in September 02, and, having had no previous
military experience, he worked like a Trojan. 2Lt Huck Keppler
passed off the square in May 2003. Some think this must be
some kind of a record. He works in the media industry and is
currently transferring to Media Ops, where his skills will be put to
good use. As his sponsor unit, the Sqn wishes him well for the
future.
70 (ESSEX YEOMANRY) SIGNAL SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Major Michael Wood
W02 (SSM) Jim Swain
The Sqn has been through another very busy period over the last
few months with a Regtl ex, Sqn Adventure trg, recruiting events
and recruit trg weekends.
REGIMENTAL EXERCISE
We deployed to the South of England on EX PHOENIX EAGLE, an
ex designed to test the Sqn’s ability to communicate with its
equipment. The skills tested were deployment, setting up,
communicating, moving locs and finally returning to camp to
complete turn-around tasks. It was a good ex, which stretched
the Sqn and provided good learning for younger members.
SQUADRON ADVENTURE TRAINING
In May 03 Lt Chris Barraclough and WO2 Richard Pieper
organised an Adventure training weekend in Wales. Hill walking
The weekend was billed as being one of looking at alternate
comms equipment, plus a chance to consider some tech aspects
of OP MEDWAY, which we certainly needed.
Having been split into manageable teams, we set about revising
our HF skills, and the first challenge of the day was searching the
long-term memory banks in order to erect a 12m mast! You’ve
got to remember that as the primary NCRS users of the Regt, it
had been some time since we had been using any other antenna
system. Mast erected and a dipole deployed, we set about
calling the mysterious callsign �Architect.’ Once comms were in,
we set about using the system to patch through to other networks
in an effort to locate our SSM, WO2 Steve Shelley. Once
located, we deployed alternate antennae and stepped up to more
powerful CNR.
It was certainly interesting using only a fraction of a football pitch
to support various masts. I don’t know why the groundsman was
so touchy, it wasn’t exactly the theatre of dreams (unless you
dreamed only of dandelions).
After lunch, it was over to AMSCERP equipt, of which only a
fraction of the Sqn had used previously. The Sqn Yeoman (Des)
SSgt Vincent put together a comprehensive trg package, which
enabled all attendees to master the system. Even LCpl Ash
Green, an ED, managed it. On being told it was a tri-service
piece of kit and that ours was an Army model, LCpl Green
correctly observed that that was a stroke of luck as our one was
green in colour.
After dinner there was more trg in yet another system, which
served to whet our appetites for one or two social beers in the
NAAFI. We had been so very lucky with the weather, we decided
to push our luck and hold an impromptu outdoor social evening
(around the back of the NAAFI). It was a very pleasant evening
and a great chance to catch up with colleagues.
The weather promptly ran out at 05.55hrs, a fact that we were all
acutely aware of with the commencement of Sqn PT at 06.00hrs.
Several circuits of the camp and a burst of relays saw us get
completely soaked and not due to sweat!
The final element of the comms trg was completed in double
quick time, leaving only the drive home after a fairly
comprehensive brief on this year’s upcoming Camp.
As ever it is a busy training year, with numerous objectives to be
met. Camp in the Czech Republic looks to be the clear favourite
of this year’s training, but this weekend was certainly a lot of fun
and very useful also.
JOB VACANCY NOTICE - SSGT (SQMS) NRPS POST
Are you leaving the Regular service and looking for a job in the
South East? Have you completed your All Arms SQMS course,
currently hold a driving licence and know your way around
UNICOM? 71 (Yeomanry) Sig Regt may have the job for you.
Members of 70 (EY) Sig Sqn during the hill walking in Wales
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
We are looking for a SQMS to be based at Bexleyheath in Kent
with a starting salary of ВЈ23,287.00. If you are interested, then
contact the RAOWO (WO2 Jim Ford) on 94691 5135/5129 or
civil, 01322 529225.
381
NEWS FROM THE SQUADRONS
2 (CITY OF DUNDEE) SIGNAL SQUADRON
(VOLUNTEERS)
2 (CITY OF DUNDEE) SIG SQN (V)
OC
SSM
Maj Roden
W02 (SSM) Singers
In April 2003 the Sqn finally took charge of the Sunflower system. For those in the Corps who have never heard of it, this is an LF
transmission system utilising an aerostat as the antenna support platform. On 2 April 2003 the system was formally handed over to Comd 2
(NC) Sig Bde, Brig JE Thomas MBE.
BALTIC SAILING TRIP
The BT Project Team with Brig JE Thomas MBE, Maj M Drake and Lt Dale RN, DPA
Ever wondered why people say its
Baltic? When 2 Sqn ventured out
onto the sea in March, we found out
why, but the Nordic weather gods
smiled on us and we did have a lot
of sunshine to go with the cold.
After 2 days trans-European travel,
SSgt George Pendrich, Cpl Bruce
Tarbet, Sig Stew Howard and Cfn
Lindsay Goetz arrived in Kiel ready
to take to the water and find their
sea legs. The first time the boat
went over, a few eyes opened wide,
wondering if it was going to stop.
But it did, and then they could stop
hanging on quite so tight. The first
day done, including the shopping,
it was time to set sail for Denmark.
The weather was perfect, too
perfect at times, as the one vital
ingredient for sailing was missing,
the wind. However, many thanks
to all the staff at British Yacht Club,
Kiel (especially the skippers) for a
great time and an excellent week on
the Baltic.
GOODBYES
PSAO Capt Naismith (NRPS) enlisted as a Boy Soldier in 6 (Boys) Trg Regt, Beverley in Sep 1954. He served 24 years with the Corps,
during which time he reached the rank of RSM. On completing his Regular service in January 1979, he was accepted for the post of PSAO.
He served another 24 years as PSAO, during which time
he was instrumental in the selection of a new loc for the
Sqn in 1988 and the subsequent move. The Sqn wishes
him and his wife, Ann all the very best in his retirement.
There must be something in the water, because there is
to be a turn around of the Sqn Comd team. First to go is
W02 (YofS) Del Goodenough, who is off to Regtl Ops 15
Sig Regt. All the very best to you, Sally and the kids.
Secondly, we say goodbye to the OC, Maj Mick Drake,
who is off to Bulford to head up the BOTAT Team. We’d
like to wish him and Ann all the very best for the future.
Lastly, we have a change over of SSM from W02 (SSM)
Lance Thornton-Granville to W02 (SSM) Bruce
Singers.
HELLOS
A big 2 Sqn Hello goes to the new OC Maj Roden. We
hope you and your family enjoy the Dundee Experience.
To W02 (YofS) Rob Lewis and family: you’ll understand
the Scottish dialect just in time to be posted, Rob. To
Capt Alan Haughton (PSAO) and family: we hope you
enjoy your time with the Sqn. To Capt Davy Crockett: as
the new Sqn 2IC, we hope you enjoy your tour.
382
WO2 Thornton-Granville hands over to WO2 Bruce Singers
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
20 ARMOURED BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS
AND
SIGNAL SQUADRON (200)
OC
RSM
Maj Alan Blackwell
WO1 (RSM) Burdge
The last couple of months have seen the Sqn tested in its core
warfighting role and then dispersed around the world. Just before
Easter, the Sqn deployed into the field for a manoeuvre CAST ex
with the Staff, at the end of which we were declared to be at
Collective Performance Level 4 (CP4) and thus ready to enter our
High Readiness Year this autumn. With the possible deployment
on OP TELIC 3 later this year, the trg and validation of the last
year has been essential. Easter saw over half the Sqn deploying
to BATUS – having been stood down from OP FRESCO – to
support the Bde training in Canada, and the majority of the Sqn
remains there. The Paderborn based elements have,
nevertheless, still managed to compete in the Corps SAAM in UK,
host a visit by the Master of Sigs and conduct a range of military,
trade and adventurous trg. The following articles describe some
of these events.
LIFE AFTER SANDHURST – by 2Lt Robin Foster
I had no idea what to expect when I arrived at 200 Sig Sqn, for the
first time. Like all new tp comds fresh from Sandhurst I was a
little apprehensive and wanted to make a good impression on my
first day. Instead, I ended up looking like a startled rabbit staring
down the headlights of a sixteen-wheeled, ten-tonne truck.
Nevertheless I quickly got to meet most of the Sqn and before I
knew it, had settled into the Sqn way of life. One of my first tasks
was to plan and run an APWT range day. The best learning
happens when one makes mistakes and I certainly learned a lot
from my first range day. Firstly, and most importantly, I learned
that one should not forget to pick up the RSM, WO1 (RSM)
Burdge, when driving to the ranges. Secondly, packed lunches
are called packed lunches for a reason and need to be brought to
the range in the morning, not after lunchtime! Finally, it is usually a
good idea to get the troops to make ready before giving the words
of command �in your own time, go on.’ I suspect, had it not been
for Sgt Piper’s tireless effort and help, the day may have cost me
more than three bottles of port!
My next major task was to plan a two-day adventurous training
package for those in the Sqn who had not deployed to Canada.
This was a two-day water sports event at The British Mohnesee
Sailing Club, and is fully reported below by 2Lt Sharples.
My brief time with 200 Sig Sqn has taught me that the real Army is
far better than impression we got during trg, and if my first three
weeks are anything to go by, I am going to have a most enjoyable
time with the Sqn.
10 MILES FOR CHARITY – by LCpl Ellis
For the team from 200 Sig Sqn, the BrГјggen Ten started with a
few quiet beers downtown in Monchengladbach, followed by
several loud ones to get us in the mood for the ten-mile tab the
following day. On the day, the sun was out and the lads were
really looking forward to getting started. After consuming full fryups to absorb the liquids of the previous evening and re-hydrating
ourselves with bottles of PowerAde, we were set for the off.
For the tab, the team carried 30lb packs and went round in the
style of a booted speed march, with Capt Phil Muir and WO1
(RSM) Burdge setting the pace. The target was to complete the
10-mile road race in less than 2 hours, which we fulfilled with 5
minutes to spare. We could have completed it in less time if we
hadn’t stopped at the 5-mile point for refreshments, kindly
donated by SSgt Gibbins and Sgt Walsh, the team morale
SNCOs.
The Sqn raised €2200 in sponsorship, the highest amount by any
of the units involved. After the event, it was presented to Brig
Inshaw, Comd 1 Sig Bde. The money will go to Silver Child, a
Corps-sponsored charity supporting the children of Great Ormond
Street Hospital.
The team comprised Capt Phil Muir, WO1 (RSM) Burdge, SSgt
Scotney, Sgt Giffen, LCpls Merrick, Walker and Ellis, and Sigs
Day, Saddler and Ferris. The admin team was SSgt Gibbins and
Sgt Walsh.
BRIGADE CAST – by Lt Rob Bott
As part of the Bde’s trg year, we were scheduled to conduct a Bde
CAST ex in late March. However, this was to be a CAST with a
difference. Because the Sqn had been confirming and
consolidating its war fighting role during the previous FLEXIBLE
GAUNTLET I to IV series of exs, it seemed pointless to conduct
this ex in the CAST building. So it was decided that this was to
be a manoeuvre ex out on Sennelager Trg Area, with the Bde Staff
joining us to conduct their trg in the complex. This plan was very
nearly scuppered on a few occasions due to our OP FRESCO
commitments. However, in the end, there were no planned strikes
for the ex period.
Surprisingly, as a Tp Comd in the Sqn, I had not had the
opportunity to deploy on an ex with the Staff up to this point.
Therefore, it was to be a learning experience for me, and also my
first chance to practise my true op role. Conducting the Sqn-level
FLEXIBLE GAUNTLET exs ensured that I was confident that the
Tp could perform extremely well in their role. However, the added
factor and pressure of the Staff in the HQ was exactly what we
needed to complete our prep for high readiness.
The initial Sqn deployment was made a few days prior to CAST
proper, to allow us to conduct a PACEX and be confident that we
were ready to receive the Staff. As Bde Main, my complex took
on the Staff for the first phase of the ex, the initial planning phase,
so the pressure was on from the start. They settled in to their field
environment quickly and there was a buzz of activity throughout
the complex. With no major comms problems, the time was
spent refining the complex and establishing a routine.
Over the next 48 hrs, there were approx ten changes of control
and moves, with the last three being undertaken in the last 8
hours of the battle-fighting phase. This meant that the pace was
fast and furious throughout, and there was limited time to tear
down, move, set up and receive the Staff into a working
environment.
200 Sqn on the BrГјggen Ten
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Overall, this ex confirmed our high level of capability to go into the
next stage of the Formation Readiness Cycle in August. It also
gave the Staff confidence in our ability consistently and rapidly to
provide them with a working environment, whatever the
conditions or pressures placed upon us. For me, it was a long-
383
needed experience that has allowed me to see how vital our role
is to the operation of the Staff and the Bde as a whole.
A FAREWELL VISIT FROM THE MASTER OF SIGNALS – by Cpl
Tris Dunbar.
On Wednesday 9 April, 20 Armd Bde HQ and Sig Sqn (200)
hosted a visit by the Master of Signals, MajGen IOJ Sprackling
OBE. It was his first visit to the Sqn during his time as the Master,
and so we had a busy and interesting timetable organised for him.
His first port of call was SHQ where he met the OC, Maj Alan
Blackwell, and the RSM, WO1 (RSM) Burdge.
The Master was then taken on a tour of Talbot Bks (during which
he was shown all the Sqn facilities) culminating in a chat with the
soldiers in the garages. As with all good visits, the final loc for the
day was the hub of the Sqn, the Gauntlet Bar, where the entire
Sqn was assembled.
Canoeing on Mohnesee Lake
kind of attempt at a turn, things initially got a bit tricky, so much
so that LCpl Ellis decided not to bother with that turning lark and
eventually found himself being dragged along by the rescue boat
from the other side of the lake!
Good fun was had by all, especially perhaps the group of happy
bikers, who got a little geographically challenged in the rain and
rocked into the bar an hour late. We all had a busy evening in the
bar, but by the morning everyone (almost) was bright eyed and
bushy tailed.
The Master with the OC, RSM and medal recipients
The Thursday was much on the same lines as the previous day,
and while Sgt Pagett showed off his sailing skills whilst
simultaneously losing his hat, the rest of us honed our now almost
expert skills on the other equipt.
The Master then kindly agreed to make some presentations for
the Sqn. The first presentation was to SSgt Gibbins, with his
LSGC medal. Then it was the turn of Sgt Hoskins, who also
received a well-deserved LSGC.
Overall the two-day trip was a thorough success, and every
individual had a good time. No doubt the Sqn is looking
forward to the next time they will be able to visit the Mohnesee.
Finally it was my turn, having been awarded the Queen’s
Commendation for Valuable Service for my work in Kosovo on OP
AGRICOLA VII. I was very proud to have received this award and
even prouder to have been presented it by the Master in his final
year in post.
CORPS SAAM – by Cpl �Laney’ Lane.
After the speeches and the odd beer, the Master was taken off for
a meal with the Sqn Offrs and WOs, which left the rest of us to get
on with an entertaining night of celebration in the bar.
The next morning the Master had breakfast with the soldiers in the
Sqn cookhouse (the food had never been so good!), before saying
his goodbyes and continuing on his tour of the RSigs units in
Germany.
EXPEDITION TO THE BRITISH MOHNESEE YACHT CLUB – by
2Lt Sharples
With half the Sqn on ex in BATUS, the remainder thought they
would cheer themselves up by getting themselves to Mohnesee
Lake to try out their water sports skills. Organised and directed
by 2Lt Robin Foster, there were about 40 of us lined up on a
Wednesday morning, eagerly expecting the delights that the Club
had to offer. We were not disappointed.
As soon as we arrived, we were briefed and instructed to carry
out a swimming test, and with no wetsuits on, we were bravely led
by Sgt Walsh into the not-very-warm lake. After we had warmed
up with a good plate of hot food, a group of ten left the centre for
a mountain-bike trek around the lake, while the rest of us got onto
the water and with great gusto, tried our hands at windsurfing,
dinghy sailing and canoeing.
Cpl Phillips soon emerged as the expert on canoeing, and later
on when the wind died down, his enthusiasm and expertise came
in handy, especially with the capsize drills! Attempting to windsurf
was a challenge for everyone, and with each gust of wind or any
384
Trg for this year’s Corps SAAM started early in the year with
a practice shoot at Haltern Ranges, where the initial team
selection took place under the watchful eye of Sgt �Hutch’ Little.
After several more range days, the final candidates for the team
were decided upon. The team leader was to be 2Lt Sharples,
our gap year commission officer, with Cpl Crutchley, LCpl
Ingham, and Sig Williams filling the other slots. I was to be the
team admin Cpl, providing those all-important motivational
speeches!
Arriving in the early hours of the Monday morning from the
Chunnel, and with little sleep, we decided to do our final
preparations. However, the Corps SAAM marshals were a little
surprised when the first question we asked on the morning of the
competition was, �Where is the zeroing range?’ Most of the other
teams had been there for a few weeks, undertaking intensive
training!
However, with only a vague recollection of the shoots that we had
been memorising on the way over, we did surprisingly well,
especially on the fire assessment stage. There was some
confusion over the types of shoot and when to mag change, but if
nothing else we had a great time and learned a lot in the process.
Practice (lots of) does make perfect in this game!
When all the VIPs turned up on the Friday, I was shocked to see
how big this event was! It was a huge reunion for all the members
of the Corps (the RSMs keeping us particularly entertained with
their stories of �the good old days’!) The presentation of medals
was given by the Master of Signals and the SOinC(A). No
silverware made its way back to Sennelager on this occasion, but
we did come fourth in the Minor Units Cup!
We are all looking forward to being at the SAAM next year, and
with more practice and experience on our side, we anticipate the
Sqn will come away with something other than great memories.
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
BRIGADE COMMANDER’S
COMMENDATION
Sig Wheeler was awarded
the first Bde Comd’s
Commendation by the
current commander, Brig
Rutherford-Jones during
his recent visit to the Sqn.
Sig Wheeler had woken to
the smell of smoke in the
barrack block and
discovered that another
soldier’s room was on fire.
Sig Wheeler entered the
room, fought back the
flames with a hand-held fire
extinguisher, and pulled the
occupant out and away from
danger. Had it not been for
Sig Wheeler’s rapid and
brave actions, it is likely that
the occupant of the room
would have been overcome
by smoke and died. For
these actions he received
this commendation.
Sig Wheeler receives the Commendation from Brig Rutherford-Jones
1 MECHANISED BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS
AND
SIGNAL SQUADRON (215)
OC
RSM
Maj AJ Botterill
WO1(RSM) AJ Shadwick
TREGANTLE BATTLE CAMP 2003
On Sunday 16 March, 215 Sig Sqn deployed early to Tregantle
Fort, on the southern Cornish coast, for a week of hard work on
annual battle camp. As soon as we arrived at the Fort it was �all
go’, and the pace for the week ahead was set.
The first three days were spent on the nearby ranges, all of which
sloped towards the coast at a 45 degree angle. A trip from the
100-metre point to the butts was a PT session in itself. As a result
of running up to paste and patch targets, shooters spent most of
their time firing with sweat in their eyes. The ranges included
GPMG firing, a definite favourite with the troops.
On Thursday morning we deployed to Dartmoor for a live firing ex,
which involved live firing section attacks. Everyone involved
enjoyed the day and a lot of aggression was put into the attacks.
LCpl �DJ’ Latham showed a complete disregard for ammo
consumption, spending most of the attacks carrying an empty
GPMG, having used all his rounds in the first couple of minutes.
Just goes to show that ops can’t count. The day ended with the
start of the final ex.
This ex consisted of three secs against an enemy force. The
objective was for the three secs to locate four downed friendly
force pilots before the enemy got them. However, the pilots were
captured by the enemy and held POW in a nearby fort. So there
was a dawn attack. Our three secs stormed the fort but were soon
overwhelmed by the enemy fire, and after a long firefight, ENDEX
was called with victory awarded to the bad guy.
The week ended with some awards been presented, including the
Best Shot award to Cpl Rone, and Best Section award to 5 Sec,
commanded by Cpl Allen. (Although everyone felt that if it hadn’t
been for his sec 2IC, LCpl James, they would surely have come
last).
The battle camp really kick-started the Sqn’s trg year, preparing
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Cpl Kay prepares his section for live firing
us for deployment to BATUS later in the year, and then maybe on
to future deployments to sandier realms.
EXERCISE ATLANTIC CHALLENGE
Early on Monday 7 April, Capt Chris Smith and Sgt Dave
Sangston (Area Systems Group) arrived at the JSASTC, Gosport
with the rest of their crew to join the yacht Challenger, a 67ft
52ton steel cutter, built and previously owned by Chay Blyth.
The aim of the exped was to develop the personal qualities
essential to the members of the Armed Forces through
adventurous sail training in a military environment. But most of the
Sqn thought it was an elaborate ploy for the 2IC to abandon his
in-tray and avoid the Bde study period.
The crew of 14 (skipper, mate and 3 watches of 4) was a mixture
of all ranks drawn from all three Services. We had three days to
familiarise and prepare the boat before sailing to Falmouth, the
final port of call before heading west for Boston, USA. Part of our
prep was an afternoon of sea survival trg and familiarisation of the
385
safety aspects of the boat, including hands-on in the middle of
the Solent.
After a final supper in Falmouth, we set off on the evening of 11
April. A couple of days and 300 nautical miles later, most of the
crew had found their sea legs and began adapting to life living
eating and sleeping at various angles whilst bobbing up and
down. But in the early hours of day 4 we sailed into a squall, the
wind increasing from 12 to 45 knots in a very short time. With the
amount of sail we had up, the boat reacted violently, resulting in a
preventer rope snapping from the boom. The rope flew around the
boat, removing the HF antenna, before settling over the side and
wrapping itself around the prop. As the sun began to rise, we
assessed the situation. We now had no engine and no comms!
But we also had one crewmember who had been suffering from
severe seasickness from the outset. The ship’s doctor
administered a drip to re hydrate him, but this triggered a series of
chest pains. The skipper decided that he should seen buy a
hospital doctor, but to extract the individual, a Mayday call had to
be made. RSigs came into their own, as Sgt Dave Sangston and
Capt Chris Smith set about building an improvised HF antenna,
and it wasn’t long before we were speaking to the coastguard to
arrange a transfer 100 miles off the coast of southern Ireland.
Fortunately our fellow crewmember made a speedy recovery and
is now well.
Because of this unfortunate false start we were forced to return to
UK to make some necessary repairs. After a couple of days it was
decided that we would still attempt the Atlantic crossing, but a
Rescue off the coast of Ireland
few crewmembers had to withdraw because of work
commitments. Eventually, with repairs completed and crew
reshuffled, we set off. Not many crews have the opportunity to
complete a 1000-mile trg session before attempting to sail across
the Atlantic!
The crossing itself took 19 days and challenged the crew from
start to finish. We battled through two Force 9-10 storms. We had
to make minor (and in some cases major) repairs to the yacht
throughout the trip. After 3 days the water maker broke down,
resulting in strict water rationing for the rest of the trip. The
prevailing winds forced us north, passing under the Flemish Cap
and across the bottom of the Grand Banks, with the crew recalling
scenes from the film Perfect Storm. Finally, on 9 May we sailed
into Boston Harbour for a well-earned drink and 2 days’ R&R
before making the six-hour flight home.
Challenger, with Capt Smith at the helm
The exped was a once in a lifetime experience with many highs
and many lows. In total we sailed over 4,000 miles in every type of
condition that the ocean could throw at us. The value of these
expeds should not be underestimated, and all should be
encouraged to participate in similar ventures. I would like to take
this opportunity to thank Capt Charlie Roberts for all his efforts
as the project officer, and the staff at JSATC Gosport. For further
details of similar expeds, check out the Corps web page or visit
www.jsatc.org.
12 MECHANISED BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS
AND
SIGNAL SQUADRON (228)
OC
RSM
Maj Chris Paterson
WO1 Carter
AFV DRIVING COURSE - by LCpl �DJ’ Brittain
Eight members embarked on the Sqn’s latest AFV Driving Course
hosted and instructed by Cpl �Tips’ Tiplady and Cpl Glen
Armitage.
Snowed down with theory for two weeks, Cpl Gaz Lawson and
others couldn’t wait for the open road, or the parade square as we
started out with. After perfecting the manoeuvre phase, we finally
hit the road, Cpl Bob Roberts taking it more literally than others.
We gradually worked our way through almost the entire fleet due
to some outstanding tiller control by Sig Tony Handley. The
moment of truth finally came, the test. Cpl Roberts set the
standard to follow (which wasn’t hard for Cpl Richie Cranswick).
One by one we all took our turn and, against the odds, we came
away with a one-hundred percent pass-rate.
EXERCISE MOUFLON KIRINYAGA - by LCpl Richy Laws
Over the weekend 6-8 June the Sqn mounted an adventure
386
training ex with 14 Sig Regt (EW) in Snowdonia. This was prep for
a larger-scale exped planned to Corsica in July to traverse the
length of the Island via the Grand RandonГ©e 20, a gruelling route,
climbing and descending over rocky terrain.
After a 7-hour road move on Friday afternoon, we arrived at Capel
Curig Camp near Betws-y-Coed, where we were met by Lt Katie
Bermingham (14 Sig Regt). After quick unpack and dinner, we
had an orientation of the camp, a brief on the following days
activities, and then acclimatisation in Capel Curig.
Saturday morning saw the group depart in search of undiscovered
Welsh mountains, the more familiar peaks all being crowded by
professional mountain runners. This allowed the likes of Cpl
Lowe, LCpl Michell and Sig Mitchell to try their hand at
navigation under the watchful eyes of the instructors. Not yet
being commissioned, they found this relatively easy.
Whilst we were on one leg of the journey an interesting local
appeared to tell us all about the history of the various slate mines
we passed en route. The one we had just stopped at had
produced 2,000 tons (or tonnes - he didn’t specify) of slate per
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
year. This was insignificant compared with other mines which
reached 200,000 tons (or tonnes). Who says adventure trg isn’t for
intellectuals?
The end of the day saw Lt Christian Barker educate the group on
the merit of a decent cream tea in preference to more obvious
refreshment. The contingent from 14 Sig Regt then opted to seek
out local culture in preference to the offer from Capt Adam
Corkery to climb one more peak for the day.
Sunday brought dire weather so, instead of pursuing scenic
views, the decision was made to mount Snowdon ascending via
the Miner’s Track and down the Pyg Track. Little did we know that
the 3 Peaks Challenge was reaching Snowdon at that point, so
the achievement was undermined by yet more professionals
sprinting past us up and down the mountain. Good recce! Sadly
the etymologists amongst us could not determine the meaning of
Pyg, but by the time we reached the bottom, we were all sweating
like Pygs. Swift farewells were made and everyone returned to
work on Monday tired but enthused, anticipating somewhat
different adventures in Corsica. For those who find the trip a little
to daunting, the Sqn is also offering sailing and multi-activity AT in
July, so bring on the glorious sunshine.
KOSOVO TEAR DOWN - by Cpl Chris Lowe
The tear down required only a small number of people from QM
Dept and the Techs (of all varieties). After the main body left for
home, we were left with a daunting task of stripping the comms
sites and packing away the rest of our equipt. The prospect of
doing this was made much more acceptable by the fact that we
knew we would be left under the Foreman’s supervision.
The QM Dept’s main role was to close down the accounts and to
empty out the rubs we had been using in Slim Lines. This was
easier said than done when the temperature was edging towards
30В° C. With the direction of Maj Fred Payet, Sgt Powell and Sig
Gaz Evans, we were able to make light work of it. I just wish Sgt
Powell would have kept his shirt on!
During this period the Techs had to tear down comms sites and
hand over equipt to the Finnish Bde and to a new smaller sig tp
from 3 Div. This involved a lot of travelling between sites, including
Goles and Czechbat, to remove the containers. These containers
were then brought back to Slim Lines until they were ready to be
shipped to UK to be used on the next op. The microwave dishes
and antennae also had to be removed from the towers at these
sites. This was mainly done by FofS Rob Clifford, Cpls Billy
Richards, Pete Minza and Sigs Pippa Lavenu and Wayne
Sturdy, with the rest of us giving a helping hand.
One big task was to remove kit from the PTK building, Kosovo’s
version of BT. This was 12 floors up, and it had been installed
near the service elevator. But, about ten minutes after we arrived,
the service elevator packed in. To make matters worse, it was a
public holiday and there was no one to fix it. So we had to drag
the equipt (which was in 6-foot racks) across the building to the
passenger elevator. Six of us could barely move these racks! The
passenger elevator could barely take the weight either, and at one
point, the alarm went off due to having too much weight in it.
Nobody wanted to get in the lift with the equipt after that. We did
have outside help from Bob Pearce, a civilian engineer from
Cogent, who was full of useful ideas. We left him to remove the
UPS batteries.
The Finnish Army helped us for much of the tear down by
providing transport when we needed to move large items. Another
excellent Finnish aid were the saunas to relax in at the end of a
tiring day.
One evening, after we had broken the back of the hard work, QM
Dept organised a leaving BBQ. It turned out to be a very
interesting night. I don’t know what was in the food but a lot of
people ended up looking like Radioactive Man. FofS Clifford was
glowing the most.
In my opinion, the tear down was just as hard as the initial take
over when we first arrived. But having said that, we all had a good
time with morale being high most of the time.
SQUADRON POST TOUR FUNCTION - by LCpl �Lamby’ Lamb
After a vigorous six-month tour of Kosovo what better way to
wind down than an end of tour function? The spending on the
event gave an indication on how important HQ considered it for
us to let our hair down after being away from friends and family
for so long.
The theme for the function was the Oscar Award Night in
Hollywood, with the red carpet laid out at the entrance and the
large Oscar statues on the stage. This turned out to be a bit
confusing for some people, especially SSgt Alexander-High, who
thought that he had finally made it to Hollywood as a comedian.
But the only thing that amused everyone was the suit he arrived in.
As part of the classy scene, there was also a Casino, with
Blackjack, Roulette and Poker. Everyone was given about ВЈ100
worth of �funny money’ which was turned into chips to gamble
with. Lady Luck not being on my side, the novelty soon wore off
for me and I was soon back at the other table working hard on
lager consumption. On the other hand, Alex Smith soon became
a millionaire. Not only did he have a natural eye for gambling, he
also looked the part. With a cigar in one hand and a glass of
martini in the other, he looked like the next James Bond. All he
needed was a stunner on either side of him - but there was no
chance of that.
Throughout the night there was continuous entertainment
including a band called Inside Out. They played mainly old classic
songs, a good touch, which got everyone in the party mood. Next
were three dancing girls but they didn’t seem to be on stage long
enough. There was also some unexpected entertainment when
we found that one of the lads could break dance. The dance floor
cleared, and out came Scotty Pardoe. After seeing this, some of
the other lads plucked up confidence to give it a go and people
come from all angles rolling around the floor. Now that was
entertainment!
It was an excellent night out and a night to remember. Our thanks
to Sgts Si Ferrer and Stu Ireland, who worked on it from start to
finish - including acting as minders for the dancing girls.
DEFENCE COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES AGENCY
(GERMANY)
252 SIGNAL SQUADRON
S02 Strat & Tech Dev
Maj G Pickersgill
STRATEGIC AND TECHNICAL DEVELOPEMENT
As a further step in the transformation of 252 Sig Sqn into �The
Agency’, Sqn HQ is now distributed as follows: Maj Garth
Pickersgill has moved into Telephone House and although he
retains his responsibilities as Sqn OC (known here as the �Army
Tribal Chief’) he is now establishing the post of S02 Strategic &
Technical Development. With the posting clock ticking, there is
now light at the end of the tunnel for Garth. We have a nominated
relief, but no sight yet of a posting order. Is a certain Capt in line
for a hard time if the awaited paperwork does not materialise
PDQ?
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
ENTERPRISE MANAGEMENT HUMAN RESOURCES
Adjt
SSM
Capt CJ Udell
W02 (SSM) DW Stewart
Capt Eric Udell has moved into Telephone House and whilst
retaining his current GI welfare, administrative and disciplinary
responsibilities for the soldiers in 252 Sig Sqn, he has now taken
on another role within the DCSA(G) registry domain. Along with
this role and the retitle to Adjt DCSA(G) comes the additional
responsibilities traditionally associated with the post: providing
admin support to the HQ on a day to day basis. He also takes on
similar responsibilities for the RAF element of DCSA(G), who are
now an integral part of the Agency. He is ably assisted by Chief
387
Clerk, Flt Sgt Phil Harries RAF, and a team comprising Pte Dave
Shearon AGC, Mrs Dawn Glasgow, Miss Fiona Logan and Mrs
Michelle Winters.
Our civilian staff are now providing a truly combined registry
facility in support of all DCSA(G) personnel. Miss Christina
Constantine, our Sqn dependant clerk, has moved into the Big
House to join the current incumbent, Miss Jan Gallagher in
establishing our B registry. This facility (a combination of the old
11 Sigs Unit RAF registry and elements of 252 Sig Sqn) will
provide a postal distribution and personnel admin focal point for
those working in the HQ building.
WO2 (SSM) Dave Stewart has also moved to Telephone House.
He will retain most of the traditional SSM with responsibilities for
our soldiers’ feeding, discipline, training, boots & haircuts and
good old admin. In addition he picks up the responsibility for
ensuring the smooth running of the various visit programmes by
providing the admin support required. Sgt Taff O’Connor has
moved into an open plan office alongside the Agency’s TLO,
where he is in the process of incorporating the Army ITD
Database and putting processes in place for the Military trg
requirement that will eventually be managed through the links
established with Rheindahlen Support Unit.
VISIT OF BRIGADIER T GREGORY ROYAL MARINES
During a visit to the Agency, Brig T Gregory RM, Director
Engineering, Interoperability & Information Systems, DCSA
conducted a presentation ceremony for two members of the
RSigs element of DCSA(G). SSgt Andy Lloyd received the
Accumulated Campaign Service Medal, having served a total of
1080 days in NI, and Sgt Rob O’Connor was presented with the
Long Service and Good Conduct Medal for 15 years
irreproachable service. They were accompanied by their wives,
Mrs Debbie Lloyd and Mrs Louise O’Connor, with son, James.
The Brigadier presented both ladies with a large bouquet of
flowers.
During the ceremony, the Adt, Capt Eric Udell, read out the
citations and later, over a drink or two, the medal recipients
discussed the impressive detail contained in their respective
citations. The ceremony was followed by lunch and a reception in
the Sgts Mess.
BRUGGEN 10 MILE ROAD RACE SATURDAY 5 APRIL 2003
Members of the Agency recently took part in the BrГјggen 10 mile
road race held on Elmpt station on Saturday 5 April 2003. The
Agency had not entered a team as such, but members who
partook as individual runners achieved the following finish
timings:
Male Open Category 442 Runners
Place
131
147
Name
Time
Sqn Ldr Slee
0l: 12:19sec
Mr R Storer
01:13:36sec
Placed 16th in Super Veteran Category
The reception after the medal presentations. Rear, L-R: Sgt O’Connor, Maj Pickersgill, Col Eaton, SSgt Lloyd. Front, L-R: James and Mrs
Louise O’Connor, Brig Gregory, Mrs Debbie Lloyd
388
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
205
217
218
295
389
395
Capt E Udell
01:18:35sec
Sig Gilmour
01:1.9:39sec
Cpl Hirst
01:19:39sec
Sig Growcott
01:26:36sec
Maj Prince
01:37:01sec
Placed 65th in Veteran Category
Mr B Potts
01:38:42sec
Female Open Category 113 Runners
2
72
Cpl N Dean
Miss K Johnson
01:02:58sec
01:38:43sec
The Sqn OC and all ranks congratulate all those who tools part,
particularly Cpl Nikki Dean, who achieved an extremely
impressive and very close second place in the Female Open
Category.
102 LOGISTIC BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS
AND
SIGNAL SQUADRON (262)
OC
2IC
Maj Mark Everill RLC
Capt David Orr
The last 2 months have seen the formation process of 262 Sig
Sqn quicken significantly. Those deployed on OP TELIC in
support of 2 Sig Regt have now all safely returned and are telling
war stories to anyone that is foolish enough to pull up a sandbag.
An account of the Sqn’s exploits in the desert will appear in the
next edition of The WIRE. After a couple of days back in work,
those who had deployed disappeared on some well earned Post
Op Tour Leave. When they return, the Sqn will be 75 strong and
with the veh compound rapidly filling up with yellow coloured
vehicles, we are beginning to resemble a functioning Sqn. 262
Sig Sqn is now formally broken down into two Tps, A Tp (Radio)
and Support Tp, and it is in these Tps that trg will get under way
in earnest over the next few weeks. Trg will then intensify at Sqn
level with a series of exs building up to the Bde FTX in November.
Going from scratch to CP5 in 6 months will be no mean feat, but
everyone associated with the Sqn is determined to make it
happen.
the day. Owning your own boots pretty much qualified you as
Captain. After a further trg session we took a trip to our inherited
�sports store’, where we discovered that, at best, we were going
to run onto the field dressed like the Jamaican basketball team. A
few favours were called in, and soon we had procured a halfdecent looking strip. After a pasta meal and a good night’s sleep,
we were ready to take on the best BF(G) had to offer and,
incredibly, we were actually quietly confident. This blind optimism
can only be attributed to the fact that there were two Scots in the
starting line up!
The competition started badly. In a league of 4 we failed to
qualify for the final stages, despite the best efforts of the team.
We were given new hope, however, when we qualified for the
plate competition. Despite some very credible performances, we
once again came away empty handed (largely because there was
no wooden spoon on offer!) The Sqn’s first foray into the sporting
world may not have ended in triumph, but at least we took part,
despite being the smallest unit represented by some considerable
margin. My thanks go to all the lads who turned in some fine
performances, and in particular to Sig Taylor, for organising the
team.
WARSTEINER BREWERY VISIT – by Sig Ord
The drudgery of Rear Party routine was broken for 262 Sig Sqn in
late May, when Cpl Montgomery organised the inevitable in a
brewery. The day started with everyone turning up in an array of
silly hats and sunglasses, although the best effort was made by
Sig Taylor, who arrived complete with Welly boots and dust
mask. As the coach got within the general vicinity of the brewery,
chief navigator, Sig Kate Ord, proclaimed that we must be near,
as she had just seen a Warsteiner delivery lorry on its rounds.
Great delight was taken by all when they tried to explain to a
confused Sig Ord that Warsteiner is drunk in various locations
and not just in the brewery that produces it!
BA(G) SIX A SIDE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
- by Capt DR Orr
Although interesting, the actual brewery tour was probably not the
main thing on everybody’s mind and occasionally questions of
�Are we nearly at the bar yet?’ were heard. After the hour-long
tour had finished, it was a quick run back to the coach that was to
transport us to the second phase of the operation. There were
few complaints as the coach driver enthusiastically showed off his
Michael Schumacher style skills. To the great delight of all, we
soon arrived at the bar, but the euphoria soon turned to
disappointment, as the free beer was limited to 5 Euros per
person. The unanimous decision was taken to buy rounds,
although this proved difficult as the barmaid would only sell beer if
you had finished your previous one and would only accept orders
of 10 or more at a time!
I blame BFBS. An advert was heard encouraging teams to enter
the BA(G) Six-a-Side Football Competition, and I thought this was
the ideal stage to make our maiden appearance in a competitive
sporting event. Word quickly reached me that the man for the job
was Sig Taylor, who I was assured was a David Beckham and Sir
Alex Ferguson rolled into one. A hasty trial session was
organised, during which it became apparent that the necessary
attribute required to be chosen for the squad was availability on
Despite lengthy pleas, we had to leave to leave the place of cheap
beer to make way for the next tour. So we made our way to the
coach and headed bake to GГјtersloh. However, the journey
wasn’t exactly an express service, courtesy of the surprisingly
small capacity of Sig Watson’s bladder! All in all, everyone had a
good time, and we appreciated the chance to let our hair down. If
only the next day at work had been as much fun, when even
painting a Land Rover became an exceedingly difficult task.
SSgt Dudley, Cpl Hague and LCpls Spiers and Weston on OP
TELIC
It only remains for me to congratulate all those involved in OP
TELIC, who have done the Sqn proud, and those who formed the
Rear Party, who endured the less glamorous and less rewarding
side of the conflict with typical good humour.
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
389
280 (UNITED KINGDOM)
SIGNAL SQUADRON
OC
SSM
Maj Russell Edwards
WO2 (SSM) Dixon
Since the last edition of The WIRE, the Sqn has had a busy time
(even more so than usual!). In March we deployed 23 personnel
on OP DISPLAY DETERRENCE, as part of the NATO forces
stationed in Turkey to protect their southern border with Iraq. The
rest of the Sqn has been left holding the fort, dealing with the
many VIP visits, including the Master of Signals on 9 April, who
presented Sig Fewster with her promotion to LCpl. He seemed
pleased to be presented with a black and white photograph we
had found in our unit’s records: that of himself as a Capt when
serving with 28 (BR) Sig Regt, the predecessor of 280 (UK) Sig
Sqn. Meanwhile the rest of the Sqn have been participating in
the Sqn exercises, such as the battle camp in Haltern, EX FRAN
AXE.
The Master of Signals receiving his presentation from the Sqn – a
photograph of himself as a Capt serving with 28 (BR) Sig Regt
The Sqn has seen the departure of the RQMS, WO2 �Dutch’
Holland, to enjoy his few remaining months with the Army back in
Middlesborough with 34 Sig Regt (V). The SQMS, SSgt Maw, has
also left us for pastures new. Despite having served his full 22
years, he has decided that green is still the life for him, and has
transferred to the LSL with a new post at 8 Inf Bde, NI. Lt Barber
became Capt Barber, and then decided that he wanted a medal,
so went to the Gulf with 3 Div Sig Regt. Good luck to them all.
OPERATION DISPLAY DETERRENCE - by WO2(FofS) JK Sutton
On 28 Feb 03 280 (UK) Sig Sqn, as part of the NATO Deployable
Communications Module (DCM) Bn, was informed that it was on
10 days NTM in support of the NATO Article 4 Mission to South
East Turkey. This heralded the start of a frenzy of activity in order
to get the necessary tasks completed to enable the Mobile
Communications Module (MCM) and its crew to deploy. The 23
personnel from 280 Sqn (led by Capt Brunton) were to be
augmented by a crew of 4 from the ACCAP Bn in Maastricht and
3 engineers from the Command Logistics Depot in Brunssum. The
final team of 30 comprised 23 British, 5 US and 2 Dutch
personnel. With each nation having their own particular rules and
regulations, this made life very interesting when it came to
completing the pre-deployment trg and other admin tasks. These
problems were soon overcome, and the US and Dutch personnel
even became familiar with British NBC procedures.
On 3 March, the Unit was placed on 5 days NTM. Prep continued
and enough stores were placed on the vehs to make the entire
team self-sufficient for 5 days. No one knew at this stage what
awaited us, what the living conditions would be like or whether we
390
were getting fed. What we were told was that the 12 vehs, 5
trailers and the majority of the personnel were to be transported in
2 Antonov AN 124-100s to Diyarbakir airbase in Turkey. A number
of us were more than a little concerned at the prospect as visions
of vodka-fuelled Russian pilots sprang to mind!
The day of reckoning finally arrived and the team and all the
equipt arrived at Geilenkirchen airbase on 14 March. The first
Antonov had already landed and there was a sizeable crowd of
people gathering just to catch a glimpse of the airborne
behemoth. Loading of the aircraft started in earnest and from the
amount of flashes going off from various cameras, you could be
forgiven for thinking that President Putin himself was flying. Once
the loading was complete, we had a short time to get the first
group of personnel into the passenger area just in front of the tail.
It was a pleasant surprise to find reclining seats just like a regular
passenger aircraft. It certainly beat a C130. The flight was
surprisingly smooth, the only period of disquiet being the takeoff.
We were on the runway for so long that we began to think that the
pilot was going to drive all the way to Turkey. Thankfully the
curvature of the earth made the runway drop away beneath us
and the giant bird clawed its way into the sky.
An Antonov AN 124-100
After a 4-hour flight, the first aircraft landed at Diyarbakir. We then
endured a frustrating time while Turkish customs checked all the
official paperwork. A timely fax from SHAPE prevented LCpl
Wood from being deported from the country on the Antonov
which was heading back to its home - in Minsk! Shortly
afterwards the second Antonov arrived and the team was
complete. After an overnight stay in a rundown hangar (The
Dedeman Hotel in Diyarbakir) the crew and their vehs traveled to
Pirinclik, where the MCM was to be set up to provide NATO
comms for the Forward Control Element (FCE) of the Joint
Command South East (JCSE). Once the loc for the HQ had been
decided, the MCM set up nearby so that the usual NATO facilities
could be remoted into the building. We had taken part in a
number of exs recently, so the set-up was rapid, with all services
provided to the HQ in 24 hours.
Although we had all comms in to SHAPE, there were a number of
issues still to be overcome. A planning error meant that the HQ
were not in a position to administer their own networks. This
resulted in LCpl Cooper and his small team working around the
clock for the first 4 days administering the HQ networks as well as
their own. For his efforts, LCpl Cooper was awarded a CinC
AFNORTH Commendation from Gen Sir Jack Deverell.
We then settled into a daily routine of shifts to keep an eye on the
various circuits. This included various civilian E1 links, TSGT
based links to ground stations in Italy, NATO SECRET WAN, NATO
UNCLAS WAN and SECRET VTC services to the HQ. We were
visited by a number of VIPs during the Op, including CinC South
and SACEUR himself.
To keep everyone in shape, PT was a regular undertaking making
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
the most of the facilities provided by our Turkish hosts. The
Turkish food became a bit repetitive and the quantity was also a
factor. Cpl Chacksfield watched in horror as his carefully honed
torso started to shrink before his very eyes. The eagerly awaited
suntans also failed to appear. At an altitude of 2800 ft, snow, sleet
and rain featured heavily.
After 5 weeks, it was deemed that there was no longer a threat to
Turkey from Iraq, so the HQ and our presence were no longer
required. After a carefully controlled close-down of circuits,
everybody stepped up a gear for the teardown. All the equipt and
kilometres of fibre and copper cable were stowed back in the
trucks ready for the extraction.
We weren’t to return by Antonov. A Dutch ship had docked at the
port of Iskendrun to transport the Dutch Patriot Missile Batteries
back to Holland and we were allocated space in it for our vehs.
We had to get them to a staging area at Incirlik (near the Turkish
coast) which involved an 11-hour drive with an escort of
Jandarma (Turkish Paramilitary Police). The journey was largely
uneventful and the lads had a few hours to enjoy the facilities of
the US section of the Incirlik airbase prior to the flight out of the
country at 04.50hrs the following morning.
All in all, it was a very good deployment. We had arrived prepared
for a 6-month stay in-theatre, but it turned out nowhere near as
long. There were many unknowns prior to the deployment, but the
team worked brilliantly together to pull it off. There was nothing
but praise from the JCSE staff and from the various dignitaries
who visited throughout the Op. A big �well done’ to all the team.
FOOTBALL
The Sqn football team had an excellent season. The highlights
were the winning (again) of the BA(G) Minor Units Cup, with an
enthralling final against 24 Regt RLC. This went to extra time,
penalties and then sudden death. This triumph paved the way for
a trip back to UK and a meeting with HQ Land Comd in the semi
final of the Army Minor Units Cup. Thanks to the Sports Lottery,
we travelled back to Blighty in style. The coach was equipped
with a toilet, TV and video player and a happy-go-lucky coach
driver named Fritz.
Many thanks to 12 Mech Bde HQ and Sig Sqn, who allowed us to
use their transit accommodation at such short notice for the
duration of our stay in the UK. The first day was spent trg and for
our captain, LCpl �Speedy’ Lister to pick the team for the next
day’s semi. This wasn’t hard, as most of our first-string players
had deployed to Turkey (we had more shirts than players!)
The semi-final was played at Salisbury City Football Ground –
well, their practice pitch anyway. The sun was out, the birds were
singing and blokes were as well. It was a glorious day! Even
though the final score was 3-1 to us, it wasn’t an easy game, but
we were headed for the finals against Bassingbourne. And so it
arrived, the final of the Army Minor Units Cup. This too, was a
hard fought match. We took the lead half way through the first
half, thanks to Cpl Chris Granshaw’s header from a well-taken
corner, only for Bassingbourne to equalise towards the end of the
half. The second half was even more intense, with both teams
searching for the winner. Towards the end and extra time looming,
Bassingbourne took the victory, with a well-worked corner.
Even though we were unable to bring the silverware home, the
boys who were available put up a good show, and there’s always
next year.
SHOOTING TEAM
CORPSAAM 2003 turned out nice for the firer’s of 280 Sig Sqn.
Sig Shaun Preston proved that running down the range was
really no big deal. Sig Mark Hall, huffed and puffed his way down
the gun-run, achieving a commendable score (not to mention that
his target was fired on by one of the Gurkhas). LCpl Rache Allen,
although really liking her tranny van, achieved second female
competitor. Sgt Richie Turnbull held the middle ground and was
a member of the victorious pistol team. SSgt Dave Copley, only
went and won Champion Rifle. As a team, the Minor Units
competition was won, so it was trophies and medals all round!
CYPRUS COMMUNICATIONS UNIT
(CCU)
OC
USM
Maj Matt Hanson
WO2(SSM) Dave Smith
CHARITY FUND RAISING
Through the Charities Committee CCU has continued apace with
its fund raising activities, resulting in over a thousand pounds
being donated to the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation and
Margaritta Liassidou Children’s Home. Mrs Lisa Lewis presented
the CLDF with a cheque for ВЈ550 during a recent hospital visit and
her husband Sgt Steve Lewis presented the Margaritta Liassidou
Children’s Home with children’s toys and a cheque for £50. Cpl
Pete Sorrell presented another ВЈ500 to the CLDF.
The CLDF researches the causes of Liver disease and provides
support for families of children suffering liver diseases. The
Margaritta Liassidou Children’s Home in Paphos cares for
disabled children and is the only one of its type in Cyprus. Both
these institutions rely solely on donations.
SPORT
PAPHOS MARATHON, HALF MARATHON & 10K RUNS
Sunday 2 March saw the 5th Paphos Spider Net Marathon and a
good turnout from CCU personnel. Unfortunately Lt Fiona
Watson, who would almost certainly have picked up a trophy,
was recovering from a cold and like Cpl Doug Malcolm (injured)
was unable to compete on the day. Nevertheless some key
Service runners from all over the island were entered in the 3
events. It was not a typical sunny Cyprus morning but the cooler
slightly breezy start would hopefully help with some good times.
The marathon competitors were transported to Aphrodite’s Rock
for their 08.30 start, whilst all other half marathon and 10k
competitors started at the Paphos Fort, where all 3 races finished.
Cpl Daz Sharpe (CSS) was taking part in his first marathon along
with veteran, WO2 �Smudge’ Smith.
Another CCU charity donation
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Starting the Half Marathon were SSgt Chris Brown (winner of the
Gate to Gate), FltSgt Dave Allen, Sgt Alex Archibald and SSgt
Elvis Hemstead. Unfortunately Cpl Steve Hudson and LCpl Will
Loates were let down by their driver and had to get a Taxi to
Paphos! Although they missed the start of the half, they managed
391
to get into the 10k race, which started 15mins later. They both did
very well and completed in good times.
Because of local Police intervention, the half marathon course
was reduced during the race by about a mile, which made for
some fast PBs. SSgt Chris Brown ran a great race and totally
destroyed all opposition to win in a time of 1hr 9mins, picking up
an extra trophy as the BFC winner. Congratulations!
OFFICERS & SNCO’S V JUNIOR RANKS FOOTBALL MATCH by SSgt Gaz Tinsley
As part of an old 12 SU tradition, the annual Old Guys against the
Whippersnappers football match was re-instated under the newly
formed CCU. The 2 teams under the watchful eye of the
selectors, SSgt Gaz Tinsley for the oldies and Cpl Andy
Teasdale for the youngsters, met on 16 May.
The weather was unforgiving, blistering heat and no breeze. The
youngsters reckoned that each individual member of the squad
would score at least 5 goals in this game, whilst the oldies, were
more worried about how many of them would make it through the
90 mins.
Under the referee, Mr Mike Toner, the game started fast and
furious, and within 3 mins Sig Col Caisley had blasted a shot
from outside the area, past the full stretch of Capt Iain McNelly in
the oldies’ goal. The oldies caught their breath and slowly started
to get into the game, coming close on a number of occasions.
Then in the 15th minute, the ball broke to SSgt Mick Lingard, who
calmly slotted the ball past �Chippie’ Chapman in the youngsters’
goal. Now it was 1- 1. The game went on but not at such a fast
and furious pace, with both sides coming close.
Half time came and went, and still the score was 1-1. Capt Ian
McNelly pulled off a fantastic save in the oldies’ goal.
Unfortunately it was from one of his own players, but they all
count. Then in a moment of magic, Sgt Alex Archibald (who
claims he only scores a goal every 20 years), picked the ball up
about 25 yards from goal and lobbed it past a stunned �Chippie’
Chapman in the youngsters’ goal. The crowd went wild (well I
did), 2 - 1 to the oldies and 10 mins to go. The youngsters tried to
recover, hitting the post, but all was in vain. At ENDMATCH the
score line read 2 - 1 to the oldies.
Everyone had survived, a few were battle weary, and some were
very sore and would take days to recover. We had taken a good
hard beating on the pitch but victory was ours, and well deserved
it was. At the end of the game FltSgt Dave Allen presented the
winning captain with the trophy, donated by himself on his
retirement from football at the sprightly age of 50. Thank you to
the referee, both managers and the 30 plus members of the Unit
who turned up. From the oldies to all the youngsters out there
�Better luck next time’
NETWORK ENGINEERING SERVICES SECTION
OC
Sect SSgt
FltLt Elaine Spalding RAF
SSgt Elvis Hemstead
It’s been a busy few months for NESS with a lot of extra hours put
in by everyone due to OP TELIC and also the installation of the
new COERS Radio System. Things are on their way to getting
back to normal and with 81Sig Sqn (V) visiting the Island, the
Sections can relax with competitive sports afternoons and friendly
social functions, �Who’s for a Keo’.
During the busy period, while a lot of you were probably in the
desert building sandcastles or something, we here in Cyprus were
being put through our paces by Cpl Pete Sorrell. He organised
the unit poker competition which, after 8 gruelling preliminary
rounds, produced an exciting final with SSgt (FofS) Glenn
Thompson taking 8th (last) place and WO2 (FofS) Neil Henry
(HQ BFC J6) taking 1st place. This included ВЈ230CY worth of
NAAFI vouchers and a slightly bigger trophy than the 8th place
one.
This event was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who took part even those who didn’t last long. Thanks again to everyone who
took part and thanks to Cpl Pete Sorrell who managed to raise
ВЈ500CY for the CCU Charities Committee.
392
Sig Craig McHale prepares for his next mission
Cpl Carr and Sig Craig McHale were invited to an open day to
see what the RAF firepower was all about. They spent half a day
examining a Tornado with both the pilot and navigator explaining
which button does what. During the visit, aircraft were constantly
taking off and landing, giving an indication of what they were
capable of. At the end of the day they were granted the pleasure
of sitting in both the pilot’s and navigator’s seats. All the buttons
and switches were mind-boggling (a bit more complex than a Play
station!). Cpl Carr was disappointed that he couldn’t have a go,
but since he had only third party insurance cover, they didn’t think
their aircraft would be covered enough. Our lads both said the
whole day was a day to remember and would recommend it to
anybody that can spare the time.
We have a few a few hellos and goodbyes. Farewell to the Rad
Ops who have moved to CSS, especially to Sig Harvey, who has
left for 2 Sig Regt, and Cpl Berry who has gone to 3 Div Sig Regt.
Welcome to Sgt �Billy’ Beaumont from Blandford, to Cpl Alli
Smith from 21 Sig Regt (AS) and to LCpl Chris Turnbull. Finally
congratulations to Sgt Rogers for coming off of the Sgt-SSgt
board, and to Cpl Ben Mcfaul and his new wife Sam on their
marriage.
THE CCU SERVICE DESK – by Sgt Tony Thirlwell
Set up with a wave of NESS’s magic wand, the Service Desk (or
the Fault Logging Cell as it was known) continues to provide an
efficient means of logging and rectifying faults in Cyprus. The ops
are now working normal day hours and provide first line support
by suggesting possible solutions for known faults.
After the initial settling in period, the desk is now being overseen
by Sgt Tony Thirlwell with his trusty sidekicks, Cpl Alli Smith and
JT Paul Clarke. Alli is a vision of sweetness and light on the
phone but complains bitterly when it’s back on hook. We will all
miss her voice when she leaves to go on her CFTS course in
June.
We welcome our two new phone jockeys, Duncan Ayre and LCpl
Matt Holmes who joins us from across the road.
AKROTIRI SECTION
OC
Sec SSgt
Capt Ben Psaila
SSgt Danny Cain
As events return to normal following OP TELIC, Akrotiri Section
and in particular Airfield Det, have had more time to enjoy life in
Cyprus again and to regain the sporting initiative from Dhekelia
Sec. We congratulate all those who took part in the CCU InterSec Hockey tournament on 25 April. Although we finished only
4th overall, spirits where high all day and the player of the day
goes to LCpl Fell, the team’s leading scorer with an amazing onehanded individual effort. Watch out for us in the swimming!
We have had a few changes in the Sec recently. Sgt Gaz Jordan
has gone to 39 Inf Bde HQ & Sig Sqn in NI, Cpl Dave Atherton to
10 Sig Regt, Cpl Robert Morris to JCU(NI) and Cpl Tim Berry to
2 Sig Regt. We welcome Cpls Mark Aplin and Pete Stewart
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
from 16 Sig Regt and Sig Ben O’Neill from Blandford. Finally we
congratulate Cpl Richie Lewis on his promotion.
DHEKALIA SECTION
OC
Sec SSgt
Capt Dean Richardson
SSgt Watts
We’ve had lads representing the Unit on the Cyprus SAAM, where
we came a respectable fourth out of 13 (mostly infantry) teams
and were the first Corps team. 110 took part and our top shot was
SSgt Watts, who came 19th overall. After a few rigorous trg
sessions with LCpl Jones, we won the Griffin Cup Hockey
Competition for the third year running, maintaining our position at
the top of the league table.
After a colossal battle with the evil property management
monsters we have succeeded in keeping our beloved BITSA bar.
This means that, after ringing the bell, new arrivals LCpls Paul
Clarke, Dean Smith and Sig Dan Sprules can all provide us with
free beer; Cpl Becky Taylor can celebrate her promotion; Sgt
Mac McGuckien can celebrate coming off the SSgt board; and
Cpl Nathan Hadley can rejoice in completing his Det Comds
course and his impending marriage to Trudy.
QUARTERMASTER’S DEPARTMENT
QM
SQMS
Capt Dave Stachini
SSgt Paul Jordan
The Dept has had a hectic time in the last couple of months. The
whole world has been issued mobile phones (or so Sgt Hyland
seems to think) and the issue of cable to Akrotiri Sec has reached
an all-time high, so that we can now wrap the whole of Cyprus in
100-pair cable. As a Dept, we are all working towards the UINs of
259 Sig Sqn and 12 SU coming together and all the accounting
action becoming one!
We congratulate Cpl Alderson on his successful completion of
his RMQ course. This means that he now knows which end of the
range the targets are, even though he can’t see them! Capt
Stachini has never left his office in the 9 months he has been here
and cannot fit another cap on his head as MTO, Health and Safety
Offr, Civilian Employment Officer, Welfare Officer and something
else… ah that’s it, QM of CCU! Comings and goings have been
limited to the arrival of Andy, the new SWS storekeeper. We are
also anxiously awaiting the SQMS’s new arrival and hope the birth
all goes well for him and Anna.
I quite like the way Dhekalia Section have presented their comings
and goings. Let’s see who can better this one - Editor
JOINT COMMUNICATIONS UNIT
SIERRA LEONE
INTERNATIONAL MILITARY ADVISORY AND TRAINING TEAM
(SIERRA LEONE)
All change at JCU over the last couple of months. LtCol Matt
Helm has departed for somewhere, although at time of posting he
did not know where. No doubt he has been posted AWOL, but if
anyone is missing an Officer please contact JCU and we will
forward his contact details. Maj Jonathon Turner, formerly of 1
Sig Bde and Ferrari racing team, has arrived and taken over as
2IC and Trg Offr. Freetown’s golf caddies are in mourning
following the departure of WO1 (RSM) Tim Comyns, although the
arrival of WO1 (RSM) Ged �Golf Shark’ Keane and his rapid rise
to top of all rankings, despite allegedly not having picked up clubs
in 20 years, has ameliorated the situation somewhat. WO1 (YofS)
George Hume is finally due to leave Sierra Leone, although no
one will believe it until he is actually on the flight. Rumours that he
was left here by the British Army on the granting of Independence
have finally now been put to rest following a check of the
Commonwealth archives, although the confusion appears to have
started when someone saw his leave card.
WO2 (FofS) Dave Cook has just arrived to replace WO2 (FofS)
Paul Hubble, who leaves us to prop up a bar at SHAPE. WO2
Hubble became somewhat of a celebrity in his final weeks here,
presiding over the presentation of a donated Manchester United
strip to the RSLAF Football Team in the National stadium, and an
epic St George’s day party, which the French Ambassador
declined to attend on account of his invite including a number
of pointed quotes from Horatio Nelson. Not to be outdone,
WO1 (YofS) George Hume tried to get Rolf Harris to visit to
witness the handing over of a rescued baby chimp to the local
sanctuary, but sadly he would not return our calls. However, a
very relieved 2-month-old baby chimp now resides at the
Tacguma Chimp Sanctuary and now answers to the name of
�Jimmy’. Although he is not perhaps as brimming with multimedia attraction as the Corps Museum, any Corps personnel
passing by are invited to drop in and say hello and make a
donation towards his upkeep.
SSgt Ian Thorburn continues in the noble causes theme with
his selfless work for the Wilberforce Garrison school. Following
on from a number of initiatives in BF(G) to fund essential
supplies, such as paper and pens, supported by SSAFA and 7 Sig
Regt, a high profile Charity Ball is to be held to help raise funds
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Offroading to the max. Colin McRae visits Sierra Leone for driving
instruction from Maj Turner
for the necessary repairs to the school buildings. With a raffle,
including prizes of a free flight to UK (it is actually a return flight
but the odds of anyone actually coming back are pretty
low!) interest has been exceptional. SSgt Dave Alderson
continues with his many projects, and now has an opportunity to
set up a little business fitting out Landrovers for IMATT. In this he
has been ably assisted by the Det Comd of the 30 Sig Det stay
behind party, LCpl Sid Reynolds and his 2IC Sig Scotty
Randall. So invaluable have they been since the departure of the
JTFHQ in March, that LCpl Reynolds is being posted out here to
provide a bit of continuity and will single-handedly make up one
third of the �Under 30’ club in the increasingly crusty IMATT
establishment.
Outside of the JCU, Maj Harry Ross, the SO2 J6 at Force HQ,
continues to hold lavish parties and to entertain at �Chez Harry’,
formerly his and Maj Jonathon Turner’s house. The 2IC moved
out to allow more room for the catering staff and food preparation
393
areas, as catering for such large numbers was becoming difficult.
His largesse has become legendary throughout IMATT, and
invitations to his soirГ©es have become much sought after. Maj
Turner has continued to offer flying lessons in his specially
adapted Landrover, and has succeeded in pulling 6G on the Bo –
Kenema highway. Lt Col Richard Wilson has moved away from
the CIS fold and become CO of the Inf Trg Team based in
Benguema. In this way, he hopes to prepare the inf units for the
imminent arrival of secure data radios, although problems with
funding have delayed wiring up Sierra Leone for Bluetooth.
642 SIGNAL TROOP
DCSA (GIBRALTAR)
Tp Comd
CSM
Capt Bill McCreath
Sgt Torrington
- Notes by Cpl Owen Trimble
Another busy period has seen the Tp integrating into DCSA
(Gibraltar), the combination of comms elements of all three
services and civilian organisations. We are currently known by the
rather grand title of 642 Sig Tp (DCSA) Gibraltar DCSA (Gib) 2
Voice & Infrastructure. This sadly will see the demise of the Tp as
an independent unit.
ARRIVAL AND FAREWELLS
We have being saying goodbye to a few old faces and greeting a
few new ones. The Tp Comd, Capt Tony Woolaston, has opted
for the warmer climes of Saudi Arabia. He and his family are
wished well by members of the Tp. Also moving on since our last
appearance in The WIRE, was WO2 (FofS) �Ski’ Sharp, who has
sampled most of the exotic locations around the globe while
pursuing his warped hobby of extreme sports. MCM Div decided
that 3 Cdo Bde was the best place to continue his pastime and he
found himself in the mountains of Afghanistan days after leaving
the Rock. Sgt �Deano’ Boughen, our Army football player, also
left on a free transfer under Bosnian rules, on promotion to 15 Sig
Regt. Sgt �Torry’ Torrington, after being selected for promotion, is
off to the Falklands and is currently desperate to sell his rebuilt
very reliable motor (honest Guv).
A special mention goes to Mr Ronnie Martinez, who celebrated
his retirement after 35 years in the MOD. A well-respected
member of the Tp, Ronnie’s hobbies included whisky tasting and
bull-fighting, in which Ronnie would pitch himself against a calf,
invariably coming second and consoling himself with a week on
the sick list for his efforts. Ronnie knew how to wield his power
and did so by exercising his lack of generosity when issuing
stationery. He insisted on the old-for-new method oblivious to the
fact that WD quill pens no longer worked. His big day started at
10:00 hrs with Ronnie and a few close friends in the bar trying to
entice us all in for a swift pint. Being professional soldiers, we
obviously declined! The main event took place in one of Ronnie’s
many locals, a Social Club and to our amazement, he had laid on
a free bar with enough tapas to feed the rest of Gibraltar. Capt
Tony Woolaston said a few words (for a change). This and the
importance of the event brought a tear to Ronnie’s eye. Ronnie
will be missed by the Tp and we wish him and his wife a long and
happy retirement.
We say a warm hello to our new boss, Capt Bill McCreath, our
new FofS, WO2 Ade Fletcher and also to Sgt Arnie Renforth,
Cpl Carl Stephenson and Mrs Annabelle Victory.
EXERCISE SNOW CHALLENGE 2003
In February this year, following last year’s success, the Tp set
itself the task of organising yet another trip up to the mountains of
Sierra Nevada. A lot of behind the scenes work was carried out
prior to departure. A big thanks goes to Dunasfern, for their
generous sponsorship, without which the trg would not have
taken place. Also we are thankful to Wadsworth, Westex,
Sedgewell and Fibre Warehouse for their support for the venture.
The Gibraltar Amenities Fund was approached and they very
kindly loaned us, free of charge, the GAF 7-seater Trajet for 5
days. The other vehicle to be used in transporting the Tp up to the
mountains was the minibus supplied to us by the ATC.
394
Unfortunately (or fortunately) the bus broke down 2 days prior to
departure, so at the last minute SSgt �Geordie’ Wynn, Sgt �Torry’
Torrington and Cpl Owen Trimble drove to Malaga and hired a
car for the duration. At 05.00hrs on 17 February the Tp met at the
Spanish border and after one last roll call, we were on our way.
Also included in the trip were others from the Command, Flt Lt
McGhie RAF, Capt Dickerson, and WO2 Kernihan from RE. The
weather on our arrival was glorious, but the resort was swarming
with tourists.
After a monotonous morning queuing for passes and ski
equipment, we eventually got onto the slopes. To start with, the
beginners had a basic introduction to skiing, and those who had
skied previously, a refresher. FofS Ade Fletcher and Sgt Giz Carr
set off for the baby slopes to gain a little confidence before
tackling the cafГ© for tea and cake. Flt Lt McGhie, Capt
Woolaston, Capt Dickerson and WO2 Kernihan tried slopes a
little more adventurous, whilst the remainder, Sgt Torrington, Cpl
Trimble, LCpl Bennett, and LCpl Pavitt, went straight to the top
and bombed, without a care, all the way to the bottom of the
mountain. SSgt Wynn joined us later, after having to travel to the
top of town to sort out some pillow and bed sheet �admin’. The
night out was abandoned by most. The travel and the skiing had
drained all their energy.
Unfortunately, on the second day, the weather had decided to
show us its dark side. Cloud covered much of the mountain,
bringing with it wind and sometimes vicious snowfalls. It was time
to hit the shops. Within 30 minutes the whole team looked near
professional, but this did not improve the skiing skills of Ade
Fletcher and Giz Carr, who preferred a little hill walking (to collect
skis that had come off). The evening was to be the night out for
the whole group. After a rather fresh walk down the mountain to
the bustling centre, we eventually found a restaurant able to seat
all 10 of us. The walk home at around 04.30hrs would not have
been the same without some WWF in the snow. Poor H with his
new chinos.
The third day brought the same weather as the previous one.
Some saw it more as a challenge; others saw it as a chance to
catch up on their caffeine intake. The snow remained loose
and those who did ski could only see approximately 10-15
metres on the virgin slopes. With the weather being as bad as it
was, the slopes were free of tourists, allowing more suicidal
skiing. Cue Torry Torrington, who came crashing into the
barrier head first after quite possibly the hardest part of the route.
That evening was a quiet affair, with a group meal in town and
then home to bed for an early night, fresh for hopefully nice
weather.
The fourth, penultimate day and the last day of skiing did not
bring any improvement in the weather. The first meeting for all
was at the top cafГ© for a group photo, where visibility was poor
but just good enough for a photo. A good day skiing was had by
all, and everyone finished without injury. The evening meal was at
a hotel in the centre of town, where the food was superb.
Afterwards, some ventured for a night out, whilst others (the same
lot) went home for Horlicks and bed.
On the final day, we woke to find the cars snowed in. On came
our multi-skilled Foreman using toilet lids for shovels. A few sore
heads made the journey home harder than it should have been,
but in the end, 10 people left Gibraltar and 10 people came back
safely.
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
THE CBF SHIELD - by LCpl Pav
Pavitt
Last term I was given the task to
head up our challenge for the
CBF Shield competition. 642 Tp
have always had a strong team,
but this term we have been
dogged by injuries. Our first
competition was the volleyball.
We lost our first match, and
unfortunately had to settle for
fourth place, despite winning our
remaining games. This was one of
only two defeats for the entire
competition. With strong (as
always) support from the civilian
section, we took the football
sixes, easily winning every game.
Our third competition was the
handball, another game which we
always do well and win, despite a
height disadvantage compared
with every other team in the
tournament. This was a close run
thing with NATO SGT, but the
experience of 642 Tp proved
invaluable. The fourth event was
the cricket. The weather being
unpredictable, the competition
took place both inside and
outside the gym. Not being strong
in this game, the indoor game was
to our advantage. But it was not to be. We lost the final very
narrowly, but we have vowed to win it next time. The last event
was the potted sports competition. This type of competition
CBF Shield Presentation
favours technically minded people, and this is where was had an
advantage. With help from a few lads from 2 Sig Regt, we walked
every challenge. Overall we won the CBF shield by a big margin.
UKRF NATIONAL
MILITARY SKILLS COMPETITION
FOREIGN TROOPS INVADE ALTCAR
Twenty-four teams of Volunteer part-time Reservists from all over
the UK, plus Belgium and Holland, competed in a grueling Military
Skills Competition at Altcar Training Camp. With four to a team,
involving both males and females, sixteen different events had to
be completed. Among these were: an assault course; first aid
involving a mock helicopter crash; a trailer race (of which both
wheels had to be changed without a jack); shooting; driving round
obstacles blindfolded with a navigator to guide; a section attack;
a stretcher race; a map and compass exercise and a three-mile
fitness run.
Those involved in running the competition included TA Volunteers
from 156 (NW) Transport Regt, RLC (V) and 33 Sig Regt (V).
Winners of the top female team trophy, 87 Sig Sqn. L-R: Sigs
Nicola Armstrong, Kerry Shardlow, Emily Clay and Cpl Dion
Brittain
Col Charles Ackroyd presents the overall winners’ trophy to the 42
Sig Regt team
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Visiting VIPs included Col Charles Ackroyd, Chairman, UK
Reserve Forces Association, and his Deputy Secretary, Col Rex
Stephenson; Col Maurice Sheen, Col TA Volunteers and Col
Nick Goulding from HQ RLC. All were involved in the prize giving
at the end. Besides congratulating participants on showing how
professional that they were, they also thanked them for travelling
such long distances, especially the Belgian and Dutch teams.
The All Female Team Winners Trophy was presented to 87 Sig
Sq (V), who also gained third place overall winners for the
competition. The Kevin Needes Trophy for the fastest time
on the Speed Run went to 42 Sig Reg (V), who also gained
first place overall for the competition.
395
S P O RT
RUGBY
CORPS RUGBY TOUR TO HOLLAND 25 APR – 2 MAY 03
Having not toured since 1995 and with several Merit League titles
in the intervening years, a tour was long over due for the Corps
squad. With Corps Rugby undergoing somewhat of a
restructuring this season and having just missed out on another
Merit title, it now seemed the ideal time to restart the touring
ethos that the Corps had lacked over the last 8 years or so.
Squad members were: Maj Jase Kennedy; Capt Bobby
Strawbridge (Tour Manager); WO2 Pete Curtis (Corps Captain);
Sgt Paul Jones; Sgt Julian McTavish (Coach); Sgt Dave
Hudson; Sgt Sean Thomas; Cpl Ian Wells; Cpl Gaz Collins; Cpl
Andy Ward; Cpl Matt Cowlard; Cpl Tony Gallagher; Cpl Steff
Gibbs; Cpl Hoppy Hopkins; LCpl Emosi; LCpl Laura Hopkins
(Physio); LCpl Sila; LCpl Suka; LCpl Scout Hood; LCpl Kev
Breen; LCpl Blair Evans; LCpl Pod Podesta; LCpl Oli Holborn;
Sig Si Byrne; Sig Oli Ollivant; Sig Barinisavu; Sig Jon Howells
and Sig Kolikata.
The UK based element of the squad, 12 in all, met up at RAF
Uxbridge on Friday 25 April 03 and departed early the next day
with our driver (and soon to be mascot/guardian angel/general
good egg) at the helm of the chartered team coach. On arrival at
7 Sig Regt, our base for the week, priorities where quickly
established. Get into the accommodation, confirm and establish
links with Bruggen players and lastly locate Regtl Bar. So it was
on the Sunday morning that 30 heavy heads took to the field for
trg, conducted by Sgt Julie-Anne McTavish, who utilised his
repertoire of sessions that he is honing with his detachment to the
Welsh RFU. That afternoon was our first fixture against PSV
Eindhoven. Whilst maybe not of the same calibre as their football
namesakes they are, nevertheless, one of the oldest teams in
Holland. The Corps fielded a team of approx 80% full strength
and this, coupled with initial poor cohesion and the cobwebs of
the journey (and possibly the night before) made for a scrappy
first 15 minutes. After this initial teething problem, the Corps
began fully to assert themselves on what was clearly becoming
evident as lesser (but no less committed) opposition. In the spirit
of the tour and the game, changes were made at half time to even
the teams but overall, the Corps was too strong in all areas,
running out comfortable winners 48-21. Two of the home team’s
tries came from Corps players seconded to them to make up their
numbers.
Trg over the next day and a half was good preparation for what
had promised to be our strongest opposition, RC The Dukes from
Den Bosch, who play in the Dutch 2nd Division. This evening
fixture involved a long drive, and arriving in Den Bosch to find a
sand pit for a field was not an auspicious start. Driving further
into deeper darker Holland, we arrived at the playing fields, but
regrettably few of the Dukes did! By this stage of the
proceedings, even the Dukes’ Coach (an ex-pat) was becoming
concerned that the Dutch relaxed, laisse faire attitude was being
pushed to the extreme. With only minutes to go to kick off, they
finally put their hands up and asked for 4 of our players. Fielding
as strong a team as has played for the Corps this season, we
simply blew away the opposition and after 30 mins half time was
called, with the score at 53-0. A complete integration of players
to produce a more competitive game and the Anglo/Dutch Dukes
(with 7 of our key players) won the second half 17-5, with LCpl Oli
Ollivant scoring again against the Corps.
After the match it soon became apparent why the majority of the
Dukes had failed to appear. It was Orange Day, a Bank Holiday to
celebrate the Queen’s birthday. The third half festivities soon
moved from the Dukes’ clubhouse to downtown Den Bosch with
our 2 (and only) hosts from the home team.
The final match on the Thursday was against a team recognised
396
as being our weakest opponents (6 leagues below PSV) so a
development team was fielded against RC The Wasps of
Nijmegen. Remarkably, this team were the only one to field a full
squad against us. Again teething problems made the first 20 mins
a scrappy affair. Cpl Matt Cowlard’s injury and departure to
hospital was his second episode of MIA, but one from which he
re-emerged with no lasting damage. A few changes at half time
and the Corps ran away with the game with a score of 38-10. An
early departure the next morning precluded a full sampling of
Nijmegen night life but, given the order of dress for that evening,
the Irish Bar we frequented had enough to talk about the next day.
With 3 convincing victories in 3 matches and 144 pts for and 48
pts against, the tour was a success. Added to that, with a squad
of 30 players taking to the field, regardless of current operational
commitments, it was testament to the latent rugby ability and
enthusiasm within the Corps. Scores aside, the tour achieved
what it set out to do: re-establishing a touring ethos, rewarding
players for the season past and building team spirit for the
coming one. A huge thanks goes to 7 Sig Regt for hosting the
squad so well and to SSgt Andy Wyatt for his behind the scenes
organisation.
Whilst all players partook fully, two are worthy of particular note.
The most aspiring player who showed guts and determination in
playing against the Corps on two occasions and skippered the
Corps on the third was Sig �Oli’ Ollivant, whilst the title of the
player contributing most to the tour goes to Sig Jon Howell.
The tour for 2003/04 is scheduled for Canada. All potential Corps
players should make themselves known either direct to the Corps
Rugby Committee or via their unit OIC Rugby.
OFFICERS’ RUGBY, ROYAL SIGNALS VERSUS REME
On the first Saturday in May every year in the west of London
there is a hotly contested rugby match between two teams of
sporting Adonis. No, not Army v Navy, but Royal Signals Officers
XV versus the REME Officers XV, who play each other at Cavalry
Barracks on the morning of the big one. Having lost the last two
years’ encounters and without a win this season, the Corps
Officers were looking for a victory to end the season and get out
of the rut. With only 10 minutes to the scheduled KO of 10.00 hrs,
this seemed a remote chance, as REME had a squad of over 20
and the Corps had only 6. As the line in the film Field of Dreams
says , �..if you book it they will come…’ And, in a miracle act
enough to turn any man to religion, come the KO (albeit a delayed
one), the Corps had 22 players ranging from Col through RO to
OCdt to call upon.
Players on the day were Col Jim Richardson; Lt Col Joe
Cooper; Majs Dave Gaul, Jase Kennedy, Robbie King (now
engaged!), Rich Webb, Niall Stokoe, Grant Davies (ALS), Scotty
Marshall (QARANC) and Andy Atikens; Capts Jules Hill, Miles
Booker and Richie Angove; Lts Jim King, James Chapman,
Alex Stanger, Brian Jefferys, Eddie Maskell-Pedersen; OCdts
Si Pierson and Ben Dowderswell and Capts (Retd) Andy Talbot
and Kenny McKenzie.
The Corps started well and put early pressure on REME. After a
long time camped outside the try line, a penalty gave the
opportunity for 3 points, which skipper of the day, Maj Jase
Kennedy took. However, at that time, and in the spirit of Corps
Officers’ Rugby, his decision was derided from the sidelines. Maj
Niall Stokoe slotted the 3 points in a rather non rugby way - but 3
points are 3 points, so who am I to argue. Though REME scored
twice in the half, their tries came from rare incursions into the
Corps half. Further pressure brought a penalty try which, though
directly under the posts, the kicker (Maj Stokoe again) managed
to send west of the upright. A second kickable penalty was
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
snapped up, and at half time the Corps turned round 11-10 up.
An equally fiercely competed second half ensued, with the Corps
fielding its first ever Red Tab in Col Jim Richardson, Col MCM
Div, putting his boots on. Bowing to peer pressure and clearly
looking for that loan tour posting to Barbados, Lt Col Joe
Cooper, who had sworn he only wanted 20 minutes, jumped on
at half time and upped the ante. Some outstanding passages of
play saw Lt Jim King get a thoroughly deserved try, and though
REME reciprocated, the eventual score line of 16-15 belies the
dominance the Corps had for the vast majority of this game.
Corps Rugby as a whole, of which Corps Officer Rugby is only
one facet, is as healthy as ever. Organisation of the Officer scene
for the 2003/04 season will be done by Maj Lloyd Golley on
Blandford (94371) 5229.
Tens to give us a strong chance of winning the competition.
Training will start soon with the Akrotiri coaches Phil Lloyd and
Taff Veale.
The excitement continued with the Army vs RAF match. The game
got of to a flying start with an excellent try to Army in the first few
minutes. This gave them a good platform from which the Fijian
backs dominated the game. The forwards on the other hand, were
even, with RAF getting the edge on most of the scrummages.
Relying on the speed and agility of their backs, Army started to
run away with the game, eventually winning the match. However
the RAF team never gave up, and scored an excellent consolation
try in the corner and Cpl Wildman converted with probably the
best kick of the game.
CYPRUS WOMEN’S RUGBY
Rugby Union had a great show on
Saturday 24 May. It started with the
Swallows (Akrotiri Ladies Team)
playing against the Episkopi Ladies.
Collette McGinn got the Swallows of
to a great start scoring an excellent
individual try within the first minute of
the game. As the tension rose, we
saw some great tackles from both
teams and a very near miss just
before half time by one of Swallows
match virgins, Clare Grant (yes,
Cyprus Lions’ very own). Throughout
the first half, the forwards of both
sides seemed to cancel each other
out, but the backs from Akrotiri gave
the Swallows the edge.
In the second half, Episkopi Ladies
started the strongest side with their
number 20 (Kerry) bursting through
the Swallows defence, breaking
through numerous tackles to score an
excellent try. From then on the
Swallows started to turn the screw,
with the forwards winning every line
out. Eventually Collette made a run of
seventy metres to ground the ball just
short of the try line, with good support
from Joe Jones, who eventually
scored the try giving the victory to the
Swallows.
Overall the match was very even and
we thank Episkopi Ladies for making
the effort and help to provide an
excellent advert for Ladies Rugby. For
the future we hope to have a
combined WSBA team before the
Action in Ladies rugby
TOP STITCH DESIGNS
We specialise in embroidered garments for Royal Signals
Name tapes, Tee-shirts, Sweat-shirts, Polo shirts, Badges, etc
A bespoke logo design service available for your Regiment,
Squadron, Troop or RSA Branch
For details, contact Tony or Sue McCarthy on (01747) 838 223
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
397
T H E R O YA L S I G N A L S A S S O C I AT I O N
Patron: HRH The Princess Royal
President: The Master of Signals
Chairman: MajGen A H Boyle CB
Vice Chairman: Brig N F Wood Area1; Brig W H Backhouse Area 2; Brig S G M Gordon Area 3; Brig K H Olds Area 4;
Brig P J Evans CBE Area 5; Lt Col J G Billingham Wales; Maj R Sampson CBE Scotland; Lt Col C N Lightfoot N Ireland
General Secretary and Treasurer: Col A F Carter MBE
Welfare Secretary: Mrs J Cornick
Assistant General Secretary: Lt Col C Conlan
Membership: Mr P J Cuckow
Association Office, RHQ Royal Signals, Blandford Camp, Blandford Forum, Dorset DT11 8RH. Telephone: Military System (9) 4371
2090 or Civilian 01258 48 2090. Welfare Secretary Telephone: Military System (9) 4371 2089 or Civilian 01258 48 2089.
The Association communicates with its Branches and individual members through the pages of The WIRE, which contains accounts of
Branch affairs as well as a forecast of Association events.
Branch Secretaries are asked to check that their Branch Members receive sufficient copies of The WIRE. Association HQ can arrange for
copies to be delivered in bulk to Branch Secretaries for further distribution if this is convenient: it helps us to save on postage.
Dates of Branch events can always be published in The WIRE and should be submitted to the Editor. We also welcome letters, requests to
contact old comrades and announcements of births, marriages and deaths. We hope that each Branch will contribute a short account of its
activities, preferably with photographs, at least once a year.
NOTES FROM THE MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY’S DESK
The 2003 Reunion (See photos inside front and back cover)
Well over 900 members and guests attended the annual RSA
Reunion at Blandford Camp over the weekend 29/29 June 2003.
Many of those who had found local accommodation booked into
Reception on Friday afternoon. The Reception Desk was expertly
manned by Cpl Matt Lee and his band of soldiers from 2 Sqn, 11
Sig Regt. Here Members collected their meal tickets, programmes
and souvenir badges. They were welcomed with a cup of tea and
invited to leave messages on the board for other members.
WO2 (FofS) Andy Soward did a sterling job on the RSA database
in Reception. He asked members for details of their postings
whilst with the Corps, and was able to produce for them, lists of
others who had served in the same unit at the same time. To date
only about 2,500 of the 11,000 members on the RSA database
have their posting details recorded. So if you haven’t yet sent in
your posting details, please do so. Just list the units and the
�from’ and �to’ years.
The weekend commenced at 10.30 hrs on Saturday with the
Princess Royal Day Parade, formed by officers and soldiers of 11
Sig Regt. It was a splendid display, enjoyed by all. Credit for the
high standard of drill and turnout must go to 11 Sig Regt’s RSM,
WO1(RSM) Des Forrester, and all who participated.
The All Ranks Lunch in the Regimental Restaurant was provided
by Mrs Hazel Adams and her staff of Sodexho Ltd. High quality
fare was enjoyed by everyone, including the Master of Signals and
SOinC(A).
In the area in front of the Corps Museum, was a display of vintage
vehicles, kindly arranged by Len Melling and several old comms
vehicles, organised by Mike Buckley. OC 4 Sqn, 11 Sig Regt
kindly opened the indoor range for Members to fire the SA80 rifle,
converted to shoot laser rounds at a high-tech video target.
MajGen Tony Boyle CB, Chairman of the Association took the
first shot and challenged members to beat his score. (But we
can’t reveal what that score was!)
The afternoon arena show started with a display by the Massed
Bands (Corps Band, Corps TA Band and Corps Pipes and Drums),
after which the Corps Free Fall Parachute Display Team dropped
from high onto the square. The Corps RSM, WO1 Staniford, then
took the six finalists of the Standard Bearers Competition through
398
their paces. Our thanks go to RSM Staniford and his assistants,
WO2 Chris Davies, SSgt John Morley, Sgt Janet McTurk and
Mrs Jillian Hurst.
Next followed the high-powered thrills of the White Helmets
Display Team, with a commentary given by Team Captain, Capt
Jon Malcolm. The Master of Signals, MajGen IOJ Sprackling
OBE, then presented Barry Moody (Scarborough Branch) with
the Winner’s Trophy for the Standard Bearers Competition. Barry
also received a silver salver and a badge for his carrying strap.
Archie Cairns (260 Sig Sqn Assn) then received the Runner-up
salver. The other finalists, Bryan Littlecott (Southampton), Roy
Bilby (East London), Roy Barfoot (Bedford) and John Mumford
(Reading) were also presented with salvers. Finally The Master
presented Albert Howe (Cardiff Branch) with the 75-Year Pennant
in recognition of the Branch being in existence for that many
years.
The Retreat Ceremony concluded the afternoon’s events,
following which, several hundred members descended upon the
Sgts Mess, where the RSM had kindly opened the doors to all
retired ranks.
The weather held fine on the Sunday morning for the traditional
Drumhead Service on Hawke Square. The Association’s Honorary
Padre, Rev Peter Clemmett, led the Service, ably assisted by 11
Sig Regt’s Chaplain, Rev Brian Woollaston. At the start of the
Service, the new standards of the Southampton, Cardiff, Exmouth
and Colchester Branches were dedicated by Padre Clemmett.
During his sermon, Rev Woollaston pulled off a master stroke of
stage management. Just as he said that God was calling us all, a
mobile phone rang from somewhere in the congregation. Truly a
memorable moment. Some would claim Divine Intervention
All Members then lined up behind the Corps Band for the March
Past. MajGen Sprackling took the Salute for the last time before
retiring as Master of Signals. Our thanks go to Gen Sprackling
for his commitment, leadership and enthusiasm as President of
the Royal Signals Association during the last 6 years.
The Association’s gratitude goes to everyone in 11 Sig Regt who
helped in the planning and execution of the Weekend. Without
their help, the Reunion could not have been enjoyed by so many.
Please make a note of the dates for the 2004 Reunion, 16-27
June.
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
NEW MEMBERS The following new Life Members have been
enrolled since the last issue of the WIRE:Name
Branch
Sgt Ray Edge
SSgt Steve Rideout
Sig Dennis Bowden
Col Neil Donaldson
WO2 Jim Alger
Cpl Dave Fowler
Sig Garreth Burton
Sig Steve Fleet
Sig John Townson
Sig Pete Sellers
Sig Sid Thomason
Cpl Bill Abbott
Lt Col Bob Morley
Sig Eric Davies
Cpl Alan Taylor
Sig Stanley Trowell
Sig Ray Hoff
Sig Ernest Ellis
Dvr Denis Wright
Rotherham
LCpl Arthur Gee
AFSR Assn
Capt Shane Knight
Lt Col Alan Wallace
Capt Annabel Taylor
1996-03
Maj Paul Gaffney
Lt Col Jack Amberton
Cpl Geoff Young
Sgt Patrick Lohan
LCpl Maurice Lang
LCpl Bill Stretton
Cpl Jimmy Byrne
Cpl Keith Kimberley
Maj Alan Broomhead
Dvr Brian Wilson
Norfolk
Sig George Rayworth
AFSR Assn
Sgt Alex Sheekey
AFSR Assn
LCpl Peter Robins
AFSR Assn
Dvr Wilf Robinson
AFSR Assn
Cpl Stephen Pakenham Bishop
Sig Martin Roscoe
LCpl Dave Johnson
WO1 Syd Kassim
Dvr Hugh McEwan
AFSR Assn
LCpl Mark Rhodes
Sig Lionel Jones
SSgt Steve Jones
LCpl Verrol Skerritt
AFSR Assn
Cpl Bryan Hewertson
Maj Alan Schroeter
Sgt Derek Frape
WO2 Colin Lewis
Sig Ken Hedges
Reading
Reading
Sig Bernard Malerbi
Cpl Max Agrippa
LCpl Steve Buckingham
Sgt Brian Rogers
Sig Peter Norman
Chesterfield
Cpl Alan Smith
WO2 Pete Penfold
Cpl Amanda Murray
Maj Tony Windrum
Cpl John Lindebringhs
Sgt Alf Davidson
WO1 John Andrews
Cpl Alan Roscoe
WO2 Wendy Hooton,Nee Barton
Cpl Bob McClurg
Cpl John White
LCpl Paul Hawkyard
WO2 Dave Bradshaw
Sig Ted Fox
East Kent
WO2 Brian Hayward
Sig Stuart Rogerson
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Service
1971-83
1977-99
1950-52
1966-03
1981-date
1973-96
1982-96
1990-96
1969-74
1994-01
1960-68
1961-67
1967-03
1954-56
1969-85
1945-48
1946-48
1943-45
1955-57
1948-49
1979-03
1965-02
1972-03
1965-02
1960-84
1945-53
1959-61
1959-61
1987-98
1973-95
1963-88
1956-59
1939-46
1943-47
1957-59
1946-49
1979-90
1980-88
1987-94
1973-96
1942-47
1989-96
1989-96
1972-96
1985-98
1943-47
1938-46
1952-74
1957-94
1955-58
1958-50
1966-74
1988-01
1972-94
1949-51
1984-98
1965-89
1993-00
1946-48
1958-69
1989-date
1975-00
1992-97
1972-90
1967-90
1992-99
1985-93
1973-94
1943-47
1968-94
1989-96
Sgt Dave Humphries
LCpl Graham Jones
Cpl Malcolm Wiltshire
Cpl Mark Catney
Cpl Alan Evans
Cpl Craig Walker
Sig Fred Hallam
Sig Jim Jeffs
Cpl Nick Simpson
Rotherham
Rotherham
1968-92
1989-97
1975-90
1991-00
1972-97
1986-99
1968-70
1956-58
1988-99
ALDERSHOT BRANCH
Chairman
Secretary
Brig N Moss
Jane Knight
The top �Serving Members’ team �The Nomads’ receiving their
prizes from the Branch President. L-R Brig Noel Moss, Sgt Nicky
Combs, Mrs Alex Smith, Mr John Wynn, WO2 Pat Smith all of 251
Sig Sqn
Our annual Quiz Night has long been one of the most successful
of our social occasions, and that held in May was no exception.
Again we were joined by teams from West London and Reading,
both branches acquitting themselves well. We report with
modesty, however, that the victors were a team from our own
Aldershot Branch with the ladies of the Lionesses taking second
Mrs Edelgard Moss and LtCol (Retd) Ian Ronald kept the score
399
place. 251 Sig Sqn won glory as the best from the serving units, a
victory justly can be claimed for the garrison home of the British
Army. The event took place at the Families Centre, for the first
time at this venue, where in the interval we were served an
excellent buffet. We have to thank the organisers and the staff for
the great success of the evening and to acknowledge the hard
work and efficiency of our Chairman, Noel Moss, our Quiz
organiser Neville Lyons and the Committee, whose combined
efforts brought it to fruition.
EAST KENT BRANCH
Chairman
Secretary
Mrs J Barrett
MajGen JMW Badcock CB MBE DL
11th May saw 40 Members board the good ship Pocahontas
at Gravesend, sail down the Thames and up the River Medway,
berthing in the historic town of Rochester, where some ventured
ashore to trade with the natives and purchase trinkets before
re-embarking for the return journey. The voyage was
accompanied by a sumptuous meal and a nonstop commentary
by the Skipper, describing the many interesting landmarks (or
are they seamarks?) along the route. Yet another enjoyable
day with a most interesting host, who has made this and
previous seaborne expeditions up and down the Thames a true
delight.
On Sunday, 8 June, Penshurst Place, a beautiful and historic
venue, was our destination for this month, when 32 of us braved
the rain-threatening clouds to gather for a guided tour of the
ancestral home of the Sidney family since 1552 (although the
history of this magnificent building goes even further back to the
14th Century). So we trod the floors that Kings and Queens had
trod many centuries before and ducked through doorways that
had no doubt been banged by the heads of courtiers, ladies in
waiting, squires, esquires and sundry others so many years ago.
Some of us took advantage of the lovely grounds within which to
take our picnic lunches, while others went the easy way into the
restaurant for an equally delicious meal. By the time most of us
were leaving the Place, the sun came out to round off a most
interesting day.
At the June Committee Meeting, the writer was asked by the
Committee to convey their congratulations, aIong with my own,
to the Editor on his most successful innovative improvements to
the Corps magazine. It was clear from the first �different’ issue
that it was going to be a winner. And so it is. Congratulations!
News of Members: Peter Foakes has an appointment with a
surgeon in the near future and we wish him well. Marie Crisp has
been fitted with a pacemaker and recommends it to everyone.
Donald Crisp has now recovered from diverticulitis and is so
pleased that he doesn’t care if it is not the right spelling - but he
certainly does not recommend it to anyone.
EAST LONDON
LtCol (Retd) Neville Lyons, Quizmaster, devised, orchestrated and
conducted the torture as the assembled masses struggled to
answer his questions
CHESTERFIELD BRANCH
Chairman
Secretary
Mr K Silcock
Mr D Croot
At our recent Branch meeting our President, Mr Doug Naylor
presented our outgoing secretary, Mr Geoff Waddoups with a
retirement gift from Members of the Branch. Doug thanked Geoff
for the many years of loyal service given to the Branch. Geoff
joined the Association in 1950 and was appointed Branch
Treasurer in 1962 and Secretary in 1986. Well done Geoff.
In May Members were invited to the new Mayor’s civic service at
the Parish Church and afterwards to a reception at Chesterfield
Town Hall.
Also in May Branch Members attended the annual Airborne
Forces remembrance parade at nearby Hardwick Hall, the original
basic training camp of Airborne Forces during WW2. A contingent
of the Parachute Regiment was on parade and we saw a fly past
of a Douglas Dakota. Warm congratulations were given by the
many onlookers to the Old Boys of the Airborne Forces. We
enjoyed a pint afterwards at a local hostelry.
At the June meeting, we welcomed 5 new members, including 3
ladies. Our Chairman gave an informative talk on �Jimmy’, mainly
for the benefit of our nonserving members of the Corps. Thanks to
the two Rita’s, Rita King and Rita Croot, we enjoyed a pie and
pea supper after the meeting.
400
Chairman
Secretary
Maj (Retd) P Burton
Maj (Retd) JB Greenwood
In early April, Paul Burton (Chairman) and Alan Turner
(Information Manager and Assistant Secretary) represented the
branch at the RSA AGM held in the Victory Club, London and
heard first hand about the changes that are proposed for the
Association. This information was disseminated to the Branch at
the April meeting, when there were over 40 members in
attendance. The meeting was immediately followed by the AGM,
when all the committee members were re-elected to their existing
posts. We took advantage of the large gathering to have a group
photograph taken. (Photographer, Brian Streetly). Grateful
thanks to Frances Greenwood for the light buffet provided.
At our annual dinner dance held in March, the winners of the Best
Troop Competition for 36(E) Sig Regt (V) were announced. It was
not possible to make the presentation of the Cup at the dinner, so
on 26 April, Ted Head, Brian Streetly and their wives, headed up
the M11 to 755 Sig Tp in Norwich, where they were dining out Sgt
Kim Medley after fifteen years service with the TA. The Tp Comd,
Lt Anderson, asked Sgt Medley to perform one last official duty
and to accept the Cup on behalf of the Tp, which he did to loud
cheers. Brian and Ted would like to extend their thanks to all the
members of 755 Sig Tp for the wonderful hospitality they received
during the evening.
We received bad news in May, when Geoff Dyer our President
and a long serving Member sadly passed away. Geoff had served
the East London Branch since 1967 including acting as Treasurer,
Chairman and eventually President. Geoff had originally been
with the RA but re-badged to RSigs in 1961. Our heartfelt
condolences go out to Geoff’s family.
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
We recently went to the Orchard Theatre, Dartford to see the
combined might of the RA and Belvedere Concert Bands, and to
the Kenneth More Theatre, Ilford for a concert by the Carmel
Thomas singers. Those who attended thoroughly enjoyed the
performances. As I write these notes in June, members are
looking forward to the reunion in Blandford at the end of the
month, and the other events planned by our Social Committee,
including several trips and a Supper Dance on 15 November. The
date for the Annual Dinner Dance has been set for 13 March 2004.
Although we have a thriving Branch here in East London, we
always welcome more members and encourage any potential
members living in East London, South and East Essex area to join
us. Serving TA members are also very welcome. Our meetings
are held in the Sgts Mess of 36(E) Sig Regt (V), Gordon Road,
Ilford at 8pm on the 4th Tuesday of each month except December.
Details can also be seen on our website at http://www.royalsignals.org.uk/rsa/eastlondon.html
East London Branch members at their AGM
GLASGOW BRANCH
Chairman
Secretary
Mr J McMillan
Miss I Muir
The Branch regrets to inform that another of our founder
members, Joseph Leahy, passed away after a long illness on
Friday 25 April. His obituary appears elsewhere in the issue.
At the Branch meeting on Tuesday 15 April, it was announced
that the letter sent to RHQ concerning the plaque for the Branch
Standard had been successful. A plaque would be made
available for each of the winning branches, prior to the year
2000.
The Branch Standard Bearer, Bill McNamara, paraded the
Branch Standard with the standards of thirteen other
organisations in Balloch, on Sunday, 18 May for the
Commemorative service for Dunkirk Veterans. Twelve Branch
members attended the parade in support of Bill. The Navy, Army
and RAF were all represented by their Cadet formations. Other
youth organisations were also in attendance. At the saluting base
for the march past, were LtCol (Retd) MTPM Ferguson RA OBE,
the Provost of West Dunbartonshire Council, Alastair
Macdonald, and Fiona Stewart, daughter of the late Brig
Ferguson, who was well known in this area.
The Parade Marshal was George Sharp an ex Argyll and
Sutherland Highlander, and the parade was led by the Pipes and
Drums of the Loch Lomond Argyll Pipes and Drums. The
Memorial Service in Remembrance of the Miracle of Dunkirk, was
held in Jamestown Parish Church conducted by Minister, Rev Dr
Archie Ferguson FRINA. During the Service, the local children
and their teacher presented items they had made themselves,
representing all three Services involved in the evacuation of
Dunkirk. Land, Sea and Air were shown as, shredded paper for
water, tanks and vehicle cut outs for land, silver stars stuck on a
blue paper background, with paper helicopters representing air.
At the buffet reception laid on after the church service, I met the
Provost and enquired of the unusual medals he was wearing. It
transpired that they were presented to him by the Polish
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Government, for his work among the Polish community in and
around West Dunbartonshire, and included the Polish Golden Star
award and the Polish World Medal. He and his colleagues on
West Dunbartonshire Council give a great deal of support to the
Veteran Organisations of WW2. After the ceremony the council
provided the excellent buffet and a free drink, much appreciated
by those attending.
The Branch congratulates founder member, Bobby Gilchrist, who
has only one arm and is nearly 79, on completing the Slide of
Death from a height of 130 feet, raising over ВЈ400 for charity. No,
he’s not ex-Airborne Signals, just one of a kind bred by the Corps.
The Branch AGM was held on Tuesday the 20 May 2003, the
Branch President LtCol Alastair Petrie presiding. In his opening
address, Col Alastair mentioned that at last year’s AGM he said it
was a privilege to have been asked to become President of the
Branch, and his feelings have not changed. He had enjoyed the
Burns Supper, and realised that the Branch had its own excellent
pipers. He mentioned that he has enjoyed The WIRE even more
recently, because of the interesting notes sent in by Jim Prentice,
keeping the Branch to the forefront.
The Chairman’s report stated that the members’ trip to Erskine
Hospital and the Blandford re union went well. The Firefighters’
strike had upset some of the arrangements, but the Branch had
coped well.
The Secretary’s report echoed that of the Chairman’s. She
thanked everyone for their support. She had been informed of the
death of Sid the barman of the WOs and Sgts Mess at Blandford,
and, closer to home of the death of Joe Leahy. The Treasurer
reported that the Branch had had a good year, and continues to
have a good working relationship with its suppliers. He expects
the full support of the members to encourage recruiting of new
members to the Branch.
The Secretary and Treasurer were re-elected and a new Chairman,
Jim McMillan was elected to replace Joe Keegan. The new
Chairman thanked members for voting him in and said he
intended to carry on the good work of previous incumbents in the
position.
401
NORTHERN IRELAND
Chairman
Hon Sec
Mr J Brown
SSgt (YofS) I Wolfe
The Branch holds its meetings at Clonaver Camp, Belfast on the
3rd Wednesday of each month. A welcome awaits any serving or
ex-signaller.
Our annual formal dinner was held on Good Friday 18 April 2003.
In the absence due to illness of Branch President Maj (Retd) Bill
Douglas, the proceedings were opened by Branch VicePresident
Maj (Retd) Noel Johnston, who said grace after welcoming all
guests and, in particular, LtCol Robert Kelly, CO 40 (U) Sig Regt
(V); WO1 (RSM) TA Henry and WO1 (SVWO) Derek Irvine. The
Caterer was new to us this year and was indeed an improvement.
After the toasts, Chairman John Brown spoke of the year’s work
of the Branch and thanked the CO & RSM of 40 (U) Sig Regt (V)
for their help over the year. LtCol Robert Kelly responded.
The Chairman then sprang a surprise on Harry Stanley, our 50
year badge holder, Branch Foundation Member and our oldest
Branch Member at the age of 90 (and a very active 90 too, who
has rarely missed a meeting for many years). Harry was
presented with a very nice piece of crystal suitably inscribed with
the Branch name and his age. The Branch is indebted once again
to Ian & Debbie Wolfe for all their organising skills, to Members
who helped set up and later clear up the premises and to Jim
Hagan and those who helped in the bar. Also to the Ladies who
raised an excellent amount from the raffle.
Our congratulations, while a little belated, are offered to two of
our Branch Members, our Hon Sec, SSgt(YOS) Ian Wolfe and
Sgt Chris Montgomery, who were awarded Lord Lieutenant’s
Certificates for services to the TA and the community. Sadly Chris
Montgomery passed away on 12 July and Ian Wolfe’s brother
died recently. We offer our sincere condolences to their families.
Geoff Scott, on behalf of the Branch and received by the CO,
LtCol I Cameron-Mowat on behalf of the Unit.
Also on our visit, Mr Bob Cook (Area 1 Representative)
presented a plaque to Mrs Betty Mellor. Betty is the backbone of
the Branch. She rarely misses a meeting or function. Her late
husband was a founder member of the Huddersfield Branch in
1947.
This year saw the sad loss of Mr Ken Annas. An ex sigs officer
with Indian Signals, he will be missed very much by the Branch.
The year came to an end with our annual dinner, enjoyed by all
members and guests. We were disappointed that our friends from
York could not join us, but this will be rectified by an extra dinner
when they return from the Gulf.
HUDDERSFIELD BRANCH
Chairman
Secretary
Mr D Tippen
Mr Geoff Scott
Our year started with a visit to 2 Sig Regt’s Open Day, where we
presented a plaque to 246 QG Sig Sqn. This was presented by Mr
Geoff Scott presents the plaque to
LtCol I Cameron-Mowat
LINCOLN BRANCH
Chairman
Secretary
Mr FG Patman
Maj (Retd) DG Wood
We celebrated our 25th Anniversary with a dinner night and a
church Rededication Service. Both were well attended, enjoyable
and successful.
Bob Cook presents the plaque to Betty Mellor
402
We are very lucky to have as our meeting place, the barracks of
the East of England Regt, so dinner was held in the Officers Mess
and we had the Mess silver at our disposal. As well as serving us
a superb 6-course meal, the Mess Caterer, Sgt David Metcalfe
MBE was able to give us an insight as to the history of some of
the silver on display. One item in particular was a very large
drinking mug dating back to Queen Anne and presented to her
by her then Queen’s Champion, a Major and a member of the
Dymock family. In Lincoln, we have a member of that same
Dymock family as our Deputy Lord Lieutenant.
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
It would be fitting to mention our founder member, Maj (Retd)
Frank Philp, who has his 80th birthday this year and to reflect on
his initiative 25 years ago that brought the Lincoln Branch into
existence. Frank was serving as the Army Recruiting Officer for
the County of Lincolnshire in 1977 and had organised a band
concert for the Army Benevolent Fund in Lincoln Cathedral. He
thought that since it was the Corps Band performing, it would be
a good opportunity to appeal through local press and radio for all
ex members of the Corps to make an effort to attend the concert,
adding that it would be followed by a meeting to see if there was
enough interest to get an RSA branch up and running. There was
a good response and there was enough interest. At its first official
meeting a Committee was formed and later a Standard was
ordered. Frank was elected first Branch Secretary, a position he
held some eight years, handing over to someone else when the
Branch was well established. We have a lot to thank you for,
Frank.
I must also mention as a valuable member of our up front team,
Bill Doyle, our Standard Bearer. For the past 18 years Bill has
never missed an event of ours, or in fact the other 25 occasions
when he turns out to represent the Corps and the Branch. He is
always well turned out and on time. Most are happy occasions,
except of course, when we say our last farewells to fallen
comrades. Thank you Bill.
READING BRANCH
Chairman
Secretary
Mrs PM Tennant
Mr H Nealon
A great silence seems to have descended on Reading Branch
over the last few months. So a few lines in The WIRE may not
come amiss. We start with our AGM, which was held on 15 March
at the WOs and Sgts Mess at the Army Technical Foundation
College at Arborfield, after which the Branch Committee looked
somewhat different. The list now reads Chairman, Pauline
Tennant (what again!), Hon Secretary, Hugh Nealon,
Treasurer/Membership Secretary, Alan Foot and Newsletter
Editor, Gordon Barnett. Among the Committee appointments
Alan still retains the Dinner Secretary post (for which much
thanks) and Paddy Verdon assumes the mantle of Information
Manager. The meeting was very well attended and there followed
an excellent buffet lunch and a successful raffle. Our thanks to the
Mess President and to WO2 Chris Coates, who made it all
happen. Since then we have had a Branch meeting at one of our
favourite country pubs and acquired three new members, Mr Ken
Brown (Chairman of Brighton Branch), Mr Ken Hedges and Mr
Bernard Malerbi. We wish them all a long and happy association
with our Branch.
Sadly, we lost a member of long standing when Mr Cyril
Rowland died in April. He had been in poor health for many
years. The Branch was represented at his funeral.
In May we held a successful skittles evening at another of our
favourite pubs. Then the Chairman disappeared into the
wilderness of Alaska and hasn’t really caught up with what has (or
hasn’t) been happening. Put this lack of attention to Corps
matters down to a mind almost totally taken over by whales and
grizzly bears.
Before these notes appear we shall have held an informal dinner
and a garden party. Visits to Bletchley Park and Kneller Hall are
also planned.
SOUTHAMPTON BRANCH
Chairman
Secretary
Mr SL Smith
Mr AAT Dear
A SAD LOSS
It is with deep sadness that we report the passing of Margaret
Davies (Meg), who died on 15 May 2003 after a short but very
painful illness. Meg was the beloved wife of Norman Davies, the
Branch Newsletter Editor and Auditor. Meg thoroughly enjoyed
being an Associate Member of the Branch and entered into the
spirit of the Association, being actively involved in fund-raising
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
and backing Norman in his Branch activities. Her funeral took
place at Portchester Crematorium on Friday 23 May. It was
gratifying to see so many of her friends from the Southampton
Branch RSA and the Wessex Branch of the British Korean
Veterans Association in the congregation, supporting the family.
Meg was accorded the honour of two Standards, the RSA Branch
Standard, carried by the Branch Standard Bearer, Bryan
Littlecott, and the BKVA Wessex Branch Standard, carried by the
Wessex Branch Standard Bearer and our Chairman, Sid Smith.
The eulogy was written by Meg’s husband, and the tune High on
the Hill, taken from a CD, by the band of the Blues and Royals
was the chosen music. Floral and poppy wreath tributes were
paid to Meg and over ВЈ100 given to Cancer Research UK. Meg
will be sorely missed by the Branch.
ANNUAL REUNION LUNCH
The Southampton Branch 57 Annual Reunion was held at Kings
Court Masonic Centre, Chandlers Ford on 27 April, this being the
first one organised by our new Treasurer, Mrs Claire Littlecott,
who can take a bow for doing such a fine job. Unfortunately our
main guest, Brig Charles Le Gallais was down with the flu, so
Brig Johnny Clinch and Tony Dear had to rewrite the script.
Luckily LtCol Alan Davies agreed to step in at short notice. Alan
was accompanied by his wife, Jean. Grace was said by Capt
Chris Cluett, who included a prayer for Margaret Davies, then
seriously ill in hospital. Chairman, Mr Sidney Smith brought a few
innovations to the proceedings by toasting the new Branch
Standard, which was paraded in by Bryan Littlecott. A toast to
absent friends reminded us that many friends were missing this
year. In the order of Loyal Toasts, Mr George Packer deputised
for Mr Norman Davies. Brig Johnny welcomed the guests from
other Branches in our area, which included Reading, Aldershot,
Salisbury and Winchester.
Top Table L-R Sid Smith, LtCol Alan Davies, Brig Johnny Clinch,
Jean Davies, Claire Littlecott
The Chairman then introduced the speaker, LtCoI Alan Davies.
Alan gave a most interesting account of his experiences as a
young boy soldier, from when he went for his medical with 200
National Servicemen, who thought he was mad to sign on. A
revelation was when Alan was put on a charge for stealing a
kipper. The orderly officer had noticed the extra kipper on his
plate and put him on a charge. Up before the CO, he was asked if
he would accept the CO’s punishment of four strokes of the cane.
The boys always accepted this option, otherwise the alternative
was �jankers’. The caning meant bending over a chair to receive
four strokes on the backside from the Sergeant Major. On
returning to their quarters, the other lads would want to see the
red marks displayed! For most people present at the Reunion, it
was something they had never heard of, as striking another
soldier was considered a very serious offence. This is only an
extract from Alan’s life in the Army and we look forward to more
revelations in the future.
Always we finish with a Grand Draw for which we are grateful to
Ruth Dear and Vera Packer. Our Reunion was not without
drama, though. One of our members fainted, so we can be sure it
will be talked about for a long time.
403
DEDICATION OF NEW BRANCH STANDARD
The dedication of the new Branch Standard is planned to take
place at the Drumhead Service on Hawke Square, Blandford, on
June 29 at 10.30hrs.The Padre who will bless our Standard is Rev
Peter Clemetts from West Wellow. Our Standard Bearer, Bryan
Littlecott and the Committee hope that as many supporters as
possible will make it on the day. (Full report in next issue of The
WIRE)
BEVERLEY EX-BOYS ASSOCIATION
Chairman
Branch Secretary
Mick Teague
Tony Hull
The Reunion this year will be our fifth Annual Reunion and will be
held at the Ramada Jarvis Hotel, Watford on Saturday, 4 October,
at 18.00 for 19.00hrs. Dress is lounge suits or blazers. 60 rooms
have been reserved at the hotel and booking forms are available
on request from the Branch Secretary, Tony Hull, Tel: 01202
770261.
Whilst on holiday in Australia earlier this year, we visited Peter
Harris, one of our members, who lives near to Canberra where
the bush fires were raging at the time. Peter had been suffering
from the drought for some time and there wasn’t a blade of grass
left on his property. We then went on to Bonny Hills in New South
Wales, where we recruited a new member by the name of
Mackenzie Rennie (known as Ken or Jock). Ken’s name had
been given to me by Ron Elliott just before we left for Australia.
Ken then gave us the name of Ralph Carpenter, who also lives in
Australia and we recruited him on our return to UK.
REVISIT TO OUR OLD STOMPING GROUNDS - by Mick Teague
L-R Bryan Littlecott, Sid Smith
CONGRATULATIONS
Our Congratulations go to John and Betty Riggs on their
Diamond Wedding Anniversary, 28 April 2003 and to Claire and
Bryan Littlecott on their Silver Wedding Anniversary. 15 July
2003.
KOREAN WAR REMEMBRANCE SERVICE
A group of BEBA lads and lasses held a small reunion at the old
stomping ground of Catterick/Richmond on Tuesday, 20 May.
Those who came from afar could not have failed to notice the
change in Catterick from Garrison to village life.
Those present at this pilgrimage were Eddie and Margaret
Whiffen, Clive and Jackie Pritchard with Jackie’s Mum, Peter
and Betty Lasota, and Cliffe Webb, Bill Gray and Mick Teague.
The venue was the Holly Hill Inn at Richmond, where an
excellent buffet lunch had been arranged by Eddie and Margaret
Whiffen. The landlord had arranged the lunch in a separate room,
which made it very pleasant. During and after lunch, memories
and photos were produced. Future get togethers are in the
pipeline.
On 9 July 2003, a BKVA Parade in London and Service in
Westminster Abbey was held to commemorate the 50th
anniversary of the cease-fire of the Korean War.
Signals Korean War Veterans, Sid Smith, Tony Hull, Norman
Davies, George Clarke and Frank Sidey from this Branch were
on parade. Thirty-nine BKVA Branch Standards formed a Special
Marching Group. Sid Smith, our Chairman, is also the Standard
Bearer of the BKVA Wessex Branch and was given the additional
honour of being one of twenty Standard Bearers who, after the
March Past, lined the route to the Great West Door of the Abbey
before and after the Service.
RECRUITMENT
The Branch sent out a questionnaire to 36 ex-regulars of the
Corps taken from the RHQ list and living in the Branch area. 12
replies were received, 6 of whom said they wish to join the
Southampton Branch. (We shall see).
WEST LONDON BRANCH
Chairman
Secretary
Maj (Retd) RL Miller TD
Mr E Murphy
The recent past has seen a lively period for the Branch, our annual
Dinner being held at the Masonic Hall in Staines at the end of
May. This was a most enjoyable occasion, well attended, with
good company and an excellent repast. It was the first time for
many years that the event had been held at this venue and it was
agreed that its success augured well for the future.
Earlier that month we fielded four teams at the Aldershot Branch
annual Quiz Night and our lads and lassies acquitted themselves
well, although not quite good enough to take the highest
accolades. May proved a very social month for the Branch, a
party of our Members joining 31 Sig Regt on their visit to Rouen.
Reports indicate that this was an excellent weekend, full of
enjoyment and adventure, although the exact details of these
visits are rarely divulged.
404
Margaret Whiffen, Jacqui Pritchard, Jacqui’s mother, Bill Gray,
Eddie Whiffen, Cliffe Webb & Mick Teague
AIR FORMATION SIGNAL REGIMENTS
ASSOCIATION
Chairman
Secretary
Gerald Evans
Dennis Egan
42 members of the newly renamed Air Formation Signal
Regiments Association met at the North Stafford Hotel, Stoke on
Trent on Saturday, 10 May, for their annual dinner and AGM. With
the change of name, recruiting has surged ahead and 13 of those
dining were attending for the first time. This led to some notable
encounters. Roland Jones and Chris Collier met for the first time
since 1947, when they served together in 64 WSS; whilst Arthur
Thomas and Harry Carver met up with newly joined Leslie Virgin
and Bill Gardener for the first time since they had parted in 1944.
Chairman Gerald Evans welcomed everyone to the largest
reunion yet, apologising for the absence of our President, LtCol
Ivan Hooper, unavoidably detained somewhere in the Gulf.
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Extracts from his reports, Beaufighters from Kuwait, published in a
recent edition of the Association’s newsletter, had attracted much
interest and comment. There was one consistent theme
throughout the AGM: satisfaction at the number of new members
recruited to both the Association and the RSA following the
change in the Associations’ title. The closer relationship with 21
Sig Regt (AS) and adoption of a new Constitution also gave cause
for satisfaction, as did the successful fund-raising appeal to
create a tribute to Air Formation Signallers, past and present, in
the National Memorial Arboretum.
Whilst the hotel had changed hands since our last reunion, we
were delighted to find that the catering manager and some of the
restaurant staff were old hands whom we had met before. They
treated us very well in spite of having two other, very large,
functions running on the same evening.
Following the AGM, when the Committee Members were all reelected, Dr David Vickers joined the Committee as our
Webmaster and will be responsible for developing our various
websites. Our silvertongued Welsh orator and Committee Member
without portfolio, Colin Morgan, thanked Roland Jones for his
work in re-entering member’s information into the new format
master sheets and thanked the Committee Members for their hard
work throughout the year. He concluded by presenting Pat
Soward with a framed citation �In recognition of his outstanding
and dedicated service to the Association’.
meal, it was back to the watering hole and a top up of the falling
down water till the wee small hours of the morning.
Having dragged our heavy heads off our pillows, it was down to
the good old English fry-up and oodles of coffee (or even a hair of
the dog) to start the new day. The rest of the day was spent
looking around Loughborough and then back to hotel, to spruce
up for the main event for the weekend the Dedication of our
Standard. Back at the hotel, we started all over again with a sitdown meal and a raffle run by Beryl Scott, assisted of Ulla
Freeman-Pannett. All had an excellent night and, with one or two
exceptions, the faces told the story the following day.
The next meeting is to be held in Dortmund in Germany in May
2004, with the 2005 meeting to be held in Shoeburyness.
THE STANDARD DEDICATION
The Sqn formed in 1968 to provide comms for the newly formed
36 Heavy Air Defence Regt RA, and did the job in UK and
Germany until it was disbanded in 1977. Twenty years later, at the
RSA weekend in 1997, a group of ex members of that old Sqn
met up and discussed the possibility of getting together with other
ex members for a weekend gathering of our own.
They say that �From small acorns Mighty Oaks do Grow’ and after
a few telephone calls, the first meeting was set up one June
weekend in 1998, with thirty odd people turning up for a very
emotional time. This was the start of many weekends to come
and the formation of 260 Sig Sqn Association. To this end, we set
up a small Committee, Roy Andrews was elected Secretary, and
we steamed ahead getting the Sqn recognised by the RSA.
With the onset of Christmas 2001, the idea to have a Sqn
Standard arose. The task was taken on by Jan Greenland (ex
Secretary of 36 HAD Regt RA) who, after a couple of heart
stopping moments completed the job for us to unfurl the Standard
at the AGM in April 2002. The next step was to take the Standard,
in the careful hands of Archie Cairns, to present and display at
the RSA Weekend. He achieved this very well and has since
paraded it at quite a few functions in Scotland, where he lives.
L-R, Harry Carver, Bill Gardener,
Leslie Virgin and Arthur Thomas
260 (SAM) SIGNAL SQUADRON
ASSOCIATION
Chairman/Secretary
Geoff Scott
Before beginning, all members of 260 would like to say how sad
we are at the death Sid Soqo, a very valued friend and member of
the Sqn Association who died on the 21 March 2003. He was
buried on the 9 April, and the funeral was attended by members
of the Sqn Association, accompanied by some of their wives.
The Sqn AGM on the weekend 12 - 13 April was a full programme
of events this time, and to this end we had to hold the AGM on
the Friday night with about half the 80 odd people who would be
attending the weekend. Some had come from as far away as
Germany and Belgium. The meeting passed off with one sad note.
Due to Roy Andrews not being very well, he and his wife Pat
have taken the decision to stand down as our Secretary/Treasurer,
but Geoff and Beryl Scott have taken up the posts. Thanks for all
you’ve done Roy and Pat and good luck to Geoff and Beryl. Our
President, Bill Cunningham, made a presentation of a Jimmy to
Roy and Pat.
With that, the weekend’s events began, the bar being the favourite
place to have a quiet chat and of course the inevitable one or two
sherbets (squaddies’ habits die hard). The highlight of the evening
was the passing around of old photographs. After the evening
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Archie Cairns, with escorts Geoff Scott and Steve FreemanPannett parade the new Standard alongside those of the RBL
The Dedication was held in the All Saints Parish Church,
Loughborough on Saturday afternoon during the weekend of our
Reunion 12- 13 April 2003 and was conducted by the Rt Rev
Cannon Derek Major Buxton. Archie Cairns presented the
Standard on behalf of the Sqn, with escorts Geoff Scott, and
Steve Freeman-Pannett. Members of the RBL attended the
ceremony with their Standards, and we were all invited to RBL
Club for afternoon �tea’ and buffet.
405
Annual Reunion of 260 Signal Squadron (SAM)
DO YOU REMEMBER THE
CORONATION PARADE IN JUNE 1953?
– by Alison Schofield
Last week I was at the Grand Reunion of the WRAC Association in
Birmingham. It was most encouraging to see how many �Jimmies’
were being worn alongside the Association badges, but that is not
the subject of this article. At the final dinner I found myself sitting
beside a retired officer, (she had better remain nameless!) who
recalled that she had marched in the Coronation Procession. She
mentioned the terrible weather, her ruined uniform and how her
white underwear (I’ll spare the graphic details) had become an
irreversible black. She then went on to tell us that she had
returned to her mess in Richmond Park, drunk a triple brandy,
bathed and then returned to London to party all night. I told her
that my own experience had been somewhat different, but didn’t
go into great detail. However, the conversation brought certain
memories to mind and I wondered how many other readers of The
WIRE remember the day and what they recall.
My husband is quite clear about his. He was an officer cadet at
Catterick, had the day off and together with three others, went off
in a Morris Minor opentop (thoughtfully provided by one of the
mothers) to a slapup dinner in Boroughbridge. He says they
spared a thought for the course immediately senior to his own,
who were taking part. What he didn’t know was that he was
eventually to marry a member of the Coronation contingent!
I was one of eight WRAC Officer Cadets selected to march in the
Procession. Since the preceding January, we had been practising,
along the roads and lanes of the Hampshire countryside, and a
week before the Coronation we were transferred to our
�concentration area’ in Richmond Park. We were allowed to go out
in the evenings, and London being within easy reach, it was a
fabulous privilege for young women usually shut away in the
country.
London was wonderful at that time. All troops there for the
Coronation had to wear full dress uniform when not in barracks,
and London was so crammed with troops, that the West End
looked like one enormous musical comedy set. Added to the
excitement was a certain spice of danger. It was difficult to
identify other people. Some regiments sported uniforms specially
designed for the occasion; others had delved back into military
406
history. All were adorned with extra bits of braid or chain, which
effectively hid the wearer’s rank, and of course nobody knew who
we were either, since we normally left our camp in civilian clothes.
To be on the safe side, one or two of them tried to salute us but
the RSM, in fierce mood, threatened severe retribution if we tried
to return the compliment.
On our first free night I went with two friends to Lyons Corner
House. Their �Salad Bowl’ was a novelty because food was still
rationed and there you could eat as much as your plate could
carry - and we were very hungry after a full day’s marching. Then,
having spent nearly all our money, we looked around for
something to do. Our being in full No. I Dress uniform, it was
going to have to be something innocuous. I remembered that my
father was often at his club in the evening, so on the offchance we
walked down there. I gave my name to the porter, who confirmed
that Daddy was indeed in the building and we were entertained to
gin and tonic in the room reserved for lady guests - a rare
privilege in term time. He treated us to a taxi back to the barracks,
but we got out some way from the main gate to avoid questions. I
kept the change!
On 1 June we were confined to barracks and our two Corps
senior RSMs inspected our uniforms and shoes. Polish, spit and
polish was never my forte. I had always survived by doing other
people’s homework in return for their elbowgrease, but now I was
on my own! My new black shoes were just not shiny enough and
our senior underofficer was grumbling openly as Lights Out
approached.
My saviour was unexpected. �Basher’ Ashworth, the RSM from
the WRAC Depot, who terrified us all, stumped into our barrack
room, picked up my shoes and disappeared. Twenty
minutes later she was back with one balanced on each upturned
palm. They were immaculate. �Not a word Ma’am,’ she said gruffly
and disappeared, leaving me to wonder if I was the only soldier to
have my shoes �bulled’ by a senior RSM!
At 3.30 on the morning of 2 June, we had reveille and breakfast
(small rations and only half a cup of tea!) to an announcement on
the cookhouse radio that Everest had been conquered. Then into
a chartered doubledecker London bus and on our way - still very
early, but we had to be in London before it was closed to traffic.
We de-bussed and formed up near the Goring Hotel to wait for
our parade marshal. We then marched to the front of Buckingham
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Palace, where we were to stand at attention during the Queen’s
crowning.
Being in the front rank, I was able to appreciate the full horror of a
mass of navy blue uniforms with white gorget patches and
hatbands approaching us on what seemed to be an inevitable
collision course. It was the Combined Officer Cadet Schools
contingent. At the lastminute, I heard an order for �about turn on
the march’ (a manoeuvre whose relevance I had until then
questioned) and they disappeared in the other direction. I don’t
know where they went - perhaps some reader knows? We
couldn’t have halted; there were too many troops marching
behind us.
During the crowning it started to rain heavily, but we were well
entertained by the running commentary emanating from the
motionless lips of the Guards lining that part of the route. After the
crowning we were marched to St James’ Park and fallen out. It
was raining even more heavily now, but helpers carefully lifted rain
capes over our caps and uniforms so as not to smudge the
blanco on our white gorget patches.
We were each given two sandwiches from tents set up in the park,
and although the head of the procession was now moving off, we
were still free to stand and watch the Commonwealth contingent.
Queen Salote of Tonga, in an open carriage in the pouring rain,
waved and smiled at us. Very encouraging if you were just a
soggy individual with a very long march ahead of you.
Soon we were fallen in again and the procession began in
earnest. Down Birdcage Walk to Parliament Square and even a
watery sun - but not for long. Into the Square and we could hear
Richard Dimbleby telling BBC listeners how smart we looked in
our new green uniforms. Then left wheel into Whitehall, Trafalgar
Square, Piccadilly and the Ritz, where we halted. The whole
Procession were now stood easy, feet firmly in place on the
ground but the chance to stretch cramped fingers and shoulders
for a while. Then we moved off again, past Green Park, Hyde Park
Corner (careful here!) Park Lane, Marble Arch, (all the moves we
had practised around oil drums) down Oxford Street, Regent
Street, (my parents hosting drinks on a balcony - I didn’t dare look
up), Piccadilly Circus, Admiralty Arch, The Mall, the Victoria
Memorial, Constitution Hill, Hyde Park Corner again, into the
parks and at last the bridge in Kensington Gardens, where we
were halted and fallen out.
As we departed, we had, from the top deck of our doubledecker
bus an unforgettable view of London in celebration mood and of
the WRNS waiting to be dismissed, their faces chalk white with
the pipeclay which had run down from their caps
Afterwards was an anticlimax. We were confined to barracks,
the only heating was in the drying room and the NAAFI was
closed (the girls, like my husband, had the day off) so we
couldn’t even watch the only TV set available to us. I had to wait a
quarter of a century to see my self on film! Back in battledress, we
jolted back to camp the next day in the rear of a three-ton truck.
Our wrecked uniforms were taken off for refurbishing by our
various military tailors, to be returned just in time for our
Commissioning and dispersal a few weeks later. It had been
ordained that, as a compliment to Her Majesty, we would march in
our officers’ uniforms with cadet insignia attached for the
occasion.
What a mess they looked! Blanco had soaked into the jackets,
and there was a permanent bend in skirts caused by the
unaccustomed stretch from 27 inches (then the regulation pace
for women) to the 30-inch pace of the predominately male
participants of the Procession. In the following ten years I never
managed to get rid of the bend in mine. Whenever my uniform got
wet it would sag again, serving as a permanent reminder of its
first outing! In the end I donated it to the National Army Museum,
but they have wisely never put it on display!
Most of us never met again, and fifty years later, would probably
not recognise each other. But there we are on the BBC
documentary film, forever young and fit. I saw this for the first time
when it was shown on the 25th anniversary of the Coronation. Our
small sons watched it and picked me out. �Mummy is the one with
the drip running down her face!’ commented the younger one.
That just about sums it up!
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
RETURN TO SUEZ CANAL ZONE 28
APRIL - 7 MAY 03
- by Capt (Retd) Gordon Park
On 27 April 2003 I flew to Schipol airport (Amsterdam) to meet up
with nearly eighty other members of the Suez Veterans
Association for a reunion visit to the Canal Zone in Egypt. After a
good flight to Cairo with KLM, we then proceeded by coaches to
our hotel on Forsan Island, Lake Timpsah, which is joined to the
Suez Canal. The local town is Ismailia. It was a four star hotel and
we were well looked after by staff who were very friendly and
spoke excellent English. The Canal Zone is not a recognised
tourist area, and we were regarded as VIPs as we travelled around
in our coaches, always with armed Egyptian police and army as
our escorts. Even the hotel had armed police on duty twenty-four
hours a day, but I personally did not feel intimidated.
I had served in Egypt from December 1951 to December 1954,
being posted in El Ballah as a DR, and then MT NCO for eighteen
months. I moved to Tel El Kebir for a further eighteen months as
MT Cpl. My unit was Egypt Comd Sig Regt, which eventually
changed to 3 LofC Sig Regt. It was a working unit and we were
always kept busy, most of the time posted to active service.
]
L-R Maj (Retd) Paddy Henry and Capt (Retd) Gordon Park on the
banks of Lake Timpsah
Also on the visit was another ex Corps member, Major (QM)
(Retd) Paddy Henry, who served at El Ballah with 1 LofC Sig
Regt from October 1951 to November 1954. As you can imagine
we spent many hours talking over old times and drinking a few
Stella beers (the Egyptian type not the Belgian variety) It seemed
to taste a lot better than I remembered it 52 years ago!!
On our first day we were taken on a guided tour of Ismailia,
looking up old haunts etc. It was a public holiday and hundreds of
the locals were sat around enjoying themselves in the parks and
on the banks of the Sweet Water Canal. They were very friendly to
us, shouting: �Welcome to Egypt’ �What is your name?’ �Where are
you from?’ etc. But it was a nice atmosphere and we enjoyed our
walk. You can imagine what the party looked like. The oldest was
about 80 and the youngest around 66-67 - more like an outing
from an old folk’s home. We also had armed police in civilian
clothes escorting us.
We had further trips out to Moascar, Fayid, and Port Said war
cemeteries. All were kept in immaculate condition by the Egyptian
workers. We visited old camp locations from Suez to Port Said,
but El Ballah, where many of us served, has completely
disappeared. The old Suez Canal road has gone and is just a dirt
track, the Treaty road is now a dual carriage way from Suez to
Port Said, and from the Canal Zone to Cairo is also a dual
carriageway.
There were two highlights of the trip for me. One was the trip to
Cairo (it was out of bounds the whole time I served in Egypt),
where we saw the Pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza, the
Tutankhamoun museum, and the Pharaonic village. The second
was the trip to Port Said, where, all those years ago, we were
407
Just one of the many young Corps soldiers buried at Moascar War
Cemetery
allowed to visit for a few hours on a weekend from El Ballah. It
was here, in November 1956, that I went back again as a
reservist. Only this time it was with 2 Press Comms Sig Sqn (AER)
and we landed on the beach in the LST Empire Doric on the first
morning of the Suez Invasion together with elements of 6 RTR. I
was there till the last day of the invasion and returned to the UK
on the troop ship Astorious and my second demob.
To summarise, I enjoyed the trip back to the Canal Zone. It
brought back a lot of memories, some good, some bad. I met a
lot of old timers like myself. We all had a lot in common, but most
of the others were ex National Service men, who had not wished
to be there in the first place. Not that I volunteered, but we all had
to do what we were told.
Would I do it again? The simple answer to that is: �No. Been there,
done that, got the t-shirt.’
THE SUEZ VETERANS’ ASSOCIATION
This was formed about eight years ago and currently has about
1300 plus members. It is open to all those who served in Egypt in
the Canal Zone, and to those who took part in the actual Invasion
in 1956.
It holds regional meetings, an annual AGM (this year at the
Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool) and annual return trips to the
Canal Zone. We have quite a few Ex RSigs members, but would
welcome many more.
If you are interested, contact Gordon Park at the following
address, or ring the membership secretary David Powis on 020
8262 7839, or log onto www.suezveteransassociation.co.uk
Capt (Retd) Gordon Park
72 Kingfisher Drive
Skegness
Lincs
PE25 1TQ
Email: [email protected]
VETERANS OF THE GREEK CAMPAIGN
1940-41
- From Edgar C Harrison OBE MC BEM(Mil)
The Remembrance Service commemorating the Battle of
Kalamata 28/29 April 1941 was this year held on Thursday 22
May. This ceremony is held alongside the monument in memory of
all allied forces who lost their lives or were taken prisoner during
the campaign. The monument is at the spot where a New
Zealander, Sgt JD Hinton, won the Victoria Cross when allied
forces retook the town from the Italians who unexpectedly and
with great speed had come down the west coast to seize
Kalamata. This victory was short lived, as an overwhelming force
of the German army gained control of Kalamata. A naval force
sent to evacuate the allied forces would probably have succeeded
408
Delivering the Oration at the 2003 Commemoration Ceremony
in their mission but the port and harbour had reportedly been
mined. The failure of HM ships to use the port facilities resulted in
only a pitiful number of our troops being taken off the beach.
As to the actual Service of Remembrance this year, it was
conducted by an Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox faith,
assisted by the Padre of our Athens Embassy. The UK Defence
AttachГ© attended the ceremony, together with heads of the Greek
armed forces, a municipal band and a host of civic dignitaries,
including the Mayor of Kalamata. The passage of years has taken
its toll, and we veterans are now much reduced in numbers.
However, we take great pride in marching the short distance to
the monument, ably assisted by the stirring music of the Greek
band. This year I thought the turn-out, discipline and drill of the
Greek armed forces was the best ever. They did us veterans
proud, as did the Greek press, radio and television. After the
service, the Municipality of Kalamata provided an excellent buffet
lunch in an adjoining park. This park contains the old railway
station, where so many ended up after the long retreat from
northern Greece, in my case from the Albanian border.
This year there was another occasion to remember. Our President,
Edwin Horlington of the VOTGC 1940/41 was honoured with the
Freedom and Honorary Citizenship of Kalamata. At a ceremony at
City Hall, Edwin was suitably honoured and presented with a
magnificent parchment, on which is inscribed in letters of gold, his
contributions to Greece in general and Kalamata in particular.
Up to this year’s service, I have been the sole representative of
the Corps. I was therefore particularly pleased to have a fellow
signaler alongside me this year. He, Eric Bardsley, joined the
Corps in March 1940, and he has given me the following details:
2336907 Sig Bardsley E. March 1940 Prestatyn, North Wales,
trained to B3 standard as OWL. Sailed from Liverpool January
1941 in SS Samaria as a member of 51 Heavy Wireless Section,
commanded by Lt Burnage. To Egypt, via Freetown and
Durban, and then from Alexandria to Greece on 1 April 1941.
Taken prisoner on 28 April 1941 and sent to Arbeitskommando
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Afterwards at the lunch. Edwin Horlington and Edgar Harrison
at Weissenbach (Ennstal) on railway work until June 1943. Short
spell in Stalag 3 for 4 weeks in Villach then to Arbeitskommando
at Friedberg (Osteierman) on more railway work. Left Friedberg
on 31 March 1945 and travelled, with Russian Army help,
through Hungary, Romania and Ukraine to Odessa. After two
weeks in Odessa, sailed home, arriving Gourock on 12 June
1945.
Eric is now living at 7 Wolfe Close, Walton, Chesterfield S40 2DF,
and he would be delighted to hear from anyone who remembers
him.
Thank you Edgar for this Commemoration story. It rings a personal
bell for me. I had an uncle killed in the Battle of Crete in May 1941,
and I have been attending the Commemoration services there
each May for the past 15 years. I am greatly impressed as each
year the local people turn on such wonderful Commemoration
events and give returning veterans such a good time. As in
Kalamata, the numbers of veterans who can make the trip
decreases as the years pass, but increasingly their numbers are
being made up by their descendants, who, like the local
population, are determined that the events of 1941 are not
forgotten. Long may it continue. – Bernard Redshaw, Editor.
Mrs Edna Pritchard plants a tree in memory of Major George
McKowen MBE and her husband, Cpl Ron Pritchard MID
on the site, the only place of worship created to celebrate the new
Millennium. He started with an introduction to the Arboretum and
to the Chapel, a cause to which he is obviously wholeheartedly
and enthusiastically devoted. He noted that the Chapel is also the
only place in the country where a two-minute silence is observed
DEDICATION SERVICE AT THE
NATIONAL MEMORIAL ARBORETUM
For the past twelve months the Air Formation Sig Regts
Association, 19 Sig Regt Association and 21 Sig Regt (AS) have
been raising money to create a memorial tribute to those
members of the Corps who served in Air Formation Signal Units.
Phase 1 was completed with the planting of nine copper beech
trees and the installation of the first four commemorative plaques.
These were dedicated at a moving and emotional service on
Sunday, 11 May.
The morning started at 10.00hrs when a small convoy, led by Pat
and Maureen Soward, left the North Stafford Hotel heading for
the Arboretum at Alrewas, a gentle 30 mile drive away. Already on
parade to greet them were representatives from both
Associations, including Andrew and Sylvia McKowen and Edna
Pritchard, who had contributed towards a tree and plaque
dedicated to Andrew’s father, Maj George McKowen, MBE and
Edna’s husband, Cpl Ron Pritchard MID.
The service, led by David Childs, Director of the Arboretum (who
did a quick change to Lay Reader) was held in the wooden chapel
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
One of the dedicatory plaques
409
every day. Our service included a two-minute silence with Last
Post and Reveille played by a bugler from the Staffordshire Regt,
whilst Arthur Thomas paraded the Standard of the Staffordshire
Branch of the RSA and Chris Collier paraded the Union Flag.
27 March. All Life Members are eligible and most welcome to
attend. Any points for the agenda must be with Association
Headquarters by 1 February 2004. Points received after this date
may not be addressed at the Meeting.
Moving outside, a short prayer and another moment of silence
preceded the symbolic planting by Gerald Evans, Chairman of
the Air Formation Sig Regs Association, and George Brew,
Chairman of 19 Sig Regt Association, using highly polished
spades previously used by The Queen, Prince Philip, Prince
Charles, Princess Anne and other members of the Royal Family.
REUNION - 200 (20 ARMD BDE) SIG SQN,
DETMOLD
The Arbour Restaurant provided a magnificent buffet for the forty
people assembled. The two chairmen, meeting for the first time,
held �deep and meaningful’ conversations and the reunion
continued until, reluctantly, we had to make our individual ways
home.
All personnel are welcome to attend, both ex-members and
serving members. For details please contact either:
It is planned to hold a 200 (20 Armd Bde) Sig Sqn reunion,
weekend 29/30th August 2003, at the former home of the Sqn in
Detmold, Germany.
Ben Casey
Paderborner Str 143
32760
Detmold, Germany
Tel: +49 5231 948744
[email protected]
HERFORDER OLD COMRADES
ASSOCIATION �CENTENARY’
No, we are not the first Branch to celebrate 100 years, but
probably the first to achieve 100 members in only our second year
since formation. It has all been due to our Chairman, �Gentleman’
Jim Sloan and Secretary, Dave Smith.
or
Martin Avins
34 Claremont Drive
Moira
Co Armagh, BT67 0SE
Northern Ireland
Tel: 02892 610749
[email protected]
The three meetings we have held so far have been in
Nottingham, Dunoon and Scarborough, all ably organised by Jim
and Dave. Everybody had a marvelous time at all three venues,
although one or two ladies did make light of the promised
Dunoon cruise.
On 6 October we are off on our travels again, a five-day trip to
Herford in Germany for our fourth reunion. Jim and Dave are
already planning our first 2004 reunion in Llandudno in March.
We expect to take all two hundred rooms in the hotel, so you
don’t have to be a member if you would like to join us. Jim’s
phone number is 01324 626173 and Dave’s 01294 465014.
Alternatively, Terry Hearldon (me!) would be delighted to
pass any communication on to our hierarchy. Phone me on
01925 481024. We would be pleased to welcome wives at any
reunion.
Jim has now opened our shop, and has for sale: Ties at
ВЈ7.50. Lapel badges ВЈ250p and Car stickers at 50p. We do have
an annual subscription of ВЈ5, (come on lads, pay up), but Wives
may become Associate Members for a one-off payment of ВЈ5.
Our next AGM will be held at the Scottish venue in October 2004.
(Aha! so that’s where we’re going). One final note, we have two
available seats for Herford. First to send money gets �em.
660 SIGNAL TROOP (EOD)/EOD ECM OPERATORS
REUNION 2003
All serving and former members of 660 Sig Tp (EOD)/EOD ECM
Operators, are invited to attend a reunion at Didcot Station Sgts’
Mess on 4 October 2003.
Contact Sgt Steve Bruce, Mil 94234 3366, Civ 01235 513366 or
[email protected] for further details.
BEVERLEY EX-BOYS ASSOCIATION
REUNION DINNER
will be held at
RAMADA JARVIS HOTEL, WATFORD
on
SATURDAY 4 OCTOBER 2003
For bookings and info call
Tony Hull on 01202 770 261
LOST COMMUNICATIONS
BETFOR ASSOCIATION
Herforder Association Reunion, Scarborough 14 – 16 March 03
REUNIONS
ROYAL SIGNALS ASSOCIATION
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2004
The RSA AGM for 2004 will be held in the Victory Services Club,
63/79 Seymour Street, London W2 2HF at 10.30 hours Saturday
410
As Chairman of the BETFOR (British Element Trieste Forces)
Association, formed Dec 2002, may I take this opportunity to
invite readers of The WIRE who may have served in Trieste
(1945 - 1954) to view our website at www.milhist.net/betfor
where they may be able to renew friendships and
acquaintances with those whom they may have lost contact
with over the years, and to see some of the sights of this
wonderful City including the Barracks they may have been
stationed in.
Alternatively they can contact me at
[email protected] or by phone (01432) 271001
for further details concerning the Association.
Jim Crow, Ex RSM R Signals, 1943-1968.
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
SGT ANTHONY (TONY) KNIGHT
Anyone knowing the whereabouts of 24378740 Sgt Anthony
Knight (Tony) who served with 8 Sig Regt from 1975-1992 is
asked to contact Ann Hobday (sister) on 01642 510106 with
any information.
I am still involved in a semi-military club here in Edmonton
Alberta. IOOB (International Order of Old Bastards). I would like to
contact any of the members of the Corps who served with me to
have a chat. I do keep in touch with Jim Carruthers, chairman of
the RSA Liverpool Branch.
PTIs 16 SIGNAL REGIMENT 1963 - 66
I hope you can help me contact some old friends. I am particularly
interested one from Malaya days, Fred �Jock’ Russell. I hope to
have a reply from you.
From:
Yours …..
Mr R Robson
3 Dent Close
Haswell
Co Durham DH6 2BP
Tel: 0191 520 8519
Dear Sir,
REGIMENTAL PLAQUES WANTED
9 Sig Regt (Cyprus)
13 Sig Regt (Birgelen, Germany)
I am looking for the following PTIs who served at 16 Sig Regt
between 1963 and 1966:
I am looking for one of each. If anyone has one to spare, please
contact Jim Keeping on 01202 574 527.
LCpl Blackie (Piggy), LCpl Payston (Brummie), LCpl Coles (Big
Mouth) and Cpl Les (Plonkie).
We must get together. Please ring Ronnie on 0191 520 8519.
13 LofC SIGNAL REGIMENT - LIEUTENANT STEWART
Yours…..
From:
FR (REG) PRICE
From:
Mr J K Price
14 Woodside Road
Ketley
Telford
Shropshire
TF1 5HB
Tel: 01952 247092
Dear Sir
I have recently acquired a diary, which my late father kept when
he was serving with the Corps in Europe mid 1944 to May 1945.
The Museum at Blandford suggested that I contact you to help
gain information so that I can further my research on my father,
Reg Price’s Army service.
I have his record of service card, together with photos and a story
in a local paper regarding the finding of a bullet when Dad’s right
leg was amputated. The bullet had been in his leg for 35 years – I
now have that bullet!
I welcome any news that may be generated through your
magazine and thank you in advance for any help given.
Yours.….
Paul Hammersley
88 Tarawera Road
Lynmore
Rotorua
New Zealand
Dear Sir
While cleaning out my office desk, I found this photograph of a Lt
Stewart and it set me to thinking if he is still alive.
During the war I was OC of the LAD attached to the 13 LofC
Signals.
We were stationed at Chislehurst in Kent and it was while we were
there that I became friendly with Lt Stewart. Unfortunately his unit
was posted off to Italy and, as usually happens, we never met
again.
There would be many in
13 LofC who would
remember me, but his is
the only name I can recall.
I am 81 and I suppose
they would all be about
the same age. I would
very much like to get in
contact again.
I thought it worth a try to
write to your magazine.
You never know.
Thank you
MRS PD GALYER
Yours…..
The Army Non War Graves Cell is trying to trace Mrs PD Galyer,
widow of the former Cpl Graham Keith Galyer. Graham died,
aged 35, in July 1981 whilst on the Y List with 11 Sig Regt. They
lived in a married quarter in Wheredale Rd, Catterick Garrison.
Graham’s grave is marked with a simple wooden cross in the
cemetery of his hometown of Scartho, Grimsby, and the Army
Non War Graves Cell hope to provide a more appropriate
headstone. It would be more appropriate if his widow could be
traced and informed about this action. If anyone can help trace
Mrs Galyer, please contact Steve Lane at PS4(Army) Casualty
Cell at Upavon on 01980 615559.
FRED (JOCK) RUSSELL AND OTHERS
From:
John White
E-mail: [email protected]
I’m just dropping a line to contact some of my old buddies. My
name is John �Chalky’ White, I served in the RSigs from 1959 –
1968 at Catterick, Cyprus, Bournemouth, Malaya (Ghurka Sigs),
Derby, and finally at Liverpool. I then joined the TA in Liverpool
until 1975, when I emigrated to Canada.
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
CORRESPONDENCE
ANZAC DAY IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA
From:
WG Saffin
28 Bedford Road
Weston Super Mare
Somerset
BS23 4EJ
Dear Sir,
Whilst on an extended holiday to Western Australia I decided to
go into the City to watch the ANZAC Day parade, which was held
on 24 April.
Checking through the paper for timing and routes I saw a notice
stating that the Royal Australian Signals Association would be
marching and all former members and Allied signallers were
invited to attend. I rang the person named in the advert and spoke
411
to Peter Lofdahl, who gave me very warm greetings and assured
me of an excellent day out should I attend.
served with Edwin during his time in the Corps and whom he
might have told more about his Arnhem experiences.
The next day I turned up at the assembly point to be greeted by
Bill Sneddon, who was aware of my coming. He couldn’t mistake
me, I was wearing my blue baseball cap from the Museum;
everyone else had black ones.
If anyone does remember him, could they please contact me at
the above address.
Introductions were made all around this included Col Fitzpatrick,
who had attended the first course at Blandford after the move
from Catterick, and W02 Bob Shaw, who volunteered to be my
guide and mentor for the day.
WORLD WAR 2 MILITARY ACTIVITIES IN GOSFIELD, ESSEX
As the time crept on, our numbers grew to about ninety. Divisional
Banners were unfurled and two very immaculate Army Cadets
hoisted up a huge Association banner. We were ready, the unit in
front moved off and then it was our turn. Coming out on to the
main route, we were greeted by many thousands of spectators,
lining the pavements five and six deep. The noise was deafening.
National Flags flew everywhere; thousands had been given out by
the Australia Post and it appeared that every child had one.
The salute was taken by the Governor General of Western
Australia and on the approach the band struck up Once a Jolly
Swagman. At the sound of such a great piece, heads raised
shoulders squared and I am sure we all felt like twentysomethings again.
Following this, a Service was held in the gardens by the Swan
River. It was estimated that 40-50,000 had lined the streets and
about 10,000 attended the Service.
By kind permission of the CO, we had all been invited to 109 Sig
Sqn, based in Irwin Barracks, Karrakatta to join in their family day.
A superb buffet lunch was served by the catering staff and after
all that exercise, it was most welcome. During the afternoon I met
the Secretary/Treasurer, Paul Ranford, who assured me that
anyone coming to Perth would be most welcome attend any of
their social outings.
Through the medium of The WIRE, may I say a very sincere thank
you to our fellow signallers in Perth for such a warm and a great
day out. Special thanks to Peter for the �goody bag’ and to Bob
for driving me out to Karrakatta and back to the Metro station in
the City.
If anyone is visiting WA, Peter’s telephone number is 9305 1303
and Paul’s address is P.O.Box1680 Mandurah WA 6210. Get in
touch - you will not be disappointed.
SGT EDWIN AINSWORTH
Haks Watburgh Schmidt
Duivelmolen 21
5345 ZR Oss
The Netherlands
email: [email protected]
Dear Sir,
I am a Dutch journalist doing research on the airborne landings at
Arnhem in September 1944; and more specifically, on the fate of
13 Platoon, the Border Regt and the pilots of the glider that took
them to Arnhem on Sunday, 17 September 1944.
To that end, I would like to get into contact with former members
of 13 Platoon. One of those members was 3606441 Pte Edwin
Ainsworth, who was from Blackburn, Lancashire. In the Arnhem
literature, he was reported to have knocked out a German tank
with a PIAT during the Battle.
With help from the Lancashire Evening Post I have contacted his
two daughters. They told me that Mr Ainsworth had sadly
passed away in the late seventies, but that after the war he had
rejoined the Army in the Royal Corps of Signals.
He became Sgt Ainsworth with the new army number, 21045171,
and appears to have served with 2 Sqn, 14 Sig Regt, Worcester
Road, Droitwich. He left the Army in 1968.
My hope is that we might be able to contact somebody who
412
From:
Ian Mactaggart
Craig-y-Llyn
37 Braintree Road
Gosfield
Halstead
Essex CO9 1PR
Tel: 01787 473 658
Email: [email protected]
Dear Sir
I am endeavouring to compile an historical record of the military
activities that took place in and around the village of Gosfield,
Essex during the Second World War. Whilst I have been quite
successful regarding RAF activities, I am having problems with
those of the Army.
All that I have established so far is that from 1940 – 42 Signals
units were at Gosfield Hall (Map Ref M228480) and Orange Hall
Farm (Map Ref M225475). They may have been connected with
IX Corps, which apparently had their HQ at Sloe House in
Halstead. From local reports, it appears that the Signals unit
used the top floor and stable block of Gosfield Hall, whilst a
lower floor room was used as an Officers Mess. I have reference
to a 319 Battery having their Officers Mess in Gosfield Hall,
but the only Artillery unit of that number was in Scotland, which
adds to the confusion.
It is possible that there are readers who served in the
Gosfield/Halstead area who may be able to provide me with
information. If so I would be very pleased to hear from them.
Any assistance you may be able to provide to identify the units
involved would be gratefully appreciated.
Thank you in anticipation for your help.
Yours…..
DONATIONS
Yours ….
From:
Yours…..
Eastbourne Branch ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ВЈ150.00
Capt (Retd) H Jennings in memory of Stan Parkin . ...
ВЈ20.00
Mr W Cameron ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
ВЈ50.00
Lt Col (Retd) NAV Ribchester in memory of
Cpl Alan Robinson
... ... ... ... ... ... ...
ВЈ20.00
20 Armd Bde HQ & Sig Sqn (200) ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
ВЈ93.52
Mr & Mrs AD Spence in memory of Maj Des Spence...
ВЈ50.00
Thales Comunications Ltd ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ВЈ275.00
Norfolk Branch ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ВЈ100.00
Lincoln Branch ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
ВЈ50.00
Julian Kenneth Bird ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ВЈ500.00
Richard Cartwright ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
ВЈ20.00
Collection at the funeral of Mr Stan Parkin ... ... ... ... ВЈ123.03
Donation in memory of Julian Kenneth Bird ... ... ...
ВЈ37.50
Mr AR Ayres ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
ВЈ20.00
Chester Branch ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ВЈ100.00
Bournemouth Branch in memory of Mr LJ Fitzpatrick...
ВЈ5.00
Mr AI MacMillan ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
ВЈ10.00
3 Div Sigs Reunion Club in memory of Mr LJ Collins ...
ВЈ10.00
Bedford Branch ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
ВЈ50.00
Mr T Magowan ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .. ВЈ1000.00
Peter McNaughton in memory of Lt Col Nigel Ribchester
ВЈ25.00
Brig AL Dowell in memory of LtCol Nigel Ribchester ...
ВЈ35.00
LAST POST
Served 1950/75 Died 26/05/03
Andrews - WO2 LM Andrews
Bevan - Sgt JA Bevan
Served 1950/61 Died 30/05/03
Chapman - Dvr GT Chapman
Served 1948/50 Died 13/06/03
Collins - Sig LJ Collins
Served 1942/47 Died May �03
Dickson - LtCol DA Dickson
Served 1936/60 Died 17/06/03
Dyer - Maj G Dyer
Served 1941/? Died 08/05/03
Fairweather - Brig C Fairweather CB CBE, KStJ,TD, JP, DL
Served 1928/46 Died 17/05/03
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Fitzpatrick - Sig LJ Fitzpatrick Served 1941/46
Glass - Capt RG Glass
Served 1939/45
Harris - Sig ES Harris
Served 1939/46
Haydon - LtCol JM Haydon
Served 1953/89
Higman - Sgt W Higman
Served 1964/79
Johnston - Maj CW Johnson
Served 1942/76
Lloyd - Lt JE Lloyd
Served 1943/49
Palot - Sig RF Palot
Served 1939/46
Ribchester - Lt Col NAV Ribchester
Served 1943/83
Rowland - Sig C Rowland
Served 1947/52
Spear - WO2 D Spear
Served ?
Sullivan - Sig R Sullivan
Served WW2
Vines - Sig WE Vines
Served 1941/46
White - Sgt RG White
Served 1939/46
Whitecross - Sig JM Whitecross Served 1945/48
Wooldridge - Sig RM Wooldridge Served 1950/52
Young - WO1 SW Young
Served ?
Died 28/05/03
Died 27/05/03
Died 03/07/03
Died 12/07/03
Died 23/05/03
Died 06/06/03
Died May �03
Died 1991
Died 30/06/03
Died 10/04/03
Died 30/05/03
Died Jun �03
Died 08/06/03
Died 23/06/02
Died 02/06/03
Died 19/06/03
Died 18/06/03
FAIRWEATHER - Brig CC Fairweather CB CBE KStJ TD JP DL
died on Saturday 17 May 03.
Claude Fairweather was born in 1906 and was educated at St
Peter’s School, York. He was commissioned into 50 (N) Div Sig
Regt in 1928. He was also a member of the North Riding T and AF
Association from 1933. Embodied with his Regt in 1939, he left for
France in January 1940 and was evacuated via Dunkirk. He then
became CI at No 1 STC and was responsible for the introduction
of the Creed system trg into the Corps.
From 1941 to 1943 he commanded 2 Div Sig Regt in India and
Burma, and in 1943 was promoted Colonel and appointed CSO
33 Indian Corps. After only a month he became CSO to Gen Orde
Wingate to raise and organise signals for the Chindit expeditions
into occupied Burma. He took part in the expeditions and was
appointed OBE. He wrote the history of 2 Div Sig Regt activities in
Burma, which has been published in its Regtl history.
In 1945 he was promoted Brigadier to become CSO 34 Indian
Corps, an amphibious formation raised for the recapture of
Malaya. He was demobilised in 1946, rejoined the TA Association
and was a member of a small committee to resuscitate TA in the
UK. He was Chairman of the North Riding Cadet Committee for
five years and became Chairman of the Recruiting Committee in
1947. He was appointed Deputy Lieutenant for the North Riding of
Yorkshire in 1949, was Chairman of the Yorkshire (North Riding) T
and AF Association from 1950 to 1958 and Chairman of the North
of England TAVR Association from 1968 to 1971.
He was Hon Col of 50 (N) Div, RAOC 1955-67. In 1964 he became
a member of the Joint Administrative Council of the Council of the
T and AF Association and, in 1967, was appointed Hon Col of 34
(N) Sig Regt, an appointment he held until 1976.
He had many civil interests. He was a Director of the Tees Towing
Company, a Governor of his old school, and was appointed a JP
in 1963. In 1973 he took on the appointment of Chairman of the
new Cleveland County Area Health Authority, for which he was
eminently suitable, having been a County Commissioner of the
North Riding, Yorkshire St John Ambulance Brigade and a
member of the Order of St John. He was Chairman of that Order
for North Yorkshire and appointed Knight of the Venerable Order
in 1978. Appointed Vice Lord Lieutenant of Cleveland in 1977, he
retired on age in 1982, and reverted to Deputy Lieutenant,
Cleveland.
BARTON – Sgt Julie Barton (�Tiger’) died aged 41 on Saturday
22 March 2003, after a brave fight against cancer.
A longstanding member of the TA, Julie joined 71 (Y) Sig Regt in
January 1980, and initially trained as a Data Telegraphist and
Radio Operator (badged WRAC). Subsequently she trained as a
Military Clerk, and was re-badged AGC on the formation of the
Corps in 1992. Throughout her 23 years with 71 (Y) Sig Regt,
Julie regularly attended the TAC at Bexleyheath, and was a
founding member of HQ (KCLY) Sqn, based there. She was a
staunch member of the Sgts’ Mess, and – in her quiet way –
supported the social life of the Sqn by managing its bar and
helping to organise its social events. Although a civil servant by
employment, Julie was dedicated to her TA career, which
provided her with interest, friendship and a degree of adventure.
Having attained the rank of Sgt, she attended many courses and
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
was awarded the Efficiency Medal (TAVR) in 1992 (with first clasp
in 1998), and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.
In addition to her routine TA activities, Julie was a highly
respected target and full-bore shot of exceptional ability. She shot
at County level through civilian clubs, at National level with the TA
and was a member of the Civil Service Rifle Team. Her average
score was a very creditable 98.7%, to the envy of many other
good shots. She spent a great deal of time coaching, both in the
TA and in the civilian clubs to which she belonged.
Julie’s funeral took place on Thursday 3 April at Our Lady of the
Rosary, Blackfen, followed by the Committal at Eltham
Crematorium and a Wake at the TAC, Bexleyheath. These events
were well attended by Julie’s family, work colleagues and friends,
including many members of her �TA family’, past and present. Her
mother, Terri, drew great comfort from the show of affection,
respect and support, proudly showing visitors the selection of
Julie’s shooting trophies that were on display. Her brother, Colin
and his wife Cynthia, who had travelled from Australia to support
Julie during her illness, enjoyed reminiscing and sharing
memories with guests.
LtCol Simon Malik, CO of 71 (Y) Sig Regt, said in conclusion to
Julie’s eulogy: �We will all remember Julie for her friendship and
caring personality. She always put the needs of her family and
friends before herself. While small in stature she was big in heart,
and her nickname �Tiger’ – given to her by HQ Sqn – was welldeserved’.
LEGGE - Maj PD Legge DCM (David) died on Sunday 23 March
2003 in Perth, West Australia.
David served in the Corps from
1932 to 1967. He was attested on
4 April 1932 as a Driver, Horse
Transport. From about 1933 to
1938 he served in India in
Peshawar, Rawalpindi and
Nowshera, returning to UK in time
for mobilisation for WW2.
As a Sgt, David was among the
first to go to France with the BEF.
As the force withdrew to Dunkirk
in June 1940, he was actively
engaged in maintaining lines in his
Bde area. There was a desperate
shortage of cable, so David made
use of the remains of existing civilian overhead lines. From 6 – 8
June, disregarding heavy enemy bombing, he worked ceaselessly
to maintain the lines to two anti-tank batteries. At one point he
even manned an anti-tank gun until a crew could be found for it.
For this action he was awarded the DCM.
David’s DCM Citation reads:
During the 6th, 7th and 8th June, in the Bosc Bordel, Buchy Areas,
this NCO and other ranks (under Lt JJC Harvey) worked
ceaselessly, and with complete disregard to their own safety, in
repairing the telephone cables in the �B’ Bde area, which were
continually cut by enemy bombing. Largely as a result of their
efforts, telephone communications were maintained right up to
the moment of the withdrawal on the evening of 8th June.
David saw further WW2 service in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and
NorthWest Europe and was commissioned on 17 November 1943.
Post war, he served in Kenya, Germany and UK. His final posting
was as QM, 30 Sig Regt in Blandford.
Whilst commanding a mixed British and African sig unit in Kenya,
he had posted to him as 2IC, one 2Lt Geoffrey Howe, now Lord
Howe of Aberavon, who reflects:
Shortly after DL was appointed as CO of our Tp, our battery
charging shop was burnt down, and a Regimental Inquiry (or some
such) followed. D was worried stiff – not that he could have
prevented it. A few weeks later (before the conclusion of the
Inquiry) he turned up one evening on my doorstep, grinning from
ear to ear, and said: �Come quickly, Geoff. The bloody Sergeants’
Mess is on fire!’ and we roared off in his jeep, to watch the place
burn to the ground.
413
From then on, his confidence never looked back. For he had
realised – a necessary lesson for those �in command’ of anything –
that those in positions of responsibility cannot sensibly be held
personally accountable for everything that may happen on their
patch.
I had cause to draw comfort from that lesson on more than one
occasion in later life – and often thought of Dave.
David is survived by his wife, Mary and son, Bill.
HOOTON - WO2 Colin Richard Hooton, Royal Army Pay Corps,
died 9 July 2002 at Bury St
Edmunds aged 52 years.
Colin enlisted into the Army on
25 September 1967. He spent 22
years with RAPC serving in Great
Britain, Germany, Northern Ireland,
Hong Kong, and during the 1982
conflict in the Falklands. Like
other RAPC members, he spent
much of his career attached to
RSigs units. He was awarded
three medals, including Long
Service and Good Conduct
Medal.
Colin had a great love of sport,
especially rugby, which he played
for 27 years before retiring. He was
a member of several teams during his rugby playing career. The
highlight was playing for the �Tigers’ in Hong Kong, which won the
Hong Kong League championships for the 2 years he was
stationed there.
He met his wife Wendy whilst serving in 8 Sig Regt, and they
married in 1985. They both left the Army in 1990 and took on a
pub tenancy for 9 years in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Their
daughter Hannah was born in 1991.
Colin was diagnosed with cancer in 1997 and fought a long,
brave battle with much courage and strength for almost five years.
Colin leaves children Martyn, Douglas, Claire and Hannah, and
granddaughter Chloe.
JAMES - Maj JG James MC (�Gordon’ or �Jimmy’) died in
October 2000 at the age of 84.
To some people he was known as Jimmy; to others as Gordon. In
hospital he was referred to as John, which was very confusing,
especially as this was his real name. In the Sunbury Nursing
Home, where he received such excellent care before his peaceful
death, there was a big plaque on the door that read �Major JG
James MC’. There he was called Major James, which seemed
about right.
Gordon came from a generation whose lives were characterised
by the Second World War. For my generation, born safely after
that conflict, there was something mysterious about the way that
those who had fought in the war and had seen its horrors, would
speak so little of it. This was especially true of Gordon. Any
enquiry was met with that very particular clearing of the throat,
which was so characteristic, and which I am sure we all
recognise. It could mean many things. It could mean �I don’t wish
to talk about that, thank you very much’, or �I’m not sure what to
say to that, but I’ll think of something in a minute’. Sometimes it
could mean �You’re talking nonsense and I can’t be bothered to
reply’. Today we shall have to brave that clearing of the throat as
we rightfully praise Gordon or Jimmy as an example of all that
was best of that generation.
He was born in Croydon in 1920, and educated at Strode School,
Egham, where, when he found out that his season ticket ran out
two days after the end of term, insisted on making the journey
anyway so that it wouldn’t be wasted. In 1933 the family moved to
Southend and he was a pupil at Southend High School. Saturdays
were spent cycling round the town, searching second hand shops
for spares so that he could build homemade radios. He already
414
showed great signs of self-sufficiency, darning his socks with fine
fuse wire, much to his mother’s consternation. He began an
engineering degree at Queen Mary College, but when war came,
resented his friends enlisting and joined up himself. He was
posted initially to Catterick, where early war work included
collecting fresh snow from the moors to replace dirty snow in the
camp. He was then posted to OTU in India, travelling in an
overcrowded troopship. En route, three weeks were spent in
Durban where, feted by the locals, he spent, in his own words �the
best three weeks of my life’. After trg in India, he was posted to
Burma. In the words of Pat O’Brien, the war in Burma was �not a
nice party’ and we can only imagine the horrors of that campaign.
But knowing his character as we do, we can also imagine the
selfless and unassuming way that Gordon would have faced
those difficulties and horrors. He was awarded the MC, a rare
award for a Sigs Officer. He kept pretty quiet about his MC;
indeed it is said that he did not even tell his wife, Ruth about it. I
hope he will forgive me if I don’t keep quiet about it today. (I can
hear that clearing of the throat). This is an extract from the citation
for his MC:
�On Ramree Island on the 4 February 1945, Capt James
supervised the laying of a telephone line from Bde HQ at Yebadin
to the forward Bn ...at Konbaung. This involved his party passing
through an area which was under heavy enemy mortar and small
arms fire. Regardless of the enemy fire Capt James continued to
encourage his men and personally laid the line over a chaung
crossing, which was coming under particularly heavy fire. On
reaching the Bn HQ and finding that the line to one of the forward
Coys had been cut…. Capt James volunteered to go forward and
repair the line himself. This he accomplished again showing
complete disregard for heavy enemy fire. The personal example of
unselfish and untiring devotion to duty was an inspiration to the
men of his Section to maintain their work at a very high level of
efficiency.’
After the war he elected to stay in the Army. There were various
postings, including Cyprus, where he met an Army Officer called
Ruth. They were soon engaged and married and so began a
relationship which draws praise and admiration from all whom I
have spoken to. Ruth’s warmth and wit was the perfect foil to
Gordon’s dry military bearing. Though I am told that when Ruth
served aduki beans one evening, saying that they were a good
source of second class protein, Gordon retorted that he would
only have first class protein served in his house. They loved
travelling, taking whatever opportunities presented themselves,
hitchhiking across Australia or drinking his beloved red wine in
France. Bambi was born in Catterick in 1962 and it is here that
my own warm memories begin of an exotic Army uncle who could
arrange rides in armoured cars, tanks and army canoes and who
was particularly generous with brown ten shilling notes. Sarah
was born in Malaysia in 1966, and I have heard happy stories of
their time there - of Gordon’s fine work with the Malays as well as
tennis, hospitable dinner parties and Singapore Slings. There
followed postings to Brussels and then a civilian job in
Chessington, where he famously cycled the nine miles to work.
Ruth’s tragically early death in 1985 heralded a new era in
Gordon’s life. Long before the phrase �New Man’ had been
dreamt of, Gordon taught himself, recipe book in hand, how to
cook. He took advice from that excellent cook, Amanda, and coopted Sarah to produce family favourites such as prawn cocktail
and roasts always with carrots. Pudding might be a fruit pie with
Sarah’s special tip: sugar on the pastry to produce a lovely glaze.
He was devoted to his daughters and Gordon and Sarah
travelled the world in pursuit of Bambi. This was a two-way
contract. There aren’t many men in their seventies or even
eighties who could count on a thirty-something year old attractive
female companion. He loved boat trips, in Singapore, to the
Tioman Island off Malaysia and would always search out a good
view. He chalked up the Eiffel Tower, Montparnasse Tower, CN
Tower and those in Kyoto and Tokyo. Incidentally he enjoyed
travelling in Japan, saying that he �liked it when they bowed to
him.’ No unfinished business there apparently.
Until his final illness, Gordon enjoyed great good health. Four
months off his 80th birthday he climbed rocks in Utah’s Arches
National Park in his patent leather shoes and came slithering
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
down far too fast. He followed this with a steep three-mile round
trip to Delicate Arch, still in the same shoes. He was always
immaculately turned out in jacket and tie, even, as Bambi
remembers, when working under the car. He was a well-known
figure in Shepperton, to be seen on his bike, or perhaps taking the
boat down to the river. Many happy hours were spent in this
modest cruiser, with sausages and beans cooked in the galley
and Gordon devising a complicated, one might almost say
military, combination of boat, car and bicycle to navigate the
mighty River Thames. A spectacular amphibious experiment with
his car during one launching is remembered well by family and
friends.
Alan Greville (also a member of the Corps), Stan was again
posted back to Catterick, where he took on the duties of Acting
Inspector. In addition to his police duties, Stan and his wife
Doreen also fostered disadvantaged and disruptive children.
He loved spicy food. Singaporean Chili Crab was a great favourite
and he made frequent visits to the local curry restaurants. Though
as we all know, coffee was taken at home. Excellent at DIY, he
would never get anyone in if he could help it. He was careful with
money when it concerned himself, but I and many others can
vouch for his enormous generosity when it came to others.
Whilst serving on the committee of the Police Federation, Stan
became involved with the raising of moneys to assist the widows
and dependents of RUC Officers killed or injured whilst in
pursuance of their duties (RUPERT Bear badges).
�Even tempered’, �level headed’, �generous’, �hospitable’, �never a
bad word for anyone’, these are the comments I’ve heard. Of
course I’m sure that he could sometimes be unmalleable, but it
was set off with his essential humanity.
The nation is grateful to him as a soldier and an upright citizen.
We are grateful to him as father, brother, uncle and dear friend.
Gordon, Jimmy, thank you for your duty, love, friendship and
happy memories. May you rest in peace.
Meanwhile Stan was an active member of the Catterick Branch,
becoming Social Secretary in 1987, a position held until his final
admittance to hospital.
He was also Welfare Officer, not only for the Branch, but also the
RBL, Catterick. He became a member of the RBL County
Committee. For a time Stan also assisted the CAB, Richmond
and the Veterans Agency, Leeds.
Stan was responsible for the design and production of
commemorative lapel badges, tie slides and cufflinks now worn
by many members of the Association worldwide. These badges
commemorate the last Grand Catterick Reunion, the 75th
Anniversary and the 2000 Millennium.
In 1998, he was awarded the 50year badge and in November
2002 was made an Honour Member of the Association. In January
2003 the RBL, North Yorkshire presented him with a Certificate of
Appreciation on behalf of his services to ex-service personnel and
their dependants. All prestigious awards.
A lasting memorial and reflection of Stan’s life and the service he
gave should be: �He was a good, kind and nice man’.
DYER - Major (Retd) Geoff Dyer died on 8 May 2003.
Geoff Dyer left school and joined Scottish Providential Life
Assurance Company where, apart from the war years, he worked
until his retirement. In August 1941 he was sent to the OTC unit
and, on commissioning, was posted to 86 Heavy AA Regt RA. He
had various Middle East postings and while on leave in Cairo, met
his future wife. He came home in August 1946 and married Hilda
in December of that year. Geoff was called up for Z reserve in
1951 and decided to join the TA, serving with 482 Medium AA
Regt (Essex TA). In 1961, following changes to many TA units, he
joined 45 Sig Regt and was posted to HQ Sqn in Wanstead as a
Capt and re-badged as RSigs. He was soon promoted Maj to
command HQ Sqn. He was well liked and respected by all those
who came across him. Like many Officers and SNCO’s he made
way for others when various TA Regts, including 45 Sig Regt were
amalgamated to form 36 (Eastern) Sig Regt in 1967.
Geoff became a member of the East London branch of the
RSA and during his time held various posts, including
Treasurer, Chairman and eventually President until his sad
passing.
Geoff of course had other interests outside of the RSA and was
Treasurer for 26 years and President from 1996 to 2001 of the
Forest Operatic Society.
Geoff will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him. His wife,
Hilda died seven years ago and he never really got over that loss.
He leaves behind two daughters Christine and Alison and their
families.
PERKIN - Sgt Greville Stanley Perkin (Stan) died on Sunday 13
April 2003.
Stan was born on 12 August 1930 in Newport, South Wales. He
enlisted in the Corps on 14 April 1948. He served in several
overseas stations in Europe and the Far East, including 40 Div,
Hong Kong, which was his favourite posting. Amongst postings in
UK was 3 Div in Bulford, and he later became a member of the 3
Div Reunion Club. He also served in several units in Yorkshire,
finishing off in 8 Sig Regt in Loos Lines, Catterick.
Stan left the service in March 1962, joining the Association within
3 months. For several years he worked in industry, including
Wray’s Bakeries in Scarborough. In 1968 he joined the MOD
Police, and was posted to Catterick. In 1971 he was promoted
Sgt and posted to COD Bicester.
In 1973, following the death in September 1972 of his eldest son,
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
Our condolences go to his wife Doreen and sons, Graham,
David and their families.
�Certa Cito’ Stan and God bless.
ROBINSON - Cpl Alan Robinson died on 3rd April 2003
Alan Robinson was born on
2 February 1921. He joined
the Corps late in the war
because he was working in a
reserved occupation as a test
engineer for EMI, who were
building specialist signaling
equipment.
At the end of the war, Catterick
Camp, a bleak posting, was the
home of some 25,000 soldiers
with almost no entertainment
except two small cinemas in
Camp Centre. There were also
many frustrated theatre people
kicking their heels there whilst
awaiting demob. Like Victor
Serebriakoff (whose obituary appeared in the June 2000 edition
of The WIRE) Alan was one of this number who responded to the
then Brig RTO Cary, who took the initiative to build a professional
theatre and form an all ranks Signals Theatre Club. Brig Cary
discovered he had a largely disused gym in Loos Lines, and within
a week he had volunteers, working under Vic Serebriakoff,
transforming the building into a theatre.
Alan, whose interest was in stage work, rather than acting, was
soon recruited. From November 1945 to April 1947 he dedicated
all has spare time perfecting the stage lighting and settings. He
built a theatre workshop in the stables behind the Theatre, where
he installed two standby petrol generator engines and a mains
changeover panel. The latter were needed to light the Theatre
complex, otherwise the Loos area mains dimmed! Whenever he
made a mistake during a changeover, one could discern all the
camp lights dimming as far as Camp Centre!
From May to July 1946 Alan led a team of Club members in
refitting the theatre with a foyer, box office and an auditorium.
Comfortable seating was acquired for the latter and reliable
electric heating installed. Alan was then able to discard the
original antiquated lighting panel and build a new console. He
415
became known as the House Engineer, and eventually took over
as Stage Director, helping to design and build some magnificent
sets, particularly for The Man Who Came To Dinner. In all, Alan
was involved in 23 productions from the pantomime, Cinderella,
in December 1945 to his last show, The Duke in Darkness in
April 1947.
The Signals Theatre became a household name via the national
press in October 1946, when The Daily Mail and Illustrated
magazine both ran feature articles on it. Alan, with other
members of the stage crew were photographed at work. If
readers of this obituary wish to be reminded about Alan’s efforts,
they will find that virtually all Volumes I & II of the seven volumes
entitled Chronicle of the Signals (Cary) Theatre 1945 to 1973
(which is in the Museum Archive) were collated from his
memorabilia.
On demob, Alan remained a bachelor and returned to EMI, where
he became Chief Instructor of their training school. He retained
his interest in amateur theatre in the Harrow area, where he
concentrated his efforts in his local church and took a leading part
in arranging tours for senior citizens to National Trust properties
and the like.
during the difficult operations over the Rhine, Weser,
Aller, and the Elbe has, at all times been beyond praise.
John continued with 1 Cdo Bde all the way into Germany. He later
served in Egypt and Palestine with the rank of Capt. In civilian life,
he has always been a strong supporter of the Royal British
Legion.
Whilst stationed in the Petworth area during the war, he met
Joyce Pullen. After demobilisation in 1947 he married her and
settled in Petworth, where he joined the footwear business
owned by Joyce’s parents. Their son, Ian was born in 1948. John
spent over 50 years in the footwear business, eventually retiring in
2000.
After a long illness, Joyce died in 1977, and in 1979 John married
Bunny, with whom he shared a strong interest in bowls for many
years. Bunny was a great source of support to John in the final
few weeks of his life.
John will be remembered as an intelligent, generous, self-effacing
and overwhelmingly nice man. He was a good friend to many
people, very supportive of his family and a proud grandfather of
Fiona and Alison. We will all miss him a lot.
CHRISTIE - Capt TJ Christie MA MC (John) died at recently.
John and his brother, Sandy were born in Forres, NorthEast
Scotland into a family of nurserymen. In childhood they led a very
active outdoor life and this was the start of two principle lifetime
interests horticulture and sport.
Educated at Forres Academy, he became Dux in 1940, and was
an enthusiastic member of their football and cricket teams. At
Aberdeen University, he was awarded an MA following a wartime
course. He continued his sporting interests by joining the
University football team and playing for the University throughout
his time there.
After university he volunteered and was accepted for training in
the relatively newly formed Commandos, where he served with
great distinction. In 1944, as a signals officer with 1 Cdo Bde, he
was awarded a Military Cross at the crossing of the Rhine at
Wesel. The Citation for this reads as follows:
Lt Christie is the lines officer in the 1 Cdo Bde Sig Tp.
He was in charge of the line party detailed to produce
line communication across the Rhine after the Bde had
made good the bridgehead at Wesel. It was considered
vital that this line should be laid at the earliest possible
moment. This task was extremely hazardous. All bridges
across the Rhine had been demolished and there was
considerable shelling and sniping of all bridge exits.
As soon as a message had been received that the
objective had been captured Lt Christie took a small
picked line party down to the demolished railway bridge.
At this point, the town of Wesel had not been
completely cleared of enemy and the line party had to
work in full view of an enemy machine gun post sited
upstream on the east bank of the river.
Ordering his small party to pay out the line, Lt Christie
commenced climbing across the twisted bridge spans
carrying the line with him. At times, he had to climb over
girders 100ft above the river while at other times, he
picked his path along spans which were partly
submerged in the water.
The pull on the quadruple cable whenever it touched
the water was tremendous. Nevertheless by sheer
courage and determination, Lt Christie crossed the full
1,500ft length of the demolished bridge under heavy
shell fire and spasmodic sniping and machine gun fire,
and thus enabled vital communications to be
established before the first pontoon bridge had been
commenced. This officer’s devotion to duty and
complete disregard for his own safety was an inspiration
to all who witnessed it.
SMALL ADS
FOUND AFTER KOREAN MEMORIAL SERVICE
A Royal Signals beret, bearing a badge with the King’s crown, was
found near the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey after the
Korean Memorial Service on Wednesday 9 July 03.
The owner can claim it from Terry Randall (ex HMS Ceylon) by
calling him on 02380 411 099.
ENGLAND’S LAST HOPE by Louis Samuels, is a light hearted
collection of stories of the author’s experiences during his two
years’ National Service in Royal Signals during 1956-58. Liberally
illustrated, it is likely to appeal to those who shared the same
experiences and who saw the same humour. Would make a good
gift. Priced at £9.99, including packing and postage, England’s
Last Hope is available from the author. Send your cheque to Louis
Samuels, 20 Richmond Close, Whitefield, Manchester, M45 7PW,
Tel: 0161 766 3761.
THE ROYAL CORPS OF SIGNALS
Unit Histories of the Corps (1920 – 2001) and its Antecedents
by Cliff Lord & Graham Watson
Published in a limited edition of 1,000 copies with each copy
individually numbered, this book contains:
Overviews of the Corps orbat at specific times in history
Details of specialist units, including Cdo and Para units
Histories of 35 Commonwealth and related Signal Corps
Unit histories, both Regular and TA from past to present
Available at the Museum Shop, Blandford at ВЈ29.95 + ВЈ4.00 p&p.
A NATIONAL SERVICEMAN IN KOREA -by George Pagan
The story of a Royal Signals National Serviceman’s stint in Korea
1950-52. Reviewed on page 320 of this issue.
This book is available at ВЈ8.99 + ВЈ1.00 p&p from George Pagan,
16 Dukes Way, Weaver Vale, Kingsmead, Northwich, CW9 8WA,
Tel: 01606 40976.
All net profits go to the Royal Signals Benevolent Fund.
Throughout the Campaign he has continuously shown a
high standard of efficiency, and his work in line laying
416
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
THE 2003
BLANDFORD
REUNION
WEEKEND,
SUNDAY
The Branch Standards provide the backdrop as the School RSM reads the first lesson at
the Drumhead Service
A clutch of Seniors gets ready for the March Past
MajGen Tony Boyle leads the Officers
The Korean Veterans march together
THE WIRE, AUGUST 2003
The last Reunion Weekend as Master of Signals for MajGen and Mrs
Sprackling, here flanked by his ADC and the SOinC(A)
417
418
T H E WIRE, AUGUST 2003
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