Craftsman Magazine - February 2021

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Magazine of the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

February 2021

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  (preferred method) ( 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: 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.

Contents FEBRUARY 2021 FEATURES Guest Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 New Year’s Honours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Engineering Challenges on St Eligius Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Flying Grapefruits? Only on St Eligius Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Adapting to Engage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 REME Apprentice of the Year 2020 and REME Apprentice Champion of the Year 2020 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 From Craftsman to Masters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 The Virtual Training Environment: A Tool to Keep the REME Reserve Engaged . . . . .14 Excellence in REME . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Pullout: REME Units and Association Branches Map . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Time to Talk Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Walking the West Highland Way . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 Barefoot with a Llama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 Volunteering Behind the Scenes at the REME Museum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 OPERATIONS AND EXERCISES Op DEVERAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Exercise FALKLANDS MEMORIAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Exercise COBALT SPROCKET 8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 REGULARS Letter to the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Corps News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 REME Association . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 Where Are They Now? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Officer Assignments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 Extracts from the London Gazette . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 Obituary Ken Trott . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 The REME Charity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Death Notices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Screwjack Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Corps Diary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 SPORT SPIRIT BREAKER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32

Advertising All communications regarding commercial advertising rates should be made direct to the Editor. Sustainably produced on paper sourced from responsible sources using vegetable based inks. Jamprint Design & Printing Ltd 01249 823 950 © Crown Copyright General Handling: This publication contains official information and should be treated with discretion.


Volume 77 No. 2

Front Cover: REME personnel from MTW BFSAI march into Stanley as they finish Exercise FALKLANDS MEMORIAL. Read about the exercise on page 28.


in Numbers 17,034 Lateral Flow Device tests were completed across 92 settings in Lancashire by 17 Jan.


Lancashire County Council employees have been trained by REME to deliver LFD testing.

Across the REME Family,

47 RA Regt Wksp flew

17 170

102 Log Bde soldiers have been deployed in Lancashire from 2 CS Bn REME and 1 CS Bn REME to aid COVID testing and training.

Members of the Mechanical Transport Workshop marched

ÂŁ5580 100km

sorties in direct support of Op DEVERAN at the end of 2020.


In December,

to follow the route of REME Soliders 3 PARA in the Falklands War. earned their

has been raised for Hope for Hasti.


Officers and Soldiers were recognised in the New Year Honours list.

green berets after completing the All Arms Commando Course.

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

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.


Op NEWCOMBE 1 – Mali Members of The Light Dragoons LAD have recently deployed, augmented by 2 R Anglian, 29 (EOD) Sp Gp, 32 Regt RA, 1 Bn REME, 5 Bn REME and 34 Field Hospital as the Long Range Reconnaissance Group (MALI) LAD. This is as part of the British contribution to MINUSMA, the UN Mission to aid the Malian Government to re-establish control and protect the local nationals.

Key: RHQ REME Operations Exercises Other



IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII IIIII Winter Deployment – Norway Personnel from across 3 Commando Brigade have deployed to Norway for the annual winter deployment. Before training commenced, a 10-day isolation was completed in line with Norwegian regulations. However, with views of the Northern Lights from their rooms, even when isolating, Norway didn’t disappoint.

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: Facebook: 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!

COVID-19 UK Reach 2 CS Bn REME are currently deployed in Lancashire as the HQ lead for United Kingdom Resilience Unit 13 (UKRU13), conducting Lateral Flow Device testing and training to both identify asymptomatic cases and build organic testing capacity within the county. UKRU13 consists of the Bn HQ, 7 CS Coy, 12 CS Coy from 1 CS Bn REME and two sub-units from 6 and 7 Regt RLC with medical support from 3 Med Regt; this is ‘Team Halberd’ deployed and operating as One Team (102 Logistic Brigade).

Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 5

Guest Editorial

Colonel Craig Sweeting OBE Apache Delivery (DT) Team Leader


he Apache DT is responsible for the in-service support of the Mk1 aircraft and delivering the capability sustainment programme (CSP), which consists of the purchase of the latest E Model Apaches and a comprehensive long term training and support service. The team is made up of about 120 tri-service Military and Civil Servants based in Yeovil, Abbey Wood and Wattisham Flying Station. The Mk1 aircraft that many of us are familiar with will go out of service in 2024 to be replaced by the state-of-the-art E Model. In order to be as efficient as possible, the current aircraft are part of a remanufacture process that reuses parts on the new aircraft, which are then used on the E Model production line in Arizona. The new aircraft delivers significant capability enhancements including Link 16 network capability, Manned Unmanned Teaming and an improved lethality and survivability. The first two aircraft were delivered ahead of schedule in November 2020 and, following a period of UK Safety and Certification work, flying will commence in summer 2021. The real strength of the DT lies in its people, so rather than me writing a lengthy article I have asked three members of the team to describe their experiences.

An Apache Mk1 in remanufacture strip

An Apache 64E arrives in the UK 6

Major Mark Britton Apache Mk1 Mechanical Engineering Authority (Mech EA) I joined the Apache DT in August 2019 from sub-unit command as OC 1 Regt AAC Wksp. The challenges faced by an Engineering Authority at the DT may not have the same immediate tempo as subunit command but in many ways are far more complex, especially from a technical standpoint; you need to really understand in detail how systems work to solve the issues that arise. I have found the skills I developed in my previous roles to be very useful in the DT. Having an understanding of the pressures faced at the front line, demanding exercise schedules, rapidly evolving flying programme and general availability of resources, especially people, has allowed me to focus on work in the DT, which can make a difference at the pointy end. Having military staff on the team brings a breadth of perspective and a level of energy that complements the detailed subject matter expertise of the Civil Servants really well. I have no idea where I will be posted next, but I am sure my experiences in the DT will be useful. Until doing this job I was blind to the complexities involved in contracting, finance, accountability and supply that go into the provision of a battlewinning capability like Apache. While things Maj Mark Britton on Ex SWIFT RESPONSE happen in the field force in Croatia with 1 Regt AAC

very quickly, DT contracted support cannot: in future roles I will be making sure that, in addition to firefighting today’s emergency, I will be planning years out so that the support can be ready when it is needed.

Mr Polly Parrott Apache E Model Mech EA Having left REME in 2012 my initial thoughts were to not work behind a desk. So, for my first two years of civilian life, I installed wind turbines up and down the country, enjoyed fresh air and spectacular views from 36 metres above the ground. However, living out of a bag and weekend commuting was something I had been doing pretty much my entire service life. When a DE&S aviation job opportunity came along, I thought; “I like helicopters so why not?” Besides, most of my 30+ service years had been with Army Aviation. So for the past six years I have sat behind a desk and worked in the Apache DT as both an Engineer and Project Manager and was responsible for delivering the Apache Emergency Flotation System; I am currently filling the post of the AH-64E Mechanical Engineering Authority. My previous knowledge and experience has proved invaluable both in carrying out my roles and supporting the team. However, I still don’t feel like a civilian and probably never will. The Apache DT feels more like a family with a mix of former service personnel and career Civil Servants. It is a joy to work in and reminds me of the long lost 3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron where everyone knew everyone, had a common goal and all pulled together to get the job done. Yes, Civil Servants aren’t the best paid, but it’s not bad - the benefits are generous and the opportunities extensive. Although I haven’t missed the Army, apart from the adventurous training, travel, exercises, PT and free clothes, my work/life balance has also improved considerably. Just ask Mrs Parrott.

WO1(ASM) Glen Barker Apache Mechanical Engineering ASM I left frontline work in 2012 as an Aircraft Artificer (SSgt) with a strong knowledge base of operating practices along with an in-depth knowledge of the platform. I was then posted into the Apache Engine’s Team, which is part of the Merlin DT. My experience at the frontline enabled me to act as a Liaison Officer between the Civil Servants and the frontline military units. This ensured that the requirements of the military were met and ensured decisions made by the DT could actually be implemented effectively by units with minimum impact on capability.

WO1(ASM) Glen Barker observing the loading of an Apache E Model in the USA

An Apache Mk1 with the Emergency Flotation System deployed

In 2014 I moved to the Apache DT providing advice and support to the Mech EA; I was given additional responsibilities above that usually given to ASMs, outside of DE&S. This came in the form of a Letter of Airworthiness Authority. This gave me the capability of changing procedures and issuing Technical Instructions in order to maintain airworthiness. On promotion to ASM in 2018 I stayed in the DT and began assisting with Apache 64E introduction into service Whilst in DE&S I have gained a greater understanding of how civilian companies work and commercial and financial activity. This has led to a better understanding of the constraints DE&S have when things are being requested by the frontline. Overall DE&S is a great place to work as an SNCO/WO; the organisation has paid for a MSc and has broadened my understanding of why decisions are made.

New Year’s Honours List The following REME Officers and Soldiers received Honours in the New Year’s Honours List: As Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE): Brigadier Elizabeth Jane FAITHFULL-DAVIES for her work as Commander 102 Logistic Brigade Brigadier Phillip David PROSSER for his work as Commander 101 Logistic Brigade. As Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE): Lieutenant Colonel Iain Stewart WALLACE for his work as SO1 Personnel Services, Army Headquarters Meritorious Service Medal (MSM): Warrant Officer Class 1 (now Captain) Jon-Marc FITCH Warrant Officer Class 1 Marion Margaret HOER

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Engineering Challenges on St Eligius Day As with so many things, COVID-19 changed how REME was able to mark St Eligius Day in 2020. 2 CS Bn chose to challenge their Soldiers with BBQs and Land Rovers, working within COVID-safe bubbles to complete them. Scribe: 2Lt J Duffin


n honour of St Eligius, REME’s Patron Saint, on 1 December 2020 teams from 7, 11 and Echelon Companies of 2 CS Battalion went head-to-head in two engineering challenges during the day. In recognition of St Eligius’s role as the Patron Saint of Metal Workers, the first of the tasks consisted of a BBQ production challenge, where teams were given empty oil barrels and surplus metal to produce working BBQs for use in the Battalion. Under the supervision of 11 Company’s Metalsmith Section, the competing teams worked hard over a six-hour production period to turn their surplus material into a useable BBQ.

Two of the finished BBQs, made from oil barrels and surplus metal

Soldiers getting to grips with the skills required to make useable BBQs 8

A number of different designs were produced, with a particularly strong showing of craftsmanship from WO2 Murray (late of the Metalsmith trade) with his innovative barrel design. Ultimately, the winners of the BBQ challenge were 7 Company, whose ‘wobbly’ start paved the way to them producing an ergonomic, high quality BBQ. The second task consisted of a vehicle recovery challenge with a military knowledge quiz. During the day five teams competed to recover a stricken Land Rover using a Tirfor winch, relying on teamwork and physical fitness to complete the event in the fastest possible time. As well as the physical challenge, it provided an opportunity for aspiring Junior NCOs to showcase and develop their leadership potential. All of the teams put in a solid effort, but the quickest time was achieved by 7 Company’s Forward Platoon, who completed the task in 28 minutes, 45 seconds. Overall, the St Eligius Day activities were a valuable opportunity to allow Soldiers of different trade groups to engage with an engineering problem in an enjoyable way. The opportunity for Soldiers to gain an appreciation of the role and capabilities of other departments only serves to strengthen our cohesion as a unit, making us more effective as a Battalion day to day. Arte et Marte

5 Regt AAC Wksp REME

Flying Grapefruits? Only on St Eligius Day Personnel of 5 Regt AAC Wksp celebrated St Eligius Day with a fruity twist on an engineering challenge. REME personnel were challenged to build a contraption to see who could launch a grapefruit the furthest.

The winning contraption having the final fittings before firing. A massive well done to all members of 665 Aircraft Maintenance Platoon winning this year’s coveted St Eligius Trophy

Winners of the Ex ELIGIUS LAUNCH 2021, members of 665 Aircraft Maintenance Platoon

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Adapting to Engage For a team that specialises in meeting the public, 2020 saw the Corps Engagement Team have to pivot quickly into new ways of working. From making the most of the ‘Zoom Boom’ to creating online escape rooms, they have pulled out all the stops to make the most of a challenging year. CET WOIC

Scribe: WO2 Gaz Hooson


took over the position of Corps Engagement Team Warrant Officer in September 2020. The team is in place to fundamentally represent the Corps, create awareness of what REME is, what REME offer to the wider public and promote the Corps ethos to the REME Family through engagement. Engagement is closely linked to recruitment (owned by Capita and Army Recruiting Group) but is clearly defined as a separate activity. However, the two terms work together. We are currently made up of a WO2, a Nurture Sgt, three LCpls and two Craftsmen. In 2019, before the pandemic, the team attended circa 200 engagement activities to promote the Corps and Army, from The Royal Cornwall Show to The Royal International Air Tattoo. Quite a feat considering the size of the team. Speaking with the personnel on the team, they absolutely loved it. Then the country went into lockdown! Similar to the rest of the world, the team had to be inventive and innovative to generate new ideas and concepts in order to participate in engagement activities. This ‘Zoom Boom’ is considered to have moved technological advancements and behaviours forward by two years and the team have taken advantage in every aspect. For such a new team, they have been fantastic in their efforts and

achievements. Despite being geographically dislocated due to restrictions, the CET has managed to work together in delivering live presentations on a number of different platforms and participating in the delivery of virtual challenges and activities to maintain the Corps’s engagement footprint. This has been challenging but also rewarding as it has provided us opportunities to modernise, so to speak.

“If you are interested in being a part of the Corps Engagement Team then please get in touch or use your chain of command.” Although we have adapted in order to make things work, we cannot wait to get back out there and meet people face to face. The virtual space works to get the message across but personal interaction is a major part of engagement and we have some great resources to put to use. More importantly, my wife wants the cam net and REME pop up displays out of the dining room! If you are interested in being a part of the Corps Engagement Team then please get in touch or use your chain of command.

When taking part in the virtual escape rooms, you will be greeted with the capbadge before going on to complete your mission.

Nurture SNCO Scribe: Sgt Treadgold


was posted into the nurture role in October having not heard much about it as the post is only two years old. Once I got my feet under the table, I realised how important the role is, from cultivating the interest of potential recruits in joining REME to arriving for Phase 1 training and further on to Phase 2 training. Nurturing is structured into primarily two main phases; the attraction piece and nurturing through training. For those who are interested in joining the Army we run a series of residential Army Awareness Activities to attract potential recruits to a career in the Army and REME specifically. Interested individuals can book a place through recruiting centres or Recruiting Group and will be assigned a date and location by Recruiting Group to attend. The


event is Capbadge agnostic and therefore individuals can be sent to any Regiment for an Army insight regardless of future Capbadge choice. However, the intention is to align individuals to a potential Regiment of choice. The activity entails a three-day course run from the Service Cotswold Centre, but predominantly taking part in Prince Philip Barracks Lyneham where they will get a chance to look at all the REME trades and the accommodation they will occupy during their time at initial trade training. Unfortunately, due to the COVID19 pandemic and restrictions that are in place, we cannot run the event physically so we have created a one-day package delivered online, which includes videos and live Q&A sessions with the Corps Engagement Team.

As the recruits arrive at Phase 1 training, they will receive a welcome letter from the Corps Colonel welcoming them into REME. During their time at Phase 1, the Nurture Team from Lyneham normally pays a visit to the Phase 1 recruits. This gives the recruits a chance to ask any questions about what comes next in their training and future careers aspirations they have. It also provides RHQ REME the opportunity to brief the recruits on what the Corps does and is doing and further details about their next stage of training at Lyneham. Since the national lockdown, all face to face events have been cancelled, including these Phase 1 visits. To overcome this, I arranged the first ever virtual Nurture brief. WO2 Hooson, LCpl Lapping and I managed to Zoom call the REME recruits going through Phase 1 at Winchester, answering questions and myth busting! Nurture visits are to recommence in December. Within this role we have also created a great relationship with Southwest Health and Safety who supply us with a Mental Health First Aid course. This qualifies us as Mental Health First Aiders for three years. You can use your Standard Learning Credits to help pay for this course. If you have an interest in applying for this course, email the REME RHQ Nurture SNCO.

Letters to the Editor

Eight Trades! A Remarkable Achievement

CET Scribe: Cfn Bell


ince lockdown began the Corps Engagement Team (CET) has had to adapt, by taking on the task of engaging with the public whilst adhering to the government guide lines. To stay in-line with the guidelines the team thought it was best to adopt new virtual software. Adobe Connect was integrated into the CET so that we can deliver information regarding REME. We can do this by creating a presentation that delivers information in an easy to understand way, covering all eight trades in the Corps. This is done via a live presentation with space for participants to ask questions. The questions are answered by someone from the CET, using their experiences and stories to help the participants as much as possible. During this lockdown period, whilst being safe at home, I have been able to continue the task of engaging with the public by using the Adobe Connect presentation software. I have my own computer setup in my home, which has enabled me to deliver Adobe presentations. I also have support from other CET members working from their homes. A presentation is held once a fortnight and has had high attendance on each event, bringing in people that otherwise may not be able to get the information. The presentation consists of information regarding the Army as a whole but mainly focuses on REME, with plenty of Q&A for participants to ask questions to anyone in the presentation. This has an aim of advertising the Army to potential applicants. Where is the future of virtual delivery going? With the team developing ways to deliver the best information to everyone, the possibilities are endless. For example, one member of the team has created a Vehicle Mechanic themed escape room. This allows the participants of the virtual events to interact with each other and work together, solving problems as a team like in a real-life situation as well as following their own initiative. Another process which the team are looking into is potentially developing a means of delivering lessons, which will give a more detailed view as to how REME works on a daily basis.

Interested in joining the Corps Engagement Team? Do you enjoy meeting and talking with people? Are you willing to take on new challenges? Could you pivot between virtual presentations and in-person events? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, you could be the right person to join CET. To find out more contact WO2 Gaz Hooson:

Dear Ms Walton, In the December issue of The Craftsman, under “Trade Talks”, I was intrigued to read that, today, the Corps consists of eight trades who serve across the whole of the British Army and every REME Soldier becomes an apprentice in their trade of choice. Eight! This seems a remarkable achievement in streamlining and should enable greater flexibility in manning posts. Does the figure include artificer grades, or are we looking at trade groups? If it is not a “trade secret” could you publish in the next issue a list of the current trades? Delighted to see the article on apprentice training and numbers; and David Webber’s account of his Life in REME brought back memories of the contingency plans we held in HQ FARELF at that time which were related to the activities in Thailand under Operation Crown. Kind regards Derek Walker

Dear Mr Walker, Don’t worry, the number of trades isn’t a trade secret. We wouldn’t be able to publish “Trade Talks” if it was! Currently, the eight trade groups in REME are: Vehicle Mechanics, Recovery Mechanics, Armourers, Metalsmiths, Technical Support Specialists, Electronics Technicians, Avionics Technicians and Aircraft Technicians. This does not include Artificer grades. Military Training Instructors are not a REME trade but are one pathway available to Soldiers and Officers with an interest in training and mentoring the next generation of REME. Kind regards, Katy Walton The Craftsman Editor

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Engineering Awards

REME Apprentice of the Year 2020 and REME Apprentice Champion of the Year 2020 Each year, to recognise the hard work and determination of REME Tradespeople in pursuing engineering excellence, the Apprentice and Apprentice Champion of the Year is awarded. Though 2020 was a very different year to any other that the Corps has experienced, our apprentices and those who support them were still working towards both achieving their qualifications and keeping the Army moving.

Apprentice of the Year 2020

Apprentice Champion of the Year 2020

The REME Apprentice of the Year is two-fold. The winner will go on to represent REME in the Army Apprentice of the Year; the award provides recognition for those tradespeople who push themselves beyond what is expected of them as apprentice engineers. Winner: Cfn Ross Hepworth Cfn Hepworth has been described as an “enthusiastic and capable Cfn” who has accelerated through his apprentice scheme. In 2020, he progressed to Class 2 and completed his Level 3 NVQ, continuously demonstrating a willingness to learn and achieving results at a high standard. Furthermore, Cfn Hepworth’s contribution to his Company’s work output has “excelled exceptionally” as a direct result of skills acquired through the apprenticeship programme. Along with this, he has also supported external units, which led to a CO’s coin, and taken on a mentoring role. Congratulations to Cfn Hepworth.

Similarly to the Apprentice of the Year, the Apprentice Champion represents REME in the Army Apprentice Champion of the Year. The winner is selected from among those who have stood out as mentors and facilitators to REME apprentices. Winner: WO1(ASM) Henry Breed WO1(ASM) Breed’s enthusiasm and dedication to developing Electronic Technicians has seen him put the focus back on actual technician repair. As a result of this, there has been a step change in the technical ability of apprentices, who now use surface mount electronics with confidence. His role in setting up a Makerspace took this further, creating an area for apprentices from three different battalions to progress in their trade. In addition, the work that WO1(ASM) Breed has done on the BLOODHOUND Land Speed Record testing, particularly engineering practices, techniques, and processes, has benefitted the Army as he passed it on to apprentices. Congratulations to WO1(ASM) Breed.

Corps News

Cfn Leonard’s Attestation into the Army Reserve Scribe: Cpl Brian Handley, 124 Rec Coy Recruiting Team.


his month, 102 Bn REME and 124 Recovery Company are pleased to welcome our newest member of the team, Cfn Jonathan Leonard. The Battalion and Company hopes he will find his new role rewarding and challenging. Jonathan is aspiring to become an Armourer, with aspirations to work towards becoming an Army Reserve Officer in the future. Cfn Leonard is currently a student at Durham University studying a Masters in Manufacturing Engineering. In his spare time, he enjoys a variety of sports, with the main one being Karate. He endeavours to represent the Battalion in this sport. If you are a former serving Soldier due to finish your time in the Army, there are opportunities within 102 Battalion to try something new. As a Reservist, you do your training on Tuesday evenings and at weekends and you get paid for the time you spend training. You’ll need to do your Basic Training - but this can be arranged to fit in around your day job. You don’t have to do all the training at once. It can be completed in shorter modules or in one go. Further training also takes place in your spare time and in unit. 102 Bn REME offer a range of trades from Vehicle Mechanics, Recovery Mechanics and Armourers through to Metalsmiths and Technical Storemen. We also offer other opportunities in supporting roles such as Combat Medic, Chefs and HR and Administration roles. The average person spends 15 days a year surfing the web in their spare time. With the Army Reserves, you’ll get to do something challenging and different with your spare time instead, learning new skills, making friends, being part of a great team and getting paid.


REME Careers

From Craftsman to Masters Capt Simon Ratcliffe joined REME as a Technician. Less than a decade later, he is the first REME Officer to gain his MSC via an alternative pathway.


ery early on in my career, sometime during the endless maths exams on the Technicians course in Arborfield, I started thinking about the possibility of commissioning. Having been to college to gain a BTEC in Mechanical Engineering, I had the qualifications to attend university and with some encouragement from my career-long friend Eric, I decided to go for it. Having wanted to first achieve Class 1 status it then took a further three years for me to go through the various interviews and assessment boards, attending the Potential Officer Development Course and eventually arriving on the parade ground in front of Old College at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. The Craftsman who once thought it impossible that he would ever be stood there with a suit on and an ironing board under his arm now had the 44 weeks of Officer Basic Training in front of him. By this point I was walking into Sandhurst as a substantive Sgt and it was difficult going back to basics, sitting tight lipped through lessons on ‘how to put your rifle sling on’. Following Sandhurst, the academic pathway had been set out in front of me; three years of an in-service degree at one of several universities around the country. This however was not to be my fate. Having heard the horror stories of people being frozen in rank (now a thing of the past) and their reports suffering as a result of so much time ‘out of green’, this route did worry me. During the third term of Sandhurst, I was offered an alternative pathway of completing a Masters level Degree within a year during my second Young Officer posting. I would be the first person from the Corps to undertake this route, trailblazing the way for others to follow. The combination of my years of experience and previous qualifications enabled me to undertake the Engineering Officer Viva, a gruelling professional interview and demonstrate a level of competence to allow me to start the MSc. I completed the MSc within the year allocated at 8 Trg Bn REME. At times it was difficult to get the time during the working day, balancing the needs of my Platoon in a Phase 2 environment with visits to industry and reading engineering documents, all whilst ensuring a good work life balance with my wife and children at home. Nervous wasn’t even the word as I hovered over the ‘Submit’ button, but four weeks later when the results came back… MERIT. I’d done it. I started this journey in a Careers Office in Wolverhampton and never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would now be an MSc-qualified Capt. I’ve lost some hair and gained some weight but along the way there is a quote that has stuck with me for a long time, “every journey of a thousand miles, starts with one step”. Should anyone wish to speak to me about advice on commissioning from the ranks, or about the MSc pathway itself you can contact me via email.


Above: Cfn Ratcliffe at the start of his REME career Below: Capt Ratcliffe with Masters of Science


Thank you for listening


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101 TS Bn REME

The Virtual Training Environment: A Tool to Keep the REME Reserve Engaged The Reserves have led the way in the change from physical to virtual training. 101 TS Bn’s exploitation of the virtual space to provide battlefield study presentations are just one example of this. Having a military historian in the battalion was a fortunate bonus. Scribe: Major John Tucker REME, OC 159 TS Coy, 101 TS Bn REME


n this unprecedented time the Army Reserve has had to adapt at a rapid rate as face to face training was restricted. As REME Reserve Officers and Soldiers we rely on face to face training to be able to convert our people, whose vocational employment may not be technical, into Engineering Officers or REME Soldiers. Often our personnel join REME to learn something new, for example how to repair a Land Rover, or perhaps to add some strings to their bow that can be utilised in their civilian role, such as leadership, planning and communications skills. With face to face training restricted there was a risk that our Soldiers would lose interest as it may be perceived that the REME Reserve would not be able to support the delivery of these new skills and our numbers may drop, reducing our ability to raise a REME Reserve capability. To mitigate this risk, as part of the engagement plan to maintain the

Esprit de Corps and continue to train, educate and develop our members, much like many other Reserve Units, 101 TS Bn REME has exploited the use of the virtual space (Defence Connect, Zoom and Facebook). Each month BHQ issued a self-generated 20 hours of training, which each service person could complete throughout the month. This could be done when it best suited the service person, noting the increased demands from lockdown (home schooling and the effect on the day job). The 20 hours were split into two lots of 10 hours: 1) generic training (battlecraft syllabus, CLM PT and communication skills) and 2) rank and trade specific training (ranging from planning exercises to technical work packages). This was done in conjunction with the virtual training events held on Wednesday evenings under a fourweekly rotation training programme, where each Company had the ability to conduct its own training for two of the four weeks. 159 TS Coy sought to exploit this opportunity to field its own training by developing our Officers’ and Soldiers’ leadership, management and communication skills. It is important to remember that our most valuable asset within the REME Reserve is the people; therefore, development and supporting the Company became a priority - and we needed to make it interesting, diverse and fun. Among debates, leadership discussions and technical presentations was the delivery of the virtual battlefield studies. Having the diversity within the training programme has not only kept our current team engaged but has also seen those who have not attended for some time return to the Battalion. One of the benefits of working within the REME Reserve is the fact that it is populated with personnel who have a breadth of different vocations and backgrounds. 159 TS Coy is fortunate enough to have a military historian amongst the mix, Cfn Jack Morris.

A selection of slides from Cfn Morris’s Battlefield Studies presentations on the Battle of Waterloo, El-Alamein and Terrorism


Cfn Jack Morris studied military history before joining the REME Reserves as an Armourer Cfn Morris has a BA in War Studies and an MA in Military History. He is currently pursuing the Army Officer route while also training to become an Armourer. His presentations have been outstanding; significantly contributing to the positive engagement and feedback we have had from our personnel. They have helped to sustain our numbers so that, when we return to face to face training, we will be able to regenerate and deliver the Reserve ES Capability.

Virtual Battlefield Study Presentations

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 searching 'Airborne REME' or 'Commando REME' on RHQ REME's SharePoint.

Scribe: Cfn Jack Morris, 159 TS Coy It is undeniable that during lockdown training for the REME Reserves we have been forced to adapt, rapidly and effectively; therefore we have seen a shift to the virtual sphere. It has tested the flexibility of our training teams nationwide and provided a catalyst for the introduction of a variety of engaging presentations differing from the traditional syllabus. One such addition to the training programme has been the introduction of battlefield studies delivered at company and battalion level. This activity has provided a means of escape from the make-shift office in the living room, to travel through cyberspace to stand alongside the Duke of Wellington overlooking the battlefield at Waterloo, or to learn about how Craftsmen, of the newly-formed Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, ‘kept the punch in the Army’s fist’ at El Alamein during the triumph of the Desert Rats. Aside from being transported to a time pre-COVID-19, it is interesting to examine how militaries fought in different eras, discovering the strategies and tactics of the time and comparing them to the practices of today. Similarly, as was the case in the Battalion presentation of REME’s involvement during the 1942 North Africa campaign, specific trade groups can investigate the challenges faced by their predecessors and marvel in their innovation and creativity given tough circumstances, as demonstrated by constant enacting of vehicle modifications during battle to ensure that Monty’s men maintained operational momentum. With each presentation lasting around an hour of the training evening, room is left for interactive discussion and debate through questions on the conflicts and the legacy they have left behind. Participants were encouraged to share personal anecdotes from their family ties to the particular battles thus contributing positively to the context and bringing the presentation to life. Seminar discussion was adopted on the subject of terrorism - the company attempted to reach a common definition of what is ‘a terrorist’ and discussed whether the War on Terror can ever come to an end. This approach was positively received by members of the Company and Battalion as demonstrated through efficacious, unsolicited feedback. Many requested new topics to explore in subsequent events. Preparing and delivering these lectures has been a rewarding experience personally, as it has enabled the implementation of civilian academic accreditations, as a military historian, to be put to use within the Army Reserve.

Could you be in the next generation of Airborne REME or Commando REME?

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Excellence in REME

Cpl Angela Honey

What made you join the Army? I’ve always had a keen interest in the Army but the time was never right. I had an insight as a Reservist and then thought “I could do this full time!” I quickly learnt that the robustness that the Army teaches you is a life skill I should have learned years ago! I have always been proud of the British Army and now I can be proud that I am part of this diverse Corps.

Are you happy you made the right decision? Absolutely! The Army allows you to expand on your abilities and teaches you skills that you would never think that you could achieve. The Corps encourages self-improvement courses such as AT, sport, NVQs and degrees; skills to teach and to mentor. I have had several vocations in my adult life but this continues to be by far the best.

What have been the biggest surprises and lessons of your career so far?

Cpl Angela Honey joined REME later than most but that hasn’t stopped her from making the most of her career. A committed tradesperson, Cpl Honey’s passion for facilitating and helping others has shaped her TSS career, led to her mentoring a post-natal group and prepare for an MTI posting. In this month’s Excellence in REME, she talks about why joining REME later in life has its upside and the importance of controlling your own development.

You have to push yourself more - maybe delve into situations that you are uncomfortable with. For me it was Maths, my nemesis as school. Yet I was able to achieve the level required so that I could continue on my career and promotion path. I think the Army as an organisation is excellent at looking at any skills and insecurities you may have and will give you the tools to work at them and guide you along the way. I feel the Corps has made me realise that I have so much more to offer and will support me in doing that.

...Vehicle Mechanic. How do you balance home/work life? He is coming to the end of a 10 year career now but we have both enjoyed serving together, helping each other in packing for exercise etc! However, it does come with its own issues. Trying to balance a healthy home/work life has been tricky. As parents we have sometimes felt that we have been like ships in

I think my biggest surprise has been how much I enjoy the military! I enjoy the friendships formed and I see my colleagues as my second family. Although my trade’s importance has been overlooked in the past, being in TSS allows me to problem solve and find solutions. I like the challenge that it provides. Joining later than most has brought its own challenges (inevitable wear and tear on the body!). However, I come to the table equipped with life and work experiences, a work ethic and the ability to mentor holistically, which I believe can only be gained by experience. My initial expectations on how I would be viewed as an older Soldier have been completely unfounded - in fact, it has been quite the opposite.

How does Cpl Honey differ from the Ms Honey who first came to the Army and the Corps? I am more confident with my own abilities; still a work in progress but any progress is good! 16

Working on a Lean presentation on the new TSS Class 1 course

the night but we have stayed consistent and have put measures in place to ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum. Any family time is cherished and we make the most of every second.

What are your secrets to success as a TSS tradeswoman and a Soldier? There is no secret! Just be the best version of you and support others to do the same. As a TSS tradesperson you have to facilitate and help where you can - you are sometimes required to react to a situation that cannot have been foreseen. That’s the best part of the trade - to make it happen and to help others.

What do you get out of engineering and life in REME that you couldn’t get from any other kind of work? REME will support you to obtain qualifications that would take you years to obtain in civilian life, including degrees. The Army actively encourages self-development - not only educational but also in AT and sports. Where you stop in your development is only governed by you - unlike our Civilian counterparts who may feel that they are governed by their pay scale or job title. You get a chance to travel, engage in local communities and even be able to put measures in place that will help them and break down barriers. It’s such a rewarding job.

You are also a member of the Army Servicewomen’s Network in Scotland (ASNS). What have been the biggest benefits of joining a Diversity and Inclusivity Network? I haven’t managed to partake in much in the way of the ASNS but I remain a spokesperson for diversity and inclusion for all - not just the

Visiting a Gambian nursery and primary school as part of NGO work female group. The benefits of such platforms allow Soldiers to express their concerns, struggles or abilities or just know that they are not alone. This is message for any Soldier - not just the minority groups. I have been fortunate enough to be able to mentor a post-natal group returning to work and provide them with the ability to come back to fitness, talk through concerns and offer impartial advice and tips from someone with life experience. I hope this has helped them on their way to come back to work, feeling that they have the mental and physical robustness to do so.

What are your goals for 2021 as a REME Soldier and in wider life? I tend to try and do at least one career course and one personal development course every year. I have wanted to complete my Level 2 and 3 Fitness Instructors course so I will sign up for that as this will help me develop as BAWF 2IC. I would like to get some instructor and mentor qualifications completed as I would like to go to a training establishment as an MTI for my next posting. There are charity events that I am looking at doing this year but I will have to see how the current situation shapes that!

If you could sum up your life now, how would you do it?

Training for a charity event that I organised to raise money for a charity that supported a local family after their soldier died on exercise of a heart attack. I carried a tank track 30 miles and laid it on his grave as he worked on armoured vehicles

My life now is exciting and I know it’s secure. I feel I have achieved a worthwhile career that continues to grow. I know I make a difference and this makes me want to continue in what I do. For any civilian that is wondering if they should join, I would say go for it! I started this journey thinking what if I’m not good enough now I look at ways I can be better!

BAWF training during lockdown v1

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47 Regt RA Wksp REME

Op DEVERAN The British Army today is increasingly flexible, providing support and aid across a number of areas alongside its traditional function in land warfare. 47 Regt RA Wksp's support of a Home Office operation tackling illegal immigration demonstrates how technology used in Afghanistan can be repurposed as part of that flexibility.

Scribe: LCpl Blunt, Class 3 Avionics Technician Having posted into the Workshop from Phase 2 Training in the midst of COVID restrictions in March, Op DEVERAN was my first real chance to get hands on with Watchkeeper. I deployed with the initial set-up group and during this week I had the opportunity to learn civilian Air Traffic Control voice procedures as well as get hands on with all of the equipment needed to support Watchkeeper flying. As the weeks progressed and a routine settled down, I found myself becoming much more involved with servicing and maintenance. This was the first time I had really been able to get hands on with live, flying aircraft in an operational environment, and it allowed me to progress quite rapidly with my Tradesman’s Book. This is a vital step on the training path to becoming a Class 2 Technician. Throughout the operation I also experienced the dynamic nature of operating from a new base, especially a civilian airfield. One example of this was a query from Air Traffic Control about the visibility of the antennas and distribution boxes located on the side of the runway, used to help guide Watchkeeper into land. These are painted in the usual dark green, however, after a Technical Direction was received, they were given a fluorescent orange tape upgrade to help with identification when Watchkeeper was operating within the airport’s open hours. Overall this operation was extremely useful to my career progression and helped me catch up on missed time due to the COVID pandemic. It was also a great introduction to a front-line aviation unit and has equipped me well for progressing my future career.



orkshop personnel spent two months on Op DEVERAN in 2020, supporting the Home Office operation to tackle illegal immigration into the UK. 47 Regt RA is the only regiment in the British Army to operate Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). The Regiment flies the Watchkeeper UAS, which uses Synthetic Aperture Radar and Full Motion Video to gather information and find the enemy, providing intelligence for commanders across the British Army. Between 2001 and 2014 elements of the regiment were deployed to fly Watchkeeper on Operation HERRICK in Afghanistan. The regiment deployed on Op DEVERAN to Lydd in Kent, between August and October last year. This was a joint Home Office operation including the Coastguard, Border Force, private UAS company Tekever, and 47 Regt RA. The Regiment’s role in the operation was to monitor channel crossings and relay real time imagery and positional information to the Coastguard to action. This effort was conducted in a fast paced,

dynamic environment in the midst of ongoing COVID restrictions and some sub-optimal weather conditions for flight. On arrival at Lydd Airport, the Workshop was quickly established in part of a hangar currently occupied by Tekever. ISO containers were swiftly unpacked as offices, work areas and stores were set out. Across the runway, REME Technicians also assisted the Royal Artillery UAS Pilots with setting up the aircraft data links and installing crypto components into the Ground Control Stations (GCS). It was a huge effort to get everything setup in this short time, with some personnel having

Scribe: LCpl Limbu, Class 2 Aircraft Technician

had very little prior experience with Watchkeeper or an operation of this kind. After a swift three-day set-up, the Regiment began preparations for the first flight in this new location. Aircraft and associated equipment were serviced for flight, new SOPs were drafted and approved, and training was undertaken to licence drivers on this busy civilian airport, amongst other things. As more manpower arrived, everyone started to settle into this new routine, with shift patterns created to help with social distancing and workload requirements. Maintenance was conducted during the day, and Watchkeeper flew at night and into the morning. This made the best use of airspace for surveillance, with Tekever also operating their UAS in the area. Links were also set up with the Coastguard and Border Force from the GCS image outputs using secure IP addresses. This enabled all necessary personnel to view the video feed from the Watchkeepers’ payloads in real time, massively improving the response time to any developing situation. After a thorough week of preparation, with everything now in place, a successful first flight! Although only a 30min functional check flight, it was a big step in the

I was deployed on Op DEVERAN with the Workshop between August and October. Having been recently posted from 1 Regt AAC, where I was used to working on the Wildcat Helicopter, I had to familiarise myself to working on UAVs. I completed my Competency Board within the first few weeks of the operation, which enabled me to work unsupervised on the UAVs. This was my first ever exposure to an operational environment where I was tested both physically and mentally. Working in such a fast paced environment our team did a very good job producing maximum output with minimal manning. As a Class 2 technician my primary role was to conduct general and scheduled maintenance as well as flight service the UAVs. Whilst deployed we had two rotating maintenance teams, one to carry out the maintenance during day and the other one to cover the flight line for any engineering setbacks during the night. I had the opportunity to experience both. I personally think the operation was a success for myself and also for the Regiment.

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right direction. This was proven by a further four flights being conducted in the next five days, all with intelligence of potential migrant activity being gathered and passed onto Coastguard and Border Force assets for actioning. During the following week four more sorties were conducted, with extreme adverse weather being the causal factor to the lower output. This did, however, give the opportunity for a much appreciated stand down day to help manage fatigue. With a solid routine now established, there was increased opportunity for training to take place, especially useful to the new Class 3 Technicians in the workshop. Despite these occasional days of bad weather, over the coming weeks Watchkeeper continued to fly whenever possible, providing vital intelligence to Border Force and the Coastguard all while managing the effects of the ever changing national COVID pandemic. As September became October and weather and sea states became less favourable for migrant crossings, the tempo of the operation relaxed slightly with more time to focus on refining effective working patterns. This enabled the Workshop to reduce manning, further reducing COVID-related risks and creating more respite time from fatigue. However, whenever the weather did break, this maintenance period meant that there were always two serviceable aircraft ready to fly to support Op DEVERAN. With Storm Alex finally abating, the Regiment’s commitment to the operation was soon coming to a close, though effective intelligence gathering


flights were still being carried out right to the end. More and more frequently on these flights, however, no migrant vessels were being detected, which correlated with previous years data related to the change of season. In the final week, two sorties were carried out with no migrant vessels sighted by Watchkeeper. Furthermore, sea states indicated that crossings were now highly unlikely to occur. On Thursday morning, recovery back to Larkhill began in earnest. Tools, equipment and offices were packed up, aircraft were disassembled and put away into their ISO containers and, in what was potentially the most tedious task, a huge quantity of cables and cable sheathing previously running the length of the runway was collected, untangled, cleaned and recoiled. Having initially set up in under three days, the pack-up was no different. No time was wasted and all kit and equipment was accounted for back at Larkhill with the last containers arriving on Sunday. In total 21 sorties (17 directly supporting Op DEVERAN) were flown, with a total duration of 67hrs 46mins. This is a huge success for Watchkeeper as a platform, proving that it can operate effectively in UK airspace and provide a tangible intelligence output that can be actioned rapidly by appropriate authorities. It was also a valuable training opportunity for the Workshop with many new tradesmen of all classes gaining vital experience of the platform and their role.

UK REME LOCATIONS as at 09 Oct 2020 (V4)

3) TIDWORTH 3 Armd CS Bn REME - Assaye Barracks 4 Armd CS Bn REME - Jellalabad Barracks 6 Armd CS Bn REME - Delhi Barracks 4) IPSWICH 7 Avn Sp Bn REME - Wattisham Flying Station 5) LYNEHAM 5 TS Bn REME - The Prince Philip Barracks 8 Trg Bn REME - The Prince Philip Barracks

Reserve REME Battalions 101 Bn - BHQ BRISTOL 1) 127 Coy - Manchester 2) 127 Coy - Liverpool 3) 159 Coy - Walsall 4) 159 Coy - Telford 5) 160 Coy - Bridgend 6) 160 Coy - Gloucester 7) 158 Coy - Bristol 8) 159 Coy - Swindon 9) 130 Pl - Yeovil

13) 124 Coy - Newton Aycliffe 14) 146 Coy - Scunthorpe 15) 146 Coy - Rotherham 16) 186 Pl - Newcastle 17) 147 Pl - Hull 103 Bn - BHQ NORTHAMPTON 18) 148 Coy - Derby 19) 148 Coy - Nottingham 20) 118 Coy - Northampton 21) 118 Coy - Coventry 22) 133 Coy - Ashford 23) 133 Coy - Croyden 24) 128 Coy - Portsmouth 25) 169 Pl - Barnet

REME Association Branches

102 Bn - BHQ NEWTON AYCLIFFE 10) 153 Coy - Glasgow 11) 153 Coy - Grangemouth 12) 157 Coy - Belfast

1) NORTHERN IRELAND - Lisburn 2) SCOTLAND - Grangemouth 3) TYNESIDE - Newcastle upon Tyne 4) SOUTH WEST DURHAM - Newton Aycliffe 5) TEESIDE - Billingham 6) CUMBRIA 7) LANCASHIRE - Blackpool 8) SCARBOROUGH 9) WEST YORKSHIRE - Bradford 10) HUMBERSIDE - HULL 11) MANCHESTER 12) WIDNES


The Online Home of The REME Family For all your Corps needs including: A digital version of The Craftsman Magazine A map of units where REME serve Information on the Corps Sgts’ & WOs’ Mess and Corps Officers’ Mess Details about Association Branches and groups Applications for REME Charity grants Visit today

If your organisation is incorrect or not listed please contact the Editor

2 Belfast Aldergrove 3 12 1 1

38 Irish X


11 2

East Kilbride





6 2 Leuchars



51 (Inf) Scottish X & HQ Scotland



3 816


4 13 Newton

Newcastle Upon Tyne

102 Bn




UK REME LOCATIONS Regimental Headquarters REME Regular REME LADs and Wksps Regular REME Battalions Reserve REME Battalions REME Association Branches

as at 09 Oct 2020 (V4)

Isles of Scilly











37 5





Walsall Northfield



Stoke -on- Trent


21 20




9 47

46 Bovington





Isle of Wight










30 Ashford









22 4 23 24


If your organisation is incorrect or not listed please contact the Editor

Brighton & Hove










29 Londist 25 28 Catford Hounslow

25 Barnet

31 11 (Inf) X & HQ SE













21 Dereham






7 (Inf) X & HQ East


16 18




17 10 14



103 Bn




8 Scarborough


Balby Rotherham





11 12

19 15Chilwell

18 Derby






1 (Sig) X & HQ WM


4 18

Tern Hill



12 Chester






4 (Inf) X & HQ NE

41 Cerney 8 51 Hullavington Chepstow 43 Swindon 42 7 36 Corsham 5 1 44 26Lyneham Bristol 101 Colerne 39 Bn Upavon 36 3 38 37 Tidworth 28 45 Larkhill Bulford

1 (Arty) X & HQ SW


160 (Inf) X & HQ Wales






42 (Inf) X 7 & HQ NW

9 1 Catterick

UK REME LOCATIONS as at 09 Oct 2020 (V4)

Regimental Headquarters REME LYNEHAM - The Prince Philip Barracks

Regular REME LADs and Wksps 1) LISBURN 2 RIFLES LAD - Thiepval Barracks 2) ALDERGROVE 5 Regt AAC Wksp - RAF Aldergrove 3) BELFAST 1 SCOTS LAD - Palace Barracks 4) INVERNESS 3 SCOTS LAD - Fort George 5) KINLOSS 39 Engr Regt Wksp - Kinloss Barracks 6) LEUCHARS SCOTS DG LAD - Leuchars 7) EDINBURGH 2 SCOTS LAD - Glencorse Barracks 3 RIFLES LAD - Dreghorn Barracks 5 SCOTS LAD - Redford Barracks 8) NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE 3 RHA Wksp - Albemarle Barracks 9) CATTERICK LD LAD (Light Dragoons) - Gaza Barracks 5 Armd Med Regt LAD - Gaza Barracks RL LAD (Royal Lancers) - Cambrai Barracks 1 YORKS LAD - Alma Lines 5 Regt RA Wksp - Marne Barracks 32 Engr Regt LAD - Marne Barracks 4 SCOTS LAD - Bourlon Barracks 1 MI Bn LAD - Bourlon Barracks 1 RMP LAD - Bourlon Barracks 10) RIPON/THIRSK 21 Engr Regt LAD - Claro Barracks 4 Regt RA Wksp - Alanbrooke Barracks 6 Regt RLC LAD - Dishford Airfield 11) STRENSALL 34 Field Hospital LAD - Queen Elizabeth Barracks 12) YORK 2 Sig Regt LAD - Imphal Barracks 13) PRESTON 2 MERCIAN LAD - Weeton Barracks 3 Med Regt LAD - Fulwood Barracks 14) HULL DST Wksp - Normandy Barracks 15) CHESTER 1 LANCS LAD - Dale Barracks 16) TERN HILL 1 R Irish LAD - Clive Barracks 17) STAFFORD 1 Sig Regt LAD - Beacon Barracks 22 Sig Regt LAD - Beacon Barracks 16 Sig Regt - Beacon Barracks 18) OAKHAM 2 R Anglian LAD - Kendrew Barracks 726 Regt RLC LAD - Kendrew Barracks

19) NUNEATON 30 Sig Regt LAD - Gamecock Barracks 20) SAFFRON WALDEN 29 Engr Regt (EOD) Wksp - Carver Barracks 23 Engr Regt (EOD) Wksp - Carver Barracks 21) DEREHAM QDG LAD - Robertson Barracks 22) IPSWICH 3 Regt AAC (AH) Wksp - Wattisham Flying Station 4 Regt AAC Wksp - Wattisham Flying Station 23) WOODBRIDGE 23 Engr Regt (Air Asslt) Wksp - Rock Barracks 24) COLCHESTER 2 PARA LAD - Merville Barracks 3 PARA LAD - Merville Barracks 7 PARA RHA Wksp - Merville Barracks 8 Field Coy (PARA) REME - Merville Barracks 13 AA Sp Regt RLC - Merville Barracks 16 Med Regt LAD - Merville Barracks 25) BICESTER 1 Regt RLC LAD - St David’s Barracks 26) ABINGDON 3 Regt RLC LAD - Dalton Barracks 4 Regt RLC LAD - Dalton Barracks 27) WINDSOR 1 Welsh Gds LAD - Combermere Barracks 1 Coldstreamm Gds LAD - Victoria Barracks 28) WOOLWICH 1 R Anglian LAD - Royal Artillery Barracks 29) HOUNSLOW 1 Irish Gds LAD - Cavalry Barracks 30) ALDERSHOT 10 QOGLR LAD - Gale Barracks 29 (EOD) Sp Gp - Mont House 1 Grenadier Gds - Lile Barracks 4 RIFLES LAD - Normandy Barracks 27 Regt RLC LAD - Traver Barracks 22 Field Hospital LAD - Keogh Barracks 2 PWRR LAD - Keogh Barracks 1 Scots Gds LAD - Mons Barracks 31) PIRBRIGHT 2 LANCS LAD - Elizabeth Barracks 32) MAIDSTONE 36 Engr Regt Wksp - Invicta Park 33) FOLKESTONE 1 RGR LAD - Sir John Moore Barracks 34) SOUTHAMPTON 17 P&M Regt RLC Wksp - McMullen Barracks 35) PORTSMOUTH 12 Regt RA Wksp - Thorney Island 16 Regt RA Wksp - Thorney Island

36) TIDWORTH / PERHAM DOWN 1 R Welsh LAD - Lucknow Barracks QRH LAD - Assaye Barracks 1 RRF LAD - Mooltan Barracks 1 Armd Med Regt LAD - Bhurtpore Barracks 4 Armd Med Regt LAD - Bhurtpore Barracks RTR LAD - Aliwal Barracks KRH LAD - Aliwal Barracks 22 Engr Regt LAD - Swinton Barracks 26 Engr Regt LAD - Swinton Barracks 15 Sig Regt LAD - Swinton Barracks 37) BULFORD 3 RMP LAD - Ward Barracks HCR LAD - Ward Barracks 5 RIFLES LAD - Ward Barracks 4 MI Bn LAD - Ward Barracks 3 Sig Regt LAD - Picton Barracks 1 MERCIAN LAD - Picton Barracks 38) LARKHILL 32 Regt RA LAD - Roberts Barracks 47 Regt RA Wksp - Roberts Barracks 19 Regt RA LAD - Purvis Lines 1 Regt RHA Wksp - Purvis Lines 26 Regt RA Wksp - Purvis Lines 39) UPAVON 2 MI Bn LAD - Trenchard Lines 40) GLOUCESTER ARRC Sp Bn LAD - Imjin Barracks 41) SOUTH CERNEY 29 Regt RLC - Duke of Gloucester Barracks 42) CORSHAM 10 Sig Regt LAD - Basil Hill Barracks 43) HULLAVINGTON 9 Regt RLC LAD - Buckley Barracks 44) COLERNE 21 Sig Regt LAD - Azimghur Barracks 45) WARMINSTER RDG LAD - Battlesbury Barracks 46) BOVINGTON ATDU - Allenby Barracks 47) YEOVIL 1 Regt AAC Wksp - RNAS Yeovil 48) PLYMOUTH 29 Cdo RA Wksp - The Royal Citadel 49) BARNSTAPLE Cdo Log Regt RM - RMB Chivenor 24 Cdo RE Wksp - RMB Chivenor 50) HAVERFORDWEST 14 Sig Regt (EW) LAD - Cawdor Barracks 51) CHEPSTOW 1 RIFLES LAD - Beachley Barracks

Regular REME Battalions 1) CATTERICK 1 CS Bn REME - Megiddo Lines 2) LEUCHARS 2 CS Bn REME - Waterloo Lines

If your organisation is incorrect or not listed please contact the Editor

Corps Welfare

Time to Talk Day T

his year, Time to Talk Day is on 4 February. This is an opportunity to recognise and understand the importance of talking to each other, whether that is to a friend, colleague, family member, line manager, or in fact whoever you feel comfortable speaking to. Given the current situation that we have found ourselves in over the past year, some of you may feel a little more worried, anxious, isolated, and, from a REME perspective, disenfranchised from your units and colleagues. This is ok. This is normal. It is also why it is

important that we talk with each other and keep communicating; sometimes taking a few minutes out of your day, sitting down and chatting with someone helps. As REME Soldiers, we pride ourselves on our adaptability and versatility, ‘keeping the punch in the Army’s fist’. This is built around our Corps ethos and a belief that people are at the heart of the Corps; by talking openly and honestly with each other, without fear of judgement, we will all be better for it.

Below are some links for resources and assistance, particularly if you would like to speak to someone outside of your organisation, family or cohort. Headfit SHOUT NHS Mental Health IVLhoGAB1KGwaxEAAYAiAAEgKxgPD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds Rethink: Time to Talk Day 202021,and%20worthless%20because%20of%20this. Time to Change: Time to Talk Day Samaritans


SKILLS FREE WEBINAR Date: 24/02/20 Time: 13:00

Whether you are serving in the REME or a service leaver, veteran or reservist, APM will be offering advice and guidance on how to maximise your CPD and the possibility of becoming a chartered project professional. To be part of this event please contact

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Mechanical Transport Workshop BFSAI

Exercise FALKLANDS MEMORIAL In 2020, personnel posted to the Falkland Islands marched 100km cross-country to follow the route of 3 PARA in 1982.

Foreword: Capt A Selka, OC MTW


hile the rest of the world rolled from one lockdown to the next, the Soldiers and Airmen of the Mechanical Transport Workshop (MTW) in the Falklands found themselves in the eye of the storm with almost no COVID measures, thanks to the two-week quarantine when arriving on the islands. This allowed MTW the freedom to complete Ex FALKLANDS MEMORIAL – a cross country march across the Falklands following the route of 3 PARA in 1982. Just under 100km and culminating in a memorial service on Mount Longdon, it was a fantastic challenge for all involved. Cfn Alex Shaw died during 3 PARA’s attack on Mt Longdon, so it felt appropriate to pay tribute to him and the other REME Soldiers killed during the conflict by quite literally following in their footsteps.

Flt Lt Greg Harley plays the bagpipes as the sun rises over Mount Pleasant during a 30km training march

The strange weather in the Falklands can be seen by the low cloud on Snakes Pass 28

The troops reached Mount Pleasant after battling through the winter snow during a training march

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Scribe: Cfn C Davies


The ASM leaps across a stream as the team make their way cross country

Some made it across dry... some didn’t

The farmer’s shed which shielded us from the wind during the wait for the helicopter


rom 14 to 18 September, twenty-one REME and RAF personnel from MTW took part in the exercise - a 98km march from Port San Carlos to Stanley, cross country. We started by travelling to Blue Beach Cemetery at San Carlos for a service for the four REME Soldiers who lost their lives during the Falklands War. That night we stayed in a sheep shearing shed in Port San Carlos. The march began at 0600hrs, a few hours before sunrise. The sun rose over the barren landscape of East Falkland Island as we set a good pace and morale was high. The second half of the day was more challenging as it was off-road with the worst part being a river crossing. On the other hand, it also increased morale when a couple of us either almost fell in or actually fell in when jumping across the water. The ground was boggy and the going tough when we got to the last 5km of the day, a few of us began to tire. However, the end was in sight and we all grafted to complete 30km. We managed to get to the final destination and luckily the weather was on our side so some of us managed to get our heads down whilst waiting for the helicopter. Suddenly the weather changed and the snow came in quickly. Within seconds we were running to get shelter from the snow. It cleared just in time for the helicopter to pick us up for the 20-minute flight to Stanley where we stayed the night. The next morning, we were up at 0600hrs and driven to the same location we ended at on the first day. The difference compared to the day before was that the first 15km was off-road and the last 15km was on the main road (a muddy track). Throughout the morning we did multiple river crossings and one of them we couldn’t jump over, so we had to wade through it - Cpl Thornton somehow kept his feet dry. Once we managed the river crossings the rest of the off-road section was boggy, undulating ground that was more demanding on our bodies, so when we got to the 15km on road we were feeling more fatigued than the day before. However, we were all determined to get to the 30km mark for the end of the day. What made our bodies feel worse after the river crossings were the hills and many false peaks that started to slowly wear us down mentally and physically. Nonetheless, we kept on going as we were determined to complete the march. Once we made it

Cfn Davies gets the Haribo out for some morale

we had prayers and words from the Padre, as well as a oneminute silence and a short tune from a bagpiper. Once the service was complete it was time to work our way into Stanley. Marching down Moody Valley seemed to lift everyone’s spirits as we knew we were about to finish following the footsteps of 3 PARA nearly 40 years later. After an 8km walk back into Stanley we finished at the Liberation Memorial. Finally, all of us could relax and reminisce on what we had just achieved. Ex FALKLANDS MEMORIAL raised £2400 for charity, which was split between The REME Charity and The RAF Benevolent Fund.

Cfn Walsh looks out the window of the Sikorsky S-61 helicopter to the 30km point the support team transported us back to Hillside Camp where we spent another night and rested ready for the next day. On the third day the weather got worse but fortunately we only had to go 20km and on road as we were marching to the bottom of Mount Longdon, ready for the hike up and the service on the top the next day. This meant that morale was high for the final day, especially for the service, where we would not only remember Cfn Alexander Shaw but all who had lost their lives during the war. The wake-up on the Friday was a little bit later than the past few days and you could tell everyone enjoyed the short lie in. Once we had our morning ‘scoff’ we were once again back on the road ready for our climb to the top of Mount Longdon. This was the hardest graft as it was very steep, but the weather was amazing so that lifted our spirits. One of the best parts of the climb up Mount Longdon was seeing the remains of the positions left in their place from 1982, including rusting Mortars and Machine Gun mounts. When we got closer to the top, the weather once again had turned against us and we were hit with a lot of snow and gale force winds. We kept going until we reached the top, where luckily the weather held back for the service. During the service

At the top of Mount Longdon the weather descends into biting wind, hail and snow

The finish point – The Liberation Memorial in Stanley

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659 Sqn AAC LAD

SPIRIT BREAKER How best to celebrate the Corps’ birthday? With a mentally and physically demanding challenge over 24 hours. Event organiser - LCpl Burrows


Sgt Waterworth checking his new toy

Sgt Waterworth, aka Luigi, in action 32

n Thursday 1 October, on the birthday of the Corps, a group of twenty REME and AAC personnel from 659 Sqn, 1 Regt AAC began a gruelling 24-hour challenge. This challenge had each individual completing a distance of 65.9 miles, 659 press-ups, 659 situps and 659 squats. Despite this event being demanding both mentally and physically, everyone who participated gave a valiant effort. Unfortunately, due to injury, not everyone was able to meet the end goal; all but one managed to complete over 40 miles and eleven people managed to complete the entire challenge. Every single person who took part should be immensely proud of themselves with what they managed to achieve. The predicted weather forecast was not too pleasant when we checked the day before. However, the rain held off until nightfall. Everyone seemed to be in high spirits during the day; the sun was out and one of the support team members, Sgt Jack Waterworth, started making pizzas in his new pizza oven. In the early hours of the morning, when everyone was already fatigued; morale was not at its highest. Then the rain and strong winds picked up. There were not very many happy faces, but we kept powering through with the help of PTI LCpl Chris White and the Support Team trying to keep our spirits up. By early morning, people were finally starting to finish the 65 miles

Exercises under way‌

and 650 reps. The wind got worse and it was still raining but having the end be so close, you could see the excitement in everyone grow. At 0930hrs, the remaining participants began their last nine reps together, as a team. We then powered through, hobbling/walking/running the last 0.9 miles into camp where we were greeted by the rest of the Squadron, clapping us in. It was a surreal moment having finally completed everything; we could not quite believe what we had just accomplished. Adrenaline coursed through us and for a moment, personally, did not feel too bad. However, and I think everyone who took part would agree, when we got back to our beds, had a little rest and woke up again... the pain was unbearable. We had truly pushed our bodies to the limit over the past 24-hours and were all amazed with what we were able to achieve.

A Team Member’s Perspective Scribe: Cpl Bremble My recruitment into Spirit Breaker was an accident. I was in the wrong place during the wrong conversation and before I knew it, I was looking down the barrel of a 65.9 mile run accompanied by 659 press ups, sit ups and squats, all to be completed in a 24 hour period. Not my finest moment. I have never considered myself a natural runner, only ever once completing a 13 mile jog with a large amount of complaining thrown in; the idea of running the equivalent of two and a half marathons seemed insane. Training for an event such as this went beyond physical fitness and ventured into trying to focus yourself mentally for some incredibly tough moments. Plans were made and shared amongst the team and some deep strategical discussions were had about preparation, diet and technique. It was clear to see everyone taking part was focused on achieving what a lot of people thought impossible; if anything, that thought spurred us on more. Before I could blink, it was 1 October and I was stood outside my allocated tent, waiting for the start signal. The early stages of the event were easy going for everyone. Seeing the routes first hand and getting used to the slow, plodding pace that would see us through to the end. It was around the 30 to 40 mile mark I started to notice things were becoming more determination-driven than about fitness level. Both team and support members encouraged each other on throughout the entire day; this became invaluable during the back end of the event, when simply walking became an effort of will and having a break for too long ran the risk of seizing up. As the finish line closed in, it was easy to see the mix of excitement and relief going around. The final reps and 0.9 miles were completed as a squad and ended with the Squadron lining the road to clap us home. Personally, I found it a valuable experience that made me realise that I could push my limits further than I imagined.

Good form!

Summary Scribe: SSgt Johnson It still hasn’t quite sunk in what we all achieved. When I first signed up, I didn’t appreciate just how hard it would be. It took an immense amount of effort and I would like to thank everyone who made the event such a success, in particular LCpl Burrows for coming up with the idea. Together we managed to raise over £4,000 for The REME Charity and NHS Charities Together. The team is currently enjoying some much deserved rest before preparing for the next challenge - a relay from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

Still going…

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Ben Nevis

REME Association Scotland Branch

Walking the West Highland Way for Hope for Hasti In August, two members of the Scotland Branch of The REME Association walked the West Highland Way for charity. However, this wasn’t any normal walk as they carried their full kit, tent and sleeping bags for the duration of the trek over four days. Former Corps member, Tom Hardie, recounts his experience of the walk.


n Wednesday 5 August 2020, Col Lovatt and I set out to walk the West Highland Way unaided in less than four days for charity. The West Highland Way is a long-distance walk cross country, covering 96 miles from Milngavie, which is north of Glasgow, to Fort William in the Highlands. Our chosen charity was Hope for Hasti. Hasti is eight years old, the daughter of serving Officer Major Chris Brannigan, AGC. She is suffering from a rare genetic disorder known as Cornelia de Lang Syndrome (CdLS). CdLS is a degenerative disease, which presently has no treatment. Children with this condition normally lose all communication skills, go deaf, mute and have no quality of life by the time they are teenagers. The aim of the charity is to raise awareness of CdLS and to raise funds for research into gene therapy to perhaps start trials to treat this illness.

Col Lovatt taking a quick break 34

Tom and Col were all smiles on day 1

The first started at 0600hrs at the start point that we later found contained £100 for the in Milngavie. We were carrying full kit, tent, and charity. We aimed for 33 miles on this day, sleeping bags for the duration of the trek. Our walking up the Loch side, Inversnaid, Beinn bergans weighed approximately 15kg each. Glass, Crianlarich, Tyndrum and onto Bridge of With both of us being former Corps and a Orchy. young 48 and 50 years old, we set ourselves a The Loch side was relentless. Big climbs up speed of three miles per hour. Within three rock faces, drops back onto the Loch shores and miles of the start we came across our first climbing through fallen trees. This took up a lot obstacle. A river had burst its banks and the of time and we arrived at Beinn Glas campsite path was flooded with no way of walking at approximately 1530hrs. A quick water and around it. We had no choice but to wade juice stop and we carried on knowing we through. The water was knee deep and would needed to reach our goal for the night. Along come back to haunt us later in the trek. the way we re-evaluated our aim and decided We made good speed on the initial stages of to stop short at Tyndrum. My good friend Jon, the walk and we managed to arrive at the 12RAMC, was joining us from York so a quick call mile point in Drymen after 3 ½ hours. After a to him and we secured accommodation in quick stop we marched on up, what I can only Tyndrum for the night. We arrived there at say was, the longest hill I have ever climbed. 1930hrs having covered another 27 miles. Once up above the village, Loch Lomond came We had an early start at 0500hrs on the third into view and Conic Hill was looming above us. day, to catch up the seven miles we had lost the We walked over Conic Hill taking in the day before. We set off aiming for the Inveroran spectacular views over Loch Lomond and then Hotel, some 10 miles away, in the hope that we proceeded to walk down into Balmaha, which is could get breakfast there. On arrival, we were alongside the Loch. After another brief stop at greeted by Nadia, the owner, whom I had met Balmaha, we then marched on towards before on a previous charity trek. After what I Rowardennan, which was to be our overnight can only say was the best breakfast ever, Nadia Each bergan was approximately 15kg stop and some seven miles in front of us. This refused to take payment for the meal and part of the walk was horrendous; it was offered it as a donation to our cause. A alongside the Loch and we were climbing up hills, dropping into donation well received as it set us up for the day. gullies and then back up again. We reached Rowardennan at 1630hrs We crossed over Rannoch Moor quite quickly but on the descent after completing 27 miles on the first day feeling a little worse for down towards Glencoe, Col Lovell started to get pains in his feet. On wear with sore old legs. stopping at the Kingshouse Hotel, a check was made and his feet The next day we set off at 0830hrs after a good breakfast at the were not in a good condition. We discussed as to whether he should Rowardennan Hotel. The Manager of the hotel gave us an envelope continue or not but he was sure we should go on together.

Col at Inversnaid Falls

Plenty of climbing over the four days

The road to Glencoe

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Day 3: walking to Fort William After Kingshouse, the walk through Glencoe was amazing. The views were spectacular and the weather was good. We turned north and walked up the Devil’s Staircase, a climb up and over a mountain ridge, which was tough but we achieved it in good time. Once on top of the staircase the weather changed and it rained non-stop until we arrived into Kinlochleven for our overnight stop. Again, we had covered 27 miles. On the fourth and final day, we had a big problem. Col Lovell’s feet had ballooned to about three times their normal size. It was later found he had trench foot, which was brought on by our crossing through the flooded river on the first day. The decision was made to leave Col behind, so Jon and I carried on to finish the final 15 miles. We started at 0815hrs and commenced up the long steep climb out of Kinlochleven. In the meantime, Col was collected and brought forward to the finish point to meet us. Once we reached the top, the views were amazing and the walk to Fort William was fast and level. We found we had a fresh purpose and aimed to get to the finish line as soon as possible. We reached the finish at 1330hrs where we met Col and had the obligatory photo taken.

Col, Tom and Jon at the finish We raised a phenomenal £4080 with our fundraiser for Hasti. Col and Jon both deserve credit for helping with the planning and keeping morale high when the going got really tough. Our Justgiving page is still active and any donations would be gratefully received to help Hasti.



8 Trg Bn

Barefoot with a Llama In October 2020, six members of 8 Trg Bn walked eight miles carrying a toy Llama on a stretcher for charity. Cpl Nathan Persaud shares his experience of being barefoot on the road.


n Sunday 25 October 20, six members from Basra Coy, 8 Training Battalion REME walked eight tough miles carrying a stretcher, webbing and a daysack whilst completely barefoot. The journey taken was a fitting route from Hartfordbridge, south of Arborfield and finishing at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Camberley. This walk was completed as part of the Hope for Hasti Barefoot Soldier Relay Challenge, which is raising funds for research and awareness of the Conelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS). Maj Chris Brannigan is a serving Army Officer and his daughter Hasti has been diagnosed with this rare genetic disease. It is characterised by reduced growth, global developmental delay, feeding problems, speech difficulties, hearing problems and, in many cases, limb abnormalities. It is rare for children with CdLS to become adults who live independent lives and often require round the clock care for their entire lives. We completed leg 48 of 125, which represented an eight-mile stretch of the original 700-mile journey that Maj Brannigan walked barefoot in July and August 2020. His route was from Land’s End to Edinburgh, via 10 Downing Street. Leg 48 was eight miles long and we completed it without any foot tape or preparatory training in order to get the ‘full’ experience, much to our discomfort! Belt kit and daysacks, ranging between 1018kg per person, were worn whilst also carrying a stretcher with the Hope for Hasti mascot on-board, Obama the Llama (Hasti’s favourite cuddly-toy). The route took place over tarmac, paths, gravel, small stretches of grass and a lot of acorns and conker shells. Anyone who has stood on Lego or sharp shells at the beach can imagine the discomfort felt, except this was completed over eight miles and at an AFT pace! This left the team with numerous blisters, cuts and abrasions. Upon setting out from Hartfordbridge, the team were in high spirits and set a blistering AFT pace. We were quickly brought back down to earth, however, and realised that we had severely underestimated the strain that barefoot walking would put on our bodies. Blistered, bruised and bloodied, we took it in turns to rotate through the stretcher, using Obama the Llama as a constant reminder of what we were walking for. After what felt like a lifetime of hopping on gravel and grating on

tarmac, we finished at the War Memorial that stands outside of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Here we handed over to the team walking Leg 49 and hobbled into our vehicles with an obvious sigh of relief. In total we walked for two hours and 20 minutes, although it felt considerably longer! Two days later and there was still a considerable amount of hobbling going on. At the time of writing, the team had raised £1500; double their original challenge of £100 per person.

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102 Bn REME


Over Remembrance Weekend, personnel of 102 Bn REME came together for a weekend of Zoom calls featuring poppy backgrounds, virtual group runs, learning how to prep uniform and REME history. Scribe: Corporal Webb, 146 Div Sp Coy


n times different to what we are all used to, personnel of 102 Battalion REME took part in our first virtual Remembrance Weekend. “How is this possible?” I hear you ask; I also was sceptical at first, but it turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable weekend. As all our weekends start, it was social time and after the CO’s address, along with a MATT 6 lesson, it was time for a quiz. For those of you who have not used Zoom in any capacity, it can be a little tricky to navigate, trying to apply appropriate poppy backgrounds without turning your own image into a poppy field or inadvertently speaking over someone as you can’t see everyone’s screen at once. We have learnt as we have progressed and LCpl Vaccaro Sorting out those poppy backgrounds on Zoom

The CO’s address


delivered an outstanding quiz that challenged even the sharpest mind. As Saturday morning rolled in, it was time to challenge the troops on their conventional thoughts. After a leadership styles lesson with WO1 Gorbutt, we progressed into discussing the positive and negative leadership styles of some historical figures such as Hitler, the Queen and General Haig. I don’t think I’ve ever really thought about Adolf Hitler being a positive leader but he rallied an entire country behind him and retained their support through some very rough times; my mind was swayed to realise he actually did uphold some positive leadership styles. Although physical as it describes, during these times PT also requires an aspect of technology. The troops downloaded the Strava app to record their route and distance while running in their local area. Social distancing was at its best, with troops simultaneously running in Scunthorpe, Rotherham, Sheffield, and Chesterfield. After lunch, the troops were then split into their sections to research the history of the locations of the Army Reserve Centres and the names of the Victoria Cross recipients they are named after. 146 Company is split into two locations, 2 (Vehicle) Platoon in McKay VC Barracks in Rotherham, and 1 (General) Platoon in Budd VC Barracks in Scunthorpe. Having not been with the company long, I learnt a lot about the shared infantry and REME

Whitehouse and myself, had been to Rotherham a few weeks earlier during Tier 2 Lockdown to film the parade along with the Mayor of Rotherham and other VIPs and representatives. The service started in the church and after marching through the town, we arrived at the Cenotaph for the parade itself. The film went out live at 1015 hrs on Rotherham Council’s website, and members of 2 Platoon all logged on ready for the coinciding of the two-minute silence at 1100 hrs. We Will Remember Them. After lunch we were privileged to have a guest speaker, the Director of the REME Museum. Major (Retd) Rick Henderson led a wonderful presentation on the history of REME, from its formation, early days, original cap badge and “birth certificate”, to its involvement in the automobile manufacturing plants in Germany. If you haven’t seen the tongue in cheek “birth certificate”, I urge you to do a little research and have a look - it is rather amusing. WO1 Gorbutt then delivered a lesson on the Army Leadership Code, reinforcing the values and standards we uphold both in REME and as Soldiers in general. This acted as a summary of everything that had been covered throughout the rather packed weekend. The lessons were excellently presented and the entire weekend was very well organised and put together. These are difficult times, but with a little planning and a device capable of Zoom, we can all keep each other safe and still operate efficiently as the professional Soldiers that we are.

Social distancing meant PT became solo runs, recorded on Strava

history of the Company locations, and I’m sure our lesser experienced, although just as valued, members of the team did too. The presentation was really well presented by LCpl Morrisroe and Cpl Benson from Scunthorpe and LCpl Hargreaves and Cfn Tillison from Rotherham. Following a short break, we delved straight into a uniform prep lesson with LCpl Whitehouse, who provided us with techniques and tips to get our Number 2 dress looking immaculate ready for the Remembrance Parade. I am sure everyone learnt something - I learnt how to iron a skirt! Lastly, we unfortunately had to say goodbye to Sgt Brendon Snoddon, who is retiring after 22 years of Regular service and nine years Reserve service (which I’m sure you’ll agree is a phenomenal amount of time!) It was strange doing this sort of thing over Zoom as it does lose that personal touch, but I’m sure he’ll come back as a guest so we can dine him out properly. Sunday morning kicked off with a Tabatta PT session courtesy of SSgt Buckley. This included several exercises utilising the stairs or a step in our homes - I’m sure DOMS kicked in early the next week. It never occurs to anyone how strange this behaviour seems at home, as your family are peering through the conservatory doors wondering why you are doing decline press ups with your feet on the sofa arm. Next up was the Act of Remembrance itself. Thankfully, several members of 146 Coy and 2 Platoon, including Lt Branch, CSM Bunting, AQMS Hannigan, SSgt Sapsford, LCpl

At the memorial after filming the parade

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REME Association

SWD Branch on Remembrance Sunday Scribe: Philip C Rolfe


t was a very different Remembrance Sunday this year; no whiskey warmer before forming up for the march to St Clare’s Church, in Newton Aycliffe, and no drinks and ‘war stories’ after the march. However, we did have a curry lunch, courtesy of Capt Kev Yarker and 102 Battalion REME. Social distancing is so hard when you meet your past brothers

you’ve probably not seen since the last Remembrance Sunday, but it has to be done to stay safe. However, as we always say, we are soldiering on. Arte et Marte. Quite a few members did their own thing on the doorsteps paying their respects, dressed as for the parade. Modern technology in the digital age is certainly a big help at the moment, and a spin-off of Zoom meetings is a mid-monthly meeting just to keep in touch with each other and ensure we are all safe and keeping well and a friendly face to talk to. Covid-19 has altered everything regarding the ‘esprit de corps’ that we had. Our monthly meetings are now held on Zoom while the quarterly social meetings of the ‘old and bold’ with the Tyneside branch are on hold.

Zoom has enabled the branch to continue meeting during the pandemic 40

REME Association

Ashford Branch Mark Remembrance Sunday 2020 Scribe: Clare Gomme


shford Branch traditionally join 133 Rec Coy for the Remembrance Sunday Service at Lenham. This year, thanks to COVID-19, even plans for a simplified service were cancelled at the last minute. However, our three poppy wreaths had already been purchased and it was important that these were still laid. So, on an unusually sunny and mild day, my husband and I made our way to Lenham and parked in the square. As we arrived, we spotted our Chairman, Chris Vaughan and his wife Mandy and we watched, from a social distance, the brief parish service that took place outside Lenham Church. This started at 1030hrs and lasted 15 minutes, giving us time to walk up to Lenham Cemetery for 1100hrs. We were surprised to see a number of Ashford Branch members already gathered there, along with two pipers and a trumpet player. As one member said “I could have watched the Remembrance service on TV but we always come to Lenham and I just wanted to be here.” It seems, from the number who had gathered at the cemetery, that this was a common feeling. A REME Officer was in attendance to represent 133 Recovery Company and Chris Vaughan paraded the Branch Standard. There was no vicar to lead the service but it didn’t matter as those present just waited for the two-minute silence at 1100hrs.

As one member said “I could have watched the Remembrance service on TV but we always come to Lenham and I just wanted to be here.” It was interesting to observe that two cyclists and a couple of people out for a walk stood, on the road-side of the cemetery, to observe the proceedings. Michael Moore played the Last Post and Reveille and, as the wreaths were laid, Alex Burt and Joe Henry played their Bagpipes. The Officer from 133 Rec Coy led the laying of the wreaths. Branch members and 133 Rec Coy veterans Andy Dent, Georgia Smart and Kevin Weeden laid the wreaths on behalf of Ashford Branch, the Gough family and REME Association. It may have been a much shorter service than usual but, with minimal planning, it went very smoothly. Those taking part knew what to do and just got on and did it. The only disappointment was having to go straight home once the wreaths were laid, rather than enjoying the company of friends and comrades over a drink and lunch.

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The REME Fijian Community

Volunteering Behind the Scenes at the REME Museum In October 2020, REME Fijians took advantage of the slight easing in restrictions to volunteer at the REME Museum. Over two days, Serving and Retired personnel assisted behind the scenes. Three Soldiers share their experience of volunteering during a pandemic with people from across the REME Fijian Community. task till 1400hrs when everything was completed. Despite the COVID-19 regulations, the task was carried out with such rhythm that we never interrupted visitors visiting the Museum whilst the work was carried out. All in all, I believe the task given by the REME Museum management within the two days was carried out successfully by the REME Fijians. It shows that with the right motivation, things can still be achieved at an extraordinary level.

Scribe: Cfn Nawari The REME Fijian Community, which includes the newly-joined Phase 2, current Serving and former members of the Corps, came together on 16-17 October to volunteer at the Corps Museum in MOD Lyneham. It was a good time for us to meet as we had just celebrated Fiji’s 50th Independence Anniversary on 10 October 2020. Despite COVID-19, this was a great opportunity for us as Fijians living in the UK to come together and work in a safe environment, under strict measures. All tasks were achieved within the two days due to effective planning, team-work, discipline and adhering to COVID-19 guidelines. We also had a chance to meet the new lads who are doing their Phase 2 courses and former servicemen. I know this will be the first of many activities we undertake as the Fijian REME Community. I am looking forward to many more in the future as we interact with the Corps as a whole.

Scribe: Cfn Paula James REME Fijians, led by our present SSgt Tomasi Masiwini, gathered at the car park of the REME Museum to volunteer for some muchneeded work inside the museum. This was organised by Mr Josh Wacokecoke and managed by SSgt Cagilaba and SSgt Temo during the two-day meet. Serving Fijian members, including Phase 2 students, started the task at 1300hrs on Friday 16 October by erecting 29 shelves and repairing broken electronic cables. Former servicemen arrived on the morning of the Saturday to help continue the 42

Scribe: Cpl Matalau As REME Fijians, we have benefitted a lot from the REME Charity. This was our opportunity to give back through volunteering at the REME Museum. During this COVID-19 pandemic, where normalcy is uncertain, we still managed to gather together to offer our helping hand. We embarked on this volunteering mission with social distancing adhered to as the upmost importance, from wearing safety masks to working in groups of six. The REME Museum Director, Major (Retd) Rick Henderson, gave a quick brief to seniors in the groups before the message was relayed to us, the juniors. Major Henderson gave a brief on the different tasks that we had to accomplish. As the volunteering work was over a Friday and Saturday, we were divided into family groups for the twoday period. The brief was to construct all the shelves on Friday and then Saturday to secure the shelves to the walls. We were provided tools and refreshment to aid the job at hand. This volunteering work not only assisted the Museum but also gathered together part of the REME Family whilst social distancing rules were adhered to. It is also the coming together of the younger REME guys with the older and wiser REME generation; exchanging stories and information, which we all benefitted from.

Where Are They Now?

Former REME Armourer commended for outstanding service at the Warminster Weapons Collection


former REME Sergeant has become the first civilian to receive a Commandant’s Commendation for his exceptional work with the Small Arms School Corps (SASC) at Warminster Garrison. Des Langford, who is employed by Aspire Defence Services Limited (ADSL), served 22 years in the Corps, rising to the rank of Sergeant, Class One Armourer. He completed tours of Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and Kosovo, with postings to, among others, The King’s Regiment, Welsh Guards and 9th/12th Lancers. Following his retirement from the Army in 2011, Des returned to North Wales, where he worked as a train driver on the Snowden Railway. “The scenery was beautiful, but it was hard work and long hours,” Des recalls and, after the sad and sudden loss of his wife Wendy, he decided to relocate to Wiltshire. Des was delighted when an old Army mate got in touch to tell him about a job opportunity with Aspire Defence at the Warminster Garrison Armourers Shop. He joined ADSL in 2013, in a role that combines his personal enthusiasm and professionalism with the skills and knowledge gained in REME. A typical day involves inspecting and repairing a myriad of weapons in the Armourers’

Des Langford while deployed in Afghanistan 2010 The Commandant’s Commendation was awarded to Des in July 2020

Workshop. The job is also something of a ‘homecoming’: Des is based in a building at Waterloo Lines, just across the road from where he once served with Battlegroup LAD. In addition to his Armoury duties, Des quickly became a Friend of the SASC Weapons Collection Trust, acting as their in-house subject matter expert. He delivers training courses of his own design to the Field Army and other agencies, teaching personnel to identify a variety of weapons to enhance their knowledge and support operational capability. In recognition of his talent and commitment, Des recently received an SASC Commandant’s Commendation for Meritorious Service - the first civilian to receive this accolade. “I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved here,” says Des, who has been a weapons enthusiast since childhood and is a member of a local gun club. “One of the things I missed as a Sergeant in REME was being ‘hands-on’ with weapons. I’m very passionate about my work and find it really interesting. I just like playing with guns!” Des now lives in Yeovil with his wife Stephanie. Between them they have two sons, a daughter and three grandsons.

Des at the SASC Weapons Collection, Warminster Garrison

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Officer Assignments Major RIX J Captain MARTIN BD SANDOE L SWINGLER E


26 FEB 2021

2IC 8 PARA Coy REME 2IC 2 Coy 5 FS Bn REME Pl Comd 4 Pl 72 Coy 7 Avn Sp Bn REME

01 FEB 2021 01 FEB 2021 28 FEB 2021

Extracts from the London Gazette 02 December REGULAR ARMY Intermediate Regular Commissions (Late Entry) Warrant Officer Class 1 Adam Thomas CAMPBELL 25060324 to be Captain 7 September 2020 Warrant Officer Class 1 Jon-Marc FITCH 25080472 to be Captain 7 September 2020 Warrant Officer Class 2 Kelera Raramadina TIKO W1042567 to be Captain 7 September 2020

09 December REGULAR ARMY Short Service Commissions Lieutenant E. J. BAKER 30201408 to be Captain 12 August 2020 Lieutenant J. CAPEL-SHYU 30189551 to be Captain 12 August 2020 Lieutenant J. A. CHAPMAN 30180020 to be Captain 12 August 2020

Be recognised for your professionalism Professional registration provides recognition of your military skills and experience and may mean you are eligible for up to £3,000 once achieved*. We are licensed by the Engineering Council to award CEng, IEng and EngTech. With IET membership discounts available for technicians and annual fee reimbursement by the MOD, there is no better time to apply.

Become professionally registered with the IET. How to apply If you’re currently serving in the Armed Forces, you could be eligible to apply by Special Registration Agreement, which maps your role to professional registration requirements and makes the process quicker and easier.

To find out more…

- text IETMOD and your full name to 62277** - call +44(0)1438 767648 or email *More information can be found by asking your Trade or Branch Sponsor about the Engineering Professional Registration Award (EPRA). © Crown copyright 2019 **Free text line, no charges apply The Institution of Engineering and Technology is registered as a Charity in England and Wales (No. 211014) and Scotland (No. SC038698). The Institution of Engineering and Technology, Michael Faraday House, Six Hills Way, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, SG1 2AY, United Kingdom.


Lieutenant L. A. COX 30201432 to be Captain 12 August 2020 Lieutenant M. J. EDWARDS 30137368 to be Captain 12 August 2020 Lieutenant D. W. HORSBURGH 30201448 to be Captain 12 August 2020 Lieutenant K. J. JUTSUM 30201468 to be Captain 12 August 2020 Lieutenant L. R. G. M. MOTTLEY 30201506 to be Captain 12 August 2020 Lieutenant J. K. SHENFIELD 30201477 to be Captain 12 August 2020 Lieutenant N. J. WEAVER 30261802 to be Captain 12 August 2020 Second Lieutenant S. C. SAUNDERS 30244695 to be Lieutenant 10 August 2020 ARMY RESERVE Mr J. A. CAMPBELL relinquishes the appointment of Honorary Colonel 102 Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Army Reserve and his commission in Her Majesty’s Land Forces 10 December 2020 tenure expired.



Death Notices

Former LCpl Ken Trott It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of former LCpl Ken Trott on 30 October 2020 aged 83. His funeral service took p l a c e o n M o n d ay 2 3 N o ve m b e r 2 0 2 0 a t P a r d o n Wo o d Crematorium, Harlow. Ken was born 18 May 1937, in Stepney. He was conscripted into the Regular Army on 4 April 1958, serving until his discharge on the 10 April 1960. He was employed for some considerable time with 8 Infantry Workshop REME in Cyprus on vehicle body and miscellaneous equipment, which he carried out very efficiently. In between workshop duties, he carried out local internal security patrols and guard duties, sometimes at the Governor’s residence, which came within the heavily engaged remit of his unit. A very keen sportsman, Ken represented his unit in both football and cricket where, together with his team mates, he excelled, gaining positive results against opposition such as the local Cypriot teams and the larger Army Brigade teams. Those results helped him formulate an ethos that helped him enjoy the ‘ups and downs’ of his beloved West Ham Football Club. Due to the current pandemic, a celebration of his life will now take place close to Ken’s birthday in May 2021. Condolences go to his widow Patricia, children Darryl and Martin, their wives, Julie and Lucy, and his grandchildren, Frankie, Finlay, Isabel and Sophie.

Did You Know George Menzies? Former Sgt George Menzies passed away in December 2020. His niece, Fiona Menzies, is collecting pictures, stories and memories about his 18 years service in the Corps. If you would like to share your memories of George with his family, please contact Fiona via email.

MENZIES – Former Sgt George Donaldson Menzies passed away December 2020 aged 60. Dates of service 1976-1994. PAINE – Brig (Retd) Tom Paine passed away 15 December 2020 aged 66. Dates of service 1973-2009. TROTT – Former LCpl Ken Trott passed away 30 October 2020 aged 83. Dates of service 1958-1960.

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 

The REME Charity The Trustees of The REME Charity acknowledge with sincere thanks the donations received during the month of DECEMBER 2020. 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 Mount Everest Challenge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£1,500.00 In memory of Sgt Major Herbert Gurnham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£300.00 Exmoor Ultra Marathon M Van-Santen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£241.78 2 Bn ‘Name the Elf’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£155.00 In memory of Margaret Stacey - Arborfield Branch . . . . . . .£100.00 RL Camidge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£100.00 In memory of Roy Burrows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£100.00 Paypal Giving Fund . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£87.00 In Memory of Joan Davies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£75.00 Ian Tilson, Poppy Pins sold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£50.00 John and Rosemary Edwards, Lockdown 2 Cribbage Tournament . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£20.00 CAFGYE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£5.00 Payroll Giving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£1.94 Total Donations (Dec) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£2,735.72 Total £’s paid in Grants (Dec) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£9,676.52 No. Grants (Dec) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Average Grant (Dec) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£420.71

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.

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The REME Charity is here for both veterans and serving personnel in times of hardship or need. Contact via SSAFA ( 0800 731 4880 or The Royal British Legion ( 0808 802 8080  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

Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 45

The Screwjack Letters – No. 14 Exams, an AWOL Soldier, and a Four-Speed Gearbox


had passed the first-year exams in mathematics, materials and structures, mechanics of machines, mechanics of fluids, engineering drawing, applied heat and applied electricity. However, I was one of the seven REME Lieutenants who failed the second-year degree exams at Shrivenham. Another just disappeared to become a Jehovah’s Witness. The examining board were lecturers at London University and these exams were set by a completely new board. We had been accustomed to papers by the earlier board who seemed to have a different take on the syllabus. Doubtless students in London had the advantage of being taught by the new board. I decided not to retake year two, but try to find another route to Chartered Engineer. Those REME ex-Welbeck who had failed year two were offered transfers to the RAOC. For me the only question was: Did I want, if only in a modest way, to walk in the footsteps of the great engineers like Stevenson, Watt, Brunel, Whittle, Mitchell, Camm, Arkwright, Trevethick and others, or did I want to follow the great storekeepers, like, err, Tesco or Waitrose ? An incentive for the RAOC, we heard, was that promotion to Lieutenant Colonel was almost guaranteed. This was because all the big RAOC store sheds were each under the command of a Lieutenant Colonel. “Heads of Sheds” as they were known. The other six all opted to transfer to RAOC. I was the only one who wanted to stay in REME. To continue, I had to take a posting and study in my spare time. This meant that I had no need to attend lectures and could study at home, wearing anything. It was ideal for me. The Corps had just lost seven young Officers at a stroke and I got the impression that my persistence was appreciated somewhere in high places. I was posted to SEME Bordon as Assistant Adjutant, sharing an office with Captain Sam Rae, the Adjutant. The CO was Colonel Eric Coultard, who had once been a POW with the Japanese in the war. F1 Driver and pundit David Coultard’s kinship was quite evident from his facial features. Most of the SEME trainees were National Servicemen and a few went AWOL. A frequent offender was a Private Ratcliffe, who deserted and on capture he escaped again. He was arrested again and was held in the SEME Guardroom. He was allowed into the exercise yard each day, but one day he managed to get out over the high wall. The Provost Sergeant, Sergeant Burchell, was most embarrassed. By now, Sam and I had a certain sympathy for Ratcliffe and, to be honest, I hoped he would not be found again. (All that paperwork!) Some weeks later, his former Company Commander, Major Gaye, received a postcard from Ratcliffe, from South America, apologising for all the trouble he had caused. Major

Gaye had often talked to Ratcliffe like a kindly uncle, but to no avail. Gaye told us that Ratcliffe had a brother in the Merchant Navy and we guessed he had posted the card. We never saw Ratcliffe again. I was now studying for the IMechE exams in the evenings. I married Gill, a nurse in Yeovil Hospital. I was 25 and could now claim the few pounds a week that amounted to a marriage allowance. Officers under the age of 25 were not expected to marry and those who did had to manage without the allowance. They called it “living in sin”. My nights of party and pub - going were now severely curtailed and I began to study more seriously. We had noticed that those on our course at Shrivenham who were married all passed their exams. It was a very cold winter and Gill persuaded me to sell my beloved MG which had no heater or side-screens. It seems irrational but I was in tears about it that night. Later my wife admitted that she had made a mistake. A rare event in matrimony, I believe. In Motor Sport magazine I soon found a red 1954 AustinHealey 100/4 for sale for only £175 in a garage in Bungay in Suffolk and I agreed to buy it on the phone. I took a train to Beccles and walked the five miles to Bungay. The Healey was a beautiful-looking streamlined car with the Austin Atlantic 2.6 litre engine. The only fault was a bald rear tyre. The garage man said that it had a “moss” gearbox. I didn’t want to appear ignorant, so I nodded wisely. Maybe in Suffolk they added moss to gearboxes to mask the sounds of wear? Sawdust was a more usual additive, of course. I later discovered that Stirling Moss had insisted they should fit the four-speed gearbox. I think the Austin Atlantic car usually had a three-speed box .Maybe those were automatics for the USA. The M1 had just been opened and I drove home down it. About half way I found a tiny switch on the gear knob. I tried it and got a thump in the back as the overdrive woke up. I moved into the outside lane. Great stuff.

Arborfield Old Boys Association (AOBA)

Reuniting the 71-ers The year 2021 is the 50th Anniversary of those former REME Apprentices who joined the Corps at Arborfield in 1971. Maj (Retd) Jim Chadwick is trying to contact former apprentices who joined the Corps in 1971, with the view to meeting up at the annual AOBA Reunion at the National Arboretum this year (COVID-19 permitting). If you are one of those Apprentices, or you know one of the 71 ‘ers’, please contact: Major (Retd) Jim Chadwick 07743 484031


Corps Diary Dates 2021 All events listed are subject to Covid-19 restrictions



MARCH 2021

JUNE 2021


J U LY 2 0 2 1

REME Reserves Management Board, Lyneham

3 27

Corps Dinner Night

REME Institution Corps Ball

Broxhead Club Dinner, Lyneham


APRIL 2021 22

Master General’s Conference


Corps Spring Guest Night


REME Reunion


Corps Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess Summer Dinner Night


M AY 2 0 2 1 6-7

Young Officers’ Conference and Dinner


Corps Dinner Night

OCTOBER 2021 21


Corps Autumn Guest Night


Corps Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess Summer Dinner Night Thursday 26 August 2021

Further information will be released in the next issue of the Craftsman Magazine and via email Any questions or queries should be directed at WO2 Iain Campbell

The memorial in Newton Aycliffe, where the SWD Branch of the REME Association laid a wreath on Remembrance Sunday. Read more on page 40.