Craftsman Magazine - June 2021

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Magazine of the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

June 2021


in Numbers


12-80 Phase 2 training can take

personnel serving in RCEME, along with WO2 Gething, ran the REME Virtual 10k during Ex MAPLE RESOLVE


was donated to The REME Charity in April

During the pandemic, the Inspectorate of Engineer Resources conducted over

150 equipment inspections worldwide


weeks, depending on each trade’s requirements

REME Officer is taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2021

449.08 The average REME Charity grant in April was

Former WO1 Johnny Worrall was involved with The Craftsman Magazine for

28 years

2 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

Corps Formation: 1 October 1942 Corps Motto: Arte et Marte Corps Patron Saint: St Eligius (Celebrated 1st Sunday in December)

Contents Volume 77 No. 6


Guest Editorial: Col Paul Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 The REME Mental Health Strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 REME Engineering Awards 2021 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Corps News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Excellence in REME . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Developing our Future Leaders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Stuck in the Mud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Top Gear comes to Lyneham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 Korea: A Minefield, Explosions and the End . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38

HRH THE PRINCE PHILIP’S MEMORIAL EDITION “wit, grit, and irreverence”: HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh . . . . . . . . . . . .20 What is the role of an Equerry? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 A Short History of HRH The Prince Philip’s time as Colonel-in-Chief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24

OPERATIONS AND EXERCISES Op Moonshot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

REGULARS Tales of Frank Reynolds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 Obituaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Birthdays; Death Notices; The REME Charity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Screwjack Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 The Corps Diary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47

Editor: Katy Walton + Corporate Communications Officer RHQ REME, The Prince Philip Barracks, Lyneham, CHIPPENHAM, SN15 4XX  (preferred method)  (for changes of address) ( Mil: 95481 4529 Civ: 01249 894529 SUBMITTING ARTICLES TEXT: should be submitted in MS Word and name saved as per the article. No formatting, columns, power point etc. Articles to be cleared by CO/OC/EME or appropriate REME CoC, or nominated substitute and should be submitted as soon as possible. PHOTOGRAPHS: MUST be submitted separately, in jpeg format and be at least 500kb preferably 1mb or more. Only photos over 3mb can be considered for the front/back covers and please remember captions. FILESHARE: websites, such as dropbox are ideal for submitting larger files. EMAIL: The ONLY email address which should be used is: 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. Advertising All communications regarding commercial advertising rates should be made direct to the Editor.

Front Cover HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Colonel-in-Chief of the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. In memory of his half-century as the Colonel-in-Chief, pages 1930 form a special memorial edition looking at his role and his impact on REME.

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.

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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.

Exchange Programme LONG LOOK – Canada WO2 Gething is currently serving in an exchange post with the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RCEME) in Canada as part of Exchange Programme LONG LOOK. He is attached to Ancil Pl, Maintenance Coy, 1 Service Battalion at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Edmonton. They are currently deployed on Ex AGILE RAM 1 and 2, and Ex MAPLE RESOLVE, supporting 1 Canadian Mechanised Bridge Group, part of 3rd (Canadian) Division in CFB Wainwright. Though there are 12 exchange positions in total on Ex LONG LOOK of various capbadges, there is only one REME position. The reciprocal visit is planned for September – November 2021 where a RCEME Soldier from 1 Svc Bn will join WO2 Gething at 1 R Welsh LAD in Tidworth as the LAD trains and supports 1 R Welsh to deploy on Op CABRIT in Mar 22.

Key: RHQ REME Operations Exercises Other


IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII REME Virtual 10K – Worldwide Over 1400 serving soldiers, veterans and family members took part in the REME Virtual 10K in support of ‘Lifting The Decks’; our new Mental Health Plan and the REME Charity. Alongside those who took part in the UK, members of the REME Family in 14 countries took part, including Canada, Estonia and Cyprus. The event was a huge success with a phenomenal reach, bringing the REME family together. Pictured from top to bottom: Lawerence Jeffery and his dog REME in Ontario, Canada; SSgt Dan Williams on Ex Spring Storm with 661 LAD in Estonia; LCpl Katie Drelaud from WSBA LAD in Episkopi, Cyprus.

Op Newcombe – Mali The Long Range Reconnaissance Group is the UK’s commitment to the UN Mission in Mali, looking to bring peace and security in the region. The 1+25 strong LAD is deployed in support of the Task Group and is formed around a core of Light Dragoons and 2 Royal Anglian LADs, supplemented by specialist technicians to support EOD, MUAS and MDSS. The LAD is required to support a wide ranging fleet, which includes some theatre specific mobility upgrades, from HMTV and FHD through to MRW and MUAS. The Task Group deploys up to 28 days at a time, covering over 4000km in the six month period, providing the LAD with unique and complex engineering challenges whilst deployed at reach without 2nd line support, all of which have been met head on to ensure that the Task Group remained combat effective throughout.

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!

Guest Editorial

Colonel Paul Johnson, Commander Equipment Support, 1st (United Kingdom) Division “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Ingenuity in Adversity: The Future of Equipment Support


eing Commander Equipment Support is pretty good. For sure, there are some nervous moments when senior officers are asking difficult questions about the Division’s equipment availability. But I am fortunate to be supported by 1,500 engineers who give me the confidence that our kit is well looked after. Much of the time this confidence is instinctive, from meeting our people face-to-face on visits, and understanding their professionalism and dedication. But sometimes it comes from letters from Commanding Officers or Generals, singing the praises of our people at first and second line. Of course, our engineering ability features large, but the Division’s REME personnel also impress with their soldiering skills, ingenuity, cheerfulness, leadership and general ‘can do’ attitude. It is these skills we offer, even under trying circumstances, which I want to focus on.

Cpl O’Toole supports the national effort in COVID defence


Two major events are happening as I pen this in April, causing me to reflect on the Corps’ abilities. The first is the impending funeral of our Colonel-in-Chief, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. Others will write about his long association with the Corps, but his broader attitude to engineering is worth considering. Instrumental in the formation of the Royal Academy of Engineering, he famously said that, “everything that wasn’t invented by God is invented by an engineer”. He also commented on the demands on global resources, “...somehow or other that balance, to try and fit as many people onto this globe as

5 Battalion deliver power pack repair from their new home in Lyneham

comfortably as possible without doing too much damage. I think ultimately it’s going to be engineers that decide that”. This spirit of innovation is alive in the Division, from applying technology in 5 Battalion’s Centre of Excellence to our Environmental Sustainability initiative, Project GREEN RHINO, being championed by the ES Branch. That same ingenuity has been shown by our people throughout the pandemic, from inspecting and repairing medical equipment for the NHS, to designing and building mobile laboratories, or even using their Urdu language skills during community testing.

“…we should aim to live up to the standards that Prince Philip set for us as engineers”. The second event is the Army’s 36 Engr Regt Wksp AQMS and Tiff after catching eggs in the CO’s Technical Challenge transformation plans, known as Future Soldier. The media has inevitably focussed on the headlineShinseki stated, “If you dislike change, you’re going to dislike grabbing parts, such as the new Ranger Regiment and the irrelevance even more”, but in this case, Winston Churchill put it increase in other special capabilities. Some mention was made of better, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an forming Combat Service Support battalions, but the implications optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”. We have proved for REME were unclear. Work on the supporting detail started in time and again, on the battlefield and in barracks, that our earnest in mid-April and this will be considered by the Army’s people thrive despite the difficulties they face, so we should be senior leadership in the summer. From the Division’s perspective, optimistic about the opportunities that Future Soldier holds for we have people from ES Branch intimately involved, so are us. And in doing so, we should aim to live up to the standards confident that our ideas will be represented, and we will seek to that Prince Philip set for us as engineers. exploit the opportunities the restructuring offers. General Eric Arte et Marte

Sgt Turner, now an assistant discharge co-ordinator, briefs the Duty Doctor

Brunei jungle recovery using TIRFOR winches

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Maintain, Inspect, Repair and Recover: The REME Mental Health Strategy Scribe: WO1 (CASM) Daniel McNeill Just last year alone, more REME personnel and veterans died by their own hand on British soil than lost their lives during 14 years of our involvement in the Afghanistan conflict. As I reflect on my time as Colonel REME, our main focus must be on the mental resilience of all members of our REME Family. Most cases of illness and anxiety across the Corps today are no longer connected to deployment issues or combat stress; we must accept that stress is part of our everyday lives. The REME Mental Health Plan “Lifting the Decks” seeks to provide a framework of training and support, that works alongside the Army’s OPSMART, to target the internal battles with depression, anxiety, stress and suicide; battles that are, too often, fought and lost alone. Each member of the REME Family matters and plays a vital role as we evolve and adapt to improve our awareness. Talk to each other, help each other, and support the REME Mental Health Plan.

Col Andy Rogers ADC


fter 10 months in post, I can say that the amount of Mental Health (MH) support the team has leant into is a concern. Most notably, but not exclusively, amongst our junior soldier cohort and veterans. In December 2020, the Corps Colonel asked me to look at how the Corps could better support the Optimising Performance via Stress Management And Resilience Training (OPSMART) programme and deliver a supporting Mental Health plan. Our ‘ten-point plan’ was born from real-time feedback when every single feed into the RHQ Command Group indicated a rise in susceptibility to MH problems during COVID. It is worth observing that levels of MH issues across the Army are actually somewhat comparable to

wider UK society for any doubters. 1 in 8 of our people in 2020 presented themselves to a MH professional. 1 in 4 will likely suffer from poor MH during their lifetime. For me, this is a sobering combat indicator. Speaking to some of those who have shared their own experiences with me, it’s clear that the stigma surrounding a MH issue has undoubtedly prevented them in the past from coming forward. The intent of our ‘ten-point plan’ is to support the Army’s OPSMART programme whilst bolstering the impact across the Corps. This will be achieved through focused Corps communications, unit MH Champions, an annual MH & Wellbeing Conference, additional funding streams, respite programmes, ‘Healthy Body = Healthy Mind’ promotions, lived experience articles and more. The REME Mental Health Plan has been titled ‘Lifting the Decks’, an analogy that I think our REME family can relate to. Simply put, it links the need to get inside the decks of a vehicle to the need to get inside our own heads. The correlation is the need to get to the root cause of a problem to solve it. Aimed at all Regular and Reserve REME personnel, it takes the Battlefield Maintenance Functions familiar to us all to re-enforce the stratagem. The tenets of Maintain, Inspect, Repair and Recover will be used to highlight that our troops need to work on maintaining good MH, inspect themselves and their colleagues and - if required - get the help they need to repair and recover. If ‘Lifting the Decks’ is our strapline, the four tenets will become our campaign model. If you are in a Command position and reading this, I would implore you to look at the Mental Health plan on the RHQ REME SharePoint page. There might just be something that could help you or your team. The link to our homepage was sent to every REME Commanding Officer, OC Workshop, Organisation Head, RSM, ASM and SSM on 10 May 21. I write this article just days after visiting the family of a former REME Soldier who chose to take his own life. A member of our REME family thought that he had nowhere to turn. Mental Health is a real issue that we need to embrace. Let’s get after this now, as a team.



You may not be aware that poor sleep directly relates to worrying and in turn worrying results in poor sleep. Try to set aside a reasonable time for your mind to rest before bed; you will feel refreshed after a full night sleep.

Your friends are some of the most important people in your life. We are social beings and helping out friends can be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do! It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed with stress and negative thoughts in life and work, ask for help from friends & family, colleagues, or line managers. We are all one team!

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REME Engineering Awards 2021


ow in its nineteenth year, the REME Engineering Awards (as detailed in Corps Instruction H3) exist to ENGINEERING underline the importance of engineering in REME Field Force units and to support the AWARDS Corps’ strategy in the improvement of the 2021 engineering standards within REME. The Engineering Awards have returned in 2021 with an increase in nominations, which were submitted across the eight categories, giving this year’s Awards’ judging panel a more challenging task in the selection of winners. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing COVID19 crisis, the annual Engineering Awards lunch at MOD Lyneham was cancelled for the second year. Instead, the winners and runners up were informed via the Chain of Command on Wednesday 28 April 2021. The wider Corps and REME Family were able to share in congratulating the winners with a virtual ceremony via social media. Congratulations go to the REME Engineering Awards 2021 Winners and Runners Up, listed below. The Institution of Engineering and Technology Award for the Best First Line Unit in the Corps Winner MAB 2 LAD Runners-Up (2nd) 22 Engr LAD, (3rd) QRH LAD The Worshipful Company of Turners Trophy for the best REME Battalion Winner 4 Bn REME Runners-Up (2nd) 5 Bn REME, (3rd) 7 Bn REME

The Lockheed Martin Operational Engineering Award for the best REME Officer (Below Lt Col) Winner Maj Britton Runners-Up (2nd) Capt Maling, (3rd) Capt McKenna The Institute of Mechanical Engineers Award for the Best REME WO/SNCO Winner SSgt Davies Runners-Up (2nd) WO2 Williams, (3rd) WO2 Adamson

The Gardiner Trophy for the best REME Reserve Battalion Winner 103 Bn REME Runners-Up 101 Bn REME

The Society of Operational Engineers Award for the best REME Cfn/JNCO Winner Cfn Thompson Runners-Up (2nd) Cpl Bailey, (3rd) Cfn Coupland

The Blackford Trophy for the best REME Reserve Sub-unit Winner 159 Coy Runners-Up (2nd) 160 Coy, (3rd) 146 Coy

The REME Engineering Team Award Winner 659 Sqn LAD Runners-Up (2nd) 12 CS Coy, (3rd) 6 Bn/HCR LAD

Awards Alert! We will outline the winners in more detail in future magazines.

Corps News

Goodbye and Thank You Johnny The Craftsman Magazine wished former WO1 and former Deputy Editor Johnny Worrall a fond farewell as he stepped down from his role as proof reader in April. Taking on the role is Col (Retd) Kevin Hearty, who has just completed his final tour as Col REME Reserves.


t was 2016 when former WO1 Johnny Worrall received a phone call from the Corps Secretary, Lt Col (Retd) Mike Tizard. The reason? The Craftsman Magazine was in need of someone to proofread articles for a year or so. That was five years ago and Johnny’s help has been much, much more than just the original year. He has worked with four different Editors over the five years; providing much needed continuity as well as an eye for military and engineering detail. Alongside this work, Johnny has also contributed to the magazine through his ‘Looking Back’ column – reflections on his career in REME and highlights from previous editions in the run up to the 75th anniversary this year – and contributions on behalf of the Arborfield Branch of the REME Association. It is little wonder that his leaving present of an engraved glass was engraved with ‘The Million Article Man’ – according to Lt Col (Retd) Mike Tizard, Johnny must have ‘proof read’ thousands of articles over the years. Prior to being The Craftsman Magazine’s proof reader, Johnny


worked on the magazine team from 1992 until 2015, when RHQ moved from Arborfield to Lyneham. All that after a full career as a REME Soldier. It could well be argued that his blood runs blue, yellow and red. Thank you Johnny for your dedication and friendship. We hope that the next season provides you a chance to relax and find a hobby after all those demanding editors! Johnny has now handed over the role of proof reader to Col (Retd) Kevin Hearty, who has just finished his final tour as Col REME Reserves.

New Editor in the hot seat June’s edition also marks Katy Walton’s last edition as the Editor of The Craftsman Magazine. She is moving on to new pastures after two years in the role; turning her skills towards digital and social media. Katy will be succeeded by Capt Christopher Burgess, who is taking on the role while a full-time Editor is recruited.


Op MOONSHOT As part of the continuing effort against COVID-19, in November 2020 REME personnel from 32 Engineer Regiment deployed to Liverpool as part of local mass testing. OC LAD: Capt M Trevarthen ASM: WO1 (ASM) P Fenwick Scribe: Cpl Spence


midst the coronavirus pandemic, Liverpool quickly became known as the city that had a rapidly increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases in comparison to the wider UK. With the statistics soaring, the Government deployed military personnel to work in conjunction with Liverpool and Merseyside’s local councils and supporting professionals. The construction and roll out of several test sites using rapid 30-minute lateral flow tests was a process being trialled to assist in the track, trace and control of the virus. This was key in gathering vital data for onwards analysis and subsequent implementation. Conceptually, this would require the local population, in mass, to undertake lateral flow tests to gauge asymptomatic or symptomatic results, supporting a reduction of positive cases in the area. On 5 November 2020, the Regiment deployed two Squadrons, 26 and 37 Sqn respectively, in support of Op MOONSHOT. Due to layered readiness commitments, the LAD supported the commitment under OPCON of 39 Engineer Regiment. Augmenting 37 Sqn and armed with motivation and determination, LAD personnel deployed from Marne Bks, Catterick and headed for their new Liverpool accommodation, Pontins! Shortly after arrival and on completion of some rapid training serials, we quickly began constructing portable test centres across the city. Applying sound engineering logic to the construction, the multiple test centres were

built on time every time. Any residual time prior to testing allowed us to offer some tips and tricks to our RE peers, adding real opportunity to grow as an inclusive team whilst increasing production. Once the construction of the test centres was completed, we were placed in localised teams and began mass testing. Our team was tasked with testing schools. In teams of sixteen, team members were assigned to roles ranging from; registering pupils for the test, escorting pupils to and from the test centre, recording the results and aiding the pupils in administering the tests through detailed explanation of the process. The application of Lean naturally found its way into our daily routine! Impressively, we completed an average of two hundred tests a day. We had four schools in total to test, averaging around six hundred pupils each. Thanks to the combined efforts of the Armed Forces and Liverpool and Merseyside Councils, over ten thousand tests a day were being completed. In less than four weeks Liverpool and Merseyside went from one of the worst infection rates in the country to being registered as a Tier Two area. The integration of REME Soldiers within 37 Squadron created strong team cohesion and will no-doubt set us up for success in-barracks. We have learned new skills, developed multi-cap badged relations and added value towards a COVID-19 resolution.

Team members at a local school Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 11

Excellence in REME

Brigadier Lizzie Faithfull-Davies CBE and Brigadier Phil Prosser CBE In the New Year’s Honours for 2021, Brigadiers Lizzie Faithfull-Davies and Phil Prosser both received a CBE for their work on Op RESCRIPT. As two sides of the same coin, leading the military contribution in the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS respectively, they share with us their lessons from a year no one expected. The eternal challenge for us is keeping the kit in the fight; that’s fundamental to warfighting and I have lived and breathed that for the last 2 years as Commander 101 Logistic Brigade, enabling the manoeuvre of the warfighting Division. It’s an exciting time for the Corps; with new equipment entering service, there are a number of technological opportunities where we need to invest. One area is taking the lead on developing the diagnostics that come with that equipment in order to exploit data to improve reliability and keep it in the fight for longer. And that’s not just for VMs and Armourers; there are huge opportunities for wider trade groups, like Technicians getting more involved in analytics and at the forefront of harnessing technology with Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. Brig Lizzie: From the moment I first met REME on my familiarisation

Brig Phil Prosser CBE

What made you join the Army? Brig Phil: Overall, it was a search for adventure. But I also chose REME for a number of other reasons. First, the variety and the opportunity to serve anywhere, especially with airborne forces and tanks. Second was the chance to progress my education and study for an in-service degree. Finally and most importantly, it was about the people. I probably didn’t realise it at the time but REME is a family. We are a collection of like-minded people who want and choose to be together, bound by our outlook on life as clear eyed pragmatists, united through our attitude of solving problems and achieving mission success. We are down to earth, intelligent and driven towards success. The Corps is also full of fun and some of the best times of my life have been spent in unit life, surrounded by my Corps family celebrating the success of our most recent shared endeavour. Brig Lizzie: My maths teacher! I was lucky enough to have a superb maths teacher at college; he understood that I loved maths and the sciences and suggested engineering was a practical way to use these subjects. As a retired Army officer himself, he could also relate to my passion for sport and the outdoors and he suggested I take a look at a career in engineering in the Army. This sounded like a great idea to explore, so he linked me up to an Army Careers’ Advisor and I was promptly sent off on visits to the Royal Signals, Royal Engineers and REME.

How did you decide that REME was the right fit for you? Brig Phil: The key thing with REME is that we are born problem solvers; I assume it’s the engineering brain in all of us that make us this way. But the constant engineering challenge and relevance of our role is what made it so appealing.


Brig Lizzie Faithful Davies CBE

visit to Bordon, I felt welcomed and part of the team. The recruiters were motivated and positive and they demonstrated the huge variety of careers that REME could offer. The soldiers I met were professional, entertaining and enthused by their trades. I could see the relevance of the Corps in everything the Army did and, most importantly to me, there were no constraints on what I could do as a woman in REME. I was hooked straight away. REME was for me and the Corps offered to sponsor me through university, which promised to make a big difference to student life. Whilst at Bristol University, the REME recruiters kept in touch - they arranged for some fantastic work placements during my summer breaks, which included Germany and Hong Kong as well as the UK. The REME recruiters also introduced me to skiing for which I am eternally grateful! On reflection, the Corps was ahead of its time in its attitude to providing an inclusive working environment. Other engineering roles in the Army at that time limited the options open to women, which made no sense to me. REME also provided the professional training, experience and accreditation to enable me to work towards my Chartered Engineer, which I was keen to pursue. I was impressed by the quality of the training provided to our soldiers and I also really liked the attitude that we could all learn from each other. Lots of specialist skills, working together to make a great team. I think the most important factor making me choose REME was the fact that I felt I could fit in and that the Corps was willing to support and invest in me both professionally and as an individual.

You both received a CBE (Commander of the Most Brig Ewart-Brookes handed over command of 101 Logistic Brigade to Brig Prosser in July 2019 Excellent Order of the British Empire) in the New Year’s Honours. Can you tell us Brig Lizzie: It was an incredible honour to be recognised with a CBE more about this achievement? this year and there is no doubt in my mind that the credit for this Brig Phil: “I see so far because I stand on the shoulders of giants”. My CBE was recognition of the amazing achievement of the team who I had the honour of deploying with and leading during our time in London. HQ 101 Logistic Brigade were deployed to support NHS England for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) procurement and distribution. Thinking back to March 2020, we were in the perfect storm. With rising waves of an unknown virus sweeping the globe, the situation in China was unclear due to restrictions on reporting, so we didn’t know how bad it was going to be. As a result of this uncertainty and the way China locked down to look after its own population, the global demand of PPE rose to astronomical levels at the same time as the supply chain dropped to its lowest levels due to the problems of lockdown and the repurposing of factories across China. It really was a perfect storm. In the midst of this storm my team and I came in to work alongside the NHS to distribute this finite amount of PPE whilst we battled to establish new stock through new manufacturers. It wasn’t just a logistic problem; it was also about maintaining the confidence of the frontline heath care workers through the provision of PPE. It relied heavily on the supporting information campaign to maintain that trust. It has been an absolute honour to work alongside the NHS. We have never led this operation, we have always reinforced in support of the national response. At the heart of the NHS is an operational organisation, driven by the desire to protect the nation. And that drives a very similar value set to that of the Army. I have learnt so much about developing complex systems and new teams in ambiguous and uncertain environments.

goes to the amazing team I have worked with over the last 12 months. The year of COVID has been extraordinary for everyone and it was a privilege for my Bde HQ to have been asked to contribute to the nation’s response to this crisis by providing some support to the Department for Health and Social Care. This gave us all a sense of purpose and we had practical work to deliver as a team rather than being left to face the difficult challenges of working from home, home schooling, feeling isolated and uncertain. We were asked to contribute to the planning and delivery of COVID-19 testing to frontline workers. This took on many facets: ranging from the military support to the drive through Regional Test Sites; the design, build and delivery of the Mobile Testing Units; training of large numbers of military personnel to run the mobile test sites; specialist logistical support to the new Lighthouse Laboratories; and provision of warehousing and distribution of testing components (PPE, test kits, processing equipment) around the United Kingdom. Everything was needed yesterday and needed to be built from scratch at a scale and pace that was difficult to believe. The one thing that has stood out for me is the quality of the people that worked on all these projects. The comparatively small team of around 15 personnel from 102 Log Bde HQ, plus some individual augmentees (both Regular and Reserve and a mix of capbadges) were genuinely outstanding. Their ability to see a problem, find a solution and then move on to another unrelated task was exceptional. They were able to juggle multiple issues simultaneously and were impressively proactive in finding the niche where their skills could add the most value. They were motivated, humble, upbeat, innovative and exceptionally hardworking. I will always value the team spirit that enabled us to achieve so much in an unusually short amount of time.

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When discussing the possibility of an interview, Brig Lizzie Faithfull-Davies described your roles as “two halves of the DHSC/NHS Op RESCRIPT work”. How did your roles complement and support one another during Op RESCRIPT? Brig Phil: At the same time as 101 Logistic Brigade were in NHS England headquarters, 102 Logistic Brigade went into the Department for Health and Social Care to support with test and trace so it was awesome to work so closely with Brig Lizzie. Brig Lizzie: From the answers we have given so far, I think you will see how our work was not only complementary, but integrated. The delivery of support to the NHS and the Department for Health and Social Care needed to be aligned where possible and using our military connections our two teams were able to share information and ideas to help achieve this. We knew that there was going to be an enduring requirement for logistic support to both the clinical side of the pandemic as well as COVID-19 testing, and there were many areas where both organisations were facing similar challenges (prioritisation and allocation of scare resources, rapid scaling and distribution of those resources, and capacity to plan ahead). We were also both stepping into organisations that we hadn’t worked with before, working with newly created teams with a mix of people from many different roles. Whilst the specifics of what we both had to deliver were different, we were both helping to mobilise initiatives that were urgently needed. Therefore, with Brigadier Phil alongside, we were able to share ideas and experiences, which really helped to maintain momentum. I have really valued his support as a colleague and a friend over the last year and I was delighted to see the work that he and his team have delivered being formally recognised.

COVID-19 and Op RESCRIPT have required the Army to work in ways we never expected, especially REME. What are the lessons you’ve learnt, both individually and on a wider level?

believe in themselves so they can be awesome, every day. I believe that the role of the leader in delivering success relies on having a vision and expressing clearly what the aiming marker is to keep everyone on the right track. Designing and communicating a clear plan is the route card to achieving the mission or vision. And the leader has to build an amazing team in order to deliver that plan. During some tough times I have also learned the difference between optimism and blind positivity. Optimism is accepting that times are dark, that you’re in a tunnel, but there is light at the end of it and you will get there together, and that gives you hope. Blind positivity feeds a narrative that means you lose hope very quickly. Optimism backed up by honesty is one of the biggest leadership lessons I learned. Life will be hard, but it will never be hopeless. Finally, thinking about our time here and the military working with the NHS. The military mindset allowed us to get to problems quickly and the NHS brought that breadth of thought – it has shown the power of cognitive diversity. Our planning has been much more resilient as a result of the varied contribution to the team. Brig Lizzie: The most valuable lesson I have learnt is about the adaptability of our people and their skills. I have received many letters of thanks from a multitude of sources for the work that the people in my Brigade have delivered in support of the COVID response over the last year. They have all talked about how personable our soldiers are and how they have felt more at ease despite the worry of the pandemic. Whilst some soldiers have been employed in their core role (Medics working in hospitals, Logisticians conducting supply and distribution etc), many other soldiers have just turned their hand to whatever they are being asked to do. They have done it confidently, professionally and without complaint, despite the short notice of many of the taskings. Everyone has been willing to learn and offer up their unique skills. So I think the combination of both our professional skills and people skills is a compelling combination that we must celebrate. The use of small military teams, working independently all over the country has provided a great opportunity for our most junior leaders (both officers and soldiers) to excel. Seeing teams of REME personnel running test sites in Lancashire with poise and good spirits was a great example of these skills in action and it made me feel very proud to see our personnel doing such a superb job.

Brig Phil: The biggest thing I’ve learnt, which links back to receiving a CBE, is that the team is key to delivering success. You cannot develop team spirit virtually via Skype/Teams. As we look to the future and our need to maintain fighting spirit, we must do that physically. In the new ways of working in the virtual space, I’ve seen that it can be a more blended approach. I never see us being fully dis-located because of the human nature of warfare and that need to build and maintain fighting spirit, but I do see a more blended environment in the future. The next lesson is ambiguity. In the military we convince ourselves we are good at dealing with it, but we are not as well practised as we could be. What we do is apply process to take the complexity out of ambiguity, but that doesn’t embrace it properly in a way that supports our ability to be agile. One of the things we’ve done effectively over the past year is to have three things: a mission, a clear purpose or task; a comprehensive set of data to inform our decision making; an effective battle rhythm to hold that all together. We have done a national operation twice now by having those three things in place. The third lesson is a fantastic reminder of the role of soldiers. Ultimately it is they who will win the next war, in the same way that I’ve seen the healthcare workers on the front line making such a difference in the response to COVID. As leaders, at every level we must do everything we can to show that we Brig Lizzie on a visit to the civilian company that helped to manufacture MTUs to specified designs believe in our soldiers more than they


REME Careers

Developing Our Future Leaders

3 Section, commanded by Cpl Kelly, advance across open snow-filled ground

This year, the 1 CS Bn LCpl Army Leadership Development Programme (ADLP) had to meet the challenge of a pandemic head on. With social distancing still required and “work from home” in force, new and old ways of working came together to ensure that COVID-19 didn’t put a stop to the ALDP. Scribe: Lt Beard Bucktrout

1 Section, commanded by Sgt Hickson, patrol through the boggy conditions

“Get on parade” *Click*. Members of 1 CS Bn REME and 31 potential-NCOs mustered virtually on 25 January 2021, albeit unconventionally on Microsoft Teams, to commence the formative element of the LCpl Army Leadership Development Programme (ALDP). The decision to move the first part of the course online was made at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to reduce the risk to all personnel on the course. The move allowed students and DS to isolate at home, whilst concurrently on course – minimising the time lost for any isolation. All personnel later formed up physically at Warcop Training Camp (WTC) on Sunday 31 January, having isolated for 10 days. The measure proved useful as during the first week, a student was contact traced to isolate; meaning the possibility of bringing the virus onto the course was prevented and the student could continue training virtually. Consequently, this student now only needs to attend the exercise phase of the next course, reducing the impact to the student’s career.

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Phase 1: Taking It Online Date: 25 January – 29 January 21


s most of the training in the first week was principally delivered using MS PowerPoint, it was quite straightforward to transfer this delivery online. To keep students engaged, random targeted ‘question sniping’ was used alongside break-out channels for each section. This allowed students to leave the central presentation every few slides, to go and discuss the content or activity they had been given in a smaller group with the Section Commanders, before back-briefing the course in the main channel. The physical training that is usually covered in the first week, such as command tasks, were programmed into the second week and new forms of Electronic-Command tasks explored within the new white space. The E-Command tasks would consist of sections being dropped a ‘planning exercise’ into their relevant channels and given a reduced timeframe (30 minutes) to back brief the platoon on their course of action (COA) in the central channel. The first exercise was leaderless to demonstrate the importance of co-ordinated planning. Students then received a planning lesson on how to determine objectives/priorities, factors/deductions, planning for multiple COAs and decision-making tools. After the lessons, the students were then given more command-led exercises, and the results were impressive. New innovative solutions to plan; e-whiteboards were used to draw simplified maps and shared documents were used to collate key information, even breaking down into separate COA working groups to plan. These future leaders of the British Army are now utilising technology to collaborate, and finding solutions for tomorrow, today. The white space created, additional lessons could be covered to great effect. A lesson on Surveillance, Target and Acquisition Plans (STAP) and Principles of Defence (DAMROD), gave students the context of their role in a platoon/company context, which greatly improved the quality of clearance patrols/range cards later on. An indepth lesson on how to create and structure a presentation was

delivered, which resulted in a better quality of leadership presentations. A peer review on each student’s leadership presentation and performance in the first week was conducted, so that students remained engaged on their peer’s presentations and they understood how they were being perceived virtually by others. Finally, a road to war brief was delivered by the Training Officer, setting the DATE scenario before the students received deployment orders between the virtual and physical phase.

Phase 2: Let’s Get Physical 31 January – 5 February 2021


n arrival at Warcop Training Area, all personnel were COVID tested in a holding area using a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) rapid 30-minute test, as well as receiving temperature checks. As the LFD only detects people who have a high viral load, it did not remove the possibility of someone being infected. Therefore, strict Force Health Protection and Social Distancing measures remained the main line of defence against infection. The time taken at WTC was kept to a minimum, to avoid contamination from other units using the shared facilities. All personnel were deployed on to the ground within 24 hours, meaning concurrent activity from the Section Commanders in the virtual phase was crucial to setting the conditions for success. All DS deployed onto Brackenbur DTA to occupy and operate from a Platoon harbour before moving into Moorhouse Farm on Rossmede DTA to operate from a Platoon FOB. The timing could not have been more perfect, as during the night, heavy snow fell in Warcop and the students were nothing short of frozen following a day of Section attacks. The morale began to lift as they realised they were moving into the warmth of a farm. This allowed students to remain focussed on their training and development, improving the output standard.

Flares go up at H-Hour from the Fire Support position during the dawn Platoon Deliberate Attack


Members of 2 Section, commanded by Cpl Bajic, form a baseline before a left flanking attack

CO 1 Bn REME presenting LCpl Finch (3 RIFLES) with the ‘Top Student’ award

Embedding command tasks within the second week as ‘tactical command tasks’ allowed for greater immersion and training for the students. Rather than the conventional tasks that involve random tyres and planks in field, students could navigate their sections to water/ammo drop locations. They could then conduct a command task to retrieve the required items as a fire team, whilst the other provided defence. Students and DS were given a 10-minute protected block after each serial to conduct a thorough debrief and discussion. Students then provided good develop and sustain points for their peers in command appointments, developing their ability to coach as well as giving everyone collective knowledge/training. The exercise concluded with a final platoon attack up the mountainous valley of Victor training area, utilising a stream in dead ground to mount a series of section attacks. The students recovered to the farm, where they received an address from the Commanding Officer and, more importantly, sausage and bacon butties! During the address, the CO awarded the highly contended ‘Top Student’ prize to LCpl Finch from 3 RIFLES and the ‘Students’ Student’ prize to CO 1 Bn REME presenting LCpl Hindmarsh (1 Bn REME) LCpl Hindmarsh from 1 Bn REME. All students would then receive with the ‘Students’ Student’Award. another lateral flow test before being recovered back to the WTC for close-down administration and a final peer review. The final peer The delivery of the course had to be novel to meet the unprecedented demands of course delivery in review allowed students to a COVID-19 prevalent environment. Students and DS alike had to adapt, using new solutions to understand their continue output delivery of competent LCpls to the Field Army. New solutions explored seemed to strengths/weaknesses from other benefit the development of students and I believe future courses should seek to utilise an element of perspectives, as well as further virtual activity to exploit this avenue of development. Whilst the ideal environment will always be developing their ability to give physical, the virtual space is absolutely a viable and powerful tool for commanders to consider, with honest, constructive feedback. some surprising benefits. As the future of warfare increasingly digitises, so must our future leaders.

CO 1 Bn REME addressing the course after the final attack

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We need your Friendship Stories! Have you formed life-long or lasting friendships at REME? Are your REME friends like family?

In celebration of National Friendship Day, we will be telling the stories of friendships formed within the REME Family in the July issue of The Craftsman. Whether you are a Retired, Reserve or Regular, we want to hear your stories (and include a photo!) Send your stories to: Please submit stories by 1 June 2021

From The Craftsman Magazine, August 1969, announcing the appointment of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh as Colonel-in-Chief

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HRH The Prince Philip’s Memorial Edition

“wit, grit, and irreverence” HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh By Sir Peter Marshall, an ex FCO senior diplomate and Dep Sec Gen of Commonwealth

“The whole earth is the tomb of heroic men and their story is given not only on stone over their clay but abides everywhere without visible symbol woven into the stuff of other men’s lives”

“I was fortunate to have served as Equerry to His Royal Highness


hese sublime words from Pericles’s iconic funeral oration, havd a unique Commonwealth resonance, as Prince Philip of Greece, two millennia later, was buried in Windsor Castle. HRH The Prince Philip was a polymath: the range and the depth of his interests and concerns was prodigious. But they can perhaps be grouped together under three rubrics: enhancing the quality of life, especially of young people notably through the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme; protecting, cherishing and safeguarding the environment; and the encouragement and management of change, with an ever vigilant eye to our shared future. Eminently appropriate as these priorities are in the case of those who have responsibility in one country, they are even more suited to the magnificent diversity of the Commonwealth.

HRH The Prince Philip attended the opening of the Army Apprentice College, Princess Marina College

The Duke of Edinburgh from 2001 to 2003, based in Buckingham Palace and responsible primarily for coordinating His Royal Highness’s official engagements. The period included some extraordinary events and circumstances, including The Queen’s Golden Jubilee, the sad passing of HM The Queen Mother and HRH Princess Margaret, and the unfathomable atrocities of 9/11. I plugged into a finely developed process for scheduling and organizing Prince Philip’s engagements with exacting detail. The Duke of Edinburgh at the time was the patron of over 600 organisations and devoted himself with fervent passion to so many of them, accepting a relentless volume of visits, meetings and dinners. The summer of 2002 was dominated by The Queen’s Golden Jubilee visits across the United Kingdom with The Duke of Edinburgh accompanying The Queen for the majority of the events. Marked by commemorative services, processions, walkabouts and special visits, there was enormous public support demonstrated for Her Majesty. Prince Philip engaged so naturally with the crowds, and I recall him occasionally helping young well-wishers over the barriers to present flowers to The Queen. A mail bag was couriered daily to Prince Philip by his household staff, wherever he was based, ensuring business updates; many regarding his multitude of patronages and, from my perspective so that he could approve developing engagement plans. With many octogenarians enjoying a slower pace of life in retirement, Prince Philip challenged the normal, exuding energy, intellect and resilience. He was hugely committed to The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and his military appointments received a high priority. His wide interests in science, engineering, design, aviation, maritime and nature were amply Brigadier (Retired) demonstrated through Richard Bennett MVO, organisations including The a previous Equerry to HRH Royal Academy of Engineering, Cambridge University, the RSA and The Air League. He opened and chaired many a fascinating debate, fervently presenting facts and marshalling conclusions. He researched and drafted all of his own speeches, succinctly informing me that I would not be required to assist in that area when I once offered early in my tenure. His Royal Highness had a sharp sense of humour and was always generous and supportive. His commitment was extraordinary, and he appeared to enjoy engaging with the broad spectrum of people that he met. He had such a deep well of interests and a sharp intellect, but I shall remember him mostly for his kind and indomitable spirit and his charitable nature.


When Prince Philip’s consortship, unsurpassed in duration and quality, began with marriage in 1947 in Westminster Abbey, he was already a man skilled in the arts of war, and was expecting to continue for a number of years in the exercise of the companion responsibility for keeping the peace after victory had been won. But it was not to be. Within five years, the untimely death, at the age of only fifty-five, of King George VI, who had spent himself in the service of his peoples in the tempestuous years of war and its exigent aftermath, had placed Princess Elizabeth on the throne at the tender age of twenty-five. What it all meant in practice was described with full understatement by The Queen when reflecting on the role of her husband at the People’s Banquet for their Golden Wedding in 1997: “he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know”. One reviewer summed the situation up with picturesque succinctness: “wit, grit, and irreverence”.

During a visit to 7 Air Assault Bn, the Colonel-in-Chief spoke to personnel who had just returned from operations, including Cfn Hudson

“In HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, we have been fortunate to

have a Colonel-in-Chief with a deep affinity for engineering, whose long association with the Corps has enabled the building of a very successful relationship and also someone who has raised and sustained the profile of our Corps. As a relatively young Corps within the Army, our people have a clear and important identity as the Army’s professional engineers and His Royal Highness has helped to promote the prominence of engineering across the British Army and throughout society in general. He has been a loyal and supportive member of the REME Family; creating a relaxed and approachable atmosphere at any of the formal engagements and visits, and he will be deeply missed by all of our officers and soldiers who have been inspired by his presence and Colonel Andy Rogers ADC, enthusiasm for the Colonel REME Corps.

“I have had the pleasure of meeting His Royal Highness The

Duke of Edinburgh on a number of occasions during my time in the REME. The first was at West Court Officers’ Mess where he was hosted by the REME Young Officers’ Dinner Club and I was privileged to sit next to him during the meal where we discussed shared interests of the countryside and farming; showing his enviable ability to talk to anyone about anything. Seizing the opportunity to talk to a room of a hundred or so young engineers, he talked of his time in the Royal Navy and his fascination with the work that the engineers aboard the ships carried out which sparked his enthusiasm for the field. Following the Corps’ amalgamation and relocation of the two Training Battalions to MOD Lyneham, HRH approved the naming of the new Home of the Corps as The Prince Philip Barracks and I was given the task to procure the wall and plaque which stands at the entrance to the camp that he unveiled to mark the occasion. The ceremony took place shortly after his appearance on the radio where he commented that ‘everything that wasn’t invented by God is invented by an engineer’ and he informed the assembled crowd at MOD Lyneham that they were about the see the ‘world’s most experienced plaque unveiler’. In 2019, I was selected to be the Corps Adjutant which also brought with it the role of Captain James Aubrey, Corps Assistant Equerry to HRH Adjutant and Assistant Equerry to The Duke of Edinburgh. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at An Equerry is a military the time of Prince Philip’s passing officer appointed as a personal attendant to a senior member of the Royal Family. It has been a great source of pride and the highlight of my career to be a member of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Household with my most memorable duty being to represent HRH by laying his wreath at the 2019 Remembrance Parade at the Cenotaph in London. The Duke of Edinburgh’s passing will be deeply felt by the Corps, and the country as a whole, as we have lost a great leader and mentor who possessed a sharp wit, a strong sense of duty and a love for our people and our trade.

HRH The Prince Philip met REME Soldiers during a visit to SEME at Bordon

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“REME has been

privileged to have His Royal Highness The Prince Philip as our Colonel in Chief for the last 52 years. His passion for engineering and the military shone through in everything he did with and for the Corps. He loved to meet our young soldiers and officers and he took real pleasure and satisfaction in hearing what they had achieved. He brought wit and wisdom to every engagement and his style of leadership matched the ethos of the Corps perfectly. He was a great head of the Lieutenant General Paul Jaques REME family and we will CB CBE, Master General REME miss him.

It was another twenty years before HRH The Prince Philip retired. There is a strange irony, but also a searching inspiration in that the last year of his life should have on the one hand witnessed so much disruption, distress, suffering and bereavement, to which he was no stranger; and on the other hand so much courage, skill, tenacity and resourcefulness, which were second nature to him. “I declare before you all” The Queen, as Princess Elizabeth, said in a broadcast from South Africa on April 21, 1947, her twenty-first birthday, “that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service”. The consortship began seven months later. You do not need to be an historian to understand its significance in that connexion. Even as we grieve for - and with - Her Majesty and the Royal Family, we look forward to the celebration next year of her Platinum Jubilee, in conditions more normal than those to which we have been variously subjected in the past year.

“It is a privilege to have had His Royal Highness The Duke

of Edinburgh as the Colonel-in-Chief of our great Corps for all of my 20 years of service and I am sure that every single one of our REME soldiers who have served before me since 1969 feel exactly the same way. Having spoken to a number of troops recently who had the honour of meeting HRH, it is clear that our Colonel in Chief was always quick witted, extremely personable and intent on taking the time to engage with our Craftsmen and Junior NCOs just as much as with our Commanding Officers and Generals. A particular tale from one of our Company Sergeant Majors demonstrates this aptly. When HRH visited 3 Close Support Battalion REME in Germany, his itinerary was packed as you would expect but the Prince chose to spend a great deal longer on the 5 Armoured Company tank park talking to our soldiers and their families than he apparently should have – and much to the frustration of the aides tasked with keeping him in good time for the next serial. Those that met him on that day still speak fondly about this and appreciated it. The REME instructors that spoke to him during his Warrant Officer Class 1 visit to open our training (Corps ASM) Dan McNeill, establishment in Lyneham Corps Artificer Sergeant Major in 2016 remember a Colonel-in-Chief that took a genuine interest in the equipment and training that they demonstrated. His enjoyment and fascination for all things military engineering clearly shone through and were no doubt borne from the shared lived experience he had with us as a fellow Serviceman – albeit in our sister service of the Royal Navy. He was also the Senior Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering so I’m sure our motto of ‘Arte et Marte’, or by skill and by fighting, meant as much to him as it does now to all of the soldiers that wear our cap-badge. Prince Phillip as our Colonel-in-Chief has left a lasting legacy and every one of our soldiers will continue to be trained at The Prince Philip Barracks in Lyneham. He will be forever remembered fondly by our Craftsmen, Junior and Senior NCOs.

At the unveiling of ‘The Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers’, a High Speed Train Power Car, HRH The Prince Philip spoke with In Pensioner Vaughan, In Pensioner Skirrow and In Pensioner Newbould.

HRH The Prince Philip attended the dedication service of the REME memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum


HRH The Prince Philip’s Memorial Edition

What is the role of an Equerry? Maj James Aubrey, the previous Corps Adjutant and REME Assistant Equerry to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, explains the purpose of this unique role in the Corps’ relationship with the Royal Family.


s the last REME Assistant Equerry to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, the Editor has asked me to explain this role that a small number of REME officers have been fortunate enough to fulfil. Historically, an Equerry was a senior attendant to a person of seniority (normally within the Royal Family); the word originates from France and is related to écuyer or squire and they would likely have had responsibilities for their principal’s horses. Nowadays, the role is that of a senior aide who would assist with programme management, correspondence and organising and accompanying their principal on visits; ensuring that they run to schedule. Some REME officers have been selected as full time Equerries to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, with the last of these being Captain (now Brigadier (Retired)) Richard Bennett MVO. Since then, the appointment became an Extra Equerry and was often held by the Officer Commanding Light Aid Detachment at the Household Cavalry Regiment before the dissolution of HQ DEME(A) in 2012 where it became tied to the newly created Corps Adjutant as one of three (later two) Assistant Equerries. My predecessors accompanied The Duke of Edinburgh on many visits to both the Corps and other organisations until HRH stepped down from public engagements in 2017; journeys to these events offered a perfect opportunity for the Equerry to bring The Duke of Edinburgh up to speed with news of the Corps and the day-to-day lives of REME soldiers. From 2017, the

Capt Liam Wilson, as Equerry at the time, accompanied the Colonel-in-Chief on a visit to DE&S

Capt James Aubrey was asked to represent HRH The Prince Philip at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday in 2019 Brig RNH Bennett MVO while he was Equerry to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

Capt Paul Young in attendance as Equerry to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at the opening of Prince Philip Barracks

Assistant Equerry was in attendance to HRH at private audiences or represented him at events such as the Remembrance Parade at the Cenotaph in Whitehall. On occasions The Queen’s Equerry needed extra assistance at large events at Buckingham Palace and called on the Equerries to other Members of the Royal Family to help out. In my time I was fortunate enough to assist in hosting NATO leaders, recipients of The Queen’s Award for Enterprise, Harry Billinge MBE at his investiture and also a celebration of British Judaism held by HRH The Prince of Wales. All events would run to a similar schedule: the Equerries would meet senior guests on arrival at the Grand Entrance to the Palace and escort them to one of the state rooms for an audience with HM The Queen or her representative. The guests would then be hosted in the Picture Gallery and the Equerries would organise small groups to meet the Members of the Royal Family working steadily from one end of the room to the other. Once the Member of the Royal Family reached the end of the room the Equerries would gather in the Vestibule for feedback on the event before escorting the guests back to their vehicles. I am sure that my predecessors would agree that the role was a huge privilege both individually and for the Corps and I hope that REME is able to maintain the important historical link with the Royal Family and Buckingham Palace.

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HRH The Prince Philip’s Memorial Edition

‘everything that wasn’t invented b

A short history of HRH The Prince


“Shortly after the Duke was appointed our Colonel-In-


HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was appointed as Colonel-inChief to The Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. He succeeded HRH The Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, who had died in August 1968, making him the second Colonel-in-Chief of REME.

Chief of REME in 1969 he attended a Corps Dinner Night. At the time REME Officers’ mess dress included a starched shirt front and wing collar. No doubt observing the relative discomfort of this form of dress, the Duke afterwards instructed that, in future, officers should wear soft dress shirts with attached collars for mess dress “unless royalty was present - and I don’t count!” Many REME officers have reason to be thankful for his instruction as well as having many other memories of this great man and his involvement with the Corps. Lt Col (Retd) Peter Major



On his first visit to the BAOR, HRH The Prince Philip visited 7 Armd Wksp in Fallingbostel, 73 Field Workshop (Aircraft) and 712 Mobile Servicing and Repair Detachment from 71 Field Workshop (Detmold) at Celle.

1970s HRH The Prince Philip’s first visit to REME units in Arborfield.

NOVEMBER During his first visit to Bordon, he was described as “winning an instant place in the heart of the Corps with his characteristic blend of informality and technical appreciation.”


As president of the Council of Engineering Institutions, HRH The Prince Philip attended the symposium at the IME, where REME put on a display.

by God is invented by an engineer’

e Philip’s time as Colonel-in-Chief NOVEMBER



HRH The Prince Philip attended the Passing Out Parade at the Army Apprentices College, with Capt Andy Platt as Equerry. He personally landed his helicopter on the cricket field outside Hazebroucks Officers’ Mess, with a red carpet stretching from the cricket square to the Mess. Later, he presented prizes. According to Craftsmen of the Army Volume II, ‘…he presented a number of half-pint pewter tankards, which he clearly did not think were very large. As he presented the prizes he announced, ‘Here is your prize, and here is your egg cup!’ - much to the delight of the audience.’


While REME units were on Ex SPEARPOINT, HRH The Prince Philip flew his helicopter to nearby Schloss. While there, he joined REME Officers for lunch. “[He] took a close interest in all that he saw, speaking to many officers and soldiers and to German civilians in their own language. These visits always proved stimulating to the units he visited and instilled a great sense of pride in all ranks”


While posted in Qatar, ASM Todd, OC Telecommunications Workshop (part of British Loan Service Team) met HM The Queen and HRH The Prince Philip during a state visit and attended a reception on the Royal Yacht Britannia.

APRIL While visiting REME units at Middle Wallop, HRH The Prince Philip presented wings to the pilots graduating from an Army Pilots Course. He also saw the SIOUX helicopter XT154, which he had flown for the award of his army wings in 1965.

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HRH The Prince Philip attended the opening of Rowcroft Barracks, the new home of Training Battalion and Depot REME in Arborfield. He unveiled the plaque and was given a tour of the barracks, having already inspected a Passing Out Parade of Recruits and presenting prizes. The barracks were designed to give each many a degree of privacy. Major General Metcalfe, who accompanied HRH The Prince Philip, recalled ‘The Colonel-in-Chief was impressed and, on leaving the room, paused to study a plan of the layout pinned to the wall. None of us could make head or tail of it but it did not puzzle the Colonelin-Chief for long. It’s upside down, he told us!’*

OCTOBER The Corps was granted the Freedom of Wokingham. HRH The Prince Philip sent the following message: ‘I know all members of the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers very much appreciate this generous and hospitable gesture by the Mayor, Council and people of Wokingham. The men who train so hard to provide Britain’s capacity to defend herself against aggression have been known to feel their efforts are not always appreciated by their fellow citizens. Conferring the status of Honorary Townspeople of Wokingham on all members of the Corps is a wonderful encouragement to us all.’*

HRH The Prince Philip attended the opening of the new Army Apprentice College, Princess Marina College.





118 Rec Coy (V) were granted the Freedom of Northampton. Prince Philip sent the following message, also commemorating the 75th anniversary of the TA: ‘This gesture is a well-deserved recognition of the service given to 118 Recovery Company by so many public-spirited citizens of Northampton, Corby and the surrounding areas. The occasion also marks the 75th anniversary of the Territorial Army and this will be appreciated by all the TA units in the area.’* Colonel-in-Chief’s Dinner with REME TA was hosted at West Court. Reserve Army Officers of the Corps attended.



REME Officers and Senior Ranks gave a presentation to the Fellowship of Engineering in February 1984, titled ‘Education and Training in the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.’ HRH The Price Philip took the Chair, as Senior Fellow of the Fellowship and Colonel-in-Chief.






The new Sergeants’ and Warrant Officers’ Mess at 6 Armd Wksp Munster was opened by HRH The Prince Philip.



The Colonel-in-Chief visited Electronics Branch REME in Malvern.

MARCH Maj Wright, while posted to The Gambia as part of the British Army Training Team, met HRH The Prince Philip, who was visiting as President of the WWF.

APRIL HRH The Prince Philip visited 23 Base Workshop, Wetter, BAOR to join the workshop’s 40th anniversary celebration. He arrived piloting a Wessex helicopter and toured the workshop, talking with civilian employees in excellent German. While there, he also saw the overhaul of Chieftain tanks and other armoured vehicles.

HRH The Prince Philip is also Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RNZEME). He visited Trentham Camp, New Zealand, to open their SEME.


As Colonel-in-Chief, HRH The Prince Philip wrote to DGEME to pay tribute for REME’s role in Op GRANBY. In part of his message, he mentioned meeting some Corps wives: Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 27

‘…I had the opportunity to call on the wives of the Field Workshops at Munster and Fallingbostel. They were all in great form and much relieved that the end was in sight. I imagine that their relief has, and that of all Corps wives, has since turned to celebration and to the happy prospect of the return of their husbands.’*



The 25th anniversary of HRH The Prince Philip becoming REME’s Colonel-in-Chief.





While visiting 5 Bn REME, HRH The Prince Philip was able to discuss various pieces of equipment with serving REME Soldiers. Sgt Wood and his recovery section can be seen demonstrating the capabilities of the Foden recovery vehicle.


As part of the REME 50 Celebrations, HRH The Prince Philip attended a Gala Concert at the Royal Albert Hall. He also joined the Queen’s Guard Company for their photograph at Buckingham Palace and attended the Corps Reception at St James’s Palace.

The Corps was given the honour of providing the guard at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Corps.


The Prince Philip Vehicle Hall, a new display at the REME Museum, was formally opened by the Colonel-in-Chief. At the opening, he said ‘I came down here some years ago and saw the plans for the project, so it is really rather encouraging to see that it has been built. I think the Museum is very important, as it will track the origins of military history.’



Memorial Arboretum. The dedication service was conducted by Padre Stephen Thatcher, Senior Chaplain of the Corps Church of St Eligius. After the service, the Colonel-in-Chief unveiled a plaque commemorating the day, followed by the laying of a wreath at the Armed Forces Memorial below the list of those killed in 2008 on operations in Afghanistan.



HRH The Prince Philip unveiled the nameplate of “The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers”, one of First Great Western’s Inter-City Locomotives.



Joining Veterans and serving members of the Corps, HRH The Prince Philip attended the dedication of the REME Memorial at the National

HRH The Prince Philip visited MOD Lyneham to open Prince Philip Barracks.



The 50th anniversary of HRH The Prince Philip becoming REME’s Colonel-in-Chief.



On 17 April, The Master General was a pall bearer at the funeral of HRH The Prince Philip. The Corps was represented by the Corps Col and Corps ASM. The specially adapted Land Rover Defender was driven by two REME Corporals to St George's Chapel, Windsor. *From The Craftsman of the Army, Volumes I and II.

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HRH The Duke of Edinburgh while on a visit at Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst


1 Regt AAC

Stuck in the Mud After a rather wet landing due to a hydraulic fault, a Chinook from RAF Benson found itself unable to fly itself out. REME personnel from 1 Regt AAC were called out as part of the team to get it back in the air.

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Preparing for the SV(R)s’ arrival and subsequent lift

C “…sunk to its belly and the wheels were almost completely submerged in the soft soil. The aircraft was no longer able to fly itself out”

The Royal Engineers laid a track on top of the ground for the SV(R)s to drive on

H47, a Chinook from RAF Benson was on a routine flight as part of pilot training. They were flying over Wantage when the aircraft had a hydraulic fault. The pilot followed their FRCs (Flight Reference Cards) and landed immediately. The CH47 landed safely in a nearby field, which looked to be a suitable grass field. Unfortunately, the field was completely saturated with water and had extremely soft topsoil. The aircraft wouldn’t be able to go anywhere until it was repaired. After all the necessary processes had been followed and an engineering team called out, the fault on the aircraft was rectified, making the aircraft fit to fly. However, it had now sunk to its belly and the wheels were almost completely submerged in the soft soil. The aircraft was no longer able to fly itself out. The reason it couldn’t fly itself out is the potential for suction on the aircraft to cause stress on the aircraft frame and most concerning was the potential for ground resonance. Since the aircraft was safe in a field in the UK, it was deemed that the safest solution would be to call JART (Joint Aviation Recovery Team). Once JART was informed, they sprang into action, deploying a team to head to the sight to assess the situation and formulate a plan. They also contacted other agencies including the Royal Engineers, civilian suppliers, and 1 Aviation Brigade. 1 Regt was put on 12 hours-notice to move. On Saturday 9 January, Lt Tallis, Cpl Maylor and LCpl Whiten deployed from RNAS Yeovilton with one SV(R) and one white fleet car. They headed to RAF Benson where they parked the SV(R) and met up with another SV(R) deployed from JHC Flying Station in Wattisham. At 1100hrs, the team deployed out to the stricken aircraft. The area of operation was a large open grass field with the aircraft in the centre; there were two sheets of white matting rolled out either side of the aircraft and two tents located by the gated entrance to the field. There was no vehicle access into the field due to the ground conditions. Upon arrival, the REME team were welcomed by the JART personnel. The team was quickly involved in the planning of the aircraft recovery. Giving key information to JART’s seniors, from where to lay the tracking to the lift plan itself. The proposed lift was to simultaneously lift both rotor heads of the aircraft. The team immediately set about adding value to the plan, going over the lift calculations. The plan to get the SV(R)s to the aircraft was for the Royal Engineers to lay a track on top of the ground for the SV(R)s to drive on. The drivers were directly involved with this, giving guidance on the turning circles and the best ways to approach the aircraft for the lift. As the lift itself was complex and the ground being less than ideal, lifting platforms were also erected to provide better lifting foundations.

Moving into position for the lift


Lift Day (11 January) It was an early start to make sure that we got to the site at the start of the day. The final parts of the trackway were being laid and the SV(R)s would soon be needed for their critical role. After the position of the final weight distribution mats were positioned, the SV(R)s were then ready to move into place. Due to the limited spacings around the area, one had to reverse from the gate, down the 600m of track to the aircraft to ensure it was in the right place. Once the vehicles were in place, JART cleared everyone who wasn’t required to a

Working quickly to fill the holes distance. They wanted as few distractions or personnel around the aircraft when it lifted as possible, due to the safety implications. This was the key point and it didn’t help that the wind had picked up, which could potentially cause the CH47 to become unstable once lifted. Once the team were happy, the cranes in place and a lift brief conducted, they were able to start the lift. It was a slow process - one of the SV(R)s had to be re-set and adjusted due to technical issues that came up - but eventually they were able to lift the Chinook. It was definitely a sight to behold; a fairly big helicopter being lifted clean off the ground by two vehicles with cranes on them is not something you see every day and it was great to know that REME played a key part in it. At that point it was in the air and safe so the JART workforce started their task of creating a distributed and supporting foundation for the wheels to rest on. This involved using blocks to fill in the hole, using French oak wood (used for its toughness) to spread the load of the wheel across a bigger surface area around the hole and then finally topping the holes with heavy duty weight distribution mats which added extra security to the ground. After all that was done to the standards required, the aircraft was then placed down and did not sink any further than it should have, success! It was now on a stable platform and would be able to lift itself out when the time was right.

The proposed lift was to simultaneously lift both rotor heads of the Chinook

Moving the blocks and mats into position to place in the holes

“Once the team were happy, the cranes in place and a lift brief conducted, they were able to start the lift”

Success! The blocks and mats supported the Chinook, so it will be able to lift itself out at a later date

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MOD Lyneham

Top Gear comes to Lyneham

In November 2020, with utmost secrecy, Top Gear visited MOD Lyneham. The reason? So that Chris Harris, Paddy McGuinness and Freddie Flintoff could race around the airfield in what can only be described as midlife crisis cars or, as some think of them, midlife opportunities for refined adults of a certain age. Scribe: LCpl Daniel Larkin


n the afternoon of 11 November 2020, the producers and coproducers of Top Gear arrived, almost on time, at MOD Lyneham. They were there to finalise plans and build the race track ahead of filming the next day. They designed and built the course into the night, working alongside a select few soldiers that knew of the events and secret happenings going on to get everything just the way it needed to be. The day began at dawn, with nobody but the early birds and work Chris Harris, Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness mentally force awake, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Top Gear crew and, prepare themselves for the upcoming laps more importantly, the presenters. In true civilian fashion, they all arrived slightly late. First the crew, with all their trucks and equipment, arrived to prepare for the day ahead. After carting backwards and forwards, getting everybody in the right place, we finally got the call that the Big Three were at the camp gates. By this time every other person had heard or seen the events unfold and had started crawling out from under their rocks to come and have a look. A brief introduction to the site was conducted and then they were brought up to the airfield, where they prepared with the Midlife-crisis cars or, as some think of them, as midlife opportunities for refined adults of a certain age finest tea and biscuits that the 34

Pulling up to the starting line BBC had to offer, with their vehicles in tow (literally). We had Chris Harris with his Vauxhall Monaro, Freddie Flintoff with the TVR Cerberus and lastly Paddy McGuinness with his Toyari MR2. Following these classic vehicles was an extra special car, a true classic. Rolling in with its own sponsored trailer was the iconic Nissan S14A - iconic and not even almost road legal. In true gymkhana style, this vehicle was kitted out to the max, running a custom-built LS short block engine with just about every modification imaginable to get this vehicle sideways at all costs. At nearly noon the first car out on the track was the monstrous S14 with none other than the man in white behind the wheel. Some say the Reccy Mechs are scared to pull him out of a ditch and that he can identify every single tank… incorrectly. All we know is he’s called the Stig. Launching the mighty Nissan off the line in a tyre-smoking marvel he drove into the distance with the thunderous gymkhana car leaving a trail of smoke and debris. Tearing up the tarmac, he threw the vehicle around every corner and cone with absolute precision. To finish off, he showed everyone the true noise and power of a built, not bought, drift car with the smell of burning rubber in the air. After the outstanding lap by the Stig, the presenters then proceeded to take it in turns around the track in their respective cars. First out on the track was Paddy McGuinness, who managed to fail at the first corner; losing control of the mighty Toyari MR2. Eventually, he managed to put in a time of 5 minutes and 54 seconds. Next was the semi-pro race driver Chris Harris in the Vauxhall Monaro; the loudest lap of the midlife crisis cars by accidentally Some say the Reccy Mechs are scared to pull him out of a ditch holding onto his horn every time he turned a bend. He managed to and that he can identify every single tank… incorrectly miss out a good chunk of the track and set the slowest time of 6 minutes and 44 seconds. Finally, Freddy in the TVR Cerberus kicked out smoke from start to finish, where he went flying off the track on the last corner! He was lucky not to beach the RWD V8 powerhouse, before coming in with the fastest lap time of 5 minutes and 6 seconds. After a long day of racing around MOD Lyneham, as the sun began to go down, the cast and crew began to wrap up for the end of the day, in preparation to move onto their next location. This was not before the presenters were able to pose for a few photos for the trainees and permanent staff involved in the day’s events. Stopping every 100 meters or so for Paddy to do shout outs for the guys and girls on camp, we finally made it to the front gate where we bid them a final farewell in the hope that they will one day return to Lyneham A few lucky REME personnel watch the laps from behind the scenes

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The 2020 REME Annual Report

Thank you to the REME units and other organisations who contributed to the 2020 REME Annual Report. There is a huge range of articles, from right across the Corps and its supporting functions, containing lots of detailed information about who we are and what we did last year. Whilst not all units were able to be included, we hope you will find it a useful reference.

Read it online at REME Connect You can read the full Annual Report at, the online home of the Corps

APM PROJECT MANAGEMENT QUALIFICATION APMG CHANGE MANAGEMENT COURSE CPD is important to the development of our Soldiers. We are keen to take opportunities to co-ordinate developing courses. BMC have been asked to deliver this training package. Location: MOD Lyneham Course dates: 28 June - 9 July 2021 Cost: £2700 - eligible for ELCs 15 places available For more information contact: WO1 (ASM) Craig Ham Places are on a first come, first served basis for serving personnel. These courses are NOT for those on resettlement.


REME Association

Bordon Branch remembers the Colonel-in-Chief


n the day of Prince Philip’s funeral the Bordon branch of the REME Association and the RBL laid wreaths in the Bordon Military Cemetery. At our monthly Zoom meeting our Chair, Mr Barry Farrington, suggested we lay a wreath to mark the passing of our deceased Colonel-in-Chief, HRH The Prince Philip. It was suggested to lay the wreath after Prince Philip’s funeral at 17:00 at the Bordon Military Cemetery. As Barry is also chair of the local branch of the RBL he said he would canvas them also.

Our president, Major General Sharman, was approached and he thought it an excellent idea, agreeing to lay the wreath for REME and Barry would lay a wreath for the RBL. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, numbers were limited with social distancing requirements but we managed; as well as the General and our Chair, there were two standard bearers, Mr G Anderson REME and Mr S White RBL, the branch Padre, the Rev Wendy Mallas CF, and the Bugler, Mr Steve Sargeant, as well as nine other members of REME Bordon Branch and the RBL. Once the standard bearers took post the Padre said the opening prayer, the wreath layers laid the wreaths on the Cenotaph, the Last Post was played and the standards dipped in salute. At the end of the silence, Reveille was played and the Padre completed the service with a final prayer followed by the Corps Collect, the Lord’s Prayer and final dismissal. As the assembled members left the Military Cemetery, several stories were swapped of how individuals met his Royal Highness, whether it was at the National Memorial Arboretum, Paddington Station on the train naming of “Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers” or his several visits to the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

The Officers’ Association

Back the Boat The Officers’ Association is lending support to the crew of Elijah’s Star, who will be racing the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Included in the crew is Lt Col Lee McCarthy, who is still serving in REME.


he Officers’ Association (OA), providers of advice and financial help to those who have held a Commission in the Armed Forces, is getting behind one of the boats taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge this December. The 4-strong crew of the boat, Elijah’s Star, have all served in the Armed Forces. They are on course to raise £200K for Action Medical Research as they set their sights on completing the 3,000-mile Atlantic row, battling waves of up to 20 feet, in a 28 x 5-foot boat. The Elijah’s Star crew will re-ignite skills learned in the military and push their personal boundaries by rowing and sleeping continuously in 2hour blocks with sleep deprivation, salt sores and physical limitations being broken on a daily basis. The crew is made up of: Lee McCarthy, who continues to The Talisker Whisky Atlantic serve in the British Army, Kevin Challenge is the premier event Watkins, who spent more than in ocean racing and is 30 years as a Royal Naval recognised as the world’s Marine Engineer, Dean Frost, toughest row covering more who served in the Royal Navy than 3,000 miles between the for nearly a decade, and Phil start in the Canary Islands and Bigland, who was in the British the end point in Nelsons Army for 12 years. The three Dockyard, English Harbour, veterans now have successful Antigua and Barbuda. careers outside the military.

Lee McCarthy, a Lieutenant Colonel in REME, commented: “A huge thank you to OA for their support in our efforts for Action Medical Research so far. We’re rowing in memory of baby Elijah whose life was cut short due to necrotising enterocolitis, a devastating bowel infection in babies. He was born at 25 weeks and three days, weighing just 823g and lived for just 37 days. Subsequently 37 has become an important number for us all: we’d like to make the crossing in 37 days, and we’re encouraging individuals and organisations to back the boat and become part of the 37 Club of sponsors and partners. The hard work is ahead of us now as the crew balance their day jobs and look to beat our £200k charity target.”

Action Medical Research has made a significant impact in its 68-year history by funding medical breakthroughs that have helped saved the lives of countless children and babies, including neonates. The breakthroughs include the importance of folic acid during pregnancy to prevent spina bifida, the development in the use of ultrasound during pregnancy, a cooling cap therapy for premature babies which reduces the chance of brain damage and cerebral palsy by 50%, the discovery & implementation of the Polio vaccine thus eradicating it from the UK and thorough testing of the Rubella vaccine.

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My Life in REME

Korea A Minefield, Explosions and the End Today, the Korean War is often overshadowed by its more famous relative, the Vietnam War. However, for many REME Soldiers and Officers, Korea was a significant point in their service. In the second of a two-part series, Lt Col (Retd) Denis Redmond shares his experience of rescuing a Scammell from a minefield and blowing mud out of frost boils.


ell into my tour the benefits of peace began to emerge. One of them was a challenge from Base Workshop to a Sailing Regatta in Hiro, Japan. The word went out for Dinghy Helmsmen and, as I held a Helmsman’s certificate, I put my name forward. So it was, I flew into Japan with a dozen other aspiring sailors, took up accommodation in the Base Workshop and was motored out to Hiro each day. Hiro had been a Japanese Navy seaplane base; it had a slipway and hangers now mostly disused. Australia supplied the dinghies, two classes, Vs and Vj - V Senior and V Junior. The senior was about 14 feet, Bermuda rigged and best sailed double-handed. The junior was a pig, 12 feet, narrow beam and hardly any cockpit, sailed singlehanded; you could capsize them by simply bending on the jib. Both types had centre boards. It was a grand two weeks on the Inland Sea with lots of fun. So many Vjs turned turtle and lost their centre boards the Aussies had to put divers down to retrieve them. After that boards were tied to the hull. I think the Aussies won by a mile. They were their boats and they had the advantage of being able to sail every weekend. I hadn’t been in a boat for ages, but I kept dry. I took my R&R in Kure rather than Tokyo and spent part of it at the Japanese hotel I knew. Empire Orwell was due in so I took a stroll down to the docks to find the QARANC Sisters still on board. It seemed only polite to invite them to dinner. They met Nobuko San and had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. I sent them off in a taxi way after midnight. Then there was the case of the minefield. Our Field Workshop ran a daily pickup from an ECP not far from us on route 11. On this day the Scammell, towing a line of trucks, many carrying jeeps, slid off the road, down an embankment slap-bang into a marked minefield. There was some scratching of heads at Brigade and someone came up with the brilliant idea, that since I was from the Engineer LAD I should see to the recovery. The logic escaped me, but orders are orders. I drove down there. There had been no explosions, no mines

The machine trailer


had detonated but the Scammell was well in and the driver sat stiff in his cab. I then realised why me. I needed Engineer assistance. Back in Regimental lines I grabbed hold of the OC 12 Squadron and explained my dilemma; to get the vehicles out I first needed to get some mines out. He nodded and offered the job to his Officers who nearly came to blows in the rush. Word spread and soon it became a Regimental competition to lift a few mines. Funny people the Engineers. In the event, a Captain and a couple of Sappers, who I assumed knew all about mines, showed up at the site. I stood well back. By evening, the area under and round the vehicles had been cleared along with a lane back to the road. Now it was my turn. Looking at the problem, there was no way my recovery assets could shift this lot, so back to the Regiment I went; could I borrow a D8 tractor? Next day we had them out and on their way to the Field Workshop. By this time the peace had taken hold and civilians had begun filtering forward into previous operational areas. One enterprising trader actually set up a tailoring business in a hut on the corner of the Regiment’s access road. He must have been a good tailor judging by the number of American helicopters setting down bringing Officers in for fittings. This new freedom meant we could begin to socialise as well. One weekend, feeling exceptionally bored, I had a word with two attached officers, a New Zealander and an Australian, suggesting we took a trip to Seoul, Korea’s capital. They jumped at it. We took my jeep, having made arrangements to stay in Seoul with a unit called KCAC, Korean Civil Assistance Command. Their Officers’ Club served the most delicious egg and bacon burgers for breakfast. That night, having been advised by one of the Americans, we found our way to the Chosun Hotel, now a commandeered American establishment that held a dance every Saturday night. When we got there the entrance looked like a protest meeting; a crowd of women and girls and American Officers walking among them. We were instructed to do the same. The purpose was to find a girl you liked the look of and take her in with you. It was the only way they could get in so you can imagine the sweet looks, pleading eyes and raised voices. Many Americans set girls up in apartments, the KoreanWon, dollar exchange rate being extremely favourable. After a delicious burger next morning we drove back to Route 11 and home. Our left flank unit was a Turkish Brigade. Somehow, I was included in their Brigade HQ Officers’ Mess dinner invitation. Arak flowed freely and there was a packet of Turkish cigarettes at every table setting. The drill seemed to

be a swig of Arak, a mouthful of food and light up a fag. My most vivid memory is of an Engineer Subaltern called Jimmy, a Scot, who ended the night teaching drunken Turks the Eightsome Reel. What a night! Commonwealth countries had begun drawing down their people and soon it was the turn of Canada. The Canadian Squadron was due to pass through our position in the early morning on their way to Pusan and home. It was no concern of mine until just after dawn that day my books fell from the wall onto my sleeping head. This was followed by a massive explosion that shook my little cave and despatched loose soil from the ceiling. Another followed, and another. “The bloody war has re-started,” I thought. I was out of bed, dressed and heading for a deep hole in the ground recently dug for a new Officers’ latrine, not yet finished thank goodness. The air shook with enormous bangs. I threw myself in and with some relief discovered I wasn’t the first – I landed on two Engineer Officers. After a while there came an eerie silence. Heads poked out of various holes and gullies and gradually people began moving about, asking questions. The Regiment came to a war footing awaiting orders from Division. Something was different. A pall of smoke hung over the crown of the hill opposite and it didn’t look as big as it had yesterday. I learned afterwards that Brigade Artillery was alerted and Infantry readied itself to advance to the Kansas line, Armour fuelled and ammo’d up and so on. All a waste of time. The culprit was an Engineer Subaltern known as Nampo Joe for his love of explosives. It was he who had set explosives on the hill opposite to salute the retiring Canadians. He almost blew the top off the hill. What happened to him I do not know - I guessed he was not popular in the Regiment after that. He may even have been sent home. I never knew. And before I end this saga, there is one amusing anecdote I must tell. It concerns the Korean Pioneer Corps. Like ours it was mainly a labour Corps, but comprised old men unfit for duty elsewhere. A Pioneer Platoon had been attached to the Engineers to labour on the scree slope, a hillside from which the Engineers drew gravel; vital in spring when the thaw set in. Route 11 and all routes off it were laid with laterite that froze deep down. In spring the roads developed what the Engineers called Frost Boils, when suddenly a circular area of road would thaw into a deep mud puddle. The Engineer solution was to place a beehive charge over the hole, blow out all the mud and use gravel from the scree slope to repair it. The Pioneers had no English and a range of expression from one to ten developed covering pleasure, anger, dislike etc depending on the context. On this day an angry Sapper pushed an old man down the slope. At the bottom he got to his feet, waved a fist up the slope and shouted at the top of his voice – “Number Ten,” the only way he could assuage his anger in English. Sad, but also amusing. The end came gradually. First came peace-time accounting and my difficulty at having a radio set, office truck and machinery trailer surplus to establishment. I need not have worried. Most units were in the same boat having picked up odd pieces of transport and equipment during the war. Finally, it came my turn to leave. The LAD

The OC LAD Jeep disbanded, one RE Squadron was shipped to Christmas Island for the A Bomb test, the other back to the UK. I took a few hours in Pusan to visit the British War Graves Cemetery before taking a boat from Kure to Singapore. My career after that was mainly routine until I resigned my commission in 1972. The Malay terrorist campaign in Ipoh had its moments but nothing like Korea. Then a few years later I experienced the Malay jungle again as BEME 99 Ghurkha Brigade. The jungle wasn’t so bad, hot and sticky, but never cold. The photographs show how it was in Korea in summer and winter (see May’s edition) during my time - mostly of me, I confess, but this is my story. Long out of uniform, in order to demonstrate the sort of trouble I continued to get myself into, I got trapped in Kuwait during the Iraq occupation, avoided capture and finally got home for Christmas. It’s been pretty quiet since then. My website and literary efforts can be found on if you like a good read.

During a Korean summer

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Extracts from the London Gazette 13 APRIL 2021 REGULAR ARMY Regular Commissions Major K. R. AXON 30055862 from Intermediate Regular Commission 5 November 2020 to be Major with seniority 31 July 2020 Intermediate Regular Commissions Captain L. TAYLOR 30023581 from Short Service Commission 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 12 August 2020 ARMY RESERVE Group A Officer Cadet Daniel James MORRIS 30277831 to be Second Lieutenant (on probation) 10 March 2019 (Belated Entry)

20 APRIL 2021 GENERAL LIST ARMY RESERVE Group A Second Lieutenant (on probation) D. J. MORRIS 30277831 is confirmed as Second Lieutenant 10 March 2019 (Belated Entry) The following have been awarded the 2nd Clasp to the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (Military) LT COL, B. R. BLOOMFIELD, REME, 24763381 REGULAR ARMY The following have been awarded the 1st Clasp to the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (Military) CWO2, M. K. BYSH, REME, 24827493 CAPT, P. I. BELL, REME, 25043819

SGT, A. GURUNG, REME, 21169589 WO1, I. HEWITT, REME, 25048942 SGT, K. KERUNG, REME, 21169502 CAPT, P. B. SIMPSON, MBE, REME, 25046239 CAPT, S. STONES, REME, W1031855 WO2, A. D. WHITE, REME, 25036606 The following have been awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (Military) SSGT, A. M. DOLAN, REME, 25211810 SSGT, S. M. EVANS, REME, 25214455 SSGT, S. M. FITZSIMONS, REME, 25212675 CPL, D. W. HAMILTON, REME, 25213559 SGT, A. G. IRVINE, REME, 25218607 SSGT, G. J. MAGEE, REME, 25212933 SGT, J. L. J. SANDERS, REME, 25212351 SSGT, P. M. SAYER, REME, 25218105 CFN, L. T. TIKO, REME, 25215815 SGT, E. C. VENN, REME, 25213357

27 APRIL 2021 REGULAR ARMY Regular Commissions (Late Entry) Captain P. M. RAW 25037603 from Intermediate Regular Commission (Late Entry) 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 3 May 2016 Captain M. SEYMOUR 25047972 from Intermediate Regular Commission (Late Entry) 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 2 June 2014 Intermediate Regular Commissions (Late Entry) Warrant Officer Class 1 Robert James CIRIELLO 25065423 to be Captain 1 April 2020 (Belated Entry) Warrant Officer Class 1 Sion Gruffydd POVEY 25036425 to be Captain 1 April 2020 (Belated Entry) Warrant Officer Class 1 Stuart Charles Joseph BRUMPTONTAYLOR 25119909 to be Captain 27 July 2020 (Belated Entry) Warrant Officer Class 2 Iain LOADER P061725D to be Captain 16 December 2020

raja Careers and Employment Support Event *

Wednesday 23 June 2021

Sponsored By

Open to all REME personnel who are in the resettlement process. REME Reservists, and Veterans are also invited to attend. A fantastic opportunity to engage with companies that have an Engineering and Technical focus. For Service Leavers, this is an excellent networking opportunity to assist with the transition into civilian employment.

Although the event is at the REME Museum, Lyneham the majority of exhibitors attending are national companies and have vacancies available across the UK.

If you are interested in attending this event, please contact *This event could be postponed dependent on COVID-19 social distancing measures at the time.



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Tales of Frank Reynolds

A Dress Rehearsal with Dowager Dame Edwina Plum JP Scribe: Col (Retd) Phil Kay OBE


he photograph published in the April edition of The Craftsman Magazine by Col Mike Crabbe reminded me of the last time Dame Edwina Plum appeared in public. Princess Marina College celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1988. I thought that it would be a great idea to invite Princess Marina’s daughter, Princess Alexandra, to be the reviewing officer on the day. Having written to her, I was invited to London to discuss details with her staff. It appeared that Princess Alexandra was not comfortable with military parades but felt that she would like to participate given that the college was named after her mother. We were asked by her staff to produce a very detailed minute-by-minute brief of all that the Princess would see and do during her visit. As this sort of detail did not already exist, I discussed the problem with Major Reynolds because the Adjutant was away and I wanted to ensure that there would be no surprises (like the snowman!) on the day. We felt that the best way of ensuring that all events were covered would be to hold a full dress rehearsal the week before the anniversary. The problem was how to make the rehearsal feel ‘real’ in the eyes of the apprentices and staff. Frank suggested that to make it interesting, he should resurrect a character from his enormous repertoire; the legendary Dowager Dame Edwina Plum JP. We also decided to keep it secret! On his return to office, I told my Adjutant, Major Ian Park-Weir, that Dame Edwina had agreed to act as Princess Alexandra for the dress rehearsal. As custodian of all things ceremonial, Ian asked who she was. I told him not to bother himself with that and to issue the order. He came to me sometime later and said that he was unable to find any reference to Dame Edwina in Debrett’s! I said that I was surprised given that I had actually met her; a story robustly


confirmed by Major Reynolds! On the day of the dress rehearsal, we had hired a limousine to pick up the Dame and drive her to the college where she would be greeted by myself and my senior staff. Hearts beat a little faster as the Rolls-Royce drew up at the gates, where, fully entering into the spirit of the things, the Dame insisted on a careful search of her portmanteau much to the amusement of the guard! She was well turned out, sporting a scarf around her hat in REME colours. Nobody had twigged that Dame Edwina was anything but a rather wizened Dowager. About halfway through the tour, I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned round to face the Regimental Sergeant Major who gave me one of those knowing looks! Our secret was out. Frank played his part brilliantly and, as more people began to realise who it was, the day proved to be extremely enjoyable. A lightening tour of the college followed and the old lady brought many a smile to the crowds lining the route. She was particularly pleased to meet Major Chris Bull in the aircraft wing who she claimed, once serviced her Lysander. Mr Bill Fisher in the Ancillaries and General Wing presented her with a nutcracker for her husband, Archibald. She said she was looking forward to using it. The band received particular praise, especially when they played “There’s Many a Ripe Old Plum on Yonder Tree” a song dedicated to the old lady by the composer Victoria Rivers. All too soon, the visit drew to a close and, pausing only to touch her hat to acknowledge the cheers, the dear old lady returned to Plum Lodge. Surprisingly, we did manage to produce a very detailed timesheet for the Princess and the actual anniversary parade was a great success. Major Reynolds informed us that Dame Edwina died on 1 May 1990 never to be resurrected!

Obituary Lt Col (Ret’d) Nicholas Leadbetter MBE It is with deep sadness that I report the passing of Lt Col (Ret’d) Nicholas (Nick) Leadbetter MBE on 19 February 2021, from a heart attack, at 67 years of age. Nick left Welbeck College in 1972, where he was head boy in his final term, and joined the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS). He was commissioned into REME in 1973. He undertook the Regular Young Officer training that was provided at that time, which included unit attachments leading to his first tour in Northern Ireland in his first year of commissioned service and finally graduating with an In-Service Engineering Degree from the Royal Military College of Science (RMCS) Shrivenham. His first command, in 1979, was that of the Light Aid Detachment of RHG/D, the Blues & Royals, a Chieftain-equipped Armoured Regiment stationed in Detmold in what was formerly West Germany. He was kept very busy with Battle Group training on Soltau Training Area and live firing on Hohne Ranges, prior to “Medicine Man” Exercises in Suffield Canada. His posting was also punctuated with a regimental operational tour in Northern Ireland. When back in the unit, he still found the time to attend and pass the “B3 Mounted Duties” course. Being Household Cavalry, the regiment ran these riding courses using the twenty or so black ceremonial horses stabled in the barracks, to keep their public duties skills current. Although a competent horseman already, this took his equestrian skills to another level. During his posting to HQ 3rd Armoured Division as SO3 G3 (Operations & Development) he was tasked in 1985 by the then Maj Gen, now Lord, David Ramsbotham to head a trial of digitising a British Army Headquarters for the first time. The trial was the use of GRID hardened/toughened laptops from ICL, distributed around the HQ for daily peacetime use (to generate familiarity) but more importantly in the field, which was taken at every opportunity and regularly. Nick was passionate and made it all happen. His constant liaison with the ICL team was as vital as his persuading the staff officers to make it work (as they were now expected to type); this made the trial a great success. He was awarded an MBE in the 1986 Queen’s Birthday Honours List and the award was conferred in the November of that year. When he was promoted to the rank of Major, his next command was OC Workshop UNFICYP Support Regiment in Nicosia, Cyprus which was followed by his first staff appointment in 1987, within the Headquarters of RMAS as SO2 G3 (O&D), a role he particularly enjoyed, being back in England. The experience was excellent preparation for his selection to attend The United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, which he began in May 1989. He was reported as being an exceptional student of historical and contemporary tactical and strategic military operations. He was highly respected as a friend and mentor by all of his seminar teammates. This was despite him correcting American spelling constantly and he had a long standing joke with them all, including the lecturers, that Americans just can’t spell. At the end of course leavers’ ceremony he was presented with a jar of alphabet letter sweets/candy “so he would have enough letters to correct American spelling” Promotion to Lt Col took him to the newly raised Headquarters of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, in Bielefeld in 1991, where he drove the development of the Maintenance Planning and Coordination procedures for this newly formed force. His experience in managing change was now well known and he was next given the task in 1993 of transforming 4 Armoured Workshop into 3 Battalion REME, as their Commanding Officer. He set the foundation stones of 3 Battalion, where his legacy lives on through them today. The tragedy of losing his beloved wife Sarah in a road traffic accident in Detmold prompted his decision to retire from the Army in 1995 after 23 years in REME. However, service, particularly service to the community, remained a theme throughout the rest of his life. He became a Non-Executive Director of the Oxfordshire NHS Primary Care Trust in 1996 and the same year he joined the Board of Visitors of HM Prison Grendon, which he continued for the next fifteen years. He left the NHS Trust to work for the Foreign Office as

a liaison officer, looking at war crimes on a 6 month tour in Bosnia in 1999. He undertook consultancy work for RMCS Shrivenham and the Army Benevolent Fund (ABF). Later he became the ABF Oxford County Chairman for the nine years between 2006 and 2015, raising £240,000 for the charity during his tenure. He was a Parish Councillor for two terms in Ascott-Under-Wychwood and Chairman of its Village Shop Committee; he also worked as a volunteer in the shop right up until the first lockdown in March. During this time Nick also took the opportunity to do what he loved best and spend more time in the saddle. In 2004 he embarked on a two-week horseback safari in Malawi. In 2008 he repeated the experience, this time riding the elephant trail. The culmination was in 2014 when he rode 1,500 miles across the Namibian Desert, which he described as one of the most unforgettable, incredible experiences in his life. He was cremated at Oxford Crematorium during a small family service on 26th February 2021. When Covid restrictions allow, his ashes will be placed with Sarah’s at St Mary’s Church, Swinbrook, where they were married. He leaves behind his two daughters, Hannah and Emma, and his much adored grandchildren Holly, Zach, Summer and Halle. He will be missed by all whose lives he touched.

Former SSgt Bryan Eades By Donna Eades It is with sadness that I inform the Corps of the passing of former SSgt Bryan Eades, aged 75 on 28 April 2021. He is survived by his wife/widow, who had also served within the Army, his two children (myself included) and grandchildren, amongst other family. Bryan joined the Army at the age of 15, becoming a Shipwright by trade in REME. Over the course of 25 years, his career would see him posted to many corners of the globe. As a family we followed, becoming a Forces Family in every sense of the word - my own birthplace is testimony to that. Bryan was based in Hong Kong in the 70s at the time of Typhoon Hope (which had hit the New Territories hard) and returned again to Hampshire in the 1980s. As a family, we went with him; my fondest memories are of those years.

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SSgt Brian Hobbs SSgt Brian Hobbs passed on 13 October 2020. His sons have asked that the below photographs, showing him while serving as a REME Soldier and in later life with his wife, Anne, be shared with the REME Family. His obituary was published in the May edition.

In 1982, he did two tours of duty of the Falkland Islands. This was a defining point in both his life and career. In the late 1980’s, the return to ‘Civvy Street’ was complex but he met the challenge with a squaddie’s grace and a soldier’s mentality – that of someone who had seen so much. He was a REME Veteran and a Falklands Veteran who gave his all. He remained both a Solider and a family man united. Once REME always REME rang very true for him. As a Veteran, he went on to lead many an Armistice parade within his home town, putting him once again at the heart of the community. Those who came to know of him knew him as an old school, strict man with the loveliest of chatter. To me he will be remembered as a man loved greatly and highly thought of. He will be remembered fondly by all, missed more so. A loss felt intensely yet the legacy of the years he served and beyond will remain. Those years are the very foundation on which my own personality had been built; who I am today. Dad, you served your country in both peace time and at a time of conflict. I hope now that peace resides and rests with you.


The REME Charity


The Trustees of The REME Charity acknowledge with sincere thanks the donations received during the month of APRIL 2021. They also wish to acknowledge the regular subscriptions received from the Officers and Soldiers of the Corps and retired members of the REME Institution: Donations Via STRIPE Feb/Mar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£7,870.09 Major John Paton (Deceased) Legacy Gift . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£2,721.65 Grocers Charity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£1,226.00 Jewellery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£1,042.93 John Northam (Deceased) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£1,000.00 Sam Melvin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£705.00 Much Loved . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£413.84 Running 10k every day for 10 days . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£370.00 In memory of Cyril Luger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£125.00 Alison Philp, Col (Retd) Arthur Wareham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£90.00 In memory of the Colonel-in-Chief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£72.36 For Desmond Sparrow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£70.00 In memory of Michael Costanzo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£70.00 Bryan Roberts, in regards to Celia Cassingham’s hard work £50.00 Maj (Retd) Pat Nulty, from group re-sale of AB REME Lapel Badges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£40.00 AD Sparrow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£30.00 Dabin Shrethsa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£20.00 Hayley Costanzo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£15.00 London Marathon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£15.00 Michael Stanyer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£15.00 P Weatherill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£10.00 Mr & Mrs Coles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£10.00 Nick Brock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£5.24 Charles Wright . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£5.00 Walking the equivalent of Camino de Santiago . . . . . . . . . . . . .£2.50

Happy 90th Birthday to Former Cfn Alfred Shaw Alfred (Alf ) Shaw was a Craftsman for two years during his National Service, which he has referred to as “the best two years of my life”. His trade training was at Honington, with group 52-08, with service in Aldershot and Duisburg as a storeman. We would like to wish Alf a happy, if belated, 90th birthday.

Death Notices CHITTENDEN – Former WO1 Michael John Chittenden passed away 31 March 2021 aged 78. Dates of service 1961-1979. EADES – Former SSgt Bryan Eades passed away 28 April 2021 aged 75. Dates of service 1960-1985. HANCOCK – Former SSgt TCG (Tom) Hancock passed away 4 April 2021 aged 78. Dates of service 1957-1983. ROWNEY – Former WO1 (ASM) David George Rowney passed away 9 April 2021 aged 71. Dates of service 1967-1992.

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 

Total Donations (Apr) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£15,994.61 Total £’s paid in Grants (Apr) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£7,185.30 No. Grants (Apr) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Average Grant (Apr) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£449.08

If you would like to see how your money is spent, we welcome one or two observers at The REME Charity meetings. The meetings are held midweek, approximately every three weeks. If you would like to observe a meeting, please contact The REME Charity Secretary on ( Mil: 95481 4527 or Civ: 01249 894527 in the first instance. The REME Charity is here for both veterans and serving personnel in times of hardship or need. Contact via SSAFA ( 0800 731 4880 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


YOU YOU See inside the front cover for submission guidelines

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The Screwjack Letters – No. 18 Mess Business


ajor Price was posted back to the UK and he shipped his Jaguar car home as well. I was sorry to see him go. His replacement as Company OC was Major Charles Wilson. When we met, he made it clear that he would have preferred an older ex-Artificer running the Workshop. I refrained from saying who I might prefer as OC, of course. John Horne was also replaced by John Taylor. The senior Gurkha Captain gave a speech at John Horne’s departure, addressing him as “Singh Sahib” to everyone’s amusement. I had undertaken the jobs of gardens member and films member in the mess. I celebrated our first day of active service by transplanting a purple-flowering bougainvillea tree from Stan Yates’ garden into the corner of the mess lawn. The lawn was ringed with yellow-flowering shrubs that appeared happy to be left alone; the lawn grass seemed disinclined to grow, so I left that alone too. Sometime later the OC’s wife announced that she and other ladies of the mess had formed a Gardens Club and

Gill’s Malay driving licence

The sectioned Bedford engine


would take over responsibility for the garden. I agreed to stand aside. A week or so later Mrs Wilson told me that she and the other ladies had decided on their plans for the garden. She asked “Where is the gardener?” I said “There is no gardener, only your Gardens Club”. That was the end of the ladies’ Gardens Club. As films member I was more active. I knew how to operate the projector and reels of film were ordered from the Army Kinema Corporation. The projector was used sometimes for training films by HQ GASC. One evening I set up the rows of chairs in the ante-room and on a table at the rear I put the projector and film reels, but the projector tripod was missing. Major Bennet, the HQ 2IC, went to look for it. Two of the younger wives, Jenny Taylor and Kathy Vincent came in early and sat down a few rows in front of me. Meantime I erected a makeshift stand for the projector, using some books. Major Bennet came back, still minus the tripod and said “Ah Mike, OK, I see you’ve got an erection.” I said “Yes sir, I’ll -er- have a word with my tailor.” Jenny and Kathy seemed to sink to the floor. My wife Gill took driving lessons and passed the test locally. She could now drive our TR2. I attach a copy of her driving licence. As a State Registered Nurse she was qualified and taught first aid at a local school. Brigadier Peter Vaux, Commander Malaya Area, came to do our annual admin inspection. He took an interest in a sectioned Bedford engine which our metalsmith, “Omo”* Whitehurst, had sectioned with a hand grinder to enable us to explain the workings of an engine to the Gurkha drivers. When the Brigadier inspected the workshop single men’s rooms, we came to a small room at the end of the veranda to which there was a locked door marked “Recovery Room”. Nobody had the key so I said “Well, we don’t keep the Scammel in there, sir.” Brig Vaux, a kindly chap, accepted the logic of this and moved on. Later Major Wilson admitted that this was the one moment of calm, stark reality in an otherwise frenetic day. I never did find out what or who was in the Recovery Room. Screwjack *OMO was a much-advertised washing powder in the UK at the time.

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

JUNE 2021


J U LY 2 0 2 1


Annual REME Quartermasters Dinner 2021


Reserves Management board To be rescheduled


Reserves Conference



Corps Autumn Guest Night



Reserves Conference Rearranged to 9-10 October

REME Institution Corps Ball Postponed to summer 2022


REME Reserves Management Board, Portsmouth.



Corps Dinner Night


“Same old stuff month on month” 250

“not enough about actual REME day to day”




“I wish it was more technical”


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