Page 1



LONDON BRIDGE The Journal of the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association for Greater London

IN THIS ISSUE: HMS PRESIDENT gets City Privilege status 151 Regiment brave Mount Everest HAC officer top at Sandhurst Medics share battlefield knowledge

600 Squadron hosts F-35B Fighter

Contents 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

> View from the Bridge




> HMS PRESIDENT City Privilege Regiment Status Award

12 14

> Lord Mayor’s Show

15 16



> Army Training Unit (London) BERLIN CHALLENGE


> 256 Field Hospital share skills > Mary Seacole statue unveiling > Training Day for Ambulance Services > Open Evening in Kensington

20 21 22 23 24

> 221 Field Squadron - Blanchard Challenge

> Reserves Day > Remembrance Day > London Poppy Day > Employer update > Gold Awards > Silver Awards Exercise VIKING STAR > Sharpe Shooter > Community Engagement – City Hall Briefing > Somme Commemoration/ Stepping Forward presentation > 71 Signal Regiment – Veterans’ Day

> Naval Reserves in action

> URNU Kayaker rescue

> Military Police Reserve guard Tower of London > Gunner celebrates 100th Birthday

> 106 Regiment RA - EX VAMBRACE WARRIOR > HAC Officer awarded MacRobert Sword

VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE Colonel Hugh Purcell Chief Executive The end of 2016 saw the winds of change sweeping through London’s Armed Forces landscape with a particular focus on the Army, both Regular and Reserve, with changes to unit formations and basing announced. Both East and West London will see significant changes to the Army’s footprint in the capital with plans to close the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow and Woolwich Barracks, the historic home of the Royal Artillery. The Royal Military School of Music will also be moving out of Kneller Hall in Twickenham. While these changes are some way off, with the sites listed for disposal not before 2020, or 2028 for Woolwich, we are already factoring them into GL RFCA’s planning for future basing for Reserves and Cadets. Our intention is to work with the Services and Defence Infrastructure Organisation to develop modern fit for purpose Reserve Centres, each optimised to accommodate a number of defence sub-units, with provision for Cadets, Regular Army colleagues and other government departments as required.

Where feasible Reserves will also colocate on Regular sites. In designing sites for the future we will take account of the needs of other public agencies, for example the Metropolitan Police and London Fire Brigade, to ensure we can continue to provide them with training facilities and enhance the availability of short-term accommodation for people temporarily in London and for resilience. Most importantly the locations of Army Reserve Centres will accommodate the refinement of Reserve units in the capital, including the raising of a new company for The London Regiment and changes to provision for 7 RIFLES. Finally, we will be moving London Bridge and Cadet London Bridge to be annual publications, with the next edition produced in early 2018, while introducing a quarterly e-newsletter to keep readers up to date with Reserve and Cadet issues on a more regular basis.

> London Irish Rifles – WW2 memorial unveiling in Italy

London Bridge and Cadet London Bridge are published once a year – in January. We always welcome feedback, so if you have any comments or suggestions please contact us. Equally if you would like to submit an article for future issues of either newsletter, please email it by 1 December to Mark Demery: or call 020 7384 4676

> National Reserves HQ RA EX DESERT SCORPION > 135 Squadron - EX COCKNEY PADDLER > 600 Squadron host F-35B Lightning II Strike Fighter > WW1 Soldier’s Tale > Alternative Venues London


The best article in London Bridge submitted by a unit or individual will receive £100. The star article for this issue can be found on page 21.

Front Cover 221 Field Squadron raise £4,865 for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Full story on page 20.

Edited, designed & produced by DNA Ltd.

Reserves Day 2016 Reserves Day (formerly known as Uniform to Work Day) is an opportunity for the whole of the UK to recognise the contribution Reserve Forces make to UK defence, and for Reservists to show pride in their service.    Berni King works in Canary Wharf as a Court Clerk supporting the administration of justice at East London Family Court. But when she’s not behind her desk or in court she takes on a second, equally responsible, role in the Army Reserve. The 26-year-old from Havering has been a trained soldier with 151 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) for eight months, with its role as part of the Army’s reaction force a key reason for choosing to join the Regiment. “Joining the RLC appealed to me as it means I can support, supply and keep the Army working. It offers a wide variety of exercises that you are actively encouraged to take part in.” Above all Berni says being part of the Army Reserve is fulfilling because of “The sense of achievement, that motivation to be a better person and to continually learn, climb the ranks and build on the skills I’ve developed.”

Private Berni King

In the complex world of local government legislation solicitor Louise Mathie makes sure Epsom & Ewell Borough Council are always operating within the rules. Away from her desk-based work, Louise likes to move things – people, vehicles, equipment, stores, everything it takes to put and keep the Army training and operating at home and abroad. She is currently a Sergeant with 162 Regiment RLC, having joined the Reserves to “Do something different from the day job and meet new people.”

Sergeant Louise Mathie

The nine years she has spent in the Reserves have certainly delivered those objectives. Louise has deployed twice to Afghanistan, gained a number of qualifications in her field and taken part in adventurous training including competing in the RLC Ski Championship. As she says, “I have travelled to places and countries I would not have experienced outside the military and I have met and worked with people from around the world.”

Playing two tunes – the Musical Reservists Army Reservist Musicians Adrian Snood and Olivia Wild spent Reserves Day at Howarth of London, the musical instrument shop where they both work, wearing their Army uniforms. Olivia oversees the sales and marketing of clarinets within the specialist woodwind company and Adrian is a mail order manager. Both are also members of the the Band of the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) – Olivia, an Alto Saxophonist and Adrian, a tuba player. Adrian also plays the double bass in the Regimental Orchestra. Olivia said, “I wanted to join the Army as a musician but I wanted at the same time to be able to retain a civilian career. The HAC as a regiment and the HAC band both have a very prestigious reputation and I am proud to be part of it.” Adrian is no stranger to military bands and music having spent twenty years in the Grenadier Guards Band serving in Northern Ireland and Bosnia, he added, “The HAC Band performs duties similar to Household Division Bands and being part of it allows me to perform music at the highest level whilst working in a musical environment. The friendship, camaraderie and the standard of excellence within the unit all contribute to my being an Army Reservist.”

Army Reservist Musicians Adrian Snood and Olivia Wild LONDON BRIDGE WINTER 2016/17



City Hall Representatives of all three Services, including Officer Cadets and Cadets, were at City Hall for the Greater London Authority’s annual Service of Remembrance. Hosted by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, the London Assembly and the City Hall Branch of the Royal British Legion, the service included an address by the Bishop of London, The Right Reverend Dr Richard Chartres. Mayors and Deputy Lieutenants from boroughs across London attended while faith representatives from the Muslim Council of Britain, Network of Sikh Organisations, Hindu Forum of Britain and Finchley Reform Synagogue took part in the service. As a

bugler from the Band of the Coldstream Guards played Last Post to start the two minutes silence, HMS SEVERN came into view as she made her way

up the Thames to berth alongside HMS BELFAST. The service ended with Veterans and serving personnel standing to receive a round of applause.

Paras provide Guard of Honour

© BackPageImages

4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment provided the Guard of Honour and walked out the match ball at the London derby between QPR FC and Brentford FC at Loftus Road. The nominal roll of the fallen players from both teams was read before the bugler played the Last Post followed by the teams and fans observing a two-minute silence.

The Royal Yeomanry on parade The New King’s Road in West London was cleared of traffic on the morning of Remembrance Sunday as the Royal Yeomanry led a parade to All Saint’s Church for Hammersmith & Fulham’s Remembrance Service. Cadets from 239 Fulham Army Cadet Force and 344 (Fulham) Squadron Air Training Corps formed up by



Parsons Green with local St John Ambulance Cadets and a marching band. The Royal Yeomanry were also on parade the day before as they marched from Wellington Barracks to Westminster Abbey to lay up their Guidon.

London Poppy Day The streets and transport hubs of the capital were awash with uniforms on 3rd November as hundreds of Service personnel fanned out across London to collect for the Royal British Legion’s annual London Poppy Day, the largest oneday street collection of its kind in the UK. From early morning until the ebb of the evening rush hour, Regulars, Reservists, Veterans and Cadets collected over £800,000 to support the Legion’s Welfare and Remembrance goals. Soprano, Laura Wright joined Defence Secretary Michael Fallon to get the day off to a tuneful start in Covent Garden alongside the RAF Spitfires Choir, while military bands performed at mainline train stations stopping thousands of commuters in their tracks. London-based personnel were joined by numerous colleagues from units based outside the capital to boost the collection effort. There was also high-ranking support from across the Commonwealth and beyond at Victoria Station as officers from around the world, attending the Royal College of Defence Studies, did a pre-classes collecting stint.




Niall Ahern – Employer Engagement update The latter half of 2016 has been a busy and productive time for engagement at GL RFCA HQ with our expanded team now fully operational. That’s meant we are able to offer organisations extra support as they commit to signing the Armed Forces Covenant, deliver their commitments to a fair deal for the Forces community and by acknowledging their success through the Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Awards. Now entering their third year, the ERS Awards go from strength to strength with continued strong support from government, senior leaders from all three Services and, at this year’s Gold Award ceremony, HRH The Duke of Cambridge. Organisations large and small from a wide range of sectors have shown what a difference they can make to the lives of Reserves, Regulars, Service leavers and Veterans through positive action and it’s right that their efforts are recognised. To maintain the prestige and high standards of the Awards, the engagement team will now be meeting with those organisations who received one in the first year to check that they are still fulfilling the criteria to enable them to hold that Award. This provides the organisation

and defence an opportunity to ensure that their commitments to support for the Armed Forces community are being met. Organisations can choose not to renew the Award or one of the Engagement Team can recommend that the organisation goes forward for re-nomination. Our hope is that all of the organisations who have reached the three year point will want to continue supporting these initiatives and seek re-approval for the prestigious Awards. The nomination window for ERS 2017 is now open via our website link below. Please note that Bronze Award nominations are open all year round, Silver Award nominations close on the 28th April whilst Gold Award nominations close on the 16th June. If you would like to get in touch about any of our events or defence initiatives please contact me on my email or via the web link below.

Niall Ahern Senior Employer Engagement Director

Email: Web:



At the Royal Hospital Chelsea in October, Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, presented twenty-two organisations with the Ministry of Defence’s highest accolade for employer support, the Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award. The event was hosted by Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon (pictured with Prince William) who said: “Employers across the country are ensuring



our military get a fair deal by helping Veterans to have successful careers after leaving service. These companies are rightly being recognised for the support they offer under the Armed Forces Covenant and encouraging other firms to go the extra mile.” The full list of employers recognised for their outstanding support for Defence personnel included: AECOM, Atos UK Ltd, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Boeing Defence UK Ltd, Bureau Veritas, DJ Rees Decorating Services Limited,

Doncaster Council, Dundee City Council, Hampshire County Council, HSBC, Kier Group, KPMG, Nationwide Building Society, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Pertemps, QinetiQ, Holt’s Military Bank/NatWest/Royal Bank of Scotland, Scottish Ambulance Service, Surrey County Council, TA Plastic Supplies Ltd, United Utilities and Waves Training Solutions Ltd.


SILVER STRIKES TWELVE Twelve London-based organisations have been presented with the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award for their support to the Armed Forces.

They all employ Reservists and/or Veterans, and have actively demonstrated their support for Defence personnel including giving additional leave to Reservists to attend training; advertising jobs to people leaving the Armed Forces; offering work placements or interviews to Veterans; and encouraging staff to join the Reserve Forces or to become a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer.

The Silver Awards were presented by Mark Lancaster MP, Minister for Defence Veterans, Reserves and Personnel; Commodore David Elford, Naval Regional Commander for Eastern England; Brigadier Michael McGovern, Deputy Commander London District and Air Commodore Richard Barrow, Air Commodore Air Staff. Congratulating the winners, Mark Lancaster said: “As a serving Reservist for the past 29 years I’m in a privileged position to be in a job I’m very passionate about. The Employer Recognition Scheme is incredibly valuable and as a department we value the support you provide to our service personnel. I would like to thank you for backing our Reservists, recognising the value of the skills, flexibility and professionalism they bring to your workplace.”   The awards ceremony, held at the Cavalry and Guards Club, heard how supportive employers can make a difference to the lives of people connected to the Armed Forces. The twelve companies who received an Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award were: Alstom, Balfour Beatty, Brunel University London, CBRE, Citigroup, CPPC Logistics, EBM Office Centre, FDM Group, Manpower Group, Manufacturing Technology Association, The Poppy Factory and Transport for London.

EXERCISE VIKING STAR The Employer Engagement team at GL RFCA spend a lot of time talking to civilian employers about the positive impact employing Reservists and Service leavers can have in their business and the benefits of the training Reserves and Regulars receive. But there’s nothing better than getting the opportunity to show employers that training in action. So in September a group of seven employers were whisked off for two days to watch 101 (City of London) Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) honing their skills in Denmark.

Angela Reed from the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry was one of the guest employers. “A packed programme included IED (improvised explosive device) detection, sampling army ration packs, and participation in a live training exercise using search dogs to locate threats such as IEDs and undertaking controlled explosions. “I sat in a tank wearing a special bomb disposal suit in temperatures of 30 degrees while the

integrated units of Regulars and Reservists (in full kit and back packs) went through their paces. In the sweltering heat their professionalism was supreme and the employer group’s respect for their valuable contribution knew no bounds.” Companies and organisations on the visit included J.P.Morgan, BNY Mellon, Gieves & Hawkes, RS French, Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police, all of whom employ Reservists.




Gieves & Hawkes team scoops top prize in Civilian Military Skills Competition Ten teams from the City of London’s financial and corporate sectors got together at the Honourable Artillery Company in City Road in October to battle it out at this year’s Exercise SHARPE SHOOTER.    Hosted by the City of London Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association, SHARPE SHOOTER is an annual indoor military skills competition at which City organisations are given a chance to compete against each other in a fun and friendly military environment. The aim of the event is to generate awareness of the Reserve Forces among London firms, many of which have employees serving as Reservists and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers. The winning team from Gieves & Hawkes joined runners-up PwC with teams from Baltic Exchange, British Transport Police, FDM Group, Goldman Sachs,

J.P.Morgan, RBS, UBS and WPP to put their teamwork and observational skills to the test during the course of the evening as they visited 10 stands run by some of London’s Reserve Forces units and Cadet Sectors. The statistics and the scoreboard were run by the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) who also, with the University of London Officer Training Corps (ULOTC), provided escorts for the teams.  It was a very closely contested event which was enjoyed by all who took part. Rear Admiral Sir Jeremy de Halpert, a Commissioner of Lieutenancy for the City of London, presented silver salvers to the winners and runners-up on behalf of the Lieutenancy. The salver won by the winning team was donated by the Worshipful Company of International Bankers.


City Hall briefing GL RFCA arranged for Commanders of the three Services in London to brief members of the London Assembly at City Hall in October. Presentations covered the military footprint in London and the role of London’s military units; support to the Cadet movement and resilience planning. Particular emphasis was put on explaining the role of Reserve Forces and Cadets in not only supporting the Regular Forces but also contributing to a safer, more cohesive society.

Tony Arbour, Chairman of the London Assembly, thanked Major General Ben Bathurst, General Officer Commanding HQ London District; Commodore David Elford, Naval Regional Commander Eastern England and Group Captain David Manning, Station Commander RAF Northolt for taking time out of their busy diaries to brief the Assembly Members. A lively debate then followed, with several Assembly Members asking what more they could do to support their local units. Shaun Bailey (pictured), an Assembly Member who was an Army Cadet in South East London, is also Honorary Colonel of South East London Army Cadet Force. Shaun spoke passionately about his time in the Cadets, explaining how the Cadet movement provides opportunities and direction to thousands of young Londoners. Colonel Hugh Purcell, GL RFCA’s Chief Executive, summarised the presentations, saying, “The Reserves and Cadets provide Londoners with a nurturing environment which builds self-confidence, delivers exceptional skills training and encourages social cohesion. I challenge you to visit a Cadet detachment or Reserve unit and not go away impressed with the work they do, the people you meet and the values that motivate them.”




Stepping Forward at Somme Commemoration The London Borough of Barnet commemorated the centenary of the end of the first Battle of the Somme in a moving service at the RAF Museum in Hendon on Sunday 6th November. After a symbolic whistle blowing to echo that haunting ‘over the top’ moment, Father Tristan Chapman, Mayor’s Chaplain,

described some of the events of that horrific battle, whilst the names of those fallen from the Borough of Barnet scrolled behind him on a large screen – too many to fit onto a single projection. Debbie Wilkinson, GL RFCA’s Community Engagement Director, presented the borough with 17 copies of Stepping Forward – A tribute to the Volunteer Military Reservists and Supporting Auxiliaries of Greater London 1908 to 2014 – one for the Town Hall and a copy for every library in the Borough. Compiled by GL RFCA, Stepping Forward is a comprehensive and detailed reference guide to the lineages and linkages of London’s Reserve Force units. The book contains details of Reserve unit links with the London boroughs and includes historical listings of Reserve Forces Centres and locations of memorials to the fallen.

During Remembrance week, Stepping Forward was also presented to the London Boroughs of Harrow and Havering and the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The publication is also available online, ensuring the information is available to all, at


VETERAN’S DAY AT BEXLEYHEATH SIGNAL REGIMENT Over 80 Army Veterans from across London were invited to take part in ‘Exercise PHOENIX VETERAN’ at the home of 71 (City of London) Yeomanry Signal Regiment, spending the day with the Army Reserves. The Veterans were joined by The Rt Hon James Brokenshire, MP for Old Bexley & Sidcup and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, The Mayor of Bexley, Councillor Eileen Pallen, and The Rt Hon David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford. VIPs and Veterans alike had the chance to view the Regiment’s state-of-the-art communications equipment plus displays and demonstrations – including Regiment chefs showing the newly developed Army rations – weapon stands, clothing and equipment, battlefield first aid and the Command Support Team. Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Hervey Scott said, “The idea came about from a conversation I had at a Remembrance service last year. I was surprised to find out that many Veterans had been given very few opportunities to stay in touch with the Army in general and their local Royal Signals Reserve units in particular.” He went on to say, “So we decided to organise this event to renew our links, bring our Veterans up to date, and welcome them with a splendid curry lunch.” LONDON BRIDGE WINTER 2016/17



Naval Reserves remember fallen comrades In September 1976, the Ton Class minesweeper, HMS FITTLETON, was participating in a major NATO exercise, with the majority of the crew members from the London Division of the Royal Naval Reserve. On 20th September 1976, the ship was ordered to take part in a mail transfer with the frigate, HMS MERMAID. No one was aware of how the different displacements of the two ships would interact and no one foresaw the effect the hydrodynamic forces would have on the vessels. HMS FITTLETON, the smaller of the two ships, was pulled underneath the bow of HMS MERMAID, resulting in HMS FITTLETON turning over. Every year HMS PRESIDENT holds a memorial service for those who lost their lives aboard HMS FITTLETON. Survivor Colin Hurley described how the ship flooded throughout, and whilst there were some remarkable escapes, sadly, there were not enough. Tragically, 12 members of the ship’s company were lost, but as Colin said: “Lost, but not forgotten.” Ann Creasy, the wife of David ‘George’ Creasy the Cox’n of HMS FITTLETON, described how she and the other wives and girlfriends


supported each other as they waited for news, and when the news of the losses was confirmed. Thankfully, George survived the accident, having been pulled out of the sea covered in diesel oil. The Guests of Honour attending the 40th anniversary commemoration were the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Mr Ken Olisa, Flag Officer Reserves, Rear Admiral Simon Williams, and Commander Maritime Reserves (CMR), Commodore Martin Quinn.

Over the course of the year Reserves from HMS PRESIDENT have deployed on operations which have included: Iraq, Bahrain, Djibouti and at sea in the Middle East, Mediterranean and UK waters. Officers and ratings have also supported numerous exercises including taking part in the annual Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime) deployment – a combination of training and exercises off the South West coast, as well as in the Adriatic and Arabian Seas. Sub-Lieutenants Perren and Perrett were two of the over 250 additional sailors, marines, soldiers, airmen and civilians embarked on board HMS BULWARK, while Lt Spencer embarked on RFA Mounts Bay. SLt Perren deployed for the full four months as SURF Assistant on the staff of Commander Amphibious Task Group. SLt Perrett (pictured) was deployed for the first phase and Lt Spencer for the third phase as Ship to Objective Manoeuvre (STOM) Watch-keepers responsible for coordinating the movements required for an amphibious force to strike directly at its target without the traditional need to establish a beachhead. SLt Perrett describes the role as a cross between a conductor and an accountant: “From planning and coordinating the movements of Marines, landing craft and helicopters, to ensuring every last individual and vehicle is accounted for and secure at the end of the exercise, there’s a myriad of factors and conditions to adjust for to deliver a successful amphibious operation.” Since his return from exercise, SLt Perrett has taken up additional duties having been appointed Aide-de-Camp to Major General Ranald Munro, Assistant Chief of Defence Staff Reserves and Cadets.




Presidential Privilege HMS PRESIDENT was awarded City Privilege Regiment status at a ceremony at the Mansion House in early November. Lord Mayor the Lord Mountevans presented the scroll to HMS PRESIDENT’s CO Commander John Herriman who said “Gaining our Privilege of the City is an important and proud moment in HMS PRESIDENT’s history and recognises the strength of the bond between the City and the Royal Naval Reserve. I could not be more proud as Commanding Officer.”  Lord Mountevans was wearing his uniform as an Honorary Commander in the Royal Naval Reserve which he became in 2015 in recognition of his many years of influence and involvement with the Maritime industry as well as his support for the Royal Navy. He is a passionate advocate of the critical importance of all aspects of the maritime sector to national prosperity and is also President of the City of London Sea Cadet Corps.


Mayday call sees London URNU students rescue Kayaker Officer Cadets Douglas-Davies, Xiang, Cefaliello, Midshipman Gibson, Officer Cadets Martin and Tulloch

Six students from London University Royal Naval Unit swung into action in November rescuing a 61-year-old kayaker from the Solent while on exercise aboard HMS SMITER, a P2000 Archer Class patrol vessel. Both HMS SMITER and the RNLI responded to an SOS: a kayaker had capsized and was unable to right himself in his craft. Lookouts on board quickly sighted the overturned kayak near a cluster of yachts, but there was no sign of the kayaker himself until thanks to HMS SMITER’s height advantage over the RNLI’s speedboats, he was spotted a few minutes later about a mile away from his craft. “Officer Cadet Sam Martin reported a black floating object and we went to investigate,” explained Lt Stephanie Buttery, HMS SMITER’s Commanding Officer. “As we got closer we realised it was the man.

We tried to recover him by the pilot ladder but he was in and out of consciousness, so we set up the recovery stretcher used for unconscious casualties. Once he was on board we offered initial first aid in company with the local RNLI and I began coordinating with Solent Coastguard.” The Coastguard helicopter quickly appeared and the casualty was winched to safety, before being flown to hospital in Southampton. The whole rescue operation lasted just 30 minutes. Sam Martin, a London URNU medical student, said “As a university student it is great to get out of the lecture theatre and get aboard a P2000. To be on a ship during a winch recovery is not something many university students experience. It was fantastic to be a part of putting into practice what we had learned. It was such a coincidence to receive a mayday call of a man in the water shortly after we finished a Mobilisation Exercise. We all wish the kayaker a speedy recovery.” LONDON BRIDGE WINTER 2016/17



The new Lord Mayor, Dr Andrew Parmley, was welcomed into the City of London on Saturday 12th November. Escorted by a flotilla of rowers, he travelled up a rain-swept Thames before disembarking at HMS PRESIDENT to enjoy a warming tot of Pusser’s Rum. He then departed for the start of the Lord Mayor’s Show with an Honour Guard which included Reserves from 106 (Yeomanry) Regiment Royal Artillery.






London’s Reserve Military Police take guard duty at Tower of London There was a changing of the guard at the Tower of London as General Sir Nicholas Houghton was installed as the 160th Constable of the Tower with help from Army Reserves from the Royal Military Police (RMP).

Reserves from 253 Provost Company, 4 Regiment RMP took over many of the guard duties at the Tower while Yeoman Warders processed during the installation ceremony – which included the Lord Chamberlain presenting the new Constable with the Tower’s golden keys. The 10 Military Policemen taking on the Beefeater’s role come from a variety of civilian employment including nursing student, John Lewis and the Metropolitan Police but all are fully trained soldiers who devote their spare time to the Army Reserve.

Sergeant Marcus McNamara from 253 Provost Company said: “As the only RMP Reserves in southern England, we are often called on to assist during ceremonial occasions in addition to supporting our Regular counterparts to police the Army and providing police support to the Army. We are proud to have been trusted with guarding the Tower and to have played our part in the installation of its 160th Constable, our former Chief of Defence Staff.”


Once a Gunner always a Gunner 71 years ago, Lieutenant Colonel Mordaunt Cohen was fighting in the jungles of Burma as the Second World War came to a close, serving with 251 West African Heavy Anti-Aircraft Unit, commanding Nigerian volunteers. He chose to join the Army after Jewish children arrived in his home town of Sunderland from the Kindertransport and settled in a local girls’ hostel. On hearing their stories, he found out what the Nazis had been doing and felt he had to fight for his country and his people. 14


This year in the rather less humid surroundings of North London, Lt Colonel Cohen celebrated his 100th birthday with a surprise visit from personnel of 265 (Home Counties) Battery Royal Artillery (RA), part of 106 (Yeomanry) Regiment RA.

He said: “It was an honour to meet Colonel Cohen on his 100th Birthday, and we were humbled to hear what this 100-year-old Royal Artillery Gunner had achieved in his amazing long life.”

Like Lt Colonel Cohen’s unit, the Battery provides air defence, operating the latest Air Defence Missile Weapon System, the High Velocity Missile Lightweight Multiple Launcher.

With two grandsons alongside him, Saul Taylor and Army Reserve Chaplain Rabbi Simon Taylor, Lt Colonel Cohen said: “I very much appreciate members of my Regiment, the Royal Artillery, visiting me to convey birthday greetings. Once a Gunner, always a Gunner. I am probably the oldest member of the RA.”

Major Ian Sivyer from 265 Battery presented Lt Col Cohen with a birthday card and congratulated him on behalf of 106 Regiment.


Exercise COCKNEY KALA PATTHAR Army Reserves from London’s 151 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) returned in November from a successful high altitude expedition to Everest Base Camp. The spare-time soldiers joined Regular colleagues from 10 Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment (QOGLR) to tackle the 235km traditional Jiri trekking route to the camp taken by early Everest expeditions. The route saw the team climb to an altitude of 5364m, nearly three and a half miles high, by the time they reached Base Camp on 22 November. The expedition was designed to provide Reservists from 151 Regiment an opportunity to conduct high altitude adventure training in one of the most arduous environments, alongside their Gurkha colleagues from 10 QOGLR.   The route included a two day pause to acclimatise to high altitude in the Sherpa capital of Namche Bazaar. Expedition organiser, Major Kim Gauchan, explains, “The one important thing about trekking in the Himalayas is to acclimatise. Although you might feel that you’re physically capable to keep trekking further up in altitude, your brain has not been able to adjust to such a jump in height. It needs about 12 hours every 300-500m. If you ascended 800m on one day, you must descend 400m to sleep at that altitude level. Doing this will avoid altitude sickness, which you don’t want.”

During the trek the team paused at the eleventh hour on the 11th November to share a moment of remembrance, observing a two-minute silence at 3499m above sea level, possibly the highest act of remembrance on Armistice Day. After two weeks of trekking the team reached their goal with a sense of satisfaction and exhilaration as Warrant Officer Tom Stringer from 151 Regiment explains. “The trek was slow, mostly due to the altitude, and seemed never-ending as we approached the top of the Khumbu Glacier and then the amazing Khumbu Icefall came into view. After a tough three hour trek, we had made it. Sharing this moment with our paired Regiment, 10 Queens Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment, will be written in our Regimental history.”




EX VAMBRACE WARRIOR A nuclear power station and airfield were under the protection of Reserves from London during a multinational exercise in North Wales. 106 (Yeomanry) Regiment Royal Artillery, the UK’s only Reserve Air Defence Regiment, joined the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) for the week-long Exercise VAMBRACE WARRIOR in Snowdonia. It brought together elements of the Joint Ground Based Air Defence Brigade to form the largest concentration of deployed air defence assets since 2003. Six countries, including Japan, Malaysia and Ireland took part in the exercise to improve their capability to defend civilian infrastructure.

The units used their unique capabilities to defend Llanber airfield and Trawsfynydd decommissioned nuclear power station against simulated attacks by RAF Typhoon and Hawk jets, Chinook and Apache helicopters and US Marines parachuting from a Hercules. Elements of the HAC played roles on both sides of the exercise in surveillance and target acquisition roles whilst 265 (Home Counties) Battery from 106 Regiment RA deployed their High Velocity Missile Lightweight Multiple Launcher air defence missile weapons system to protect the targets.

Commanding Officer 106 (Yeomanry) Regiment Royal Artillery Lt Col Tim Pennett said, “This exercise has been an excellent opportunity to exploit the synergies of training alongside different Reserve soldiers and their capabilities and an opportunity to fully integrate with our paired Regular counterparts in a multinational environment.”


Reservist top at Sandhurst A Reservist from the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) has been honoured as the best on his course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.   2nd Lieutenant Patrick Wightman HAC was awarded the MacRobert Sword as he passed out from Reserve Commissioning Course 163 on Saturday 1st October. The Sword is awarded to the best Officer Cadet on the course and is the Reserve equivalent of the Sword of Honour awarded to Regular Officer Cadets who top their course. Patrick has been in the Army Reserve since 2011 and in civilian life works for EY. Having demonstrated leadership and commitment as a trooper and junior NCO he was identified as a potential officer and encouraged to attend Army Officer Selection Board and the rigorous officer training at Sandhurst. 16


“It has been a fast-paced, challenging and thoroughly rewarding six weeks for me. Sandhurst is a remarkable place; where the standard of teaching and professionalism is impeccable. The opportunity to take a temporary step back from my civilian and military careers and consider what leadership means to me has been great; the course is much more cerebral than many people might assume. To those thinking about direct officer entry, but struggling to find the time, consider entry as a soldier first – I promise you will not regret it.”


Exercise BERLIN CHALLENGE 16 The history and tactics of Fighting in Built-Up Areas (FIBUA) during the Battle of Berlin and the Cold War partition of Europe were the focus of an Army Training Unit (London) Battlefield Study at the end of September. Our first stop was the 1936 Olympic stadium on the outskirts of the City. As well as being a beautiful stadium – it hosted the 2008 World Cup Final – the venue is imbued with historical significance and its grounds housed the British Berlin Garrison during the Cold War.

The following day was devoted to the fall of Berlin at the end of World War 2. The team covered 18kms on foot with visits to many of the key sites of Nazi Berlin interspersed with presentations covering WW2 close quarter battle tactics and the modern British equivalents, as well as walking and talking through the Russian Army’s storming of the Reichstag. There are many memorials to the resistance against the Nazi party – and the challenge to overthrow Hitler via assassination attempts. We visited the site of the execution of General Von Stauffenberg – who led the failed attempt to kill Hitler at his Command Bunker (made famous by Tom Cruise in the film Valkyrie). We were also able to take in some tourist sites on the way with the highpoints being Checkpoint Charlie, the Topography of Terror museum and the car park which now covers the Fuhrerbunker. Our final day focused on the Cold War. We explored the ghost stations of the underground and walked along a preserved section of the Berlin Wall in the rain, sobered by the starkness of the Guard Towers and No Man’s Land, broken by memorials and plaques detailing how far escapees made it before being captured or killed. In the afternoon we visited the Stasi museum and considered the impact of surveillance, privacy and targeting in today’s multi-media world. Other presentations covered the impacts of soft and hard power during the Cold War and today’s struggles with ISIS. This proved a highly effective training event, building our knowledge of FIBUA and allowing us to practice our presentation skills as well as deepen our social ties with the generous support of an RFCA grant. Lt Col SRB Lowe CO ATU (L)


Memoriam e Patria A Memorial dedicated to the sacrifice of men from two battalions of the London Irish Rifles was recently unveiled in the Sicilian town of Piedimonte Etneo.   Titled ‘Memoria e Patria’, it recalls the time in 1943 when forces from the United Kingdom, USA and Canada liberated Sicily after a 38-day campaign. 30 members of the London Irish Rifles Regimental Association led by their Chairman, Major Peter Lough, witnessed the unveiling of the Memorial, a fantastic achievement by students of the Accademia di Belle Arti in Catania. When they arrived during September 1943, the 1st Battalion (1 LIR) was warmly welcomed with youngsters being told by their parents that “Scotsmen with Orange skirts playing music” had arrived. It is very likely that these men were Pipers of the London Irish Rifles in their trademark saffron coloured kilts. The battalion’s war diaries noted that “Piedimonte was the most comfortable place they had been in since it left England. There was plenty of water and almost all the billets had electric light, enabling the battalion to run the local cinema.” During their visit, the Regimental Association party laid Remembrance Crosses for 84 London Irishmen buried at the CWGC Cemetery at Catania and walked the battlefield areas near to Primosole Bridge area where 1 LIR was involved in bitter fighting. They also drove to the 2,000 foot high mountain top town of Centuripe liberated by 38 (Irish) Brigade, which included the 2nd Battalion, in a feat acclaimed by Winston Churchill in a speech to the House of Commons only a few days later, citing the capture as one of the greatest achievements in storming. Colonel Ian Denison LONDON BRIDGE WINTER 2016/17



Bombs, Blasts and Ballistics – Army and civilian medics share skills More than 100 clinicians, nurses, medical students and emergency first responders from the military, public sector and civilian organisations attended a clinical study weekend focusing on bombs, blasts and ballistics. The event, a collaboration between Army Reserve Medics from 256 (City of London) Field Hospital and University College London Hospital (UCLH), took place in October at the UCLH Education Centre in Euston. The participants, who were multi-disciplinary and from all branches of the Acute, Critical and Emergency Medicine teams, came together from all over the country for a combination of lectures and workshops focusing on the management of the critically injured trauma patient.

Keynote speakers gave a fascinating insight into their specialist areas: including an overview into how the police would respond to a major incident; the Major Trauma Centre (MTC) plan for bombs, blasts and ballistics; triage; the use of radiology and lessons learnt from the battlefield including dealing with Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear (CBRN) threats and Medical Emergency Response Team deployment. A series of practical workshops concentrating on key areas including airways, chest drains, cannulisation, ultrasound and moving critically injured patients, gave the delegates the opportunity to refresh and/or practice new skills.

Army Reserve Nurses help unveil Mary Seacole statue Nurses from 256 Field Hospital took part in the unveiling of a statue of Crimean War nurse Mary Seacole in the grounds of St Thomas’ Hospital on 30th June 2016. The statue is the first in the UK to feature a named black woman and commemorates Jamaican-born Mary Seacole’s work as a battlefield nurse more than 160 years ago. Although recognised immediately after the war for the comfort and assistance she provided the troops, for more than a century the contribution of Mary Seacole was largely forgotten. The nurses from 256 Field Hospital together with Army Cadets from Southwark-based 75 Detachment, assisted Baroness Floella Benjamin in unveiling the statue at a ceremony by the banks of the Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament. Lance Corporal Annette Bodden-Whisker is a Theatre Nurse at Central Middlesex Hospital as well as serving in the Army Reserve and was herself born in Jamaica. She said: “I never knew about Mary Seacole growing up in Jamaica, I learnt about her when I came to the UK. She showed that hard work and determination pays off. She must have been a very compassionate person and her recognition today makes me proud.”




A busy week for Army Medics Clinical and non-clinical staff from London Ambulance Service and South East Coast Ambulance Service braved torrential downpours at a military-style leadership training day in October organised by the Army Reserve. Hosted by Reservist medics from B Detachment 256 (City of London) Field Hospital, based in Kensington, the thirty participants were put through a variety of scenarios designed specifically to challenge their leadership and team skills. Based on the Army’s Leadership Code and Behaviours, the exercises included an assault course, a laser quest indoor shooting range, recovering a vehicle and a simulated urban battlefield casualty extraction.

In the same week, B Detachment held an open evening to showcase their skills to the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, Councillor Mrs Elizabeth Rutherford, local employers, potential recruits and senior representatives of the council. The evening began with two presentations about the unit’s recent overseas exercises and operations: Exercise SHAMAL STORMJORDAN demonstrated the ability to deploy a Field Hospital at short notice and Operation GRITROCK in Sierra Leone, where the Reservists supported the fight against Ebola.

Displays showed a Field Ambulance, protective equipment needed to treat Ebola casualties safely and a weapon stand featuring Glocks alongside the more usual SA80. Dignitaries and employers were encouraged to get hands-on and try out some of the equipment and chat to Reservists about their experiences.

Members of this Unit spoke passionately about the experiences and skills that they had gained in uniform and how they have been able to use them in their day jobs.

The evening showed the huge range of opportunities available at 256 Field Hospital. It showcased the diverse set of skills that can be learnt and transferred from the military into the workplace and the benefits this can bring to employers by actively encouraging and supporting all their employees who are part of the Army Reserve.




BLANCHARD CHALLENGE In 2010, 221 Field Squadron lost one our soldiers in Afghanistan on Herrick 13, Sapper William Blanchard.   

This was one of the hardest sections for all, it was so mentally draining and a real effort to keep focused on the challenge.

Each year a challenge has been set for the Squadron to raise money in his memory for deserving charities. This year, our efforts went to the Great Ormond Street Hospital, where the son of one of our Staff Sergeants is currently fighting a brave battle himself. These challenges are demanding both physically and mentally, but with great team work, achievable.

At 99 miles we had reached Dover. The hill down to the port was exhilarating. Passing the support vehicle and reaching speeds of up to 35mph. A well-deserved break at the bottom with the lovely blue sea behind us. We were over half way.

At 3am phone alarms all go off simultaneously around the Drill Hall as the room full of 221 Squadron try to wake up for The Blanchard Challenge 2016. As part of the cyclist team, hours had already been put in in the saddle training but the final challenge was here, 165 miles from Catford to Bewl Water via the coastline of Kent. One benefit of starting so early was that the roads were quiet. The start was by no means easy and the route made us work from the word go. It was mostly along country roads to stay away from traffic. However, at 4am in the morning lack of streetlights soon became a bit of a hindrance. The support vehicle came in very useful to light up the way. The first pit stop arrived after two hours having travelled 35 miles. For some this included time for some bike mechanics, and even a change of bike. It also came with doughnuts, bananas, tea and coffee courtesy of Capt Loughrey’s wife, Caroline, at 6am on a Saturday morning. The route had flattened out and we were able to navigate our way round the roads with ease until the wind caught us around Herne Bay at 67 miles. This part of the day required a lot of teamwork. We had to ride as a group to help use the slipstream of the wind, taking it in turns at the front.



The last 15 miles we knew would be tough coming back inland to the hilly area of Wadhurst. We tried to complete it in one stretch but legs were struggling. After 3-4 stops we had reached the final mile. People had never been so happy to see a sign for Bewl Water and we were now in touching distance. Somehow there was a kick in everyone’s legs and off we went down the final dual carriageway towards the finish line, 165 miles in twelve and a half hours. With some tired legs, sweaty faces, and very sore bottoms, the challenge was complete. What an amazing achievement and £4,865 raised for Great Ormond Street Hospital. RIP Will and keep fighting baby D. Sapper Brooke Jones


Exercise DESERT SCORPION 25 London Reservists from National Reserve Headquarters Royal Artillery (NRHQ RA) left Woolwich on 18th June on an ambitious mission to ascend Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous United States, cross the High Sierra Nevada and descend to the depths of the Grand Canyon.   This high-risk remote adventure took a year of planning and training by expedition leader Major Les Webb. He explained: “Exercise DESERT SCORPION was designed to provide exposure to extremes of temperature, high altitude, hostile wildlife and fauna, long days, long distances and crippling pack loads. To offset this it was

Five soldiers from King’s Troop were undertaking their own arduous training with four days of hard riding along mountain ridges and through insect infested forests to rendezvous with the Reservists right on time.

mounted in two of the most pristine and environmentally beautiful parts of the world.” The Reservists trekked 116 miles carrying packs weighing 23kg, crossed two mountain ridgelines with an average altitude of 10,000ft and Wild West terrain which included several encounters with rattlesnakes. Before the ascent of the 14,508ft high Mount Whitney the team were resupplied by Regular colleagues from the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.

Phase 2 of the mission took place on Independence Day, 4th of July, and teams set off for the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Challenge, descending to the bottom of the Canyon, crossing the Colorado River before the 6,000ft climb back out. Only 1% of the millions who visit the Canyon each year ever reach the bottom; the number who complete the Rim to Rim Challenge is infinitesimally small. By completing this endurance walk, the team had achieved something very special and joined an elite club. Staff Sergeant Rick Twiner






Exercise COCKNEY PADDLER 16 In 1826, Lambeth-born Royal Engineer Lieutenant Colonel John By began the construction of the Rideau Canal, a six-year project that played a pivotal role in the early development of Canada, providing a commercial artery from Montreal to the Great Lakes. 190 years on, 14 determined personnel from 135 Geographic Squadron, 42 Engineer Regiment set out on Exercise COCKNEY PADDLER to kayak the Rideau Canal, hone their skills and mark Lt Col By’s engineering feat as part of the Royal Engineers’ 300th anniversary – SAPPER 300. The expedition was demanding, kayaking up to 35km per day for eight days, with one rest day. It also attracted a lot of local interest with the team being joined by a group of high school students who were recreating the voyage of settlers to the area and colleagues from the Canadian Armed Forces Mapping and Charting Establishment. This culminated in celebrations both at Rideau Ferry and at Perth with the group’s synchronised paddling being well received. Due to the historical nature of our expedition, we were privileged to have been granted the ability to lock through the locks by Parks Canada, for which all Squadron personnel were extremely grateful. Having to portage around locks, in certain instances, was arduous and required us to work together. The lock stations provided us with picturesque camp sites and hospitable hosts who doubled up as tour guides of the area. This expedition certainly pushed Squadron personnel out of their comfort zone and required us to work cohesively as a team in order to complete an expedition never previously attempted by a British Army unit. It also provided significant opportunities to reconnect with the work of Lt Col John By and his contribution to the Rideau Canal and surrounding area.




F-35B INTERNATIONAL DEBUT MANNED BY RAF RESERVES The first UK showing of the brand new F-35B Lightning II Strike Fighter in July 2016 was hosted and supported by a team from 600 (City of London) Squadron.   600 Squadron’s assistance was requested by HQ 1 Group Lightning Force Headquarters for providing additional assurance, support and safety on what was going to be a very busy flying and public relations programme for the joint US Marine Corps, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force Squadron that had deployed in from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina. The Reservists provided a skill mix that allowed them to run operations support from flying as mission commander in multi-aircraft multinational sorties, to providing essential flight

information, flight bookings, and publications specific to operating in UK airspace. One mission was conducting flypasts over the aircraft carrier HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH and RAF Marham which included manoeuvring behind a USMC KC-130 tanker which had on board Honorary Group Captain Carol Vorderman (pictured below), who was filming the One Show.

600 Squadron was able to call on the valuable assistance of RAF Leeming for ground-to-air radios, RAF Coningsby for previous deployed operations lessons learned, RAF Brize Norton for meteorological and flight planning support, and the Defence Geographic Centre for mapping – all of whom could not have been more helpful and responsive. The 600 Squadron detachment commander, Squadron Leader ‘D-Reg’ Bhasin (pictured above with members of the team), commented: “It doesn’t get any sharper than supporting a fighter squadron on display operations, which is one of the most hazardous things the RAF does in peacetime, so the demands on safety culture and the team’s overall performance is at an alltime high.” He went on to say, “This has been a truly Whole Force achievement. The Reservists have all brought additional skills, working practices and maturity from their civilian lives to enhance the product, and we simply couldn’t have assembled the capability without the help of the Regular Royal Air Force, in particular that of our home station, RAF Northolt.”

(Vorderman) Photo Jamie Hunter



Awards in the Community Research and History category. For Walter himself, life has changed radically since the last update – he is now a Company Sergeant Major and newly stationed in Belgium with the 10th Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment.

continue working in the munitions factory for as long as she can keep her pregnancy under wraps. Ma, meanwhile, is struggling to keep her remaining family healthy on a diet of turnips, and Lily, Walter’s former girlfriend, is considering joining the new Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps which would take her out to the warzone…

At home, Walter’s friend Fred is receiving treatment for shell shock and hoping for a better life with new wife Mabel, who is able to WW1 SOLDI


More than 22,000 people from across the world are now avidly following the story of Walter Carter on Facebook. Told through social media, the events of the First World War are brought to life through a cast of characters, who report on daily life 100 years ago, in real-time.

The past year has seen the project expand hugely. The WW1 Soldier’s Tale team were delighted to be asked to take part in the SOMME100 events in Manchester as part of the Government’s national commemoration. Over the course of the weekend in Heaton Park, the team spoke to hundreds of school children and members of the general public about life on the home front in 1916. In November, the project was shortlisted for the final of the Remember WW1


Like so many teenagers, Walter Carter is on Facebook and Twitter. He also writes a blog. But this is 1914, a few months before the outbreak of the greatest conflict the world has ever seen.

Part One, covering March 1914 to June 1915, is available as a paperback and Kindle edition on Amazon. Read the posts and see the shared images from all who are part of Walter’s life, giving a unique insight into the life of a soldier during the early years of the First World War. Walter’s story has already appeared in real time on Facebook, Twitter and his Blog. It includes comments, photographs, maps and newspaper cuttings shared just as they would be 100 years later.

Now you can join thousands of followers around the world and read it all in this compelling book.

JUNE 1915



Aged just 19, Walter is about to share the devastating changes in his life with his family, his friends, his fellow soldiers and the world. All through social media. You can follow Walter as he leaves his job as a porter at Clapham Junction Station to train with his Territorial Force battalion before leaving for the horrors of the front line. What impact will all this have on Lily, the girlfriend he loves? Will his sister Rose survive whilst working as a nurse on the ambulance trains in France? How does his mother cope with life on the Home Front while his brother refuses to sign up? And what news of his eldest brother Charlie, a regular soldier who was one of the first to arrive in France?


This not-for-profit initiative is developed by The Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association for Greater London, Wandsworth Council and David Noble Associates Ltd. If you would like to support the project, or would like more information, please contact or call 01235 831006


Venues for hire throughout London Alternative Venues London is responsible for letting the Reserve Forces and Cadet estate throughout London with unique locations for:







All proceeds support Greater London Reservists and Cadets.

ENQUIRIES & BOOKING: 020 7384 4670 |

London Bridge Winter 2016/17  

The Journal of the Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Association for Greater London.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you