Magazine of the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
Corps Formation: 1 October 1942 Corps Motto: Arte et Marte Corps Patron Saint: St Eligius (Celebrated 1st Sunday in December)
Editor: Katy Walton + Corporate Communications Officer RHQ REME, The Prince Philip Barracks, Lyneham, CHIPPENHAM, SN15 4XX firstname.lastname@example.org (preferred method) email@example.com (for changes of address) ( Mil: 95481 4529 Civ: 01249 894529 SUBMITTING ARTICLES TEXT: should be submitted in MS Word and name saved as per the article. No formatting, columns, power point etc. Articles to be cleared by CO/OC/EME or appropriate REME CoC, or nominated substitute and should be submitted as soon as possible. PHOTOGRAPHS: MUST be submitted separately, in jpeg format and be at least 500kb preferably 1mb or more. Only photos over 3mb can be considered for the front/back covers and please remember captions. FILESHARE: websites, such as dropbox are ideal for submitting larger files. EMAIL: The ONLY email address which should be used is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Not MODnet. Please use the article title not ‘Craftsman Article’ as the email title. TIMINGS: The latest submission date is the first day of the month prior to publication. This does not guarantee the article will be published in that specific edition. Births, Engagements, Marriages and Deaths: These will be inserted free to all past and present members of the Corps. Contents: The contents of The Craftsman are strictly copyright and all rights are expressly reserved. The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the policy and views, official or otherwise, of the Editor, the Corps or the MOD, therefore no responsibility for these will be accepted. Whilst including an advertisement we are not necessarily endorsing the product and as a result, the publisher and its agents do not accept responsibility for any transaction between the reader and the advertiser. Whilst we take all precautions with regard to advertising, readers are advised to take professional advice before entering into any commitments. Letters concerning reproduction, contributions or any other matter should be addressed to the Editor. © Published by RHQ REME. Funded by The REME Charity. www.remecharity.org.
Contents APRIL 2021 FEATURES Guest Editorial: Col Alistair Houldsworth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Corps ASM: An Update Nine Months In . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Excellence in REME . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 1 CS Bn: A Turbulent Year . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 LEAT: A Challenging and Unique Year . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 A Lone VM with Crisis Response Troops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Pull-Out: Mental Resilience during COVID-19 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 Corps History: Some Reminiscences on the FV432 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 Online Photo Archive Launched . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 OPERATIONS AND EXERCISES Ex IRON HOG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 “You’re on Mute”: The Ups and Downs of Running a Training Camp on Zoom . . . . .30 Ex DRAGON REVIVAL 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 REGULARS Corps News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 REME Association . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 Officers’ Assignments; Extracts from The London Gazette . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 Obituaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 Death Notices; Tales of Frank Reynolds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 The REME Charity; Poetry Corner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 Screwjack Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Corps Diary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 SPORT Introducing REME Chess . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 Clay Target Shooting in 2020 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 664 Squadron Charity Watt Bike Challenge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36
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Volume 77 No. 4
Front Cover: Members of 1 CS Bn REME change and SV engine while on exercise. Read more how the battalion readjusted and thrived during 2020 on page 13.
39 7 There have been
LEA audits worldwide in 2020
transfers from other Corps, despite a six month pause
Engineering Awards recognise the top personnel and units in REME
personnel have re-joined the Corps over the year
IRTUA L EV M
HQ Regional Command Equipment Support Group completed
competitors have registered for the REME Virtual 10k
grenades were thrown during Ex IRON HOG
100 40 200 Over
Members of 16 Regt RA Wksp burnt the calorieequivalent of
instructors and over
vehicles have been drawn from across the Field Army to support Ex IRON CHALLENGE 21
Mars bars while walking the equivalent of Hampshire to Essex in the Falklands
Achieved over 90% availability while on exercise? Beaten a fundraising target for The REME Charity?
If you have the numbers, we want to share them. Email your best stats and facts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
REME Global Reach Each month we highlight the global reach of REME personnel, whether it be on operations, exercise or any other challenge set before them.
Project CEDAR – Lebanon Recently the UK Government gifted 100 RWMIK+ platforms to the Lebanese Army (LAF), to be used by the Land Border Regiments (LBR) to provide security and stability on the border regions with Syria. A team of REME Vehicle Mechanics from 16 Air Assault Bde prepared the vehicles from the stored equipment fleet and got them loaded onto strat RORO where they sailed to Beirut. The team, led by the 16 Bde BASM, then flew to Beirut to meet and unload the boat. They delivered a week of training to the LAF and LBR maintainers, covering all aspects of servicing and roadworthiness inspections prior to the vehicles’ onward move to the border.
Key: RHQ REME Operations Exercises Other
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII IIIII Ex LION SUN – Cyprus Over February and March 2021, 2 Close Support Battalion deployed 7 Close Support Company on a CT BRAVO exercise in Cyprus. 7 CS Coy were supported by the Battalion in order to conduct training in preparation for LBSG 22. During the five week package they conducted ranges on the SA80 and GPMG, deployed on a field exercise and, where restrictions allowed, conducted adventurous training.
GET IN TOUCH Where in the world are you keeping the punch in the Army’s fist?
Phone: (Mil) 95481 4528/ (Civ) 01249 894528 Email: email@example.com Facebook: facebook.com/REMECorps Twitter: @Official_REME Instagram: @REME_Official
Keep an eye on our social media channels for weekly updates on REME’s Global Reach. Then catch up on everything you’ve missed in this dedicated section of The Craftsman!
NATO Advisor – Georgia Capt Michael Harrison recently deployed to Georgia in the South Caucasus as the NATO advisor to the Georgian Armed Forces, working with the Joint Training Evaluation Centre HQ. He was involved with the reception of a large shipment of new computers and equipment, which has been used to set up virtual training suites.
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6 Armoured Close Support Battalion Join Forces with Local Supermarket to Support Andover Food Bank Scribe: Carolyn Battey, Unit Welfare Officer
oldiers from 6 Armoured Close Support Battalion REME joined forces with a local supermarket to support the Andover Food Bank. They set up collection points around Tidworth Camp as well as within the local store, to raise awareness of the organisation and encourage the local community (both military and civilian) to support this worthy cause. This was the brain-child of Craftsman Chris Naylor and Craftsman Michael Chapman, both members of the Technical Quartermaster’s Department. After researching local charities, the Soldiers decided to launch a ‘Winter Food Drive’, running from December 2020 into January 2021 to support the local community. Craftsman Naylor admitted that it was definitely a team effort: “With support from my department, we started to set up donation points at several locations on the military camp in Tidworth, to increase awareness and encourage donations from the military community.”
The local supermarket staff generously donated their Christmas event funds, meaning £1400 of food was given to create Christmas food hampers for local families in need. Under the direction of Craftsman Naylor, the funds and food donations totalling 2295kg to date, have been transported to the Andover Food Bank, where Soldiers were invited behind the scenes to see how the operation works.
“It has been a real eye opener to talk to people involved in the great work this local charity provides, to see the generosity of everyday people and, more importantly, speak to people who have been affected by food poverty this year in these hard times.” Craftsman Naylor.
Col Alistair Houldsworth Though NATO continues to be pre-eminent in conventional warfare, the British Army is not one for being complacent. From his role in Force Development of Land Special Operations, Col Alistair Houldsworth discusses what the future might look like.
must admit I never thought that I would write the guest editorial in The Craftsman Magazine and if the thought ever did cross my mind, I would never have thought it would have so little to do with REME, but since being appointed as Comd ES of Force Troops Command (FTC) back in 2019, much has changed – we live in interesting times. Many of you will be aware that threats in the world are changing. America and, by extension NATO, remain pre-eminent in conventional warfare. While it remains difficult to deal with low intensity, sub-threshold opposition, such as in Afghanistan and Iraq, as soon as these Armed Groups grow to become mainstream military powers, they cannot compete with the US military might and are soon defeated. Think Daesh and their caliphate, which soon collapsed when they tried to become a conventional military power. Our adversaries have taken note of this and have become ever more active in less conventional military activities, such as Cyber and Information Operations. In effect they seek to keep us at arm’s length, using Anti-Access Area Denial (A2AD) missile systems, find targets through electronic warfare and SIGINT and strike at distance using long-range rockets and artillery. All the while attacking the will of the Government to continue the conflict with information ops, cyber-attacks and sabotage; all areas in which they have developed the capabilities and the will to use them. To address this, CGS gathered together the formations within the Army responsible for Networks, Intelligence, Cyber, Influence and Security and put them under FTC to kick-start our own Information Manoeuvre (IM) capability. At this point, I arrived as Comd ES with a dependency of IM, but also the wider enabling capabilities including Brigades of Gunners, Log Sp, Engineers, Medics etc. A month after I joined FTC, the Division was renamed 6th (United Kingdom) Division and reorganised to focus on Land Special Operations (LSO). Out went the Medics, Engineers Log Sp to 1 Div, the Arty Bde to 3 Div and with them went nearly all of REME. In came the Specialised Infantry Group to combine their skills in partnering local forces and on small operations with the existing Information and Electronic Warfare
capabilities to deliver the new concept of LSO. As a Comd ES with no REME, my role moved to Force Development of LSO, getting experimental kit in for trials, and developing capabilities including Information Activities, Audience Analysis, Cyber, EW and SIGINT. I won’t deny this has led to a fair bit of late-night reading as I try to stay one step ahead of the pack in dealing with statements of requirement, assessing contractor bids and performance, fighting for money and accounting for it. I have a small, but really good team who have more experience in this area than I do and with the expertise from the units, we have been able to bring in new EW kit, capabilities to analyse social media (Cambridge Analytica we are not, but social media is a source of useful information in this area), new kit for the Specialised Infantry and so on. All of this needs to be backed up with training and support to deliver and maintain capability – just the same as traditional equipment, although these support costs involve data subscriptions, bandwidth rather than fuel and spares. Our expectation is that the importance of LSO will only increase. We still need the Tanks and Armour Infantry to be able to beat the enemy if they decide to attack by conventional means, but we are now developing the tools to fight them on their own ground under the threshold of war. I am writing this before the Integrated Review is announced and you will be able to read it with the full benefit of hindsight, but we expect LSO to be a key plank of the proposition. If so, we will need people with new skills; Spec Inf selection is expected to become an All-Arms selection course. We will need people with skills in Cyber, Data Analytics and Influence Ops. Some of this sits in particular capbadges such as Signals and Int Corps, but there are not enough of them. Opportunities will arise for you to volunteer and try your hand at LSO and you would be surprised at the number of REME already involved in this. Brig Steph Crossfield is the Army’s Chief Data Officer in DInfo and others are working in Cyber in Strategic Command and other areas. Try it…what have you got to lose?
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An Update Nine Months In WO1(CASM) Daniel McNeil is a third of the way through his tenure as the Corps’s Senior Soldier. This month he provides an update on what he’s working towards at the moment.
hope all of you, your fellow Soldiers and those dearest to you are keeping well through these very challenging times. It is an absolute privilege to have been asked to write in The Craftsman as the Corps’s Senior Soldier and something I certainly never thought I’d be doing 20 years ago as I walked through the gates of the Army Training Regiment Pirbright. I have been Corps Artificer Sergeant Major now for a little over nine months and it has been a hugely rewarding and often very humbling experience. I didn’t realise the scale and complexity of the work that occurs in the small team that is the Regimental Headquarters when I came into the role, but I certainly do now. The REME Skills Review is one of the Corps’ biggest projects right now; at its heart is the belief that we have top class REME engineers and technicians, but we need to move forward to ensure that we provide our people with the right skills to realise the opportunities offered in an Army that is changing quickly. The Skills Review’s intent is to highlight that, by regrouping, upskilling and/or reskilling, we have the opportunity to address an emerging capability gap before it impacts on our ability to support an Army that is undergoing modernisation and transformation at pace. Over the initial third of my tenure, I have focused on getting after a few things that were important to the RSMs, ASMs and SSMs when I asked for their input during the respective WO1 Forums held at Lyneham very early in my tenure. The common threads from all of these cohorts were: that we needed to communicate a bit better than we were doing across the Corps; our trade training has got to improve to better reflect the needs of the Field Army we serve; we needed to improve on how we welcome our Soldiers into REME. I believe we are making progress on all fronts thanks to the efforts of
The Corps ASM, WO1(CASM) Daniel McNeil the RHQ, our Trade Champions, the MTI Champion and the newly announced Recruiting Champion. Keep an eye out for some notices advertising some of this good work in The Craftsman Magazine very soon. The Corps Colonel has also pushed me hard over the last few months to have a look at our Mental Health Plan and how we can better support OPSMART, which went to full operating capacity in Nov 2020. Our new plan for 2021, aptly titled ‘Lifting the Decks’, will shortly be released to Commanders across our Battalions, Workshops, LADs and organisations. You may have already signed up for the ‘Lifting the Decks Virtual 10K’ which is part of our push to advertise the plan’s release, get people out exercising and even earn a medal for your troubles: a healthy body = a healthy mind. The tenpoint plan will provide Commanders with a simple toolkit to use as, how and when they see fit. It isn’t a tick box exercise - just a few helpful suggestions, strategies and available courses to ensure that we are all prepared to assist when that person chooses us to confide in that they are not doing ok.
“Trust them and delegate more to them – they will deliver.” The recently appointed Recruitment Champion, WO2(AQMS) Gary Hooson
I have now visited over 40 REME units and the common takeaway from everywhere I’ve been is that our Soldiers are impressive people and the ethos of ‘Soldier first, tradesman always’ is clearly as true today as it was in 1942. I was in the North West of England recently and was fortunate enough to spend some time with troops from 1
and 2 Close Support Battalions and 6 and 7 Regiment RLC LADs. They were there to train civilian staff on how to conduct Lateral Flow COVID Testing in support of Op RESCRIPT. The feedback from those they were supporting was simply outstanding, most notably for our Junior Commanders. The NCOs I met were motivated, knowledgeable, personable and really empowered. It was meaningful work with huge responsibility and being carried out ‘quietly and very professionally’ in the words of Lancashire Police Chief Constable, Terry Woods. I left buoyant and very proud. Our troops very seldom let us down when given a task. Trust them and delegate more to them – they will deliver. Finally, please let me know if I can do more for you. Engage with me and keep me straight. I am your conscience as our Senior Soldier and will always represent your views. I look forward to seeing more of you throughout the remainder of my tenure. Arte et Marte.
WKSPS WE NEED YOU! 60% of REME are in First-Line Units, going on Exercise and Operations, practicing their trade and working with other Corps and Regiments.
Write for The Craftsman Magazine and tell your story We also accept Covid-19-related content and welcome your news.
Sign up for the ‘Lifting the Decks Virtual 10k’
Please email your stories to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Excellence in REME
Major Charlotte Hayes Currently posted to DE&S at MOD Abbeywood as Operations Manager, Light Wheels and Protected Mobility, Maj Charlotte Hayes achieved her CEng in 2020 and is in the middle of her MSc. However, she still finds time to dedicate herself to REME Sport, in particular cross country, for which she was awarded Full Sporting Colours. This month, Major Hayes talks about running, REME women in sport, and being a team. What made you join the Army? At school I loved Design and Technology, in particular electronics. On leaving school I did a Technician Modern Apprenticeship in Electrical and Electronic Engineering; I went on to do my degree at Loughborough, again in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. I have wanted to be an Engineer for as long as I can remember but in an active role, not sat in an office. I started looking into ‘other’ types of engineering jobs. On looking into the Army it was an absolute no brainer; if I was going to join it had to be REME. All through RMAS, I never wavered. I was determined to join REME. I did not want to waste my engineering qualifications; they were not easy to achieve! 16 years later and still REME!
Why was this the right decision for you? Joining REME was absolutely the right decision for me; I wanted to use my qualifications and gain more. I became an EngO in 2007 and this year received my CEng. The professional progression is second to no other Corps. Also, I absolutely love working with other technically-minded Officers and Soldiers. REME was and still is a natural fit for me. I love that we are a team - we have a rank structure but when it comes to engineering knowledge and skill it can often be the advice of a junior tradesperson that we rely on, making us all valued members of the team.
What have been the highlights of your career so far? I have had many highlights in my career. I think my warmest memories are of being a Forward Platoon Commander. I had a mixed platoon of Vehicle and Recovery Mechanics; the dynamics and characters made even the hardest days end with laughter. We spent a lot of time together due to completing pre-tour training, a unit move to Northern Ireland and deploying on Operation Herrick 10. The members of that Platoon will forever be my friends and I always smile when I think of them.
How does Maj Hayes differ from the Miss Hayes who first came to the Army and the Corps? Miss Moat joined the Army in 2004. I feel that Miss Moat, although now married and a Major, is still there in my core. She is much more confident and capable. That confidence has come from facing new challenges, making mistakes and learning from them. I think REME is one of very few Corps that offer formal education to its Officers as they progress through their careers, setting you up for success before you start your next job. As a 2Lt I completed my Junior Officers’ Course, as a Lt I completed the Junior Officers Equipment Course and attachment to MDBA, prior to passing my viva and achieving EngO. Before LAD Command I did the REME Captains’ Course and prior to Company Command I did the Company Commanders’ Course. At every level I have been formally trained and supported. Never have I felt unprepared.
You have become involved in Corps Cross Country representation over the last 16 years, including managing the female teams in 2009/2012 and 2018present. What is it that has driven you as a cross country runner? A lot of people don’t like running. At school I ran cross country and was a member of the local running club. On joining the Army I found that my love of running was an asset. Fitness is crucial. Being reasonable at running certainly made even the hardest PT sessions manageable! I love going out for a run, I love the smell of the air, wind or rain in my face, the views and the feeling of being free. I use
running to manage my well-being. Whilst running I can ease my anger or resolve any conflicts in my head and I always come back feeling happier.
You made the history books as the first REME Female to be part of the Army Half Marathon winning female team in 2011. Now, your management has seen the Corps field its strongest female teams to date across Junior, Senior and Masters. What is the secret to your success? Wow, I didn’t realise that I was the first REME female to be part of the winning Army Half Marathon team. At the time I was pretty fit; I was also in the Army Triathlon team and we had just won the Inter-Services Championships at Olympic distance category. I was actually using these events as training for Ironman 70.3 in Wimbleball, again representing the Army. I don’t really have a secret to success other than always giving things a go and doing what I enjoy. I always try to encourage others to have a go and join in. The old adage of it’s the taking part that counts and it doesn’t matter if you’re not very good now, practice makes perfect! I cannot take the credit for fielding the strongest female teams in the Corps history. The credit must go to the females in the Corps. We have few females in the Corps but we always come together and support one another. If we need a team the call goes out and is answered. We always try to field the best teams we can. You’ll have hockey players filling places in the netball team and rugby players giving swimming a go. I find that the we are proud to be REME and will always come together to help field a team. Technology helps too - most of the females in the Corps that like to run have joined the REME Strava Group. This is a great way to share our runs, track performance and it acts as a great incentive to go for a run - can’t be left behind now.
2020 was a challenging year for everyone, but particularly for those who are used to training regularly with others and attending events. How did you continue to train and improve throughout the pandemic? As mentioned, running is my way to soothe my stress and anger. It’s my happy place. Over lockdown I participated in all the REME and Army organised virtual running events and encouraged many to join in by advertising on social media and word of mouth. Over the internet I managed to get some of the REME Cross Country runners to film clips of passing a baton to advertise the Army-level races. These clips made it into the Army-level advertising for the virtual races, which in turn generated an intertest in the events. Seeing someone you know in the advertisement can often encourage a person to join in to. I am a member of my local running club. I encourage all Soldiers to join their local clubs, as running with others is great fun. Also following a programme and entering events outside of the Army brings great improvement.
Coaching and BSAI Instructors course so that I could give back to the Corps and our Soldiers. I don’t ski anymore as I have a young family, hence my switch to cross country and triathlon. I train a lot in my own time, but PT always compliments my training. Most sport in the Army is on a Wednesday and in 16 years’ service I have never been told that I cannot take Soldiers to participate or that I cannot go myself. REME really recognises the benefits that sport gives and, in my experience, never blocks it. Balancing sport and work, I never found it difficult. My managers have also encouraged participation in sport and, as I love it, I always make sure I manage my time and responsibilities to fit it in.
What are your goals for 2021 as a REME Officer, sportsperson and in wider life? Having achieved my CEng in 2020, I plan to build on my continuous personal development. My current job as an operations manager is a great opportunity to develop my project management skills. I am also in the process of writing my thesis for my MSc in Defence Acquisition Management, so I’m looking forward to finishing that and graduating! I never thought I’d do another degree, but again the Corps has supported my wish to do this. In sport my current focus is running and half marathons - I want to see if I can excel at this distance again, but now in the veterans category! I am desperate to swim again and hope that REME will need my swimming skills, once I’ve dusted them off, for any competitions that we might be able to enter.
If you could sum up your life now, how would you do it? My life is happy; I could ask for no more. I have a great career that has seen me progress in terms of professional qualifications and promotion. I am involved in a sport that I love. Plus I am married with two children. I think I have the right work, life and fun balance.
Part of being involved in a Corps sport is balancing it alongside your military and engineering career. How have you balanced the different aspects of being in REME? I have done sport since the day I joined REME. I think the structure is already in place to support this. I have done seven years of Nordic ski seasons, representing the Army and REME. Every season I skied, I always took a team from the unit I was at. Developing Soldiers is key, so I have always found that my chain of command fully supported releasing me to ski as I was taking Soldiers with me - I was never going just for myself. The Corps also paid for me to do my Biathlon Range Management, Biathlon Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 11
raja Careers and Employment Support Event *
Wednesday 23 June 2021
Open to all REME personnel who are in the resettlement process. REME Reservists, and Veterans are also invited to attend. A fantastic opportunity to engage with companies that have an Engineering and Technical focus. For Service Leavers, this is an excellent networking opportunity to assist with the transition into civilian employment.
Although the event is at the REME Museum, Lyneham the majority of exhibitors attending are national companies and have vacancies available across the UK.
If you are interested in attending this event, please contact email@example.com. *This event could be postponed dependent on COVID-19 social distancing measures at the time.
BE RECOGNISED BE REWARDED
SSgt Andy Beacock EngTech MIMechE
Gain professional registration as an EngTech, IEng or CEng through a route specifically designed for REME personnel. Enhance your military career Benchmark your skills and training Develop your professional network and connections Apply now at imeche.org/armedforces For more support contact our Defence Liaison O cer 07590 735816
1 CS Bn REME
A Turbulent Year
2020 was a turbulent year for the world. However, despite a global pandemic, the need to provide ES support to 1(UK) Division resulted in yet another busy year for 1 CS Battalion REME. Quickly adjusting to the new way of life, the unit managed to conduct multiple challenging exercises, continued to support overseas operations and even found time to run some excellent Adventurous Training.
Ex WESSEX STORM
n 27 January 2020, thirteen personnel from 4 CS Company deployed to Salisbury Plain Training Area to bolster 2 R ANGLIAN LAD in aid of Wessex Storm 1/20. The team established themselves in a small workshop in Knook Camp and began work on Foxhounds, Jackals and Coyotes in the lead up to the first tactical phase. For some, it was their first time working with Protected Mobility vehicles, which provided an excellent opportunity to familiarise themselves with new equipment. The difficult terrain, paired with Storm Ciara, proved to be a problem and caused issues for vehicles that resulted in some interesting jobs for the Recovery Mechanics. Jobs varying from broken convoy lights to full engine changes kept everyone busy and helped some of the junior Craftsmen tick off the majority of their Class 3 to 2 books. After a few late nights (and a lot of brews) the LAD managed to achieve 93% availability in preparation for Exercise Archer, the Commanding Officer’s two day run out. On 17 January, seven of the thirteen tradesmen pushed forward to The Rookery to establish an Equipment Collection Point, with the remainder moving to A2 to help 2 Bn REME in Barton Stacey. With a new location came another storm. The ground was deteriorating and the problem became less about repairing the vehicles and more about how they would get to the vehicles in the first place. When spares weren’t available, other ways of repair had to be quickly thought of. For instance, the use of green string in place of a wiper motor to ensure a vital piece of equipment was back in the battle as quick as possible. Overall, this was an extremely successful exercise
for the members of 4 CS Coy. Taking into account the adverse conditions and maintaining such a high availability shows they epitomised what it is to be a REME Soldier.
Ex SCORPION STING As part of Exercise SCORPION STING, members from 4 Company took part in an AT package prior to deploying to Cottesmore on a four-day BCS exercise. As was a common theme throughout much of the year, COVID-19 tried its utmost to throw a spanner in the works, with a
Coy REHAB Orders
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Coy HQ plethora of last-minute changes being made to the AT. None more so than the change of venue from Capel Curig to Catterick Garrison. Luckily, having the Yorkshire Dales on our doorstep allowed the Company to still conduct two days of beneficial and challenging AT, consisting of hill walking and mountain biking. From the picturesque village of Clapham in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, groups departed into the surrounding countryside either on foot or by bike. The destination for the hill walkers was the summit of Ingleborough, which makes up one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks. The 10-mile loop featured some of the best scenery the Yorkshire Dales has to offer, passing over limestone
Fwd Pl ECCP
A Class 6 carcass 14 firstname.lastname@example.org
A rolling replen lesson during Ex SCORPIONS STING pavements, gills, caves, sink holes and scars. At the summit of Ingleborough, groups were met with an uninspiring view over the Dales as, in true Northern fashion, inclement weather brought with it a thick layer of cloud. The mountain biking was arguably a less arduous affair, consisting of a 15-mile route that included a scheduled stop for a pub lunch. The two days of AT, which all members of the Company took part in, served as a great shake out for everyone after a long period where much of the Company was dispersed due to COVID-19.
Mountain biking AT during Ex SCORPIONS STING Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 15
Section attack during the Ex SCORPIONS ATTACK BCS phase
LCpl Army Leadership and Development Programme (ALDP) 1 CS Bn REME has also been busy implementing the new LCpl ‘Army Leadership and Development Programme (ALDP)’, which is replacing the ‘Command, Leadership and Management (CLM)’ promotion courses. This programme is designed to develop Junior NCOs so that they can execute effective command, leadership and management of small teams. It is a two-week course, with the first week based in camp and consisting of various lectures on topics such as leadership, mental fitness, discipline and defence studies. These give the Junior NCOs the theory they need to know to become effective junior leaders. The first week also contained a day of command tasks. This tested the trainees on their ability to manage their team whilst extracting and conveying important information so that they could complete the task. The week rounded off with the trainees delivering a five-minute presentation on a leader of their choice. This gave the trainees a chance to study their chosen leader and recognise the leadership qualities they possessed that made them an effective leader. They then had to present their findings in front of the other trainees on the course, testing their public speaking skills. After a weekend off, the trainees moved to the exercise phase of the course. This began by receiving a set of deployment orders, before setting off and patrolling into the harbour location. After an afternoon of reminding and revising the six section battle drills, the trainees were ready to take charge of a fire team as a Section 2IC. The day’s activities consisted of a ‘round robin’ of section attacks on the wet and hilly Catterick Training Area, where each trainee took turns being tested as the Section 2IC in a section attack. The trainees were
marked on their problem-solving skills, as well as their ability to act and communicate under pressure. As always, COVID-19 measures were put in place to reduce the spread of the virus between trainees and staff. These added a layer of complexity to the delivery of the course and included measures such as splitting the course in two during week one and reducing shell scrapes to one per person during the exercise phase. These measures, along with the well ingrained ‘hands, face, space’ mantra, helped to control and reduce the spread among the course when a confirmed case did unfortunately arise.
1 Bn Tours and Trawls Despite COVID-19, many members of 1 Battalion REME have still deployed on vital overseas operations and exercises. LCpl Adeyemo and Cfn Yarnell Scott deployed to Poland on OP CABRIT in support of The Light Dragoons; who were forming NATO’s multinational enhanced Forward Presence in the region. LCpl Armstrong and LCpl Kyle are currently preparing to deploy with The Light Dragoons as part of the 250 strong peacekeeping force that has been deployed to Mali in support of MINUSMA. Cpl Craddock and LCpl Rodgers have been deployed to Afghanistan with 4 SCOTS on OP TORAL. They have been part of the 1000 strong contingent of UK troops who are aiming to increase the capability of the Afghanistan Defence and Security Forces. LCpl Bevan, LCpl Bolton, LCpl Betham, LCpl Smith and Cfn Enderbury have been deployed to the Falklands as part of the British Army’s longstanding commitment to defend the island and provide support for the 3,521 inhabitants of the islands. Other notable mentions are the Battalion’s continual support for BATUK, Exercise Wessex Storm, Op Rescript and Winter Planning 2020.
Taking part in the LCpl ALDP 16 email@example.com
During 2020, the Company has adapted to the requirements of the Battalion; providing RLS to the many BHQ and Company exercises, developing a conceptual understanding of the Log ES Mat in the event of an LBSG deployment, and adapting to the possibility of deploying on operations for the first time since Op HERRICK 17. It is safe to say that all personnel have contributed superbly throughout; a testing yet inspirational performance from all personnel, which has seen its integration with the Battalion’s cognitive cell – the BHQ. In addition to its working schedule, personnel have
Final Word Regardless of the challenges that COVID-19 has presented, 1 Battalion has still managed to complete numerous exercises, Adventurous Training and continually provide ES Support to the wider Army. Our Soldiers proved they are flexible, adaptable and able to operate in a myriad of environments. 2021 will provide its own challenges. We look forward to 4 CS Coy deploying to Kenya in preparation for their Readiness year and the remainder of the Battalion conducting vital training for whatever is around the corner. Well done for all your hard work this year and best of luck for the next 12 months! Remy Pl on AT during Ex SCORPIONS STING enjoyed the opportunity of AT where a number of Soldiers hiked the Yorkshire Dales on an autumn afternoon. In the summer, personnel worked tirelessly to progressively train its personnel from BCS (Back-to-Basics) to a standard allowing a successful technical deployment. Most impressively, the multitude of trades within the Company had adapted its normal way of life to best integrate with the BHQ; something which hadn’t been done in many years. The concurrent training activity saw its Logistic Supply Specialists learn to provide critical ES Material, the Chefs deliver an excellent food service to BHQ and the Comms Department execute a complex communications plan across multiple detachments. The BHQ and Ech Coy training programme has culminated to revised SOIs, a well-integrated Echelon and a strong foothold for which the Battalion can progress into LBSG readiness. The Company’s success in delivering a magnitude of roles throughout the Battalion has been due to the hard work of all within the Company. This fresh change has provided a fresh attitude towards EMPOWERMENT that will see the Battalion move from strength-to-strength.
SV engine change while on exercise Ech Coy on AT
Land Equipment Audit Team
A Challenging and Unique Year As COVID-19 put a stop to physical visits, the Land Equipment Audit Team had to quickly readjust to remote auditing. Scribes: Major Mick Patey, WO1 (ASM) Pete Wright, Sgt Mark Webb and Sgt Ryan Schofield HQ LEA (RC) SO2 Maj Mick Patey WO1 (ASM) Col Jones
LEAT (North) SO3 Capt Rob Cupples Manning 1 + 19
LEAT (Midlands) SO3 Capt Mark Walker Manning 1 + 16
ost readers of this magazine will have heard of the Land Equipment Audit Team (LEAT). Many of you will have experience of an audit, whereas the Veteran community will have experienced the precursor to the LEA, the infamous Equipment Care Inspection (ECI). The LEA process has moved on greatly from the days of ECI. It is not about units passing or failing; we are here to highlight non-compliance, non-conformance and areas of risk to Unit Commanders. LEA are also here to provide units with assistance throughout the year to enable them to continually improve and drive cultural change. This is a step change from ECI to LEA that has improved the relationship between units and LEA, enabling us to communicate openly and honestly, with healthy debate on both sides. Consequently, this has not only allowed us to highlight areas of risk, but also allowed the LEAT to highlight common issues and implement change to Service Policy.
LEAT (South East) SO3 Capt Neil Gallagher Manning 1 + 13
LEAT (South West) SO3 Capt Gav Mackrell Manning 1 + 13
Background Before we delve into a day in the life of an Auditor, I feel it is pertinent to provide some context and background about LEA and its Auditors. The LEA consists of four Regional Teams and an HQ within Regional Command (RC), as represented above. Between these teams we conduct 776 audits per year, covering all Army units: Regular, Reserves, Defence Primary Health Care (DPHC), Cadets, Operations and Overseas Garrisons. Organisations within other TLBs are also subject to an annual LEA, such as 3 Commando Brigade units, Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) plus all overseas Permanent Joint Operating Bases (PJOB). The sheer number of audits, equipment, policy documents and geographical locations make the planning and execution of these audits a challenge at the best of times; if you then throw into the mix ever changing policy, unit moves and, from the last year, the additional challenges provided by COVID-19, I think it’s easy to see that this can be a challenging and immensely rewarding job. The auditor provides the second Line of Defence Assurance (LoDA) on behalf of Army HQ, through assurance, reporting and monitoring. As an Equipment Auditor, the minimum standard required is to become Audit Evaluation Skills qualified. This is a two-day course introducing the Auditor to the quality audit process, including planning, conducting audits and report writing. Most LEAT Auditors are also ISO 9001:2015 Lead Auditor qualified, which enables them to ‘Team Lead’, whether as part of a large audit team or auditing solo, as DPHC and Weapon Auditors often do. Additionally, Auditors must possess the required trade competencies for the criterion audited. All Auditors, whether it be a Team Leader, Deputy Team Leader or Criterion Auditors act as a consultancy service, focusing on three main assurance principles: Assess, Advise and Assist.
A Day in the Life of a LE Auditor
The fighting North team on OP TORAL, fearlessly led by Capt Rob Cupples.
So, what is involved during a typical audit day? Travelling, and at times lots of it, with the opportunity to travel all over the world. Once at the audit location, it’s time to get settled into your accommodation and prepare to commence the audit. This usually involves a thorough check of the unit JAMES account, which enables the Auditor to gain an overview of the unit and possibly highlight areas worth focussing on. The first key message during the audit is to assure the unit that the audit will be evidence-based and will highlight areas of risk that the CO/HoE is not currently aware of. The Auditor will study the holdings and the documented systems, including management assessments, process assessments and monitor inspections. The aim is to confirm the processes are compliant/conformant to the correct standard and the Unit Equipment Care Directive (UECD). All findings identified are briefed directly to the Lead Auditor with the reference, finding and evidence. This enables the Team Leader to provide the unit with a concise debrief and report that is factual, linked to the legislation or Service Policy (SP) and supported by the evidence.
The sporting South West team, walking the South West coastal path during AT
The Challenges of Remote Auditing I think it is fair to say that in the last year COVID-19 has bought about some significant changes to the way we all work. Every audit conducted by LEA is unique, requiring a bespoke team although the process remains largely the same. 2020 has seen LEA have to test and adapt these processes. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, an annual assurance visit would consist of the LEA team conducting a physical audit at the unit location. Due to the current circumstances and in line with government guidance, we have had to adapt a lot of our Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to enable the conduct of ‘remote audits’. Remote audits have presented significant challenges not just to the LEAT but also to the units that require assurance. In the first instance we had to ensure that a combined, coherent approach could be achieved by the four regional LEATs. This required the implementation of a new SOP specific to remote auditing with detailed instructions, for both sides, so LEA delivery could be achieved. Next was the lack of IT infrastructure to allow personnel to work from home - those without MOD laptops were utilising the ‘Working from Home’ portal on the Defence Gateway which does not provide the full functionality of a laptop. Thankfully, come mid-May, the majority of the Teams were in possession of either laptops or tablets. All we had to do then was ensure everyone knew how to use them - as in any organisation, the variation in knowledge across the teams of new apps such as Teams and Skype meant we had a lot of learning to do. Now that we had all the teething issues sorted everything was going to be just perfect... Or maybe not; overseas audits provided some extra challenges to keep us busy, with not just time differences to contend with but some theatres using different software and others not being able to share information from their server due to the sensitive information contained within it. The remote audit process has also presented challenges for units. The evidence that would normally have been presented in a folder or
set of documents now had to be presented online, normally using SharePoint. Units began with some trepidation but through guidance and patience found the process, although slightly more complicated, developmental and relatively straight forward. The requirement to be able to access the UECD, registers and documents online has given units a rare opportunity to test their online EC and management processes and evolve them. The greatest loss as a result of remote auditing is the knowledge and experience that can be gained by units and Auditors that quite often happens in the middle of a conversation. This period of remote auditing has, however, improved our use of IT and our ability to manage information electronically. Working from home and conducting remote audits has certainly been challenging. It has been demanding in a unique and unprecedented year, but we have continued to support units within the UK, overseas and in operational locations. We have, whether we know it or not, all contributed to the assurance process in some way. If you have ‘out inspected’ work, signed to say you have checked the serviceability of a piece of equipment or even signed before and after use registers for equipment or vehicles, you have contributed to the assurance process. These are all processes put in place to ensure your unit conforms to MOD policy and the law.
Final Thought ‘The annual audit of the standards of EC and equipment serviceability including maintenance, inspection and repair, which contribute to sustaining combat power.’ That is the reality of the Auditor’s job. It does not sound very ‘rock n roll’. After all, we are, to a degree, away from the coal face. Does that mean the job isn’t exciting or worthwhile? Absolutely not! This is an extremely varied job with audits covering all EC criterions across a wide geographical area. Always meeting new people and always coming across new findings. Continually updating your policy knowledge and passing this onto those who need it the most.
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A Lone VM with Crisis Response Troops Scribes: LCpl Jones and Cpl Huckstep
Humanitarian Aid to the Caribbean Islands during the core Hurricane Season Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 21
CR Tp on route to the Caribbean Islands
n 29 March 2020, 24 Commando Royal Engineers, 4 Tp 59 Sqn deployed as part of Special Purpose Task Group along with other elements within 3 Commando Brigade. Travelling from RMB Chivenor, North Devon to HMS Drake, Plymouth, we embarked onto RFA Argus for the upcoming deployment. Sailing across the Atlantic in sea states five and six proved a little too much for some members of Crisis Response Troops (CR Tp), who were confined to their pits for most of the sail. The first task given to the Troop was to conduct a ‘recce’ of a potential HLS in Bermuda for the upcoming hurricane season. From there, we travelled to the British Virgin Islands (BVI) - Anguilla and Montserrat. Montserrat was the first island we stepped onto after five weeks at sea. It had a large volcanic eruption in the 1990s, which destroyed the capital, Plymouth. Although tragic, this event provided an ideal training area. This highlighted the true power of Mother Nature and what could be expected in the future. After landing, helicopters offloaded the underslung equipment
Previous hurricane damage
and the quad bikes. On the first day we cleared brambles and bushes to allow the quads and trailers to get through the thick vegetation. The following day we simulated several medical serials, something that will be vital for when disaster strikes. This varied from small lacerations to suspected spinal injuries and was run by the medical staff from RFA Argus. On the third day on Montserrat, we explored Plymouth and to this day the town remains in the exclusion zone with many of the buildings still lying under massive amounts of ash and pyroclastic flows. Sailing on to Turks and Caicos, we spent three days conducting several tasks. This compromised of ‘recces’ and setting up a mock aid and distribution point for COVID-19. Whilst most of the Troop conducted this task, the RE Fitters and myself had the task of ‘seeing what we could do’, with some vehicles in dire need of attention. Where concurrent activity could be conducted, we carried out user familiarisation and maintenance training on the quads. We identified some minor issues such as fuel problems, which came
Post PT shoot
from a faulty tap and transmission issues as diagnosed as the revs on the engine being too high. After getting our hands dirty, we continued with routine maintenance and inspections but were forced to conduct MEIs due to a safety notice turning all quad bikes non-taskworthy. We also had the opportunity to carry out a PT competition. We decided to take part in some ‘CrossFit Games’ which took place over three days, consisting of a different workout on each day. First was a workout dedicated to Drummer Lee Rigby, the second part was a 500m best effort row, and then the final exercise was a leg destruction. Each workout worked off a scoring system to see who would be victorious at the end. Fast-forward to June; we sailed around the Cayman Islands where we assisted the locals at the Queen Elizabeth Botanical Gardens. We carried out a lot of landscape repairs, felling trees and cleaning up the general area. We also pushed trees back and trimmed them down, to help stop the blue iguanas from getting killed by the bigger and more fierce green iguanas. If a green iguana was killed, the bounty was $5. We also simulated more CASEVAC serials with the Troop, working closely with boat crews from 47 Commando, MAOT from Commando Helicopter Force and the Wildcat from 815 Sqn. This was to ensure we could operate within the ‘Golden Hour’ if injuries were to occur whilst deployed. Prior to putting our feet up, we conducted charity work for Green Phenix, Curacao. This charity takes washed up plastics off local beaches, sorts it, cleans it, and then melts it down to build furniture or powders for their plastic 3D printers. We helped the charity by painting a new venue in the local mall. The place looked brand new and ready for the printers and shredders to move in. The whole renovation can be seen on Instagram: @greenphenixcuracao or @caribbeancommandos. After two weeks shore leave, we returned to training and started exercising with our NATO allies, the Dutch Marines. This involved various physical challenges such as; hill runs, the Dutch Marines swim test and tabbing over the mountains in 30+ degrees heat. After returning to Plymouth, we carried out more ‘fast roping’ from Merlin helicopters of 845 Naval Air Squadron, onto a hill beside the active and still venting, volcano. We descended through thick foliage on to the pyroclastic flows back to the harbour at
Plymouth, where we undertook more training serials in readiness for any deployment into any British Overseas Territories (BOTs) or Commonwealth Islands. At this point, the hurricanes and tropical storms were coming thick and fast. The ship was deployed to Honduras to assist the Americans with fuel for their Chinooks after it had been hit by Hurricane Eta. Soon after arriving in Honduras we had to move south to avoid Hurricane Iota as it barrelled towards Honduras. When we arrived back off the coast of Honduras, CR Tp set about lifting water and rations through the aircraft hangers to the flight deck, where the Merlins of 845 Sqn ferried it ashore. By the end of the hurricane season, the Atlantic and Caribbean had seen a record high of 30 named storms, of which 13 became Hurricanes. Of these 13, six became major hurricanes, with one, Hurricane Iota, becoming Cat 5. Fortunately, no Commonwealth country or BOT was hit by a major hurricane this year. The ship as a whole had a successful deployment, delivering over 100 tonnes of UK aid and assessing damage to Honduras after being hit by two major Hurricanes. In addition to delivering humanitarian aid, the Troop assisted the US Coastguard LEDET in stopping seven boats carrying drugs, capturing 18 detainees and stopping 4,723 kgs of drugs worth an estimated £377.8m.
Dropping the Troop off
Botanical Garden assistance
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How are you feeling during these challenging times? Fears about COVID19 can take an emotional toll, the mental resi
WORKING FROM HOME
Y REGULA ET
NAL CON IO
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If you’re isolating or working from home, you can create a daily structure, which will be your goal. For example: • • • •
Consider what is important and set priorities. Set clear working hours, take regular breaks. Set aside time for exercise and eat healthily. Communicate with others ; friends, family and work colleagues.
Stay Positive and we will get throu We must be Ready. We must be Res
ilience skills can help you remain motivated, focused and calm.
LEARNT SKILLS LEARNT SKILLS
PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE
SENSE OF PURPOSE
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What pillars are a昀ected by this? Think positive, challenge any unhelpful or negative thoughts, focus on things you can control: • • •
This will not last forever, we will get through it as a Team. We have a military family - support each other. Defence is supporting those in need.
ugh this together. silient. We must be Responsive.
ARE YOU A SERVING MEMBER OF REME OR FORMER MEMBER OF THE ARMED FORCES?
Why Not Join the REME Association Caravan and Camping Club? Enjoy new friends of all ages, new places and leisure activities. Membership – who can join? Membership is open to members of the REME Association, serving or former serving REME personnel; also any member or former serving member of the Armed Forces (Regular and Reserves) or any Civil Service employee.
charge usually in the region of 50p per night per van to cover coffee, tea and biscuits etc.
Rallies During the year the Club holds eight rallies or weekends usually starting in March, then monthly until October. Weekend rallies are held nationwide, usually start on a Wednesday and go through until Tuesday, although members can come along for shorter periods. Rally locations are generally commercial sites with full facilities. Site fees are variable and start from £12.00 per night, depending on the type of site, plus a small rally
How much does it cost? The membership subscription is £12.00 per year, which includes the member and partner plus any young children.
2021 RALLY CALENDAR May 12 – 18 Kingsdown Tail, Devon June 18 – 28 Ashfield Farm, York July 14 – 20 Highfield Farm, Comberton, Cambs. August 11 – 17 Lickhill Manor, Stourport on Seven September 15 – 21 Waleswood C and CP, Sheffield October 13 – 19 Yew Tree Farm, Bewdley View our 2021 Rally programme and future events at a glance via
/REME Assn Caravan & Camping Club.
Holiday Rally In addition to the monthly rallies, we hold a ten days annual ‘Holiday Rally’.
Why join the Club? We are able to get heavily reduced rates on almost all of the sites, sometimes reduced by almost half price. So just do the maths, its simple! £12.00 per year subscription – by the end of your first Rally you are in pocket! We are with you every step of the way There are always experienced caravanners to hand if you are new to caravanning and need assistance. So please feel free to call us and book into one of the rallies to come and try us out. You know the old saying: “nothing ventured, nothing gained!”
Hopefully we shall see you on a rally field somewhere soon. For further information contact… Hon Secretary: David Ormond • 4 Holbein Walk • Corby • Northants • NN18 9LF
PLEASE ENROL ME AS A FULL MEMBER Please enrol me/us as (a) member(s) of the REME Association Caravan & Camping Club. To: Mrs Janet Benson, Members Secretary REME C & CC, 6 Winthorpe Close, Doddington Park, Lincoln, Lincs LN6 3 PQ. I enclose a cheque for £12.00 made payable to: REME Association Caravan & Camping Club. My / Our details are: Name: .......................................................................................................................................................................................... Spouse/Partner’s Name:............................................................................................................................................................ Address: ....................................................................................................................................................................................... ...............................................................................................
Email:............................................................................................................................................................................................ Caravan 씲
Form Issued by: ........................................................................................................................................................................... Completion of this form assumes your Agreement with the Club Data Protection Policy. We will never share your details with any person or organization without your express permission. Full details of our policy will be published and updated in our rule book, available on enrolment.
Ex IRON HOG at a glance Personnel attending
34 Training Staff
3 Bn REME
Exercise IRON HOG Personnel from 20 Armd Coy, 3 Bn REME share their experiences of learning to operate in an urban environment and develop crucial skills. Scribe: Maj Couldridge
28,766 Grenades thrown
20 Armd Coy are taking over the role supporting the Lead Armoured Task Force (LATF) in January 2021 and since returning from the first COVID-19 lockdown, have been conducting lots of training in preparation. With CT(B) and CT(C) earmarked for early 2021, the concentration has been on the individual and Forward Repair Teams within the Company. The Field Army Training Directive 2020 identified that all forces, irrespective of function or specialism, must be able to operate in the urban environment and CFA has directed that 50% of training must have an urban focus. The aim of Exercise IRON HOG 20 was to provide a learning environment where our Soldiers could develop these skills. The exercise started with the basics and progressed onto training serials that could be run multiple times to offer the individuals a training environment where they were safe to fail and learn from their mistakes, whilst reinforcing success. It was clear to see that every Soldier was developing their skills, ranging from how to hold a weapon while maintaining situational awareness and protection, right through to operating their vehicles in complex scenarios, all in the urban environment.
8 Doorways breached
68 Assault ladders taken
8 House raids conducted
4 FRTs deployed
Fire Team clearance drills were taught by OBUA instructors from 1YORKS
Scribe: Cpl Williams On Monday 12 October, 20 Armd Coy deployed on Exercise IRON HOG 20, which took place at Copehill Down FIBUA1 Village, Salisbury Plain Training Area. The exercise commenced on a rainy Monday morning with lessons on room and building clearances, including identifying building faces and entry points, and use of ladders and grenades with training being provided by the experts in this field, a Platoon from 1 YORKS. This involved new skills for the majority of members of 20 Armd Coy and an update on previously learnt skills for the older and bolder amongst us. In the afternoon, 20 Armd Coy was given lessons on breaking through doors using tools such as the ‘Enforcer’ ram on the Rhino Rig. This proved to be an entertaining afternoon with additional points being awarded to the heavyweights who could smash their way through the doors in a single hit and the inevitable mocking for those who could not. We were eager to put our newly honed skills to the test in various houses within the village with members of 1 YORKS playing enemy and putting us through our paces! On a dry Tuesday morning the Company returned to the training area in convoy from the
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rooms and made a courageous last stand. Come Thursday and it was clear that the local Civ Pop had become hostile to our presence in the village. The Company bolstered the FOB defences and each Section was delegated a section of the perimeter to defend with interlocking arcs. The Civ Pop eventually withdrew and the inevitable final battle commenced. Over the next two hours, the FOB came under sustained attack from all sides with small arms fire, grenades and vehicle-born attacks. Wave after wave of attacks were repelled, although not without taking on casualties which were dealt with under fire. The defence held up until the enemy has lost their resolve to fight.
Scribe: Lt Whelan My biggest take-away from the exercise was learning how workforce-intensive clearing a building is. Considering casualties and the number of rooms in a building, it could easily take a Platoon to clear a typical house. Communication in that type of environment is key - having clear messages passed up and down makes the fight much easier to control. One of the highlights was getting hands on with the breaching equipment and seeing the Soldiers try new techniques. The 1 YORKS instructors were extremely knowledgeable and the Soldiers really enjoyed the lessons and dry run throughs. Operating in an urban environment adds a whole new aspect to the battlespace and requires the Soldiers to act quickly in certain scenarios. The closequarter nature means that decisions must be made quickly but more importantly, the correct decision needs to be made. The civilian element of operating in the urban environment adds complexity and means that every action has the potential to have a serious impact on the local population or friendly forces. The enemy threat was ever present throughout the exercise, testing the protection of the FOB and the Company’s ability to react
Scribe: WO2 Miller CGC My biggest takeaway from the exercise was how versatile the REME Soldier can be and how they can adapt to their surroundings so quickly when put outside their comfort zones. Tested as individuals over the four days, they learnt new skills on the first day and then put them into practice over the remaining three days of the exercise. They adopted skills quickly and executed them effectively on the various scenarios they were given throughout the exercise. The highlight of the week for me was the difference half a day’s training made to our Soldiers. During the first day, the Soldiers were taught OBUA2 by a Training Team from 1 YORKS. At the very start of the day, they looked uncomfortable behind their weapon systems, their skills and drills were poor and moving from fire position to fire position in the built-up area looked clunky. Fast forward half a day and the difference was unbelievable; they had confidence in their drills, confidence working as a small team and by the end of the day
comfort of Tidworth Camp and went straight into the round robin phase of the exercise, where the Company was broken down into four Sections. The ‘round robin’ consisted of various serials, including responding to a casualty and extracting following an IED blast, practicing room entry via a ladder, vehicle dismount drills followed by a building clearance and room clearance with forced entry to the house and interior rooms to seek out our enemy. On Tuesday night the Company entered into FOB routine, with sentries posted and a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) on hand in case of an incident. Each section also conducted a night recce on various houses within the village in order to seek out any intel we could gain on the village’s population. Continuing into Wednesday, it wasn’t long until the local Civilian Population (Civ Pop) appeared at our gates, unhappy with our presence in their village and persisted in making a nuisance of themselves over the next two days. In the afternoon, the sections were each called out to respond to an ES task at a grid reference out on Salisbury Plain. I deployed out to the area with 3 Section to find a stranded Land Rover that wouldn’t start. After conducting a diagnosis and a quick fix, the Land Rover was up and running again. However, as soon as we had completed the task, we were engaged from the ridge above us, beating us into a hasty retreat following a brief firefight. Night came and the enemy attacked the northeast side of the FOB. The attack was repelled and the QRF crashed out. The response was a deliberate attack on the house that had been positively identified the previous night as being a confirmed location. 3 Section used the cover of darkness to approach the house undetected before making an aggressive entry. The house was searched room by room A Soldier prepares to patrol out of the FOB to conduct a house clearance until a die-hard combatant was found in one of the attic 28 firstname.lastname@example.org
you genuinely couldn’t tell the difference between a section from 20 Armd Coy and the section of demo troops from 1 YORKS. An OBUA-focussed exercise is different because its threedimensional fighting; the threat can come from anywhere at any time. Operating in an Urban Environment provides the enemy so much more cover that they can literally be on your position without the sentries even realising. There wasn’t a moment during the exercise when the troops could relax; they were on edge the whole time. They learned some invaluable lessons from the Training Team that will improve their individual skills and drills going forward in their careers.
Scribe: SSgt Osborn Ex IRON HOG 20 proved the deployment capabilities of the CQMS Dept in a number of key areas. As a REME Battalion, deploying with defensive stores is not something we do all the time. Liaising with local RE units, we used their expertise to make sure we deployed with sufficient and suitable defensive equipment, given the need to enhance the protection of the FOB we occupied in Copehill Down Village. The collection and distribution of this equipment tested the TSS Soldiers’ skill set and refreshed our vehicle husbandry and loading knowledge.
Two-man clearance drills were taught by OBUA instructors from 1 YORKS
Scribe: LCpl Willetts There were many good points to take away from the exercise. Personally, I learnt the most from the skills and drills needed for building clearances. As a Section IC I had to use the tactics and skills we had been taught to clear the building with minimum casualties, while ensuring the task was done safely and efficiently. The highlight of the week was at the final stage where we had to defend the FOB. With so many different serials and attacks going on at once it was a great training opportunity to test our skills. Kept on our guard; collating ammo states; and providing situational reports to the Platoon CP were all thoroughly tested. This exercise was different in the fact that it wasn’t our usual routine exercise. There were many different serials, most of which we had not done before, so we gained valuable experience. Each day was different, which added variety to the training. Many different tasks that were put in place for the Sections, built on the training we had already received, to ensure we came together and worked hard as a team, which was rewarding for all.
Scribe: Cfn Firth The biggest lesson I learnt during the week was how each role in a fire team is extremely important. The highest level of discipline and communication is required, knowing where each individual of the fire team is. OBUA is more focused towards an urban environment rather than open land warfare. The procedures are always changing, because a Soldier will find new and more efficient ways of conducting room clearances. For example, as odd as it felt, holding a weapon system in the opposite shoulder was a great help in conducting room clearances. Tactics need to be learnt and rehearsed, whilst each Soldier’s battle preparation needs to be perfect. The highlight of the exercise for me was being shown and putting into practice how to break down doors and open windows to clear rooms.
considered prior to the exercise. OBUA tactics, even down to the carriage of the weapon, is different to how it is carried in rural-type exercises. When moving through buildings, the Section is stacked much closer together, allowing the Commander easier control. However, this made us vulnerable to enemy fire, so momentum and drills must be understood and maintained throughout. The highlights of the exercise for me included being a GPMG gunner during the two-hour sustained contact on our FOB, as well as learning how to complete room clearances and breaking down doors during a raid.
Scribe: Cfn Moulding Gaining an understanding of how difficult some situations can be when fighting in large or small buildings is key. Learning how the Infantry operate in built up areas was the biggest skill I learnt from this exercise. The highlight of the week for me was learning how to gain access to buildings efficiently through locked doors and with other equipment, such as ladders. A unique fighting style, OBUA is completely different to a typical field exercise due to the complexity of the terrain. Having multiple different approaches to overcome the enemy and various situations occurring, results in an increased threat level. The likelihood of the plan changing is much higher, so adaptability at all levels is key. 1 Fighting In a Built Up Area 2 Operations in Built Up Area
Scribe: Cfn Aldred The biggest lesson I learnt during the week was the variance in procedures for mounting an attack on a specific building or location. The kit required, such as the equipment needed to break down doors in buildings, were things I had never
Members of 20 Armd Coy took part in an OBUA exercise in Copehill Down Village, October 2020
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102 Bn REME
“You’re On Mute” The Ups and Downs of Running a Training Camp via Zoom Scribes: 102 Bn REME Trg Team
he aim for Exercise IRON SPROCKET was to conduct technical and tactical training as well as wider professional development by virtual means, integrating ‘Soldier first, Tradesman always’ skills, IOT set conditions for CT Level Charlie in TY 21/22 and Ex IRON VIPER 21. With lockdown re-imposed, post-Christmas 102 Bn REME switched from a physical camp in Catterick, which originally without COVID would have been four weeks in BATUS Canada, to two two-week exercises that were fully virtual. The training was delivered over Zoom, also utilising a Defence Connect project group for administration and coordination. It included virtual technical and tactical training, ES planning, unit, career and trade updates, Empowerment Projects and bespoke trade development training. The exercise included two VIP visits, from HQ 101 Log Bde and RHQ REME (Corps Colonel (Res))
Ex IRON SPROCKET 1, Wk 1 Scribe: LCpl Lenton. 146 Div Sp Coy, 102 Bn REME After logging into Zoom for parade, the usual scenario of mouths moving but no sound being heard had the common phrase of the week being ‘You’re on mute’. The virtual tours of people’s houses as they chase the Wi-Fi from room to room looking for the strongest signal was an amusing sight. The term “charge cups” was often a frequent saying as we’d get a small break away from the screens. Being able to get outside in the fresh air for indirectly supervised PT was a welcome break and for me one I looked forward to each day. The first week began with ‘ice-breaker’ sessions; then we were split into small groups of two to three for the group tasks set for us. This helped for our discussions and tasks as fewer people could talk at once or be interrupted, due to the all-powerful ‘Mute Button’. One of the main tasks of the week was the re-design of the 102 Bn Defence Connect page as part of the Empowerment initiative. Over the period of the first week it slowly developed until it came to fruition and we presented to the Battalion. I personally found this was a big sense of achievement and very much enjoyed doing the activity. It made me feel we had made a difference and had been able to add
LCpl Lenton’s contributions to the CO’s PT picture challenge 30 email@example.com
value to the Battalion profile. The Commanding Officer’s picture challenge added a bit of competition into the first week. We were challenged, whilst out for PT, to take pictures of specific subjects. This included pubs, bus stops, lorries, bridges, post boxes to name but a few.
Ex BRASS SPROCKET 5 Scribe: 2Lt Wells, 146 Div Sp Coy, 102 Bn REME Ex BRASS SPROCKET 5 encompassed the end of Ex IRON SPROCKET 1 and the start of Ex IRON SPROCKET 2 so, along with those joining just for the weekend, it made for a very well attended event, with up to 163 participants on the call at once. At times these were concurrently split across up to 16 syndicate ‘breakout groups’, which is a feat that would have been daunting 12 months ago; having had nearly a year of remote training, it ran smoothly. The Saturday was split with Officers and SNCOs carrying out SADCHAP planning and back briefs while the junior ranks had lessons on driver skills and briefs on operational experiences. Alongside this we also ran a Development Day for Potential Officers and Artificers. This opened with briefs from the CO and RHQ REME. We then gave a lesson on completing a Planning Exercise (Tiffy Dilemma) before they had a go for themselves. The Battalion joined together for PT and after lunch there were discussion groups on current affairs followed by a Q&A. It was a great chance to prepare them for what to expect at AOSB and the Tiffy course, with the opportunity to ask questions to SMEs afterwards. The Sunday was focused on MATT 6 - Behaviours. Our unit has identified Challenging Behaviours as the Behaviours Pt 2 topic of choice for this training year. We delivered that lesson before spending the rest of the day’s lesson periods in ‘breakout rooms’, with the Defence Gateway application Dilemma. This is a brilliant application that I would thoroughly recommend as a fun way to teach MATT 6 and prompt discussions. It involves a team of up to eight players and they are asked a Values and Standards themed question in turn - the dilemma - and they must choose from four answers which they believe to be the correct response. After each question the DS, acting as question master, encourages discussion
on the topic and the answers. With applications, learning and attendance such as we had throughout the weekend’s remote learning, far from being a hindrance, had actually presented us with opportunity.
Ex IRON SPROCKET 2, Wk 2 Scribe: LCpl Irons, 153 Rec Coy, 102 Bn REME Ex IRON SPROCKET 2 was my Annual Continuous Training (ACT) for 2020-2021 training year. This last year has posed many difficulties for everyone and providing training for us has been one of the difficulties. Throughout the year I have attended some of the virtual training; although the training was good, it has not been my favourite. I’m a very hands-on person so I was not really looking forward to attending a two-week training camp on Zoom. I was pleasantly surprised with the training that was delivered. The first week was full of useful lessons including career management and progression. The second week was very much trade focused with some very in-depth lessons based on all levels of experience attending the lessons. As I am a Vehicle Mechanic Class 2, I feel that I have a good knowledge in the subject but a lot of what I have learnt has been hands on and physically doing the job. However, the Class 1 Vehicle Mechanics put together 16 lessons, breaking down some of the main components and systems on a vehicle, which gave us a full understanding of how they work. This was a great insight for some of the newer joining Vehicle Mechanics and a great refresher for others; we all learnt something from this week. In the first week we had a visit from HQ 101 Log Bde; then the next week we were fortunate enough to be joined by RHQ as Col Kevin Hearty QVRM VR handed over to Col David Harris as Colonel REME Reserves. This was good as they took their time to go around all the groups and gave us the opportunity to share our thoughts on how we thought the training was going. We were also given some great PT sessions to do as a Battalion on Zoom. There was a good mix of lessons, PT and breaks to take your eyes off the screen and to have a leg stretch. I think the way that 102 Bn have organised this training and its delivery was very professional and definitely changed my thoughts on virtual training.
Do you want to attend an arduous course and work within the Very High Readiness Brigades of Airborne or Commando Forces? Find out where they are based, what trades are available and how you can best prepare for the demanding courses by going to https://modgovuk.sharepoint.com/teams/9382
Way forward Scribes: 102 Bn REME Trg Team 102 Bn REME will continue to exploit the use of online training and further bridge the gap between virtual and physical elements. After successfully finishing our first, entirely virtual, Annual Continuous Training events, we intend to continue to improve our skills by blending the best aspects of virtual activity with face to face training again.
Some of the feedback from the exercises
Could you be in the next generation of Airborne REME or Commando REME?
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101 TS Bn
101 Bn REME formed up in the PPRF
Ex DRAGON REVIVAL 2 In 2020 REME Reserve units became increasingly dependent on Zoom and digital connections. 101 TS Bn was determined to not let this become the case, putting into place Force Health Protection measures to ensure their Annual Camp could go ahead. Four members of 101 TS Bn share their experience of going on exercise when the enemy is a virus. Scribes: 2Lt Morris, WO2 Briscoe, and Cpl Darkwah, 160 Coy
he great Prussian military philosopher, Von Clauswitz, wrote ‘no plan survives first contact with the enemy’. In the case of 101 TS Bn REME on its annual camp, the enemy was COVID-19 and the Force Health Protection measures combined with the UK and Welsh governments’ ever-changing feast of local restrictions. The exercise was led by the Command team and permanent staff of 160 TS Coy, based in Wales. The plan was modified on an almost-daily basis as the Welsh boroughs along the M4 descended into ever greater restrictions. The COVID cake was iced with the arrival of a cohort from Manchester; the only thing they infected the posse with was a good dose of northern humour. On 3 October last year, with COVID-19 restrictions in place, a group of 101 Bn REME personnel deployed on the Annual Continuous Training (ACT) exercise, DRAGON REVIVAL. Ex DRAGON REVIVAL was phase two of the exercise, broken down into segments where the initial two days of deployment were conducted in a virtual environment. Most service personnel took the opportunity to work
Tented accommodation nicknamed the Ritz, Savoy and Hilton 32 firstname.lastname@example.org
Exciting Pre-Deployment via Zoom
Learning how to connect a pack in the run-up module (RUM)
Cfn Andrews and Cpl Darkwah at the end of a long shift
was taken three times a day at the Ivy. It is fair to say that all were very well-ventilated spaces. The Platoon had to adhere to strict social distance rules; separate accommodation, ablutions, and routes, and face masks when in contact with Regular personnel. Dealing with facemasks was a challenge, especially in the noisy environment of a PPRF where the Platoon completed an induction course led by 5 Bn REME. The Platoon quickly got up the speed and, working alongside 1 Fd Coy, started to make an impact. On Thursday, the Brigade Commander, Brig Jo Chesnutt visited and the Reserves were able to demonstrate their ability to integrate into a Regular Company and produce tangible results. Platoon Commander, 2Lt Morris, explained some of the challenges the Reserves face, balancing work and family commitments with their Reserve obligations. Later we moved from Old Fowler Barracks to Lyneham, and joined 15 Fd Coy, integrating into the shift patterns and COVID
Members of 101 Bn listen to Cpl Sim speaking on the maintenance and operation instructions for the generator in the comfort of their homes for the first two days, requiring a series of Zoom briefs and training packages organised by the chain of command. ‘Scale A’ parade was called on the first day of exercise by the CSM of 160 Company. This meant all service personnel were to dress in MTP and present themselves as likened to a face-to-face parade. This was made easy by the video capability on Zoom which the CSM used to confirm a nominal roll. Plans and actions on the exercise were explained in detail during the virtual phase of deployment, with a caveat for service personnel to be flexible to embrace any changes due to the pandemic. The ‘Perham Posse’ assembled at Gloucester and moved en masse to Old Fowler Barracks and into the pre-erected socially-distanced accommodation; the Ritz, Savoy and Hilton. Dinner
Enjoying the REME Museum
bubbles. Building on the induction we received at the PPRF, the Reserves quickly got up to speed and started to produce packs. Split across multiple lines, including Packs, Inspection, and B-Vehicles, the Reserves worked under a Regular line lead, in amalgamated teams, working well together and increasing production rates. The exercise concluded with a Culture Day, led by Cpl Williams. The Platoon embarked on a trip to the REME Museum and surrounding National Heritage sites, before returning to Lyneham to participate in a social (socially distanced, of course) evening with 15 Fd Coy. The evening was a success and signalled ENDEX for both Regulars and Reserves, and was a fitting end to the temporary Members of 160 Coy protect the completed partnership. pack for onward transportation
As the sole Armourer deployed by 101 TS Bn, LCpl Knowler was employed within the Additive Manufacturing facility at 5 Bn. Here are his thoughts:
“Spending the duration of
Exercise DRAGON REVIVAL 2 with the additive manufacturing Platoon really opened my eyes to the possibilities of 3D printing. The possibilities of this technology are not just limited to rapid prototyping. The current projects being worked on included the replacement of parts that have long since been out of circulation due to the manufacturer losing the contract or just stopping production. It also allows for the manufacturer’s design to be altered in CAD and further improved. There was also the development of possible training aids for RTR and the start of development for new ballistic armour plate for the Virtus system. Although the technology is currently limited by the printing time, which can be extensive when dealing with larger objects, as well as limitations in some materials, it is advancing rapidly with metal printing being the next step. With the right backing and support, the ADM team will be able to deploy Makerspace modules loaded onto the back of Man SVs to theatres across the globe and produce replacement parts in a matter of hours. Once the technology advances, there is even the possibility of outfitting soldiers with 3D printed equipment in a matter of hours. This would completely negate the time and travel cost of ordering through the current system. The team at 5 Bn welcome ideas from any units and are also developing a course to deliver to the wider Army so modules can be deployed throughout the Army. So please get in touch.
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Introducing REME Chess Many people don’t realise that chess is a recognised sport in 100 countries and now its popularity is rising thanks to a successful Netflix series. This month, WO1(ASM) Davie Rose and SSgt Jacob Thomas introduce the REME Chess Club, their vision for it, and their experience playing. Scribe: WO1(ASM) Davie Rose Since ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ screened on Netflix in October 2020 there has been an increase in popularity of the sport chess… Yes, that’s right - chess is a sport! Although chess might not be deemed as physically challenging, it provides a fun and stimulating way of enhancing mental capacity and competitiveness and is an incredibly beneficial sport. Playing chess results in better brain function, improved memory and cognitive abilities, strategic thinking and attention improvement. Our Corps is full of intelligent tradesmen and women, highly skilled at problem solving and strategic thinking, who would benefit from playing chess. One of our Soldiers who has proved this is SSgt Jacob Thomas, who has a fascinating story. A small REME Chess Club already exists at Lyneham and also online at chess.com, run by SSgt Thomas. Our intention is to establish a chess club within the Corps, with the aim to grow in popularity and gain approved status via the Army Sports Control Board in the first instance. Subsequently, we will get the sport recognised as ‘other sports status’ within the Corps. There is no prerequisite chess skill set required to join and all levels are welcome. Given the current COVID situation the club will be run online. This is easy to accommodate, as chess can be easily played online and teams can learn, develop and compete from this platform. The aspiration is to hold a Corps Tournament in Lyneham this year, from which we will form a
One of the venues I have been able to play in
Corps Team to later compete in the Armed Forces Chess Championships 2021. If you are interested in becoming a member of the REME Chess Club, please contact: WO1(ASM) Davie Rose David.email@example.com) SSgt Jacob Thomas Jacob.Thomas898@mod.gov.uk. Scribe: SSgt Jacob Thomas
Chess really can take you all over the world
I started playing chess 10 years ago whilst on Exercise Winter Repair in Canada. With no internet, depleted funds and only two games on my laptop I thought I’d have to give it a try. Besides, I had just completed Theme Hospital. Chess Titans was an inbuilt game, with 10 levels of difficulty that proved a formidable opponent. I slowly developed my understanding of how the pieces moved and the patterns of play; eventually I managed to claw a victory from Level 3 and with that I thought I’d reached the end of my chess career. A few months later back in the UK, I found myself
browsing DINS and stumbled across the Armed Forces Chess Championship. I’ve always had the philosophy of taking every opportunity available, which has led me to; Ice Climbing in the Rockies, kayaking through Europe and exploring shipwrecks in the Red Sea. So with a good track record, I submitted the entry form, went along to RAF Cosford and got absolutely battered! Despite the losses I enjoyed the weekend and I learned a lot about the game. I’d never played on a real board for example! I met some great people from all three Services and I kept going back each year, making progress in fits and spurts. Eventually I was selected to represent the UK Armed Forces at the NATO Chess Championships. I’ve since played at several NATO events, even representing the NATO team, with tournaments being held all around the world. Most recently, I’ve played in Budapest, Texas and even the Defence Academy in Shrivenham! The various COVID lockdowns have given an opportunity to learn new skills. Chess is no exception with lots of new players having a go. I’d love to help introduce others to a game I’ve had a great time playing over the years. It is my intention to help grow the sport within the Corps and run the first ever REME Chess Championships in May 2021 at Lyneham. It’s planned to be a tournament over a single day, open to everyone from complete beginners to experts alike with plenty of opportunities to learn and develop your game. If you would like further information, please get in touch.
Jacob THOMAS (UK) 1 – 0 Alexander KLIPPERT (USA) This is a position from my best win in the December 2020 NATO event hosted by Belgium. As White I’m a piece down against a much stronger opponent (2200 Elo), but his recent Queen move to the a5 square has given me an opportunity to turn the tide of the match and go on to win. Can you find it?
Clay Target Shooting in 2020 SSgt Mark Robinson reports on the rollercoaster year experienced by the Army Olympic Development Squad.
n 2020 the Army Olympic Development Squad (ODS) for Clay Target Shooting planned to attend a week of warm weather training in Cyprus. We were due to deploy late March 2020 - this is the start of the season in preparation for the England and Great Britain selection shoots, which were planned to take place during the summer. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the first lockdown was put in place just days before we were due to travel, along with the cessation of Army Sports. Clay Target Shooting was one of the first sports allowed to resume following the lockdown due to much work put in by the Army Team and the Army Target Shooting Club (ATSC) Clay Target (CT). For Olympic Trap all shooting stations are 3m apart and in Olympic Skeet only one athlete shoots at a time, with the remainder of the squad queueing behind the station until everyone has fired before moving on. Once we could shoot again, our ten training days took place at the National Clay Shooting Centre (NCSC) at Bisley. This facility is now run by Maj (Retd) Richie Vallance REME. The training days are usually two day events to get the most out of the national standard coaches from British Shooting. We shoot several full practices but also include specific training drills and finish with a competition round to
simulate competition pressure. Major competitions this year were reduced, with the focus for the ODS being the British Shooting Grand Festival and the British Shooting Pathway Championships. The Pathway Championships is an end of season event for those on the British Shooting Pathway to come together from around the country and compete. They take the format of 75 targets on the opening day followed by 50 targets on day two. The top six qualifiers from each discipline then go forward to a final. Scores restart from zero and the lowest scoring athletes are eliminated one by one after a set number of targets are thrown until all medal places are decided. I was fortunate to win the Olympic Trap event. We also have two other REME shooters on the ODS, WO2 Meager and Cpl Jones. Cpl Jones has made great progress in just half a season and was placed seventh in the Olympic Skeet event. All three of us are extremely grateful for the sponsorship and support we have received from The REME Charity. The aim for next year will be to try and get in the England Team for the Home International event. Following success at the European Masters Games in Italy last year it is also planned to send the ODS to Japan to compete in the World Masters Games.
The Corps CT shooting team deliver taster sessions and training events as well as the Corps Championships throughout the year. Events are open to all, no matter what their experience or level of shooting. If you’re interested in Clay Target Shooting, please contact one of the following for more details: WO2 Pete Meager Peter.firstname.lastname@example.org WO2 Leon Field Leon.email@example.com Sgt Craig Hill Craig.firstname.lastname@example.org Cfn Alex Horton Alexander.Horton107@mod.gov.uk
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664 Squadron Charity Watt Bike Challenge In December 2020, teams from different capbadges came together to raise money for charity. Over six teams, each with five members, covered 3,984km and raised over £1000. Scribe: LCpl Danni Smith
n 9 December 2020, 30 soldiers from 664 Squadron 4 Regiment Army Air Corps, also known as ‘The Archers’, set out to cover 664km on Watt Bikes in teams of five to raise money for ABF-The Soldiers’ Charity. The event was organised by 664 Sqn Wksp though Officers and Soldiers from all different departments took part in the challenge. There were two REME teams, an Aircrew team, a Signals team, a Groundcrew team and an SQMS team. The event kicked off on the Wednesday morning, with the first riders pedalling off at 1000hrs and the last riders finishing at 0830hrs the following day. The event was arduous and challenged everyone’s physical and mental resilience. It was particularly difficult to find the motivation to get back on the bike in the early hours, when little rest
had been had post the previous shift. However, towards the end, everyone saw the light at the end of the tunnel and with encouragement from other team members managed to complete the challenge with a sprint finish. The Signals team came in first place, finishing at 0600 with a time of 20hrs and an extremely respectable average pace of 33.2 kph; the Aircrew team finished not far behind. My team, REME team 2, came in last place finishing at 0830hrs with a time of 22 hours and 30 minutes. Most of us were not accustomed to long distance cycling so it felt like a huge accomplishment to finish the challenge with all team members still in one piece. All six teams travelled in total 3,984km and we managed to raise a total of £1,246 for the ABF -The Soldiers’ Charity.
Arborfield and District Branch Scribe: John Worrall, Secretary We remember: David Coburn, Pete and Dixie Matthews, Brian Edminson, Margaret Stacey and Cyril Luger I was looking through the Minutes of our Branch meetings and read that the last meeting was on 10 March last year. What a lot has happened since then… or should that read ‘not a lot has happened’. Since our last article we have lost, last year, David Coburn aged 91, Pete and Dixie Matthews (both were in care and tragically passed away within days of each other. Pete was an Associate Member, having served with the Royal Berkshire Regiment), and Margaret Stacey, the wife of Bren Stacey. Margaret, assisted by Bren, had for many years run the raffle at our Branch Meeting. The raffles have raised several thousand pounds for the benefit of the Branch and Members. Despite not being well, she continued to produce a raffle at our last few meetings. In view of her outstanding contribution to the Branch over many years, the Committee decided that, agreed by Bren, a sum be donated to charity, in memory of Margaret. Brian Edminson, a former WO1 (ASM) and Apprentice (46C), was a long-standing member of the Branch and with Wendy, his wife, fully supported Branch events and meetings over many years. Once again, a donation was made to a charity in memory of Brian. Unfortunately, like many others, we were unable to say our last goodbyes. Sadly, on 12 February this year, Cyril Luger, one of our Branch Founder members, passed away in the Royal Berkshire Hospital. Cyril, who was 93, was a holder of the REME Association President’s Commendation and had filled all of the posts, at one time or another, on our Committee. Cyril, a Korean War Veteran, was also involved with the Korean Veterans Association. His funeral was on 25 March
and, although basically a family affair with only 20 mourners allowed, we were able to parade our Standard in the Chapel. Margaret has requested we make a donation to The REME Charity in memory of Cyril. Obviously, we are bitterly disappointed that the Association Reunion was postponed and sad that the organisers, IOW Tours, went into administration. Personally, I was looking forward to making the trip and meeting up with old friends again, but it’s not to be for the time being. On a personal note, I made a claim through the claims firm dealing with IOW Tours and am pleased to say the procedure was quite painless and the refund of the total payment, £448.00, was quickly paid into my Bank Account. During the COVID crisis it is heartening to read in The Craftsman Magazine of the efforts of Officers and Soldiers from the Corps assisting the NHS and other agencies. No doubt, in the near future, more Soldiers will be needed to help during the continuing crisis. The building work in the old Garrison is still going on. Familiar buildings have disappeared and on the rugby pitch, in front of the Sandhurst Block, a primary school is in the process of going up. Flats are now appearing on what was Bailleul Corps Sergeants’ Mess (the old SEE Officers’ Mess) and a by-pass, from Arborfield to Shinfield, has just been opened to avoid driving through the village. Sadly, you will have read in the March issue of the magazine of the demise of the Bramshill Hunt Pub. The only ‘pub’ in the village now is The Bull, which is more a restaurant than a traditional pub. The Swan in the main street in Arborfield is now a house! The Legion is still operating though. Best wishes to all out there and let’s hope we can see each other in the near future.
REME Women’s Network lved?
Who can join and how can you get invo
The network is open to all female, Regular and Reserve, serving and Veteran, Officers and Soldiers. The aim of the network is to keep people in contact, share ideas and experiences, improve retention, progression and mentoring.
“Where can I find information about it?” The network currently has a Facebook group, if you search for ‘REME Women’s Network” and answer the eligibility question you will then be able to join the other 317 members who have already joined this fantastic group. This is currently our main method of communication but there is also an email you can use for direct contact if required.
Bren Stacey, suitably dressed, delivering his Christmas cards
REMERHQ-WomensNetwork@mod.gov.uk REME Women’s Network
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Some Reminiscences on the FV432 Lt Col (Retd) Richard Unwin shares some memories of the very first FV432 prototypes.
noticed in the REME Calendar, sent to me recently with The Craftsman, a photograph of an FV432 in Latvia ready to face the Russian threat. Nothing remarkable about that you may say except that I am now 82 and in 1961 I was working as an apprentice at Chertsey, then FVRDE, later MVEE and then RARDE Chertsey, on the FV432 prototypes. The vehicles entered service in 1963 and have therefore been around for about 60 years so far. Not a bad record for a vehicle that was not considered that good and inferior to the American equivalent, the M113. I thought the present generation of the Corps might be interested in some of the history of a vehicle older than any of our serving members. I should point out that this article is not an authoritative history, but the facts as I remember them. The FV series of numbers were the designation numbers given to both armoured and wheeled vehicles developed by Chertsey before they were given names such as Centurion (FV4007) or Chieftain (FV4201). In the case of the FV432 it was initially given the name ‘Trojan’ but the Trojan van company, which was still going in the early 1960s, objected to its use and so this series of vehicles were the only ones, with the exception of the Abbott (FV433), to use the designation number and no name, until some modified 432s were named Bulldog. The FV432 was developed from the FV421 Load Carrier, which was rather like a tracked Stalwart with the driver in a cab, the engine under the floor and a steering unit and running gear similar to the 432. The prototype 432s, of which there were twenty-four, and the first six hundred production vehicles, had the Rolls Royce B81 petrol engine and were Mk I vehicles, and the Mk 2 had the Rolls Royce K60 multi-fuel engine, although in service it was always run on diesel, as was the other major multi-fuel engine, the Leyland L60 in the Chieftain tank. The concept of the multi-fuel engine is another story but the intention was to give the Army the petrol, the Royal Navy the diesel and the RAF the paraffin to make best use of the breakdown of crude oil. It was not a successful idea and both the K60 and the L60,
Wombat in FV432
1 FV432 SCAMP 37 Fd Sqn 32 Armd Engr Regt with their opposed piston layout, were over-complicated and unreliable, the L60 particularly so, and gave the Chieftain a bad name; it was otherwise a good tank. The 432 was the standard infantry battalion APC from the mid 1960s until it was replaced by the Warrior in the mid 1980s, but so many different roles were then found for it that only a minority of them were phased out, the Mk I going first. Many of the Mk 2s have now been converted to Mk 3 with a standard diesel engine and then to Bulldog standard with further improvements in protection for use in Afghanistan, which means they will be in service for many more years yet. Most readers will be familiar with at least some of the 432 variants, but there were several adaptations and modifications to the 432 vehicles which never received separate numbers. These include fitting a blade on the front for the Royal Engineers to clear scatter mines (see photo 1), mounting various armament on top, such as the Wombat which was wheeled into the back on ramps with the barrel above the circular hatch, giving a degree of protection to the gun crew (see photo 2). There was also a mine-laying kit, in the form of a towed mine-laying plough with a feed of mines from the back of the vehicle. The list of vehicles with their own FV number can be found on the internet, but one in particular is worthy of note and never entered service. This was the FV 431, which was an ammunition carrier. The layout was similar to the FV434 REME vehicle with a load space at the back. The box body had three compartments, one each side and one at the back containing ammunition racks on rollers and doors that were hinged at the bottom and opened to a horizontal position supported on legs to allow the load to be rolled out. I remember seeing the trials of the prototype, which worked well on level ground, but on any slope the racks, being heavy, either rolled out or stayed firmly where they were. It did not go into production. Another variant was the FV433 Abbott, which had a large fully rotating turret at the rear fitted with a 105mm howitzer. It had a lower hull height and
therefore a modified power pack, which was cramped and even more difficult to work on than the 432. It was replaced in service in the mid 1990s by the AS90 Self-Propelled Gun. All the early production vehicles were fitted with wading screens on the ledge around the top of the hull. This could be raised up to a height of about 3ft and the vehicle would float up to about roof height. There was a buoyancy tank mounted in front of the steering unit aperture door which folded out through about 90 degrees to give added buoyancy to support the weight of the engine. There were some clear panels in front of the driver but he still had limited vision and was directed by the commander. The vehicle was driven into the water and would swim with the use of the tracks at about four mph. The difficulty was getting out of the water if the bank was at all steep and a tow rope was fitted, which came back over the screen for use if needed. I was involved in an interesting trial where two Starling JATO (jet assisted take off ) rockets (shown in photo 3) were fitted to each side to allow it to eject itself up a steep bank. In the trial different combinations of rocket firings were tried and these worked well unless one side went off before the other when it would spin the vehicle round with dramatic results. Also, to get a better speed, a prototype vehicle was fitted with propellers at the back (shown in photo 4) and this swam across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. The ability to swim was soon considered to be no longer required, and probably too dangerous and all flotation equipment was removed from in-service vehicles. My involvement with the 432 at Chertsey arose from doing a year as a Graduate Apprentice working in the workshops and the drawing office and then as a Graduate Engineer spending time in different departments on various areas such as engines, running gear, A or B vehicles. It was an interesting time working on the Chieftain engine and gearbox, doing cooling trials on the 432, various B vehicles and the Trials Department, where I learned to drive the 432 and Centurion tank. However, I got to know the REME Officers in 5 and 6 Maintenance Advisory Groups (MAGs) and decided that the Army was a better future, and certainly better paid, than the Civil Service. I was accepted into REME in 1965, after passing the selection board, as a Second Lieutenant on probation, aged 25 and after a year went straight to Captain with backdated seniority of four years. At that time, Mons, the National Service Officer Training School had closed, and I was too old to go to Sandhurst, so I was put in with a squad of recruits for my basic training, interrupted with a two-week course in the REME Officers’ School. Back from the Officers’ School, I joined the
FV432 fitted with propellers
FV432 P2 with Starling Rockets next recruit squad and was asked what I had done wrong to be ‘back-squadded’! From there it was a steep learning curve to catch up with what I might have learnt at Sandhurst in two years. I met the 432 again at SEME Bordon on the Young Officers’ Equipment course. At the end we were split into groups of three and given a 432 to go round the countryside mending casualties that had been placed for us. I was driving from Bordon to Longmoor and coming into Longmoor the throttle stuck fully open and I was roaring up to the crossroad. Luckily the brakes held it and I managed to switch it off before hitting anything. We were towed back to Bordon and had to change our own power-pack. This fault, caused by a leaking seal, also happened to other people and a foot operated cut-out switch was later fitted. In 1968, I was posted to Kirton Lindsey to command the Northumberland Fusiliers (soon to become 1 RRF) LAD whose main equipment was eighty 432s. We were then part of 6 Brigade, which had been brought back from BAOR to save money, but we went back each autumn for concentrated training at Sennelager and Soltau and then a big Divisional cross-country exercise. Fifty of our 432s were stored in Monchengladbach and issued to us for the three-month training period. Our remaining thirty 432s and B vehicles were brought out from UK by train and boat and after the exercises we had to have all our vehicles fit to run to get home the same way. One year, it was decided to try flying some 432s to Germany in a Belfast aircraft and I was sent on an Airportability Course to learn how to do it, but in the event the RAF insisted in securing the vehicles themselves. However, some of the LAD and I flew in the Belfast with two vehicles, weighing 15 tons each, from Brize Norton to Gutersloh and as far as I am aware that is the only time it has been done. My final association with the 432 was as Production Officer at 38 Central Workshop at Chilwell, where the UK vehicles were overhauled. They were completely stripped down to the bare hull, which was cleaned and repainted, as were all the major components. This was 1983 and one day I noticed the second production vehicle (and I still remember the conspicuous number, 02EE02), on which I had done cooling trials 20 years before, was in the Workshop. It seemed a long time ago then and I couldn’t resist having a drive round the test track in it before it left. The FV 432 has proved to be a very useful and adaptable vehicle over the years and is probably better appreciated now than when used as an APC with ten men in the back. My grateful thanks to The Tank Museum, Bovington for supplying the photographs.
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Officer Assignments March Lieutenant Colonel DENTON TM GRAINGER AR SAUNDERS LR PATEY MW Major THOMAS BR ODLING TR BATEMAN RJ CONNOR SC HODGKISS ID MIDDLETON DN MILNE SJ MUMBY CM MURRAY AD RUDKIN TL MANNING AWA GREEN M
CO Northumbian UOTC COMD UK NSE OP TORAL Service Attache DA Lebanon SO1 GSU DSEME Lyneham
18-Jan-21 25-Mar-21 29-Mar-21 31-Mar-21
OC 71 Coy 7 Bn REME SO2 INFRA Strat D B and I LE VDM TTLS Mngr 4 DE&S SO2 Pers Ops Sldrs DRS RHQ REME SO2B REME Offrs APC APACHE CSP Sp Mngr DE&S WILDCAT Eng Dep EA DE&S SO2 Offr Trg Junior RAS SO2 ES HQ 4 Inf Bde SO2 Plans HQ DCTT Req Mngr OIP UTIL 2IC 5 Bn REME
01-Mar-21 18-Mar-21 20-Mar-21 20-Mar-21 20-Mar-21 20-Mar-21 20-Mar-21 20-Mar-21 20-Mar-21 20-Mar-21 23-Mar-21 31-Mar-21
April Lieutenant Colonel CREED BB MBE CO 8 Trg Bn REME EDWARDS MJ Chief G5 Plans MONUSCO OP PERCIVAL HOUSTON BD SO1 LE REME APC CM CSS Major ANGBO Y BTC 15 DEF AC ATKINS AP ASDT JFC MIL RM SO2 UK Strat Comd
12 Apr 21 03 Apr 21 19 Apr 21 28 Apr 21 01 Apr 21
AUBREY JD BOOTH CT CASWELL PA CIESIELCZUK RG CORNOCK PA GOOSE SP MALONEY SP OAKES PS PEAPLE CO ROBERTS MB SEYMOUR M STARR AT Captain DOUGLAS D HALL CP HOER M MARTIN J MILNE C SHELMERDINEHARE RH THOMAS JS WILKINSON S Lieutenant LINDSAY E Second Lieutenant BURNS H JACKSON N MAYNE L MONTAGU A OWEN H PRICE T RAWAL G TOMLIN A
BTC 15 DEF AC OC 4 Regt AAC Wksp OC 29 EOD&S Wksp BTC 15 DEF AC OC 12 CS COY 1 CS BN REME 2IC 1 CS BN REME BTC 15 DEF AC SO2 OFFR TRG SENIOR RAS SO2 SAE HQ1 AVN BDE BTC 15 DEF AC BTC 15 DEF AC BTC 15 DEF AC
28 Apr 21 19 Apr 21 26 Apr 21 28 Apr 21 19 Apr 21 26 Apr 21 28 Apr 21 12 Apr 21 01 Apr 21 28 Apr 21 28 Apr 21 28 Apr 21
Adjt 101 BN REME Ops Offr 3 Armd CS Bn REME Comd Sgt Maj HQ 6 UK Div Network Sp ASN D Pers D and I Adjt 4 Armd CS Bn REME
28 Apr 21 28 Apr 21 01 Apr 21 30 Apr 21 28 Apr 21
Corps Adjt RHQ REME SO3 Trg Strat 3 HQ DCTT SO3 ES Plans Trg HQ 3 UK Div
28 Apr 21 19 Apr 21 26 Apr 21
Pl Comd 13 Coy 6 Armd Bn REME
01 Apr 21
Pl Comd 12 Coy 1 CS BN REME Pl Comd 3 Coy 6 ARMD CS BN REME Pl Comd 5 Coy 3 ARMD CS BN REME Pl Comd 8 PARA Coy 13 REGT RLC Pl Comd 7 Coy 2 CS BN REME Comd Fwd Tp CLR ES Sqn Pl Comd 2 Coy 5 FS BN REME OC MTW BFSAI
20 Apr 21 20 Apr 21 20 Apr 21 20 Apr 21 20 Apr 21 20 Apr 21 20 Apr 21 24 Apr 21
APM AGILE PROJECT MANAGEMENT QUALIFICATION APMG CHANGE MANAGEMENT COURSE CPD is important to the development of our Soldiers. We are keen to take opportunities to co-ordinate developing courses. BMC have been asked to deliver this training package. Location: REME Museum, MOD Lyneham Course dates: 28 June - 9 July 2021 Cost: £2700 - eligible for ELCs 15 places available For more information contact: WO1 Craig Ham email@example.com Places are on a first come, first served basis for serving personnel. These courses are NOT for those on resettlement.
Extracts from the London Gazette 16 February 2021 REGULAR ARMY Regular Commissions (Late Entry) Major B. J. CODD 25022308 from Intermediate Regular Commission (Late Entry) 5 November 2020 to be Major with seniority 31 July 2019 Major L. J. CONDRON 25032425 from Intermediate Regular Commission (Late Entry) 5 November 2020 to be Major with seniority 31 July 2020 Captain A. L. ALLEN 24848497 from Intermediate Regular Commission (Late Entry) 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 1 May 2013 Captain P. I. BELL 25043819 from Intermediate Regular Commission (Late Entry) 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 1 May 2013 Captain G. S. BROMIDGE 25042581 from Intermediate Regular Commission (Late Entry) 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 5 September 2016 Captain (Acting Major) S. COOK 25042840 from Intermediate Regular Commission (Late Entry) 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 3 May 2016 Captain P. L. CROSS 24900596 from Intermediate Regular Commission (Late Entry) 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 5 September 2016
2 March 2021 REGULAR ARMY Regular Commissions Major K. R. AXON 30055862 from Interrmediate Regular Commission 5 November 2020 to be Major with seniority 31 July 2020 Major I. D. HODGKISS 25206945 from Intermediate Regular Commission 5 November 2020 to be Major with seniority 31 July 2020 Major P. J. ISITT 25237949 from Intermediate Regular Commission 5 November 2020 to be Major with seniority 31 July 2016 Major C. M. MUMBY 25212217 from Intermediate Regular Commission 5 November 2020 to be Major with seniority 31 July 2020 Major T. L. RUDKIN 25187418 from Intermediate Regular Commission 5 November 2020 to be Major with seniority 31 July 2020
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Major A. J. SHAND 25205183 from Intermediate Regular Commission 5 November 2020 to be Major with seniority 31 July 2020 Major A. TALBOT 563698 from Intermediate Regular Commission 5 November 2020 to be Major with seniority 31 July 2015 Regular Commissions (Late Entry) Major A. G. DESROCHES 24781172 from Intermediate Regular Commission (Late Entry) 5 November 2020 to be Major with seniority 24 August 2015 Captain A. C. FRANKLIN 25064732 from Intermediate Regular Commission (Late Entry) 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 25 July 2016 Captain M. J. HOBSON 25036539 from Intermediate Regular Commission (Late Entry) 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 3 May 2016 Captain D. J. LUMSDEN 25051808 from Intermediate Regular Commission (Late Entry) 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 3 May 2016 Captain R. MCMILLEN 25042872 from Intermediate Regular Commission (Late Entry) 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 3 May 2016 Captain (Acting Major) S. L. OLDRID 25035639 from Intermediate Regular Commissions (Late Entry) 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 6 May 2014 Captain A. THOMSON 25022293 from Intermediate Regular Commission (Late Entry) 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 6 May 2014 Intermediate Regular Commissions Captain L. A. COX 30201432 from Short Service Commission 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 12 August 2020 Captain J. A. LINNELL 30089196 from Short Service Commission 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 16 April 2019 Captain G. M. MCKENNA 30170074 from Short Service Commission 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 12 August 2020
REME Engineering Awards 2021 The results of the 2021 REME Engineering Awards will be announced on Corps Social Media on Wednesday 28 April 2021
The following awards will be announced: • The Institution of Engineering and Technology Award for the best REME First Line Unit. • The Worshipful Company of Turners’ Trophy for the best REME Battalion. • The Gardiner Trophy for the best REME Reserve Battalion. • The Blackford Trophy for the best REME Reserve Sub-unit. • The Lockheed Martin Operational Engineering Award for the best REME Officer. • The Institution of Mechanical Engineers Award for the best REME WO/SNCO. • The Society of Operations Engineers Award for the best REME JNCO/Cfn. Currently all of the various citations are being assessed by the judging panels. More to follow as we get closer to the date of announcement. In advance of the announcements, Colonel REME would like to thank all of the awards sponsors for their continuing support.
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Obituaries Former Sgt Brian Edward Traynor Former Arborfield Apprentice (54B) Brian Traynor has passed away at the age of 82, on 18 January 2021, after a decade-long battle against firstly vascular dementia and more recently Parkinson’s disease. Although bor n in Ashtonunder-Lyne, Brian’s early years were spent with his grandparents in Guildford. At the age of seven years he became a boarder at the Duke of York’s School in Dover where he continued until, at the age of 15, he joined the Army Apprentice School in Arborfield. After completion of his threeyear apprenticeship, he transferred from the General Service Corps into REME as a f u l l y q u a l i f i e d B Ve h i c l e Mechanic. His first posting in 1957 was to BAOR. However, due to the untimely death of his father, himself a former WO1 in the Royal Engineers, Brian came back to the UK on compassionate grounds and was posted to a LAD REME in Aldershot. The following year, he met his future bride-to-be Maureen whom he married in Guildford in May 1959. In 1961 Brian left the UK to begin a three year posting in Malaya, later followed by Maureen and his 16 month-old daughter, Charisse, courtesy of the ‘luxury cruise liner’ (a very basic troopship) the Nevassa. His first unit was 2 Infantry Workshop in Taiping, which is just south of Penang, then on to a Field Ambulance LAD in Seremban and finally a REME Workshop in Malacca. By this time his family had grown by two with the arrival of Helen and Anita. After a short leave in the UK, Brian received his second BAOR tour to Dortmund; a five-year spell during which his son Darrell was born, thus bringing his family tally to six in all. In 1969, Brian returned to the UK for a three-year posting to the Scots Guards in Edinburgh, after which he and his family returned to Germany once more, this time to 4 Div HQ and Sig Regt in Herford, near Minden. The move served to further enhance his long-held appreciation of the country, its people and the language. Indeed at a later stage of his life he studied and attained A Level German purely for his own satisfaction. In 1976 it was back to the UK, this time to Stockton-upon-Tees as a Recruiter, followed by his final three years at the School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, in Bordon. There he established himself as a highly experienced, extremely knowledgeable instructor in vehicle and power plant technology, ably supported by his most friendly and humorous disposition. So, after many years of military service under his stable belt, civilian Brian tried his hand as a delivery driver for the Co-Op and then as a university lecturer. However, in 1984 he became bored of the indiscipline of civvy street. He applied for, and was accepted by, the MOD as a civilian instructor back at SEME Regiment, where he continued teaching basic students and upgraders until his eventual retirement at the age of 65. However, his well-earned rocking chair moment coincided with the expected shortage of instructors at the possible departure of SEME away from Bordon. Brian rallied to the flag and continued in the same role of Vehicle Instructor until 2010, thus bringing his 53 year association with REME to an end aged 71. Ever the perfectionist, Brian was not only a skilled mechanic but also a very talented carpenter, metal worker and cabinet maker, frequently helping with the repairs and upkeep of his children’s homes and motor vehicles too.
Throughout his life, Brian maintained a high level of fitness, but as his working days drew to an end, so his battle with dementia was just beginning. He eventually succumbed to these cruel diseases on 18 January, leaving behind his wife Maureen, four children, nine grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. His was a life well lived. Rest in peace Brian.
Former Corporal Ian Robert Giles Scribe: Former WO1 (and father) Bob Giles I sadly have to report the passing of Ian Robert Giles who died on 8 December 2020, after a lengthy illness, at the age of 57. Ian was born on 19 July 1963 at the British Military Hospital in Hanover into his REME family in Hohne. He attended schools in Bordon, Minden, Munster and Ralston (BATUS) in Canada before returning to the UK, in Donnington. Shortly after leaving the John Hunt School in Trench, he enlisted at the Army Apprentices College at Arborfield in May 1980 and trained as a VM (B), during his final year at SEME, and on his HGV driving course he met his future wife, Lyn. On completion of his training, he was posted to the School of Artillery at Larkhill and shortly after married Lyn in Portsmouth. In September 1984 he was posted to BFG in Detmold and then Berlin, serving in the LADs of 8 Regt RCT, the Black Watch and 1 RRF. With the RRF he took part in Op Granby (the liberation of Kuwait) from December 1990 to April 1991, and also on a Winter Repair Programme in BATUS 1987. He was a very good sportsman, excelling at football and judo. Whilst in Canada, Ian was a keen ice hockey player for the Ralston junior teams and badminton and played football for a Canadian junior football team. As a member of the 1st Ralston Scout Group he was awarded with the Canadian ‘Chief Scouts’ Award. During his tour in Germany, he continued with his sporting interests representing his unit at various competitions. Also, they had two children: Stephen, born in BMH Rinteln in 1985, and Sarah, in BMH Berlin in 1990. On retiring in October 1993, he spent his last six months service at 34 Central Workshop in Donnington, the same place from where he started his service in 1980. His first civilian job was at the Workshop working on the same armoured vehicles as he had whilst serving and for a short time as a HGV/FLT driver with Simmonds, a local haulage company. During this period, Ian became involved in the local 10-pin bowling club and, with his son Stephen, in carp fishing. He was a member of the REME Association Shropshire Branch and attended the Telford Armed Forces Veterans Breakfast Club. In 2014 Ian suffered a stroke and was unable to drive or continue with his trade and on 8 December 2020 he died peacefully at home. His funeral took place at the Telford Crematorium on Monday 4 January 2021. His coffin, draped with the REME flag, was carried in to the tune of Lilibilero, with the Shropshire Branch Standard being paraded. Our thoughts and sympathy go to his family, his wife Lyn, their children Stephen and Sarah, and his four grandchildren Macauley (Corky), Kacey, Demi and Brody.
Former Cfn David John Hutchins David John Hutchins was born on 25 July 1938. On 25 April 1957, David joined REME as part of his National Service at Blandford and was posted to Dortmund in Germany. David finished his service on 24 April 1959. From then on, he worked as a Sheet Metal Engineer until he retired. On 2 June 1962 David happily married his late wife Josephine and became a devoted father of three. David was a caring grandfather to seven. He was an active man who had an interest in pretty much everything. He liked to hop on a bus to explore markets and take photographs. David enjoyed nothing more than a family get together. He was always proud of his service in REME, which he spoke of often. David sadly passed away on 4 January 2021. He will be missed greatly and always be remembered for his bright smile.
Tales of Frank Reynolds
Dame Edwina Hosts ‘Murder Night’
CASBURN – Former SSgt Alan George Casburn, passed away 20 January 2021 aged 80. Dates of service 1958-1980. GILES – Former Cpl Ian Robert Giles passed away 8 December 2020 aged 57. Dates of service 1980-1993. GRIMSEY – Former Sgt Walter Stanley Grimsey, (known as Wally) passed away 10 January 2021 aged 96. Dates of service 1949-1974 REME TA. LEADBETTER – Lt Col (Retd) Nicholas Leadbetter passed away 19 February 2021 aged 67. Dates of service 1973-1996. LUGER – Former WO1(ASM) Cyril Luger passed away 12 February 2021 aged 93. Dates of service 1943-1969. MILLS – Maj (Retd) Barry John Mills passed away 24 February 2021 aged 75. Dates of service 1962-2000. RICHARDS – Former Cpl Anthony Charles Richards (Tony), passed away 21 February 2021 aged 75. Dates of service 1960-1972. RITCHIE – Former WO1 John Mark Ritchie passed away 5 February 2021 aged 82. Dates of service 1959-1976. ROSE – Former WO1 Frederick Rose (known as Bill), passed away 2 December 2020 aged 93. Dates of service 1944-1968. SAYERS – Former WO1(ASM) Edmond (Eddie) Sayers passed away 4 February 2021 aged 79. Dates of service 1961-1983
Death Notice Requirements In order to publish a death notice we require the following information: Surname, first name, rank, full date of death, ages and dates of service. An obituary with additional career and life information is welcome. To inform us of the death, please contact Ms Bev Bate, Corps Welfare Manager on ( 01249 894523 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Scribe: Col (Retd) Mike Crabbe
he picture of Frank as a snowman, submitted by Col (Retd) Phil Kay OBE in the November 2020 edition of The Craftsman, reminded me of Frank’s other alter ego as Dame Edwina Plum OBE JP. This photograph was taken at the West Court Officers’ Mess where Dame Edwina hosted a reception in June 1989 at the start of a ‘Murder Night’. I am sure others will have memories of other events she graced.
We need your Friendship Stories! In celebration of the International Day of Friendship, we will be telling the stories of friendships formed within the REME Family in the July issue of The Craftsman. So whether your friendship has stood the test of time or just going on “that one time”, send in your stories to: email@example.com Whether you are a Retired, Reserve or Regular, we want to hear your stories (and include a photo!)
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Poetry Corner The REME Charity The Song of the Craftsmen The Trustees of The REME Charity acknowledge with sincere thanks the donations received during the month of FEBRUARY 2021. They also wish to acknowledge the regular subscriptions received from the Officers and Soldiers of the Corps and retired members of the REME Institution: Donations Amazon Smile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£503.03 Legacy - Joan Lillian Davies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£500.00 In memory of Tom (Andrew) Paine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£375.00 St Eligius Chapter 8295 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£200.00 In memory of Michael Costanzo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£140.00 In memory of Kelvin Roberts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£30.00 Mr and Mrs Gouldsmith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£30.00 In memory of Roger Jones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£25.00 Ian Richardson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£20.00 Michael Satanyer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£15.00 Sam Melvyn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£7.50 Nik Brock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£5.24 Charles Wright . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£5.00 CAFGYE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£5.00 Payroll Giving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£1.94 Total Donations (Feb) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£1,862.71 Total £’s paid in Grants (Feb) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£16,356.50 No. Grants (in Feb) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Average Grant (Feb) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£605.80
If you would like to see how your money is spent, we welcome one or two observers at The REME Charity meetings. The meetings are held midweek, approximately every three weeks. If you would like to observe a meeting, please contact The REME Charity Secretary on ( Mil: 95481 4527 or Civ: 01249 894527 in the first instance. The REME Charity is here for both veterans and serving personnel in times of hardship or need. Contact via SSAFA ( 0800 731 4880 www.ssafa.org.uk or The Royal British Legion ( 0808 802 8080 www.britishlegion.org.uk or your Unit Welfare if serving. All enquiries and information is dealt with in the strictest confidence. If you wish to discuss any benevolence need you can contact us on ( 01249 894523.
Anyone wishing to leave a legacy to The REME Charity, which is exempt from inheritance tax, can add a codicil to their will. Our registered charity number is 1165868
Editor’s Notice When submi ng ar琀cles, please ensure that they are submi琀ed as Microso昀 Word documents. Do not include any forma ng, columns, power point, or images within the text. Photographs MUST BE submi琀ed separately as JPEG ﬁles (not PNG) and over 500kb, preferably 1mb or more. To be considered for front or back covers, they must be over 3mb and include a cap琀on. All ar琀cles must be cleared by CO/OC/EME or appropriate REME CoC.
By Ajax You can say what you like about soldiers The ones you can see every day On guard, or on horses, in London A bold and impressive display But when you try scratching the surface The truth is not all that it seems Behind all that gloss is a filthy wet trench And a challenging life of extremes And so it is true for all soldiers That the world doesn’t see what we do The weather, the mud, exhaustion, the blood The trauma we all have been through And what about us in REME? With knowledge and skill we aspire To be craftsmen as good as we’re warriors Though up to our necks in the mire Lord Monty once said something like it And I’ll loudly and proud state the gist We add all of that muscle and sinew That powers the Army’s great fist
The Arborfield Old Boys Association RECRUITING NOW! If you are a former apprentice and not yet a member of the Association then please seriously consider joining us. It doesn’t matter if your time at Arborfield or Carlisle was not completed; it doesn’t matter how your Army career progressed (or didn’t). As long as you passed through those Arborfield gates, you are eligible. The Association is free to join and the annual fee is only £15. There also is an Annual Reunion held at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Our magazine, The Arborfield Old Boys Newsletter, is published three times a year. For full details on how to join, please select the ‘Join Here’ option via our web site:
https://arborfieldoldboys.co.uk This year we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of both the 1970 and 1971 intakes at our reunion in July; if you belong to either of these intake years, please get in touch. For 1971 apprentices, please also reach out to Jim Chadwick as he is heading up the effort to get as many apprentices to the Reunion as possible. Jim is contactable via the Contacts tab on our website and selecting the Recruitment Office option.
Online Photo Archive Launched
The REME Museum is proud to launch a brand-new online archive, sharing hundreds of rarely seen REME historical photographs with the Corps and members of the public.
ike other Museums and visitor attractions, the REME Museum closed its doors for much of 2020. However, staff have been busy behind the scenes, making sure the Museum’s extensive collection can still be enjoyed. The new website, years in the making, is a treasure trove for family historians and military history experts as well as those taking a trip down memory lane. An intriguing and wide-ranging record of REME activities down the years, the images chart REME personnel’s service in many 20th century conflicts, including the Korean War and the Mau Mau Uprising, as well as training, parades and the social side of REME life. Visitors to the site (https://rememuseum.photos/) can browse by date, location and theme. Users can also search using keywords: great when researching units or barracks where you may have served. Prints in a range of sizes can be purchased for a reasonable fee and shipped worldwide. The REME Museum’s Director, Major (Retired) Rick Henderson said: ‘We know that many members of the REME Family have missed visiting the Museum while we have been closed for COVID-19. Putting these images online means that you can safely explore Corps history anytime, right from your sofa.’ The new web archive was created in collaboration with digitisation specialists Max Communications. Their team scanned thousands of photographs from albums in the REME Museum’s archive. The Museum team then began the intensive work of transcribing captions, putting names to faces and identifying locations. The REME Museum’s Archivist, Celia Cassingham, said: ‘We are very happy to share these photographs with a wider audience. We are continuing to add new images to the site so remember to check back regularly!’
The digital archive contains lots of images from the early years of the Corps, including course photos. This image features Radio and Wireless Maintenance Officers who trained at Petersham in the 1940s.
Scammell Explorer Recovery Vehicle and Sioux Helicopter, Far East, 1960s. The REME Museum team are adding new photos to the site all the time.
Sergeants’ Mess Ball, School of Electronic Engineering (SEE), Arborfield, October 1972. The less serious side of REME life is well represented on the REME Museum’s new website.
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The Screwjack Letters – No. 16 Posted with the Gurkhas
ear the end of my time at Westlands we heard the dreadful news of the assassination of President Kennedy on 22 November 1963. It is true that people remember where they were at times like that. I had just got out of the bath. In December I received a posting order to be OC 34 Company Gurkha Army Service Corps (GASC) Workshop REME in Kluang, Malaya, replacing Captain Arthur Soar REME. I was now a Captain, having passed the promotion exam sometime earlier. I had to leave Gill with her parents in Yeovil as she was due our first child in March. On 14 February 1964 I boarded a De Havilland Comet Mk4 at RAF Lyneham. I had never travelled on an airliner before. Our pit stops were at RAF El Adem in Libya, RAF Khormaksar in Aden, and RAF Gan Island, where I saw real coconut palms for the first time in my life. The last hop was to Paya Lebar Airport in Singapore. I remember walking down the steps from the Comet and thinking I had met a wave of heat from the engines. But no, everywhere was like that and would be so for the next two and a half years. Arthur and Jane had travelled 80 miles south to meet me and they took me for a curry dinner in Bugis Street Singapore. It was Chinese New Year and there were firecrackers everywhere. Our table was on the paving outside the restaurant and not far away was a flat-roofed public convenience. Strangely ostentatious girls(?) entered and left it. When our curry arrived I saw some British or Australian sailors involved in a sort of dance on the roof having set fire to some toilet paper. Very odd. I googled it many years later. Don’t go there. It’s not pretty. The Garrison Officers’ Mess was on a slight hill and beside it was an outdoor swimming pool. I was allocated a Chinese batman called Cheong. My new tropical uniform was green shirt and shorts, with long lightweight trousers to be worn if on duty in the evening when mosquitoes were about. Cheong’s first task was to sew the Gurkha crossed kukris and the old 17th Indian Division arm flashes onto my shirts. The flash was a black cat on a yellow background. Cheong made meowing noises and chuckled happily as he sewed. The other British officers of 34 Company were all from the RASC: Major Alan Price (OC), Captains John Horne, Gordon Spence, Rob Evans and Stan Yates. The Supply Depot was run by Captain Ray Vincent RASC. Years earlier Ray had served in Glubb Pasha’s Camel Corps. (Respect!) The senior mess member was the Garrison Adjutant, Major Alan Parker of the 13th/18th Hussars. Alan Parker’s wife was Olga. One of Olga Parker’s claims to fame was that after an on-board cocktail
Screwjack in his tropical uniform 46 firstname.lastname@example.org
party, for a bet, she had jumped, wearing very little, into the sea from a battleship in Trincomalee harbour. Doubtless many volunteered to crew the boat to fish her out. 34 Company had an operational role but was also the driver training Company for the GASC. The other two Companies were in Hong Kong and Singapore. The Workshop gave REME support for about 100 Bedford RL 3-tonners, two garrison fire engines, two ambulances, a few BSA M20 motor cycles and some Land Rovers and buses. The Kluang Station Workshop commanded by Captain Ken Mobbs REME, with local civilian staff, was our second line support. Our recovery truck was a slow but reliable 1934 Scammel 6x4 with a Gardner diesel engine. We occupied three large sheds clad with corrugated iron. It was common practice for the Brits to wear shorts and no shirt when working inside. I soon found that I had inherited a group of excellent men from Arthur Soar. These included WO2 McKenzie, WO2 Noons and Sergeants Beale and Winton. At the time the British Army were there to counter a threat from President Soekarno’s Indonesia. One day in early April we received a signal warning that the Indonesians were ready to send a Parachute Division into Malaya. Alan Price ordered that the trucks be lined up so that their lights could illuminate all approaches to the company at night. As luck would have it, I was Orderly Officer that night and Sergeant Nicholson (REME), who ran the Garrison Servicing Station, was Orderly Sergeant. I drew my pistol and ammunition from the armoury, then inspected the Gurkha guard at 6pm. I had to remember to check and admire the sharp edge of each kukri at the “present kukris” using a thumb. Sergeant Nicholson collected an SMG and after dark we walked around the Company area for an hour or two. All was quiet, so we went to our bunks. I didn’t sleep much that night. Screwjack
The Officers of 34 Company GASC
Corps Diary Dates 2021 All events listed are subject to Covid-19 restrictions
J U LY 2 0 2 1
Master General’s Conference
REME Institution Corps Ball – postponed to summer 2022
Corps Spring Guest Night – cancelled
REME Reserves Management Board, Portsmouth.
REME Reserves Management Board
REME Reunion – cancelled
M AY 2 0 2 1
Corps Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess Summer Dinner Night
Young Officers Conference and Dinner – cancelled
Corps Dinner Night – cancelled
JUNE 2021 17
REME Institution Beating Retreat and Garrison Cocktail Party – cancelled
Corps Dinner Night
Reserves Management Board
Corps Autumn Guest Night
Share your global stories with the REME Family The Craftsman Magazine showcases the activities of the Corps all over the world in our monthly Global Reach feature. Whether you’re involved in an Exercise, an Operation, or participating in Sport, this is your opportunity to share your international experiences with the REME Family. To be featured, simply send a few sentences (and some photos) telling us where you are, why you are there, and what you are doing. Send to the Craftsman Editor at: email@example.com Please ensure all Global Reach submissions have been cleared by the CoC. We cannot accept anything that is Of昀cial-Sensitive (OS) or higher AND it must have been cleared for public knowledge.
Corps Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess Summer Dinner Night Will be held in the Harris MM Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess at Prince Philip Barracks on
Thursday 26 August 2021
The closing date for returns is Thursday 29 July 2021
REME Connect will be used for booking and payments (opens April 2021) remeconnect.org For further information, please contact WO2 Iain Campbell Iain.Campbell460@mod.gov.uk