The Wire Article From November to December 1969  
                                                       
 

SUMMER CAMP, 1969

THIS year, summer camp was held at No. 82 W.E.T.C., Menai Bridge, Anglesey, from 1st to 14th August. Prior to camp, Major Ron Hardy, QC. H.Q. Squadron, moved out with his administrative staff and took over the centre. On 1st August, Major Bryan Postlethwaite, QC. 1 Squadron, with his Squadron and other elements, descended on the centre for a week. From, 8th August, Major Richard Reynolds, O.C. 2 Squadron, did likewise.

 

The training programme was basically the same for each week and consisted mainly of plenty of exercise, culminating in battle efficiency tests.

The First Week

The first week had Officers, W.O.s and Sergeants bursting the Mess ante-room at its seams. As well as 1 Squadron Officers, W.O.s and Seniors, we had the Adjutant, R.S.M., Captain Duncan Smith, Oxford O.C.T.U., and Officer Cadet Simon Arbuthnott, 37th Regiment (V). We enjoyed having both Duncan and Simon with us and hope that the Mess was not too expensive for Duncan, he having learned more Mess rules than he ever thought existed!

 

Troops were named ‘Mercury,’ Gemini’ and ‘Apollo,’ in line with the times, and the Regiment’s task of going to far-flung places and reaching for the stars.

       
                                                       
     

The week started with P.T., map-reading and first aid revision, then followed an orienteering exercise around the roads of Anglesey. Although the map-reading was a little shaky, all made the finish in good time, some teams jogging round.

 

The first sports afternoon was spent with Troops sorting out their teams for the competitions in soccer, volleyball, basketball and tug-of-war. The second afternoon saw the actual competition, when competitive spirit was very high. The sports, P.T. and battle efficiency tests were organised by W.O.II (Q.M.S.I.) Underwood, who put a lot of hard work into it. By kind permission of the RA. Trials Establishment TY Croes, we had the use of their sports field, range and showers; without these a lot of training could not have taken place.

 

Monday was range classification day, and the results were good. Firing stopped for an hour as H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh was landing at R.A.F. Valley, up the road. This cease-fire was strictly observed, the OC. not wishing to be accommodated in the Tower, and assuming that the axe these days is made by Wilkinson Sword.

 

The hill-walking exercise took place in the hills near Snowdonia, nine to ten miles across country, map-reading and hard exercise, but in magnificent weather. The OC. decided to get his exercise by doing check point on the highest peak; the Adjutant took the second and Major Ron Hardy the third. The Adjutant, Captain Phil Bye, gave us all advice on hill-walking from his own experience - this was of great benefit. The teams made excellent timings and, though there was the odd person with stomach trouble, nobody broke anything.

 
                                                       
 

The observation exercise took place in Anglesey and proved the point that one can leave one’s eyes open, but it doesn’t necessarily mean one sees anything.

 

The last day was the day of battle efficiency tests. This was the day the Q.M.S.I. P.T. could be seen with a twinkle in his eye. The tests went well, the crop of blisters not being too big. The final afternoon, everybody had off to relax. Throughout the week a severe strain was put on the beer, supply system in North Wales and the P.R.I., and it is understood many useful contacts were made.

 

Finally, before the quotes and the second week experiences, it must be emphasised that the excellent training and enjoyment could not have been possible without the hard work put in by Major Hardy and his administrative staff, particularly the cooks, who excelled themselves. .

       
                                                       
     

Quotes

We, take our hats off to:

  1. The team on the orienteering exercise who, at the start, went off down a road with a sign showing a dead end, later to return to a grinning R.S.M.
  2. The Corporal on the observation exercise, who bought an ice cream from his Troop Commander in a shop without recognising him.
  3. ‘Apollo’ Troop for (a) Winning the Troop Competition; (b) keeping the breweries in business; (c) Winning the volley-ball by one win and two honks (R.S.M. quote).
  4. The senior N.C.O. who, on a check point at 2,800 feet in the hills, recognised three civilian hill walkers at three miles distant to be girls.
  5. The two soldiers for whom every late night out cost them extra in the morning.
  6. The two Officers and two Warrant Officers who had a permanent bridge school.
 
                                                       
 

The Second Week

The second week was on a much smaller scale, but enthusiasm was not lacking. Because of the scarcity of Officers (there being only two) Troops were split up into the highly original X, Y and Z, each commanded, for the purpose of our short stay, by a senior N.C.O. This system worked extremely well.

 

The week’s activities went very smoothly, and everyone put the maximum effort into everything. The fishing was poor, but the birds, feathered and various, that surrounded the island compensated for this.

 

The Weather was reasonable, but the one day it decided to rain had to be during the Snowdonia exercise. In fact, this was not altogether a bad thing, as it illustrated how efficient Troops are at finding their way when visibility is down to ten yards. It also gave them first-hand experience of the dangers of exposure.

 

The observation exercise proved equally interesting and humorous. The D.S. could be found suitably disguised as North Sea Gas labourers, confectionery salesmen, and café waiters. Needless to say, no pay was forthcoming.

       
                                                       
       

The week ended with P.E. tests; there were few failures. A picnic lunch was to have been held on the beach but, due to the bad weather, the lunch and prize giving had to be confined to the Trials Establishment, Royal Artillery, sports field.

 

Summer camp has therefore ended for another year. Certainly for 2 Squadron, it will be remembered as an enjoyable week; a week of hard competition and gratifying results.

 

Our thanks must go to the permanent staff of HQ. Squadron who looked after us so well. Thanks must also go to the P.R.I. for the constant supply of necessities and for the excellent film shows provided.

 
                                                       
 

Northern Ireland here we come
Flaps always start on a weekend

B TROOP (645) on the move again. As always happens, flaps start on a weekend. Having spent the previous week appreciating the situation, we were all convinced that events in Northern Ireland would have little effect on us, especially as we knew that Projects Troop had spent some time there in the spring installing additional equipment.

 

On Friday, 15th August, with minds at ease, everyone stood down and the Troop Commander, Captain J. V. Fielding, went on leave. Saturday morning, as it has done in the past, provided a rude awakening. We were on four hours’ notice to emplane with effect from 12.00 hours, 18th August, to an undesignated theatre of operations via Northern Ireland!

That’s not your Hercules”

At 11.30 on 18th August we left camp knowing that we were to go to Lyneham (that information arrived at 10.30) for emplanement to Aldergrove, near Belfast. Other incidental information, like a Complan, task and final destination, would be given us en route. Nevertheless, undismayed, we eventually arrived at Aldergrove, having virtually picked our Hercules at Lyneham and loaded them ourselves with only one mistake: “Ere mate, that’s not your Hercules! Try the next one.”

 

As there was no one at Aldergrove, save for a few very tired R.A.F. Mobile Air Movement men, doubt began to be felt. All was soon clear, after a few phone calls. It transpired r that we would be picked up by transport to go to Lisburn Camp. We arrived there at about 20.00 hours and were briefed for our task. Having sited our equipment, we then went to bed.

     
                                                       
       

Through by that evening

Next morning we finished off preparing our equipment, the majority of which was nicely ‘situated outside the main H.Q. building on a beautifully-kept lawn by the main entrance. Being in such a location, the remainder of the day was spent connecting up the equipment tidily with D10, six-pair and anything else, and this involved of lot of plumbing, i.e., looking for sewers, ducts, etc., to hide it from prying staff-like eyes.

 

The Complan was fixed by telephone with H.Q., DCN and with Boddington over a teleprinter on the land line, and by 18.00 hours that evening We were ‘through.’ Our teleprinters were removed into the Commcen manned by 233 Signal Squadron, and by late evening everything was well.

 

Since that Tuesday, the detachment has been providing both HF and line circuits and, apart from the fact that the Commcen has been knocked down and rebuilt around our ears, all goes well. Our conference printer, removed from our cabin, now resides in a special part of the Commcen, suitably furnished, carpeted and soundproofed, as befits the potential users, be they Ministers of State or mere G.O.C.s.

 
                                                       
 

Helping 233 Squadron

Now the Troop Commander has returned to the Regiment, lest he be gradually absorbed by 233 Squadron, leaving the Foreman, W.O.I (F. of S.) Bob Jarrett, in command. To pass his time, he has helped 233 Squadron install an HF overlay to guard three important circuits in Northern Ireland, and. Is now assisting in installing new security equipment in 233 Squadron’s shiny Commcen. He phones us daily to keep in touch.

 

Finally, we all owe thanks to 233 Squadron and their C.O., Major John Montague, for all the administrative arrangements and for quietly assimilating us into the Squadron so that the detachment has only to worry about the job in hand. Also, we have only been too pleased to help, in turn, in the rebuilding of their Commcen.

       
                                                       
       

14th Regiment leaves Robinswood Barracks

After 15 years in residence, the last contingent of 14th Regiment left Robinswood Barracks, Gloucester, on 5th September to join the main body of the Regiment at Norton Barracks, 25 miles away in Worcester.

 

This was no overnight affair. It involved a planned transition period, which began early in the year when the advance party left to, lay the technical and administrative foundations in Worcester. This was followed at intervals by the various departments and troops until finally, in mid-August, there remained a only a rear party, commanded by Major Peter Tidey, Royal Signals. This consisted of Major Joan Parker, W.R.A.C., W.O 1(now Captain) Arthur Stringer, W.O.II Pete Smith, W.O.II ‘Duggie’ Livermore; Staff Sergeant ‘Jacko’ Jackson and Sergeant Jim Wren, A.C.C., with a score or so of N.C.O.s and men whose task was to gather together the chattels and accoutrements of a Regiment ready to handover to the M.P.B.W. and Barracks.

 

During this period the rear party had withdrawn from their billets and Messes around the camp and occupied the old Officers’ Mess in the camp centre renaming it ‘Royal Signals Country Club.’ Here the dwindling company took their tea breaks in the mornings, dallied at dinner and foregathered for fun in the evenings. The accompanying pictures show the mood that prevailed during the last of these social gatherings.

 

The work went on, however, and gradually the old Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess and the main cookhouse were packed to the doors with furniture and fittings, machines and materials, baskets and bric-a-brac. The O.C.’s desk ‘slummed’ with tables-writing-two persons, plates-soup or sweet, shared floor space with dishes-hors d’oeuvre and bureaux-senior officers.

 
                                                       
 

Finally the work was finished. The rear party, having worked itself out of a job, packed their kit and said farewell. No celebration-just a last cup of tea and into the transport. If there was a final parade it was held in the old Sergeants’ Mess, where three rigid ranks of steel lockers stood smartly under the gaze of a crowd of 300 chairs-folding flat.

 

Left behind to hand over the huts and the history, the cares and the keys, were S.Q.M.S. ‘Duggie’ Livermore and Staff Sergeant Jackson. ‘Jacko,’ his time finished, had to leave prematurely (his cheerful and patient presence will be missed). And so the watchman, after the hand-over, lowered the main gate barrier on a solitary car driven by the S.Q.M.S.

 

Was that a sigh of relief or nostalgia that escaped him as he looked back in his rear-view mirror? Perhaps, like all of us in 14th Regiment, as he headed his car towards Worcester, he felt a little of both.

Visit by G.O.C. "West Midland District

On Wednesday, 8th October, the G.O.C. West Midland District, Major-General W. G. S. Mills, C.B.E., made an informal visit to the Regiment. On arrival he inspected the Quarter Guard, provided by the present M.P.T. I Course, consisting of members of this Regiment and other Signals Units. As usual on such visits the G.O.C. had a lot to see in a short time, covering the Squadrons and their equipment, accommodation and administrative facilities.

 

The Regiment is administered by West Midland District, though under command of Strategic Command. The G.O.C., therefore, was particularly interested in the work being done to improve the conditions in the barracks, including the alterations of barrack rooms to provide smaller and more pleasant rooms for living-in soldiers. The G.O.C. visited the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess before lunch to meet all the Warrant Officers and Sergeants, before finishing off his visit with lunch with Lieutenant-Colonel Tony Baker and the officers of the Regiment.

       
                                                       
       

REPORT FROM 1 SQUADRON
Here, there and everywhere

To keep up the record of providing the most, 1 Squadron have been asked to provide WIRE notes for this month, in addition to the wealth of articles provided for the previous one.

 

The Squadron provides, as part of 14th Regiment’s Force Rear Link role for Strategic Command, the medium HF detachments of airportable D13/R234 and D11 R230 stations. The detachments spend a lot of their time in sunny places and also in not so sunny ones, varying from the Caribbean to Denmark. At present there are detachments in Anguilla and Northern Ireland.

 

The O.C. Squadron, Major Bryan Postlethwaite, and S.S.M., W.O.II Alan Walton, see men winging their way around the world, while they remain U.K. bound. However, they did manage to cross water to Anglesey, but even that was over a bridge!

 
                                                       
 

IN SEARCH OF THE SHAMROCK
Contributed by W.O.1 (F. of S.) A. R. Jarrett

Greetings from Northern Ireland, where the renewal of civil strife in mid-August, and the consequent build-up of troops, demanded that ‘B’ Troop should again ‘grab a piece of the action.’

 

Thus it was that Detachment l, nobly throwing aside all plans for their block leave, instead made a smart air-move to HQ. Northern Ireland, Where we quickly established our usual radio link with the D.C.N. before pausing to take stock of our new surroundings.

 

After the initial shock of discovering that we were not (for once) in a duty-free paradise, and that the natives speak passable English, we further realised that we were but part of a tidal wave threatening to engulf the resident 233 Signal Squadron. Elements of other Royal Signals units from England followed us quickly, and some idea of the administrative problems involved may be gathered from the fact that the Squadron’s strength more than trebled in a few days. Several times the Squadron Commander, Major J. A. Montague, was seen to be searching vainly for a familiar face! Now, after several weeks, he possibly finds them all too familiar!

 

Communications of all kinds expanded rapidly in the initial phase, and inter-unit co-operation on every front was most impressive. We offered our widow’s mite by erecting our spare 80-foot mast at the local helicopter pad, to support a guide light.

 

As this note is written, the Detachment and its air-portable equipment has been on the air non-stop for more than seven weeks, a new record as far as we know for this type of station, though we should admit that we are using the public electricity supply!

0n the personnel front, Captain Fielding and Foreman Jarratt were amply rewarded for their deft swopping of Detachments prior to this operation - both of them were called when the time came, though Captain Fielding (QC. Troop) returned to Worcester after the initial phase.

 

Sorry, no pictures this time, but we will see what we can do with our next despatch, if, indeed, it comes from here!

     
                                                       
       

MIND BLOW (1969)
(or the Isle of Wight Festival of Music 1969)
by Lance-Corporal Ray Russell and Lance-Corporal Dorling

Travelling by the plebeian method, British Rail to the uninitiated, we arrived at the festival-site early on Friday afternoon. The site consisted of an arena, built to contain about 250,000 bodies, and the ‘ village,’ now a relic of the past but, at the time, famous for its ‘Skid Row,’ ‘ Destruction Row’ and ‘The House.’ "We were quite surprised at the number of people already at the village and, as all the ‘kip’ houses were full or ‘booked,’ we wandered off into a nearby field and spread our houses (sleeping bags) on the ground.

 

Around six o’clock we drifted into the arena to the sound of what was to be the festival signature tune, a really gas piece called ‘Amazing Grace’ by the ‘Great Awakening.’ It was, in fact, a. version of ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ that had been added to and deducted from, so that all the uptight people wouldn’t really recognise it. The live music began and gradually an atmosphere was built up so that, by the time that Unique Bonzo Dog appeared at ten o’clock, there was an electrifying atmosphere amongst what was now known as People (us!).

 

The Bonzo’s performance can only be adequately described as a musical goon show. Then came the first real mind blow. The Nice! Just to sit still and listen was impossible. The People were really swung by this time and were swaying side to side in tempo. To give a description of The Nice’s performance we would» probably run out of superlatives. Needless to say there was an encore, two in fact. Finally, after a supper of hot dogs and doughnuts, it was off to bed.

 
                                                       
 

Saturday morning passed off quietly and then off into the arena. Notable performances came from Eclection, The Who, Blodwyn Pig, Moody Blues, Family, Joe Cooker and the Edgar Broughton Band. During Edgar’s gig a young lady started doing her thing at the side of the crowd and then, when she had finally managed to shed the skins, started moving among the People about six feet in front of us, to the cries of “Sit down” and “Get out of the way.” The night’s performances were really ‘lit up’ by the marvellous stage lighting. So was she!

 

Sunday dawned and by eight-thirty of the clock people were queuing for entrance to the arena, which didn’t open till 11.30. While this was happening we decided to have our first solid meal for two-and-a-half days. This meant that Ray went into the tent and squatted our places while I was left to wait standing to be served for an hour-and-a-half. After having finished ‘nosh’ we saw, for the second time, three friends from the Regiment, namely Nick Hughes, ‘Fub’ Williams and Pete Archard. Having supplied them with light refreshment we then meandered around the village till 11.30. Then we started to the arena. Being experienced ‘crowd gainers’ we were inside the arena in about 2O minutes, long before some of the people who were waiting at half past eight.

 

The only disappointing performances on Sunday came from Bob Dylan and the Band. Tom Paxton far outshone Bob Dylan, whose performance really was a hang up. Artistes for Sunday were Pentagle, Tom Paxton, Julie Felix, Third Ear Band (only for the initiated), Indo jazz Fusions (also for the initiated), Garry Farr, Ritchie Havens and the Liverpool Scene.

 

British Rail (someone bless their souls!) had laid on a half hourly ferry service from Ryde but, as we had arrived via Cowes, a very cold night (the only cold night, in fact) was spent on West Cowes Pier waiting for the 6.30 a.m. ferry back to the outside world and thoughts of work.

 

Footnote: For people who complain about noisy transistors and jets, try sitting 60feet from two-and-a-half thousand watts of, to us, beautiful sounds.

       
                                                       
                       

647 Signal Troop, Christchurch

SINCE our last appearance in THE WIRE the Troop has taken on a new job. We have in fact changed from ‘Hairy Communicators’ into ‘Scientific Advisory and Maintenance Staff (Unadopted).’ We have the task of maintaining the earth terminal (calibrated) during the in-orbit testing of the new Skynet satellite, with which everyone is doubtless familiar.

 

Along with this slight change in Troop status, Sergeant Geoff Timms, Corporal Jim Balfour and Lance-Corporal Chris Collier have taken the plunge and got married, with Corporal Dave Stanbridge to follow shortly. Congratulations and best wishes to them and their wives. Congratulations are also due to Corporal and Mrs. Dave Watson on the birth of their daughter, Angela, and also to Corporal and Mrs. Jim Menzies on the birth of a daughter, Lesley. Condolences are offered to Sergeant ‘Al’ Forrest on the demise of his beloved computer ‘Myriad,’ born 1966, died 1969. Despite logic transplants and voltage transfusions she coughed and stopped. “Never have so many. . .”

 

Summer started this year with Sergeants Keith Austin and Joe Brand qualifying as ‘C’ helmsmen at Lilliput Sailing Club, Poole, and Sergeant Roger Foster organising capsize drill in the Solent, to the amusement of the passengers on the Isle of Wight ferry.

 

Located on the Isle of Wight is our new satellite simulator, which we use for checking the pointing accuracy of our antenna. The Isle of Wight, however, appeared to be moving, so we sent our Isle of Wight expert, Sergeant John Fletcher, to see what was happening. He came back muttering about pop concerts and too much foam and we have had no trouble since.

 
                                                       
 

During June the UK / TSC 500 Earth Station arrived, manned by 617 Signal Troop (now ‘S’ Troop, 14th Regiment). They are participating in trials prior to Skynet tests. Their equipment quickly became known as the dinky toy version due to its diminutive size. However, not having done the Skynet course, we left them to their own devices.

 

With July came some American visitors, both scientific and military, who helped us celebrate Empire Day (4th July). I wonder if they knew? Oh to be in Wales in August! Summer camp, for the lucky few, proved to be a popular event, with the possible exception of the second week which was apparently wet, weather-wise.

 

Sergeant John Rusling had a lucky break in Wales when phoning camp for transport after an exercise. Asked by the operator for his exchange and number he looked at the dial. “Good Heavens,” he exclaimed, “its O.K.,” answered the operator, “I know just where you are.”

 

August also saw Sergeant Rod Dixon off to Warminster on a weapons’ course. His chair in the office was ably taken by Sergeant Ken Pilkington, to the everlasting joy of the S.R.D.E. telephone operators.

                           
                                                       
                       

Our golfing members, Sergeant Keith Austin and Corporal Steve Stevens, are after the John Parker Cup (the S.R.D.E. championship) this year. With the O.C., Major Mike Hales, defending it, having won it last year, there should be some fierce competition (if the confidential reports have been written in time!). Amongst our other sportsmen helping out the Corps and. the Regiment at soccer, cricket and shooting, we have Signalman Mick Warwick, who is the backbone of the local civilian rugby club.

 

Autumn courses have started and the Troop accommodation appears quite deserted with Corporals ‘Mac’ MacIntosh and Pete Hyatt, and Lance-Corporal Ian Cox, all away on M.P.C. courses at Worcester, and Corporal Brian Oram to follow shortly on a Tl entrance course.

New arrivals to the Troop include Lance-Corporal Stan Davis and Signalman ‘Andy ’ Stokoe, not to mention Signalman ‘Dib’ Dibbie’s new car, in which, so I am told, he and Corporal ‘Bas’ Pheasant are mistaken for the local landed gentry.

 

Finally, a word about the Troop Aqua Vitae Club. Founded by our Foreman of Signals, W.O.I Pete Gill, regular meetings are held at the ‘Nelson.’ We were hoping for an away match at Alton, but this unfortunately had to be cancelled for reasons beyond our control.

 
                                                       
 

’ T’ Troop, 3 Squadron, Worcester.

During the past few months ’T’ Troop has been waiting with baited breath for the ’phone call to state when acceptance tests of M Two (the second ‘TSC 500) are to be started. No date for acceptance has yet been published and the Troop continues to wait.

 

All members of the Troop have been detached to Christchurch for practical working on M. One, M Two’s twin sister. The majority have attended Skynet courses run by the RAF at S.R.D.E., Christchurch. All are now spending their waiting time on upgrading, military proficiency and education courses.

Sergeant Peter Smurthwaite has recently made the grade by representing the Army at soccer. He has played in six matches this season and represented the Army when they beat Colchester 2-1 .

 

The Troop was given the task of building the Regimental bonfire for 5th November. Sergeant ‘Marty’ Bevis was N.C.O. in charge of the preparation and he managed to build an absolute mountain of a bonfire with the aid of the Regimental crane. The fire was a. complete success and-was still burning at 10.00 hours the following day.

 

Sergeant John Foster, our Army cyclist, has given up competitive cycling for the rest of the season. He just does 20 miles a day to keep in trim!

                           
                                                       
                       

Tailpiece

Higher authority asked, “Could you use a ‘Honda Monkey Bike’ as a recce vehicle?” One Troop Commander, who prefers to remain anonymous, waxed poetical in giving his views.

Ode to a Nippon bike

I have always wanted a ride
On a Honda Monkey Bike.
In recces I take a pride,
Moped is better than bike.
But on a more serious note,
Do you really think this is suitable?

I don’t honestly want you to vote,
On the whys and the wherefores of pedal.
But now since the question is raised,
I will say just a few short words
That I think- the whole scheme is absurd
And, should truly be kept for the birds. '